Monday, November 30, 2009

And since we didn't get any leftovers...

I decided I needed to treat my hubby to a mini-turkey dinner, complete with his favorite - stuffing. Now we have leftovers for days! Yum!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

So Very Thankful

The last week has been a wonderful celebration of all things to be thankful for - my husband, family, friends, the blessings of shelter and food, and the time of year I love so much!
We spent Thanksgiving week in Atlanta, visiting my family. It all started back in the 2nd grade...where I read a book and helped my sister's class with their "Thankful Turkey" craft project.
Only some of the kids had time to finish, but they did a great job. It was really neat to see a whole other side to Kel and finally visit her classroom. Let's just say I won't be changing careers anytime soon, though.
That night, I got to see my favorite girls while we were all put to work at Stef's house. (No, seriously!) :-) We sewed and stuffed and tied all of the baby bedding for little Nora Grace, who is expected sometime mid-February, and I must say we did a great job. It was a fun night and I am always amazed at the talents of these ladies!

On Wednesday, after a short shopping trip, we took the pups over to meet our friends' dog and have some puppy play time. They have a new baby, Grace, who got to meet my sister's dog up close (and seemed really tickled by it).What an adorable face!
Unfortunately, the play time didn't wear our little pup out like we'd hoped, but she had fun with her cousins and new friend.Kel and I hosted a lasagna dinner at her house that night. It was a cozy evening and always a great time hanging out with my family.
After a great tennis workout on Thursday morning with Ryan as my mixed doubles partner, we spent the rest of Thanksgiving at my aunt and uncle's house. It was a bit chilly out, but we still had to brave the outdoors for some family photo opps.
All the girls, hanging out before dinner. Without even coordinating it, we all managed to wear some kind of cranberry-red-purple jewel tone (although, Cindy didn't get the memo).
My dad and Uncle Greg raced to carve the two (!) turkeys - one oven roasted and one fried. I have to admit, I didn't even bother with the oven version for my meal. Fried turkey wins, hands down!
Kel and I were in charge of sides and apps, so here is a peak at the items we brought. Alex was in charge of desserts and while I don't have photos of the beautiful pies she and my mom made, they were delicious and so pretty with leaves and acorns as adornments on the crust.And to end the recap, a self-portrait of the whole gang (minus a few heads that didn't lean in far enough - sorry Rob and Uncle Greg!).

As always, I cannot say enough how much I love my family and how thankful I am to have them in my life. I am also so thankful for my amazing husband, who understands how much it means to me to spend the holidays with them. It was a great Thanksgiving and now I am really looking forward to the Christmas season!

Monday, November 23, 2009

A spoonful of sugar

...or honey, rather. Today marks week #2 of not taking my allergy medicine and, instead, trying a homeopathic remedy of a tablespoon of honey each day.
Based on research, eating locally harvested honey, filled with the same pollen and other allergens that irritate, help you build an immunity to the local trouble-makers. Plus, it is keeping me from being so allergy drug-dependant. So far, I think it might actually be working! Now, to just get over the taste...I am not a huge honey fan, but I'm trying.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Happy Birthday Jax!

Today, our little puppy turns 1! To celebrate the big milestone, it's really been a whole birthday week.
It started with a "no-stuffing" dog toy from Grandma Laurie...Then, a T-bone steak bone from Dad...Yum!Then, a real treat! A peanut butter-flavored "pup cup" ice cream...

What? It's all gone?!

Finally, another new toy to add to the octopus, with a squeaker in every arm!

Happy birthday, little girl! We love you so much.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Center of attention

When I last posted, my dining room table was a complete disaster. Well, after finishing up craft time and spending the weekend cleaning, now it looks like this...

I finally took advantage of a PB gift card leftover from the wedding and bought two lanterns to serve as part of a centerpiece. Then, I found the pumpkins at JoAnn's after an (almost) futile search for fall/Thanksgiving decorations. Put them together and I think it's pretty nice!
(I must admit, though, that while at JoAnn's, I also bought a Christmas centerpiece that I'm pretty excited about. Only a few more days till we can start bringing those decorations out!)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Craft Time!

It may be too early to decorate for Christmas, but it certainly isn't too early to start crafting for the holiday. That is why my dining room table currently looks like this...
But the mess is worth, because over the past two nights after work I made this...
Next on the list? Besides a few more trees and perhaps some wreaths, possibly a stocking for the pup, who will be celebrating her first Christmas with us.
All the more reason why, in our next house, I desparately want a "craft room". One can dream, right?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Landscape Before-and-After

With it finally settling into fall in Orlando, we thought it was about time to take care of some landscape issues we've had since last year. After a little bit of research, I found a tree "doctor" in town to come over and take care of 6 different trees and 2 stumps throughout our front and back yards that were in desperate need of trimming, training (some had "bad behavior", apparently) and even removal.
The before and after of the back is pretty dramatic...and makes me want to spend the coming weekend in the yard planting new things to make up for the lack of foliage we now have. We'll see how much I can tackle!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Jeremiah was a bullfrog

We have discovered an amazing new spot...Jeremiah's Italian Ice. Now, the rest of Orlando may already be in on the secret, because there is always a line around to the parking lot at this place, but we only tried it for the first time last week and now we are hooked!
They offer a mix of italian ice flavors and soft serve ice cream, which you can combine to make a gelati. And the best part, besides it being totally cheap ($2.65 for a small) and so tasty, is that they give you a complimentary "pup cup" if you happen to bring your dog with you to grab an icy treat. Let's just say I have never seen Jax devour something so fast. It must be puppy love!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

