Sunday, November 23, 2014

I'm Almost Leslie Knope

Well, last week turned into a pretty sad blogging week for me, but I hope to make it up to you, because I'm sure you were distraught without your daily dose of BLWB. Forgive me, please.

This weekend we said goodbye to my parents early Friday after breakfast at Black Bear Diner (we had heard the portions were huge and the food was decent, and both those statements are true, but it's not as good as The Country Way in Fremont) and some family photos. My parents took some pictures for us so we could get a couple of good shots for our Christmas cards, and we actually had some nice results! You never know with a baby.

After our goodbyes, Marshall went down for a nap and Terry and I designed our Christmas cards on VistaPrint, which we have used for our wedding save-the-dates, our Christmas cards in years past, our return address labels, and our birth announcements for Marshall. It's a simple process (they have pre-made designs or you can upload your own) and we've always loved the results, so I highly recommend it. Plus they always have "deals" (is it a deal if they're pretty much always going on?), and they're quick! I opted for the "economy" ("cheap") shipping and my order will be here in a week. Just a tip if you are still looking to make your holiday cards!

Then we enjoyed a little family outing to Old Navy to buy a few winter items for the three of us--new jeans for Terry, a few warmer sweaters/jackets for Marshall, and this sweater, this vest (also have it in black from last year), these jeans, and a white long sleeve t-shirt for me. We also tried to grab a pumpkin beer at BJ's, but sadly they're out for the season. So sad. Best pumpkin beer I've ever had.

Friday night was pretty mellow. We had leftovers for dinner, put the little guy to bed, and caught up on some TV shows before heading to bed ourselves. Unfortunately, Marshall had a little party in his crib between 1 am and 3 am, so I couldn't sleep while he was awake. Oh, well.

Saturday was the UCLA-U$C game at the Rose Bowl! We drove out separately and tailgated with Terry's family, and then I went home with Marshall while Terry stayed for the game. We had a great time enjoying lots of food and showing Marshall the joys of being a Bruin fan. Marshall took it all in and then took a nap.

I came home to chicken in the crock pot and ate a chunk of it wrapped in a tortilla while standing in the kitchen. I'm super classy like that. Don't worry, I also threw together a salad after Marshall went to sleep. And then I ate whipped cream with berries. Balanced meal for the win (I had to call the berries and whipped cream part of the meal because I ate a separate dessert later...I have a problem). I also did 50 burpees WITH push ups because I realized I hadn't really worked out in about five days and needed some endorphin action. I completed 5 per minute for 10 minutes and then collapsed next to Marshall on the floor.

(By the way, I made a bunch of whipped cream because we had heavy cream and what else do you do with leftover heavy cream? So then I spotted it in the fridge while I was about to make my salad and thought, "Can I put whipped cream on a salad?" And thus begins my inevitable transformation into Leslie Knope.)

And the Bruins won!!! Wahoo!!!!

Today (Sunday), I realized I have five days until Thanksgiving and need to get a move on! I wrote out our menu and all the ingredients so I can get organized. We already ordered our turkey (good thing my mom noticed that people were ordering their birds at our local Whole Foods; otherwise I would have been that girl who walked in on Monday and panicked), but I still have lots to do to get ready.

Here's our menu:

  • turkey (we're having six adults and I ordered a 10-pound turkey, but today my brother told me that 10-pound turkeys look tiny so I'm imagining a bird the size of a pigeon in the middle of the table), cooked using Ina's 5-star recipe
  • Sausage and Sourdough stuffing
  • mashed potatoes (I like to keep these simple with just potatoes, butter, a little milk, and some salt and pepper)
  • gravy, of course
  • cranberry sauce (Terry is in charge of this one, and I think he's going to try to get my aunt's bourbon cranberry sauce recipe--here's one that might be similar)
  • pie (I'm debating between blackberry or apple)
  • plus lots of generous dishes from our guests, including green vegetables, I promise
I realized we didn't have any chicken stock left, so I made some last night, and I did the bulk of the shopping today. Since I had my list all organized, the shopping trip took less than 15 minutes! What the heck? On Wednesday I'll buy the stuff that needs to be extra fresh, and I'll also start in on prep, like cooking sausage for the stuffing, chopping vegetables, baking the pie, etc. If you can't tell, I'm a wee bit excited to host my first big holiday!

Other than that, today was delightfully mellow. We took Marshall for a walk and surprised ourselves by jogging almost a mile of it. Then we decided on lunch at The Counter and split a burger (my husband was worried it wouldn't be enough food, but we also split fries and a shake, so I think we were quite satisfied). We spent the rest of the afternoon cleaning up a bit, video chatting with my brother and Ashley, watching Bring It On (obviously), swapping out pictures in some of our frames, drinking champagne to celebrate the Bruins and Marshall's six-month milestone, and getting ready for the week. It's going to be a fun one!

Do you send holiday cards? I love sending them! It's so fun to write little notes to folks, especially those we don't get to see often, and I LOVE receiving holiday cards, too. So if you need more people to send cards to, let me know.

What are your Thanksgiving plans? Aside from hosting, we're hoping to push ourselves to run three miles--our own little turkey trot to carry on the tradition from last year.

Any hosting tips? My big 3: 1) Prep as much as possible in advance. 2) Focus on one or two "star" dishes, and keep the rest super simple. 3) Make sure you have an awesome co-host who will willingly (and without a doubt) run to the store for whatever you forgot.


  1. I am traveling this year and am so so so glad to just BE WITH FAMILY as we are letting whole foods do all the cooking :-)

  2. I need to order our holiday cards! I've been putting it off and the holidays will be here before I know it!