Sunday, November 27, 2011

Photo Challenge: Smiles

I am joining Paper Mama's Photo Challenge for the first time this week.

The Paper Mama

This week's challenge is "Smiles" and it must be based around my child.  I am submitting a photo I took of Taylor on Thursday afternoon before our Thanksgiving dinner.  I just love the mid-afternoon sunshine on a warm late November day in Florida.

If you'd like to join us, link up over at Chelsey's blog The Paper Mama.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


I'm thankful I was able to make breakfast for a house full of family:

Egg cups

I'm thankful for the opportunity to parent this sweet, intelligent, beautiful girl:

I'm thankful for my (now!) teenage nephew Alec.  I will always remember him as a toddler with his stuffed dog "Snickers" as his faithful companion:

I am thankful for my gorgeous niece Ashley.  She is so sweet, loving, and a wonderful playmate to my daughter:

I am thankful I was able to share all of this amazing food today with my husband, daughter, & family:


I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Gator Game

My husband and I are both UF alumni and have been going to games every season since we graduated 12 years ago.  It started out by going to as many games as we could get tickets for.  Some years it was 4-5 games.  The last several years it has been getting harder and harder to buy tickets.  We usually purchase our's the minute they go on sale in April for the following fall season.  Now that we have a child and ticket prices are now $50 EACH, even for an infant or toddler who is going to sit on your lap anyway, we only go to one or two a year.

This year, we only bought tickets for one game.  Now we have gotten smarter and don't bother with the first several games of the year because it is way too hot.  It is next to impossible to get single game tickets for an SEC opponent so we were left with Furman.  Furman?  Who is that?  Well apparently it is a team that showed up ready to play us hard in the Swamp.  I have to say I was quite surprised to look up at the scoreboard and see it 15-0 three quarters of the way through the first quarter.  And it wasn't the Gators who had the 15 points.  WHAT!?!  But I never lost faith that our team would get it together and start making big plays.  We got to see a beautiful long pass caught by Andre Dubose and then he ran, crossing the field to score a touchdown.  The stadium was electrified by that play.  We also enjoyed watching 2 interception returns for touchdowns.  They happened right in front of our seats!

Taylor with the Marston Science Library "french fries:"

I spent A LOT of time in this library.

Strolling under the big oaks:

Beautiful holly tree outside of McCarty Hall A:
(also had many, many classes in that old building)

One of our traditions is to go to the bookstore to get new Gator gear before the games.  If you don't dress your kid up in silly hats or accessories while at any store and take funny pics, then you are missing out!

A future Florida cheerleader:

The view from our seats (Row 23 I think):

Touchdown!!!  Finally points up on the board for the Gators:

I spy Alberta:

Halftime show:

Taylor had a blast.  She definitely proved that she has been sufficiently "brainwashed" and knows all the Gator cheers by heart.  I was amazed that she was so into the game this year and had enough energy to continue that enthusiasm for the entire game.  She watched other fans dancing around and copied what they were doing.  She helped increase the Swamp's noise factor by cupping her mouth and screaming along with everyone else.  So fun!  And we can't wait until she is a freshman at UF someday.  Oh wait, yes we can. She is growing up way too fast.  So for now, we will take her to at least one game every year if we can to further immerse her in our beloved Gator culture.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Photo Dump

A collection of recent photos from my Canon or iPhone...

We carved our pumpkin a week late this year:

Meeting Emily Henderson at Epcot during the Food and Wine Festival:

Taking our dog on her first boat ride:

Saying "Hi" to passing boaters:

A girl and her dog:

Sailboats racing on the lake:

A boy and his dog:

A yummy lunch at a Cuban restaurant:

Three little piggies:

Animal Kingdom:

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thanksgiving Inspiration via Pinterest

Since Thanksgiving is exactly one week from today, I thought I'd share some of my favorite Thanksgiving themed pins from my Pinterest board "Let's Talk Turkey."  At the end of this post I will be linking to a great giveaway over at Little Miss Momma's blog.  You won't want to miss out!

A beautiful wreath to welcome family and friends:

I went to Michael's last week to pick up some ribbon, picks, and faux fruit to make these sweet chair back decorations inspired by this pin:

This Give Thanks banner would look festive hung from a mantel or china cabinet near the dinner table:

A fun kid's table:

These adorable gobble pillows would make a great hostess gift:

Fun printable that would look great framed. This could also be a hostess gift:

And finally, the perfect turkey to go along with all of your side dishes:

Ashley from Little Miss Momma is holding a BIG blog giveaway today!  A Silhouette Cameo!  These are great for crafters and have so many uses.  A Cameo could be used to make that Thanksgiving banner and the heat transfer design for the gobble gobble pillow I mentioned above.  They are wonderful for making holiday and party decor, appliqués for clothing, stencils, wall decals, etc.  Make sure to check out Ashley's blog and giveaway today.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Pot Roast

 Our pot roast on the way into the oven:

And on my plate:

Recipe here.

French Onion Soup

I decided to make french onion soup for lunch on this chilly weekend.  We were hanging around the house with family while watching football.  I used a recipe I found online by Tyler Florence.  It turned out delicious.

1/2 cup unsalted butter
4 onions, sliced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 bay leaves
2 fresh thyme sprigs (I used dried thyme since that is what I had on hand.  I also did not measure it out)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup red wine
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 quarts beef broth
1 baguette, sliced
provolone cheese, sliced

Slice up all of your onions and chop up a couple of cloves of garlic.  Melt the butter over medium heat.  Add the onions, garlic, bay leaves, thyme, salt and pepper.  

Cook for about 25 minutes until the onions are caramelized.  It may take a bit longer, but it is worth the wait.  Add the red wine, bring it to a boil, and  allow it to evaporate (about 5 min) while simmering until the onions are dry.  

Remove the bay leaves.  Mix in the flour and allow it to cook for 10 minutes over low heat.  Add in the beef broth and bring the soup to a simmer.  Allow to cook for 10 minutes.  In the meantime, slice up your baguette, top it with provolone cheese, and broil it in the oven for 3-5 minutes.  Serve it on top of the soup.  The most popular way to serve french onion soup is to ladle the soup into a crock and add the baguette topped with cheese on top.  Then broil it in the oven so that the cheese melts all over the top of the crock.