Friday, November 30, 2007

It's done

We have finally finished our Christmas tree! Wednesday evening I hosted book club, so Wednesday afternoon I finally got my act together and decorated the tree. I am pleased with how it turned out, although I think next year I will get a few more strings of lights. And I am still looking for a tree skirt. I'm not sure that I like this picture, but here it is anyway.

This month's book for book club was The Count of Monte Cristo. I read it a few years ago, but was glad to read it again. I love the clever dialog and the intricate weaving of the characters' lives and choices.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

The star

Here is Jer risking his life to put the star on our Christmas tree.

Halfway there

Here is the next installment of 'putting up the Christmas tree'. I've got the lights halfway up and need to borrow the ladder again.

Monday, November 26, 2007


Tonight is the finals of Dancing With The Stars. Helio Castroneves, two time INDY 500 WINNER, will be competing against Marie Osmond and Mel B tonight on ABC. So check it out and then vote for Helio online or by phone. Isn't he cute?!

Life is interrupting my blog

I have so much to blog about and no time to do it!

We are decorating for Christmas.

I have book club on Wednesday and we will be discussing The Count of Monte Cristo. I love that book, but so far am only half way through. I have 500 pages to get through by Wednesday night. :0

I am getting a root canal tomorrow. :(

I will try to get some more pictures of our Christmas tree in progress up and I have to blog about our Bulgarian meal from last weekend, and my ebay successes! Stay tuned...

Thursday, November 22, 2007


I have been seriously neglecting my blog, so I have a lot to say today.

First, I LOVE THANKSGIVING! Thank you fellow bloggers for your thankful blog posts, I have enjoyed reading them. I am thankful for many things (Boo and Jer top the list of course), but today I am especially thankful for a Thanksgiving holiday that was just wonderful. We are so blessed to have friends that might as well be family, and today they came up from Bloomington to spend the day with us.

We started the day with getting the turkey in the oven. This is another thing I love, prepping the turkey and getting it in the oven. Then we watched the Macy's parade, took a short morning nap with Boo (yay, she still is taking a morning nap) and woke up to that fabulous turkey smell. Then Bryan and Jenny arrived and we finished up the side dishes. I was especially thrilled that my rolls turned out for the first time ever. Jenny made her awesome guacamole (so good with turkey). We also had sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans and cheese sauce, rolls, stuffing, turkey, guacamole, roasted pecans, and smoked gouda. I think that's all. Jer makes the best mashed potatoes and gravy, that is always his job.

Pie was great too - pecan pie, apple pie and Jenny's yummy pumpkin pie. It was my first pecan pie, and I was also pleased with how that turned out.

Lily is about the cutest baby ever and she was so good. Boo slept most of the afternoon so we had a lot of time to play with the baby and watch football.

Just before they left, we took some Boo and Lily pictures.

We had a wonderful holiday and can't wait for next year. :)

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Love these sweet potatoes

I am baking my holiday pies and cleaning the house today! Usually I'm not a fan of cleaning, but when it is to get ready for company, somehow it is more fun. And baking pies is always fun (although I cheat sometimes and don't make my own crusts).

I wanted to post my sweet potato recipe, even though a few of my family members have already turned up their noses at the suggestion of my yummy side dish. We had these sweet potatoes at a law school get-together a few years ago and Jeremy's classmate was good enough to share her recipe.

Sweet Potatoes

12-15 servings

6 large sweet potatoes

½ cup butter

1 ½ cups white sugar

½ cup brown sugar

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground nutmeg

1 tsp vanilla extract

salt to taste

Peel and slice the sweet potatoes.

Melt the butter in a large pot and add sliced sweet potatoes.

Mix sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Coat the sweet potatoes with this mixture. Cover the skillet, reduce heat to low and cook for about 40 minutes until the potatoes are soft and mashable (I might have made that word up).

Stir once in a while as they cook.

Stir in vanilla right before you serve.

**I usually put in less sugar than the recipe calls for and it's still nice and sweet.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

O Christmas Tree

Well, we are having a bit of a time getting the lights up on the tree so I don't have a picture of our finished tree yet. But in the last picture it is hard to get a feel for the size of it when it is standing there all by itself. So here is a picture of the tree with Boo. You can see that she just about fits under the bottom branches of the tree. You can see the light fixture hanging from the ceiling is going to have to be fixed as well.

Ready to bake

I've finished my Thanksgiving shopping and am ready to start cooking! I can't wait until tomorrow when I can start the pies. Our dear friends from Bloomington are coming, and I can't wait to see them. We may also have some friends from Indy come, so we will have a house full of good friends to celebrate the holiday.

I have this thing with buying fabric - I just love to buy it. Even if I don't know what I will make with it. I have never ever been tempted to shop on BLACK FRIDAY, but I have fantastic coupons for Joann's Fabric, so I may be out there with the crazies. We'll see.

