Monday, December 21, 2009

The weekend before...

I know I said I was going to take a blog-cation, but DJ had to work this morning and I find myself up early with a massive to do list before he gets home and we head to his family's house. Therefore, I feel the need to blog. :)
Friday we celebrated the end of the semester with a free pizza coupon we found. Then we realized the coupon was no good and found an even better deal on-line. Then we drove 20 minutes to pick up the pizza and 20 minutes back. I thought living in the Metroplex was supposed to make things easier because there was so much more stuff - not make things harder because none of that stuff was in the city you live in. I've never not been able to get a Pizza Hut delivery. It's a strange world I find myself in!
Saturday I slept in and woke up to the smell of coffee and breakfast. What a wonderful husband I have! DJ had to work Saturday afternoon so I decided to run a few errands. Here are the lessons I learned.
1. The last Saturday before Christmas is NOT a good time to look for a last minute gift if you haven't already decided what that last minute gift is going to be. It's also not the time to go bargain hunting!
2. I'm a small town girl trapped in the big city! And I was going to the only mall within a 45 minute radius. And I was in a much bigger city than I've ever lived in my entire life. And people here back into cars in the parking lot, smash in the bumper, look a police officer square in the eye and drive off. And my car stopped working. And I got buggy-wrecked 16 times at Target. And I wanted to curl up in the camping department and hide from everyone until someone came to rescue me. And there were no cute boxers for DJ's Christmas present. And when I did find boxers a group of teenage boys started laughing at me and I was so upset I ran away to the furniture aisle.
3. The cashier's at Target don't care that you've been waiting in line for 45 minutes. They're just enjoying chatting with their high school buddies who happened to be in line in front of you.
4. The iPhone is a wonderful time filler when you're stuck in said line for 45 minutes and you have no one to talk to. I'm loving me some Bejeweled!
5. Don't tell your husband you're parking spot based on the cars that are near you. The cars move and change out before he gets there.

The whole shopping trip was truly stressful. I handled the Black Friday shopping much better than the Saturday before Christmas. It was no good. I was so traumatized by the entire thing that I made someone from the school drop DJ off at Target so he could drive for the rest of the day. Sadly, the traffic was so bad that she had to drop him off about three blocks away. He hiked through the cold wind, the mall parking lot, and across 8 or 9 lanes of the busiest street in town to get to me. My husband is so amazing!

Sunday was the anniversary of DJ popping the big question so we went on an all day date! DJ surprised me with a copy of "The Proposal" wrapped and hidden under the tree. It was wonderful! We went to the ballet and then to Spaghetti Warehouse. It's not our favorite restaurant in the world, but thanks to our super coupon hunting, we payed only $9 for two dinners, two drinks, two salads, and lots of bread! We then came home and enjoyed the time as a couple. We wrapped gifts, we talked, we goofed off, and we loved every second of it. We ended up staying up until 1:30 in the morning talking. I wouldn't trade it for the world!

Now I need to do some serious laundry before DJ comes home and we head out for the holidays. I'm so excited about the next two weeks together and even more excited about our first Christmas as husband and wife! What a precious time it is! I'm determined to cherish every second of it...

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Proposal (just for Leslie!)


I forgot that you weren't around as our love story unfolded like everyone else from that LIFE Group. Just for you, here's a recap of how we met and how he popped the big question. Warning: Those pregnancy hormones just might get the best of you. Be ready to cry!

Much to the surprise of our friends and family, we met on eHarmony. We were matched on March 4, 2008 and slowly got to know each other over (long) e-mails and (even longer) phone calls. We finally met face to face on June 9, 2008 and fell in love instantly. After dinner at Panera and an evening with the LIFE Group, we went to Starbucks to talk. There, D.J. told me that he wanted to court me with the intention of pursuing marriage. Three days later, he asked for my dad's blessing - which he enthusiastically gave. The rest, as they say, is history...

