Sunday, November 27, 2011

Kanye and Jay Z...finally

I have always wanted to see both in concert so when tickets went on sale for one with both of them I jumped on it.  I was sad when I bought and listened to their album...terrible.  I was not looking forward to the concert.

After I got there I was glad I went.  They did some of their new stuff but tons of their old songs.  I was pleasantly surprised and in heaven.

So hard to get pics at concerts.

 I look rough.  Just finished getting through the Thanksgiving weekend.  I was exhausted.

Barnes and I had a blast!  Mossy even joined us last minute.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Stanley the Christmas Tree

I have never been more excited for the holidays!  There is something (or someones) this year that has me ready to get this season started.  I am looking forward to the decorations, the baking, the snow, the time with family and friends, and the reason why we even celebrate this day!!  Today Shawn stayed a little longer than he planned so that he could help me pick out and set up a tree.  We did not have time to decorate it.  I will have to do that later.

This year I went with a live tree.  When I got to Lowes one tree begged to be taken home.  I also felt like he had a name, Stanley (weird because I have never named a Christmas tree before).  I fell in love with Stanley, he is tall and very full (fat).  I love how he just fills up the room.

I tired to help set him up but I was clearly going about it all wrong.  Shawn and Walter stepped in and took over the entire operation.  It was cute to see my boys getting things done together.  Chuy did not help with the tree; however he did go through all the shopping bags to see if we had bought anything for him.  Hmmm...he must get this from his mother; that is EXACTLY what I would have been doing as a child.

Shawn was clearly needing help.  Good thing Walter got right in there and showed him what to do.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

After several days of preparation Heyward, Kirsten, Shawn, and I sat down to a beautiful and tasty Thanksgiving dinner. Heyward's mother and aunt joined us for dessert. We enjoyed great food and conversation. I am so grateful for the second family I have here in Pittsburgh and on the east coast. They make being away from my family on the west coast a little more bearable. And I am of course thankful for my family back west! I miss them terribly and the holidays without them this year will definitely be different.

"Game of Thrones-esque"

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving Preparation Day 2

The day before Thanksgiving I had to get the house ready for Shawn's arrival. I also ran to Target and bought tons of Christmas decorations so that we could get the tree up and decorated on Friday. I tried to do anything and everything to stay out of the kitchen after last night.

HOWEVER, I did try to make Shawn's mother's famous cornbread stuffing (at 10:30 pm). I think it turned out alright. He swears it was great (I am no southern cook). We shall see after I get to taste hers if he was lying or not.

I also thought it was funny what I needed to get through these Thanksgiving recipes...

Cooking Light: Recipes
iPad: Look up measurement equivalents and listen to music
Phone: Call mom to ask her any remaining questions the iPad and magazine couldn't answer

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving Preparation Day 1

This year I will be spending Thanksgiving in Pittsburgh with Shawn. We are having a dinner at Kirsten and Heyward's, a few doors down. Shawn and I are in charge of the mashed potatoes, two different stuffings, and the turkey.

Last Thursday and this Monday I went to numerous grocery stores to acquire all the insane ingredients in these recipes. Finally at 8:30 pm last night I found chestnuts, it only took looking at three different places.

Today after work I quickly got busy...DAY ONE OF PREPARATION HAS STARTED!

The brine had to be made and the turkey cleaned tonight so that it could soak for 24 hours. We are making a Maple-Cider Brined Turkey with Bourbon-Cider Gravy from Cooking Light ( The turkey was a little bigger than I had anticipated so I needed to get a 5 gallon bucket from Lowe's to soak her in and there had to be some refrigerator rearranging.

