May Blog Challenge

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  Despite my dislike of Thanksgiving...I had a great day.  I will blog more about it tomorrow.

I am very thankful for each and every one of you that have come into my life from blogging.  You all mean a lot to me.


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Free Birds


This movie about turkeys being saved from the Thanksgiving table came out a couple of weeks ago.  The movie was really cute and funny (then again I am a sucker for animated movies).  The movie has Woody Harrelson (man has he really made a comeback in recent years) and Owen Wilson.  

The basics of the movie are: One turkey gets the presidential pardon and gets recruited by this other turkey to go back in time and basically get turkeys off the Thanksgiving menu.  Of course, there are a lot of funny antics involved.  

Thanksgiving day usually means new movies released.  This year I want to see Frozen (again animated).  We may go while everyone else is shopping on Friday.


I am joining my friend Paula and blogging about Thanksgiving through the month of November.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Second Thanksgiving debate

Now we get to that all important question everyone is asked on Thanksgiving.  White or dark?  Meat on the turkey that is.  Everyone has their reasons of preferring one over the other, but that usually means the entire bird gets eaten.  None of my immediate family (hubby, daughter and I) are huge turkey eaters (but we love chicken...go figure).  Usually on Thanksgiving I go for the sides rather than the meat, but if I do get turkey; I go for white meat.  People complain that white is too dry; not when you have cranberry sauce or gravy to dip it in.  My husband prefers white as well, but usually complains about the dryness.  When we offer dark meat to him he says its too greasy so he is not easy to please, bird wise...  Elexis likes the legs, she also likes white meat too.  I guess she is the least picky when it comes to turkey.

Here is an interesting article on white vs. dark meat and the different stuff they bring to the table...haha!

I am joining my friend Paula and blogging about Thanksgiving every day in November.

Turkey Cookies

My poor baby girl came home sick from school today.  She threw up during her first hour.  That nasty stomach virus has hit our house.  Knock on some serious wood, I don't get it...my household would fall apart.

So tomorrow, since I may be homebound; I think I will make these cookies.

The picture and the recipe both came from here.

I have made them before when I was a girl scout leader.  I think my nephew (who will be at my dads in just a few short hours) will love these.  Of course I will totally take pictures.  :)


I am joining my friend Paula in blogging about Thanksgiving all this month.  

Monday, November 25, 2013

Sunday Stealing


I didn't know how to get the cool Thanksgiving button so I will go with the standby
This week's Thanksgiving Meme comes from the archives!  

1. What do you have for breakfast on Thanksgiving? Usually snack on what ever I am preparing...

2. Do you go to a Thanksgiving parade or watch one on TV?  I watch the Macy's.  One day I will get there.

3. Do you serve appetizers, lunch, or snacks during the day?  Not usually

4. What are the traditional favorites?  For me, broccoli cheese rice casserole and pea salad

5. What new recipes will you try this year? I will try my hand at a pumpkin pie

6. What part of the meal do you never compromise?  the rolls

7. Who gets to carve the turkey? Usually the male host.

8. Family style around the table or buffet style and everyone sits wherever there’s room? Depends on which family.

9. How many will be at your table this year? Not sure but at least 10.

10. Once you're at the table, do you say grace or a toast or does everyone go around and say what they're thankful for? We say grace

11. Cranberry sauce… yay or nay? 100% yay!

12. What time do you eat Thanksgiving Dinner?  Usually 2:00

13. Three best pies for Thanksgiving dessert?  Not big on pie, but I like making pecan and apple best.  Going to make my first pumpkin one this year.

14. Do you have dessert right after the main meal or later on?  Both

15. Favorite leftover? I am going to go with cranberry sauce and pea salad

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The best day

We have really book nerded it up this weekend.  First we started off the weekend by watching Catching Fire last night.  Movie was FANTASTIC!  I loved it and can't wait to see it again on IMAX.

This morning we got up and drove two hours away (Paula, I was only three hours from you!) to a Harry Potter Convention.  I wasn't sure we were going to get to make it, but some canceled rehearsals due to the ice we got yesterday; we were able to go.  We had a blast.  I got to pet some owls, I got to hold an owl.  We watched a Quiddich match and put our names into the goblet of fire to be chosen for the Tri Wizard Championship (we weren't drawn).  We got to see deleted clips from the British version of the first HP movie.  We also got to meet the head post-production guy.  Overall it was a pretty awesome day.  One I am very thankful for.  Here are some pictures from our fun day.

Ready to hit the road.

Elexis loves her Slytherin.

Mike Marshall Post-production team.  He still talks with Emma Watson and the Weasley twins.

