Saturday, November 28, 2009

Catching Up...

We were so busy this past week with Julie and her family here that I didn't get a chance to blog at all.  So, I'll just do a catch up post and try and remember everything.

First, Jennifer sent a few gifts with Jules for us.  She made me a WHOLE BOX of washcloths!  I was so excited!  When she was here at Easter, she asked why I hadn't used a lot of the ones she had made me.  I  told her because I just use a couple until they are dead and then I use some of the ones I have saved since I never know when I will get more.  This new box full was so fun - all different colors.  I won't have to worry about having to wait for new ones for a long time now!

She also sent a Christmas gift that we will save for Christmas.  But, most special was this gift for Baldy Melon Man.  It was in honor of his Priesthood ordination to High Priest back in August.  She had requested his line of priesthood authority from church headquarters and then worked up this beautiful piece of artwork for him.  For those who read my blog and do not know what this is, it is documentation that shows that his priesthood comes directly from the Savior, Jesus Christ, down through righteous and worthy men.  No other church on the face of the earth can trace their priesthood authority back directly to the Savior.  You should be able to click on the picture below to see it closer.

On Sunday, we all went to church, then came home and had a meatloaf dinner.  It was yum-o-la.  We just chilled for a while afterwards and then we finished watching the Soccer championship game, where the team from Salt Lake won!  We were cheering and screaming and hoped we hadn't woken Melon Man up since he'd gone to bed early!

On Monday, Melon Man and Brian went searching for crown molding for the shelf Brian was going to make for me while he was here.  They had to drive to kingdom come and back again, but finally found a beautiful piece of King George crown at Barger Moulding.  The men also took the boys to get haircuts and Melon Man came back bald...which he knows I don't like.

We went to Peter Piper Pizza for dinner that night and had a ton of fun.  We had a coupon for 40 free tokens, so that kept the boys entertained for a time while we adults sat and talked.  Julie and I had gone grocery shopping that day for the rest of the stuff for Thanksgiving so that part was all covered.

On Tuesday, Brian built the shelf.  It turned out absolutely just like I wanted it.  He was done lickety-split.  Oh, to have that kind of talent!

Julie and I had a girls day and we went shopping.  We went to Holland Boone, Kirkland Home, Walmart, and Hobby Lobby.  I was trying to find something - anything - for the centerpiece for our Thanksgiving table.  Unfortunately, two days before Thanksgiving is NOT the right time to shop for fall decor.  Of course, all there is is Christmas stuff.  We found some candle tubes at Walmart, along with a bunch of fall colored candles in varying heights.  They were black cherry, pear, spiced cider, and pumpkin so they were all really pretty colors and smells.  We FINALLY found a fall wreath at Hobby Lobby and some chocolate colored poinsettias that looked like they belonged too and we headed for home.

On Wednesday, Brian got up and went golfing over at Sun City Grand golf course. He loved it. He said it was really beautiful and the old giesers over there couldn't believe he was wearing shorts and no jacket!

Brian told us that we'd better get the shelf painted so he could hang it before Turkey Day so we headed off to Lowes to get paint.  We got home and took to painting.

You can't really tell in these pictures, but Julie and I kept painting each other as well as the shelf. We were just laughing and laughing. It was so fun to be able to be with her and have this time together. For so many years, we didn't speak to each other because of something that happened between us. I'm so glad we resolved that and are now able to be the siblings we always should have been!

We decided that we would set the table for Thanksgiving on Thanksgiving Eve so it would be all done and we wouldn't have to worry about it the next day.  We hung little autumn colored crystals from the chandelier and we used my rust tablecloth.  Next, we put down a big framed mirror (like the kind you'd hang on a closet door) and put my pinecone-filled hurricane in the center.  We put the wreath, which we had sprayed with Glimmermist for some extra shine, over the base of the hurricane and we stuck in the chocolate/gold glitter poinsettias.  Then, we placed all of the varying sizes and colors of candles on the rest of the mirror.  We set the rest of the table with all the dishes and silverware and then we decided we needed to light all the candles to see how it would look all lit up.  It was spectacular!  Very warm and inviting....

After we did that, we ate dinner out on the patio.  We barbecued some steaks, had baked potatoes and corn on the cob and some salad.  Yum.  Tanner actually ate!  We visited for a bit and then Julie and I asked Melon Man and Brian to take the boys and go somewhere - Cabela's maybe - so we could just focus and get things done.  They headed out pretty quickly and soon we were on our way.  We did a ton.  We made pistachio salad....

Well....Julie made that.  I had to capture this picture above....the little mess of the jello stuff on the counter, the wisk, the package, all of it....just a little mess.  So cute.

