A Change In Plans

November 30, 2008

We had a change in plans for Thanksgiving....we never made it to Cape Cod. Pat had some unfortunate luck at work on Wednesday which kept him there until almost 8pm. We were planning to leave Wednesday around 5pm but no big deal, we could leave early on Thursday morning and still make it in time for the Thanksgiving meal.

Well that didn't happen either......because of what went down at work on Wednesday, Pat had to be in the office first thing Friday morning. So at 8pm the night before Thanksgiving, I realize that I am going to have to cook a Thanksgiving meal for our family.....and I have nothing in the house because we are supposed to be in Massachusetts!!

I have to be honest and let you all know that I did not handle this well....you all know me, type A personality, total planner....and not to mention that I have had my heart set on this trip for a long time! My emotions got the best of me and I lost sight of what was important! We would still be together and maybe it wasn't going to be picture perfect, but we still had each other....and lots to be thankful for!!

So Thursday morning, I was up and dressed and on my way to Wegman's by 7:45am. I had visions of J@mie Lee Curt!s in Christmas with the Kr@nk's where she was fighting over the last canned ham....except I thought I would be fighting over the last fresh turkey!! To my disbelief, the meat department shelves were lined with them....and nice sized ones at that!! In a matter of one hour, I was through the store and home with all of the ingredients to make my family a proper Thanksgiving meal.

I made a Turkey with Lemon and Thyme(recipe from The B@refoot Contessa), Mashed Potatoes, Sweet Potato Casserole, Cranberry Sauce, Green Beans Almondine, and Corn. The meal was one of the best ever....I guess when you are under pressure, you can do anything you set your mind too!!

We all enjoyed a really relaxing day at home and during our meal we talked about what we would do this weekend since we were at home! We decided to finish the Christmas decorating in and outside of the house, and also take a little trip to Longwood Gardens.

I had high hopes of getting some great photos at the gardens, but unfortunately everyone in their brother must have had the same idea.....the place was a MOBBED!! Sarah was so overwhelmed, she would not get out of her stroller.....I think I only got one picture of her. There was no time and no space....people were pushing to get through and everytime you turned around you bumped into someone. It was actually worse than the malls on Black Friday....people EVERYWHERE! I would like to go back during the day, during the week.....I am sure it would be a lot less crowded and much more enjoyable.

Here are a couple photos from our trip....
My creation


Just to prove my point...this was the only picture I got of the kids....Sarah is not even looking at the camera....Poor Nick was smiling away, trying to get his sis to look in my direction!! If it wouldn't be for that little piece of her dress sticking out and her red shoes, you wouldn't even see her....she blends right in!!

We did have the opportunity to meet the sugar plum fairy while there and I was super excited to have Sarah get her picture taken with her, so we got in line and as soon as we reached the front of the line Sarah burst into tears.....she cried when we tried to sit her in the beautiful ballerina's lap.....I could not believe it!! Anyone want to place a bet on whether or not she will sit on Santa's lap this year? I am guessing...NO!!

All things considered, we had a great weekend....a lot of quality time spent together as a family....We had a wonderful meal, took a nice little day trip, and got the tree up and decorated....I will post pictures this week!!

Hope you all enjoyed your Thanksgiving Holiday!!