Professor Sprout

Professor Umbridge

Love love love

Freezing to death at the Quiddich match.  It was 35*

She loved the owl as well.


This owl had an awesome story.  He was raised by a human so therefore he thinks he is human.  Eats fried chicken, hot dogs and hamburgers.  He also loves to snuggle and cuddle.  I will take him!



Flying exercise.  I love the wingspan.

OBU vs OSU Quiddich.  OSU won.  I love that they have the broomsticks.


I am joining my friend Paula in blogging about Thanksgiving every day in November.  This is an "I am thankful for"

P.S.  Hubby was extremely shocked and proud of me for holding and petting the owl.  I am deathly afraid of birds, but the owls didn't scare me.  Even when they did their wing flutter (once while on my arm).  

Friday, November 22, 2013

A book read many times over

When Elexis was first learning to read, we read this book at least a dozen times in November.  She was a huge Biscuit fan.  I think I probably could have recited the book (and several other Biscuit books) by heart.  



I am joining my friend Paula in blogging about Thanksgiving every day in November.  

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Oh Pie...

I have been requested to bring pie for Thanksgiving at my dad's.  I can make a great pie, but sometimes Mrs. Smith's is better (at least she is consistent).  I make an awesome from scratch (except the crust...something I may attempt this year) apple pie; but this year I have been asked to bring a pumpkin pie.

I cannot stand anything pumpkin (except the scent in candle form).  None of my family like pumpkin pie with the exception of my brother; who doesn't speak to any of us that will be present.  I have no idea why I am making a pumpkin pie.  More than likely, I will make both pies so I know at least one will get eaten.  I think I will go with this recipe for streusel pumpkin pie. Or, I might goes with this recipe for Paula Deen's pumpkin pie.  Not sure which yet.  All I know is, I will not be bringing home leftovers...ha!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Thankful Tuesday

Today I am thankful for the blessed opportunities I have to spend with my daughter.  Today I got to go watch the orchestra play in a state contest.  They did well, not as good as they would have liked, but it was beautiful.  I was the group monitor.  I love interacting with her and her friends.  I know my days of still being "cool" to them are numbered; so I am not taking a single one for granted.

Here is a picture from today.  It super grainy and slightly blurry (thanks forward facing camera on phone), but I love it.

I am joining my friend Paula in blogging about Thanksgiving every day in November.  

Monday, November 18, 2013

Signature dish


My mom has been making the Green Bean Casserole for as long as I can remember.  She ALWAYS brings it to any Thanksgiving celebration.  Her company's Thanksgiving dinner was on Friday at work, and she brought the Green Bean Casserole.  What I love about my mom and her house and her food is, all food has a specific dish.  Like her potato salad and her banana pudding both have their own bowl.  If they are in a different bowl, the dish tastes totally different (probably just physiological, but we all think the same thing).  My mom's green bean casserole is prepared in this special rectangle baking dish.  I have never seen this dish used outside of the casserole (though I am sure it probably has been).


Both picture and recipe can be found here.

I am joining my friend Paula in talking about Thanksgiving the entire month of November.

Sunday Stealing


1. What’s your favorite candle scent? Right now Bath and Bodyworks Hot Buttered Rum 
2. What female celebrity do you wish was your sister? Melissa McCartney (Mike and Molly or Bridesmaids) because she is so funny
3. What male celebrity do you wish was your brother? since he is already married...I could have him for a brother...Channing Tatum.  He would be an awesome brother!
4. How old do you think you’ll be when you get married? hmmm this is a tough one; I'm already married... :)
5. Do you know a hoarder? I know people who could be borderline horders.
6. Can you do a split? 1 banana 3 scoops of ice cream, 3 toppings, some whipped cream and a cherry on top! 
7. How old were you when you learned how to ride a bike? 7 or 8.  Pink Huffy
8. How many oceans have you swam in? 3 - Pacific, Atlantic, and Caribbean (4 if you count the Gulf of Mexico)
9. How many countries have you been to? 3
10. Is anyone in your family in the military? Brother, 2 brother in laws, and a cousin
11. Have you named any of your body parts? heehee...yes.  
12. If you had a child today, what would you name him/her? Isabella Rae (girl) Dakota Ray (boy)
13. What’s the worst grade you got on a test? In college - 88  In high school??  We don't want to talk about it.
14. What was your favorite TV show when you were a child? Thundercats, Smurfs and Strawberry Shortcake
15. What did you dress up as on Halloween when you were eight? California Raisin or Care Bear
16. Have you read any of the Harry Potter, Hunger Games or Twilight series? Starting Book 6 of HP, Loved Hunger Games, no desire to do anything with Twilight
17. Would you rather have an American accent or a British accent? American, but I want to live in Britian
18. Did your mother go to college? Yes
19. Are your grandparents still married? My dad's side were married until my grandpa died.  Mom's side no
20. Have you ever taken karate lessons? My dad is a black belt...I've taken a few.
21. Do you know who Kermit the frog is? Green dude whose main squeeze is a pig.
22. What was the first amusement park you’ve been to? Frontier City (here in OK, kind of like six flags)
23. What language, besides your native language, would you like to be fluent in? Italian or French
24. Do you spell the color as grey or gray? It depends, I did get a few this weekend.  
25. Is your father bald? No

