Friday, November 27, 2009

To Shop or Not to Shop

I hope everyone had a fabulous Thanksgiving yesterday. We definitely did. Food was delicious and we had a nice time with my Mom, siblings, Uncles family and some friends. After dinner and dessert we officially started the Christmas season with a Christmas movie.

Today is black Friday. Are you out in the shopping madness today? I am not. Rather I'm burrowing in my apartment until 4pm when we're going over to our friend David's and cooking dinner for a bunch of friends. I went out last year on black Friday and while I did get some good deals but I'm still recovering from the madness.

So what am doing if I'm not shopping? I spent the morning cleaning. If you read this blog you know I hate to clean. But there are two things that motivate me to clean: my grandmother coming to visit, and putting up Christmas decorations. I love putting up Christmas decorations but when I was a kid we always had to clean house before getting out all of the decorations. So this morning I woke up and started cleaning right away, Mr. P helped and by noon the house was so clean. Now I'm taking a blogging break and then I will turn on the radio and decorate away.

How are you spending the day after Thanksgiving?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Gorgeous Wedding Photos

Happy Day before Thanksgiving to all. First of all I forgot to add the video link to my last post. And now I can't figure out how to edit the post to do so. So here is the link to the video my Dad sent me about Christmas. It's very good. Now onto today. While most peoples heads are in Thanksgiving mode, mine is half in gorgeous wedding mode because I finally got the disk of Lauren's wedding photos which are so beautiful. So here is some wedding eye candy for all. And wishing Lauren and Nick a very happy first Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

"Before we eat..."

Thanksgiving is just a few days away. At this time of the year I think it is important to stop and really think about what we are Thankful for. And I don’t mean the “10 things you are thankful for” speech your father begins the meal with. This has been on my mind a lot lately. The past few months I have had a bad case of the “I wants”. I want booties, I want new skinny jeans, I want riding boots, I want to live in a house, I want to have a baby, I want Mr. P to be done with law school already, I want a new party dress and so on. This really hit home a few weeks ago when I learned that our church budget was suffering and our Pastor was going to have to take a pay cut. Then the next week I was at Ethos (a young adults youth group) when the Pastor spoke on envy versus contentment. Then my dad sent me this video. And then on Sunday we had our annual Thanksgiving service and church pot luck and Pastor Steve reminded us much we have to be thankful for. I read this pattern as a clear message from God and reminder to myself. It is so easy in our society to get “the wants”, we see what others have and we start to feel entitled, we start to feel it’s not fair, and we start to feel embarrassed with what we have or don’t have. We forget how blessed we are and how content we should be. I know I struggle with this and it is something I continually need to work on. In the words of my father, “the word fair needs to be taken out of your vocabulary”.

With thanksgiving this week and the holidays around the corner I am glad for the reminder I needed. I want this Thanksgiving to truly be a reminder of how blessed we are. And I want this Christmas to be about Jesus, family, friends, church and building beautiful memories. So in honor of Thanksgiving and my Dad (who always requires this before we are allowed to eat out Thanksgiving dinner) here is my list of what I am thankful for this year:

1. Our Church, we love our Church, it is truly a gift from God
2. Mr. P, he is such a wonderful husband

Mr. P and I at Crater Lake this summer.

3. My brother and sister, who besides being wonderful siblings are also wonderful friends

Sean and Jess at Jess' graduation

4. My wonderful Father and Mother

Mom and I at my bridal shower.

5. That I live in this country with all of the promise and opportunity it offers
6. That I live in a nice apartment with a roof overhead and a warm comfy bed
7. For all of our wonderful friends

Everyone at Easter dinner last year.

8. For my Cousin Lauren who is also my best friend and the perfect shopping partner

Lauren and I at her wedding in July

9. For my job which provides more than we need
10. That Mr. P has the opportunity to go to Law School

What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving?

Friday, November 20, 2009

Sometimes Life Is Just Good

It is Friday.

