Friday Five: Thankful

Every Friday I’ll indulge my order-crazed brain in a list of randomness. Welcome to my Friday Fives.

Yesterday we gave thanks with a quiet day at home with Bella, our favorite foods, PJs, football, facetime with family, and a marathon of Homeland. It was a good one. Definitely one of the most chill Thanksgivings we’ve ever had. And we needed it.

Now starts my favorite time of the year and even though this has been a hard one, I have a lot for which to be thankful.

5. U S of A

Despite the current political maelstrom taking place, we live in the best country. I’m thankful my days aren’t spent figuring out how to flee or worrying about who will take me in. Let’s not take that for granted. Ever.

4. Health

We’ve had a lot of family health scares this year and I’m thankful that everyone seems to be feeling better and is on the road to recovery. Health is everything. Health insurance is also everything.

3. Support Network

We have the most amazing network of family and friends that lift us up and make us better. Whether they are five minutes away or five hours by plane, we are blessed by those who fill us with laughs, hope and love. And we’re remembering the two we lost earlier this year with reflections on a lifetime of happy memories.

2. Bella

This past year was her hardest yet, but I’m happy to report that she is back to 95%. Even though she can’t hear (hello, last 5%), she is playful, cuddly and attentive. So happy we’re far from where we were at the start of 2015.

1. Joe

I’m reminded daily—especially lately—why Joe is the perfect man for me. I’ll never grow tired of his strength, integrity, work ethic, perseverance and humility. I’m lucky to navigate life with him, and I’m eager to see what new adventures 2016 has for us.

Friday Five: Thanksgiving Prep

Every Friday I’ll indulge my order-crazed brain in a list of randomness. Welcome to my Friday Fives.

We’ll be celebrating another Thanksgiving in Utah this year thanks to football and the Nutcracker. Instead of spending it with friends as we’ve enjoyed the past few years (here and here), we’re going to be having a quiet Thanksgiving at home. It’s what we need right now.

Thanksgiving = Tradition where I come from. We have so many dishes that make their annual appearance at our Turkey Day spread and I love those dishes. But when I’m away from home, I like to trade tradition for the ability to try something new.

It took us about five days to settle on a menu, but we finally did it. Here are a few ways we’re changing things up this year:

5. Brie for Bites

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My Aunt Pam’s Baked Brie is my #1 always-have-at-Thanksgiving dish. I am absolutely obsessed with it and have made it for several away-from-home holidays. But, this year we’re going to try our favorite pretzel bites with a cheesy cider fondue. Joe plans on watching a lot of football that day, so I thought it would be an easy TV snack/appetizer while the rest of the meal is coming together.

4. Mash It Up

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I looooove my Dad’s sweet potato casserole, but Joe and I eat sweet potatoes every single week. I really wanted to splurge and do Pioneer Woman’s guilty mashed potatoes instead.

3. Bring on The Grit

My brother-in-law once gave me a cookbook from his favorite vegetarian restaurant in Georgia, The Grit. I’m excited to try their gravy and green bean casserole for the first time.

2. Sweet Tooth

I’m just not a huge pie fan and, to me, the best Thanksgiving desserts are the ones that are out on a counter for post-meal or post-nap grazing. Joe, on the other hand, needs his pumpkin pie. Luckily I found two new recipes that fit the bill for both of us…and both have bourbon, so we’re already off to a great start.

1. Rollin’ the Dough

Despite recent yeast-dough success–which I still need to blog about–we’re going to buy our rolls this year. I just don’t want to mess with it when other people can do it so well. Part of having a great meal is knowing your limits and this is mine.

Looking forward to sharing our culinary adventure with you! Happy Thanksgiving Week, everyone!

Friday Five: Linc turns Two!

Every Friday I’ll indulge my order-crazed brain in a list of randomness. Welcome to my Friday Fives.

What the what?! Linc is shedding his baby status by turning T-W-O today…with no terribleness in sight!

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Just like last year, I wanted to share some of my favorite photos of the big boy. He’s the cutest of the cute and I’d celebrate him every day if I could.

5. Our Mouseketeer

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This boy LOVES some Mickey, who up until recently was “Tickey.” He loves reciting the whole gang’s names and is having a Mickey-themed party tomorrow that I’m so sad to be missing.

4. Our Silly Sweetheart

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Linc is always all smiles, all grins, all laughs and all silly. One of my favorite parts of his (and his family’s) recent trip to Utah is hearing his giggles and watching him run around to make us smile. I feel like his personality has exploded in the last year…probably because I’ve seen him more, but also because I feel like he’s finding his groove among big sister and others. He holds his own just fine.

3. Our Snuggle Monster

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I love Linc’s cuddles. He’s definitely a snuggler—when you can get him to sit still—and has such a kind heart. And he freely gives Aunt NoNo kisses, which quickly sends him soaring to the top of any list.

2. Our Boy’s Boy

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This was {somewhat} painfully obvious when he only wanted his Uncle Mikey Joe, or “Minaco,” when he was here. I didn’t mind…I couldn’t mind…because my heart was exploding with love every second the two of them were together.

1. Our Linc

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He’s the perfect addition (I first wrote ‘addiction,’ which is also pretty true) to our family and the incredible joy we felt when Lily came along has just grown and grown since he joined her ranks. They are a special pair and we can’t get enough of them.

Happiest of birthdays, Linc. We love you so, so much.