a traditional thanksgiving

4:44 AM

I hope everyone had a safe and happy holiday weekend.  Thanksgiving day was hectic for us as the husband cooked like a mad thing almost the entire time.  The food was amazing and we enjoyed hanging with my inlaws.

The turkey breast was brined ahead of time.   It was seriously moist and not, as I liked to call it, Turkified. (That's when the turkey tastes like someone added extra turkey flavoring. What is up with that?)

While the turkey was resting we had a butternut squash soup.  That's pancetta on the top, along with a sprig of cilantro. Yum!  This is usually a much creamier soup but the husband didn't peel the apples so it didn't quite puree as much as he would have liked.  I hardly tasted the much despised curry that went into this!  A new holiday favorite for sure.

The mil made this stuffing based on a recipe from Ina Garten.  I couldn't get enough of it! Those big chunks which you think would be unwieldy are sourdough. They were actually the perfect size. Had they been any smaller I feel sure they would have dissolved into nothing.

There was an amazing gravy to go over the yummy turkey and stuffing which was a combined effort from me, the husband, and the mil.  Ok, so all I did was stir it.   Here's what it looked like as it was thickening. (the freaky looking white swirls are steam)

Last but not least was the yummy pumpkin pie for dessert.  The mil got some kick ass leaf cookie cutters and went to town making her pie look pretty.  I can't wait to try them out on my next pie.

We also had two non-traditional items on the table.  I'm not picturing them here because they just didn't belong. Both were made by the husband. One was shepherd's pie  and the other was risotto.  (I know! Weird huh? Tasty, but weird.)

Now it's time to decide on a Christmas dinner menu, and then we can relax for another year. :)

Did you have traditional fare at your thanksgiving?  

camera critters

Camera Critters - #138 - Rudolph?

6:01 AM

 Every year in December Santa and his reindeer make a stop near our house.  They spend one whole weekend hanging out before they go back to the North Pole to make ready for Christmas.  My daughter loves to visit and is already looking forward to seeing them again this year.

Visit Camera Critters for more critter fun!

charitable causes

Benefit for Jennifer McDonald & family

11:14 AM

My sister-in-law recently asked me if I would donate a piece of jewelry for an upcoming silent auction.  After hearing the details behind the event I was more than happy to oblige.

Her friend, Jennifer McDonald, was diagnosed with brain cancer in October.  Jen has been dealing with pain and numerous surgeries since March of this year. Her husband, Ray, has recently lost his job. They are doing their best through all of this to care for their seven year old son, Jackson.

I cannot even imagine how traumatic this must be for all of them and how insanely expensive the treatment for this disease must cost them.

In an effort to help, friends and family are gathering together to have a dinner and silent auction on December 4, 2010.  The event is sponsored by the Middlebrook Pike United Methodist Church.

If you're in the Knoxville, TN area and would like to attend, please visit here.
You can also donate directly by visiting here.

For all the information related to Jen and her family please visit here.

Here are a few photos of the bracelet that will be up for auction.  I hope you'll be able to attend. 

camera critters

Camera Critters - #137 - Harriet Jones

6:05 AM

It's Saturday which means I get to share another critter with you.  This time it's a duo...a very cheeky raccoon and her baby.

Last November we had the pleasure of  seeing a raccoon in the daylight.  Between the possum and this gal we were beginning to wonder if they were really nocturnal.   We dubbed this one Harriet Jones and she came to see us every morning for several weeks.  Wondering about the name Harriet Jones?  It comes from Dr. Who, the Aliens of London episode. 

One day Harriet showed up with her baby.  We gathered that she'd been scoping us out for food quality and child safety.

My daughter (an avid animal lover and veterinarian-to-be) flipped out over how cute the baby was and promptly named her Delilah. (We gave her a Webkinz raccoon for Christmas last year which now bears the same name.) I love how into animals she is. :)

And now.. Harriet Jones and Delilah:

What's up this way?

C'mon mom, make some room!

Can I eat this little guy?

Hey these leaves look good.

I see you!

Look! We don't even have to climb.

Uh oh, we've been discovered!

We never saw Harriet again after that winter, but during the late summer a full grown Delilah paid us one visit.  She must have remembered our feeder from her childhood. :)

Stop by Camera Critters to check out other participants!



1:30 PM

It's 4 o'clock! I cannot believe the day is gone already! UGH!!
Here are Thirteen things I wanted to do today, but didn't. 

1. Sleep in
2. Take my time writing my Thursday13
3. Have a second cup of coffee
4. Take a shower (Sad, huh?)
5. Fold the Alp-sized pile of laundry in my bedroom
6. Take an afternoon nap
7. Make a pair of earrings
8. Check out more actions in Photoshop
9. Eat spicy Sichuan beef from P.F. Changs 
10. Search the new releases on Neflix watch instantly
11. Read the last chapter of First Grave On The Right
12. Check in on Etsypreneur and fan the new people on Facebook
13. Explore the current theories and possible applications for cold fusion

What did you want to do that you didn't find time for today? 

Visit Thursday13 for more meme fun!



