Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

Happy Birthday Mom!

I thought I’d share the cutest picture of us I could find.  This one was the winner.
We made quite the blonde team back in the day.

Wishing a very happy birthday to the very best mom!


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Secret Sewing

Back in the day {before I fell off the blogging bandwagon for 4 months} I mentioned working on a new sewing project and I never followed up about what it was.

My step-mom had approached me sometime last year with an idea of making a quilt for my dad.  Knowing my enjoyment for sewing she asked me to help her make it.  So we googled how to make a t-shirt quilt and after a good number of guilt-ridden lies and some secretive get-together she finished an amazing quilt for my dad.

Since we kept it a secret and created a web of lies about getting together to do something secretive for my step sisters wedding, first there was some explanation about what was going on…

It was all worth it though to see how much he loved it!

This is my favorite picture!!

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Katie and Chris.

This weekend was 3 days of celebration for my step-sister Katie who got married!  The wedding was on Whidbey Island so Alex and I rode the ferry 6 times coming and going to family dinners, rehearsal, and the wedding day festivities.  And I had the honor of standing by my sister’s side to support her on this important day.

We love you Katie and Chris and wish you a lifetime of happiness!

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The World Became So Much Cuter

Last weekend my brother and sister-and-law welcomed a sweet baby girl to their family.  Alex and I were able to go see the one week old cutie this weekend.

I absolutely love her!  She has my brothers dimpled chin and the softest bit of hair on her head.  I better be careful because when they’re this tiny and cute it makes me want one! …And then I remember spending last Sunday with our 2 1/2 year-old nephew.  He better get his act together or he’ll have Alex convinced we should never have kids. 😉

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My favorite monster came over today.  Usually our routine involves playing Mario Cart on the wii.  It’s Zoe’s favorite thing about Auntie Jess and Uncle Alex’s house.  But today, Zoe was on a TV and wii restriction and we had to get creative and find something else to do.  So we destroyed my kitchen baked cookies.

After the repeated “Can I taste that?” and finger dipping, I decided not to try any cookies and instead sent them home with her.  But I wasn’t in it for the cookies.  I did it for those adorable smiles!

Even better, while the dough chilled in the freezer we did some coloring and I taught my little cookie monster how to draw a star.  I drew dots and numbered them so she could connect them.  With only a couple practice tries she was drawing and numbering her own dots.  It was cute.

The best compliment of the day was my super-sweet mother-in-law who told me I’d sure make a great mom someday.  Loved that.

After sending the monster home to destroy her own house, loading and starting my dishwasher, washing some dishes by hand, and wiping down every surface of my kitchen, I’m now enjoying a quiet afternoon…

watching the rain fall and drinking a big glass of wine.  I’d say it’s a fair reward for all my hard work. In fact it’s still early so there’s a good chance it’s not the only glass I’ll drink tonight.

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Thanksgiving was amazing.  I had so much fun cooking and playing hostess.

The table linens looked fantastic.  It’s the first time I’ve served dinner with cloth napkins and I think they’re such a nice touch.  I look forward to using them again and again.

I started my day in the kitchen at 8 AM.  I baked Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins and delivered them to my favorite neighbor (who I knew was cooking and would be as busy in the kitchen as me).  I may have dumped half the pan of mini-muffins on the bottom of the oven and the oven door.  I cursed.  I took a deep breath and said, at least it wasn’t the turkey or the pie.  (The dropped muffins weren’t the only mistake I made though.  I also forgot to put the blade in the bread machine so the bread didn’t mix and flopped.  Oops.  We never missed it though.)  I moved on to start baking the pie and setting up the house. 

We stated the day with munchies.  Everyone came around 12 or 12:30.  We all skipped lunch and just grazed and socialized.  The starters included:
–  mixed nuts, m&m’s, and chocolate covered almonds
–  chex mix
–  nuts in the shell for cracking, and salt & pepper pistachios
–  fresh veggies and ranch
–  coconut shrimp with dipping sauce (thanks Jill and Paul!)
–  artichoke crab dip  (thanks again Jill and Paul!)

Meanwhile I was cooking in the kitchen with a lot of help

Jill was the most amazing kitchen assistant on Thursday!  Near the end, I was roasting more than the turkey and my amazing cousin-in-law was so kind to put a cold cloth with ice on my neck.  She also read my mind and helped with everything from mixing mashed potatoes to swapping casseroles in and out of the oven to warm them at the end.  I couldn’t have done it without her!

Alex filled many roles from bartender to turkey carver.

The food hit the table about 3:02 (my cooking schedule worked out just right for our 3 o’clock dinner).  The final menu included:
–  turkey
–  mashed potatoes
–  gravy
–  stuffing
–  green bean casserole
–  green salad with oranges and beets (thanks Lynda!)
–  butternut squash stuffing casserole (thanks Donna!)
–  mom’s brussels sprouts
–  sweet potato casserole
–  cranberry sauce

After we all stuffed ourselves to the brim, we watched one of our family holiday favorites, Christmas Vacation.

Following the movie, it was pie time.  This year we had two:
–  Pumpkin Pecan Pie
–  Apple Pie (thanks Jill and Paul!)
Both were made with the famous family pie crust.  The Pumpkin Pecan Pie is a recipe my mother-in-law passed down to me last Christmas.  And, the Apple Pie was made with heirloom apples from Oregon.

Everyone had a great time.  I was surprised how different it was to be the one in the kitchen instead of sitting on the couch.  But it was so much fun!  All the housework, cleaning, cooking and dishes were all worth it.  I would do it again in a heartbeat.

PS. The family room remodel was completed in time for Thanksgiving.  Official before and after pictures coming soon. 🙂

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It Only Takes $1.19…

… to entertain a 5-year-old.

Last week I watched my niece Zoe again.  We did the usual, eat lunch, play some Wii, give the dogs treats, and go to the park. 


This week though we spent $1.19 on some store brand white bread and bought ourselves some great entertainment.


We fed the ducks.



(Next time we better buy a few loaves)






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