Sunday, November 29, 2009

much to be thankful for...

Where to start??? Thanksgiving was very special this year for our family. We were able to celebrate with Steve's family the weekend before Thanksgiving in Cincinnati. My SIL Mary came up with a great idea of expressing thanks for one another. She made the cutest votive candles covered with fall paper. Each person chose the name of an adult family member and wrote why they were thankful for that person and set it at their place at dinner. It was touching and so thoughtful. Thanks Mary!! As if the weekend were not full enough, we girls also went to the play White Christmas on Sunday while our hubbies stayed at home with the kids. Thanks again Mom Noe. It was a wonderful show!! I still have the tunes in my head!

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Monday, my parents and some family friends came all the way from MN to stay the week!! We really enjoyed having them visit us. My dad took down a couple of trees dead/pesky) in our back yard while he was here, we did some antique shopping, toured Woodford Reserve which is a bourbon distillery here in KY, prepared a feast for Thanksgiving and even got a little Christmas shopping in. Of course we sewed a couple of things too!

Mom and Dad raised a turkey especially for Thanksgiving and brought it with them. We had ham, turkey, cranberries, sweet and mashed potatoes, green beans and tomatoes, stuffing and pumpkin pie. All homemade...all delicious. The stuffing was a new recipe and we cooked it along side the turkey so I could have some too:) Here is the recipe. Sorry! No pictures of the food....what was I thinking?? But I did get some pictures of Dad helping with the dishes:)

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Fit & Flavorful Whole Grain Stuffing
recipe by Executive Chef Mark Beland

8 c. stale whole grain bread, cut in cubes
2 c. yellow onion, diced
1 c. carrot, diced
2 c. zucchini, diced
2 c. vegetable or chicken broth
1 T. fresh sage, minced
1 t. fresh thyme, minced
1 c. celery, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 T. olive oil
1 T. black pepper
2 egg whites

Saute vegetables in olive oil for 10 minutes, until translucent. Add broth, pepper and herbs. Pour over bread and toss evenly to distribute. Place in glass or ceramic baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.

**We substituted diced fresh mushrooms for the carrots (I was out), dried thyme for the fresh and dried bread cubes for the fresh cut. We used a little more zucchini and about 1/2 c more broth and whole eggs for the whites. We all thought that this was very good and moist.

We made the pies the night before and the boys had so much fun helping Grandma with the pie crust and making cinnamon sugar crisps with the extra dough.

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A funny note about the pies. Mom was going to bring me pumpkin from the garden but ran out of room in the car so she left it at home. While I was shopping on Monday afternoon, she called and told me that we needed pumpkin. I looked at Kroger and they were OUT saying there was a national pumpkin shortage!!!! Luckily, I had a big can at home and called a friend who was more than willing to share her canned pumpkin with me if I needed it(thanks Andrea!!). We all got a good laugh out of that one:) That would only happen to us!

We are so happy to have been able to spend Thanksgiving with both families this year. I hope we can make this a new tradition!

Monday, November 2, 2009

halloween fun

October was filled with fun Halloween activities! We had our playgroup Halloween party and made some fun crafts and these Nutter Butter ghosts.

Xavier made these and they should actually be dipped further down the cookie but you get the idea. We did graham crackers for Dax as he is allergic to peanuts:) I hosted and hardly took any pictures but the kids looked so cute in their costumes. One of the Moms even dressed up...something that I am totally going to do next year!

Aunt Aimee sent some fun Halloween surprises for the boys. Don't they look cute... I mean scary?

Thanks Aunt Aimee! They loved everything!

Xavier's class Halloween party was on Friday. He usually doesn't go to school on Fridays but they invited him to come and boy, was he excited about it. I thought maybe he wouldn't wear his whole costume...maybe just part of it to make it easier to manage to use the bathroom etc. Well, he thought that was a terrible idea and even asked his teacher if he could "please wear his costume"??? I relented and he wore the entire costume and didn't pee the entire time at school!

Here he striking a pose at school.

We also volunteered to bring cupcakes.

I saw some cute spiders on bakerella and improvised with what I could find easily at the store:) Very cute and just a little scary. I crushed up some oreos and dipped the cupcakes in oreos after I frosted them in chocolate buttercream icing.

On to the "big night". We carved pumpkins on Sat. afternoon. We planned on doing it on Friday night but then it got too late so we just saved it for an activity the next day. Dax wouldn't touch the pumpkin guts but Xavier dug right in.

Xavier and Daddy drew out their pumpkin face on paper like real pros before they drew it on the pumpkin and started carving. Dax abandoned me about 30 seconds after I cut the the top off our pumpkin.

Here are the pumpkins as they were all lit up on Halloween night!

Trick or Treat is usually 6-8 pm so we had plenty of time to get costumes on and take some pictures. At about 5:15 the doorbell started ringing and it didn't stop. Once Xavier saw that people were already trick or treating, we couldn't get out the door fast enough! So went the costumes and they flew out the door! I barely had the chance to take any pictures....and of course the boys (including Steve) wanted any part of picture taking!
Steve took the boys out for about a 1/2 hour and then we switched and I took them out. I later found out from a neighbor that trick or treat was 5-8 this year so that is why everyone was out so early. For the first time ever, we ran out of candy. We went through 10+ bags in 2 hours!!! At one point, Steve was digging through the cupboard looking for the candy. He saw it earlier when I showed it to him but couldn't for the life of him figure out what I had done with it! He then realized as he saw the empty bag on the dining room table, that we had already handed out a majority of the candy . We had to shut it down early much to Xavier's dismay. He was really enjoying his role handing out the candy. He would say, "Look! Here come some more visitors!" Much to mommy's dismay, the boys only got 2 tiny Snickers....not even the fun size but the mini half bite size! That is it!!!! I can't believe it!

The boys had a great time. Dax's highlights were announcing to me (from the doorway of each house) what candy he just got and also telling me "everybody knows me" when people would say "Look! It is Buzz Lightyear!" Xavier's highlight was getting candy from a "real Batman"! One of our neighbors was dressed up as Batman and was handing out candy. Once Xavier saw that, we immediately crossed the street to get a closer look!

What a super night with my superheros!