NYC/CT Trip, Part Two

Okay, where did I leave us? Ah, heading to the wedding in Connecticut. My cousin, Tricia, got married (again) to Greg on Halloween so the whole family (both my mom and dad's sides) headed up to the Coast Guard Academy for the big event. (yes, technically they were already married from eloping almost two years ago...long story, but they never had a celebration for it, so this was the real traditional wedding for them.)
I was asked to read during the ceremony, and while completely honored, made myself sick with nerves over having to get up and speak in front of a chapel full of people. Luckily, my immediate family was very encouraging and it wasn't a huge guest list, so I quickly walked up, read my scripture (barely looking up...awful, i know) and quickly sat back down.
While we waited for the ceremony to begin, we took advantage of the great photo opp in the chapel. The beautiful bride and her dad, my Uncle Lee, walking down the aisle.
Saying their vows. All the groomsmen were in the Coast Guard, as well, and it looked so cool to have all the men in their dress whites.
Leaving the chapel as man and wife, with a traditional exit through an archway of swords. The best man even welcomed Tricia into the Coast Guard family with a light little pat on the bum with his sword. Her face was too funny!
The reception was held in the Officer's Club, just down the hill and around the pond from the chapel. The main room was nicely decorated with traditional wedding garb and beautiful fall colors. The bar, however, paid tribute to Halloween and was decorated with all sorts of spiders, bats, a trick-or-treat candy bar and fun little touches. It was an awesome way to give a nod to the day without going over the top with a theme.
I always love spending time with my family and took lots of with my mom and sisters.
My cousin Jess and I were the ladies in red.
A Nathan family portrait, perfect for the Christmas card! I love my family so much!
And, because she's now really starting to show, a photo with my expecting sister Kelly, all displaying our bellies. Only 4 (!!!) more months till we all get to meet Baby Hami!
We got seated at the cousin table, which was a great group!
A photo with my wonderful parents.Toward the end of the night, while everyone was out on the dance floor, a big treasure chest suddenly appeared filled with costumes, boas, wigs and all sorts of funny Halloween accessories. Everyone got into the fun and dressed up.
Maybe this should be the Christmas card photo instead?
My Uncle and Dad, being goofy and still looking like brothers even in costume.
At the end of the night, we all made it back to the hotel and continued the party in the lobby bar. We attempted to catch a shot of all the guys in the family hanging out, but they weren't very cooperative...It was a wonderful night, such a fun wedding, and a fantastic time reuniting with family (did I mention how much I love them?!). Ryan remarked as we were heading back to our room how much fun he had had and how great my family is...I have to agree!

Monday, November 2, 2009

NYC/CT Trip, Part One

We traveled to New York City last week to spend a few days celebrating our anniversary before making our way east to Connecticut for my cousin's wedding. We arrived on a rainy, wet Wednesday and after dropping our bags off at the hotel (too early to check in) and trying to brave the elements (forgot our umbrella) we finally caught a subway up to the Museum of Natural History to get out of the rain and into some heat.
We wandered around from exhibit to exhibit, checking out all the animals and fossils they have on display. My favorite part was identifying all of Jax's ancient relatives and finding displays that reminded us of our crazy pup...these prairie dogs (? - who knows what they really are) really look like her, don't they?!
That night, we met up with my aunt and cousin at a quaint little Italian place on Restaurant Row near the theater district. The meal was scrumptious and tasted like "fall in my mouth", as I declared while eating it. After dinner, we headed to the theater to catch "Wicked". It was amazing! Not only a fun story with great costumes, the voices were so amazingly strong and gave me goosebumps.
On Thursday, my cousin Jess took off work and played tour guide for us. We met for a delicious brunch at Sarabeth's near Central Park and then headed through the park to the Central Park Zoo. While on the smaller side, I loved seeing all the animals and especially enjoyed checking out the birds in the Tropical Zone.
Some of the birds were especially brave and moseyed right up to Jess and Ryan. Come to find out later, they were just a fancy kind of tropical pigeon. I hate pigeons! But at least these weren't as gross as the city variety.
Other favorite sightings at the zoo included adorable red pandas, a snow leopard and two sleepy polar bears. We saw penguins, too, but I must admit the smell emanating from their area was enough to knock me over. Yuck!After the zoo, we walked all over the city, through the park and up to the Met. I loved checking out the gorgeous fall foliage and having my dose of autumn since we don't really get the seasonal change in Orlando (it's still in the 80s here).
Ryan, the history buff, guided through the museum to see all the amazing collections they have. We even got to go up on the roof and see an installation on special display. While the art was impressive, I was more interested in the skyline views and more foliage.
If you look hard enough you can see the piece, Maelstrom, in the reflection of our glasses.
We wrapped up the day with a walk on the Highline and dinner at another fabulous hideaway near NoHo and Greenwich Village. By the time we got back to the hotel, we were both ready to pass out from all the walking!
Our final day in New York was spent downtown, complete with a ride on the Staten Island Ferry to catch a view of Lady Liberty. It was a chilly trip back and forth but worth it for the photo opp!
We also hiked across the Brooklyn Bridge on a quest for amazing pizza. There is a place in Brooklyn just under the bridge where a line forms out the door for people waiting to eat the NY staple. With only a short wait, the meal did not disappoint and we all really enjoyed ourselves!
We ended up taking the subway back in order to grab our bags and take the train out to Wilton for the night. My aunt and uncle hosted us for yet another delicious meal and we had a great time meeting up with more family en route to the wedding.
Many thanks to Jess for showing us all the sites of Manhattan during our trip and to my aunt and uncle for their hospitality and the treat of theater tickets!
More to come on the second part of the trip soon...for now, it's time for bed.