Thursday, February 14, 2019

Valentine Scones

This is the same recipe I've shared before, but with some minor changes. 

  • 3 cups self-rising flour
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup non-salted butter cold
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 teaspoon pink food coloring (I'm partial to the fuschia pink gel from Michaels)
Use a food processor to chop the white chocolate chips into tiny bits. Next, put one cup of flour into the same food processor with butter and pulse until combined.  I then move the mixture into a Kitchen Aid mixer and add remaining dry ingredients.  

Mix egg, vanilla, and buttermilk in a 1 cup container and add to the dry ingredients.

Add all ingredients together and mix on high until well blended.  It will be very thick, you may need to dig the mixture off the whip and then continue mixing to get everything blended.

On a floured surface, roll the dough 3/4" - 1" thick.  I used a small heart cutter for each scone.  I continue rolling until all dough is used up; there is no such thing as wasted dough in this house.  The last scone is usually hand balled and flattened into a scone patty, much like you would make a hamburger.

Place the cut scones onto a cookie sheet and bake for 14 minutes at 325.  


Wednesday, February 13, 2019

February - back to back snow days!

We've had crazy weather lately, the last week of January was 0 digits with school closed on the 31st due to the extreme weather, then it shot up to the 50's the first week of February, and now this week school was closed Monday - Tuesday for snow days!  Tomorrow's productivity will be wreaked by Valentines day parties, our school is off Friday's for home school day and next Monday they are off for Presidents Day.  I feel bad for the teachers who are trying to make progress.  It has to be daunting.  I personally would be fine with a full day of home school work on Friday to help make up the lost time, it seems they usually get done in a few hours.

Below photos are right after the freeze, we had some ice on the pond at the City Park and the birds were treating it as their own personal island.  

My poor dog begged for a walk but seemed rather sad about the ongoing snow, or he just really hates his coat.  

Friday, February 08, 2019

Back to Florida

I did a trip to Florida last week to get caught up with my colleagues at the home office since I work from home most of the year in Maryland.  It had been 14 months since my last trip, which is the longest stretch I've been apart from Florida in many years.

I wasn't able to visit the beach so I wandered around Coral Springs where I was staying and visited all our old haunts.  I went to the Barnes & Noble three times and didn't buy anything but took lots of notes, love B&N but not the prices.  

I was surprised at how much I enjoyed being in the company of my co-workers.  

I’ve heard my boss say this for years, we need to have face time with each other and with our clients.  I usually ignore him because it’s like listening to mom and dad give the same advice day in and day out, until you experience the gap in not spending time with someone, you might think it’s an overblown concept as well.  

Last year when I went to Asia in October, it had been 18 months since my last visit.  There had also been a large gap in seeing our biggest client of about 6 months. 

2018 was a hard year, my mom's husband passed away in April, we found, bought and moved into a house within 6 months and moved mom as well.  Along with our annual trip to Texas and packing, I don't see how we could have squeezed any work trips into that time frame.

I’m very thankful my job was understanding and not pushy, but when I did finally arrive at each location – Asia, client, Florida – I could see how my absence had created gaps.  It’s hard to explain but being in person with others creates comfort level that can’t be replicated in phone calls.  I will not admit this in person though, my boss will have to track down my blog to ever see that I might acknowledge he’s right in this case. 

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Jet Lag and Sickness

I don't get jet lag during my trips to Asia, somehow my body acclimates easily and I don't have any pain, headaches or nausea.   I take a sleep med to make sure I sleep through the night but otherwise I don't really have any issues.

The return is quite painful though.  Even if I sleep the entire night, I'm still exausted by 3pm and it's a struggle to get through the remainder of the day for the first week.  This time I got a severe sinus cold two days after getting home and I stayed in bed for two days straight.

As soon as I was feeling better enough to get back to a normal cleaning routine, my oldest got a stomach bug that kept her home from church on Sunday.  The next morning my husband got it and was out for the entire day!  I think I got in 2 hours of work that day as I had to do his job of taking care of the kids; so thankful it's Chinese New Year and almost no new projects or emails.

