Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013

This year, we decided to stay home and enjoy Thanksgiving in our new home. I love the years when we stay home. Its a lot of pressure to do ALL the cooking on our own, but I love that we can do it at our pace with no worry on being on time for dinner. And Josh is such great help that it runs smoothly.
I was going to prepare a few things each night, but never did. So I had to do it all today. I started by making two of the pies so they could have time to set up in the fridge. We did run into a few hiccups. Yesterday, while I was at work, I called and told Josh to pull some bread out of the freezer. Turns out, all I had in there was banana bread. We decided we had enough food, we would be fine without stuffing.
But then, I realized I needed a few things from the store this morning. (Josh went to the store TWICE for me today.) So we decided to do cornbread stuffing this year. I ran out of time to make fresh rolls, so during one of Josh's store runs, he bought some frozen rolls.
Our feast included:
Mashed Potatoes & home made gravy
Carrot Supreme
Candied Yams
Cornbread Stuffing

Thanksgiving Pies

Today, I finally got brave and tried my pie crust from scratch. It turned out pretty good!
I was only going to make a pumpkin pie for Josh and a cherry cranberry nut pie for myself, but I had enough dough left over for one more single crust pie. I looked in my cupboards and had enough stuff for a chocolate cream pie.
I'm glad I decided to get some practice at pie baking. I've been very happy with the results and Josh has dubbed each one his new favorite. There is still a few recipes I want to try, but I might take a break from the pie baking. At least for now.

How Much is the Doggy in the Window?

Ever since the week we took Sage camping with us, she has become more needy. She has learned how to climb on the BBQ grill and the central air unit so she can look into the kitchen to see if we are home. Most days, when I come home for lunch, she is looking in to say hello. But she usually gets down before I can get a picture.
 What a silly dog.

And then there is these two crazy fur balls that round out our life. 

Work Gift

Work has been very stressful lately. I don't want to get into the reasons why, but I've been unhappy there lately. One day I realized, I love my job, but I'm not happy where I'm at. It hard to explain without getting into to things. I LOVE my job. I love having my own office, a real desk and freedom to decorate it to fit my personality. But the atmosphere has been hard to deal with.

Just a few days after I realized all of this, we had a position open up in house for a meter reader. I really wanted that job, mostly because of the solitude that came with it. I spent several days talking myself into and out of applying. I even filled out an application.

But each time I looked at my pro and con list, it came down to one thing. I REALLY like having a desk job. The freedom to work basically alone was very appealing, but it would be based out of a truck. And I just wasn't sure I would be happy if I made that move.

So I've decided to fix my attitude. I'm trying to not let the other issues bother me. I'm trying to do the best I can at my job.

And I decided to spoil myself.
I bought myself a fridge to keep under my desk. I've been dealing with some health issues lately. I can't get a grasp of it, and the two doctors I've been too have seemed to brush off my concerns. I need to take control and go back and insist they check me for hypoglycemia. And if that isn't the answer, they need to help me find one. But my company is in the midst of changing insurance companies, so I might wait until the dust settles in January.
Until then, I'm trying to have more protein in my diet. I have oatmeal for breakfast, and that has helped a lot. But I still get shaky between breakfast and lunch. So I've been having a yogurt and glass of skim milk during my break time. That has helped a lot. I also have a glass of milk in the afternoon and sometimes a cheese stick.
We have two fridges at work, but I felt like I was taking up a lot of space. And sometimes it was a hassle to go grab the milk. Then I would wait too long and the shakiness would set in. So I bought myself a fridge so I can keep all that stuff right at hand.

I have LOVED having my own fridge! I'm so glad I made the splurge for myself. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Pie Challenge

Every year, my work does a big turkey lunch in November. The company supplies the turkey, ham, rolls, stuffing and dessert. Then every one is asked to bring a pot luck item or pay money to go towards the other supplies. In the years past, they have always gotten the pies from a local restaurant that has gone steadily (and rapidly) down hill. I decided I didn't want to eat their pies, but I wanted pie. So the solution was to make my own. I knew I couldn't make enough for everyone, but I decided to use all of my pie plates. So I made 3 pies.
Then I couldn't decide which ones I wanted to make. Then I told Josh I would make him pie for Thanksgiving and he promptly requested 4 different kinds. We are doing Thanksgiving at home, just the 2 of us, so we don't need 4 pies that day. So, I decided to try and make a pie a week in hopes of becoming a better pie maker.
I did cheat for the work luncheon; I used store bought crust. I didn't want to stress over it and that has always been the hardest part in the past. I decided to perfect the filling, then work on the pasty.
For the luncheon, I made:
Cranberry Cherry Nut Pie (my favorite)

