Monday, November 30, 2009

Small cheer and great welcome makes a merry feast.
William Shakespeare

Because Nick had to work and we're going to Florida for Christmas we had a low key Thanksgiving here in St. Louis with just the two of us. I made a turkey (smallest one I could find!), stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans, homemade gravy, crescent rolls and pumpkin pie. Yum! I thought it all turned out great.

I used one of Paula Deen's recipes for roasting a turkey without stuffing it and it was delish! I've included it below. After an early dinner we watched football, I finished a great book and we kicked off the most wonderful time of the year with watching Home Alone. All in all a lot of things to be thankful for!

Broke out the silver for a pretty table.

Nick made the cranberry sauce. Had to go with the "real" stuff!

Food baby.

Naps for everyone.

Paula Deen's Roasted Turkey

1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon + 1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 turkey, 12-14 lbs, thawed if frozen
1 onion, quartered
1 head of garlic, halved crosswise
Several sprigs of fresh herbs, such as thyme, parsley, rosemary, and sage
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 325 F. Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper inside turkey cavity. Place onion, garlic, herb sprigs, and bay leaves insides cavity. Place turkey breast-side up on rack in large roasting pan. brush with half of butter; sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon pepper and remaining salt. Truss, if desired.

Tent turkey with foil, roast 2 hours, 30 minutes. Remove foil, brush with remaining butter. Increase oven temperature to 425 F. Roast turkey until meat thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh away from bone registers 180 F about 45 minutes, tenting with foil during last 15 minutes of cooking time, if browning too quickly. Let stand 15 minutes before carving.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Silent gratitude isn't much use to anyone.
G.B. Stern
Sunday gratitude:
  • leftover turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes for three days of dinners.
  • my part time job - keeps me busy and I'm thankful for the extra cash!
  • frost on the ground.
  • snagging my dearly coveted riding boots at a Black Friday sale (with my part time job money!).
  • the Christmas carol radio station.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Day comes, by statute, once a year; to the honest man it comes as frequently as the heart of gratitude will allow.
Edward Sandford Martin

On this Thanksgiving I think we all take a moment to think about all of the things in our life we are thankful for. Of course, nothing is perfect (who's life is?) but just stopping to take a look around and realize the points of gratitude in my life is very therapeutic. I try to do it daily and do it weekly, on Sundays, here.

So on this Thanksgiving 2009 here's a list of the thing in my life I am so grateful for:
  • My darling Nick. He compliments my personality to a tee. Calms me down when I get all riled up, helps me realize not everyone does laundry weekly and how to grocery shop without a list. He is kind, smart, ambitious and really, really funny.
  • My wonderful mother. She's my only momma and I'm her only daughter or child for that matter. Life two peas in a pod. No one else will shop Macy's with me in less than 7 minutes, be the best travel buddy or makes pink mashed potatoes on Valentine's Day. I'm so thankful for our strong relationship even though we're thousands of miles away from each other.
  • And in no particular order: my good health, Bella, my education, the fact that Nick and I have stable jobs in careers we enjoy, two paid off cars that are still running, loyal and caring friends, a safe and warm (and really cute) home and wonderful in-laws.
I know there is so much more but for me these are the things that constantly come to mind when I think of gratitude. I hope you all take a moment to reflect on that today. Nick and I are doing Thanksgiving here alone which makes me a little sad (however I'd rather save the airfare for Christmas in Florida!) but I have a pumpkin pie baking and I'm ready to make us a big yummy, traditional dinner to enjoy together.

And then we'll watch football all night long. So that means I'm also thankful for the good book I'll be enjoying on the couch!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Meet me in St. Louis, Louis
Meet me at the fair..
Judy Garland, Meet Me in St. Louis

Early this summer, we had a St. Louis bloggers get together. Since then we've celebrated birthdays, seen shows at The Muny, shopped, dined, picked pumpkins and even dressed up for Halloween. Our husband's roll their eyes while we just gab away.

It was a great way to not only meet fellow bloggers but also enjoy the company some great ladies in the area! As a newcomer to St. Louis it was certainly a welcomed fellowship and an instant connection with our common blogging interest.

So we're doing it again! If you're an STL Blogger and would like to join us on the afternoon of Sunday, December 6 to attend a local Christmas event please e-mail me at happyforthismoment at gmail dot com for the details. I hope we can add to our fun group!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Silent gratitude isn't much use to anyone.
G.B. Stern
Sunday gratitude:
  • eating sugary cereals for a late night snack.
  • the upcoming three-day week at work!
  • warm sunshine after a week of rain and clouds.
  • a successful first-time selling of my Aunt Agnes' Harvest Cakes.
  • my new appreciation for hot tea.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Dogs come when they're called;
cats take a message and get back to you later.

Mary Bly

Today I'm participating in Kelly's Korner with "Show Us Your Life." This week's topic is pets.

I've had a lot of pets growing up and always loved animals. It certainly comes from my mother who loves them even more. From cats to Labradors, I loved having animals as a child. As an adult, I knew I just couldn't live without a pet.

In 2005, I went to my local Humane Society for my very own cat. While browsing a fuzzy, Tabby paw stuck out of the cage and rested on my shoulder. That's when I met Bella.

