Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Tree Is Up

The hired "help".

Charlie is obsessed with this train advent calendar. He just sits on the couch and will play with it forever. Wait until I start putting candy in it!


This year we had two other families for Thanksgiving. LIke last year, everyone brought something to share. And I have to say, we all rocked the food. It was delicious. Really, really delicious.

We had:

Turkey- 20 lbs (What was I thinking?)
Yams with pecan and brown sugar topping (Will be making this every thanksgiving from now on.)
Sweet potatoes with marshmallows
Green bean casserole
Mashed potatoes
Stuffing with sausage and apples (This will also become a standard.)
Scalloped potatoes with kielbasa
Pumpkin pie
Apple pie
Pumpkin cobbler

In my defense I only paid $5 for the 20lb turkey, so it was hard to pass up. I was really happy with the way the turkey turned out. I decided to go "old school" and not use a bag. I basted the bird with butter every half hour and put a poultry herb blend, celery, basil from my garden, and salt and pepper in the cavity. The gravy that this produced was amazing. I think it was the first time in my life I didn't have to resort to the store bought back up.

Shawn had bought me a warming station for Christmas a few years ago. I LOVED having that. I was able to put 3 of the dishes on it, and then I used the warming drawer for others. Despite the over abundance of food, we were able to keep everything warm.

Here are some pictures from the day:

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Cooking Day!!

Tomorrow we are having 2 other families over for Thanksgiving. I am trying to do as much prep work as I can. I am making apple pie, pumpkin pie, and brie and apricot tartlets fully today. And then I am also doing the prep work for the sweet potato side dish, stuffing and the cheese olive bread. I made the rolls yesterday using a recipe Kate gave me years ago. But I found a technique where you can partially cook them, freeze them, and then simply brown them the day of. So, I am trying that. I should have a back up plan for the rolls, but I don't. I live on the edge.

My friends are bringing yams, green bean casserole, scalloped potatoes and cranberry sauce.

YUM!! If anyone eats anything before they get to my house, we will no longer be friends. I probably should have put that on the invitation.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Charlie's Note Of The Day

Charlie was doing the Hokey Pokey with the baby dolls.

Monday, November 22, 2010


Complete with an "Ahoy Matey".

Fall Moon

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Charlie In The Meantime. . .

was looking dapper in the sweater Gran had made him and eating his weight in oranges. He could also be heard cheering for his brother very loudly. Often, however, he was cheering for the other kid on the team with blonde hair. No worries. AJ and the other kid took it all in stride.

First Club Soccer Game

Today was AJ's first club soccer game. He did great and made one assist and one goal. It was a bit of a different experience playing in a more serious league. For example, the coach on the other side accused our coach (at the end of the game) of having a player that was older than 12. All the players' player-cards had been check by the referee at the beginning of the game. It was a little disturbing to realize that this other coach would not have made such an accusation if they had been winning. One of AJ's best friends made the winning goal on a penalty kick, with seconds to spare in the game. It was a great game and really exciting to watch. It was too bad the other coach was such a poor sportsman. But I think AJ is really going to enjoy playing in this league. He is actually pretty good, and I think he likes playing with kids who love soccer as much as he does.

My Own Little Regis

I watch Regis and Kelly pretty regularly. The first 15 minutes is my favorite part of the show. That is when Regis and Kelly are bantering and talking about current events. Regis has a habit of referring to himself in the 3rd person when he is telling something about himself. And now Charlie has taken on this practice.

It is actually pretty hysterical to watch this little toddler walking around announcing things about his own comfort level. Here are a few examples:

"Charlie is hungary!"
"Charlie is cold!"
"Charlie is tired!"

He sounds like a little king. Recently, Shawn and I were sitting on either side of him putting his shoes on, when he started making similar regal observations. And I thought to myself, "What do you want us to do? Wipe your butt too?"

Oh wait, we already do that.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Honesty Part II

AJ: Charlie, who is the best brother?
Charlie: Me!

Charlie's Note Of The Day

Charlie helped a friend join us for circle time who was being shy. He led them by the hand.

Thanksgiving Feast

AJ's school had a their Thanksgiving Feast today for lunch. Parents got to come eat with their kids. I had also signed up to help serve food. I was in charge of mashed potatoes. I had an ice cream scoop. I don't think I need to say more. Except, they did not make me wear a hair net. Yeah!

It was actually really fun. I had waited outside to meet up with AJ, only to have him slip in without me knowing. But we finally met up and we were able to eat outside. They served turkey or ham, stuffing, mashed potatoes, ambrosia, green beans, cranberry and a turkey shaped cookie. It really wasn't too bad. And the place was packed. There were a lot of parents that came to have lunch with their kids.

I of course have no pictures, as that would have caused AJ to run away from home. But Charlie's Thanksgiving is next week, so I will try to remember to bring the camera.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


* AJ has started playing club soccer. He lives for soccer, so this is a good thing. He practices 3 times a week and has games on Saturdays. He is really enjoying playing with a more serious team. And he is making some great friends too boot.

* Shawn usually takes him, so while he is gone, My friend Mary comes over since she too has been abandoned by her menfolk. And then we usually have dinner while the small kiddos play. It is actually a nice arrangement and it cuts down on adult consumption of corn dogs and chicken nuggets. Maybe it is just me, but I really don't throw out all my cooking stops when I am just cooking for myself and a two year old.