Sunday, November 17, 2013

My sister

It is official, my sister is coming for Thanksgiving.  I haven't gotten to see my older nephew in about a year and I haven't gotten to meet her 6 month old baby yet.  I am so freaking excited.  So, I guess this year I will be celebrating Thanksgiving with my dad's side of the family.  There is so much I want to do while they are here.  My brother in law is a Marine.  They were stationed in North Carolina, but a couple of weeks ago he got a new assignment in South Carolina.  This means they are 8 whole hours closer to me than they were.

I think it will still be a small affair.  Maybe 10 total people.  My brother is in school to become a chef, so I probably will just do a lot of baking with my sister (he hates to bake and we both love it).  I guess I am going to have to schedule a few posts in advance so I can really enjoy their short visit.

So this year I will say "Yay, Thanksgiving!!"

I am joining my friend Paula in posting about Thanksgiving every day in November.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Thanksgiving with my mom


Being the product of a divorce means that you celebrate every other year with a different parent.  I didn't mind so much.  I have a fun family on both sides.  

Thanksgivings on my mom's years involved going to either one of my aunt's houses or my grandmas. I have four aunts and an uncle on my mom's side.  That makes for a lot of cousins.  It was always loud on family holidays.  There was always a lot of food (we are talking 40 people lots of food).  We always ate at one o'clock and unlike my dad's side; food was served buffet style.  We had giant styrofoam trays that were piled high with turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, pea salad, green bean casserole, napa valley cabbage salad, cranberry sauce and so much more.  

After the first round of eating, we always played games.  Sometimes cards, sometimes board games, sometimes interactive games (like pictionary or charades).  Us cousins were all around the same age.  There were thirteen of us.  Most of my cousins were boys so we always played football.  I have scars in my eyebrows from playing roughly.  My one girl cousin close to my age (1 1/2 years older) never played.  She always went to her room and called her friends or played with her large amounts of troll dolls (which got me kicked out of her room once because I called them ugly...she told me they could hear me.  I still can't be around a troll doll without thinking they are freaky).  That's okay though, because I liked playing football.  I was a bigger child, so I was always a blocker; I didn't mind.  The end of the day was always us begging our parents to either stay the night with someone else or have them come home with us.  We normally split off into families.  All of my aunts and uncle each had two kids apiece except one who had three.  My two cousins from my Aunt Sue usually came home with us.  I do remember staying the night with my Aunt Kay and my cousin Candice (her and her sister Courtney are my favorite cousins).  She took us to the mall the next day and bought us choker necklaces when they were in style.  

We stopped celebrating Thanksgiving with my mom's side when my grandma got really sick.  I really miss getting together with them on Thanksgiving.  Now we really only get together on Christmas and Easter.  But when we do, we now get our kids involved in playing football or kickball.  I really miss those times.  

Thanks for taking a stroll with me down memory lane.  I am glad to have it written down somewhere for when I get older and can't remember as well.  

I am joining my friend Paula in talking about Thanksgiving through the month of November.

My first turkey

Twelve years ago before my husband's dad passed away; all of hubby's cousins from California (I have talked about one of them here).  One of the cousins lived here while he was in the Army.  They actually lived with us for a while (which I really miss).  Anyway...they visited for Thanksgiving.  Since my house was way bigger than my father-in-law's; we decided I should host.  I don't remember where we got the turkey, but I know we got it free from someone's work.  I spent weeks researching and looking at different recipes and talking to various people on how to cook this turkey to make it extremely moist and not make Thanksgiving a disaster (biggest run-on sentence ever).

