Saturday, December 29, 2012

Important Life Lessons

Miles learned two very important life lessons the other day:

1.  How to really blow his nose instead of sniffing, and

2.  Why we don't put things in our nose.

The offending piece of green bean

The repentant little cutie

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Sunday, December 23, 2012

Baby Talk

Gisele, talking about how she ate when she was a baby:  "Remember there were those things with glass and they're smaller than a baby but bigger than your eye?  And they're bigger than your nose, I think, but smaller than your mouth?  Hey - why are you laughing??  I'm talking about baby food!"

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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Family Photos - Coming Soon!

We took family photos the other day!  Actual family photos that include all 4 of us in the picture at one time.  I know!  What a novel idea, huh?  I'll upload some soon, and a couple of them are included on our Christmas card, also, so some of you may see them there.  They're pretty darn cute.  :)

In other news, we're in the midst of Christmas prep (shopping for the kids is done, other than stockings, and we're finished with almost everyone else, too!  Though I've purchased... absolutely nothing for Jamie so far.), as well as car shopping for me.  I've had my car for about 12 years, so car shopping is quite an experience.  I'm looking at compact SUVs, and have driven 3 so far, with 1 more to go before making a decision.  I'm definitely leaning toward a certain one, so we'll see if that holds after I've driven this last one.  Hopefully, I'll have something new before Christmas!  We'll see!  My Alero is being held together by duck tape (literally, in two places) at this point, so it's time.  When I get it, I'll take a photo of me hugging it and post it for all to see.

I hope you're all having a stress-free holiday season so far.  I'll update with photos when I can!

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Monday, December 3, 2012


Jamie is getting over a bout of vertigo, and Gisèle is getting over strep throat.  I'm trying to get over the common crud, and Miles has all the energy and orneryness of a normal 3 year old.

We're trying to start the process of buying me a new car (!), but have only been able to test drive 1 vehicle so far, due to our busy schedules and sick household.  It feels like it'll never happen.  In the meantime, I have some sort of radiator leak that we don't want to bother to pay to fix since we're trying to get rid of my car.  I need to buy some more fluid so the thing doesn't overheat in the next few weeks.

My office Christmas party is in 2 days, and so far, I'll be wearing jeans and flip-flops.  Time to fit in some shopping.  I have today and tomorrow over lunch to do it, so no test-driving cars then.

Jamie and I have an overnight date planned for this Saturday (thanks to my five-year anniversary gift from work)!  But that means that sometime before Saturday, we need to find time to clean the house so that our overnight babysitters aren't disgusted by the condition of the bathrooms & floors.

Last night was the first night I've had the energy to cook dinner in about two weeks.

I could go on, but venting isn't helping - I'm off to try to find some fabulous shoes for the Christmas party.  Step 1 in trying to make things better.  Wish me luck!

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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Starting to Celebrate the Season - Early!

We had a family photo taken at church last weekend.  
What do you think?  Do Jamie and I each have a carbon copy?

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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Chocolate-Dipped Granola Bars

Life has gotten in the way of blogging lately, but I found time last weekend to make homemade granola bars for the first time, and they were scrumptious!  I used a recipe from Pioneer Woman, and they were a hit both at home and at the office.  The recipe is very tweakable, too. (Yes, that can be a word.  It makes sense, right?)  Jamie and I have already decided that the next batch should include raisins and have a white chocolate maple-dipped bottom instead of dark chocolate.  Oooh - or one with dried cranberries and mini chocolate chips in it!  Yum!

Chocolate-Dipped Granola Bars
adapted, barely, from Pioneer Woman

1 (18oz) container rolled oats (NOT quick oats)
4 Tbsp melted butter
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp salt
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup apple juice
1/4 cup molasses
3 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cup rice krispies
1 cup wheat germ*
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans**
1/4 cup roughly chopped almonds***
8 oz bittersweet (60%) chocolate

-Preheat the oven to 350.
-Toss the oats with the oil, melted butter and salt. Spread the mixture out on 2 foil-lined baking sheets (easy clean-up!) and toast in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring a couple times to make sure they don't burn. Remove from the oven and set aside.  (They should be a nice golden brown.)
-Reduce the heat to 325.
-In a medium saucepan, combine the brown sugar, honey, apple juice and molasses. Heat the mixture slowly, stirring until all combined. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.
-In a large mixing bowl, stir together the toasted oats, rice krispies, wheat germ, pecans and almonds. Pour in the sugar mixture, stirring as you pour to combine thoroughly.  It will be sticky!
-Spray one of the foil-lined baking sheets with cooking spray, and then press all of the granola mixture onto the one sheet.  (I found it easiest to use my Rice Krispie Treat method - cover the top of the granola mixture with waxed paper and press firmly on that.)
-Bake until golden, about 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool slightly.
-Cover a couple of cooling racks with parchment paper to prepare for the cooling process.
-Cut the granola mixture into bar-shaped pieces (while still in the pan) with a sharp knife while they're still slightly warm, then carefully remove from the pan onto the parchment-lined cooling racks.
-When the bars have cooled completely, melt the chocolate, and then dip the granola bars straight into the melted chocolate so that the top is plain and the bottom is chocolate-covered. Put them back on the parchment until the chocolate has set.  (This can take a while, so feel free to set the racks in the fridge to speed up the process.)