The day we both got out for Christmas break, D.J. was acting super funny but I didn't think much of it. (Looking back, I can tell just how "off" he was!) He said that he had missed me tons and wanted to go on a fancy date. I'd just bought a new dress for a friend's wedding and was anxious to show it off again. D.J. told me to be dressed and ready to go on a fun, fancy date at 4:30. When 4:30 arrived, there was a knock on my door. It wasn't D.J. at all - but Jay Mathis! He handed me a rose and a card from D.J. The card was a simple letter from D.J. explaining that the night would be a celebration of our love. Jay would drive me to all of the places around town that were special to us. So I climbed into Jay's car, more nervous than I could ever say (and really really hoping this was the proposal I thought it might be), and headed to Panera. When we got there, my little sister was waiting for me with another rose, a card, and a camera. After a few (very) tearful words of encouragement and blessing, she handed me the next card, took a picture, and sent me on my way. The next location was the Starbucks where D.J. had made his intentions clear. Waiting there was a precious couple from church that we were really good friends with. They were far too nervous to offer many words of encouragement, so after a few giggles, several hugs, and a shaky picture, was on her way again. However, I was a bit nervous and mis-read the clue. It told me to go to where we had our second date. So I headed to Barnes and Noble where we had met up with Jay for coffee just days after we officially started dating. When I got there I wandered the store, shaking violently with nerves and anticipation. I was sure someone was going to jump out from behind I bookcase, I'd scream bloody murder, and trip on my high heels, falling flat on my face with no ring on my finger. Jay ran to the car and made a quick phone call only to discover that we were supposed to be at the Dr. Pepper Museum. (Oops!) Once Jay and I finally arrived at the correct location, D.J.'s sister was waiting for me with another rose and a card. She had a few more tearful words of encouragement and wisdom before sending me off to Johnny Carino's. By this point, I was dying to see D.J. (and go to the bathroom) but was thoroughly enjoying the evening and the special friends I was seeing along the way. At Johnny Carino's a friend from LIFE Group was waiting for me. When I walked into Carino's I busted out with, "Dang it! Where's D.J.?" My friend re-assured me that I would see him soon, but she was so nervous that she forgot to give me the rose! (Random side note: We were both thrilled that our friends were so excited for us that they were as nervous as we were...) This final card led me to the church. When I walked in, I was greeted by 200 tea light candles lining the walk way from the door into the sanctuary, up the aisle, and across the altar. Waiting for me at the altar was D.J. (At last!) He told me how much he loved me and how much he looked forward to all of our tomorrows and then said, "It would do me a great honor if you would answer me this one question..." He then got on one knee, pulled out a ring box, and quietly said, "Will you marry me?" I was shaking quite violently by that point and trying hard not to cry but said "YES!" several times. I think I might have even screamed it. After celebrating and admiring the ring, we had our very first kiss. After attempting to race to blow out all of the candles (and finally getting to go to the bathroom) D.J. suggested that we head over to my parent's house to show off the ring. When we arrived, however, there were almost 20 people waiting for us with a surprise engagement party.

He did an amazing job planning and pulling off every single detail. I was so proud! I still am proud to tell that story and to know that it's my forever husband that did all of that for me. I truly am the luckiest girl on Earth!

And on it goes...

Did you hear? I'm in love. So very in love.
Seriously - this stuff is amazing. Last night we made Quick Skillet Chicken Macaroni Parmesan. I can't decide which dish I love more. I just know that this cookbook has earned it's spot on the kitchen counter and not in the back shelf. At least until I memorize the recipes. I don't want to bog you down with recipes you don't care about so let me know if you want last night's delight. I'll be happy to e-mail it as well as the Fake 'Em Out Ravioli Lasagna.
I thought of another reason I love this cookbook. It doesn't make an outrageous amount of food each time. We can easily eat it in one night or in a night with a few left overs to follow. It doesn't make so much that you're sick of it by the time it's gone.
Most of the recipes we've tried have used half a box of pasta. Therefore, I already have the stuff to make it again. Or, if I had a bigger crowd to feed I could double the recipe without much trouble. This makes me happy deep in the mommy part of my heart.
Enough about the cookbook. (I'm still in love though!) Now on to the other major love of my life. Sunday marks the one year anniversary of when the man of my dreams got down on one knee and put a ring on my finger. It was an amazing, incredible night. (If you don't know the story, let me know and I'll be happy to share. It's the best engagement story on the planet - bar none! But then, I'm a little biased...) To celebrate we're getting all dressed up and cashing in our Spaghetti Warehouse coupons for a super cheap fancy dinner (that I don't have to cook!). Then we're going to see "The Nutcracker". Or maybe we're going to the ballet first. I don't know what time the show is. I just know we have tickets and my heart is happy. AND, I get to be with the man I love. Life is good.
This will probably be my last post for a while - I'm going on a blog-cation. We're spending the next two weeks enjoying vacation and family. I can't tell you how excited I am about our first Christmas as husband and wife! What a precious time it is!! One of these days we'll get around to buying our ornament to commemorate the occasion (hint, hint) but until then I'll hold the lap top up next to the tree so I can pretend that on-line purchase has been made. (HINT, HINT!!) Since I have a new iPhone, I'll still be able to check e-mail and keep in touch with the cyber world but I probably won't blog. :)
Have a wonderful, very merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

