Monday, November 30, 2009

Christmas Decorations are Up!!












We spent all day Saturday and most of the morning Sunday putting up Christmas decorations on the house. Scott says that he will never do it again. He was really scared when he got up on top of the house so he moved around to the front and climbed up and down the ladder for over 4 1/2 hours. I want to get some more snowflake lights but other than that, I think it looks pretty good for our first time.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009


Thanksgiving started early for me as my mom and I got up around 5 to start all of the cooking. The turkey had to be rubbed and popped in. I wanted to start the roast. We made the pasta salad and deviled eggs early and then had a break for a bit to straighten up the house.

I was really excited about the Macy's Day Parade coming on this year because I thought Kanin would think it was really cool to see all of the big balloons and bands.



Since the cooking was well underway, I took the opportunity to take some pictures of my babies.
























The family all showed up around noon. Mom, Dad, Debbie, David, Alissa, Kurt, Sarah, Ben, Marissa, Alison & Aidan were all over for a feast and I mean FEAST! Jeff, Dayna and Kelsey showed up later for some dessert.




After a long day of family, football and feasting, we ended the night with a new family tradition of reading Elf On the Shelf. our elf's name is Chuckie and he shows up on Thanksgiving night.



Trials of a Thanksgiving Turkey and Stuffing, Part II

Well, I completely changed my plan on the turkey. I had it out in the garage in the freezer and I moved it down to the refrigerator part on Monday morning to thaw out. Well, Tuesday night I said something to Scott about the turkey and he said that it was still frozen. I was freaking out so I brought inside to the refrigerator, put it out on the counter for a few hours in a pand, put it back in the fridge and finally, put it in a cold bath. It finally unthawed but I didn't not get to do the Alton Brown's brine as I did last year.

So, I thought since I skipped his step, I would just combine Bobby Flay and Paula Deen's recipes and just kind of came up with my own. I put all of Bobby's herbs into a butter, lathered up my bird and put it breast side down on 400 degrees for 30 minutes and then I turned it down to 325 for the rest of the time. The skin came out crispy on the bottom half. I popped it in the oven right around 7am and by 10am the little thermometer said the turkey was done--we had another 2 hours to go!! So, my mom and I flipped the bird over and let the breast sit down in all of the juices and turned the temp down to 275 for the next 2 hours. I have to admit that that turkey was some of the most juciest and tenderest turkeys I ever had. The meat, literally, was falling off the bone. When we tried to move the turkey from the roasting pan to the platter, the 2 leg bones just pulled apart from the body.

Finally, after Scott and Debbie carved the turkey, I poured Paula Deen's cranberry glaze over it. It was really, really good.

More on the rest of Thanksgiving in another post.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Blog Questions

For those of you that have been doing this a bit, could you help me out?

I don't like how my paragraphs are so far apart from each other. Can I change that?

How do you put a picture up in the topic?

How do you change the size of pictures?

Sprouting Up Trees







Well, it is that time of year again. My favorite time . . . putting up Christmas decorations. Everyone who knows me knows how obsessed I am with Christmas trees. I love all Christmas tree: big ones, little ones, red, blue, black , white (you get the picture). I used to have a Christmas tree for every room but now that we bought the bigger house I am going to have to buy more trees.






Each of my trees have a certain theme. The one in the family room is gold, silver and white with angels all over it. I call it my angel tree. A lot of the ornaments are from Scott's mom so I thought it fitting that her ornaments should be on the angel tree. My obsession with trees is obvious if you take a close look at this one. Although it is a beautiful tree, it is too tall for my house so the top branches have never been on it! It is kind of just cut off at the top. I couldn't resist buying it, though, because it was normally $250 and I snagged it for a cool $28 after Christmas. Every year I say that I need to buy an angel for the top of the tree and then I forget.






I also have a red and white candy tree. I put red lights on this one and all of the ornaments are candy related.






There is the small tree with pink lights and victorian ornaments such as shoes, flowing dresses and intimate beads. I have a Scooby Doo tree and a sports tree, too.






In a couple of years I would like to do an old-fashioned Christmas tree where we string popcorn and find pone cones to paint. I think with that tree I will add all of the kids' homemade ornaments that I'm sure will surface over the next few years.






I put the family room tree up this past Friday and I've attached a couple of pics. I will add pictures of the others as they slowly find their way around the house.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A night at HOME


Last night the Westerhold side of the family went out to dinner at Kitaro. Then, with the help of my fabulous babysitters, I was able to go out with Paul, Susie, Doug, Scott, John, Sherri, Rich and our neighbors, Corey and Anne. My friend, Jen, was able to meet up with us later in the night.


We first went to the Electric Cowboy which will probably be the only time I go there but it was fun line dancing, again. Then, we headed to HOME at the Ameristar. One of our friends, Becky, works there and was able to get us VIP seating. I actually had a lot of fun plus DJ Jazzy Jeff from DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince (Will Smith) was the guest DJ. It was really cool.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Trials of a Thanksgiving Turkey

I am "hosting" Thanksgiving dinner again this year. I did it last year and it turned out pretty well but I think there is always some anxiety over cooking that turkey. Last year I used Alton Brown's turkey recipe from Good Eats but this year, I think I'm going to combine 3 recipes: Alton Brown's, a turkey recipe from Bobby Flay and top it off with a glaze by Paula Deen. If I can pull this off, then I should be on Food Network! I could be headed for disaster. I will let you know how it works out.

