Saturday, December 20, 2008

Peace Out my job as a Sous Chef. I'm no longer employed with "the other company." Hooray for being off work and home and ready for the holidays. I shall find a theme song for my mood today.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


That's how I'm feeling right now. Two more days of my job, which I'm ecstatic about. All in all, it has been a good experience and I felt extremely blessed to hop right out of culinary school and into a Sous Chef position. I learned a lot. Drove a lot. Washed lots of dishes. Met some interesting people. I was given lots of really great, expensive wine by rich hostesses, as they pitied me carrying loads of trays and such to my car after their parties. I would have settled for their help in carrying some things, but the wine was even better. I broke some crystal, dropped food, slipped, got cut, burned, and bruised...locked out of my car, brought great leftovers home, and went many days without seeing my husband at all. I'm thankful for the opportunity I had to work as a personal chef while I created my own company on the side. It really was the perfect job to accompany me through that life phase. But I'm ready to move on.

Besides work, we are pet-sitting for our friends' dog, Reagan. She is a Golden/Lab mix, about 5 years old, and A.D.O.R.A.B.L.E. Marlow has really enjoyed having a friend to play with. I just wish the weather would have been better today. It was so dang foggy outside and the ground was too muddy to take them to the park. Reagan makes me want another dog. I'd definitely be in for getting one, probably a smaller pooch, if we had a bigger house/more yardage. Canines are fun creatures and wonderful friends to us humankind.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Merry Christmas from the Bonsers

Dear friends and family,

It has been an adventurous year for our little family. Here are some highlights…

Singapore and Thailand

In January I was sent to Singapore again for work, so we decided to cash in some airline miles and get Carey a ticket. For less than a road trip to Indiana, Carey joined me for a week in Singapore and then five nights in Thailand. We ate lots of good food, saw the symphony orchestra at the beautiful Singapore Botanic Gardens, rode elephants at an old Thai capital, climbed the Temple of Doom, participated in a Thai cooking class, and enjoyed being together and being married.

The Adventures of Marlow

It’s been a crazy year for our dog. You might think we are irresponsible pet owners when you hear this list but here it goes anyways… This year he has gotten himself bumped by a car, lost in the 800 acre Austin Greenbelt for six days, blistered the pads off his feet, and jumped in a fire. Each event comes with its own story, the most dramatic of which was when his panic in the Greenbelt resulted in us leaving for the night without him. After six days of fliers and searching, we found him two miles from where we lost him but only a few blocks from where we normally enter the park. I’m convinced my pee on the trailhead helped him find his way home. Carey is not so sure. Needless to say, we are very thankful to have the little guy back. We are not sure what he ate for six days but we know he is a good hunter. So far his kill count from the backyard consists of two rats (killed), two birds (killed; one brought into the living room), and two squirrels (both catch and release).

Taste and See

This year has been an exciting year for Carey’s business. It has been exciting to see her grow in her skills as a chef (yes, I am the most spoiled man ever) and to see her learn how to run a business. She has picked up her first corporate client, learned how to market herself, and her webmaster (me) finally got off his tail and posted a website. In case you are wondering, the name came from Psalm 34:8; “Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.”

Our prayer is that whether you live in plenty or want, whether times are joyous or difficult, whether in times of health or illness, that you might taste and see that the Lord is good and that all things in this life pale in comparison to knowing Him and living in His grace.

Peace and grace to you this Christmas season,

Chris and Carey

Sunday, December 14, 2008


After sleeping literally all day long (I woke up at 5:00pm), I feel like I'm a bit recovered from our Christmas party last night. 35 people replied "yes" on the Evite, 14 "maybe." So I prepared for 50 thinking not everyone would come that said they would. We counted 65. Yes, 65 people crowded into our 1400 sq. ft. home. It was a ball. I felt honored to be able to give that gift to our Austin friends. I realize that we know a lot more people than I think we do and we have been extremely blessed with friends since we moved here. It was cool to see the different groups that intermingled; AMD folks, old church, new church, and neighbors. I served a buffet of food that was devoured and left nothing behind. Always a good sign. I think everyone had a great time. I haven't started cleaning up yet and really don't have the energy to start picking up the mess, but we have an inspector coming on Tuesday morning because we are trying to refinance our house. Thus, I must get started.