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 26, 2008

Since we are leaving tonight and will not be able to do a post on Thanksgiving, I felt today was the perfect time to share some of the things I am most thankful for......
My sweet Sarah.....It was two years ago, the day before Thanksgiving that she was placed into our arms for the very first time. It was a Thanksgiving that we will never forget....our meal was nothing special, we didn't even cook a turkey because we were supposed to be up on the Cape, but it didn't matter. All that mattered was that we were together....our new family....a family of four. Pat, Nick, and I spent the entire day staring at a beautiful little baby....our baby. I spent most of that holiday with tears streaming down my cheeks, because I could not believe the gift we were given....we had so much to be thankful for. Thankful for our new little girl, and thankful for her Mother, who was brave enough to choose life. Not a Thaksgiving will go by that I don't count the blessing that she gave to us.
IMG_5656 My loving, compassionate Nick. I am thankful for the young gentleman he has become. My shy little boy has come a long way since the days of clinging to my legs when I dropped him off at preschool. We have been through some tough times together and I am thankful that I had him to show me the importance of life. This little boy gave me hope when I didn't think there was any hope left. He gave me the will to live and fight the good fight. Each time I look at him, I think what could have been and am so thankful for the doctors I had while pregnant with him......I couldn't imagine a single day without this little guy. He brings us so much joy and it just melts my heart to see him with his little sister. I am thankful that he loves and respects Sarah and shares our excitement in the anticipation of our China Baby. He is the best big brother anyone could ask for.
My devoted husband, Pat. Without this man, I do not know where I would be. I am thankful that he walked into my life 6 years ago. From the day we met, I knew I would be with him forever. He took Nick and I under his wing immediately. Not only did he love me unconditionally, but he loved Nick and has always treated him as if he were his own son.....for that I will always be thankful. My life has miraculously changed for the better since he has been part of it. He is the most loving, genuine, kind, and caring person I know. Not only is he an incredible father that shares so much love with his kids, but an incredible husband, he puts his family before all and for that I am forever thankful. Many people go their entire life without truly finding their soulmate, I know I have found mine.

I feel fortunate to have such a good life and so much to be thankful for, an incredible family, wonderful friends, health, and happiness. Take time to count your blessings and give thanks this special holiday!

Wishing you all a Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours!

We are heading North. I will be on a little break until Sunday....see you then:)

No Forks Needed!!

November 24, 2008

Last night we had a very small family birthday party for Sarah. The kids were totally cracking us up when it came time to sing happy birthday and cut the cake. I put the cake down and turned around to get the candles and lighter. Look at their faces.....PRICELESS!! They are all trying to figure how to swipe some icing while we were not looking. The two little boys are my nephews Aidan, on the left, and Ashton, sitting in Nick's lap!

The picture quality is not the best in these photos, I was facing the stainless steel appliances and the reflection caused a lot of glare, but I still thought they were cute enough to post:)

Sarah loved it when we sang happy birthday to her....something tells me my girl likes being the center of attention!! Aidan can't wait to get his hands on that cake and Ashton is just trying to figure out what all the fuss is about......Are they not the cutest little boys you have ever seen?

Since we didn't do a smash cake this year, we let Sarah go at it....No forks needed! I think someone is looking like he wants to join his cousin in the fun!

Sarah showing us her face full of icing!

We let Aidan have his own corner and he was happy to dive right in......I have never seen the little guy open his mouth so wide!

This is my favorite photo....look at the smiles on these two!! Do you think they like the cake? They have so much fun together.....and it shows!!

A special thanks to my Mom for buying Sarah her cake....I have always loved this photo of Sarah wearing her pink feather boa...so my Mom had them put it on her cake!!

After celebrating these last couple of day's we are ready to move on to the next holiday.....Thanksgiving! Wednesday we will be leaving for Cape Cod and we cannot wait....we are anxious to see our family and enjoy a relaxing holiday of good food and fun!

Hope you all have a great week.....and thanks for you votes on the Christmas card picture:)

In Search Of Perfection....Take Two!

November 23, 2008

The plan was to wait until our trip to Cape Cod next week to give it one more try for the Christmas card photo, but it was really sunny today and I was in the mood, so we headed out to location number two!
This shot was taken today and I posted the shot from last week to compare below! I want your thoughts and opinions on both of these shots. Do you like one better than the other....if so, tell me which one you would use.

I had a little fun with Nick. He was super cooperative today....and I could probably use any of these....too bad I can't get Sarah to sit like this....maybe next year!

I love this one of Sarah running through the park. The one below just cracks me up....she left Nick in the dust!

I tried setting up these two shots as suggested by The Pixel Fairy Princess. Obviously, I didn't master exactly how she told me to set it up, but I like the idea and I am going to try something along these lines up on The Cape in the sand....I think the kids need to be closer, they are too far back. I also think I like just the greens, no Nutcracker....any thoughts or opinions here??

