Thursday, November 16, 2017

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Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday. 
It is simple, only about family, friends, food and gratitude. 
And it is 7 days away.
Actually 6 days, 9 hours, 8 minutes, 30 seconds away.
If you are a woman, you are already in plan mode.
If you are a working woman like me, well God bless you, you've got a shit load of stuff to do.
It would be so nice if everyone just ate slower.
I mean it takes days to plan, hours to cook, and more hours will come for clean up.
Come on people, sit, savor, look at the food with lust, lick your lips, moan a little.
About the food of course. 
All that work is worth it when there is smiling faces asking for more.
We dream of the perfect day, fallen leaves, a warm fire, laughter and love.
Sort of Norman Rockwell.
Like this....

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But, oh no.
What fun is that when you could have dysfunction galore?

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Then there is the turkey. 

This is what we think of....

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Yeah, I'm going to ruin it for you.

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I used to work at Armour turkey processing plant.
Worst effing job of my entire life.
Gawd, I hope this is photo shopped.

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We imagine the roast turkey coming out of the oven just like this, without a drop of sweat on our forehead. 
Just look at that clean pan.
Fresh herbs and berries.
Golden brown glisten.

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I don't think anyone would object to bacon turkey.
Maybe the pig would.

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How about boob turkey?
Everyone seems to like the breast meat.
Two lemon halves with the stem end tucked under the skin.

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Deep fried turkey?
This would be me.

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Finally, Tom says....

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Saturday, May 10, 2014

To my 3 children....
Tomorrow is Mothers day.
The 33rd one for me.
I am so very grateful that I was blessed with children.
Not everyone is given the chance to love a child.
I think being a mother is something no one can begin to fathom
     until they actually experience it.
It changes you as a person.
I love each of you more than I ever imagined was possible.
I have cried more tears than I thought I had and smiled with more
     joy than I knew existed.
I watched you grow and learn and shine like stars.
I saw the tenderness of your hearts and souls.
I have prayed on my knees for each of you more often than you
     will ever know.
I prayed that you would choose well in your life, that you would
     keep your faith and be blessed by God.
I prayed that I would be given wisdom and strength to raise you
     the best I could.
I loved your little arms around my neck and the smiles on your
     faces when I came in the door from work.
I loved reading stories at bedtime and the sound of your giggles.
I just really loved being your mommy.
You are all adults now, choosing your own path in life.
I think about each of you every single day and I miss you with my
     whole heart.
I still pray for you every day, I always will.
It has been my pleasure loving each of you.
Choose well, this is your life.
Happy Mothers day because I have been blessed.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Fantasy Dinner Party, Who Made the Cut

It is a fun question that has been around for a while....

Who would you invite to a fantasy dinner party if you could choose anyone throughout history?

my kind of dinner party

I love the idea of an outdoor beautifully set dinner during sunset flowing into a night under the stars. 
Great conversation, amazing food, fabulous music, wonderful memories. 
I truly believe there is nothing better than family and friends around the table sharing life, laughter, love and food.

One of the sad things I learned while researching this is that most of the guests chosen by people were men. 
Then as I was compiling my list it became obvious that I was choosing my guests the same way....mostly men. 
Where were the famous women? 
The ones you want to get to know, women who have made a difference, those who have lived the edge of life? 
Which brings me to this....

There are plenty of absolutely beautiful famous women, but quite frankly they bore the hell out of me. 
I like women with depth and spunk. 
The ones who laugh out loud and wear their heart on their sleeve. 
Someone you don't easily forget.

I also know that an eclectic mix of people inspires the most interesting conversation, and a few 'wild childs' 
for a great party. 
We have 6 warm fuzzy guests, 4 people of power, 2 entertainers and us.
This is also the seating order just to mix up the fun. 
As they say....'Let's do this'.