I'm gearing up for my last 6 days of work, expecting 12-15 hour days this week. I'm starting to feel like I'm getting a bug. Too much work and physical wear on my body. But after Saturday, I'll have a lot to be happy about since I won't be working for "the other company" anymore. We are also very excited to see family during the holidays. Marlow can't wait to see snow.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Sleepy Time is Calling My Name

In the last 2 days I've worked about 30 hours. I can't even tell you how tired my body is. In the midst of it, I really regret not wearing some kind of support hose because I feel like I can tell when my veins are bursting from so much time on my feet. They feel like they are on fire and my knees still ache today. I know I shouldn't complain, especially when some of my readers are nurse friends who understand long hours of standing and the physical demands on your body...but I hear you guys get something called a break. What is that?? I woke up early so I could sing again at church today, which was super-fun, but I left right after the 'amen' and came home and slid right back into my covers. I love, love, love naps. I feel a bit more rested now although I had to peel myself out of the wonderful, little, dark sleeping cave I had going on underneath my blankets so I can sleep tonight.

The menu last night was:

Asparagus baked in Parmesan Pastry
Bacon-wrapped Shrimp with Pepper Jack Cheese
Zucchini Cups with a filling of Sundried Tomatoes, Basil, and Feta
Corn Pancake Chalupas with Avocado Cream and Queso Fresco
Chili Beef and Sweet Potato Skewers with Chimichurri
Cheve Tartlets

Mini Strawberry Shortcakes with Marsala Mousse
Iced Sugar Cookies
Brownie Bites dipped in Peppermint White Chocolate
Bite-Size Pumpkin Cheesecakes with Cinnamon Whipped Cream

And as lame as it sounds, I might duplicate the menu for the annual 'Eat, Drink, and Be Merry with the Bonsers' Christmas party on Saturday. I overbought on some of the products, so I'll get to use them and feed my friends. I wish I could stop menu planning in my head (and dreaming of it, too), but I have to press on until business is done for the season. Rest will come.

I have the day off today and all I want to do is be a couch potato and watch Christmas movies with an ongoing cup of hot tea. But you should see my house. It has been neglected and looks abused. Laundry baskets are overflowing. This desk I'm supposedly using looks more like a landfill, piled with junk and mail and notes and...oh yes, the stack of addressed and stamped envelopes waiting for the Christmas letters to go inside. We alternate every year who writes the letter and this year is not my turn! :) You'll get one eventually.

Merry Christmas, folks!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

The Countdown Begins

Yes, folks, it's true. I gave my two week's notice today and will officially be no longer working for 'the man' (or in my case, 'the woman.'). 16 days left. I am thrilled. The goal, of course, is to be self-sustainable so that I don't have to get another part-time job, but I'm guessing I won't have enough clients ordering weekly meal service, which is consistent income for me (as opposed to one-time catering gigs), so I'll have to find some kind of supplemental income early next year. Nonetheless, I already feel like a huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders. I have worked for "the other company" for two and a half years, which isn't all that long, however, I started it while in culinary school and learned a few tricks along the way which helped me form my own business plan. And it taught me a lot about what not to do, too. I can't tell you how happy I am to be counting down. Celebrate for me, will ya?

Work has again been consuming my life. Working for myself is very rewarding and I have seen an 82.36% increase in business this year compared to last. What Black Friday does to the retail world is what December does for my business. I earn the majority of my income for the entire year within one month. It's exhilarating. I am so thankful God showed me this path in life. I have a deep love for all things edible and especially enjoy sharing my gift with others. Speaking of which, I am catering a party for 50 this weekend for a bunch of ladies from my church. It's always more fun to work when you're serving people you know. They seem to appreciate the work more.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Thanksgiving Week Pics

Monday, December 01, 2008

Happy December!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

A Week Away

Chris and I got to head out of town and stay an entire week at his parents' house. People always comment how strange it is that we take a whole week off, but we like to make Thanksgiving and Christmas our extended holidays with family, and since we split them between Texas and Indiana, it just makes sense to take a longer vacation for each. We feel blessed that we can do this and soak up lots of time with family and friends.