Miss Happy - making her man's favorite Thanksgiving salad.  We were a little concerned though...we hadn't planned on making it (I forgot) so we had to use what I had in the cupboards and freezer.  Apparently, my marshmallows were a little "old" and were starting to turn sugary and weren't real fluffy anymore.  We just added a lot more Cool Whip and I told her they would suck up moisture overnight...(and they did!)

My cute baby sister...mixin' up her man's salad.  While she was doing that....I was making this yummy cheeseball.  LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this cheeseball. 

The recipe is so simple.  My mom used to always make this, so it's really her recipe, but I added the green onions so this is my version...


2 packages Philadelphia Brand Cream Cheese ( I have a fettish about using other brands!)
1/2 bunch green onions, thinly sliced - I go almost all the way to the end of the green part so you get the green color in the cheese ball
1 small yellow onion, finely diced
2-3 T Cheese Blend powder (a Morning Moo Product)

Soften the cream cheese.  Place in Kitchen-Aid mixer.  Add sliced green onions.  Add diced yellow onion.  Add cheese powder.  If you do not have access to cheese blend powder, you can use a package of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese powder (save the noodles for something else).  Mix until smooth and creamy - about 1 to 2 minutes.  Scoop out into a pretty bowl for serving with Ritz crackers.  Chill cheese ball before serving, preferably.  To make it fancy looking, it would be excellent rolled in finely chopped pecans or crushed ritz crackers.

Next, Julie decided to make a pecan pie.  Lisa was bringing apple and pumpkin pies, but our men decided there needed to be a pecan one too.  So, luckily I had all the stuff in my cupboards and freezer...even real butter!  (That is a miracle - I NEVER have real butter since I HATE to bake)

So...Julie asks me where the vanilla is.  I tell her in the upper pantry cupboard, on the first shelf in the gallon bottle.  She goes over to the cupboard, moves a few things around, and I hear, "Oh my!  That's a lot of vanilla!"  I just say, "Yep, it is" and go on with whatever it was that I was doing.  About 10 minutes or so go by and I'm sitting there talking with her, watching her put the stuff together for the pie and I look over and just about freak out.  This is what she had pulled out of the cupboard....

Yep, a whole gallon of IHOP butter pecan syrup!  Now...the first question one may ask is....why on earth do you have a GALLON of IHOP butter pecan syrup in your cupboard?  The answer to that is....because I LOVE their butter pecan syrup and they would only sell it to me in a gallon container.  For someone who doesn't like sweet breakfast food, I think I have made pretty good headway on this gallon of rich deliciousness.  The second question one may ask is...why on earth do you have a gallon of vanilla if you don't like to bake?  Well, a) I discovered that it's only a half gallon, not a whole gallon, and b) it's a lot cheaper to buy a half gallon of vanilla at Sam's Club than it is to buy 2 small bottles of it at Fry's.  And, now...the third and final question....did she end up using the syrup or the vanilla in the pie?  Well.....luckily I caught it in time and she used the vanilla!

We were also lucky that I had ONE last pie crust in the freezer.  We let it thaw, but it still kept ripping.  We were laughing our heads off at the little fiascos that were abounding.  Take a look that this crazy crust!  Pretty, huh?!?!

But, in the end....look....little Miss (FG) Bakerwoman made it look all pretty!  I actually thought it was the best looking pie crust trim job I had ever pinched!  Thanks to Martha Stewart who taught me the trick on how to do it this year on one of her craptastic specials!

We got our salami and cheese platter ready, made the onion dip, chopped the veggies for the stuffing, and I'm sure did a bunch of other things that were on the list.  After we were all done and our male pilgrims had arrived home from the killing implements store, we sent the kiddos off to bed and we all just relaxed for a bit - except Melon Man who had to go to bed so he could go to work the next day - yep, on Turkey Day.  Julie and I had both gotten sick with a sore throat by this time - hers worse than mine - and we were drained.  We soon headed off to bed too.

Thanksgiving morning arrived quickly (as it always does when you're the hostess).  I hadn't slept most of the night because I kept having anxiety attacks in the middle of the night and all of a sudden I would stop breathing due to my sore throat and such and so I was exhausted.  As well, I am still bleeding pretty heavily and so I am just worn out on a daily basis.  Julie was SO helpful while she was here.  I can never tell her thank you enough for all the help she provided!  We got up, Brian went to go get a Thanksgiving Day newspaper for the ads, he got himself and the boys some breakfast somewhere, and Jules and I got the turkey in the oven, the house spiffied up, and the shrimp on ice.  By the time Lisa and Craig got here, the turkey was smellin' up the neighborhood and I'd showered.  My hair was a mess, but at least I was showered!  Yahoo! 

The stuffed mushrooms that Lisa brought were quickly warmed in the microwave and we all started to munch down on our little appetizers.  The shrimp was delicious - I could have eaten the whole bowl!  Everything was yummy.   

