Nov 26, 2006

Leftovers

This year The Significant Other and I celebrated our very first family-less Thanksgiving. Sad, I know. But what's really sad is that we had to do all the cooking ourselves!! Between the two of us, we were in charge of the WHOLE MEAL!


Considering this, I think all the food turned out pretty dang good. In fact, I've been enjoying the leftovers immensely!!! (And we only missed our target eating time by about 30 minutes!)

I made the Turkey, Stuffing, Mashed Potatoes, Gravy, Green Bean Casserole, and (of course) Peanut Butter Pie. Chef D and his cooking side-kick/assistant, Max, made the pie crusts, Jell-o and delicious (very labor intensive) Parker House Rolls. (I'm salivating just thinking about it.) Happily, we had some good friends over to help us celebrate the day and eat some of the food!

The day after Thanksgiving, we got busy preparing for Christmas! First, Bargain Shopper D got up at the crack of pre-dawn to hit a few sales and get some shopping done. Someone had to stay with the boys and since I'm a BIT early-morning-waking-up-challenged, that job fell to me. He came home with some very nice things for himself and instructed me to wrap them. (Way to go Me, for getting him just what he wanted!)

Later in the day, all the pumpkins disappeared and red and green boxes were retrieved from the storage room and dusted off.

Saturday morning we headed to a tree farm to pick our tree* and then spent all afternoon and evening decorating it and the house.


Let me amend that a bit...I decorated all day, my husband went to watch the BYU/Utah football game THEN came home and helped. (F.Y.I. BYU won. "and there was much rejoicing...yeaaaah!")

We got 700 lights put up and then the boys joined in to help put on the ornaments. (While simultaneously staring at "The Polar Express" d.v.d.)

(Ahh...that's a great picture. The little posers!)

I have to say I love our tree. The next picture just doesn't do it justice. It's so pretty!!! I know my friend Ginger will say I'm a tree murderer, but I say, our tree is fulfilling the purpose of its creation. And doing it quite splendidly I might add. (The same goes for the Thanksgiving turkey we just ate. umm....turrrkeyyy!)

After all that work, now we get to sit back enjoy the Christmas holidays! So bring on the Neil Diamond Carols and fruit cake! The Dubs are ready for the Christmas season to begin!

*If you'd like a fabulous description of the experience, see this blog. You'll have to search the Nov. archives to find the November 11th entry but it's worth it. No need for me to duplicate effort.

Nov 24, 2006

preparation for THANKSGIVING!!!!

Since this year we are living in the HEARTLAND of Thanksgiving, we decided to do something about it. On Wednesday we drove to Plymouth, Massachussetts where we were able to experience Thanksgiving History first hand.

Our first stop was at Plymouth Rock. We piled out of the mini-van only to be assaulted by the coldest wind I've felt in a loooooong time. The wind was blowing so hard it was making the boy's eyes water so it looks like they're crying in all the pictures. I must say, Plymouth Rock isn't much to write home about. It's just not very intimidating as far as rocks go. But, hey...we can say we've seen it now. (And that's pretty much all that matters, right?)

Not far away was the MAYFLOWER II. It is a reproduction of what they think the original Mayflower must have been like based on the historical information they have. All of the employees working on the Mayflower II were in period costume and character. Max had fun running around the ship but Sam thought the "tween" deck (In between the cargo hold and the top of the ship) was just too dark and creepy and wanted nothing to do with it. (Probably much how the pilgrims felt after the first few days aboard.)


Our last historical stop of the day was at
Plimouth* Plantation. This is a large area where they've recreated a Pilgrim settlement as well as a Wampanoag Indian settlement. In the Wampanoag settlement, all the employees were either actual Wampanoag Indians or from other Native American tribes. We got to walk around and talk to them about how they lived. One couple I talked to were cooking stew over a cook-fire and making a dumpling-like bread to go with it. It was pretty interesting.

In the Pilgrim settlement, we met some actual caucasian people of european descent. (Hey wait...that's what I am! That's not exciting!) Okay, so they were actors portraying the lives of various English colonists. They told stories of crossing on the Mayflower and answered all questions as if it were 1627. They were telling stories, building things, and generally just going about their business. Max got to help some woodworkers do some hammering and thought that was pretty cool.
Ya know, despite the fact that we're a million miles (and dollars) away from all of our family and friends, (new friends excepted) living out here does have its perks! We had a fabulous (if freezing) day and enjoyed learning about American history first hand.

Three cheers for PLYMOUTH!!!

*We learned that back in the day they didn't care much about spelling and just spelled things the way they sounded. Sometimes many different ways. (So Plimouth and Plymouth are the same thing.)