It's really wet, rainy and cold here today.

It is 2pm.

I am at home alone wearing a cozy sweater on my neatly made bed in my clean room drinking tea.

I have no plans tonight except cooking dinner with Mr. P and perhaps watching an old movie.

Sometimes life is just good. You are nice and relaxed with a weekend to look forward too, a big family gathering on Saturday and friends to see at church on Sunday.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Cowboy

This is my Grandfather (the one in the hat), we call him Grampa Dan. Grampa is a rancher. He wears cowboy boots, old dirty worn out cowboy hats, unless he's going to town and then Nonna makes him put a clean hat on. Unfortunately, I don't have a picture of Grampa on his horse on my computer.

Yesterday I received a package from my Grandfather with this in it:

A lot of people barely know there Grandparents, some never meet them. I am extremely blessed to know mine as friends. I grew up 45 minutes away from Grampa Dan and Nonna (Nonna is the Italian word for grandmother). They live on a small cattle ranch in Oregon where I spent a lot of time growing up and even in college. Sadly, I have spent considerably less time there since I've been married.

In college, while other kids went off to Mexico or California for Spring break I headed straight for the ranch. It was usually the first place I went once finals were over for the year. My cousin and I were roommates in college and we'd head down to the ranch almost once a month to go riding, get our fill of homemade Italian cooking and do are laundry. We'd dump all our laundry into the middle of Nonna's big laundry room and head off to the barn with Grampa. While we rode through old growth forests on old logging roads Nonna would do all our laundry and cook us our favorite Italian dishes. Then they would send us home with fresh beef, veggies, Parmesan cheese, preserves, apple sauce, homemade pickles, whatever yummy food Nonna had piled away. It was a wonderful routine.

Grampa taught me to ride a horse by myself when I was seven years old. He's taken me all over the valley riding throughout the forests. All the while he teaches me about our family history, the horses, the ranch, how to run the ranch, life lessons, the "proper place for women", how I will marry a republican, how to track animals, that country music was the only worth listening to and that George Straight and Patsy Cline were the best and so on. Sometimes we would ride the horses all day long out in the trees. We would ride high up into the hills where we could look down and see the whole valley. Then we would stop and Grampa would stand there up on his big horse and point to various places through the valley. He would point out where his school house was, were Great-Grandpa Oscar's father first settled in the 1800's, where his grandmother's apple orchard was, the way he'd come home from school, where so and so held a barn dance, where my great-grandfather shot a cougar.

Other days we would work cattle. This was my favorite activity. We would take the horses up in the hills behind the range land, then we would work the cows down through the creek to the main pasture. Once the cattle were near the barn we would move them into the corral. Usually we would run them through the shoot to vaccinate them, separate them, give them fly powder and things like that. Sometimes a cow would have twins and we would have to take the twin into the barn to be bottle fed.

After a long day working on the ranch we would come up to the main house, eat a lot of food and watch Pure Country. It has always been our movie possessing all the truly important movie elements: horses, good music, a love story and dancing.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Baby Fever

Almost two weeks ago our friends Isaiah and JoAnna had a baby boy, Jedidiah. JoAnna is my first friend to have a baby. I was so excited to meet little Jedidiah. He is so funny and cute and little! He is giving some of us serious baby fever!
It was bad enough when my friend Shelby and I went to buy presents for JoAnna's shower. We had so much fun buying cute little baby things. We spent hours at Target deciding what to get for the new baby. We thought then we had baby fever...but now it's much more serious. Actually holding him, watching his little face look around, watching Isaiah and JoAnna with him, a baby is just so wonderful.

But as much as being around Jedidiah makes me so excited to have a baby a big part of me listens to JoAnna talk about giving birth and is terrified. In the end I think I am glad to be a little ways off from that experience. And Mom, Beth, I AM a ways off so don't get too excited reading this.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

It's Almost Thanksgiving!!!!