I have an announcement to make!

Ladies and gentlemen, may I have your attention please? I have an announcement to make. Or, as one of my students used to say - "a-mouse-ment".
I am in love with my cookbook.
Everything we've made has been heavenly. While we were engaged, somone saw this book for sale in the teacher's lounge at school and told me it was full of husband pleasing recipes. It was only a few bucks so I bought it. I haven't made anything from this delightful book until last week. After only a few recipes, I'm in love. Love I tell you!
Here's what I love the most - in completely random order.
1. There are no crazy ingredients you never buy.
2. The instructions are easy to follow.
3. The pictures are pretty. (I'm serious about this one. Pretty pretty pictures make food look good and help you decide what to make. It also lets you know when you've done it wrong!)
4. The cover is red. It matches my kitchen. This makes me happy.
5. There are easy to follow kid instructions on most of the recipes.
6. There are little symbols on each pages showing if they're easy prep, how long it takes to make it, if it's a kid friendly recipe, and if it's a "5 Star Favorite".
7. The recipes are easy to adapt for our tastes.
8. The recipes are easy to spice up a bit and this makes me feel less like a chef in training and more like a gourmet chef for the Hammond House!
Last week we made Cheeseburger Pasta. (I blogged about it. Scroll down and look for "A few items of business") We also made Fake 'Em Out Ravioli Lasagna. It made a huge dish. It lasted all of two nights in our house. I already want to make it again. (If you want the recipe, e-mail me. I'll be happy to share!)
Last night we made one of our favorites so far. No, I loved that Cheeseburger Pasta more. No, the Ravioli Lasagna. Or did I love this one most? Grrr! I can't decide! They're so very yummy! I'll tell you what - you make all three and tell me what you like the most. Okay? Deal!
Last night we made Hearty Lasagna Soup. But first, let's set the scene... The weather man told us that yesterday's high would be 48. He lied. We never got out of the 30's. After a very fun party the night before, I spent the day ignoring responsibility and nibbling on left overs. And painting. Lots of painting. (Christmas is coming, ya' know!) No shower, no laundry, no real food - just paint, cookies, and some wonderful e-mails with my friend Brandi. (Don't you love old friends who know your heart so well they can read your mind over e-mail even when you haven't seen each other in months? My heart just sighed a little!) My husband has little to no heat in his tennis office. And it's on an outside wall. And he had hall duty by a drafty door yesterday. And his car is very slow to heat up. And when he got home he had to take the trash out. So... Very cold. I'd eaten nothing but cookies. DJ was a frozen husband-sicle. So I made the warmest thing I could find in our new best friend! DJ made a fire. (A big one.) (In the fireplace.) When DJ saw the picture for this meal, he turned his nose up. I told him we were having it anyway. Then he came to the stove and smelled what I was cooking. Then he got very excited and kissed me. :) Now you know the story - on to the recipe!
1 pound ground beef (We used turkey. DJ burps with beef.)
1/4 t garlic powder (I threw in some onions. I could have thrown in more. And more garlic.)
3 and 1/2 cups beef broth with onion (I didn't have any. I used chicken broth.)
1/4 t Italian seasoning, curshed (Much to my surprise, we didn't have any of this either. I just sprinkled in a ton of oregano and basil until it smelled good.)
1 can diced tomatoes (Note: Don't buy the cheap stuff. They are icky. And green. And sometimes white. Next time I might use Italian tomatoes for more flavor.)
1 1/2 cups of uncooked mafalda or rotini (We used rotini. And we used more like 2 1/2 cups. As previously stated, we like pasta.)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (We did more like 1/2 cup. We like cheese.)
Cook the beef (or turkey) and garlic powder (and onion) in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat until the meat is well browned, stirring frequently to break up meat. Pour off any fat.
Stir the broth, Italian seasoning, and tomatoes into the skillet. Heat to a boil.
Stir the pasta into the skillet. Reduce the heat to medium. Cook for 10 minutes or until the pasta is tender but still firm, stirring occasionally. Stir in the cheese. Serve with additional cheese, if desired.
I didn't read right and added the pasta with the broth and other stuff. It made our pasta super tender, which we were looking for. We topped it with mozzerella cheese. YUM! I made a loaf of French Bread from a can. My plan was to have left overs for lunch today. There are no left overs. :( I'll eat our taco pizza from the other night instead.
Are you in love with my cookbook too? It's fantabulous! I want to keep it with me always! :) If you'd like to buy one for your family, you can - right here!
I am not getting paid to endorse this cookbook. I just love it. We're making Chicken Macaroni Parmesan tomorrow night. (Tonight we have another party!) I'll let you know if it's as yummy as the last three have been. My guess is yes!
Have a fun day - and cook something new!! It's good for your heart...