Grandma Hicks - because she meant so much to my husband as a little boy.
Fred - my love, my heart and soul.
Me - I wouldn't miss this for anything.
Bill Clinton - fun, need I say more?
Carol Burnett - laughter is definitely the best medicine
Mr Rogers - someone who values everyone's simple uniqueness. 
Cleopatra - she was the last Pharaoh of ancient Egypt, and had Julius Caesar and Mark Anthony under her spell.
Santa - he is the very bestest, thanks Dezirae for reminding me.
Mary Magdalene - because of this - she was devoted to Jesus Christ, present at the crucifixion, the first person 
to see Jesus after his resurrection.
Freddie Mercury - so much talent and flamboyance. 
Marie Antoinette - 'Off with their heads'. 
Ghandi - a peacemaker.
Jane Goodall - she is gracious, compassionate, an environmentalist and Chimpanzee enthusiast. 
Napoleon Bonaparte - the short guy complexed conquerer. 

There is not a photo of Grandma Hicks available so this represents her...'Love'

Photo: A couple years ago.  






After this the first guests I would choose to join us for the fun would be my parents, my children, my siblings and 
their families.

CHEFS for the night would be Ferran Adria of elBulli in Spain who is the leader in molecular gastronomy, and yes, 
this is the type of food you can expect from him....


Thomas Keller of French Laundry in Napa Valley, demanding perfection.


They would get creative freedom with whatever I have choose for dinner....possibly lobster, risotto, asparagus, and 
heirloom tomato salad. 
Creme brulee for dessert with champagne. 
Cheese, fruit and wine, chocolates and champagne. 
Tequila shots throughout. 

Bob Marley 
Reggae is great for poolside barbeques, cleaning house leisurely and road trips. Dinner parties? Oh yeah.

The 3 Tenors
This is music at its passionate best, it takes your breath away.

The Rolling Stones
After dinner it's party time and now you get to dance your toes off with one of the best groups ever.
Yes, all the entertainers are men. Oh well.  

So, given the same challenge, who would be at your fantasy dinner party?

Friday, July 12, 2013

Faith, Hope and Love....A very blessed birthday

Today is my sons birthday.
Shea is 33.
He is also my oldest child.
And the one who taught me love.

I never thought about having children.
I was never really around them.
Being raised as an only child you play by yourself a lot.
At 22 I found out I was pregnant.
God decided for me that I would be a mother.
God always knows best.

My son was born at 32 weeks.
He was so tiny I cried.
3 pounds 8 ounces.
God is always by our side.

It is amazing how deeply you fall in love with a child.
You look at them and your heart actually feels like it is melting.
Shea became my whole world, my reason for each day.
He changed who I was as a person.
Nothing was about me anymore.
Everything was about him from the moment he was born.

I loved how much joy this little boy brought to my life.
I needed joy.
We played for hours and hours.
Shea was a total boy.
He loved balls and had a probably 25 or so.
He mostly loved to throw them over the short fence.
And then he would come get me to go around the house into the orchard and throw them all back.
Then we would start the game all over.
I miss that time so much.

A mother never stops loving her children.
We cradle them in our hearts.
We pray.
We trust in God.

I wish I could have been the perfect mother, I wish I had made all the right decisions, I wish I could go back in time.
But I look at my son today, the struggles he has overcome, the lessons he has learned, the changes he has made and is making, the man he is turning into, and I am so very proud of him.

Some people say 'everything happens for a reason'.
That doesn't make any sense to me.
We have free will.
God has mercy, forgiveness and blessings.
Shea has taught me 'Faith, Hope and Love'.
All three are true.
I love you Shea, more than you will ever know.
Happy Birthday!
I hope it is full of sunshine, laughter, joy, hope, and most of all peace.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Brittany....Happy Birthday!

This would be my cut and gut baby.
She gets the pun.
Slash and gash is another.
She was a C-section delivery.
Such a perfect face the moment she entered the world.
And a bald head that would last a year and a half till there was a bit of light wisps of hair.
I used to brush it and tell her how long and beautiful it was and she would beam with joy.
She was a charmer as a toddler, demanding the worlds attention everywhere she went with her blazingly happy smile and attitude.
She was the independent one.
So easy to raise, she lived to please God, her country, her parents and her teachers.
You couldn't really ask for more.
Except perhaps a bit less skin and a bit more clothing.
She is so gorgeous even now.

Her brother adored her, he proudly took her for show and tell at school.
And when her little sister came along, she looked out for her as she always would.
There really isn't a greater joy than being a mommy.
Sometimes I look at her and can't believe I made her.
She has made me so proud, her heart is sweet and warm, her brain is strong, her soul is held in God's hands.
She is a Good Human in a world that desperately needs her.