It should be no surprise to you all that I love Thanksgiving. After all I love food! I love to cook! And I love friends and family, so a Holiday devoted to these three things is bound to be one of my favorites. Yet this year Thanksgiving has really snuck up on me. Usually I spend the whole month before hand thinking about Thanksgiving. What will I cook? Where will we go? Should I go with an old favorite recipe or try something new? What will I wear? And so on.

This is my second Thanksgiving being married but my fourth one with Mr. P. In fact the first time I went home with him to meet his family was the first Thanksgiving after we started dating. Despite being married and having wonderful China and serve ware and beautiful pots and pans and so on, I have never hosted Thanksgiving. I'm very excited for the day I get too but for now where we live is just too small and so we go to our parents house. Last year we were with the Potters so this year we are with my Mom's family.

Because I have been so busy and time is flying I am rather frantically trying to put together all the recipes I am making. We actually have three Thanksgiving dinners to attend this year. The first one is Saturday at my Grandparent's Ranch with my Dad's family. For this dinner I have been assigned Sweet Potatoes and Cranberry Sauce. Our second dinner is the Church Thanksgiving Dinner Sunday after service. I signed up to bring cranberry sauce and sweet potatoes (these are my two specialties). Then for actual Thanksgiving my Mom, and I and my Uncle Frank and our friend David are all collaborating on the cooking. I am in charge of cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, green vegetable and one dessert. I am going to do the same cranberry sauce and sweet potatoes recipes for both weekend dinner's so I can just make double batches on Saturday morning. In my hurried attempt to do so I am using my favorite cooking sites rather then thumb through my extensive cook book selection. Martha Stewart has a great thanksgiving site, as does Epicurus and of course The Food Network. I love the looking through the menu's on these sites. One thing I have always wanted to do and am looking forward to doing when I do host thanksgiving is to pick an amazing menu out of Martha Stewart or Gourmet and follow it 100%. Perhaps this is my Type A personality coming out but I just think it would be lots of fun. Here are the recipes I am trying this year:

For Saturday and Sunday:
Cranberry Chutney

Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Brown Sugar and Pecan's

For Thanksgiving Day:
Cranberry Sauce with Dried Cherries
Maple Glazed Sweet Potatoes
Roasted Green Beans and Brussels Sprouts
Pumpkin Banana Mousse Tart

So that's what I am cooking this year. I have yet to decide what I am going to wear...What are your Thanksgiving plans? What favorite dish are you cooking this year?

Monday, November 9, 2009

Shopping Fail

This weekend we went to Portland and on Saturday I went shopping with my Mother-in-Law, my husband's grandmother and cousin. We went downtown to Pioneer square mall which is my favorite mall in Portland. Within a couple blocks of the mall is an enormous Macy's, Nordrom's, Nordstom Rack, and tons of other stores. At the Nordstrom Rack I found the most perfect booties. They were grey suede with a rounded toe and came just to my ankle. Best of all they were so comfortable. But, they were $70. And as much as I wanted them I could not bring myself to spend $70 on a pair of shoes that trendy and unnecessary.

In hindsight this bout of rational responsible decision making was a giant shopping fail! I have been wanting booties all fall but have been waiting to find the right ones (at a price I can live with). These were exactly but I have been looking for. I'm now doing some more online research and $70 was a steal for these shoes. And of course I can't find the ones I saw at the Rack ANYWHERE on the Internet. Not at nordsrom's, piperline, DSW, ebay--nowhere. And I can't remember the brand. Here are some samples of the styles I like:

These two are at DSW and are under $70.

These are perhaps my favorite but they are way out of my price range at over $200. They are Betsy Johnson.

I found these on Piperline. I love the bow at the ankle. But again these are out of my price range.

J. Crew and perfect. But way to expensive

These are Steve Madden at Macy's and if they went on sale they may be in my price range.

These are at Macy's also, they are Guess.

Perfection! These almost look exactly like what I found at the Rack. But of course they are selling for $135.

