Monday, December 26, 2016

Merry Christmas!

I hope your holiday was warm and bright. Can you believe it's nearly 2017? Wow!

We had our holiday party - it was a blast! Because it was a combined event (business & personal), we were able to do a few extra fun things, like I mentioned before... ice rink, snow machine, mechanical reindeer... awesome-sauce!!! The day before the party, the rental company called me saying that the folks who'd rented the ice rink before me had destroyed it. Oh crap! They were able to salvage only 1/3 of it! So, they cut me a major deal, then gave us a human snowglobe. Lol! It was so cool! I am short on photos, but these will give you an idea. And yes - I did ride the mechanical reindeer. I think I lasted all of 4 seconds. LOL!!!
Set up time! The snowglobe has blowing "snow"
inside of it. You enter through the back then it's
an awesome photo opp!
Bill and I in the globe. Family members were shaking it trying to get us to fall.
They succeeded. Lol! 

This reindeer was the hit of the night! The kids
adored it (and were so cute!). As the evening progressed,
the adults commandeered it, lol! And let me tell you,
it's no toy! That thing can MOVE!

Synthetic ice rink! So fun!
The boys weren't very happy with their accommodations for the party, haha, but we made it up to them in treats and snuggles.

It was a great party, and a really fun time. When all was said and done, we had nearly 100 people there! Woohoo!

After the party, it was the final stretch to Christmas. Our daughter Ariel spent the holiday with her boyfriend & his family out of town, our son-in-law Jared is deployed, and my parents were mid-move, so our group was smaller this year, and we missed them very much. Jared was able to skype in for the gift opening, and again later for dinner, and that was fabulous for all of us, but especially Shiloh.

Speaking of Shiloh - she's now 24 weeks pregnant! We've hit viability!! Yay!!!!! She's beautiful, glowing, and growing :-) I just love having her here during this pregnancy. And, oh that baby bump!!! hehehe!!

Christmas Eve, we had our annual poker party - which didn't last as long as usual due to the missing folks, lol. Everyone had fun playing, and I had fun prepping breakfast for the next morning. We tried two homemade cinnamon roll recipes, plus my traditional breakfast burritos. Yum! Sunday was wonderful, I love having my family gathered together, and hope next year to have them ALL here. ;-)

For dinner, I used my sous vide Joule - so easy!!!! I seriously love that tool! I had cooked the carrots the day before, so about an hour before the beef was done, I just put those back in the water bath and they were ready when we were. Did I say it's so easy? Because it is! LOL!
I had to cut my roast in half in order to fit in the skillet for searing, lol. 

After 2 hours in the water bath, the beef had just an hour to go, so I added the carrots back in to warm up.
Worked perfectly! 

My Joule is my favorite toy, lol.  Anyway, dinner enjoyed, leftovers divvied up, pups spoiled and kids all hugged, then it was just us. Shi and Bear went to bed, and Bill and I lit a fire and cuddled up on the patio to watch Deepwater Horizon and savor our well-earned wine. It was a great day, and a beautiful night.

This coming year will bring some fun and exciting events - Bill is taking me to New Orleans in a couple weeks!! Shi helped him get it all booked and set up, even put the info into a binder for me for Christmas! (Yes - the organizational binder. I raised her well!). I'm so excited!!! Then of course, Jared comes home (hopefully before the birth), and Baby is due mid April. There are no words to express my joy and gratitude for this baby!!

And, because my husband is the world's greatest, there's another event planned for the fall.... Me, my mom, and Shiloh are heading to Maryland to stay at...

Inn Boonsboro!!! Wooooohoooo!!!!

If you're  not familiar with Inn Boonsboro, check out the link above. It's the setting for a Nora Roberts Trilogy (here), and we can't wait to experience it!! The boys (Bill, my Dad, and Jared) will be on baby & puppy duty, lol, while us girls get a weekend away. Happy Dance!!!!

Here's to looking forward to what 2017 brings. I hope this year ends quietly and gently for all of us, and that next year brings joy, peace, and adventure. Best Wishes to You!!

Monday, December 5, 2016

Happy Holidays!

I can't believe it's been so long since my last post! Yikes!
So... a quick catch up...

Daughter is blooming in her pregnancy - she's currently 21 weeks along! I can't give words to how grateful we are for this growing baby! Here's his pic at 19 weeks...

The boys are (mostly) staying out of trouble. Hunter and Bear still get into it here and there, but Loki is the resident referee. Lol. So far we've only lost a stuffed Rudolph, one santa slipper, and a handful of holiday picks. We're pretty sure Loki is the culprit, but he does a great frame job on Hunter.

Our best friend's daughter got married - she was such a beautiful bride! I definitely cried when she and her dad had their dance. So sweet!  Here's Bill and I at the reception.

We had a great thanksgiving. I even managed to brine two turkeys, flip them on day 2, and despite having a tweaked back, I did not end up on my ass holding a sopping wet bird. Victory is MINE!!!!

I made use of my turkey roaster, ninja cooker, and multiple crockpots - along with the oven, lol. Full spread. And I loved preparing and serving it. I told Bill I needed a bigger counter for next year, though. Ha! Ya'll can imagine how he responded. Hehehe.

Ended the night relaxing with some wine and old Gilmore Girls. The next day, Shi and I marathoned the new Gilmore Girls. Woohoo!!! And yes, we watched it while eating chinese food & pizza. Lol.

Saturday, the kids all came over to help set up the Christmas decorations. During a break, Joey took the Can-Am for a spin to continue breaking it in. Evidently artificial rocks aren't just for decoration. Lol. Hunter very much enjoys riding - passenger seat or back, he's fine either way. Loki and Bear not so much.

House is all decorated up. We even got lights on the trees outside! Woot! Of course, the dogs (ahem, Loki) have eaten through one of the strands, so that'll need to be replaced.

Foodwise, I'm loving my Joule from ChefSteps. Sous vide is so much fun!!! I've been playing with all kinds of recipes, and adore the "poached" eggs. The steaks are absolutely incomparable! If you don't know about sous vide, check out this article and this one.  Having played around with it, I can tell you it's the most painless and idiot proof method of cooking. Even more than the crockpot!! Seriously - a steak that you CAN'T overcook??? Count me in!!
Sous Vide Steak with Poached Egg &
Roasted Asparagus
Sous Vide Teriyaki Chicken & Veggies with
Poached Egg

Other things in the works currently include getting ready for the big Christmas Party. I've been working on the party since September, so Friday I started working on my followups with the vendors.
Lighting - check.
Caterer - check.
Equipment (ice rink, snow blower, mechanical reindeer) - NOT CHECK!!! 

OMG, I booked it for the wrong date!!!! Menopause-brain strikes!! Panic ensued, frantic phone calls, emails, panic... thankfully, my rep was able to get everything straightened out with no blood loss. Whew!!!!! Unfortunately, my prego daughter couldn't wait to tell Bill what I'd done. What a brat.

Now I'm working on finalizing the beverage list - seriously, how much booze for 75 people? Lol.

Additionally, after a painful weekend, I finally hauled my butt to the dentist. Now I'm looking at a multi-hour visit tomorrow morning for a couple crowns, a filling, and the possibility of a root canal. Dagnabbit. Of course, the fact that it's been about 10 years since my last dental checkup might have something to do with it. #$%&@!!!  Don't judge. Lol.

And so... that's my update. And now prego-Shi and I are off to the gym. We're both battling colds, so hopefully it won't kick our butts too badly, lol.  Wish us luck!

Happy Holiday Season!!!