Meredith got me a Starbucks gift card... oh yeah. :-) It has been put to good use this week, considering all the overtime at work.
Rich and Susan gave me a fondue cookbook and an ample supply of dipping chocolate for my next party. I'm already planning the menu.
Casey and Lisa got me this collection of 88 hymns. Susan Beisner recorded these on piano to provide accompaniment for those who do not have access to instruments, or simply want to listen to the instrumental version of the Trinity Hymnal. Since my piano will soon be going into storage (*sniff!*), this will be great to have. Casey and Lisa also got me a Starbucks gift card.
Jerry and Bernice sent two things I have always wanted and needed, but never bought. A sturdy wooden cutting board, and a sharp chef's knife. Finally I can cut things in less than half an hour. Ok, not quite that long, but... almost.
Mom and Dad sent 3 of my favorite things in the mail: vanilla, vanilla, and vanilla! A baker can never have enough good quality vanilla. On the left is a Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Extract. Madagascar is the world's largest producer of vanilla planifolia, the "vanilla orchid". Each flower on the plant produces one fruit (i.e. vanilla bean) and the flowers bloom just one day a year. The glass tube in front contains 5 beans from Papua New Guinea, and the jar to the right contains one Tahitian vanilla bean and 2 Madagascar beans. If you look closely at the label you will see that it is a vanilla infusion "kit"--you split the beans, add vodka, shake once a day for 2 months, and you have your own vanilla. I can't wait to get started. Look for homemade vanilla ice cream and cream puffs with vanilla bean pastry cream in about two months...