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

I'm back!

As my friend MK so lovingly pointed out, it's been a while since I posted. Isn't it amazing how the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas seem to be so jam packed? Every year it remains true. Parties and presents and cuddling by the fire on a cold night seem to take every minute of the day. I'm not complaining - just stating the facts.
Last night, DJ and I hosted our first Christmas party together. I decided everything had to be perfect for this crazy group of teenagers we were inviting over and put myself into a tailspin. I'm not sure why I felt this way - but I see now what a bad idea it was. I cleaned until I made myself mad. In a single day, the dishwasher broke, the dryer went out (again), and I sucked up some foreign object into the vacuum cleaner and it went kaput. Then I ruined a cake that I was making for my nephew. By 1, I was a large sobbing puddle on the floor. So I sat down with a fork and the ruined cake and ate like a mad woman. Strangely, I had a stomach ache and didn't feel a bit better. When I made my no bake cookies, I got the chocolate too hot on the stove and melted the wax paper to my kitchen table. It was a heck of a day! (The dryer is still on the fritz, the dishwasher fixed itself as far as we can tell, and my wonderful husband pulled the junk out of the vacuum cleaner and made it suck very well once again.) (Yes Megan, I know vacuum cleaners don't suck. I wrote that just for you!)
Despite my insanity, the party was wonderful! We had a great time! Here are the cute little gifts I made for the tennis team out of toilet paper rolls. Isn't my mom amazing for collecting and saving a thousand of them for me? :- )
There was a TON of food and the kids ate way more than I thought they would! They did not, however, eat as much as DJ thought they would. Teenagers are funny little critters, aren't they?
Last weekend was our nephew's birthday party. (His real birthday was on Thanksgiving and he was with his dad so we haven't gotten to celebrate until now!) He loved DJ's birthday cake so much that he begged me to do it again. After ruining the first cake I made him, I finally produced this:
I love how happy he looks! (He's not a big smiler. Just trust me - he was happy.) He actually clapped and hugged me and told me that he loved me. From what I know about teenagers, this is a huge deal for a 15 year old boy! I think Saturday I realized just how much I love those kids as my own niece and nephews, not as extensions of my husband's family. We had our other nephew over for a few hours a week or two ago and I must say that it was one of the highlights of my week! I'm hoping their sister can come over soon to hang out. She cleaned her room, and it seems that our house was her reward of choice! Woo hoo! (I tend to think that she likes Marley more than she likes coming to play, but that's okay. I like Marley too!)
So now for my favorite piece of news. The best part of our holiday season thus far. The piece de resistance. (Did I spell that right? It's French. I don't know how to spell in English, much less in French!) I have looked forward to this night for over two years. The Andrew Peterson Behold the Lamb of God concert! For those who know me well, you know that Andrew Peterson is, by far, my all time favorite artist. For those who don't know me, trust that I border on obsession when it comes to AP. Friday night, I got to see him perform. Live. And then I met him. (Again. But that's not the point. This time I have an actual picture to prove that I met him in person. Face to face.) Brandon Heath was on tour with him as well, but we weren't nearly as impressed with him once we met him. We chatted for a bit - but he seemed more wrapped up in how cool he was and less concerned about a lowly listener like me. But I digress - on to AP!!!!
There he is! DJ hopped out of line, ran about 5 or 6 people up, and snapped this photo to test the lighting. I don't care. I have pictures. :) AND, look at that! He's a leftie! (All the great people are!)
Here we are, waiting in line. I look tired you say? That's because at this point it was very close to the midnight hour and I had spent the better part of my day fighting the massive crowds to find DJ's Christmas present. What did I get him, you ask? I can't tell you. He reads this blog. I also can't tell you because it's still in the store. Somewhere. I'll find it though! I will!
And now for the picture we've all been waiting for!!
The Hammonds with ANDREW PETERSON!!!! You can't tell in this picture, but my feet aren't touching the ground. I'm floating. We got to chat with AP for a bit and told him that we used two of his songs in our wedding and that we listen to "Invisible God" constantly and that it's meant a lot to us as a couple and then we showed him some of our honeymoon pictures. (I love our iPhones! So handy!) He complimented DJ on his smooth introduction of his wife and said that we were "a very cute couple". My life is complete. (Just kidding!) I bet he'll never know how excited I was or how good his compliment made us feel. Oh AP, we love you!
I know this post is long - but let me leave you with two more "Family Pictures" before I go. I think they're frame worthy! (Now if I can just remember to print them off...)