A note about Christmas music. There is a station here that is playing 93 days of Christmas music (24 hours). I didn't find it until just after Halloween, so it didn't occur to me how long that is until I started calculating back from Christmas. That is a LONG time to be playing only Christmas music. But they certainly have the variety. Last week I heard a reggae version of "I Saw Three Ships". Nice. And don't you think that there are certain artists who were born to sing Christmas melodies? Josh Groban, Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, Judy Garland, the Muppets. (Just kidding about the Muppets. Although I do like that Christmas special they did, "Muppet Christmas at Fozzie's".) James Taylor, as much as I love him, is not really one of those people. His version of "Santa Claus is coming to town" is just weird. Same with Frank Sinatra. Love him, but not his holiday album.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Another day, another doctor visit

It seems we have been busy lately seeing dentists, optometrists, and physicians. Today Boo had a well child visit with our pediatrician. It was a good visit for me, I really like to be assured that everything is going well. I have made a conscious effort to not give our kids (or myself for that matter) a complex by stressing over every developmental milestone. Especially language development. But oh, how I worry anyway.

Have a holly jolly Christmas

Boo and I were at Target today for diaper rash cream. Boo has the worst rash. I won't be descriptive, it is gross. Poor thing. Anyway, to just go to Target for diaper rash cream, that is a boring trip. So we cruised the Christmas aisles. We spend a good deal of time with those stuffed animals that sing and dance when you push their hand or foot. Last year Boo was pretty scared of them. But this year she loved them. She danced to the music and giggled at the dog wagging his tail with a jingle bell. And this is the best part. I taught her to put her hands on her tummy and say 'ho ho ho' when she sees a Santa. She puts her hands on her chest instead of her belly, but close enough.

The Christmas tree story

Here is our Christmas tree story.

When we were looking at houses, we came to this house (the house we eventually bought) with our realtor. The front room has vaulted ceilings, and one of the first things she said was, "You could have the mother of all Christmas trees in here!" I really liked the house already, but that about sealed the deal. So our master plan was to wait until after Christmas and then buy a 9' or a 12' Christmas tree on super-clearance. But then....

Last May we were at a community yard sale (man, how I love those!) and walked by this guy setting up a Christmas tree in order to sell it. It looked pretty big...yes indeed, it was a 12' Christmas tree! Going for only $30! Too good to pass by. So we bought it and loaded up our 12' Christmas tree in our little Saturn. That car is like Mary Poppins' magic carpet bag - you wouldn't believe all the stuff we have hauled in that little car.

I didn't think about this until later, but it is not a pre-lit Christmas tree. And it came in a cardboard box, so we have had a hard time finding an appropriate container to store it in. But minor hitches for such a great deal and an enormous Christmas tree.

Sunday night we thought we would quickly put together our Christmas tree just to see how it would fit in this room. Well, we are not as smart as we look and it took us 2 days to put the thing together. Without the lights. So after so much effort, we decided it wasn't worth taking it back down again only to put it up next week on Thanksgiving. So even though it is quite early (even for me), we are getting ready for Christmas. So here is a picture of our 12' Christmas tree as it is now, without the branches fixed up and without any lights. This will be fun, we will do a Christmas tree transformation series of shots.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Thanksgiving is around the corner

I realized yesterday that Thanksgiving is practically here and I have yet to nail down our plans for the day. I think I will be cooking here, with possibly some friends coming to share dinner with us. I made a great turkey last year (if I do say so myself) and am looking forward to giving it another try this year. Last year I rubbed it down with olive oil and sage, put stuffing (much to Alton Brown's dismay) and an onion inside, garlic cloves under the skin with onions, carrots and celery in the bag with the turkey. Man, it makes me hungry just thinking about it. Pepperidge Farm stuffing is my favorite. And I will admit to eating the stuffing that was cooked INSIDE the turkey. I like to live on the edge. In Bloomington you could buy a fresh, organic turkey (can meat fall in the organic category?) from Bloomingfoods, but I haven't yet found a place like that up here. I suppose I don't care much about the organic part, but I think a fresh, never frozen turkey would sure be good.

We had such a cozy morning this morning. Due to Stake Conference, we didn't have church until 11:00 am and Jer didn't have any early morning meetings. It was stormy so we stayed in our house listening to the rain, had a leisurely breakfast with peppermint tea.

We started putting up our Christmas tree this evening. The story of our new (artificial) Christmas tree is a long one, so I may have to save it til tomorrow as it is getting late for me. And I don't have pictures of it yet either. So stay tuned.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Okay, I am going to try to add my first You Tube video. Because for some reason I'm a little obsessed with James Taylor this week. So here is the Jellyman Kelly Sesame Street segment with James Taylor.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

We are slowly adjusting to daylight savings time. I miss the days when Indiana didn't participate in daylight savings.

