Archive for November, 2012

November Foodie Pen Pals reveal!

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It’s that time again – reveal day for Foodie Pen Pals! This was my third month participating, I’m really enjoying it! As a reminder, Lindsay over at The Lean Green Bean runs this fabulous program and does a great job of it. You don’t have to have a blog to participate. If you do have a blog, you get to write a post about all the wonderful goodies you receive.

 

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My package came from Stacy at Wanderlust Hearts. It is so exciting receiving a package in the mail that is full of goodies that you’ve probably never had before. And even more exciting, I love receiving mail that doesn’t have a due date!

 

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I am not sure where the shadows came from on these pictures….

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Isn’t this a fabulous card? I loved it when I saw it, then loved it even more when I saw Stacy’s note that it was a photo she had taken herself. Love it!

 

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Now on to the goodies!! This box had a “sweet” theme to it. I love sweets. And I love trying new sweets that I have not tried!

 

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First on the list is Love Crunch Carrot Cake Granola. Admittedly, I am not a fan of carrot cake but it is really yummy! For some reason, the flavors remind me of hot roasted cinnamon almonds that you would buy at a theme park. This will definitely make a great snack.

 

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Next up was Stacy’s homemade chocolate olive oil biscotti. I love receiving homemade treats and there were definitely a treat. Just the right amount of sweet and nice and crunchy.

 

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Do you follow a gluten-free or dairy-free diet? These cookies are just that and they are YUMMY. Oatmeal cookies are one of my favorite and I really enjoy these.

 

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Last in my sweet box, is a Double Dark Chocolate cupcake mix. Chocolate is definitely a weakness of mine so I am super excited to try this. I have not yet had a chance to make these with all the sweets we’ve had around here since Thanksgiving, but this cute little container will sit on my counter as a reminder to make sooner than later.

 

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Thank you, Stacy, for my sweets package. I love it!

If you’d like to join in the fun, be sure to go HERE to sign-up for the next round, which will be in January. Lindsay is asking everyone to donate the money you would have spent on a FPP box to the victims of Hurricane Sandy. She will have more details on her blog, so please be sure to read all about it if you are interested in helping. I think it is a fantastic idea and I will definitely participate.

Christmas Cheer

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As is tradition in our family, the Christmas tree goes up on Thanksgiving. I put my mom’s up for her while she was making our Thanksgiving feast. Yesterday was finally the day to put our tree up. Here it is… I love the soft glow of the lights in our family room.

 

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When hubby and I got our first Christmas tree, we started a tradition of buying a new ornament every year. Some had themes (wedding, anniversary, new house, etc….). Others were fun or added a nice touch to our growing collection. Over the years, our tree has become and mix of old and new, and I love it. Our Just Married ornaments is one of my favorites and it’s hard to believe it’s not been on our tree for 11 years! The snow globe ornament with the burgundy bow is the one we bought this year at Downtown Disney. It’s so pretty and old fashioned…

 

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There are some people who redo their ornaments and decorations every few years, or even every year. Not us. Each ornament hold special meaning, no matter how simple it may be. I enjoy the process of unpacking the ornaments and the tree topper, and remembering when we got each one and the memories that go with it.

 

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There are the ornaments I made last year with pictures of our niece and nephews. I made one for my mom, and my brothers and sisters-in-law as well. It was a fun (and inexpensive!) little project and it’s a joy having them on our tree.

 

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I found a 2010 dog ornament last year on clearance (thank you Hallmark) and finally put a picture of Blue when he was a puppy in 2010. Last year I had a glass ornament made with Blue and Ozzie on it.

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Some ornaments are a tribute. When we said goodbye to our sweet Sammi in September 2009, I bought a special ornament for her picture so she would be a part of our tree every year. It seemed the perfect thing to do because when the tree went up, she would lay under it.

 

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When my dad passed away two years ago, at his favorite time of year, I knew I had to do an ornament for him and it would be the center of the tree every year. I have never known anyone who loved Christmas as much as my dad and he is the reason I have my love for Christmas. My dad has now become every little detail of Christmas.

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I love our tree. It’s just the right height and I love the white lights. We put it in our family room and it can be seen from the living room and the front door when you walk in. At night, when the lights are off in the rest of the house and we are all curled up on the couch watching TV, it creates a wonderful soft light that I find very comforting.

In the living room, I have other decorations. I love snowmen. And metal decorations. And our stockings. And I have a metal Christmas card holder that hangs on the wall that I love and can’t wait for it to fill up every year. Come Christmas, it will be overflowing with cards and I love that.

 

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Once again, I am very happy with how the tree came out and how cozy our living room looks with the decorations. it’s not too much and it’s not too little. It’s just right and it’s all ours.

 

 

When do you put up your tree? Do you have any special traditions for ornaments?

I love holiday weekends!

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I am trying not to think about the fact that tomorrow is Monday. It has been such a great holiday weekend, full of family fun.

