Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanksgiving '08

The big dinner went off without a hitch. It was a little hectic getting the dinner and all the fixings to be ready at the same time, but it all worked out in the end. The conversation flowed, as did the wine. Everyone seemed to get along well and the dinner was delicious! I'm glad that we could all share the holiday this year. It might be a unusual to some that ex-husbands, ex-wives, new wives and extended families are sharing a holiday together, but in the end, it was actually kind of fun. And we are all looking forward to doing it again next year. Maybe we have started a new tradition. Click here to see the photos from the big day.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Preparing for the Feast

The tables are set and the turkey is in waiting. We're having a big ol' Thanksgiving Feast tomorrow. Me, my mom and Eric's ex-wife will be the main "chefs" preparing the meal. There will be 10 total for dinner and lots of stories to share after the big day I'm sure!

We all had the day off today, which was a nice treat. I did some fun birthday shopping for myself using some of the generous gifts I received. I got a few new sweaters, some jeans, new jammies and a brand-new winter coat that I was very much in need of. I was very excited about all my purchases! I haven't been on a shopping spree like that in years.

I hope that everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving and that you are able to enjoy the company of your friends and family!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Oh no, the big 4-0!

Today was a fun day, even though it was the day I turned 40. It was all about the food. And tomorrow I will need to start my diet.

I got to work this morning and a friend had decorated my office and left a big plate of brownies for me. And another friend made cookies... and then there were the many cups of Dunkin Donuts coffee... then some of the people in my department took me to lunch at Chilis. Then I topped of the evening when Eric, Kelsey and Alex took me to Ichiban Japanese Steakhouse for dinner! I don't think I'll need to eat anything tomorrow. And if it weren't for Thanksgiving on Thursday, I would probably be set for the rest of the week on all the food I ate today!

This was our chef at the Steakhouse. I ordered Chicken Teriyaki, Alex had Beef Teriyaki, Kelsey had Grilled Chicken... and Eric had some sort of chicken thing off the menu... we started the meal with soup, then a salad... then fried rice... sauteed zucchini with onions... fried shrimp.... and then the main course of our chosen meat sauteed with mushrooms... then it was all topped off with bean sprouts. Phew!

This was a shot of our meal in flames.

And after the meal, Alex told them it was my birthday, so they sang Happy Birthday to me in Japanese and brought me this very yummy cupcake that I split with the kids.

Then we got home and Eric surprised me with this fun cake! (The close-up photo is above.) We are are saving it for later though because we are all too full!! So far 40 has been a blast. But I'm thinking I might need to get some sort of exercise equipment if I'm going to keep eating like this!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Birthday Celebrations

Tonight we went to Gary & Paula's for a fun birthday celebration for me and Laura. We both have November birthdays, so we celebrated together. Paula served a fantastic spaghetti and meatball dinner, Sheila brought an adorable, yummy snowman cake and fun was had by all. There was a minor mishap upon our arrival (Eric's car got stuck in the driveway) but we didn't let a little problem dampen our spirits. Click here for photos from the dinner party.

Thanksgiving Snow

More photos from the Lake Effect snow. This is the tree in front of our house yesterday morning. I'm thinking we're going to have a very white Thanksgiving this year.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Five on Friday

I managed to make it home safely from a very rough evening commute. An hour and a half to go 15 miles. Good times. I had a beer and some leftover pizza for dinner and now I'm finally sitting down to relax. This weeks Five on Friday are my favorite TV Theme songs. These were my favorites growing up, since they really don't seem to make catchy, fun theme songs anymore. I would like to apologize in advance for planting these songs in your brain, and if any of these get stuck in your head, I am soo sorry!

1. The Brady Bunch
2. Gilligan's Island
3. The Facts of Life
4. Cheers
5. The Mary Tyler Moore Show

Does anyone have any other favorites? If you can't remember the lyrics to your favorite theme songs, here is a great website for reminiscing. Have fun!

Lake Effect Snow

This was my view on the drive to work today. (Yes, I took this as I was driving... probably not the smartest thing to be doing!) But it was neat. It was dark and snowing to the right of the lake and sunny to the left. That's what Lake Effect is like. A few miles away could be having a blizzard while you're in total sunshine. 

I took this photo from the parking lot at work, minutes after I took the above photo. The skies were clear and blue. What a difference a couple of miles makes!

A peaceful, pretty shot of winter. (Click on the images to see them bigger.)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Winter is here.

This was our view from the kitchen this morning. I think winter is here. 

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Picture of the Day

Here's a photo that will surely bring a smile to your face. It was 2 years ago next week we brought Jenny home. She was 9 weeks old. This photo was taken a few days after we got her. I think those ears are bigger than the rest of her. (You can click on the picture to see it larger.)

In other news at the Hayden House... it was report card day on Friday. Both kids got a "93" average overall and made the honor roll. Nice job!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Five on Friday

On my way to work today, I was flipping through radio stations and came across one station that was already playing Christmas music. Even though I think it's still far too early for Christmas music, it got me thinking of what my favorite Christmas songs are... and here they are:

1. Silver Bells
2. Rocking Around the Christmas Tree
3. Winter Wonderland
4. Jingle Bell Rock
5. The Holly and the Ivy

Anyone else have any favorites??

Thursday, November 13, 2008


I found a new cookie recipe that I wanted to try. Cinna-spin cookies. They are on the Betty Crocker website.

