Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Happiness Post:: Post 9

It always makes me laugh when I upload photos from the point and shoot camera to find, yes, our hilarious 4YO was at it again...

Self- Portraits by my dear Dauntless Daughter

ps. Usually these are taken, while I'm doing something on the computer, and she's sitting right behind me snapping away. I'm so forgetful... it's a pleasant surprise every time.


Monday, November 29, 2010

Goodbye Hailey *Sparkle*

So our two week trial was up this past Friday.

We returned Hailey to my friend Bek's home near the city by the bay... on Sunday.

Naturally, if we are heading into the Bay Area... home to delectable Chinese cuisine... we had to stop for lunch and devour Dim Sum. Naturally. We noshed. It was tasty. I had a tiny leftover box of two dim sum bites left. I heated it up today for a mid-morning snack, and my 4YO who loves dim sum... confiscated it. Which just made me happy that she has good taste.

Hailey peed/pooped one too many times in the house, right in front of my hubby.

Of all of us, he's the one more accustomed to pets. No matter how many delicious slices of steak, ham, bacon, turkey he'd feed Hailey... she still shook, cowered and hung her tail between her legs when it came to him.

It was pretty clear she has had some issues in the past. Unfortunately, my 6YO didn't really get into having a dog. However, happily my 4YO is no longer afraid of dogs. Instead, she couldn't get enough of Hailey. Also, with Hailey's age... she didn't play as much... but preferred to follow me everywhere... it was very sweet.

We learned we're not quite ready for a dog. It was a great two weeks learning how to care for one...and seeing how we would be if we had one. Also, the girls, aren't broken up over returning Hailey... they weren't thrilled with the pee and poop in the house either.

Hailey is happily back home... wherever she goes from there, we hope the best for her.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thankfully Full

This year we made our own Thanksgiving. We realized we've never actually pulled off our own, complete Thanksgiving meal. We've always contributed to a Thanksgiving... bits and pieces... but never, ever made every single thing... I felt a little heady at the thought of it.

My fabulous friend Carrie went home to Utah for Thanksgiving... which made us sad because her turkey is the only turkey I've been able to stomach... willingly, and happily. We were going to go to my parents home, but they have a no mess policy, and since we didn't find a dog sitter in time, we decided to make our own awesome feast on the fly.

I was happy to do without turkey... but my hubby decided the afternoon before Thanksgiving, that he wanted to try and deep fry a turkey. Apparently he'd heard about it on the radio commuting to work, and thought, why not. So we gathered all the materials to deep fry the turkey and it was all him. I wanted nothing to do with it... except for the constant reminders to have a fire extinguisher ready.

I've only made turkey once in my life. That was in 1995 when I was a freshman at BYU. It was for a ward dinner, or something. I remember it vividly because I'm not much for touching big, hunks of raw meat. So since I had to clean out the innards of the turkey, I simply put plastic bags over my hands to remove the neck and all the other giblet stuff from the turkey. Great times...

My day began at 9am... and I don't think I sat down until nearly 4pm. I think my hubby got up around noon... Granted I did do some prep work ahead of time... I mixed up the dough for the crescent rolls, chopped up the veggies for the stuffing... and I think that is it. I had the girls create place cards and they helped with setting the table. They spent most of the day watching some holiday themed shows, dancing in their ballerina outfits to Christmas music, drawing, singing, and... in general were fabulous. There were a few... arguments to be broken up... but man, I am so grateful that I have such sweet daughters...

I think the best part of all of this was how excited they were. That made all of this so worth it.

Hubby was in charge of the turkey and ham. He also made his from scratch pumpkin pies, which he roasted pumpkins for and a perfect graham cracker crust.

...and since I am a devoted fan of Ina Garten... you could call this my own, Ina Garten Thanksgiving, as most of the recipes are from her. I am going to ask Santa for a chance to hang out with her in my lifetime.

I've included all the recipes I can find online, below.
Our menu was, as follows:

1. Snap Peas with Pancetta from Ina Garten's new cook book How Easy Was That?

I loved the fresh flavor, the simple vinaigrette, and the crunch from the pancetta.

2. Mom's Butter Crescent Rolls - yep, my Mom. Not yours. ;-)
This is a staple in our home. It never fails to please.

3. Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes from Ina Garten
...it's the holidays, so I'm going to enjoy every fattening morsel.

4. Gravy from Ina Garten - I didn't have turkey drippings, as my hubby deep fried the bird... but I did have dripings from the Costco ham... and it worked wonderfully. I ran out of yellow onions, so I added red onions and some shallots I had sitting around. Seriously such GREAT gravy. I don't think I've ever had such perfect gravy. Ina Garten recipes never fail.

5. Smashed Sweet Potatoes from Ina Garten

Loved the citrus and nutmeg flavors... tastes like fall.

6. Garnet Yams w/Maple Syrup and Maple-Sugar Streusel from Bon Appétit. I have made this recipe three years in a row. We love it. This is how you class it up from the marshmallow yams of yesteryear.

7. Sausage and Herb Stuffing from Ina Garten

Love the mix of the sourdough, with the sausage, apples, savories, herbs... cranberries... I have to remind myself there are carbs... or else I will try to finish the entire pan myself.

8. Honey-Glazed Ham (costco)

I love Costco - 'nuff said.