After much deliberation and research, I decided on brining the turkey.  I remember having this giant turkey in a giant bucket in my refrigerator.  We had to do a lot of rearranging of shelves just to get the bucket to fit (not to mention all the other food that was crammed in there).  The morning of, I gathered my butter, my rosemary, my sage, my lemon, salt and pepper.  I remembered to remove the giblets (gross) and washing this turkey.  I was really proud of myself because I find raw poultry repulsive to touch.  I added all my aromatics and covered it with foil and baked it away.  I can say that turkey was very moist and delicious and everyone raved over it.  More over I have the memories of that Thanksgiving.  

My husband and his cousins (who he had only met a handful of times) laughed and talked.  His dad made a brief appearance (it was really hard for him to get around he had skin cancer on the inside of his leg).  I have pictures of all this and as soon as I get my old hard drive copied over to the new one (yay!!...all my pictures and everything has all been saved and with the original file names), I will dig around and post a few.  One memorable picture sticks out; it is of cousin PJ who fell asleep after the meal and we decided to mess with him.  I will definitely find that picture.  

As far as turkeys go; I am 1 for 1 in successes.  Yay!  When we go to my mom's; we have smoked turkey...yum.

I am joining my friend Paula in talking about Thanksgiving for the month of November.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Do you dress or stuff?

Dressing versus Stuffing...

Who knew there was such a debate over a Thanksgiving food.  Perhaps one of the biggest debates is whether it's called stuffing or dressing.  

I read up on this a couple of years ago.  Stuffing is when it is inside the bird, dressing is when it's prepared separately.  Now, experts are saying that you shouldn't eat stuffing at all because of the risk of salmonella because of the internal temperature of the turkey and all that jazz.  I personally have never had stuffing.  We always prepared ours separately.  

The next debate: What do you make your dressing with?  Cornbread/crackers/bread...ahh, the debate continues.  My mom (I have never made anything but stovetop stuffing) uses cornbread.  I think I have only had bread based dressing once.  I remember thinking the texture was slightly off.  My mom makes her dressing with loads of celery (which I love) and onion.  I have never had a fruit based dressing.  I would like to try an apple or cranberry dressing.  All I know is I don't want any nuts of any variety in my dressing.  I made the mistake of eating some one time that had pecans or walnuts (can't remember which) and even though I picked the nuts out; the entire thing tasted like nuts. Yuck!  

I usually only eat a little dressing on Thanksgiving.  There are too many other yummy yummy sides to choose instead.  Dressing is a great filler though.  If you want to feel full, eat a spoonful of dressing.  

Which do you eat? Stuffing or dressing?

I am joining my friend Paula in talking about Thanksgiving through the month of November.  

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Black Friday

One of my Thanksgiving traditions is pouring over the sales ads for Black Friday.  Everyone is in a turkey and dressing coma and I open the paper.  I always check the Best Buy, Target and Walmart.  And then, I check anything else that catches my eye.  I used to do the whole 'go stand in line at 4 in the morning freezing my butt off', butttt now the great world wide web allows me to get really good deals without getting out of my jammies.

With all that being said, today I got an email from Best Buy.  It was their Black Friday ad....whaaaa?  Uh, last time I checked Thanksgiving is still two weeks away.  Things keep getting earlier and earlier.  Pretty soon stores will be starting Christmas displays right after Easter.  This makes me sad.  Our society is focused too much on commercialism.  Yes, I am one of those that will not decorate for Christmas until after Thanksgiving.  Even though I don't celebrate Thanksgiving myself; I still celebrate the ideals and the symbolism of the day.

With so many 'leaks' (I think companies are the ones that "leak" them), one of my traditions is slowly dying.  Boo!

I am joining my friend Paula blog about Thanksgiving everyday in November.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Thanks for it all...


It's only fitting that today I give thanks for the freedoms I enjoy at the expense of another's life.  There are not enough words to express how deeply thankful I am to all military past and present.  These people voluntarily (mostly) offer up their lives so that I may have the freedom of typing this very sentence.  I have a brother in law in the Marines, a cousin in the Navy, several several friends in the Air Force (I do live right next to an Air Force Base), and a brother in law and my brother in the Army.  My grandpa was a fighter pilot in WWII.  I have other countless extended family that is also currently serving or have served.  I am happy that there is a day just to honor these men and women, but honestly I honor them any chance I get.  If that means paying their parking meter, buying them lunch, just telling them thank you, I will do it.  

I am joining my friend Paula in posting about Thanksgiving every day in November.  

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Today I am thankful for:

Today I am thankful for my child.  She is definitely a mini me.  We baked cookies tonight and pushed all of each other's buttons; but we laughed and learned.  I have no pictures; just the memories.