Monday, December 7, 2009

A few items of business

I'm working on a blog about the day after Thanksgiving shopping extravaganza but it's taking longer than I thought. Thanks for your patience!
Did you hear? I won a humidifier! It arrived shortly before we left for our marriage conference and I love it! Thanks Crane!
I'm loving it! I was notified this morning that I won two other prizes. I'll let you know when they come.
We tried a new recipe last night that I just have to share!
1 pound ground beef
2 cups shell pasta
1 1/2 cups of water
1 can tomato soup
1 can cheddar cheese soup
Brown the meat in a 10" skillet.
Drain and return to skillet.
Add pasta, water, and soup over medium heat until boiling. Boil for at least 10 minutes or until pasta is cooked to your liking.
We used turkey instead of beef. I say beef makes DJ burp so I avoid it if at all possible. Next time I make this, I'll throw in some onions to add some flavor. Or maybe some peppers. Or maybe we'll use turkey sausage instead of turkey breast. Who knows!
We heart pasta so we added three additional handfuls into the skillet. This meant we had to cook it longer and it dried out a bit. We added some water, but not enough. Next time I'll add more.
When the pasta was soft we poured it into bowls and ate in front of the roaring fire. Last night we topped it with a little mozzerella cheese. This afternoon for lunch I sprinkled parmesan on it. I'm not sure which I liked more.
We're nuts about bread and bread type products, so we opened a sleeve of crackers. Next time I'll actually plan ahead and make a loaf of bread out of a can. :) (Nothing like homemade!)
I loved it because it was a simple flavor. DJ loved it because it stayed hot for a long time. His tongue has the blisters to prove it.

Black Friday - a poem

Twas the day of Thanksgiving and all through the house
Every creature was stirring even Marley - the "mouse"
The ads were spread on the table with care
In hopes that great deals would soon be found there

The economy had hit our small family hard
Without these great deals, we'd have nothing but cards

The sales -how they twinkled, the discounts - how merry
I poured over them while holding my bowl of cranberry jelly
Some deals were so cheery
I laughed when I saw them - in spite of myself

As deals were perused and coupons were clipped
We planned an attack for our Great Shopping Trip
With turkey still warm and the sink full of dishes
Away we all flew to fill Christmas wishes

At 5 we rushed to get fonts from the store
Only to find they had fonts, fonts galore
We debated and wrestled which one was the best
Made our purchase and headed back home to rest