Boo is learning new words and signs every week. Today Jer taught her to say 'ball'. For some kids, that is one of their first words. But she had kind of interesting first words like 'sock' and 'wow'. My favorite sign that she does is 'thank you' (she learned that on Halloween). Oh, and she will sing 'ee-i-ee-i-oh' with me. I love that!

Her hair is long enough now to put in two pigtails. I took this picture the other day when we were outside raking leaves. I sent this picture to my mom and she said, "What happened to your baby? This is a little girl!" Too true, and a little sad. But I love all the new things she does everyday.

Jer's dad is coming for a couple of days this weekend. It's been about a year since we have seen him, so it will be nice for him to play with Boo and see how grown up she is.
Boo and I were at the bookstore earlier this week and I found a sequel to "Llama llama red pajama", one of Boo's favorite books. I really enjoy it too, and it's a good thing because we read it several times a day. A few months ago Boo went through a phase in which she would choose a book and want it to be read over and over and over again. I decided that three read throughs was my limit, and then the book 'disappeared' and she would have to get a new one. There were about 4 books that she always chose, so those are the four books I have memorized. :) But I digress. At B&N we found a sequel called "Llama llama mad at mama". I read through it and it is another very cute picture book.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Online Radio

When I worked at the hospital I loved to listen to A year or two ago Peter O. introduced me to Pandora. With Pandora, you select an artist or a song and then Pandora selects music similar to that to play on your 'station'. You can give a thumbs up or down to each song that is played, and Pandora adjusts what it plays on your station according to what you like. It's great because you can create multiple stations. I listened to it for awhile, but then forgot about it. Becca got me started on a great new Pandora station. I started with "Carpenters, holiday", and have gotten a great Christmas music station with Dean Martin, Bing Crosby, Sinatra, Johnny Mathis, and of course The Carpenters. What, you say it is too early for Christmas music? Nonsense.

There is a James Taylor Christmas song on now. Did you know that I love James Taylor? I love his voice, I love his songs, I love his guitar, I love his bald head. I was pleasantly surprised one summer evening to hear him on A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keeler. Have you ever seen the Sesame Street segment he did back in the 70's or 80's. Priceless! Click on the picture below and listen to track 14 of Disc 1. It's only part of the song, but very cute.

Books v. Hardware

When we moved into our brand new house almost 18 months ago, I thought it was so great that we had THREE enormous hardware stores so near our home. We spent a lot of time at hardware stores as we worked on our lawn and our home. In the spring and summer, Boo and I would roam the aisles of a hardware store, imagining how landscaping bricks and bushes would look in our yard, and debating the color of paint for the kitchen.

But apparently living near so many hardware stores comes at a price. No major bookstores. :( There was a Borders about 25 minutes away, and that was it. Until today! Barnes and Noble opened it's doors today at the Greenwood Mall! Boo and I had a great time there today. AND they had stacks and stacks of the elusive Deceptively Delicious. I took just a few minutes to leaf through it, and it looks like a great book that I think I will put on my Christmas list. I was happy to finally have a chance to look at it (I have dropped from #169 to #77 on the waiting list at the library). Ok, so maybe the new B&N isn't much closer to my house than the old Borders, but I will confess to being a B&N snob. I couldn't tell you why I like B&N so much better, only that I do. The summer I lived in Chicago I would go sight seeing and then visit the nearest B&N. It was amazing that there was always one nearby. I think I read entire books that way...

I love November

I think my favorite month might be November. It was another beautiful autumn day today - sunny and crisp. Boo and I were out running errands in our cozy sweaters. As I drove home I noticed how much I love the trees at this stage...with some leaves on the ground, some bare branches, and some vibrant leaves still on the trees.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Two recommendations

Jeremy and I have been reading The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court by Jeffrey Toobin. A great read about the current (and recently retired) justices and what goes on behind the scenes. It's very interesting to read about the personalities of the justices and the interactions between them. I haven't read much of it yet, but it starts out with a fascinating account of the case intended to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Ok, one more review. I recently finished reading The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte. Thanks to Elizabeth for loaning it to me. I loved it, couldn't put it down. I was a little dissatisfied with the very end (I wanted a little more confession of undying love from both of them), but overall it was a great read.

Oh, great news - Barnes and Noble opens on Wednesday!

Friday, November 2, 2007

Laundry day is a lucky day

Yesterday was laundry day, usually not that interesting of a day. But as I pulled the clothes out from the hamper, I found all kinds of treasures that Boo had hidden away with the dirty clothes...toothpaste, a small mirror, bath toys, chapstick, blocks, deodorant, lotion, some business cards. I had missed several of these items during the week, but just assumed we had used them up, or they had migrated to the other bathroom. Now that we know things migrate to the hamper we will know where to look next time.