Apple Pie (my new 2nd favorite)

I covered the 1st lunch break so the others could go to lunch first. When I went back 40 minutes later, the entire Cranberry Cherry Nut Pie was gone! The plate was pretty much licked clean. The Apple Pie still had some left, so I had it. It was out of this world delish. I don't mean to brag, but its the best apple pie I have ever eaten. I managed to save a piece for Josh and he agrees.  The Chocolate Cream Pie had been left in the fridge. I cut out a small piece for me, but by the time I noticed, everyone else was done eating. So we saved it for the left over lunch feast for the next day. Again, I covered first lunch and when I went back to eat, the pie plate was already washed and dried.
I should note, the company ended up buying premade pies from the grocery store bakery. They were small and they didn't go near as fast. I'm glad I decided to make home made pies.
Last weekend, I let Josh pick his first pie. He choose Lemon Meringue Pie. I made one a few years ago, but I couldn't remember what recipe I used. I found a great recipe on Taste of Home. And this time, we remembered to put it away so Gabby couldn't lick all the meringue off of it.

This weekend, I'm going to make the Chocolate Cream Pie since Josh didn't get to try it. I'm also thinking about doing a Cherry Pie. And I think I'm ready to try making the crust from scratch. 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Bountiful Baskets - November 16th

This will probably be the last basket I get for a month, but that's because they won't be running the week after Thanksgiving. So it will be a month before I can get another one. But there is so much food, I don't mind.
I really want to volunteer one of these times, but the truck keeps showing up early. Today, about 30 minutes before scheduled pickup, I decided to head that way. I figured I would be a few minutes early, or they would call before I could get there and say the truck was early.
The truck was early again. I love that they have a sign in the window that says. "If you are the driver and you are early, please call..." I think its become a problem. But its not like you can show up even an hour earlier on the chance they'll be early. We have lives too and can't show up early for a truck that might be early. Its only a 10 minute drive for me, but I don't want to go extra early and have it be for no reason. So maybe I'll volunteer one of these days, when the truck is on time.
This basket included:
10 large potatoes
3 cucumber
2 large yams
romaine lettuce
2 bags of carrots
10 apples
4 pomegranates
4 mangoes
8 cutie oranges
Just the above is more then enough food for the two of us. But I always get excited after reading the add-ons and end up ordering something extra. This time, I got the Host Pack.
It included:
 A bag of potatoes
a pineapple
living lettuce (its pretty cool, the root ball is still attached)
6 granny smith apples
1 large onion
2 parsnips
1 bag cranberries
5 key limes

Monday, November 11, 2013

Dump Truck Cake

Last week, my sister-in-law moved to Roosevelt. I am now surrounded by nephews! They live like .7 miles away from me now. I'm so excited to have them so close.
This summer, both Tyler and Daxsen wanted a dump truck cake for their birthday. Unfortunately, the pan had been discontinued and I couldn't find it. But I kept my eyes open, just in case. A few weeks later, I found it on Amazon for $15! I decided to order it, just in case I ever needed it.
I decided to make it this weekend to take to Tyler &; Preston to celebrate their new house. I'm been trying a new frosting recipe. I love the flavor, but it seems a little harder to work with. The frosting gets too soft, very quickly. I also added some Oreo "dirt" for Tyler. 
Tyler was napping when we got there, so it took him a while to wake up. Preston gave us a tour of the house. His favorite part is his OWN bedroom and the play room. Tyler likes that there is "good dirt" outside to play in.