Here's the recipe:

1 pouch Betty Crocker® sugar cookie mix
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 tbsp ground cinnamon

1 cup powdered sugar
2 tbsp milk
1/4 tsp vanilla

1. Heat oven to 375°F. In large bowl, mix cookie mix and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Stir in butter and egg until soft dough forms.
2. On piece of waxed paper, shape 1 tablespoon cinnamon into a line about 5 inches long. Using floured fingers, shape 1 tablespoon of dough into a rope 5 inches long. Press one side of dough rope into cinnamon.
3. On ungreased cookie sheet, coil dough rope tightly, cinnamon side facing center, into cinnamon-roll shape. Press end of rope into roll to seal. Repeat with remaining dough. Place cookies 2 inches apart on cookie sheets.
4. Bake 7 to 10 minutes or until edges are light golden brown. Cool 1 minute; remove from cookie sheets to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 15 minutes.
5. In small bowl, mix glaze ingredients until smooth. Drizzle over cookies.

These cookies were delicious and I got a "best cookies ever" from the kids. However, the mix only made about 25 cookies, which in our house, probably won't last 24 hours. The small amount of cookies was fine with me though, because they were very time consuming to make. I think next time I make them, I'll skip the "swirl" part and just make regular cookies, mix them in cinnamon sugar and drizzle them with the icing. It'll probably taste the same and be a lot easier to make.

Thursday Thoughts

It's been a few days since I last posted a blog entry. It's been a busy week! Busy at work... busy at home. The stock market is falling... my 401k is in the toilet. But good news with gas prices, they're falling too. Last week when I filled up it was $2.24. It's holding around that for now, hopefully it will keep going down. I'm very curious what gas is going for in other parts of the country... so... if you wouldn't mind, please post in the comments what gas prices are in your area. Who has the lowest?? 

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Kitchen Makeover

Our next home improvement project is underway. Above is a photo of our kitchen. It looks lovely from this angle. What you can't see from this far away though, is the 23 year build-up of a gross, sticky texture on the countertops. I've scrubbed and scrubbed... but it never goes away. So... we're getting new countertops! Below is a photo of a sample of our new countertops. It's called "Deepstar Agate" It's a laminate material, but it's kind of has a shiny texture. It's very nice.

And below here is our new white sink! Since we're getting a new countertop, they needed to replace the sink too. It's a white acrylic sink, very basic, but a nice alternative to the standard stainless steel.

We had the countertops measured last week and are awaiting an installation date.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Silence is Golden

I finally remembered to make Jenny a "pedicure" appointment and took her to get her nails trimmed this morning. Her clickity-clacking all over the house was starting to drive us crazy. Below are before and after photos of her poor nails. I feel so bad that I let them get so long! Poor thing... she can sneak up on us now though since she's so quiet when she walks.

After the early Vet appointment, I made some Butterscotch Chip Cookies at Eric's request. They turned out very well, they're a little sweet, but still very tasty.

Speaking of Eric, here's a photo of him in his new spectacles. Isn't he handsome?? (He was caught here with a mouthful of cookies.)

Friday, November 7, 2008

Five On Friday

Today's theme is baking. The holidays are coming and it's that time of year for lots of baking. And we all know I love to bake! These are my 5 favorites... in no particular order...

1. Chocolate Chip Cookies
2. Snickerdoodles
3. Apple Crisp
4. Carrot Cake
5. Banana Bread

Anyone else have any favorites??

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Another "free" plug!

I know I posted about this website awhile back, but I've been starting to get free things arriving in my mailbox and now it's kind of exciting! We've gotten free shampoo and free mashed potatoes so far. And coupons along with those things. Yesterday I signed up for free popcorn... and there are countless other items that I've already forgotten about that I sent off for, but I will be very excited to receive them. So go on, try it out! 

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Over-Used Election Words & Phrases

Here's a list of words/phrases I will not miss after today:

1. Battleground State
2. Joe the Plumber
3. Joe Six-pack
4. Blue State
5. Red State
6. Change
7. Experience
8. Reach across the aisle
9. Evangelical vote
10. Pork Barrel

Anyone have any more they'd like to add??

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Meatball Mania

Tonight we had another great Crock Pot dinner. I got big package of meatballs a few weeks ago for the party and we had a lot leftover, so tonight, we had spaghetti and meatballs for dinner. I put a jar of spaghetti sauce in the Crock Pot, dumped in the meatballs, stirred them around and let them cook for 6-7 hours on low heat. I heated up a very yummy loaf of Wegmans Garlic Bread, had steamed carrots on the side and served the meatballs and sauce over angel hair pasta.

This is the finished product. So warm the steam is coming off the meatballs. It was soo good! And there was so much leftover, we have lunch and dinner for a couple of days.

Even Jenny wanted some meatballs! (Yes, she's a VERY bad dog...)

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Halloween at the Hayden House

We had a very successful first Halloween at the Hayden House. Alex decided he was "too old" to go trick-or-treating and wanted to hand out candy to the little kids. He did a great job... for the first half-hour. Then a friend stopped by while he was out trick-or-treating and so Alex decided maybe he wasn't too old after all, so he quickly got his costume on and went out to collect some treats with his friend. His costume (which I forgot to take a photo of) was a dejected Green Bay Packers fan. With his Brett Favre jersey, he wore his Cheese-head hat and had made a sign that read "Bring Back Brett"... and had logos printed on it too. He had worn it to school that day, so it was conveniently right by the door. I'll try to get a photo of him with it on and post it later. It was a creative costume and didn't cost anything. That's my favorite kind!

Kelsey also went trick-or-treating. She was Super Puppy. She left early to go to a friends house, so she went trick-or-treating there and stayed for a sleepover. Here's a photo of her with her costume, also mostly home-made. Her mom made her cape and I cut the Superman logo out of felt.

We didn't carve any pumpkins this year, but took advantage of the "carving" that the squirrels did for us. I put a tea light inside and it lit right up... pretty scary, huh?? In all, we had 58 Trick-or-Treaters this year.