STEP 1: (Alton Brown) My plan is to begin with a brine: 1 cup kosher salt, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1 gallon vegetable stock, 1 tablespoon peppercorns, 1 1/2 tablespoons allspice berries, 1 1/2 teaspoons candied ginger and 1 gallon heavily iced water.
-I will boil all of these ingredients and then bring it down to room temperature. Then, I will put the turkey in a cooler, cover it with the brine and let it sit overnight. Taken from: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/good-eats-roast-turkey-recipe/index.html

STEP 2: (Bobby Flay) 1 whole turkey, 1 1/4 sticks unsalted butter-slightly softened, 2 tablespoons each-sage, rosemary, thyme and parsley, salt and pepper, 3 large carrots cut into 1- inch pieces , 3 large ceery stalks cut into 1-inch pieces, 2 large quartered onions, 8 cups chicken stock
-Preheat oven to 450 degrees
-Season the cavity with salt and pepper and fill with half of the carrots and celery and then mix the other ingredients together and rub all over the outside of the bird
-Heat 4 cups of the stock and add the other 4 cups to the bottom of the roasting pan. Add rest of vegetables and place turkey on top
-Roast for 45 minutes and then turn the temperature down to 350 degrees and baste with the warm chicken stock
-When finished, let stand 20 minutes
Taken from: http://www.parade.com/food/recipes/parade/11152009-best-chefs-perfect-thanksgiving.html

STEP 3: (Paula Deen) 8 tablespoons softened butter, 1 (12 ounce bag) cranberries, 1/2 cup maple syrup, 3/4 cup cranberry juice, 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar, 3/4 cup apple cider, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper
-Combine all ingredients in sauce pan. Bring to a boil and then reduce to medium-low until cranberries burst. Strain the mixture and then pour over the turkey once it is finished.
Taken from: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/roasted-turkey-with-maple-cranberry-glaze-recipe/index.html

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Motivation, Where are you?


So, I got up this morning before taking Kanin to school and put on my running shorts, sports bra and tennis shoes. I was determined that as soon as I walked back in the door that I was going to hop on the treadmill for a good 20 minutes and sweat out that Steak-n-Shake that I HAD to have last night. Mysteriously, though, after dropping him off my car decided to go to Starbucks for a Venti Americano with 1 pump of sugar-free vanilla and a classic coffeecake. That's ok, I told myself, I will eat and drink this and then get on the treadmill . . . that was an hour ago. I simply have no motivation to work out.


I have done everything within my power to motivate myself . . . bought extra weights, got the workout ball up from the basement, recorded workout programs on tv. I was actually doing really well and was hard at it for about 6 weeks and then I kind of caught the bug and after that I just have never gotten back on the wagon. I love working out but I always feel so tired and feel like there are other things that I could be doing.


I did have the excuse that how could I work out when my house needed to be cleaned? Then Scott let me have my mom and dad clean the house so out the door that one went.


My new kick is that I need a double jogging stroller. If only I had that stroller then I could really work out. I imagine myself running down the sidewalk with both babies in it. I could even by the little plastic covering so that if it rained they would stay dry. That stroller will definitely make the difference in my workout ability. I could take it to the mall when it is really cold, we could use it when we go shopping or on vacation. Yes, that's it, I will totally work out when I get that double jogging stroller.


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Memory Lane

I'm sitting here with Caleb sleeping on me, GracieAnn is watching her "shows" in the playroom and Bubba (Kanin) is at school. The house seems really quiet right now but I know in an hour or two it will be back to the normal fighting, yelling, bouncing and jumping.

I've been thinking a lot lately about my childhood. I don't usually take walks down memory lane but here recently it is like I am trying to remember everything I can and I thought I might as well start writing some of these memories down before I totally lose them. I'm going to try to go through some of my mom's pictures and scan and post any pictures that relate but, let's face it, it's not like I have a lot of time and I have intentions of doing a lot of things.

I guess since Kanin got his bicycle I've been thinking of a lot of bicycle related memories. I remember riding Grandma Williams-Riles blue 3-wheeled bicycle with the white basket in the back. When she got that bike, I just thought it was the coolest thing. Marissa, Donna and I used to ride it up and down the road. I remember riding in front of William Dowdy's house while he was out in the front yard playing, too. It just seemed like the coolest bike ever.

I also remember an old blue old-tyme bike that we got from somewhere. I guess I felt like my I had outgrown my orange bike and so I rode that old, blue, rusty one forever. My legs were too short and I couldn't sit on the seat and peddle so I just rode it around by standing up the whole time.

My earliest memory of a bicycle, though, is the little red one that I had that had training wheels. At the time, the road we lived on was gravel so I couldn't walk on it. So, we had to walk down the street to where the pavement started and ride it. It also happened to be right in front of Grandma Williams' house. My mom and dad would walk beside me and we would ride from Grandma Williams' house to right in front of Uncle Calbert's house. They tell me that I was riding it on my own for a long time but it still had the training wheels on it. The training wheels weren't even touching the ground but I threw a fit and wouldn't let them take them off. I guess it was a security thing. I don't remember when or why but they eventually took them off and that was it, I was an official bike rider.

