Sunday, November 27, 2011

Weekend Wrap-Up

We had a really fantastic Thanksgiving weekend full of fun, food and friends.  The only negative is that I took very few photos (and the ones I did get weren't of great quality), so will need to wrap up the memories with words so I can remember the special weekend for years to come. 

We started off the 4 day weekend by spending Thanksgiving day skiing at Crystal Mountain.  The weather was a bit chilly and windy for my liking but we had the mountain almost to ourselves while everyone else enjoyed their dinners.  The girls were a bit nervous that they may have forgotten how to ski so we did one run on the bunny slope for them to prove that they were right where we left off in March.  The first half of the day had very icy snow conditions which isn't ideal for the first ski of the year but the girls did great taking it slow with lots of turns and made us so proud.  Then the snow began to fall which gave a nice top coat that made skiing easier and allowed the girls to be more confident.  Here's a video Tom took of them going down their favorite "cat track". 
Looking forward to a great ski season.  It is going to be so much easier this year with the girls beyond the beginner level.  I am just a little concerned that I am going to be the one holding us back and Tom and the girls will be leaving me in their dust (or powder). 

Friday we were lucky enough to have the Brown Family come down from Canada to spend a few days celebrating American Thanksgiving.  Dinner turned out well and the timing seemed to work out pretty well.  There were a few recipes I tried that I won't be doing again (green beans and apple pie) but the majority of things seemed to be good.  I tried a few new things with my cranberry recipe that was well received and the layered cheesecake/pumpkin pie was delish!!

Saturday we entertained the "dog crew" from our old neighborhood.  We spent a great deal of time with these 3 families living in the old neighborhood.  Our dogs brought us all together and we enjoyed many walks, dinners, births and more with them.  This was the first time we all were together again in probably 5 years.  The kids all had a great time playing and we enjoyed a good brunch and lots of catching up.  We promised it would not be 5 years again before we got everyone back together.  I can not believe that I did not take one photo of the reunion:-(

Having the Browns around for a few days was so enjoyable.  The kids entertained each other for hours on end and were really pretty amazing for being confined in the house for 2 solid days with no arguments or major problems, just a few minor tears.  A few highlights and low lights from the visit:
  • Derrick finding the missing hamster in the bathroom garbage can after his shower.
  • All 4 adults spending the first half of Apple Cup outside searching for a lost cat that ended up being in the house all the time. 
  • Tom and Derrick showing off their criminal skills by getting the Brown's car unlocked when the keys were inside and cutting off a shoplifting ink cartridge from a shirt with great success.
  • Watching our traditional horrible movie when the kids were in bed.  This time it was "Bad Teacher" and it was really awful, which is hard to say when it had Justin Timberlake in it.  But even he couldn't save this one.
  • The girls having sleepovers and finding them all cuddled together in bed. 
  • Sous Chef Madison helping in the kitchen
  • MANY MANY laughs, way too much good food (diet begins NOW), lots of noisy/content children and plenty to be thankful for!

The Browns left this morning and I spent the final day of the weekend recovering on the couch.  I watched 3 football games in a row, didn't get out of my pajamas all day and ate the majority of Madison's Muddy Buddy creation.  Really glad I didn't take a photo of that.  A perfect end to a perfect weekend.  Now a really crazy week begins that includes someone in this house turning the big 4-0!!!!

Monday, November 21, 2011

On the Menu

I think I have the weekend menu plans almost finalized.  We are delaying Thanksgiving by a day so that we can celebrate with the Brown Clan when they come down from Canada on Friday.  Our meal on the actual Thanksgiving day will be whatever they are serving up at the Crystal Mountain cafeteria, as we will be spending the day on the slopes.  So most likely we will be having soup of the day and cheese pizza.
Friday will be the feast at the Kimmet household and I wanted to share what's on the menu along with some of the recipes.  The most boring component of the meal will be the turkey itself.  I saw a few amazing recipes I wanted to try but our family is really not into turkey and it is just an excuse to have all the side dishes so I am taking it easy on that part and just got a turkey breast to throw in the oven.  We will be sending the 2 free Fred Meyer turkeys we have acquired to the food bank where they will be much more appreciated than in our home.   NOW, bring on the side dishes!!!
Mashed Potatoes of course.  I stay fairly straight forward on these for Thanksgiving.  Other times of the year I will throw in cheese, bacon, chives and more but when you add gravy to the top it is best to keep it classic.
Coconut Candied Sweet Potatoes (this is pretty much dessert during dinner for me, not sure anyone else in the family likes it but that means more lefotvers for me)  recipe link
 Homemade Rolls with Honey Butter - Nora's favorite part of the meal
Stuffing - I seem to alternate years between going with a new recipe to the basic family stand-by and this year the old family favorite wins out.  Nothing fancy, nothing extra just the basics, which will make Madison happy.
Cranberry-Apple Sauce - My own special secret recipe which includes orange juice and lots of apples
Carmelized Green Beans - recipe here
And then onto the desserts for the evening.  I am doing 2 this year.
Layered Pumpkin Pie Toffee Cheesecake - a pumpkin pie on top of a layer of toffee cheesecake.  Recipe here

Crumb Topped Apple Pie - Half pie, half cobbler recipe here

Feeling like I am missing something but maybe that is it.  Then we are having more friends over for a Saturday brunch.  That menu will include homemade cinnamon rolls along with a potatoe and bacon breakfast casserole.  We will add a few leftovers from the day before, fruit salad and veggie and cheese trays. 