I also made the first stuffing this evening, Ciabatta Stuffing with Chestnuts and Raisins, also from Cooking Light ( I burned the first 10 cups of bread. Thank goodness I bought too much and had plenty to try again. I also had fresh chestnuts instead of bottled (all I could find), so I had the pleasure of boiling, peeling, and cooking them myself. My thumbs are KILLING ME! Oh did I mention I HATE CHESTNUTS NOW. But as you can see from the picture the stuffing looks yummy! Now it can sit in the fridge for a day or so and let all the flavors blend before we get to enjoy it.

If you notice there is no picture of the chestnuts. This was the low point in the evening for me, but I made it through.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Weekend Visit to Maryland

This past weekend the boys and I loaded up in the car and drove down to Maryland to see Shawn, who was working all day Saturday (poor guy).

We arrived at Dina's (Shawn's long time friend) house Friday night. We were welcomed by three happy people and three even happier dogs. The boys had so many friends to play with and all involved had a blast!

Saturday, while Shawn was working, Dina and I went to the mall to shop and to see Breaking Dawn. Can we talk about CHEESY!?!?! WOW! I of course think it was a standard Twilight movie and the last few seconds had me wanting more. Only complaint were the wolf voices, too much.

I did have time to bring lunch to Shawn and see two of the kitchens he is redoing. He does great work! Maybe I should find a good deal on a house and fix it up, hmmm (I'm kidding, for now). Later that night we went out to our favorite sushi place and went crazy. I have now tried things I never thought I would: eel, quail eggs, LIVE scallops, and sashimi. All are very yummy.

Sunday was a lazy day and then the dreaded drive home. I always hate leaving BUT we will get to see him again on Wednesday for Thanksgiving! So I couldn't complain too much this time.

I of course do not remember to take pictures till the last minute. But I snapped a few at the last second.

Car photography is always so hard.

Walter helping Shawn pick a computer.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Christmas in November

Mom sent a few Christmas packages for Shawn, Montgomery, the boys, and I. The stockings are filled and the presents are stacked. Now we get to wait for a month! The boys some how knew the little stockings were theirs and started to play with them. I think they enjoyed the stockings more than they will their presents. Silly kids.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Halloweener 2011

Halloween is probably my least favorite holiday of the year. I have participated the last few years since I have the boys but do not be confused I am never thrilled to dress up. This year we were invited to Heyward and Lex's Heaven and Hell party and I was having issues deciding what I was going to do for a costume.

I decided on Sailors when I found the cutest dog costumes. Shawn was also in the Navy way back when so I knew I could get him back into his uniform. I settled on the classic sailor girl dress (not my favorite). We looked cute and had a blast, an overall success.

Shawn was Papa Smurf and M was Smurfette back in Maryland. Since Halloween he has been slowly shaving his full beard down. His facial hair for our costume was hilarious. Everyone at the party thought it was fake...I loved it!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

ROLL TIDE!!!!!!!!!

Since I started dating a southern man from Alabama I have had to pay attention to college football. Football is even on in my home some weekends...imagine that. This weekend was the big game, we played LSU (unfortunately we lost). However, we had a small family party; I made guacamole and a yummy tomato, basil, mozzarella finger food...served on BAMA plates of course.

Shawn is trying to get Walter into the game.

I also baked my favorite fall dessert, pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. These were my weapon against Shawn to get him to stay another night in Pittsburgh. It worked! He drove my to my dentist appointment before heading out this morning. I am a spoiled girl.

Friday, November 4, 2011

The Dreaded P90X

A little over two weeks ago Shawn and I started doing P90X religiously. We are currently on the third week and going strong, well for the most part. I am having issues with my left shine, knee, hip, leg, etc. It is amazing how old I feel!

Since Shawn is in Maryland, I have a personal trainer here in Pittsburgh that keeps me motivated and pushes me. He is always next to me while I do my reps and even helps when it comes to yoga (great at downward dog). Walter is my little trainer through this process. He is there giving me constant kisses whether I want them or not. He also tries to keep the sweat off me. He is too kind.

I am trying to get past phase 1 of P90X and thus far we are half way there. Gotta keep up the work through the holiday season.