9. Fried Turkey

Hubby's first go of it... he injected the bird with Shrimp & Crab boil... and then rubbed it down with a mesquite rub. It was good... but I think he should have listened to me about brining the bird first. Good news... Christmas is coming... we'll have another go of it...and this time he will brine it!

10. Pumpkin Pie with fresh whipping cream - my hubby's creation. He roasts pumpkin and makes a graham cracker crust...and the filling is just dang good. My 4YO requested the pie for breakfast... and you can see her finger divots in the center of the pie... so my 6YO and I joined her in the pie for breakfast this Thanksgiving morning.

11. Easy Cranberry Apple Cake also from Ina Garten's new cook book, How Easy Was That?

I love how easy this is... I love how tasty...and tart it is too. I swear, every time I took a bite I was happy...and also singing Ina Garten's praises.

I love this... you mix all the fruity stuff... then make the batter... pour it over and bake... so easy!

...I think we made food enough for us for... at least a week.

This is my point of view from my full plate.

Bon appétit!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


On Thursday, Nov 4 my 6YO and I received last minute, free screening tickets for Disney's Tangled.

We were thrilled.

Dude. FREE tickets to a movie. So there.

The previews looked like the movie might be adorable. Of course, I was hoping for more Disney fare similar to the gorgeous art they created for The Princess and the Frog. I loved that movie... such a great throwback to great animated movie making. Tangled looked too polished, too smooth... I figured it might be cute...and that would be it.

It was cute. But... it was also so much more.

We just had no idea how exciting, how much we'd laugh, and how moved to tears (happy and sad), we would be...simply from an animated movie.

Of course my 4YO wept bitter tears of being left behind. Luckily, she has a gallant father who knew exactly how to keep her occupied, entertained, and feeling special. She however, has not forgotten that night. At least a few times in the last two weeks she has reminded me that she needs to see Tangled with just Daddy. Her wish, as always, will be granted.

As for the movie. My 6YO and myself, can't wait to see it again. I enjoyed having the chance to go out with my 6YO and spend time with just her. I loved how we giggled at the same spots and cried at the same moments together.

When you go see the movie, and I hope you do, you will love the charismatic chameleon, Pascal, and the harrumphing horse, Maximus. As a parent... you really do feel the anguish of the King and Queen... I love when animated movies can entertain and move me.

Tangled opens today. Go watch it and let it whet your Thanksgiving appetite.


ps. I was not paid, nor asked to provide a favorable review, or review period. I just really, really enjoyed this movie.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Happiness Post:: Post 8

What do you do on a rainy, foggy, grey, chilly day in November???

We... painted faces.

It was my first time to paint anyone's face with face paint.

My girls thought I was magnificent. That's why I love them.

...and the painted faces made the morning's gloom melt away. In fact, at this moment, the sun is shining. Good, glorious sunshine. Ahhhhh!


Pros and Cons


This Friday will be two weeks since we got Hailey, the dog.

We've had some surprises.

1. 6YO who I got the dog for... is fairly ambivalent.
2. 4YO who I thought would be ambivalent - is all over Hailey...all the time...poor dog.
3. Hubby who wanted nothing to do with Hailey...is the nicest and most willing to cuddle and touch her animal-ness... and Hailey is terrified of him.
4. I spend a lot of my time washing my hands... so now they are cracked... and dry. She follows me around everywhere... just me. All the time. Sometimes I run really fast so she can't find me so I can have some blessed time alone.

1. Cute
2. Quiet
3. Low-maintenance
4. Small
5. Trained
6. 4YO loves her
7. Sleeps a lot
8. Loves to cuddle

1. She's a dog, not a baby.
2. Follows me around everywhere... also resulting in guilt on my part for not showering her with more attention.
3. No one to dog sit when we need to get going places. I don't trust kennels... read really bad reviews. So am now paranoid. Also... don't want to spend the cash on them.
4. Doggy breath.
5. 6YO is uninterested... probably because the dog is only interested in me.
6. Dog germs vs. human germs - I know it's all in my head... but my head is attached to my body.
7. Poop scooping duty.
8. Hubby is non-committal due to her consistent fear of him, no matter how nice he is to her.
9. 4YO so desperately wants to play with her and the dog so desperately wants to escape to me.
10. She's not a baby. I think I just want a baby...in the future. Relax everyone. (yep, there goes my husband, running away to hide his sperm from my baby-craving womb)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Thanksgiving Week:: Native Americans, Pilgrims and Elves

I am grateful for Native Americans...

...and Pilgrims

...we celebrate with them, by thanking God for the blessings and bounty we are grateful to partake of. It's also a day of overwhelming, delicious gluttony, because I am grateful for a willing and able palate.

I am grateful for the Christmas season. We started a new tradition last year, thanks to my friend Sally who gave us "Elf on the Shelf". Elfie Star is back... so named by my daughters...and it is a joy to see them discover him in a new place each morning.

Yes, this year I put up the tree the Saturday before Thanksgiving. I love how my home feels when it's decked out with Christmas. I love how excited and thrilled my girls are running around excited and happy with this special time of year. Of course, I didn't anticipate them constantly asking when they can start on the advent candies either.

This season I'm also grateful for Hot Chocolate...

...and snuggling.