I love you so very much Brittany!

Happy birthday.

The photo is one of my favorites.
I believe it is from Aaron Meyer in Orange County.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Inspired Decor

I made almost everything decoration wise for our wedding.
Way less expensive & definitely more personal.
Not personal as in 'I made it myself', personal in the choice of colors & details, etc..
Like I have said before, it isn't difficult, find what you like & create your own version, just like an outfit.

You must be thinking....'oh my gosh, she is soooo creative, just amazing'.
Wrong, these were not MY ideas.
It is what I do best.
But yes, I am quite amazing otherwise.

I love glitter.
It makes everything sparkle.
It makes people feel happy, richer, in party mode.

Let me add....there has been glitter in our house for months.
No really.
Even on the dogs nose.
Oh yeah....that's not me.

Also, carrying the theme throughout keeps it so much more visually attractive.
We stayed with gold, black, white & a bit of silver for color.
And stars everywhere.

This was one of my inspirations for the vases.

diy glitter vases

They are not difficult to make & very affordable.
I bought vases bought vases at yard sales & Goodwill for $1 - $3.
If there is a water line stain it doesn't matter because it will be covered up.
I think glittering either 1/3 or 2/3's looks best.
Wash them well & dry, then use wide painters tape & tape a line around the vase leaving the water stain uncovered.
Tape newspaper to cover the rest of what you want to keep clear glass.
Wrap your arm with newspaper & shove your hand into the vase.
Go outside & spray the uncovered part of the vase avoiding just past the edge of the taped area & the base as much as possible.
Over newspaper, sprinkle your chosen glitter generously onto the tacky glass, shake off the excess & set the vase to dry for a day.
The next day, spray with a gloss sealer & let dry again, this will keep the glitter in place so you can lightly hold the vase & also because everyone will want to touch them.
Trust me.
You can also use a piece of trim from the fabric store & hot glue it around the vase at the edge of the glitter, particularly if while removing the tape you end up a bit uneven.
I did use a variety of gold glitters which I really liked
Two suggestions, do the spraying on non windy days, & the sealer is pretty stinky so let dry in a closed off room.
These are probably not for long term use, though they did last through a gentle wash.
I also think they would make lovely take home gifts.

And this is one of the ones I made at our reception, you can also see a bit of another one just to the left behind the candle.
We had a mixture of 3 vases per 8 foot table with loose white flowers.

I also decorated white glass pillar candles that I got at Target for $1 - $1.50 each.
I added a variety of trims from the fabric store.
But what I learned is that being tall & narrow, they are best used on a hard surface away from any people.
For the tables we used votives in glass set in low vases which gave off a nice double sparkle.
We did put the tall pillars in the restrooms & on window sills though.
No photos but I saw this version that I think is gorgeous.

gold and copper leafing

The inspiration....

hanging stars

We hung white fairy lights & about 250 gold stars on the back patio which is where the ceremony was held & after dinner for a bit of dancing etc..
Christmas made this so easy to do because stars are almost everywhere.
They are still there because they are so pretty.

Inside I strung about 150-200 gold, silver & white glittered stars that I got at Michael's with coupons or on sale & hung them across the room.

As always, much prettier in person.

And more to come next time.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Wedding Who What Where Why When How

When my Aunt Erma used to answer the phone, back in the dinosaur days when they hung on the wall, yes, I was there, I remember my cousin's would often blurt out....
'Who, what, where, why, when, how?!'
I always thought it was pretty funny.
But these questions would most likely cover what needs to be known regarding almost anything.

Fred & Amber

Get married

At home

Because we absolutely love each other.

New years eve 2012

This kiss.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Wedding Vitlin's

They say that you should focus your money on three things/areas of your wedding.
Unless of course you have unlimited funds & an amazing wedding planner.
Another thought is that too much is just that....too much.
With a smallish budget we chose food, decor & extras as our focus.
Food because I think it is so yummy & you really should feed people if you love them.
Decor because it can create any atmosphere that you want & we wanted a bit of glam.
And extras because it was new years eve & you need extras to make a fun party.