*I found wheat germ in the "healthy cereal" area, on the bottom shelf.
**I bought already-finely-chopped pecans, which cut down on prep time.
***I used a 1/4 cup bag of whole almonds, and simply processed them in the mini-chopper for a few pulses until they were roughly chopped.  Again, cutting down on prep time was my goal!


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Monday, November 5, 2012

Halloween 2012

Can you guess who decorated each pumpkin?
(And the bonus 5th pumpkin - the ones Jamie and Gisèle did together at her class Halloween Celebration?)

Halloween was a lot of fun this year - Miles was old enough to know what "going trick-or-treating" meant, and both kids were confident in their costume choices.  ("Belle" and "'Piderman.")  Miles even made it all the way around the block without asking to be picked up!  By the end of the night, though, he told us he should lay down because his arms were tired from carrying his candy.

My favorite memory of trick-or-treating this year:

After the first couple houses, both of which had dogs, Gisèle would say "Trick or treat!" and Miles would worriedly ask "Do you have a doggie??"

Don't worry - we made him go potty before we left.

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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

New York - Last Day, Day 5

Day 5 was our final day in New York, and we still fit in all we could.

We headed down toward Greenwich Village to see what we could see.  We wanted to stop at the Forbes Gallery to see the antique toy collection, and also decided to have lunch in Greenwich Village.  After finding the Forbes Gallery, however, we found out they no longer had the toy collection, so that was a bust.  We did walk through the Union Square Farmer's Market on the way down, though, and that was nice.  We also enjoyed walking through Greenwich Village, and lunch was great!

I love this statue of the elephant standing on his trunk.  The wall behind was also interesting, with steam coming out on the right, and a really cool clock on the left.  (It was 10:54 when I took this picture - the other numbers are milliseconds.)
The Friends building

The Cosby stoop

The Spotted Pig, where we had lunch

The quirky decor in The Spotted Pig

Jamie's beer

The Spotted Pig

The Chrysler Building

The Fashion District
In the cab heading to the airport

Heading to the airport

The sweet sign welcoming us home

We really had a fantastic vacation.  It was a great way to celebrate our first decade of marriage!

(Sad to think of all the devastation in the city right now due to Sandy.  Prayers heading your way, NYC!) 

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Friday, October 26, 2012

New York - Day 4

On Day 4, we didn't have tickets for a show, and decided we'd try instead to get standby tickets to see Jimmy Fallon.

Leaving our hotel to get coffee and head to NBC Studios

Waiting in line for standby tickets to see Jimmy Fallon
We got the tickets, but realized timing would never work for the show.  We had dinner reservations for our 10-year anniversary dinner at Gramercy Tavern, and we wouldn't be able to make it on time if we went to see Fallon.  That meant we would have a night in New York without a show!  But we were going to have an amazing dinner, so that made it okay.  We decided to catch the subway down to the Ellis Island ferry and spend some time there for the morning.

NY subway
New World Trade Center being built

Waiting to board the ferry.
  Being in the tightly-packed crown makes you feel just a smidgen of what the immigrants must have felt so long ago.

New York, as seen from the Ellis Island ferry
The Statue of Liberty, as seen from the Ellis Island ferry
 We didn't get off the ferry at the Statue, as we had no interest in going up or seeing it any closer-up.  We did, however, get off at Ellis Island.

People disembarking at the Statue of Liberty

Jamie on the ferry

Ellis Island
Me on the ferry

Inside the reception hall at Ellis Island
Ellis Island
After the ferry returned, we walked a bit and had a fabulous pretzel croissant at City Bakery, followed by a life-changing toasted marshmallow shake at Stand.  YUM.  Then it was time to make our way back to the hotel to get ready for our anniversary dinner at Gramercy Tavern.

Before we left, champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries were delivered to our door,
courtesy of my awesome boss and his wonderful wife! 

Times Square, seen from our cab on the way to dinner
Dinner at Gramercy Tavern was something I don't think will ever be rivaled in our lives.  We had the Chef's Tasting Menu, and it was amazing.  I didn't get pictures of everything, and I will forever regret that I didn't get a picture of the menu itself, since I can't remember what everything is!

I forgot to take pictures of the amuse-bouche and the 1st course.
This is the 2nd course.

3rd course

4th course

5th course

Coffee and sweets (6th course)

Forgot to take pictures of the 7th course, but here's part 1 of the 8th course!

Part 2 of the 8th course

part 3 of the 8th course

enjoying our dinner

9th, and final course

Better view of the chocolates & macarons

Should we count this as a 10th course?  They sent us home with muffins for the next morning!

We were so stuffed that we saved the muffins to have (along with the champagne and strawberries) for breakfast the next morning.  The entire dinner was a.m.a.z.i.n.g.

End of Day 4.  Wow.

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