I know I brag on her a lot, but I am her mom and that is my job...  I am honestly so in awe of her talents and her incredible smartness.  On Friday she was given 40 periodic table elements to memorize with the correct symbols and atomic numbers and the girl got it after looking at the paper three times.  Her ability to remember is so impressive.  On Saturday, I had the best time with her.   She had a lego league competition.  It was so impressive.  Twenty two teams built robots out of legos and programmed them to do certain tasks on a board; like push a lego ambulance to a runway.  I have pictures, but I am still in the process of getting everything back on my hard drive.  Any way - my point... I was looking at the future generation of engineers and it was highly impressive.   And, my daughter was right in the middle of it.  

I love her heart.  She is a sweet girl that never wants to hurt anyone's feelings.  She is a very loyal friend.  She wants to make sure no one feels left out and everyone feels included.  She always tries to help her friends out if they need it.  She helps them with their math and the physics portion in Science.  

She is my baby and she always will be.  I am so excited to see what all she is going to accomplish.  She has turned into a wonderful young adult and I can't wait to see all that God has in store for her.  

I love you, Elexis.  

Taken a couple of weeks ago.  

Sunday Stealing


The What's What Meme 

What is on your bed right now? sheets, comforter and 3 pillows

What’s your favorite word or phrase? "I'm going to beat you" such an empty threat to all my children furry and not

What is the best ice cream flavor? not big on ice cream, but I used to like Mint Chocolate Chip

Did you wake up smiling this morning?
 probably not, but I didn't wake up grumpy

Is there something in your life you used to have, and now miss? my grandma...

What major company would you like to work for? Apple or Google

What time do you wake up on a typical morning? 6:20

What holiday makes you sad? none make me sad, but Veteran's Day and Memorial Day make me sentimental.

Where does a good night’s sleep rank on your priorities? probably in the top 5, but not number 1

One song that makes you cry? Amazing Grace; I sang it at my grandma's funeral (barely)

 How old was your mom when she had you? 19

When is the last time you went to the beach? 3 years ago when my nephew was born...I am due.

What is the most random object around you? a plastic sword

 What is your favorite sushi? I like the traditional veggies in seaweed with sirracha sauce to dip.

What food do you find disgusting? any kind of liver

If you could have any type of dog in the world, what would it be? I will take one of each please, with the exception of little yapper dogs.

What was the last meal that you made for yourself? oatmeal this morning.

Is the hard drive on your computer full or getting close to being full? haha...uh yes on several times over.  I have to make room on it at least once a week.  I also have about 4 external hard drives near capacity.

Are there any songs that you prefer the acoustic version over the regular version? no, I really prefer the full band. 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

That red tart berry


Cranberries: 

I love cranberry sauce.  I like the fresh stuff; my husband likes the jelly stuff from a can and sliced.  We always try to have both.  I have always just made traditional cranberry sauce with just the sugar and cranberries.  I love it both warm and cold.  If I eat it cold, it has to be on top of a slice of turkey or mixed in the mashed potatoes (which is very unlike me. I like my food separate).  

I am very excited to try my friend Paula's recipe for Cranberry Relish.  I like the thought of adding a citrus to it.  I love me some orange marmalade.  I may be able to even persuade hubby and Elexis to try it.  

I am joining my friend Paula (yup the same one who provided the recipe) in talking about Thanksgiving through the month of November.  

Another TV tradition

Charlie Brown's Thanksgiving

How can it be Thanksgiving without watching this classic show.  I think I own just about all the Charlie Brown specials.  I don't own this one though.  I need to change that.  It traditionally comes on the week before Thanksgiving.  I am definitely going to set my DVR to record it.

My favorite quote from the movie: 

Charlie: I can't cook a Thanksgiving dinner.  All I can make is cold cereal and maybe toast.
Linus: That's right. I've seen you make toast.  You can't butter it, but maybe we can help you.  


I always love Snoopy and Woodstock's part too.  

I am joining my friend Paula in posting about Thanksgiving through the month of November.  

Thursday, November 7, 2013

My Pecan Pie

I am joining my friend Paula and talking about Thanksgiving every day this month.

Today we talk pie...Pecan Pie.  I do not like nuts of any variety, so I don't really like this pie; but my husband loves this pie.  He took one to work about 10 years ago and this guy fell so in love with this pie he wanted the recipe so he could have his grandma make it.  He asked my husband for the recipe for a week before he finally remembered to give it to him.  The guy came back the next day and said "your wife makes it so much better".  He would come to my husband's office every couple of months or so and talk about this pie.  I had a taste of it and it was much to sweet for me, but this guy was very much in love with my pie (that almost sounds dirty...hehe).  Thanksgiving rolled around the following year and several people asked my husband to bring another Pecan Pie.  That became his go-to dessert at Thanksgiving.  He moved away from that department a few years later, but he still got email requests for that pie.  I found the original recipe on all recipes, but the recipe I have used is gone.

