Monday, November 22, 2010

Pilgrims and Tigers and Pepper Jelly - Oh My!

Fall is in full swing and we have had some fun this last week celebrating the upcoming holiday. There was a teacher work day at preschool last week and the weather was gorgeous, so the girls and I took a little trip down to the Montgomery Zoo! We hadn't been since Annie was a newborn and I knew she would enjoy seeing all the animals now that she can make all of their sounds!

Standing with (and like) the flamingos!

Our most up close encounter was with this beautiful white Siberian tiger. When we first walked up to his habitat, he was sleeping in the back and we could barely see him. All of a sudden he popped up and walked right over to the glass and sat down eye to eye with us. We decided he must be lonely in there. Libby suggested that he get a "tiger wife". He was massive and even with the glass between us, I got a little nervous with how curious he seemed about us.

Their favorite part was the little red train that circles the zoo. We went for a ride all the while singing the "Choo Choo Soul" theme song from Playhouse Disney.

On our way out to the zoo parking lot, we were approached by two police officers on bicycles. Had they heard me threaten spankings during our zoo visit? Even fun trips can have their moments and meltdowns! Thankfully they just asked if they could give Libby and Annie these precious police teddy bears!

How cool - thanks Montgomery Police Department!

On Thursday we got to attend the Thankful Feast at Libby's preschool. The pilgrims and Indians performed a couple of songs for us! Doesn't she look the part?

Sweet Annie intently watched her big sister perform and clapped for all the big kids!

Afterwards we enjoyed a potluck lunch. Libby told everyone in her class that they had to at least TRY a bite of her Mommy's squash casserole (where has she heard that before???).

Me and my little pilgrim and butterball baby boy :)

Other highlights from our week...

A major treat - a bubble bath. I use this as a reward for good behavior and it always does the trick. There is just something about it that they think is really special...complete with Santa beards and sissy kisses!

A new (to us) van!

We all drove up to Atlanta Friday night and traded my Trailblazer for a Honda Odyssey. We will need more room once brother arrives in February! As we driving up, I was telling the girls how we had brought them home from the hospital as babies in our reliable Chevy and that I was going to miss this car.

Somebody got a little sentimental and wanted one last pic with the Blazer...

Here we are loading up for the first time.

I love hitting a button and the doors opening and closing on their own. We are now official grown-ups and have entered a new phase in life in our Silver Bullet!

So, it was our turn to bring snack for "D Week" at preschool. Can you think of any semi-healthy snack foods that start with the letter D? I could not. Thanks to some Googling, we found out how to make these graham cracker, peanut butter and chocolate chip Dominos:

They turned out cute and the kiddos gobbled them up. The dried dates that I sent to go with them...not so much. Libby politely asked me not to send those anymore.

Last but not least, I tried making pepper jelly over the weekend. I have been canning jam for the last couple of years, but I had never tried peppers so it was all new to me. I followed the Sure Jell recipe.

The flavor and heat is great, but it didn't quite "set up" as jelly, so now I'm just calling it pepper relish. We will be pouring it over cream cheese on Thanksgiving day with crackers, so it will get the true test then. All in all, it was fun to spend a couple of hours alone in the kitchen on Saturday and try it out!

We will spend Thanksgiving in Roswell at my parent's house and are looking forward to a weekend of visiting with family and friends. Dusty and I might even join the Black Friday crowds for a while if I can talk him into it!

Happy Thanksgiving week! We all have so many reasons to celebrate this time of year!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Q: What Do You Get When You Cross a Tiger and a Bulldog?

A: My Family!

We enjoyed a weekend of football, tailgating, grilling and fun with Mom, Dad and Melanie on the Plains for the Auburn/Georgia game! Our last home game was a blast and I was so glad that my family could come and spend it with us...even if they had on red and black! The girls were ecstatic about them spending the weekend at our house and each were greeted with a rousing welcome at the front door. I love when they visit.

Friday night we grilled out at our house and, can I mention, we discovered a new favorite...flank steak. I don't know how a carnivorous crew like us have not cooked them before. I used this marinade recipe from one of my favorite blogs and sliced them up alongside a salad and Mom made some roasted butternut squash - delish!

Saturday morning started early for my husband. The poor guy was so excited about this GA match up that he woke up at 3:30 AM! He takes game days very seriously and this one was a big one. I have been trying to think of something that would mean so much to me that I would wake up that early in anticipation for. Right now, heartburn is the only thing that awakens me at that hour, and I am definitely not excited about that. He is so funny, but was exhausted by the end of our day.

We had perfect weather for tailgating and had a great time together to celebrate the south's oldest rivalry.

The girls always love to see their pal, Amelia!

Libby "climbed" her first tree. Dusty gave her a boost and she got so tickled to be up there. She is such a monkey!

Of course, little sis then wanted to have a turn too. As you can tell, she was not as enthusiastic once she got up there...

All the girls!

Mom and Dad took the girls back to watch the game from our house and Dusty, Melanie and I went to the game. It was a great one. A close scoring game ending in 11-0 record for Auburn! War Eagle!

Now Dusty is plotting and planning on how he can get himself to the SEC Championship game. He is absolutely giddy!

"Everybody's hands go UP!...And they stay there..."

A great weekend with some of our favorite people!

We rested most of today and we are gearing up for a busy week. Tomorrow will start with taking my car in to be serviced. We were planning on trading it in in the next couple weeks for a van (yipee!) so Murphy's Law would say that this would be the time for a water pump leak. An OB appointment, the dreaded glucose test, preschool Thanksgiving feast, Bunco and a wedding in Montgomery are all on tap for the week!


Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Girl and Her Boots

What started as the finishing touch to her Halloween costume have turned into Libby's favorite footwear!

I love this girl and her sense of style. Thanks to Grams for the fabulous fashion find!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Adventures in Pocket Pies

Ok, maybe not an adventure...but we certainly had fun with our fun new kitchen tool! I had spied this baby in the Williams-Sonoma catalog months ago, but when my sister and I saw them in person in the store last weekend, I gave in to temptation and brought one home!

Libby and I rolled up our sleeves yesterday afternoon and made some cherry pocket pies. There is something about mini or individual anything that seems special and cute. I was happy with the way these turned out and they were pretty simple and fun to put together.

How sweet is my sous chef?

The instructions included with the mold were clear and easy to follow.

We rolled out one pie dough and cut out the solid "bottoms" for each of the pockets.

Then we turned it over cut out the lattice "tops".

Flipping the mold open, we pressed a solid piece to one side and spooned a few tablespoons of the filling into the cavity.

After we placed one lattice top over the filled side, we pressed the mold together and crimped the edges.

Voila! A sealed pocket pie!. The instructions said to place them on parchment (I was out and just put them on my silicone baking mats) and to freeze them for 30 minutes.

After we took them out of the freezer, we brushed them with egg wash, sprinkled with sugar, then baked them for 20 minutes at 400 degrees.

At this point, they could also be fried if you used two solid sides...oh, good golly.

Cute, right? I liked how some of the cherry juice seeped out of the lattice crust. They were tasty and the fam thought it was fun to eat dessert on a regular old Monday night!

So, I probably needed a very specific new kitchen tool like a hole in the head, but I think these will become a favorite and definitely would be great for company. Now I'm, chocolate, pecan? Maybe even a savory empanada?

Thanks W-S!