I always love these shots of them walking away....I especially liked these old doors in the background! This location was incredible, it was an old Iron Funace Building that now has become a park. Needless to say, we will be going back SOON...the wheels are turning in my head!

Okay, so leave me a comment with your thoughts and opinions!!, I am cutting it close and will need to make a decision by next week!

These last few days have been a whirlwind around here. We just got done cleaning up from Sarah's little family bday party....we all had a great time! I will be posting pictures in a day or two...right now I am too tired!
Hope you all enjoyed your weekend!

I Want Cake For Lunch!!

November 20, 2008

Even though Sarah's formal Birthday celebration will be happening on Sunday, Sarah and I had our own mini celebration today....after all, she is officially TWO!!! It was a special girls day...with no rules!!

The first thing on our list was a cruise through the park. Sarah needed to test drive some of her birthday gifts....A stroller, complete with matching diaper bag, and her first Bitty Baby.....the asian one:)


After our little jaunt through the park, it was time for some lunch. I was thinking a quick stop at Panera Bread for some warm soup and a tasty sandwhich......

Sarah had other plans.....

When asked what she wanted for lunch, she stated...."CAKE"

What the birthday girl wants......the birthday girl gets....remember, NO RULES! We headed to an adorable little bakery that is also known for their incredible candy and chocolates.....everything is made on the premises......and it is GOOD!!
Before we made our way to the cakes, Sarah saw some other goodies that caught her eye.......
This store has every candy you could imagine, but guess what she picked up......little milk chocolate lady bugs......do you think that means good luck is on the way?

I hope so!!!

She also found this little stuffed ski bear who made her way home with us too!

Eventually we made it to the cake counter and Sarah made her pick so we could go home and enjoy a lunch of .......CAKE!!!

Chocolate cake with peanut butter icing.....she made a great choice!!
Happy Birthday to me.....Happy Birthday to me!!!

Mommy, Can I eat the whole thing??

After our filling, but tasty lunch, we looked out the window to see this....

A couple flurries came our way.....it was the perfect ending to the perfect afternoon!

Sarah is now taking a nap...even after all that sugar!!
Round two tonight...the boys need to do a little celebrating of their own with the special birthday girl!!

More to come later.....I am still digging out from being away for a couple of days!!

BTW.....if you buy anything at T@YS R @S, open the box and take everything out to count the parts before you bring it home. We had to exchange the stroller. We went to put it together this am and it was missing a piece. I was so MAD....I should have checked before I left the store last week. This always happens to me....I thought I was safe because the box was still perfectly sealed.....WRONG!!

A Little Bit Of Sunshine

November 18, 2008

She's a little bit of sunshine,
She's a smile to light your days,
She will steal your heart and
keep it with her warm endearing ways,
She's your precious little daughter,
With a sweetness from above
Who will fill your years with laughter
and your lives with lots of love







It is rare that I get to capture Sarah and her Daddy, so I took advantage of this beautiful day in the park. Words cannot describe the way I feel when I see the two of them together.......it brings joy to my heart and tears to my eyes.

As I sit here looking at these pictures, I am having a hard time believing that two years has gone by so quickly.....Thursday is her Birthday, but Saturday will be the two year anniversary that she was placed in our arms....a day we will never forget...the day our family of three became a family of four!

Sarah is our little bit of sunshine.....even on the cloudiest of days!!

Hope you all are having a great week! I set this to auto post.....I am still in Memphis but will be back for my girl's special day! I cannot wait to see her face when she opens her gift......I just know she is going to love it!

Not What I Had Hoped For......

November 16, 2008

First thing this morning, it looked as though it was going to be a nice day. The rain cleared and the sun was out....but so was the wind!! Yesterday we had temperatures in the high 60's.....today it was in the low 40's and the wind gusts were unbelievable.....not your ideal day for outdoor photos.