Just a few hours later as the cold settled in
We rushed to find toys (and a few crazy "friends")
A long line outside, and longer indoors
We saved lots of dough but nearly fell on the floor

Everyone trotted right off to bed
But DJ had an idea in his head
An early alarm and to Target he went
Starbucks then breakfast, then for me he sent

We shopped and saw sales galore
Then picked up my sister and hit some more
When day was done and cash was spent
Three tired shoppers homeward went

Desperate times call for desperate measures
In one day alone we got all our treasures
So with some paper and bows and stickers and tags
Presents are done and ready for bags

There you go! My Black Friday adventures... Yes we really were one of those crazy people at Toys R Us at midnight and yes it was worth it! When we finally left at 2 in the morning we ended up with a free box of crayons! Yipee! (We also went to Michael's at 5 on Thanksgiving, but it wasn't quite as crowded or chaotic.) I also got a stand mixer and Up out of DJ's early morning Target run. It was such a great day and we were so very tired. We would have done more shopping if I hadn't had that pesky bladder infection. I eventually made DJ take me home because every time I went to the bathroom the industrial dye pills were staining the commercial toilets and I was uber embarrassed!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A tale of two dogs...

I told you nothing exciting would happen this week. I was wrong. We interrupt our Thanksgiving story to bring you late breaking news: Our two dogs (AKA: The Kids) are as different as, well... Black and white. Night and day.

Before you thank me for pointing out the obvious, let me illustrate with a little story. This morning DJ called me as school was starting.
"It's snowing!"
"It's what-ing?"
"Snowing! Go look outside."
I went to the back door. "No honey, that's rain."
"Look close. I'm sure there's a snowflake in there somewhere!"
I opened the back door and shivered. Just rain.
Cua peered cautiously around the corner and saw the cold wet nastiness outside. She immediately tucked her tail between her legs and hid somewhere warm. Like under the bed. Marley, being the nut case that he is bounded outside with energy only a puppy could muster. I was wearing my pajamas. And my monkey house shoes. I was not in the mood for a chase. So I did what any sensible pet owner would do - I screamed as loud as I could until he returned. He was soaked. Yipee! Marley then proceeded to run around the house and pounce on his toys, my toes, and the Christmas tree. Cua shivered and hid.
Within a few minutes, I realized it was, indeed, snowing.

I frantically tried to reach my box of winter clothes that were still safely packed away in the top of the closet so I could take something black outside to photograph against the snow. Then it hit me. I have a black coat. With black gloves in the pockets.

And I'm wearing black pajama pants.

And I have a black dog. Doh!

I drug Cua out of her hiding place and took her outside in an attempt to take pictures. Marley ran around trying to catch the snow. (It was really very cute.) Cua huddled against the house and shivered violently. (She was so ashamed that she wouldn't let me take a picture.)
After several minutes of photos, I decided to try the bushes in the front yard in the hopes that something had accumulated on the leaves.
No such luck.
Cua sat in the front door way and shivered. Marley ran around happily enjoying the cold. I had to chase him three houses down before I finally caught the mutt. (I had on real shoes at this point, but I was still wearing those pj pants!)
(Speaking of - have you ever seen the front of our house? Here it is:
I snapped this one AFTER I captured the nut case...
There's a close up of our candy cane lights. :) Notice the perfectly placed bows. Thank you very much!)
Now back to the snow story...
Cua is still pouting about the cold. She refused to eat breakfast and won't let me pet her. And forget about trying to get her outside! Sheesh!
Marley has stood at the door all day and whined to be let out. He licks the ice. He runs and slides and lets the wind blow through his fur.
Black and white. Night and day.


I love giveaways! They're so much fun!! Today is National Giveaway Day so I'm entering to win quite a few... You get extra entries if you blog about the prize you want to win, so surf over to these great contests: (But don't enter, because then you'll win and not me and that'll make me sad...)

Win a cute collar for you pooch!
Win a fun "Let It Snow" sign!
Win a cute little hat!
Win a beautiful snowflake quilt!
Win a beautiful bracelet!
Win a muscle relaxer thingy!
Win a MAH shopping spree!
Win a free sihloutee!