It's funny how memories get triggered. I've been thinking so much about bicycles lately that I'm thinking about getting one. Now that Kanin has one I could get a big one with a trailer and pull the babies in it. I don't know, we'll see . . . once again, I have good intentions but we'll see what happens.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Kanin is 6!!!







Kanin turned 6 years old yesterday. We had a family party for him at our house. This is the first year that we had his party on his actual birthday.






This year he said that he didn't want a birthday cake, he wanted Mama to make him a cherry pie. I tried to talk him out of it as I knew he had never tasted cherry pie. He loves just plain cherries but I didn't really think he would like the cherry pie filling. So, we loaded up Mama's cherry pie with 6 candles (the first time that he has had actual candles and not the numbers), sang Happy Birthday and then he blew them out. After a couple of bites, though, he figured out that he really didn't like cherry pie BUT he didn't want to say anything because he didn't want to hurt Mama's feelings. I thought that was sweet. I would say that around here he doesn't always think about other people and their feelings so the fact that he didn't want to hurt her feelings says something.






I think that this will probably be the last year that we get away with just having a family party. When he is in 1st Grade I'm sure that the friend parties will start. I have a lot of wonderful memories from my own birthday parties, as well as, friends' parties so I'm looking forward to him getting to experience those things.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

New Found Freedom








Kanin turns 6 on Sunday and we got him his very first bicycle. From the moment he put his little leg over the seat I could see that he had tasted independence and a little piece of him was gone from me forever.

I remember getting my first bicycle, too. I was in kindergarten so I was probably 5 or 6 years old. I don't remember all of the circumstances surrounding the bicycle "incident" but from what my mom and dad told me my cousin had gotten a bicycle and when we went over to her house she would not let me touch it. I guess I cried and cried but she still would not let me touch it. It made my mom and dad so mad that they took money that they didn't have and went and bought me a brand new bicycle. I remember getting off the bus and my dad wheeled it from around the side of the house. It was orange and red with streamers, a banana seat, a horn and a basket. I think every bell and whistle that could be added to that bicycle was attached.




Up until that bicycle I guess I had been on a little "baby" bike but now I had freedom. I could race down old Bell City hill pretending that I was being chased by cops. I was in the circus showing off my trick of riding with no hands in front of all of the crowd. I was cruising town in a convertible with the top rolled down. On that bicycle I could be anybody and go anywhere and I did.




It makes me wonder what adventures Kanin will conquer on his bicycle. Will he be the cop or the robber? Will he be in a spaceship surrounded by aliens? Will he be a pilot on a jet? I hope he is all of these things and more on his new bicycle, as long as he is home for dinner.
















Things I Love

I love holding a newborn baby while they are sleeping, smelling the lotion and baby powder with just a hint of spit up thrown in there.
I love waking up in the middle of the night and looking at the clock and realizing that I don't have to get up for another 5 hours.
I love laying in front of a fire on a rainy, cold Sunday afternoon.
I love watching Gracie pretend like she is a Mommy to all of her baby dolls.
I love holding hands, strong hugs and warm, slow kisses.
I love really hot baths, the kind that when I get out my skin is red.
I love sitting in front of a firepit on a chilly night with a glass of wine, listening to music and just thinking.
I love decorating for Christmas. If I could, I would leave my house decorated all year long.
I love hot, sweaty summer days. Summer days mean flip flops and tank tops. Swimming pools and pools of sweat. Cardinals baseball and cold beer. BBQ's and days at the lake. Boating and washers. Vacations. Driving around town with the windows rolled down and the music up. I live for summer days!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Where Does the Time Go?

You know, growing up I would always hear the "old folks" talk about how time flies once you hit 25 and like every other kid in America I thought "Yeah, right. 25, I'll never make it to 18!". Well, here I sit 35 with a husband, 3 kids and racing towards another Christmas. Where does the time go? I could swear that I just wrote a blog last week but nope, it was way back in September.

Things continue to be crazy around the Westerhold house. I cannot believe that my sweet baby Caleb is already 4 months old. Kanin will be 6 on Sunday and Gracie Sassypants well, let's just say she is getting sassier by the minute.

Scott and I took a trip to Las Vegas last week. It was great to get away but it was so much work. I didn't realize how hard it would be to just add one more kid to the mix. The diapers, formula, clothes, wipes, etc. etc. I was so stressed out by the time I go there that I couldn't really unwind. I really wanted to have a nice weekend with Hottie Scottie but it turned out mostly a weekend of me trying to catch up on sleep and worrying about what was going on with the babies back in the STL.

So, here I sit at the end of another day. Days and weeks seems to pass so fast now that Kanin has started school. It seems like I drop him off and before I turn around it is time to pick him up. Then, it is straight into lunches, naps, laundry, dinner, baths and bedtime. Oh, how I wish I could go back to the days that dragged on forever. I would love to have just one of those days.