Let's start with food.
I love to eat the really good stuff like lobster & spaghetti without meat & butter & creme brulee & lovely heavenly creamy glorious milk chocolate (go away if you are a dark chocolate fan).
And some of the trashy stuff like taco truck & cola slurpees & curly puffy cheetos & tequila shots.
All that would have been a great dinner mix but a really screwed up tummy afterwards.

Because our ceremony was to be on the back patio & the temperature was to be a high of 50 & a low of 33 we had a propane heater on the patio & also a fire pit in the lounge area under the trees for comfort & the smokers.
But I thought something warm to drink would be nice for during the ceremony.
Sort of the same idea as a cocktail immediately handed to you upon arrival at the reception.
But warm so you don't freeze your ass off & leave.
And of course some cookies to go with it.
Cookies are always good.
I purchased black hot drink paper cups but they just needed a little something extra.
Gold Christmas tinsel garland it is.
You'll see it used here & there throughout the night.
I hot glued the garland on, THEN after I was halfway through I thought....'uh oh, what if a hot drink rewarms the glue & it melts off?'.
Thankfully it held up pretty well.

The inspiration....

A hot cocoa station is a great way to give your guests something on the ride home. Personalize the cups to double as a party favor!

Our cups for cocoa....

We also self catered dinner.
Not too difficult if your wedding is smallish.
Spiral hams are easiest for buffet serving, good bread, salad & a nice mac & cheese with mushrooms & white truffle oil.
The only thing I actually made was the mac & cheese,the  recipe is at the bottom of this post.

As the night went on there were nibbles....prawns with cocktail sauce, a variety of olives, a nice nut mix & chocolates.
I love Salvatore's fish eye photos.

There was plenty of champagne which everyone brought in leiu of a gift, wine from my sister Willow & her husband John, a light punch & coffee.
And of course cake.
We chose to not have a traditional wedding cake, instead, having 3 coordinating cakes.

The inspiration....

 Love the mix of cakes, perfect if you have guests who are diabetic, something for everyone                      

Ta daa....

Yeah, there was a dent somehow.
You know what?
We still ended up married.
Even with a dented cake.
Priorities people.
Cakes really don't matter.
Love does.

Also, Fred found the vintage cake topper in a Jamestown antique store.
I love this guy (Fred).
Who does that?

She needed a little work.
I washed her skirt, made her a bouquet & glittered what was left of her head piece.
I absolutely love these two.

Oh, & I don't cut cake.
I just eat it.
This is a forced photo.
If I had cut it, then I would probably wear it.

Okay....the mac & cheese with mushrooms & white truffle oil.
Sort of.

Normally what I want from macaroni & cheese is oozy, creamy, really cheesey.
Not this time.
This mac & cheese needed to be a bit upscale.
There isn't a photo, I was busy getting married to the man I adore.

6 to 8 servings
4 T butter
4 T flour
3-1/2 cups warm milk
Cracked pepper
3 cups shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese, I got a wonderful white one from Costco 
4 oz goat cheese
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 T truffle oil  
1 cup sliced mushroom + 4 T melted butter
8 oz macaroni or pasta
1 cup of panko crumbs, buttered & toasted
In a small saucepan on med-low heat, melt the butter, stir in the flour & stir to form a roux. Add half of the warm milk, using a whisk mix well. Add the rest of the milk. Using a wooden spoon, continuously stir the sauce until it begins to thicken and tiny bubbles form on the sides (5 to 6 minutes). Do not boil. Add pepper to taste and then the cheese. Mix until the cheese is completely melted and the sauce is smooth. Add the heavy cream & the truffle oil, (optional) and mix well. Cover and set aside.
While the sauce is warming, saute mushrooms in melted butter on med-high heat until beginning to brown a bit. Add to sauce.
Cook the macaroni according to package directions & drain.
Preheat oven to 350. Butter a 4-quart casserole dish.
Place ]macaroni in a large bowl, & pour the  cheese/mushroom mixture over it, mixing well. Spoon the mixture into the casserole. Bake 30 minutes or until bubbling. Sprinkle toasted panko crumbs on top & bake 5 minutes more. 
Serve immediately.