I haven't made this pie in about 5 years.  I think I will make it this year to send to hubby's new work.  I did a little searching on the internet and Emeril's recipe is exactly like the modifications I made (1/2 sugar 1/2 brown sugar) except to cut back on the sweetness just a little, I only use 3/4 cup of chocolate chips.   Here is a link to the original recipe here.


Ok, a little bit of great news for me.  My husband has recovered all my pictures from my pooped out drive!!!  Yay!!  Bad news...they were all renamed something else, so I have to resort and make new libraries for them.  I am hoping he can still get all my file names back to how they were, but at least I have them.  I am so happy that he is an IT guy and saved me lots of money and time of having it shipped off somewhere.  

Just for fun: Here is just a regular pecan pie recipe.  

Recipe and picture both came from here.


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Thanksgiving Blast from the Past

I am joining my friend Paula and talking about Thanksgiving the entire month of November.  So far, I am having a pretty good time with it.  It has brought back a lot of memories.  Today I share another.

Back in elementary school we always had a program for Thanksgiving.  It was usually put on by all grade levels.  You know the drill...construction paper pilgrim hats and Indian headdresses.  We also had fake food and placemats and other fun things.  I always liked it when I got to be a pilgrim.  I liked the hats better.  We always had traditional Thanksgiving meal the week before the actual holiday.  Our parents and grandparents could come eat with us.  My grandma (my dad's mom...my favorite that I always talk about), always came and had lunch with me, my brother, and my two cousins.  

That was an exciting time to be at school, because we knew Christmas was on the way.  This is back in the day when our schools were allowed to celebrate holidays.  Oh, how I long to wear that construction paper pilgrim hat again.  I may just make one and wear it around my house.  ha!

Halloween 2013

Yes, so I am almost a week late posting about Halloween.  That was a busy day for me.  I hit the gym that morning and then the real fun began.  I went home and put on my costume for the day.  Every year for the last 7 years, I have been Minnie Mouse.  I paid a lot of money for the costume and I want to make sure I get my full money's worth out of it.  Whenever I put on that red polka dotted dress, I instantly feel happy and giddy and down right pretty.  I love the compliments I get on the costume.

First I went to my mom's work and delivered the goodies I made for her work party.  I made Halloween Puppy Chow and Oreo ball ghosts.  Both turned out really cute.  While I was there, I made frosting and frosted cupcakes for a lady.  Powdered sugar and black sleeves and tights make an interesting combination.  Luckily, I didn't get it all over me...  After I left there, I was on a baby gate mission.  We had a baby gate up until 2 years ago.  It was one that screwed into the wall and we used it to keep our dogs confined to one part of the house while we were gone.  My pug, Delilah, is very mischievous and you wouldn't believe some of the stuff we found in her bed.  So after I left my mom's work, I went to Walmart.  I didn't really like any of their gates (or some of the prices) so I went over to Babies R Us.  I am still in my costume.  People stop me a lot and tell me that they love it.  I have only had one person in my 7 years of wearing it, say something negative about it.  He said I was too old to dress up and I should act more like a lady.  Whatever!  Babies R Us' gates were a little high, so my husband (who was in the woods 'hunting' (if you call texting me all day hunting)) suggested a resell baby shop.  I thought that was a good idea.  So I went to a resell shop and found a gate, but I couldn't figure out the gate.  Finally the people at the front helped me figure it out.  Some of them didn't even know how it worked.  One of the workers was so excited I was Minnie Mouse that she wanted to take a picture with me.  So, I took a picture with a complete stranger. haha.

So after purchasing my baby gate (which I am taking back today), I decided that since I was in that part of the city, to visit the Disney Store.  I walked in and all the workers pretty much flipped out.  They were so in awe of my costume and asked me where I got it.  I got it from the Disney Store online, for the record.  They said that people come in all the time looking for adult costumes.  They loved it.  I did go into the Disney Store with a purpose: to find a cute little purse to hold my key and cell phone because my costume has no pockets.  I did not find one.  I left there and came home and made no bake cookies for my mother in law whose birthday was the day before.  I also took some red velvet cupcakes that were decorated as monster eyes over to my neighbor.  I got to see their new little fluffy puppy.  I went and picked my daughter up from school and took her home to get ready.