We headed out anyway.....I had mutiple places at this location that I wanted to try, but we didn't make it past the first one.....it was just freezing! The kids noses were turning red and their eyes were tearing. Under normal circumstances, it is hard to get Sarah to cooperate, but today was the absolute WORST....even the big bag of skittles in my camera bag didn't do the trick!!!!

These were the best shots......and they are NOT good or usable for a Christmas card. At the rate we are going....my Christmas cards might turn into Happy New Year's cards!




Sarah decided she didn't want Nick near her she wanted to sit by herself.....this is when I knew we were done for the day!


Needless to say, these pictures are not what I had hoped for. This was my PLAN B.....looks like I am going to need a PLAN C! If I can't get anything between now and Thanksgiving.....my last resort will be on our trip to Cape Cod....maybe we can pull off a winter beach shot......I HOPE!!!

On a side note, I am thinking about changing Nick's sweater from Red to Black......It could have been the red door that was throwing it off, but I think he looks better in the black....oh well....next time!!

I am signing off.....I leave first thing tomorrow for Memphis.....I will be checking in and I do have a post or two scheduled in my absense!

Hope everyone has a great week!

Flashback Friday!

November 14, 2008




Since Sarah's Birthday is next week, I thought it would be fun to flashback to her first Birthday party!! I have been going through old photos in hopes of putting together a special tribute for her, but I am not sure it will be done by next Thursday.....there are too many things that need to be done and not enough hours in a day.

We have a busy weekend, but I hope to be back Sunday night to post some of the pics from our little photoshoot before I leave for Memphis. Thanks for everyone's advice.....we are going CASUAL!!!

Hope you all enjoy your weekend!

Casual or Dressy?

November 13, 2008

Help!!! I need the opinions of my blogger friends!!

I thought I was so ahead of the game.....it was all planned out....we were going to take a family photo on the beaches of Cape Cod during our summer vacation. I was shopping the week before our trip and found a cute navy and white dress for Sarah...as soon as I had it in my hand I knew it would be the perfect dress for the photo. All I would need to do is pack jeans and white or navy tops for the rest of us.

Well, day one of our trip, Sarah took a tumble down the stairs of the back deck and ended up with a big brush burn on her cheek.....so we figured we would wait until the end of the week in hopes that her face would heal. Thank goodness for the ocean air, because in three days, you could barely see the mark.

The very last night of our trip, the entire "Gaelic" side of the family headed down to the beach......I know this sounds like an easy task, but it was not. I think in total there were about 19 of us and we were trying to get photos of each individual family as well as a large group shot. We ended up playing beat the clock....the sun was setting and there were dark rain clouds moving in. We took as many pictures as we could as fast as we could........
Needless to say......I took one look at the pics and said NO WAY, PLAN B!

My dreams of having many months to write out and plan the perfect, pretty family Christmas card were not going to come true.

So here it is the second week of Novemeber and I still do not have the picture I want to use for our Christmas Cards....and time is running out. At this point, I have nixed the family picture idea and decided it will just be the kids this year.

I am pretty sure that you all have noticed that photography has become a passion/obsession of mine, so I wanted this years picture to be extra special....last year we went to a studio and had someone else take the picture....this year, I want to take the picture of the kids.

Because the weather is not the best this time of year, I was comtemplating indoors or outdoors......and after last Friday's pictures in the park.....I have definitely decided it will be an outdoor picture.....I have two different locations in mind.

This brings me to the last decision or dilemma.....Dressy or Casual???

I have gone back and forth over this....I love to see the little girls in their fancy little dresses, but there is part of me that wants this pic to be very casual....almost natural kind of shot....but still celebrating the Christmas/Winter spirit. I do have a fancy Christmas dress for Sarah that could be used for the photo, but I really wanted to save it for Christamas Eve.

Today my lunchtime mission was to find a coordinating casual look for both Nick and Sarah, keeping in mind that it was going to be done outside and it will probably be cold.......this is what I found.......
I fell in love with this little outfit for Sarah......It is hard to see in the picture but that little plaid shirt is a satin material with black velvet trim...the jeans....don't even get me started on the jeans....if they had them in my size I would wear them......and the shoes are red and sprarkly........Nick will be wearing the red sweater with a shirt underneath.....I am sure I will find something to match if I dig around in his closet!

