Sunday, November 28, 2010

STUFFED!!

Have I mentioned before that I LOVE Thanksgiving.  What a great holiday :D  And this one was one for the record books.  We had a GREAT time and sooo much good food to enjoy. 

We started with stuffed clam shells.  Mmm.

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Then the turkey came out of the fryer!
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Add in all the yummy side dishes.....
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.....and you have got one of the best meals ever! 
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I think I am STILL stuffed. 
Well, actually I am, because we had a second Thanksgiving celebration with our play group friends last night. 
I made this (click here) recipe for Pumpkin Bread pudding.  I made this for both Thanksgiving celebrations, but the second batch turned out way better than the first.   (Tip - cut up the bread and leave it out overnight.  The staler, the better! Oh, and skip the raisins per my hubby.)

I made the Pioneer Woman's Whiskey Maple Cream Sauce to drizzle over the top.  She was raving about how good it was so I had to give it a try.... and Mmmmmm.... it didn't disappoint!
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I also made the Pioneer Woman's Green Bean Casserole.   You can't go wrong with anything that woman does.  Seriously, she is amazing!
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We finished the evening with these little guys.  Aren't they cute?!?  My friend Kim made them, isn't she so talented? 
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I am linking up (LATE) to the You Captures: I Ate That! challenge. 

Phew, I am stuffed just looking back at all these photos :D 
Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! 
Now, I am off to find my Fat Pants :D

Thursday, November 25, 2010

EXTRA THANK[FUL] FOR..........



Photos - by Carrianne Photography

I keep writing and re-writing my Thanksgiving post.  I just can't seem to write something up that adequately sums up my gratitude.  It's pretty darn hard to do.   I could rattle off a list a mile long of all that I am thankful for, I had one in the works but it all seemed a little...umm... obvious. 

How do I put into words that I have entirely way to much to be thankful and grateful for,  that I actually feel guilty? Well, guilty and enormously lucky.   I have health, happiness, a beautiful family, friends, love, freedom, a warm home, three meals a day, and an abundance of...well, an abundance.   I am free of pain, of hurt and of want.  How did I get to be so fortunate?  I will forever be counting my blessings in life.
My heart is FULL (bursting, even) and for that I am SO grateful.
May this Thanksgiving find you feeling just the same!
CHEERS.

Monday, November 22, 2010

AND JUST LIKE THAT....

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.... we have gone from Fall to Winter.  Or at least in my head we have.  Mind you, it is 62 degrees out today, which is absurd for November 22nd in Chicago.   Still, I have been rotating out the fall decor and putting up all the Christmas stuff.  So around here.... it is beginning to look a lot like Christmas.   We started on the outside of the house too, with this unseasonably warm weather, it seems silly to not take advantage and get some lights strung up. 

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It feels a little strange to be getting a jump start on all this decorating since I ALWAYS wait until the day after Thanksgiving to pull out my tub of Christmas goodies.   I may get flogged for pulling the trigger a little early, but I have to tell you it feels so good to get a little ahead of the game!    Now I just need to get my hubby to haul away the pumpkins, bales of hay and cornstalks.  They are clashing with the Christmas Tree, reindeer and candy canes.  At the moment, it looks like our house is in the midst of a slight identity crisis!

And we couldn't start the season without getting Chase a snowmobile helmet.  I guess we could have, but seriously, he has been hounding us relentlessly to buy him a helmet this year so he can go snowmobiling with Dad.
And he has been hauling it around everywhere with him all weekend.
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This is him eating breakfast with it!  We had to actually forbid him to wear it to bed! 
As you can imagine, I have a bunch of boys in this house who are a tad anxious for it to snow :D

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We even managed to get him in the bathtub without it. 
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That about covers it in my neck of the woods.  I hope you are having a great Monday and enjoy this week of giving many, many MANY thanks :D

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

WHAT INSPIRES ME.......

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This week's You Capture challenge is "What Inspires You." 
Well, lets see.....
Peeling barns.
Delicate flowers.
Giggling faces.
Colorful leaves.
Trees.
Landscapes.
Textures.
Shapes of all kinds.
Curved lines.
Golden light.
Fun toys.
Old buildings.
Child's joy.
Little moments.
Blue water.
Relationships.
Beautiful animals.
Twinkly eyes.
Bright colors.
Bare feet.
Sunsets.
Clean kids.
Green Grass.


Maybe it would be best to just start a new post with what doesn't inspire me.  I could go on and on and on (obviously.)   I love taking photos... sigh.  And have become more and more passionate about it lately.  I could snap photos of anything and everything that surrounds me.  My eyes dance around and feast on the images that cross my path each and every day.  Do you ever wish you could freeze time and capture all the beauty & moments & memories that slip by?  I find myself gazing out as I drive, longing to stop and take pictures.  I look out my kitchen window at dusk and catch a glimpse of a beautiful sunset between all the houses and get the urge to whisk up the kiddos and drive somewhere, minus all the houses, where I can capture it.  