Just as we were getting ready to leave, Tyler woke up enough to take interest in the cake. We were standing by the door and I could see him picking at it. Then I noticed, he was licking his entire hand. I thought maybe he was eating the dirt. I walked over to look and laughed. He had sampled the dirt, all the frosting on one tire, and a window part of the truck bed. I'm glad he loved his cake.
A few more pictures from this week. I've been working hard to get all of my Christmas shopping done. (Almost done!) Vanessa said the boys needed clothes, so I ordered each boy a set of pj's, a hoodie and several shirts. When the package came, they had messed up on a part of it. I was short one t-shirt for Daxsen, but I had an extra set of pj's. AND, it had TWO pj's in it. I actually almost ordered them for Valex. but I was worried they wouldn't fit by Christmas, so in the end I didn't. But I guess they knew this aunt was a sucker, so they sent them anyways.
At first, I thought it was only 1 set of pj's. I thought about keeping it until Christmas, but didn't want him to outgrow them. Then when I realized, it included TWO sets, I decided to just give them to the boys now so they can wear them while they fit.
Both boys were super excited and were dressing themselves even though mom kept telling them they had to bath first. And to make it more awesome, she had just bought them ninja turtle slippers!

I also received Tyler & Preston's presents this week. This aunt is going to have a HARD time waiting for Christmas. Here is the snap shot I sent to Melanie to let her know how excited I was. Tyler is getting a construction plate, place mat & utensils. Preston is getting 2 games, one of which is Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots.
Christmas feels forever away, I can't wait for it to get here.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Bountiful Basket 11/2/13

Yesterday, I was at a Scrapbook retreat in Altamont. I had signed up for it months ago. But it was also Bountiful Basket day. I spent the previous week trying to decide if I wanted one or not. Well, I wanted one, I just didn't know if I wanted to leave my scrapbook thing for an hour to go get one.
In the end, I decided to order one through the Duchesne site since it was a little closer to Altamont. Then, I just hoped like crazy that the truck wouldn't be late. I went to the retreat at 8 and set my alarm for 10:30 to remind myself to go get my basket. Its about a 20 minute drive and I hoped to get there just as they were ready. I was 2 miles down the road when they called to say the truck was early and my basket was ready. I let them know I was on my way. That worked out nicely because the crowd was gone by the time I got there, so there was no waiting in line!
I forgot just how much food you get! I had ordered a root veggie add on pack this time. When I got there, they had my 2 baskets ready. I loaded up my bag and went to leave when they reminded me of my add on pack. We did pretty good at using everything last time. This time, there is quite a few things I don't like, but Josh likes it all so hopefully it will still go to good use.
The basket included:
3 butternut squash
9 yellow peppers
2 fennel plants
2 cucumbers
3 bundles of green onions
1 head romaine lettuce
5 tomatoes
1 pineapple
9 bananas
7 apples
3 green grapefruit

The Root Veggie Pack included
5 lb. bag of russet potatoes
5 red potatoes
1 LARGE onion
1 beet
7 carrots
1 LARGE sweet potato
1 bundle green onions
1 package radishes

Friday, November 1, 2013

Halloween 2013

This year, I almost didn't dress up. I couldn't find a time, when everyone could come, to my Halloween Party, so I didn't feel the need to get a costume. I should have known better. A week ago, I started having a panic attack because I didn't have a costume for Halloween. I decided to just do something simple, a witch. I found a few things in town, and then ordered the rest from Amazon.
I got up early so I could do spider web eye makeup.
As always, I was the only one dressed up at work. But I enjoy it.
I got off early so I could go do the Main Street Parade with Vanessa and the boys.
That actually worked out really well. Our little Bat decided to remind us why they call it the terrible two's, and he went home early with his mom.
But I stayed with the Ninja Turtle and we had a blast.

This was later that afternoon when he was getting ready to go out with his dad.
The boys opening the treat bags I made for them.
Cute story; yesterday, when I told Valex I had a gift for him, he asked, "is it a helicopter?" Not sure where that even came from. But today, I found a cute toy helicopter and I had to buy it for him just because he said that yesterday. I'm in trouble if they ever figure out just how tightly they have me wrapped around their little fingers.

After I finished at my sister's, I drove up to Altamont to see my other nephews. I can't believe how big they are getting. Each age just amazes me at what they can do. Preston is so smart. And Tyler is such a ham.
 LOVE that he was a John Deere Tractor. That is the PERFECT costume for him. I can see him wearing that until it falls off in rags.
They used their stickers to decorate their pails before heading out to go trick or treating.

I am about to be even more blessed as an aunt. Melanie and her family are moving to town and will only be a mile away from me. I'm so excited to be surrounded by all my favorite boys.