This was her last year to trick or treat.  This makes me very very sad.  This also means I don't get to walk around with her.  Like last year, this year we went to her best friend's neighborhood (our neighborhood doesn't really participate in trick or treating).  Her neighborhood gives out good candy. Elexis even got a full size kit kat this year.  After the girls finished getting ready, we started out.  It was cold.  I had on a jacket and gloves and still froze my booty off.  After walking the first half of the neighborhood (its two giant circles where the houses are on acre plots) we went back to her house and regrouped.  I decided that I was just going to drive them to the second circle and follow in the car.  Therefore, I got to be toasty in my car, and by that time my feet were killing me.  All in all it was a really fun day and I look forward to it every year.  Next year I am thinking a Halloween Party!  Elexis got a great haul of candy which she has not touched since that night.  But...we also have a lot of other sweet stuff hanging out around the house.  I need to start gathering recipes to turn that candy into desserts.  Here are some pictures from that night.  Also thrown into the mix is some pictures from the previous night when we did Haunt the Zoo.  Basically a trick or treat trail at the zoo.

Monster eye red velvet cupcakes

Oreo Ball ghosts

At Haunt the Zoo with some storm troopers

Haunt the Zoo with Cinderella.

Me in my costume.  

Elexis was a pirate this year.  Yay for free costume from her voice teacher.

Me and my girl.

Her candy haul.

I am a bit OCD about it.  I like to see what all she got.  What better way than to organize it.

Elexis' first 4 years costumes.  I still love the Honey Pot.  You can definitely tell mom picked out the costumes.

What can I say...like mother like daughter.  

Elexis and I at a pumpkin patch.  This place was destroyed by the tornado.  I am so glad that they got it rebuilt in time to open this year.  

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Broccoli Cheese and Rice Casserole

My grandma made the best broccoli cheese and rice casserole.  I am sure she just used the standard ingredients, but OMG...it was amazing.  I always sat closest to that pan of deliciousness so I could get it first.  I have collected a few recipes from around the web.  I am anxious to see if any of them are just as good.  I don't really like cheese now, so I doubt any of them would taste good anyway...haha.

The first one is just a standard go to recipe.  Some of the pictures I came across, did not look pretty.  This is similar to the dish my grandma served it in.

This recipe and picture came from here.

I found a healthier version that didn't use any cans.  It involves mushrooms.  I would already have a hard time convincing my family to eat it without the addition of mushrooms.

Both recipe and picture came from here.

And lastly here is a recipe with a twist.  It can be made gluten free and this one uses quinoa in place of the rice.  


Both recipe and picture came from here.

One of these days I will make this.  I will definitely have to scale down how much I make.  I don't think the picky eaters in family would like it.  I know you can add chicken to it and make it a dinner.  Or, leftover turkey with the leftovers the day after Thanksgiving.

I have joined my friend Paula in talking about Thanksgiving every day this month.  



Monday, November 4, 2013

Ghost of Thanksgiving's past

I am joining my friend Paula and talking about Thanksgiving for the month of November.  Here is a memory from my childhood.

My parents are divorced.  This means that every other year, my brother and I spent the holiday with a different parent.  When we were with our mom, we went to my grandma's/aunt's.  When we were with my dad, we went to my step-mother at the time's parents house.  Today I am going to talk about Thanksgivings with my dad.

The day before Thanksgiving, we would pack up into our car.  My two year old sister always sat between my brother and me.  We would drive 2 hours down to my step-mom's parents house.  They were my Grandma and Grandpa Russell.  Side note: my Grandma Russell is the one who taught me how to cook and sew.  Since my step-mom's brothers lived in different states (GA and TN), it was usually just our family.  My Grandma Dale (my favorite grandma who I lived with) would sometimes join us (those were my favorite).  When we would get down there, my dad would go watch football with my grandpa and my brother would get stuck playing with my sister or he would watch football too.  I would head to the kitchen.  My grandma was a short round lady.  She had blue hair that always was done up in a bun.  She was the epitome of warm matronly grandma.  I would help knead the dough for homemade rolls.  We would get veggies prepped for the next day and other various tasks.  My step-mom didn't really like to cook, so she usually abandoned ship to play with my sister.  It was just me and my grandma.  We would talk about school and church (my grandpa was a preacher).

The next morning would begin very early.  We would turn on the Macy's Parade and start with meal.  My grandma always took care of the bird, but I did get to help with the sides.  I always got to be in charge of the mashed potatoes.  Adding the precise amount of milk and whipping those suckers good.  I was put in charge of the corn and carrots.  I would transfer everything to pretty dishes and take to the set table.  My grandma always brought out the good china and silver (that I had to help clean before putting away).  We always ate at noon.  My grandpa would lead us in blessing and my grandma would always be the last to sit down.  My grandpa carved the turkey and all the food got past around.  We would stuff ourselves and the guys would return to football and the women cleaned up.  My grandparents were very traditional in rolls of the household.  I helped transfer everything to tupperware containers to be put into an already packed refrigerator.  After all cleaning was done, we would play dominos or cards or look through catalogs.  Even though these women were not my family by blood, they were still mine.