We all noticed that the ham rollups were missing this year - but I just couldn't do it this time.  Jennifer had posted this picture on her blog of our mom from her last Thanksgiving when she and I made a ton of ham rollups.  I'll put it here on mine in remembrance of her and wishing she'd been here with us to help make them again.  We missed you Mom!


1 package of ham slices from the lunch meat aisle (nothing special, Bar-S is fine)
2 packages cream cheese (I prefer Philadelphia brand over the cheap stuff - it just tastes better) - softened.
2 bunches green onions

Wash the green onions and snip off the root end, pealing off one layer of the outside of the onion.  Lay on paper towel to air dry.  I then get a few additional paper towels ready. I lay one down and then put as many slices of ham on it side-by-side as possible. Then I put the other paper towel on top of the ham. I press down to suck up all the juice from the ham into the paper towels. Then, leaving the ham on the bottom paper towel, I spread a thin (but not too thin and not too thick - probably about 1/8 inch) layer of cream cheese on each slice of ham. It needs to cover the entire piece of ham from edge to edge. Then, you lay one green onion across the long edge of each piece of ham, lengthwise. Slice off any extra green onion. Then, you tightly roll up the slice of ham and press the ending edge against the ham. Then, slice into 1/4" or 3/8" slices. Voila! Ham rollups! To do as many as are in the picture, it usually takes about an hour so we usually do all of ours the night before. That way, the cream cheese is firm again and yummy!!!

Melon Man soon arrived and it was soon time for Tom to come out of the oven.  He was so juicy and tender.  The rest of the food was yummy too.  Melon Man was a little sad I didn't make green bean casserole or yams - he would have been the only one eating much of either and I just didn't have the energy to make them.  I promised I would make them special for him soon.

Before dinner was over, we played Thanksgiving trivia and I asked about 50 or 60 trivia questions.  It was interesting hearing some of the real answers to some of the questions.  After dinner was over and the dishes were cleaned up (by the women AGAIN - who had done EVERYTHING else for the dinner), Lisa, Julie, and I played some dominoes with the boys.  The men watched something on TV.  It was a quiet end to a lovely day.

On Friday, Julie and I picked up Lisa and we went to the Briar Patch Craft Show.  Julie had never been and she'd always wanted to.  We told her not to get her hopes up too much as it has really changed (and not for the better in our eyes) over the last few years.  Well, we were right.  It really wasn't all that great.  We were out of there pretty quickly.  We decided to go to Marie Callendar's for breakfast.  The place smelled funny - old and musty - kind of like an old-folks home.  Once we were done with breakfast, we went to Hobby Lobby.  It was Lisa's first time.  I was NOT feeling well at all by this time and she could really tell.  We were soon on our way and dropped her off at her house.  Julie and I headed home.  I almost had to pull over and have her drive.  When we got home, she and Brian headed out to do some Black Friday shopping while the boys played Wii.  I took a little snooze on the sofa with Dog.  Soon, Melon Man was home from work and Julie and Brian were home from shopping.  Then, they left to go have dinner with a cousin of Brian's down in Gilbert.  I was in the same position at 9:30 pm when they arrived home as I was when they left at 4 pm.  I'd only moved once to go to the bathroom.  I just was not feeling well.

They got everything pretty much packed up and ready to go for this morning.  We watched about 2 hours of Say Yes to the Dress and then we all headed for bed.

This morning, we all got up a little after 8 and started getting ready for them to head for home.  Before they left though, we drove out to Asante and took the following pictures.  Tanner did not want to smile at all for most of them.  The sun was too high in the sky and it was not very good picture-taking conditions, but we did our best.  I think these turned out lovely....all things considered...especially since the grass was all brown and Asante did not overseed for the winter.

What a wonderful week it has been with having Julie, Brian, and the boys here with us.  For a week the tv has been on, the Wii has been on, the dog has run back and forth, back and forth, there's been 6 people in a small space, and it's been..............WONDERFUL.  Now, it's just me and the dog (Melon Man is at work) and it's quiet and peaceful and it's.........wonderful - but, LONELY.  Thanks so much for coming and staying with us this week!  We've loved it and hope you'll come again soon!


Cindy said...

Great pictures, great fun, great decorating, great time! Your holiday table is breathtaking. Absolutely beautiful!

Casey Lu said...

Your table setting is STUNNING!!!! That sure is a lot of syrup but then, I love their strawberry, so I don't blame you one bit! I think that is a beautiful gift that Jen did for Clint! Such a blessing! Great job on the photo shoot!!! Love the one of all them are in a circle on the ground! Stunning! Your photography is looking awesome! If you go to you can download a bunch of free PS actions that she creates. They are some of the ones I use the most. Hope your feeling better and glad to hear you had a WONDERFUL Thanksgiving with your family!!! Love ya!

Jodi said...

Sounds like you had a great Thanksgiving. One year it will be our turn to come and vist.
Love the photos.