2:47 PM

Fun with photos.  Who knew I would enjoy photography so much?  It seems that the majority of what I post on here is photos.  Hm.

Today I discovered photo editing via something called "actions". In a nutshell, 'actions' are a preset list of steps set up in Photoshop.  I simply downloaded some actions from the web, installed them and clicked "play".  Three hours passed before I even realized. 

I've found that they make jewelry look really lovely, but I think the photos are then not truly representative of the actual jewelry.  I might play around some though and make a few test photos.

Here is the husband - the first photo is straight from the camera; what follows are the photos after actions have been applied.   (If I had been paying better attention I would have made a note of the action that I used and could tell you in the caption. *doh* Next time, I promise.)

Straight from camera


I think this is my favorite

camera critters

Camera Critters - #136 - Shoulda been a pie!

5:31 AM

I kid. I wouldn't make a pie out of a 'possum. Nor would I eat one. This bold critter visited us this summer and spent quite a while feasting at the feeder, in broad daylight as you can see. Yes, our sunflower seeds are just that good.   Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiight. lol.

A very pink nose. I haz one.

Sensitive about my nose, I am!

Prehensile tail close-up. fReAkY!

A safe distance all the time!

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I dig it


7:18 AM

 Today I want to share thirteen styles of architecture.  Ok, sounds like a big snore if you aren't a fan of architecture. But! I'm giving it a go with plenty of eye-candy.

I love looking at houses for sale on the internet. It's one of the things I do when I can't sleep.  Which is a lot.

**Please note I am not an architect nor am I an expert on architecture!  The following information is gathered from internet resources. I make no claims as to the accuracy of the information. So, don't cite me as a resource for your school paper! ;)

1. American Foursquare:  popular from 1890's - 1930's, hallmarked by a boxy design.  Do you enjoy a boxy design? Reminds me of that movie with Dudley Moore where the mental patients were coming up with advertising slogans. The one for Volvo was "they're boxy, but they're good".  lol.

2. Antebellum: Classic style of architecture indigenous to the southern U.S. before the civil war.  (Antebellum comes from the latin 'ante' meaning 'pre-' and 'bellum' meaning 'war'.) I'm not generally a fan of columns, but this house is lovely and I don't mind them a bit. 

3. Carpenter Gothic:  Popular during the late 1800's and characterized by it's details made possible by the invention of the scroll saw.  Betcha didn't know that, am I right? :)  The most famous example of this type of architecture is the American Gothic home featured in the painting of the same name by Grant Wood.  I love the pointy windows!

4. American Craftsman/Arts & Crafts:  One of my personal favorites!  This style of architecture was popular during the late 1890's through the 1930's.   Craftsman homes feature a lot of natural wood, stained glass, and built-ins. What's not to love there?  The plans for these types of homes can be seen  in Stickley's  The Craftsman magazine.

5. Colonial Revival:  Beginning in the late 1800's. this style brought Americans back to their colonial past around the time of the Revolutionary war.   Can't say I love this style. It's the brick though. If the house were white I'd probably be all about it.  Man do I hate brick!

6. English Tudor Revival: Originated in the U.K. in the mid 19th century.  I'm sort of wishy-washy on this style. I can't decide if I like it or not.  It does remind me of Bree; the fictional city from Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, as represented in the online mmo Lord of the Rings Online. (Which is free to play now, btw.)

7. Federal:  Popular from the 1780's to the 1830's.  Another boxy, but good style! I love the shutters.  A very commanding style.  Glad it's not brick.

8. French Norman Tudor:  Popular during the 1920's and 1930's. The characteristic round tower with the cone roof was meant to resemble the grain silos from the original French Norman style of the Middle Ages.    (Which I did not know!)

9. Gingerbread:  Popularized during the post-civil war era. Hallmarked by copious amounts of detailed wood carving and lattice-work.  I first saw this style in the town of Oak Bluffs, MA in 1987.  I spent the summer living and working on Martha's Vineyard.  Best. Summer.  Ever.

10. Gothic Revival:  This style originated in England during the 1700's and popularized in America during the mid 1800's.  I love the ornate details and most especially the steep roofing. (Makes for interesting spaces on the inside!)  Digging the creepy look too.

11. Queen Anne:  This particular style has a very broad definition but generally has an asymmetrical facade. I love the wrap around porch on this house!!  Is that a widow's walk there on top?

12. Saltbox:  Another asymmetrical style of architecture. I first saw this style in Massachusetts when my family vacationed on the Cape.  (of Cod.)  Characterized by two stories in front and one in the back.   Again, a bit boxy. But still liking it. :)

13. Victorian: Squee! Possibly my all-time favorite style; probably because it encompasses many other styles. One thing I have seen that houses categorized as Victorians all have are the amazing front porches and large rooms. I knew someone once with a Victorian home. The kitchen was so large they had put a couch in it.  Yes, a full sized, three seater!  I love a big kitchen.. after all they are the heart of the house. Why not be comfy?

I hope to someday have a home like one of these, though holding my breath wouldn't be an option. ;)   Do you have a favorite style of architecture?

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