We slept A LOT! Apparently our bodies needed lots of rest and relaxation. I read a book and Chris played computer games all week. Marlow also loved all the extra affection and attention. I enjoyed walking most mornings and cooking for my in-laws, however, I did absolutely no cooking for Thanksgiving, which felt odd. But it was a much needed break from time on my feet and meal planning, which normally consumes my mind.

Last Sunday, my grandma passed away. She lived a full life, indeed, at 100 years old. It was her time to go and we all feel that it's a very good thing. She is now with Jesus, so there's no better place she could be. We were sad to miss the funeral in Missouri, but I feel like I said my good-bye a long time ago, when her mind was healthy and she knew who I was. I feel honored to have had her as my grandma.

The latest news I received tonight and it's the BEST news ever! My brother and sister-in-law are expecting their first baby! They are due at the end of June and I am going to be Aunt Carey! I am so happy for them and so thankful that God has answered many, many prayers. I cannot wait and my heart is filled to the brim tonight with joy for them.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Monday, November 17, 2008

He's a Steppin' Machine

My sweet "nephew," Jaxson, is one year old now and walking like crazy. He's soo sweet and loves me. Marlow loves him, too!

The Kitchen

Here's some of the kitchen I work out of.


I had a bunch of pictures on my camera that needed uploaded. Here's a sample.

This was my attempt to take a picture of Marlow in his "Halloween costume" as a rabbit. That's a carrot in his mouth.
They like to snuggle when it's cold.
My neighbor and her new baby. He's almost one month old now.

Friday, November 14, 2008


Yay for Fridays. I was off today, although I did spend a significant amount of time doing work-related stuff, but no cooking. Tomorrow I prep for a dinner gig on Sunday. Work has been kicking my butt lately. It's exhausting, I'll be honest. But I LOVE working for myself and can't wait to transition to the point where I'm full time with Taste and See Fine Dining (I still think it's a mouthful saying it all, but it's the underlying message that counts.) Until then though, I have to divide my time cooking for two companies. (Speaking though of Sunday, guess what I get to do this weekend???? SING!!! More on that in a second.)

We recently did our budget for Q1 of 2009 (I speak geek.) and our general rule is that the first step is to write down every thing that we want to do in that first 3-month block, holding nothing back. So from our list, basically all of it got "greyed out," which means, we aren't able to afford it now, but hopefully in the future sometime we will. It stinks keeping a budget, but it's a good discipline. I'd love for Chris to be able to buy a new bike. It would really make a difference when he does his triathalons (note: he rides a $30 rode bike) and he would just really love having one to work out with. I would love it if he could go camping every year with his best guy friends from Indiana. I'd love to be able to pay for Marlow to go to doggy daycare once a week or do agility classes. I think either of those would be great for his social skills and confidence. I would love to see my family more than once every 9 months and buy a big dining table that seats a lot of people. Those are just a few things that we choose not to do so that we can pay off our car, keep on keepin' on with the student loans, and put money in savings for emergencies, air conditioner, etc. Blah. Sorry about all that boring money talk. But onto what I was originally going to say regarding money.

Yes, folks, it looks as though my three and a half year season of not singing is coming to an end. And I can't tell you how happy I am about that. I've missed it so much and definitely feel that I am so out of shape. I've considered taking voice lessons many times, but the truth is, we just don't have the money for it. Instead, I do my vocal exercises in the comfort of my home without anyone around. :) Poor Marlow. But I am very happy to have the chance to sing for the first time in a long time this Sunday at church. I feel kind of weird doing it since I really don't know many people yet and we haven't even committed to this church since we started going 3 months ago, but I kind of like that. I like that you don't have to sign anything or be "in the club" to just use a gift.