On Friday, after coming out of our Thanksgiving food coma, hubby and I took my mom to the Seminole Hard Rock Casino in Tampa. We go a couple times a year and enjoy feeding the slot machines our hard-earned money. All joking aside, we only take a little bit and when it’s gone, it’s gone. I once hit $350 on the Lil’ Ladybug slot machines there and they have been my favorite machines ever since. But this time, I found a new one that I love – Grease! – and I hit $185 on it! It was nice to come home with some money.

 

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We had lunch at the Hard Rock Café while we were there and I enjoyed the Christmas decorations throughout the casino. They had a beautiful poinsettia tree, it was very festive. We had such a nice time, enjoying a day much needed day off from work.

 

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Yesterday, I went to see Breaking Dawn Part 2 with my sister Jenni and sister-in-law Jenna. Jenna and I have seen all of the Twilight movies together, so it was only fitting that we saw the last one together. It was a great end to the series. I knew there was a twist going into it, having read several posts and FB updates about it, and even though Jenna told me what she thought it was, I was still surprised. Well played, Twilight, well played.

 

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After a trip to Barnes & Noble, Old Navy (where I scored a jacket and shirt for $18!), and Bed Bath & Beyond, we ended the day at Nick & Jenna’s. My brother Nick is a grill master and when he invited us over for pulled pork, I knew we couldn’t miss it. He made a fantastic dinner, Thanksgiving 2.0 as Jenna called it. I can’t believe I didn’t take a picture of the feast he made. Bad blogger!

As the holiday weekend comes to an end (nooooo!), hubby and I will spend the day at home. I plan on putting up our Christmas tree, catching up on some blogging, and hopefully some reading. I had plans to read a lot this weekend and I have yet to pick up a book with all the fun we’ve been having.

 

What did you do this holiday weekend? Did you decorate for Christmas yet?

Thanksgiving Fun 2012

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Another Thanksgiving has come and gone. A day full of fun, food, laughter, food, family, and more food. This year we finally took part in the Tampa Bay Times Turkey Trot here in Clearwater. For years we’ve been saying we should do it, and this was finally the year. Even more exciting? My mom joined us, her first official walk!

 

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It was a nice crisp morning and made for a chilly wait for the 7:30am start time, but I like to be early. It was fun to see all the people there so early on a holiday. We saw people in funny turkey hats, and saw one guy in just shorts and a knit cap, no shirt. Crazy. And isn’t this cool….

 

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Before we headed to the start line, I was standing in line for the port-o-potty and I saw Caroline from My Fascinating Life and a Tampa Bay Lady Blogger. he had her hubby take a picture of us, so there is now proof that I was in line for the port-o-potty. (Hopefully Caroline won’t be mad that I borrowed her picture….)

 

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Heading to the start line, I kept my eyes open for Steph from Kitchen Kilometers, also a Tampa Bay Lady Blogger. She is one of the reasons I  wanted to do the Turkey Trot this year after she created an event for it on Facebook. She was there with her boyfriend. he is such a good guy for getting up early on a cold Thanksgiving to walk with her.

 

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While we were waiting for the walk to start, I spotted a turkey that I had to have my picture taken with. It wouldn’t make sense any other day to have my picture taken with one, today was the perfect day. Gobble gobble!

 

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And finally, we were off! I knew there were a lot of people there, but when the walk actually started, I couldn’t believe just how many people there were. The walk started on Keene Rd., a 5 lane road and the crown spanned the entire road. It was amazing. I tried to get photos of the crowd, but since I’m so short, it didn’t really work. We were in a sea of orange for miles. I later heard that 17,700 people participated. Wow!

 

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The 5K took us a little over an hour, just from the number of people alone. But, it was a great walk and I am sure that we have started a new tradition. Yay for new traditions! You can also read hubby’s post on his blog….

 

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After the walk and a quick trip to Starbucks with Blue and Ozzie (spoiled Aussies that they are…), we got ready for the rest of the day, which would be spent at my mom’s. She was cooking her traditional Thanksgiving dinner and I was in charge of putting up her Christmas tree and decorating it. As long as I can remember, since I was old enough to do it, I have been the one to decorate. While my mom did her amazing cooking in the kitchen, I did this….

 

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My sister Jenni was there and after lunch, my brother Nick, his wife Jenna, and cutie-pie Autumn came over. It was a very nice day together. As I knew there would be, there was laughter and fun and silliness and eating and more. Our traditional Thanksgiving dinner includes turkey, stuffing with Italian sausage, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn, shrimp cocktail, “crab cakes” (actually fried stuffing, no crab), and pumpkin pie. We also had yummy brownies.

 

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Yes, it was a wonderful day all around! Now I am looking forward to another 3 days off from work There will be walking, relaxing, the movies, and more!

 

How did you spend your Thanksgiving?

Happy Thanksgiving!

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This year I have so much to be thankful for… I am a lucky girl. As I celebrate Thanksgiving today with my loved ones, I want to wish you all a wonderful day!

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