Have fun!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Thanksgiving, Chapter 2

Before I continue the Thanksgiving story, I'd like to insert a story that happened this morning at 2am. The suitcase from last week was unpacked, but still sitting in the floor. When our "precious" puppy began to whine at 2am, my amazing husband dutifully got up and let him out. On his way back to bed, he stumbled on the suitcase and almost his his head on the corner of the dresser. The sound startled me awake and I shouted, "Are you okay mom?" He mumbled something about the stupid suitcase and almost getting killed and came back to bed. As we drifted back to sleep I began re-telling the story to myself so I could blog about it. In that suspension between awake and asleep, I thought it was the most hilarious story ever! I was convinced that people would read this blog, laugh until they fell out of their chairs, and send it to their friends. It would be the blog that made me famous! (You know what stage of the awake-asleep continuum I'm talking about here, don't you? The stage where you are amazingly brilliant and think thoughts such as, "My nose itches - I should have it surgically altered!") Somehow in the light of day, the story doesn't seem as comical or as fame-inducing. (It was slightly amusing when my sweet husband tripped over the suitcase again this morning with all the lights on! Don't ask me why it hasn't been put back in the closet yet. It's one of those things we'll never understand...)
Now then - back to Thanksgiving. If you'll recall - no sleep, bladder infection, doctor, drugs, industrial dye, glowing pee. Now that you're caught up:
Let's back track a few hours here... As we were getting ready to leave to pick up my prescription at the only pharmacy open in the entire city, my sister peeked in the oven to get a better whiff of the delicious turkey aroma. That's when she realized the oven was filled with smoke that was quickly billowing out into the kitchen. A few frantic yelps for help brought dad (and three dogs) skidding into the kitchen to investigate. Turns out we didn't do so well at our foil wrapping this year and the broth was spilling out of the seams and landing on the bottom of the oven instead of in the pan we wanted it in. Thus, smoke. A little bit of careful maneuvering and all was well once again!
After our fun filled trip to Walgreens for medicine, we came back and hit the ground running on preparations. Well, D.J. hit the ground running. I kind of crept around carefully and made lots of bathroom trips. Luckily, the industrial dye did it's job rather quickly and I was feeling better within a few hours. We cooked up a storm in that tiny little kitchen! Sweet potato casserole, dressing, the rather large (and somewhat smokey) turkey, green bean casserole, broccoli and rice casserole, Monkey bread, cranberry sauce, cranberry salad, gravy, etc. The list goes on and on!
We dug out the China, the crystal, and the silver. As we polished and set out the spoons, we realized that we only had 8 place settings of silver and crystal glasses and nine people were arriving in less than an hour. So, we tucked a set of regular silverware and a boring glass in the stack and went on our way. When my uncle and cousins arrived, we learned that one of their girlfriend's would be arriving momentarily. We dove back into the China cabinet (which isn't a China cabinet at all - it's more like the top shelf of a closet full of games) and returned victorious with another plate. The silver and crystal were no where to be found, so D.J. and I ended up with the boring, every day stuff. Good thing it doesn't change the taste of the food!!
Once all the cooking was done and we were all starving, we sat down to a table full of food. My cousin leaned over to his girlfriend and began pointing at the dishes on the table. "These are amazing!" "You've never tasted anything like this!" "I wait all year for this dish alone." "It wouldn't be Thanksgiving without my aunt's _____." "My cousin makes the best sweet potatoes this side of the Mississippi!" "Oh! Get more of that dish - you'll love it." I never realized how much my cousin enjoyed coming over for Thanksgiving. It made us feel good to know that he loved it as much as we did!
The dinner was delicious! For some reason, it tasted better than it has in years past. We're not really sure why but everyone seemed to agree. Maybe it was the extra smoke in the turkey. Maybe it was that I sneezed into the sweet potatoes. (Just kidding! I did cough close to the dressing before it was cooked. I think we saved it though...) Who knows! I just know it was scrum-didilly-umptious! :)
That's all for chapter 2. Be excited because the next chapter is all about shopping! What an adventure that one was... :) Just you wait!!!

Another giveaway...

It's like National Giveaway week or something crazy like that. You get extra entries if you blog about the giveaway you're hoping to win. I want a gift certificate to Gussy. Check out the giveaway here!