* My friend Deborah is really moving this time. That is the bad news. The good news is that she is moving to IL, which is a great state with a bunch of nice people in it. She has never lived in an area where it gets cold, so this should be interesting. I am expecting a lot of phone calls dealing with the importance of warming up cars, snowblowers, and heating oil. I will be sure to take these calls while I am sitting on my patio eating the chicken I just grilled, (on said patio).

* Charlie is back to his normal self. I am so glad that my kids are the independent non-clingy types. Because after 3 days of Charlie having to be a) in the same room as me at all times and b) having to be touching me at all times, I was just about done.

* I am hosting Thanksgiving next week. It will be a smaller crowd than last year, but It should be fun. Each family is bringing something, so there will be plenty of food to dive into. I can't wait to break out the ol' turkey platter and get started.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wherever I live in the world, anytime I see one of these birds, I will think of AZ. These birds are everywhere. They are always in groups, and will walk in a single file line if they are going somewhere.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Took Charlie to the doctor only to be told we were already doing everything right. Right after we got home he got a bunch of energy and seems to be feeling better. If I had known that I had to pay someone $25 for him to feel better, I would have bought a new pair of shoes.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Looking For Water

These two snuck in and thought the pool would make a good watering hole- until they smelled the chlorine. They were gone quickly.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Never Saw This Coming. . .

Please note the destruction of my cilantro. I was expecting the rabbits to be nibbling on my herbs. And I had a fence ready to go if needed.

But birds? What really makes me mad, is that they are not even eating it- I think they are using it as potpourri!

Cabinet In the Family Room

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Charlie's Note Of The Day

While outside, Charlie was using his hula hoop as a car. He went up to his friend and said, "Hop in! ".

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Cabinet



As with most things in my life, I didn't figure out what I was doing until about half way through the process. But I am happy with the way it came out. I will take a picture of it in the space once I get a chance to move it in there.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

I Could Work For NASA. . .

with my problem solving skills.

After the 600th time of Charlie asking me to wrap his blanket around him, I finally just tied the sucker around his neck.

Fall Festival

Each year our middle school puts on a fall festival. We have been going since the very first year they have had it. And, boy has it grown. It has gone from a few bouncy houses and face painting to actual rides, vendors, food and music. And the crowds! I felt really lucky to live where we do. We were able to walk with no problem. Some people ended up having to park blocks away and in empty lots.

Charlie spent most of his time in the bouncy houses. Which worked out for us since that allowed me to stay in one spot and talk to people. AJ ran around the festival, meeting up with friends and checked in when he needed more money or tickets. What can I say? We are close.

AJ also won us a cake in the cake walk. It was the same cake we had donated. This is the third year he has done that. Apparently he has a tough time letting go of cakes. But I have to say, the kid is lucky. He wins stuff like that all the time.

It was a really fun time. And it was great to see all the people that make our town run out and about with their families. It was very "Gilmore Girls".

We Have A Mouse, And His Name Is Charlie

Charlie had his mouth full of something and was saying "Good cake!". I looked over at the pumpkin bread I had cooling on the counter, and there is a giant hunk taken out of the corner.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

In Case You Were Wondering. . .

We are a MAC family.

Final Curtain

Now, if we could just convince the landlords to let us put up crown moulding. . .

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

My Next Project

The curtains are done! Yeah!

So, onto the next project:

I need something to go in this area. It is behind our sofa. I LOVE these prints. I have built my color scheme for the house around these prints in our last 4 hones. Shawn surprised me with them after I left the catalog around the house, opened to the page with the prints, with the prints circled. I did this for a few months. One day, they showed up at our door. It is nice to be married to a man that can appreciate subtlety.

The space was originally intended to house the media center. But that would mean that the people sitting in the family room would be looking into the kitchen, and the person in the kitchen could not watch t.v. Both of those things are deal breakers in our family. So, we switched everything around. We love it, but the space is wasted and just begs to have some storage placed there. Also, those t.v. cables need to be hid. Now.

I knew exactly what I wanted. (Which, usually means that I would never find it.) I wanted a medium sized apothecary cabinet. And, amazingly, I found one in Phoenix, with some character, and for a decent price and it was one that I could paint. Score! And for those of you who watch Antiques Roadshow- I did look for a mark. There was none. And I also checked for dove tail joints. There were none. So stop telling me I am ruining a piece of furniture that will pay for my kids' college education.

Tomorrow I will begin sanding and painting. Hopefully at the end of what I am sure will be a fun filled project, (not) I will have a unique piece that looks like it was made for my family room; because it will be.

Monday, November 1, 2010

A Little Spiderweb For Halloween


AJ was a monkey for Halloween. It took me forever to find anything monkey that was not made for either an infant or an adult. But I did manage to find a head and hands combo. We then bought brown shirt and pants and I found a cat tail at the party store. But don't tell AJ. He thinks it is a monkey tail, and there is a difference. It takes years of study to see the nuance, but it's there.

I wanted to get a picture of the back of AJ's costume.

And then of course, this happened.

Here is AJ and Maddy tallying up the loot. Charlie and Avery are seeing how it is all done.

This is little Amaya. She is a cheerleader. There was a vote and it was decided that she should wear her hair in pigtails at all times.

I have no idea what this look means. Charlie was having some issues all weekend, so he and I stayed at home to pass out candy. He thought it was fun to open and shut the door and yell "trick or treat" to all the kids that came by.

Also, that night we celebrated my friend Mary's 30th birthday. I did not get any pictures of that part of the night, due to Charlie's aforementioned issues. But there was cake had by all. And I have to say, that it takes a special kind of friend to help your kid with his issues on her 30th birthday.