We've had some minor snow and a few two hour delays but overall our weather hasn't been too bad.  I'm just glad work is slow so I can keep up with all the illnesses, doctor's visits and minor school issues.

It's January, I guess it's all to be expected!

Friday, January 18, 2019

My Black Boot Experience in Hong Kong

It took some trial and error, but I finally figured out that only black stockings work well with my new black boots.  Once I worked this out, I was able to alternate each day with the two pairs I brought, while utilizing the laundry services at the hotel.  Amazingly they didn't hurt from one mile of walking with proper stockings.  I had been trying to wear leggings and thin socks but it was still too thick and caused extreme discomfort.

It was nice to dress well each day in my favorite skirts and black boots.  I work from home most of the year and while I don't work in my pajamas, I also don't get fully dressed like I'm going into the office.

To be honest, the weather was just a tad warm for boots, upper 60's, but I didn't care and wore them every day!

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Weddings in Hong Kong - part 2

Today there were two weddings outside my window, the first I missed most of because of housekeeping.  By the time I got back, the wedding party were still taking photos and I thought to myself, perhaps they paid more because they were there for several hours and during the photo session, the hotel staff was not in a hurry to dismantle everything.  After the photos ended, the hotel staff removed the gold covers off the chairs, leaving silver covers.  This means there would be a 2nd wedding later in the day!  They had covered the chairs twice in the morning so as to not have to set up again for the 2nd wedding.  I love it!

Here is the precise detail of today's 2nd wedding:

5:00pm - groomsman spread flower petals for bride to walk on
5:10pm - wedding procession song (the only song of the entire ceremony)
best man and maid-of-honor give speech, all other bride maids and groomsmen stand behind the audience
5:14pm - vows and rings exchanged, kiss
5:18pm - sit and sign document, kiss again
5:24pm - champagne toast
5:27pm - wedding ceremony is over, guests standing to enter reception
5:33pm - photos continue while hotel staff remove silver chair covers and stack chairs
5:39pm - it's getting dark, entire wedding party appears to have moved indoors

My thoughts are, you really don't want to be late to a wedding in Hong Kong! 

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Weddings in Hong Kong

I occasionally amuse myself by watching weddings from my hotel window in Hong Kong and they confound me every single time.  This is my 2nd wedding witnessed from this corner which looks down on an outdoor reception area and I really need someone to explain it to me because I'm really quite confused.

1.  almost no music, not even procession music, just one burst of sound to announce the start of the wedding and that's it
2.  there is almost no ceremony that I can see, unless you count the one minute speech given by one person as the bride and groom stand in front of a table and then they say their vows
3.  the bridesmaids stand at the back of the audience, with cell photos, taking photos, I guess with no ceremony there is nothing for them to do except wear a pretty dress and wait for their turn in the photo procession
4.  after the one minute speech, and the vows, the rest of the hour is spent with the entire audience lining up to take photos in various combinations.

From what I can tell, it's all about the photos.  And then, before the hour is even up, the hotel staff is busy stacking chairs while the photos are finishing up.

At the very end, everyone in the photo line up is making a claw with their hands and there are two people behind the wedding party in black workout clothing, jumping around and making claw hands.  They also appear to be supporting the photographer by posing everyone and occasionally stopping to drink a Starbucks that was left in what might presumably be the staging area.  I'm having a hard time connecting the jumpers as part of the wedding party as they are not interacting with the guests so I guess I'm confused as to why they were in the claw photo.

Before the wedding started there was a cake set out and a drink cart, then somewhere in the middle of everything, the cake and drink cart went back inside.  Were they only brought out for photos?  As props?

At the end of the hour the entire flower trellis is packed up and wheeled away, while photos are continuing, so there is almost no evidence of a wedding even left at this point.

I'm guessing the food is served inside and hopefully there are more decorations.

At some point the groom gets bored and wanders inside, leaving his beloved to take a few more photos with the bridesmaids, which completely confounds me because they are supposed to enter the reception area together and be introduced.  After a few minutes she wanders in with a hotel staff and her bridesmaids are left outside to continue taking photos and wasting the photographers time.