A traditional day after Thanksgiving breakfast always started with mashed potato cakes.  To this day, I still try to replicate how my grandma did them, but I have yet to find the right recipe.  Thanksgiving food is even better the next day.  My grandma, step-mom and me would usually do a little shopping in the afternoon (this was before all the 3-4am craziness that happens now).

When my grandpa passed away a few years later, my grandma came to live with us.  This means a new tradition.  My grandma passed away about 9 years ago.  After my dad and step-mom split up, her and her mom moved to Ohio and I didn't get to see her very much.  Every time she came down to visit her sisters I would go and spend time with her.  I miss her dearly.

I will be talking about food that trigger memories from these Thanksgiving's next.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

My First Thanksgiving

I am joining my friend Paula in talking about Thanksgiving for the month of November.

My first time to host Thanksgiving was the year we moved into our house.  Elexis was seven months old and my extended family still celebrated Thanksgiving together.   We had only lived in our house for 8 months and was still trying to get everything unpacked (it was a little hard with being hugely pregnant, and then taking care of a newborn/infant).  I have a double oven perfect for baking and warming, and I have a 5 burner stove.  That is where my kitchen luxuries end.  I have a fairly small kitchen with only one real piece of counter space, and it's only about 4 foot long.  But we managed to fit about 35 people in my house.

I liked it, but at the time it was also fairly stressful.  I felt I was being pulled in about 20 different directions (which I probably was), and nursing a child at the same time.  My mom and dad smoked a turkey and of course everyone brought/made side dishes and desserts.  That is my favorite thing about Thanksgiving is seeing what everyone brought).  My contribution is always a pecan pie (recipe in another post).  I liked opening up my house to everyone and them all getting to see my it.  It was kind of like an open house Thanksgiving style.  One of these days, I hope to host again (maybe when I have grandchildren).

Hopefully my husband will have my hard drive up soon (it takes a while to recover all those pictures, but they are all slowly being recovered...yay!) and I can share pictures of that time.  Tomorrow I will share my recipe for my Pecan Pie.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Thanksgiving Tradition

Every year I watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.  Some years I am able to watch it live, others I enjoy it DVRed.  My favorite characters are Snoopy (he's a classic), and of course Mickey.  I like hearing the marching bands and sometimes like to watch the singers lip sync.

One of these days I will make it to NYC to watch this in person.  There is such an energy surrounding it all.  My ideal would to be in a Hotel along the parade route so when I got cold (we know I am going to); I could go back up to my hotel room and watch it from the comfort of a heated room.


I have joined Paula in blogging about Thanksgiving every day in November.  

Friday, November 1, 2013

November Challenge - Thanksgiving style

I am joining my very good friend Paula in talking about Thanksgiving this month (it's her favorite holiday).  I needed something to nudge me back into blogging every day!  Thanks Paula, it's just the push I needed.

I like Thanksgiving in theory and I love to cook, but to tell the truth; I haven't really celebrated Thanksgiving in a good while.  It's been at least 5 years since I have celebrated.  Before that it was just my immediate family and my parents.  My husband's mom goes out to eat, my real dad goes out to eat, my mom sometimes goes down to the lake and spends time with her sister.  For the past five years; my husband typically goes hunting (it's rifle season), my daughter usually goes with my mom, and I worked.  I worked at Starbucks and I always signed up for the double shift because the tips were just split between those who worked that day.  It brought in good money because people are very grateful you are open and tip very well.  It would be really busy in the morning (prior to everyone's food comas), but by noon it was dead and we had a chance to prepare for Black Friday.  After I quit SB; I worked as an infant hearing screener.  By then I was used to not celebrating, so I would volunteer to usually work two hospitals so people could spend time with their families that did celebrate Thanksgiving.

This may all sound really lonely, but I love spending the day with myself.  While I was in photography school; it was a great day to take pictures in the middle of roads because no one was out.    I am very thankful for the time I get to spend with myself.  It helps me recharge my batteries.

Over the course of this challenge, I will talk about when my family did have big celebrations, my typical childhood Thanksgivings, my favorite foods to both cook and eat, and lastly what I am thankful for.  Stick around because even I will be surprised at what I come up with...haha!