Saturday, November 24, 2012

Thanksgiving and then some

    I've finally emerged from my Thanksgiving day, Apple Pie food coma and can recap the wonderful birthday/Thanksgiving holiday. In a nutshell it was great.  For the first time ever I made 2 new recipes. Our family has NEVER been very adventurous when it comes to Thanksgiving day... traditional is what we are.  Turkey, mashed potatoes (I do make real - this one day), gravy (from a jar, but enhanced),  stuffing (of the StoveTop box variety), steamed green beans, rolls and that's it.  Nothing fancy, nothing adventurous - but yummy nonetheless.  But this year I jumped right out of my comfort zone and made 2 new recipes... Tortilla chip chorizo stuffing, for which I actually MADE my own bread crumbs and Whiskey-glazed sweet potatoes with apples.  Both were DELISH!  Definite keepers with a few tweaks.  The stuffing was really good, but not the right flavor profile for Thanksgiving, but would be really good with a pork loin or something along those lines.
     Everyone pitched in, Art and Karen did potatoes, Brenna did green beans and table setting, so it wasn't even stressful.  Then a rousing game of Pictionary, in which the boys actually won and the evening was complete.

     As if it weren't enough, it was also my birthday.  I woke up to a wonderful display waiting for me.  Brenna made me a fabulous birthday placemat.  Sometimes she's so much like me, it's frightening.  Everyone else has a birthday placemat except me, but now I DO TOO!  I'm taking it to be laminated immediately.  Lovely homemade cards, thoughtful gifts (bubble bath, iPhone armband, Lord of the Rings Collector's DVD set) and beautiful flowers.  A fabulous dinner and birthday pie!  I am so blessed by my wonderful family, my friends, my home and all we have.  I'm thankful that my children are growing into amazing adults who I enjoy being around, that I have a husband who continually tells me how much he loves me, that in the grand scheme of things we want for nothing and that I have an soaking tub and walk in closet! So much to be thankful for.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The soundtrack of Thanksgiving Break coughing, hacking, nose-blowing and snuffling!  :o(  Last year, this year... it's developing into a pattern! Poor Brenna :o(

Sunday, November 18, 2012

All is mostly right with the world.

All my chicks under one roof.  Poor Brenna has been sick for a week, medicating her way through all her classes and homework.  She's had what we think is the flu, low grade fever, aches, chills and everything else that goes along with it. She's been high on Alka Seltzer Cold and Afrin and Sucrets for so long that she didn't feel up to driving.  I didn't feel like it was a safe option for her either.  5 hours is a  long time to drive when you are feeling normal, let alone when you are sick.  So, I hopped in the car drove down and picked my baby girl up and brought her home.  It was a long day in the car, only hit traffic once.  The downside is I'll have to drive her back next weekend.  But, I think we'll go down late Sat to miss traffic and then have a sleepover at her house and I'll come home EARLY Sunday morning.    For now we're all together (listening to Brenna cough), Art and Karen arrive on Tuesday.   Yeah for Thanksgiving Break.  I can relax and enjoy, minus the cooking and cleaning and planning etc...

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

New Recipe Night - Perfect Portion Control

Lately, I have been craving Apple Pie.  I love me some Apple Pie!  It's funny, I never even liked pie until I started doing Weight Watchers 10 years ago.  I don't know what it was about Weight Watchers, maybe the depravation, but I started loving pie and dessert.  Anyway, the weather has turned cold and that always brings thoughts of warm apple pie and ice cream to the forefront of my mind.  At the same time, I am enjoying the successful weight loss I have been experiencing... so hesitate to embark on the deep, dark downward spiral that is having pie in my house.  Because once it's in my house then there's no moderation, there's no "just a small piece," it's all out Apple Pie Pig Out time!  But, I found my salvation...on Pinterest....
Bite-Sized Apple Pies
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 package (14.1oz) refrigerated pie pastry
3 Tbsp butter, melted, divided
2 medium tart apples, each cut into 8 wedges

      In a small bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon; set aside 1 Tbsp.  On a lightly floured suface, unroll pastry.  Brush with 2 Tbsp butter sprinkle with remaining sugar mixture.
      Cut each sheet into 8 - 1in strips, about 8 inches long.  Wrap one strip around each apple wedge, placing sugared side of pastry against the apple.
      Place on parchment paper -lined baking sheet.  Brush tops with remaining butter; sprinkle with reserved sugar mixture.  Bake at 425 for 13-15 minutes or until pastry is golden brown.

