Happy New Year!

Ok, so I kind of fell off the posting-every-weekday blogging bandwagon toward the end of last year.  I tried but it didn’t quite work out some days…  That’s just how it goes when the holidays roll around.  Some things were not blogged that should probably be chronicled and I’ll see what I can do about getting them wrapped up.  No promises though.  I’m starting 2011 out stress free (at least for the first day).

On that note, let’s talk about New Year’s Eve!

For the past two days I felt like I was fighting a cold and had been super tired so we decided to keep our celebration low-key.  My boys really wanted to see their cousins and I did have a 10-pack of party hats/horns/leis that needed to be used so we invited Big Red and the boys over.  We also had a huge pack of mini-fireworks that the kids were dying to set off in the street.  Big Red brought over some fire wood, sparklers, chips/dip and some hummus.  It was an instant party!

J lit a nice fire in the fire bowl.  There’s just something about a roaring fire during the winter that makes everything feel festive.  When the temperatures dropped around midnight the heat felt so good!  Kindly ignore the crap at the bottom of our pool.  The wind blew tons of mulch and other debris into the water.  It needs a good vacuuming.  J, if you’re reading this can you add “clean the pool” to your list?  Pretty please?  🙂

When Big Red arrived he noticed my pisco in an Easter-Island-Head-shaped bottle on our bar.  He was intrigued since he had never heard of such a liquor much less tasted a pisco sour.  When I took a study abroad trip to Chile during my MBA studies at the University of Houston I imbibed great amounts of pisco sours.  Yum!  So I offered to make us all a round.  Here’s the recipe I used:

Pisco Sour

2 oz. pisco

1 oz. fresh lime juice

1 oz. simple syrup

1 egg white

dash of bitters

Shake vigorously in a cocktail shaker with ice.  Strain into a glass and enjoy!

We headed out front to light fireworks after the drinks were made.  The boys could hardly contain their excitement.  J was the pyro-hero in their eyes.  It was so cute watching them jump for joy and scream with delight.  Simple pleasures are the best, are they not?

The sparklers were a hit as well.  Have I told you how much I love the fireworks setting on my point-and-shoot camera?  I LOVE it!  Look at those photos!  So cool!

After all of the pyro toys were exhausted we headed back inside to snack on some more goodies and wait for the ball to drop.  We rang in the new year watching Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest and toasting with a yummy bottle of Moet Chandon champagne that Big Red gave us for Christmas.  The boys split a bottle of sparkling grape juice.

As you can see, we got a new television for Christmas.  We’re in the process of relocating all of our A/V equipment so our living room looks kind of crazy with wires and stuff all over the place.

Then the kids mauled Big Red before becoming so exhausted they passed out…

From our family to yours, we wish you a blessed 2011 filled with happiness, good friends, good health and simple pleasures!


Gathering in Gratitude

Oh my goodness!  I have so much to catch you guys up on.  The holidays are in full swing around here!  I’ve not found the time to blog lately.  My apologies.

Let’s begin with Thanksgiving.  It was a great day spent with family and friends.  My boys began their day with a chocolate doughnut.  Cutie Pie was the messiest thanks to his full contact doughnut eating.

J spent the morning and early afternoon hauling box after box out of the attic.  His mission was and still is to organize our crap treasures that we’re storing up there.  I had to pry him away from his organization and new exterior outlet installation at 3:45 PM so he could shower for dinner.  You see, J is all about the Christmas lights.  Our house did not have a convenient outlet outside for plugging in our strands.  Every year he had to run huge extension cords from inside our garage.  The garage door wouldn’t close completely to the ground due to the cords running beneath it.  It became his other mission to fix that problem this year.

Around 4 PM (Yes, that was a 15-minute shower and change session for J.  He’s quick like that) we headed next door to Steph and Big Red’s house for a truly spectacular feast.  I brought an amazing homemade, deep dish apple pie with caramel sauce, sparkling grape juice for the kiddies and my grandmother’s cranberry salad.  Thanksgiving and Christmas are nothing without my grandmother’s cranberry salad.  Everyone that came brought a couple of dishes to share as well.  So, you can imagine the massive amount of food we had.  But that’s what it’s all about, right?

Steph’s Dad was in charge of carving the TWO turkeys!

My mom and her sister, Mimi, were in charge of the gravy.

Steph and I were in charge of wine consumption.

Before we sat down to eat, we said a little prayer and then let the kids toast with the sparkling grape juice in plastic wine glasses.  Let me tell you, they were in Heaven!  B drank so much, so fast that he ended up coughing, choking and sputtering his way through his glass.

We feasted on the many wonderful things that everyone made and enjoyed the company.  It was a very nice evening.  The weather was perfect for eating outside on the patio.  I have so much to be thankful for.

After clean-up and dessert, Steph, Yaya, Mimi and I plotted our course of action for Black Friday…  More to come on that later.  Stay tuned…

I hope you all enjoyed a special Thanksgiving full of blessings too.