Nov 21, 2006

Thanksgiving Traditions

I don't know about you, but in my family we have a very scared Thanksgiving family tradition. Sometimes the whole family participates. Usually though...I just go it alone.

It's called "illness".

In past years, I've been plagued by stomach flu numerous times. Last year I was happy to sleep through the best meal of the year because swallowing was agony due to tonsillitis. One memorable Thanksgiving Day I had laryngitis and couldn't say a word. A very kind friend drove me around all evening playing music and talking so I wouldn't have to.


This year I'm going to try really hard to break tradition. At the moment, I have a HORRENDOUS head cold accompanied by never ending hacking cough (which tends to induce vomiting...just another pleasant side affect.) BUT! On the positive side, I've been sick for the last three weeks and with a handful of hours left until Turkey Time, I have high hopes of a full recovery.

In the mean time, I've learned a few tricks to surviving this fun family tradition over the years that I'd like to share.

1. When you have a head cold, never EVER sleep on your side. You (and by "you" I mean "I") will wake up with an ear infection.

2. If you happen to have tonsillitis, poking and prodding the infected tonsils with your finger tip is never a good idea.

3. If you're going to fall asleep with a cough drop in your mouth, DO NOT tuck it up between your gums and cheek. By morning, the steady stream of sugar will have dissolved your gums and left the roots of your teeth completely exposed.


4. The "Vicks Vaporizer" is worthless.

5. Sucking on ice chips while trying to fall asleep (which inevitably leads to loudly crunching ice chips) may annoy the person sleeping next to you...so try to crunch responsibly.

That's all I've got for ya! Good luck and have a happy, healthy Thanksgiving!!!

Nov 16, 2006

Peanut Butter Pie

If you're looking for a yummy new recipe that will likely become a family favorite, you've got to try this. It ain't easy, but it's WORTH IT!!!

First, here is the history of this tasty treat. I’m relying on memory here, so I hope I get it right. My mom, Faezer, first made this in college for her boyfriend. (Not my dad.) She got the recipe from his mom because it was his favorite dessert. I think she said his family was from “the south”. (So maybe that's where it originated.) We’ve had it every year for Thanksgiving my whole life and it’s DEFINITELY a family favorite. YUM!!!!!

World Famous Peanut Butter Pie

First you need one baked pie crust. (Although we usually double the recipe and make two.)

Step 1: Custard Filling

2 cups scalded milk
½ cup sugar
3 Tbsp. butter or marg.

3 Tbsp. flour
Pinch of salt
3 egg yolks (save the whites)

Scald 2 cups of milk in a heavy pan. (It’s scalded when foamy bubbles start to form around the sides and it starts smelling “cooked”. Use Med/MedHigh heat and stir constantly.) Add sugar and cold butter then set aside to COOL. (So that flour and eggs won’t go lumpy.)
When the milk mixture is room temp./cool add flour, salt and egg yolks. (Don’t try to save time by pre-mixing the flour and yolks. It will only lead to pain and suffering.)

Step 2: Peanut Butter Topping

½ cup powdered sugar
¼ cup peanut butter (Fae says crunchy is best)

Mix until it is as fine as meal. Put 2/3 of mixture in the bottom of crust. The other 1/3 is for sprinkling on top of the meringue.

Step 3: Meringue

3 room temp. egg whites (see! I told ya to keep ‘em.)
3 Tbsp. powdered sugar

Put room temp. egg whites in clean glass bowl or measuring cup. Mix well on high, gradually adding 3 Tbsp. powdered sugar. When it comes to stiff peaks, pile on top of custard filing, spreading meringue to edges of pie crust to prevent shrinking. (Fae always does it perfect so there are pretty little peaks all over the whole top.) Sprinkle remaining P.B. topping over meringue and bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes until little peaks are golden brown. Refrigerate until it’s dessert time. ENJOY

Nov 12, 2006

Hooray for SATURDAY!

Can I just say, Saturday's are Grrrrrrrrrreat! I look forward to Saturday all week long!

I mean, it's the one day of the week when I can pretend not to hear the boys fighting and pretend not to smell Sammy's poopy diaper and someone else will actually step in and solve the problem!!! (eventually, anyway...)

Oh yeah...and sometimes we do fun stuff too! Yesterday, for example, we went to the
zoo.

(Earlier in the summer I got caught up in a "Join today and this visit is FREE!" moment when paying admission to the local zoo. I bought the family pass just KNOWING I'd be visiting at least weekly all summer long. Well, yesterday was my second visit.)