Also known as Bella-Bell-Bell, Bella-Lou, Bella-rina and, unfortunately, Bella-schmella. Nick also calls her Pukey or Squawker.

I adopted her when she was 8 1/2 years old and she is now about 13 years old. We always joke that "Bella has baggage." Wouldn't you if you lived in a cage for over 3 years?

She is a good snuggler when she wants to be but also bites and throws up a lot after eating random pieces of plastic. That's okay, I'll put up with it if she doesn't have to be in a shelter and can just live the rest of her old lady years asleep on the back of the couch.

These days her favorite activities include bird watching from the den (I put a bird feeder right outside the window), running through the house as fast as she can without a destination, stealing pony tail elastics and napping with Nick.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Politeness is to human nature what warmth is to wax.
Arthur Schopenhauer

I popped into Walgreen's today on my lunch break to pick up a few things and took my place at the end of a loooong line. One register open, of course.

So this elderly gentleman in front of me (with his cart full of Scott's toliet paper on sale, just like my mother!) said, "Please, dear, go ahead."

I was shocked. When I politely declined he replied, "I'm retired. I've got all day to stand here but I bet you have to get back to work! Please, go ahead."

How nice is that?! It just made my day. When I'm old, retired and with plenty of time I'll be sure to do the same. I appreciated those extra minutes to get my errands done and head to the office.

Then he proceeded to talk to his wife at a high decibel on his cell phone, "What? I said I'm at the Walgreen's. Yes, I've got all the toilet paper I can handle."

But it was okay, I didn't mind a bit. He had a free loud-cell-phone-talking-pass from me!

Monday, November 16, 2009

No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow.
Lin Yutang

We returned late Friday night from our wonderful eight days in California and Las Vegas. We had so much fun that now we're both sick! Oh well.

Here are some favorite photos:

We began our trip staying in South Pasadena at a darling bed and breakfast called The Artists' Inn.

Friday and Sturday we spent the day at Santa Anita for the Breeder's Cup. Nick was in hog heaven, or is that horse heaven?
View from our seats at the Breeder's Cup.

On Sunday, our one year anniversary, we headed to Las Vegas for three days to explore and see my friend Ashley and her husband CJ.

Fabulous anniversary dinner at Olives in Bellagio. We sat right on the patio to see the beautiful fountains.

Exploring the Strip - here in front of The Mirage.

With CJ and Ashley at M.

Ashley and CJ took us to the delightfully tacky Fremont Street of old Vegas. Fun!

We drove out to the Hoover Dam, very cool to see.

On Wednesday we headed back to California and stayed in Santa Monica.

Exploring Venice Beach. It was, um, interesting.

Our very-California view from lunch at Venice Beach.

View from our hotel room of the gorgeous sunset on Santa Monica beach.

On our last night we went into Hollywood to the Laugh Factory. Saw a great lineup including headliner Tim Allen. We actually sat right next to him at dinner before the show at Greenblatt's.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Silent gratitude isn't much use to anyone.
G.B. Stern
Sunday gratitude:
  • finally being home sweet home.
  • piles of clean, folded laundry.
  • Delsym cough syrup in orange flavor.
  • picking up Audrey Niffenegger book at the library without having to wait on the request list.
  • beautiful tree silhouettes with no leaves.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Though I know I'll never lose affection, for people and things that went before. I know I'll often stop and think about them, in my life, I'll love you more.
The Beatles, In My Life

Happy first anniversary to my darling husband! It was a busy year full of moving, new jobs, new house and lots of change but still a wonderful one.

Here's to many, many more (maybe just not all as busy!).

Thursday, November 5, 2009

A vacation trip is one-third pleasure, fondly remembered,
and two-thirds aggravation, entirely forgotten.
Robert Brault

Starting after work today, Nick and I will be on vacation for a whole eight days to California and Las Vegas!

See you when we get back (with lots of photos, of course!).

Monday, November 2, 2009

An extra yawn one morning in the springtime, an extra snooze one night in the autumn is all that we ask in return for dazzling gifts. We borrow an hour one night in April; we pay it back with golden interest five months later.
Winston Churchill

Did yesterday feel like the longest day ever?

I had plenty to do on my list but nothing to take up the whole day! I was up and wide awake at 7:30 a.m. and in bed by 8:30 p.m completely exhausted. Nick was asleep on the couch at 7 p.m.! It was dark by 5:30ish so when I looked at the clock after dinner I was so surprised it was only 6:15 p.m.! It felt like midnight.

But I do love that it is dark and cozy earlier. Great excuse for a Crock Pot dinner, PJs and television in the evening as the weather gets colder. I also love that it isn't pitch black out when I wake up at 6:30 a.m. Much easier to rise with the sun shining!

Hopefully I'll get on this schedule quickly. Happy no-more-daylight-saving-time!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Silent gratitude isn't much use to anyone.
G.B. Stern
Sunday gratitude:
  • we leave for California and Las Vegas in just four days and our one year anniversary is in just a week!
  • meeting my neighbors at the Halloween block party.
  • glowing pumpkins on our front porch.
  • finally filing that big stack of stuff on my desk.
  • mini two piece packets of Starburst candy when one is pink and one is red.
  • The Real Housewives of Orange County season premier on Thursday.
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