Onto other matters.

I made Marlow some pumpkin dog treats yesterday. I figure that he's missing out on the yummy seasonal foods, so I baked out of pity for him. (and because we were out of treats and it's a way to save some money.) It's easy to throw together a glob of some sort that is edible for dogs. I personally like it because I get to use up things in my fridge (ya'll know how much I enjoy that!) that have been sitting there for awhile. Herbs are a great ingredient in dog treats because they naturally help cure bad breath. Especially parsley and mint. Never add salt or sugar or chocolate or raisins. You're not making it to taste good to a human's palate. Also, use whole wheat if you can. You're wanting it to be as healthy as possible. So, here's the glob that turned into little cookies for Marleypoo: whole wheat flour, oats, canned pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, eggs, plain yogurt. I recommend concocting something for your pooch sometime. It's essentially free if you use whatever you already have on hand. Bake until it is set and golden. They make a great gift for their playmates, too!

Monday, November 10, 2008

It's A Start

Friday, November 07, 2008

Songs I Could Listen To Over and Over and Over

And this does bother whoever is riding in the car with me, but don't you ever find a song that you can't help playing again, turning up the volume a little (or a lot), and singing your heart out along with it? Here are a few I've been bonding with lately.

Free Fallin--John Mayer
Stay--Little Big Town
Rocking Song--Acapella
Forever and Ever Amen--Randy Travis
Keep It Loose Keep It Tight--Amos Lee
No One--Alicia Keys
Be The Change--Kat Edmonson
All I Need--Bethany Dillon
Sell Out--Axis

Sunday, November 02, 2008

November Already?

My body is exhausted from work. And the busy season is just beginning. I did a 12 hour day yesterday as I listened to the UTvTech game from the kitchen. It was a wedding reception/party for the couple who got married a month ago in Mexico. The bride was a Texas Tech graduate, the groom a Longhorn, and therefore a pretty interesting night. I have to admit that I only actually saw the last three minutes of the game, but that's all I needed to see. What an ending!

I worked on Halloween, but had the night off. I went and saw Carrie Underwood and enjoyed it very much. Chris is not a fan, to say the least, of country music, so I left him at home. I was proud of myself for not buying a single bag of Halloween candy this year.

I'm so tired and not looking forward to another busy week of work.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

This is my little "nephew," Jaxson. Isn't he cute?!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Agnes Irene Turns 100 Years Old Today!

Happy Birthday, Grandma. I love you.
One of my favorite pictures of her.
Singing hymns at a family reunion. No matter what she has forgotten, she remembers words from songs dear to her heart.
Sitting inside the one room school house where she attended as a child then later taught.

all photos courtesy of Andy Justison Photography

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A Week In the Life: Monday & Tuesday & Wednesday

I'm catching up and will be random because the last couple of days have been overwhelmingly busy. Marlow has a bug and was up all night, which kept me up all night. I think I got about two hours of sleep. I had an interview this morning and can't believe I stayed awake for it.

But besides work, here's more pictures from the last couple of days.
More walks with Marlow.
A silly picture of me getting ready for client visits.
"Deposit for business checking, please."
A visit to the podiatrist because I have ATHLETE'S FOOT!!! (Yes, I'm gross and it may be a little too much information, but that's why my subtitle says, "much more than you probably want to know.") You can't see it, but there's a dime-sized spot on the bottom of my foot. Gotta get that sucker.
Home for lunch.
Picking up the prescription.
Where I've spent many hours and will spend many more.
My first corporate client!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A Week In the Life: Sunday

Went to church this morning. It meets in a middle school.
Chris and I shared some pizza and pasta for lunch.
The pumpkins and gourds outside were so colorful!
Bought groceries for the week--one of my favorite things to do.
Mmm. Skinny Cow.
Cereal for dinner.
Went to Lowe's and bought parts to fix a ceiling light and our bedroom lamp.
Making my weekly visit to Target.
The hobbit feet got some nail polish.