This is silly, but I actually get frustrated at times that so much "pretty" presents itself to me each and every day and I miss it.    But life beacons, kid's beacons, schedules, responsibilities, meals, plans... it just isn't feasible to take photos ALL day long.  
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Now that I think about it, what might actually inspire me the most is checking out everyone else's photography.   Seeing the amazing creativity of others really does inspire me to keep pushing, see things differently, learn more about how to make my camera do what I want it to do.   So, with that, go forth and get inspired - click HERE for Beth's blog.  I can't wait to see these!

***The photos: more fall foliage.  I know, I know!  Aren't we over that... YET?  I can't help it.  There is still so much great color out there.  My twitchy fingers are still snapping away.***

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

VIRTUAL COFFEE 11.16.10

Good morning!
Does everyone have their cup of coffeee?   I am drinking mine and just fired up my computer and realized that it is Virtual Coffee Tuesday.  So, if you were here with me having coffee this morning I would point out quietly that the boys are happily playing a Curious George game on the other computer and we would probably just sit and stare with mouths gaping open for a while.  What an amazing sight!   There seems to be so much bickering, teasing, yelling, and taunting lately that a  few moments of cooperation really do need to be treasured.    Maybe we can actually chat for a few minutes... yee!

I finished up my last class last night.  It was a great session taught by a very talented photographer (here is his link) and I feel like I did learn a LOT.  But, I am a little relieved that it is over.  Mainly so I can watch my Dancing with the Stars and not have to stay up until midnight to squeeze it all in after my class.    :D  I know, I know... I am a dork like that!    Uhhhh, and don't tell me what happened last night because I couldn't start on my DWTS because my hubby was up late watching Monday night Football.  Oy.  How on earth did we ever live without Tivo?   Best invention ever. 

Our conversation would eventually land on the holidays.  The LOOMING Holidays!  Have you started?  Are you freaked out about it like I am?  I am making lists and ordering my cards today and even thinking about maybe starting to decorate... just to get a head start.  And Dave and I are heading off to Mexico right in the midst of Christmas prepping (ARE WE CRAZY?!?!?) so I am feeling some added pressure to get a jump start this year.   I think I am going to pull out my credit card and start shopping right now.  Amazon, here I come!  (Amazon is a life-saver.  Great prices and free shipping on most of their items!)    Before you dash off, I will share a couple of my favorite shots from my final "Child's Joy" project.  I used a bunch of the tank photos from my last post and then some randoms of the boys playing. 

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Phew, I bet the boys are happy this class is over too.  I have been stalking them with my camera a little more than usual trying to get this done. 

Thanks for having coffee and enjoy your Tuesday.
And don't forget to head over to Amy's place for more Virtual Coffee's.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

COOKIES & CANTIGNY

We sadly said goodbye to my folks tonight.  They will board an airplane for home tomorrow, all the way back to Idaho.  Which, if you ask me, is entirely WAY too far away.  I miss my parents, I really do.  I like to play it cool, like I am too old to need my Mommy and Daddy.  Which, okay, I probably am.  But it sure is nice to have them around.  I love to see them playing with their grandsons and taking in all the little day-to-day stuff that they miss out on being so far away.  And I really enjoyed getting to chat with them for more than 5 or 10 minutes (which seems to be all we get on the phone most of the time.)   It was a great visit, and I am pooped from trying to cram so much in those few short days. 

So, I thought I would share some highlights from their stay. 

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We browsed around Woodstock Square. 
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Grandma tried out the plasma car.... still playing with toys on her 64th Birthday!
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Goofing off outside with Grandpa!  We had some BEAUTIFUL weather. 
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Grandma teaches Chase how to play solitaire.  Isn't it funny that kids of his generation may not ever know that solitaire used to be played the hard way.  Ya know, with actual cards!
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We take Grandma (and Grandpa too since his Birthday is in a couple weeks!) out for dinner to celebrate. 
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On Veteran's Day we drove down to Cantigny, which is a magnificent place to visit and actually had some special festivities going to celebrate Veteran's day.  They had an impressive display of luminaries set up that were to be lit up that evening.  I wish we could have stayed to see that, I'll bet it was breath-taking. 
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The boys were in awe of all the tanks at the Tank park and we did tour the museum there too.  (Not as thoroughly as we would have liked.)
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Grandma and Grandpa decided that instead of sending us their world famous Christmas sugar cookies, that we should just make them here instead and freeze them till Christmas.  The boys loved the chance to get in on the baking process since they are totally deprived of that since, errrr, their Momma never bakes.   (And now I know WHY.  I am still finding dough and flower and sprinkles everywhere!)  And, uhh,  none of the cookies made it to the freezer, only to our tummies.  So I guess we will have to make another batch, or two now that I have a couple of cookie making pros.
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Other than that we shopped and ate and shopped and ate and shopped and ATE. 
It really doesn't get any better than that.  :D 
Thanks Mom & Dad!
Until next time.... sniff.....