It's actually been quite good weather here lately so after a morning of me dodging all parental responsibility, we loaded into the mini-van* and went to the zoo.

Just as we were getting started, I noticed Maxwell's favorite school friend, Shawn, coming in with his grandparents. There were gleeful shouts of "HEY BUDDAY!" (that's the proper New England pronunciation) and the two little blonde boys were off to try climbing into the animal enclosures. (With Sammers following close behind.)

After getting our fill of cute animals and foul smells, we were on to our next adventure. We were just leaving the park when NavMan spotted a "yard sale" sign. Since it was late afternoon by this time, the yard sale was the very best kind of yard sale...the kind where the sellers have gotten bored, gone inside, and left everything on the curb free for the taking. Max scored a nearly new "Slinky Dog" toy, (think Toy Story) and a fluorescent pink plastic tube thingy that you spin and it makes noise (great for whipping parents and younger siblings).

We, the imminently practical parents, scored an inflatable boat with two oars (that I somehow doubt will ever inflate) a big wreath, (that I'm going to decorate for the holidays) and the coup de gras: A swimming pool! I wasn't too sure about this last acquisition as it IS the end of Fall/beginning of Winter, but SuperDad was determined. This is a LARGE sturdy plastic kid pool that when shoved into the van completely obliterated any sign of small boys in carseats. (It took Sam awhile to quit panicking under there and I'm afraid he may now have claustrophobia issues as an adult.)

Next stop: Newport Creamery. Baby in utero was craving grease in the form of French Fries and a Hamburger. CalBoy, of course, had to ask what he always asks: "If I ordered a 'Milk Shake' what would I get?" The answer, this time, from the confused waitress was "An Awful Awful." "DUH!" was also implied in her tone.

***The Rhode Island "Milk Shake" or "Awful Awful" is milk with flavored syrup in it. To get something with ice cream in it you have to order a "Cabinet" or a "Frappe".

In the mean time, the couple at the table next to us were giving their one-year-old a "Coffee Milk" in his sippy cup and saying "Here's your Coffee Milk! Now you're a real Rhode Islander." ...No, I'm not making this up. ***

After lunch and once again shoving the boys under the pool, ("Get your heads back in the pool!!!") we made our final stop at Toys R Us. The idea was, we'd see what Max wanted to play with and therefore know exactly what to get him for Christmas. Turns out, he likes everything, played with everything, and wants us to buy him everything. D'oh!

That pretty much chronicles every single moment of our day. (I'm sure you found it as thrilling to read as I did to write.)


SO, until another Saturday has come and gone, (unless I think of something funny before then,)TTFN! Ta ta for now!!!

*It's hard to be cool and drive a mini-van...but I manage it.

Nov 7, 2006

Pillow Talk

Me: "Sweetie, it feels like something has come between us...There's just this distance that wasn't there before...."

Him: "It's the pillows."

Me: "huh?"

Him: "The pillows! The gigantic body pillow you got for your pregnancy, the pillow I have to wedge under your back every night, the one (or two) you sleep on, the extra three pillows you keep around just in case...IT'S THE PILLOWS!!!"

Me: "Oh. Alright then. Glad we had this talk."


Okay, so we didn't actually have that talk. But I imagine it's coming any day now. When I get into bed at night, I immediately assume the left side fetal sleep position. I then have to carefully position the multiple pillows around me in their precise, pre-established locations.

It's harder than you might think considering we only have a queen sized bed and I have to leave at least a sliver for my 6'2" husband. After that I can't be bothered to move again. It simply requires too much energy expenditure!

So my poor spouse has to say good night to my back and then has to scale a mountainous pillow barrier just to give me a kiss.
{Cue song: "Ain't No Mountain High Enough"}


I'm going to blame it on the pregancy. I'll get rid of the body in pillow in May! I swear!

In the mean time though, I think I'll name it "Cusack" :)


Nov 4, 2006

A few more Halloween Pictures






Nov 2, 2006

Halloween


I'm afraid my Husband took the good camera to work with him, so I only have two pathetic little Halloween pics from the old camera. I'll try to post some more tonight!

The first pic is of Max and Sam with their friends before starting out to terrorize the neighborhood.

Max is a pirate and Sammers is the monkey sitting next to him. (He refused to keep his cute little monkey hood on so you can't tell.)

The second is one of their first door. Notice who is first in line!!! The weather was perfect and all the kids had a great time. We didn't go too far, but still managed to end up with a TON of candy. Add that to the candy from the church party, the candy from the school party, and the candy from the Halloween birthday party...and that equals a lot of candy. And potential cavities. Good thing we have dental connections!