Alas, I am now on the look out for booties. I am going back to Portland in a couple of weeks to go Christmas shopping with Lauren, my true shopping soul mate, and we will find the perfect bootie!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Good Books

I just finished this book and I really enjoyed it. I honestly wasn’t very excited to read it after I read the back cover but it surprised me and was a really good book. So I highly recommend it.

Now my sister and I are on a King Arthur kick. We watched the newest movie with Clive Owen and Keira Knightly because, well honestly Clive Owen is dreamy and Keira Knightly is gorgeous and we love her in Pride and Prejudice. While the movie was fairly awful, at one point Kiera Knightly goes into battle wearing what can only resemble a liter-hosen, it did remind us how much we love King Arthur stories. We were big King Arthur fan’s as kids. We had a few different children’s renditions and then there was the move Kid in King Arthur’s Court which was a favorite of ours. So after Keira Knightly and her liter-hosen we watched Mists of Avalon and First Knight. Julia Armand is a much better Guinevere than Keira Knightly, it pains me to say it but it’s very true. Next we are going to rent the movie Excalibur which was made in the 70’s and should be highly entertaining.

Mists of Avalon was incredibly entertaining yet perhaps the most ridiculous movie I have every seen. We have christened it the soap opera version of King Arthur as it boasts, murder, hidden identities, multiple love triangles, incest, revenge, affairs, deceit, betrayal and a three some between King Arthur, Guinevere and Lancelot. I have never read the book but I can’t really believe that all of that happens in the book. So I will have to read it and see if it is better. But first I’m reading a King Arthur story our Pastor loaned me. It’s a trilogy the first one is called Taliesin by Stephan Lawhead. So far it is really good and I’m enjoying it a lot. It begins on the lost Island of Atlantis. Normally I don’t read science fiction or fantasy. I spent most of my childhood reading Laura Ingalls Wilder, Anne of Green Gables, Little Women, The Secret Garden and so on. But there were a few exceptions. I had a weakness for stories about magic, kingdoms, dragon’s and knights and ladies. I love to be pulled into a completely different world and reality where I have to imagine what everything looks like.

My favorite stories in this genre are:

Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis: how I wished I could find a secret wardrobe when I was a kid...
Lord of the Rings: I first read these on a camping trip and spend the entire trip reading. I couldn’t put them down until I knew how the story ended.
Tales of King Arthur
Harry Potter: you don’t even want to get me started

Do you have childhood favorites you still come back to? What are your favorite books?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Much Delayed Halloween Pic

This is the best picture I have of our costumes. Unfortunately it doesn't show them very well. But we were running really late for the party by the time we took this picture. Mr. P is making a gangster face which is why he looks so strange and angry. He has a gangster pistol which you can't see to complete his costume. The bottom of my dress that is cut off is all fringes. You also can't see my headpiece very well but it turned out great. Best of all we spent zero money on our costumes!

For Mr. P, who is a 1920's gangster, he is wearing pinstriped trousers and a white shirt we had. We added suspenders and a Fedora which my sister had from an old costume. Then we added his friends face revolver pistol and holster.

For my flapper costume, I am wearing an old dress that for some reason I thought was cool 10 years ago and wore for my sophomore year homecoming dance. I paired it with black nylons and black heels I already had. For jewelry I have my triple strand pearls with my sisters long strand of pearls. I also layered a vintage black and gold necklace I already had. I used another long pearl necklace I had as bracelets. I also wore vintage diamond and pearl drop earrings I already had. For the head piece, I pinned a black lace headband I had into my hair and then pinned on a gold and pearl broach onto it. Lastly of course, I wore very heavy eye make up and red lipstick.

We had a great time at the party Friday. Then Saturday we went to the haunted corn maze with a bunch of friends which was great fun. Now the Halloween fun is over and it's back to work. I have been swamped at work but we are going to Portland this weekend to visit Mr. P's parents and I'm looking forward to getting away. Hope your holiday was fun!