Monday, December 24, 2012

One of the best on record...

I am not really sure how it happened.  It's not like 29 is some impressive or momentous age to turn.  But I had the best birthday.  I think I can honestly say it is the best birthday I have celebrated in the past decade.  It was so good I don't think I can claim I'm not a "birthday" person 'cause I kinda want every year to go exactly like this one.

Let's start from the beginning.  My birthday was on a Thursday this year which means there was still school and other stuff going on.  So I woke up, started getting breakfast ready and gathering kids.  Jon took over and sent me upstairs to take a shower.  Little did I know he had taken out the water saver feature from the shower so I got the best high pressure water dousing shower ever known in the history of that shower.  It was heavenly.

Jon then informed me that we needed to be gone about 11 a.m. for my combined birthday/Christmas present (every December birthday child's nightmare...) so we hopped in the car and drove.  And drove and drove and drove.  I guessed the whole way there just to be amusing/annoying.  "Yay!  ChuckECheese, how did you know?  Laser Tag... awesome."  I was definitely not expecting to pull into the parking lot of Lasik Eye Center.  Jon had scheduled me an appointment to see if I was a candidate, and if I was I was going to have 'bionic eyes' before Christmas.

Oh.  My. Goodness.

I was exuberantly happy walking into the building, had a great appointment, passed every test and scheduled the procedure for the next week.  So awesome.

We headed from there to Scarlet's school where she gave her presentation on Bottlenose Dolphins (more on that later).

Later that evening, Jon got a babysitter and took me out to dinner at Firefly, a tapas restaurant my friend recommended.  Our choices were exceptionally delicious and it was a rare but enjoyable treat to be out to dinner with just my husband.

I had sweet friends give me little presents all day long that just perked up my day even more.  One friend gave me some chocolate covered pretzels, another gave me some grey nail polish I have been wanting forever, and another gave me a new cookie scoop!  My last one busted and I have been severely cookie hindered without it.

And even after that much good time, the best part still hadn't happened yet.  I had been trying for weeks to get a girls karaoke night together and the night of my birthday just happened to be the best date for everyone.  Even though I had a few people say they were going to come, I knew it was going to be late and I kinda thought everyone would back out on me that day.  And a few people did, but at 9:30 p.m about 12 ladies showed up on my door ready for a night on the town.

After some cake, we headed out to Hot Shots, a bar down the street that was almost completely empty until we came to shake things up.

It was SUCH a blast.  There were so many awesome moment, great conversations, amazing performances, it was just perfect.  I think my three favorite routines of the night were as follows:

3:  Adrianne's looks-so-good-it-could-have-been-choreographed number to Genie in a Bottle.  I am not exaggerating, the girl's got moves.

2: Anya's could-have-been-legit-it-was-so-good performance to Objection Tango.  Anya has a rockin' singing voice, as proved by a recent Sacrament meeting performance.  I was a little worried she would go all boring karaoke with some impressive ballad.  But no, my adorable Russian friend busts out some Shakira and it was amazing.

1: Our group number, Man I Feel Like a Woman.  It was legendary.

Honorable mention goes to my Tik Tok performance.  The bar was smoky and I was still getting over a cough so the vocal cords weren't at full capacity.  Solution?  Some good ol' fashioned talk-singing Ke$ha style.  And the duo stylings of Mindy and Shauntelle will be forever ingrained in my mind... and ears.  Not to mention my small and adorable Peruvian friend Sara taking on some Britney Spears.  Seriously ladies, it was all beyond awesome.

I finally climbed into bed at 2 a.m. It was a day/night not soon to be forgotten.  Thank you to everyone who joined me/contributed to the awesomeness.  Singing only to the five lonely people at the bar and the ridiculously busty bartender just wouldn't have been the same.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

You know sometimes after a crazy, busy, stressful thing has come and gone, and there were all kinds of things that didn't go as planned, but as you look back all you can remember was the good times and the fun you had?

Well maybe this year's Thanksgiving needs a little more time because I still remember the stuff I screwed up on nice and clear.  I have done the large part of the Thanksgiving cooking quite a few times now and I really just feel like every year should be one step forward to Thanksgiving Linner perfection (it feels weird calling it dinner, does anyone eat it after 3 p.m.?  Cause I never have).

But that just wasn't the case this year, I went down a few notches instead of up.  Here were my three biggest blunders:

#1 The Pie Blunder - We made 9 pies this year and had some really great ones.  The chocolate pecan turned out deliciously and the apple pie was perfection with just a spoonful of vanilla ice cream on top.  But my favorite pies are always the cream pies and I have been making my grandma's recipe for a few years now.  I do not know what I did wrong this year but, after many salvaging attempts, I gave up.  My coconut cream pie was liquid soup.  Super bummer.  Instead of chancing another failure, I used my backup pudding packet to make the banana cream.  It was well received but... well it just wasn't the same.

#2 The Store Blunder - I thought I was so on top of things and had everything I needed days in advance.  Well that didn't work out as planned and I got to take a quick trip to the Walmart across the street 4 times during Thanksgiving Eve and Thanksgiving.  Every time I walked in, I could feel the invisible glares from the cashiers who were thinking, "YOU, and every other slacker who didn't get their shopping done in time are the reason I have to be at work today!"  I refused to go to the grocery story for like a week after Thanksgiving.  Thank goodness we had leftovers...

#3 The Roll Blunder - The one that bothers me the most.  I make my mother in law's roll recipe and it is delicious and very forgiving.  I cannot explain to you what was going through my mind when I whipped up the recipe just as called for.  I always ALWAYS double or triple the batch.  Except for this time.  So we had 20 people coming to my house and I had a total of 18 rolls.  So, so unacceptable.  This invoked one of the above Thanksgiving day store trips to buy what were deemed the "kid rolls."  I then made a double batch the next day so we would have sufficient roll sandwiches.

Phew... getting all of that off my chest I already feel better.  Now onto the stuff I totally nailed.

#1 The Company - The Warrens, the Rosenlofs, and the Bahlmanns were superb company.  They brought delicious dishes and great conversation.  Plus, they kept all of their roll disappointment to themselves, which I was grateful for. I am choosing to take all credit for the success of my guests

#2 The Turkey - I think it was just a touch bit overcooked in the breast but otherwise delicious.  I have had a lot of luck with my brining method and it was super tasty.  Really good gravy too... mmmmmm.... gravy.

#3 The Taters -  I tried the crock pot mashed potato recipe I pinned recently and it was super awesome.  I would highly suggest using chicken broth instead of water and adding a little cream cheese in with the butter but it was handy, out of the way, and turned out really delicious.

#4 The Pom Salad - I hope to always have pomegranate salad at my Thanksgiving dinner.  It will just always be Grandpa Earl memories in a bowl for me.  But I don't think a little revamp on the recipe diminishes the memories.  So instead of fruit cocktail (which I am not a fan of) I do fresh fruit, which this year included pineapple, grapes and bananas.  And at the last minute I threw in a few maraschino cherries and it was awesome.

Since there are more on the awesome list than sucky list I am going to say Thanksgiving was overall a winner.  Of course none of you are going to mention that the lack of any pictures taken could also make it on the bummer list so I can keep my win.  Thank you for that.   And Happy Thanksgiving!