So now I have to devise a cooking itenerary for the next 4 days.  Tomorrow will be cinnamon rolls to put in the freezer so they just need to be thawed and baked on Saturday.  Wednesday will be the pumpkin pie cheesecake that requires almost 3 hours of baking time along with the prep.  I will also take on the cranberries on Wednesday.  Thursday I can get the sweet potatoes done and get some prep work done for other items.  And then Friday will require the delicacy of timing all the dishes just right to have all components ready at 3:00.  This usually requires a detailed timeline taped to the cabinet doors with all utensils, serving dishes and ingredients laid out in assembly line fashion.  And thank goodness for oven warming drawers when all else fails.

Hoping everyone has a wonderful and delicous Thanksgiving day or days as the case may be!!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Goodbye October

Time to say so long to October, get the Halloween decorations packed up, box up the soccer gear and move forward into November.  To say that October was a blur is an understatement.  Between PTA and school commitments, Tom's work travels, soccer times 2, piano, choir, homework, science projects and so much more it flew by.  But before it is too far in the distance I wanted to document a few highlights and favorite photos from the month. 
This trip to the the Olympic National Park with Tom's Aunt Joanne and Uncle Phil deserved a blog post all to itself but got lost in the shuffle.  I took a ton of fun photos on the beach and in the amazing rain forests.  Super fun trip!!!

The sweetest birthday card ever from Nora. 
"Roses are red, Violets are blue
You are so sweet, I love you"
Nora and I have enjoyed a few early morning coffe/homework dates when Madison goes to her  choir club before school.  A nice time to bond and catch up as Nora really misses all of the one-on-one time she used to get with me before starting full-day school this year.
 Playdates haven't been as common this fall with all our activities but we have squeezed a few in.  Bella and Nora played a full game of chess all on their own:-)
 A bit of a failed attempt at skeleton gingerbread men.  But they still tasted delish!
 The paparazzi was out in full force for the last soccer game of the year.
 A fun first grade field trip to the pumpkin patch.
 Wacky hair day at school

We went to the park with the girls' best buds.  They had a great time feeding the ducks and playing with the leaves and I got some really fun candid shots with the bff's that I think will make for some adorable Christmas gifts to each of them.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween at Hogwarts

Tom has been reading the Harry Potter series to the girls.  They just finished book #2.  So far they have only seen the first movie but I am sure more are to follow.  We try to have the rule that the book has to be read before seeing most movies made from books.  Anyways... the girls are enjoying the series immensely and decided many months ago they were going in Harry Potter themed costumes.  Madison's decision was quick and easy as she has been told more than once she resembles Hermione.  The costume for her was store bought and easy this year. 

Nora's decision took a bit longer to decide on.  At first she was going to be Crookshanks, Hermione's cat.  I was a bit fearful of taking on this costume and didn't think it had much of a "cute" factor.  Eventually Nora settled on Hedwig, Harry's owl.  I found some inspiration online and the costume making began.  Nora helped select all the materials.  I thought a colorful owl would be fun, but she insisted on staying true to the book so a snowy owl it would be.  We got lots of white, grey and silver materials to piece the costume together.  It thrills me that my girls are eager and willing to have "mommy made costumes" and I think we will look back on those photos with fond memories even if they may not be the most perfect of costumes. To say may sewing skills are sub-par would be a compliment but I had fun making the costume. I was pleased with the dress and Nora was thrilled with the winged cape.  The hat didn't turn out as I had envisioned but we went with it.  A few people called her a chicken, some got the owl and many didn't bother guessing and just asked.   We did come across some true HP fans who right away said Hedwig.

The day was nonstop partying!!  I think the girls are in one of the few schools left in the county that allows full on Halloween parties with costumes at school.  Many of the staff wear costumes all day and get very festive.  It was a bit odd for me this year to not be in charge of either of the parties but they were fun and it is good to give up control(or that is what I try to tell myself!) The only thing I contributed were sliced apples for Nora's party.  Madison and her best bud did make these adorable Mallow Monsters for all 28 of their classmates.  Super cute!!

Then we were off to Kent Station for some trick or treat.  I will admit that my motives for going were to get some decent photos in the daylight hours with good backdrops, the girls saw it as more loot for their bags.  We met Tom for dinner in attempts of getting something of nutritional value into the girls for the day.

Finally we made our way home to add a few layers and back out for another 2 hours of trick or treating with friends before crashing into bed for the night.  I have to say the Halloween was never that big of deal to me growing up, that I can remember and I would never have considered it in the top running for favorite holidays but the past few years it has been climbing the charts.  The girls are at the perfect age for costume decisions and trick or treating.  And we have started going out with friends for the evening festivities that have really added to the enjoyment.  The girls are all ready starting to come up with costume ideas for next year.