1 apple wedge - 163 calories

These were soooo tasty! Just like a mini apple pie, paired with 1/4 cup of low fat ice cream and it was just perfect!  Now did I want to all 8 mini apple pies in one sitting... why yes I did... but I'm restraining myself.  It's all about portion control.  For some reason a whole apple pie sitting on the counter is fair game, but the individual apple pie wedges I can restrain myself.   Mind games, that's what it is, mind games!  Whatever works!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Thank you for my freedom!

John got tickets to the Veteran's Day Ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery.  President Obama gave the keynote speech and laid the wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  It was very cool.  I was excited to see the President, but for some reason seeing the First Lady made me giddy as a school girl!  She's so beautiful!  Here's the morning in pictures....

Arlington Cemetery is such a beautiful, sad, inspiring place.  Just walking around is humbling and saddening.   All those men and women who fought for our freedom and served our country... it's amazing.  What was even more amazing was seeing all the vets who attended the ceremony.  At one point the Navy Band played all the different service's songs and had everyone who served stand during their song.  It was touching to see all the young, old and in-between people standing up.  Brought a tear to my eye.  These men and women still so proud and dedicated to their country.  I don't think people appreciate enough our veterans and all they gave.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Her first time!

Happy Election Day 2012!

      Finally, the election is here.  I'm not happy because I love politics, or love seeing democracy in action or because this is a great opportunity for our country to move forward.  I'm happy because I'm ready for the freaking phone calls and television ads to STOP!!  Honestly, we probably get 6-8 phone calls a day and you can't watch any TV - every frigging commercial is a negative campaign add.  Sick of it!  We don't even answer the phone anymore and if the show isn't DVRed then I don't watch it.  
I voted today, waited in line for an hour and from what I've seen on Facebook that was quick.  People waiting in line for up to 3 hours.  I'm not sure I'm that dedicated.  3 hours is a long time.  But there were lines everywhere.  It's nice to see people so excited about it.  It's sort of interesting since Virginia is a battleground state, and apparently Prince William County is a county "to watch".  That makes it a little more interesting when watching TV.  
   Brenna also voted today for the first time!  She was very excited about it, we were a little worried at first because her address had changed and I didn't know if that was a problem, but it wasn't and she voted.  
     I tried not to impose my jaded perspective on her and let her keep her optimism.  It's just gotten so bad, I feel like all those politicians are crooks.  Nothing but fighting, bickering and partisan politics.  None of them really care about the country or the people.  It seems like we're no longer electing the best man, we're electing the lesser of two evils.  I wanted to just vote all the incumbents out... I think that might be one way to get our point across.  Just vote everyone out, regardless of their party affiliation.
       I don't think we'll even know tonight who the President will be.  I predict the election will be so close we may have to wait for some recounts and rechecks.    Now it's all done but the waiting. 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Last night was a sad milestone

Last night was the first time in 19 years that I didn't have a child dressed up to go Trick or Treating!  Halloween was always my favorite holiday.  For the first 11 or 12 years of Brenna's life and 6 or 7 of Brenna's I made their costumes, they dressed in themes and we joyously celebrated Halloween.  There was the infamous Scarecrow and a pile of leaves, the award-winning Little Miss Muffett and her spider and my personal favorite Dorothy and Toto.  We also did a Housewife and her bag of Gross-eries...  Then when we moved to Woodbridge, we still celebrated just not in matching costumes, they were becoming older and cooler and had to dress in more "friend correct" costumes... Skateboarder, Fairy etc... But the cul-de-sac, pulled out the fire pits, we made chili and hot cider and we all hung out together and made a huge candy line for kids to march down and fill their bags with one stop shopping.  It was still and Event... Somehow this year that all fell apart,  partially Hurricane Sandy, partially the new Fall Festival at Church push (don't get me started on the hypocrisy) and partially I guess the business of life.  Halloween sort of snuck up on us, but Mt Burnside let me down, everyone did their own thing tonight. John and Zack went out to dinner at the Silver Diner (they had free dinner coupons) I stayed home with a headache, ate burned grilled cheese, paid bills and felt just a little bit sorry for myself.  First time in 19 years there won't be any pictures for the scrapbook!  I called Brenna in the hopes that maybe I could get a least a few "drunk college, inappropriately dressed, Halloween instagram pictures from her, but she was spending the evening studying with friends for a Zoology exam.  Foiled at every attempt ::: she says shaking her fist at the sky :::.   So, I handed out candy to the dozen or so kids that came by, watch The Voice on-line and moped a little.....but then.... I took a bath.  Have I mentioned I LOVE MY TUB, and that it pretty much makes everything okay???