So the final question....Do I use this outfit and go with the casual Christmas look.....or fancy it up?????

Photoshoot is Sunday!!!

PS...It is friends and family at G@p, Old N@vy, and B@nana Republ!c......that means 30% off until Sunday.....just thought you might want to know:)

A New Spin On An Old Classic

November 11, 2008


I Love this picture of Sarah....it doesn't really have anything to do with the post, but this dress reminds me of Thanksgiving, so I thought I would include it!

For as long as I can rememeber, our Thanksgiving day feast consisted of the same thing each year, a turkey with all the typical sides and pumpkin pie for dessert.

Now, as much as I love many of those dishes, I was in the mood to change things up a little bit. Our family, for the most part, is pretty adventurous when it comes to food, so I knew that no one would mind if I tried to put a new spin on some of the old classics.

Did I ever mention that if you were to walk into our home and a TV is on, it would be tuned into the F@OD NETW@RK? Well, I am addicted and have now converted Nick...he would rather watch cooking than cartoons...I love it!!

So that being said, Last year I watched all of the celebrity chefs show off their turkey day favorites and I decided to throw caution to the wind and ditch my standard repertoire of dishes for some of these new recipes.

I know what you are thinking.....aren't you a little scared to cook "New" recipes that are not tried and true for 20 people coming to your home for thanksgiving??? I have to admit, for a brief moment the unforgetable turkey scene from N@tional L@mpoons Christm@s V@cation went running through my head.....but I quickly snapped out of it....after all, I know my way around the kitchen....how hard could it be to follow the recipes of some celebrity chefs?

Everything went off without a hitch! The TURKEY was very moist and had great flavor and all the sides were really good. Even my first attempt at homemade PUMPKIN pies(crust and all)was a success. My Mom contributed by bringing a classic that we must have at every Thanksgiving....my Nana's potato filling....the recipe has been in the family for years and no holiday would be complete without a helping or two!!

So now to get to the point(sorry, long winded today) Out of everything new, there was clear a winner on the table.....

Whipped Sweet Potatoes and Bananas with Honey

5 large sweet potatoes, scrubbed
4 bananas, unpeeled
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup honey
Kosher salt
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 1/2 cups pecans, chopped

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Prick the sweet potatoes all over with a fork, put them in a roasting pan and roast an hour to an hour and a half(until fork tender). Toss the bananas into the pan and continue roasting for 10 to 15 minutes, until both the bananas and potatoes are very soft. Remove the pan from the oven but don't turn the oven off.

When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh into a large mixing bowl. Peel the bananas and add them to the bowl along with 1 stick of the butter, and the honey. Season with salt and beat vigorously with a wooden spoon until everything's well combined and the mixture is fluffy. Spoon into an oven-proof serving bowl and smooth the top.

In a separate mixing bowl, use your fingers to rub together the remaining stick of butter, the brown sugar, flour, and pecans until the mixture is the consistency of coarse crumbs. Sprinkle the crumb mixture over the sweet potatoes and return to the oven. Cook for about 20 minutes, until the crumbs are golden. Serve hot

Recipe Courtesy of
Tyler Florence

***If you have anyone coming to dinner with the peanut allergy or you dislike Pecans, simply remove them from the recipe.

Here is a "hot out of the oven" picture of the casserole and below is a serving for one.

Taking pictures of food is much different than taking pictures of people.....not sure if any of you have tried, but it is really difficult to make the food look good on a plate....I guess it is an art....one that I must work on!
I cannot tell you how many people I have given this recipe to and each one has come back with rave reviews. I actually shared this recipe with two other Moms standing on the soccer field prior to making it last year and they both said that it was the hit of their Thanksgiving meals.

In my opinion, this knocks the socks off the tradtional candied yams or the sweet potato casserole with marshmallows on top! It was a nice little change to an old classic.

So along with Nana's potato filling, this is now a must have in our house.

What are the dishes that you must have on your holiday table?