Monday, November 21, 2011

A Thankful Potpourri

thankful #11: a tradition

Thanksgiving. Pretty predictable but whatever, I love it and I am excited to share the wonderful tradition with my son.  I have always loved Thanksgiving.  I wish I could say it is because it prompts me to reflect on all the things that I am grateful for.... but really, I just love eating myself into a food coma.  We travel up to Philadelphia to spend Thanksgiving with Josh's family.  He has a huge family and they are all so nice and it is usually the only time of the year that we see them {unless there is a wedding} so it is fun to catch up with everyone. 

The ladies at Thanksgiving have a fun {and usually hilarious} tradition.  A lot of potatoes need to be peeled to make enough mashed potatoes to feed such a large crown, so the ladies have a potato peeling contest.  They sit down around the table with aprons on, potato peelers in hand and each with three potatoes in front of them.  Then, when the contest begins, everyone starts furiously peeling their potatoes.  Josh's mom is a master potato peeler and usually wins.  She seems relaxed and peels very smoothly.  {I guess you peel a lot of potatoes when you have five kids... you become somewhat of an expert.}  I competed one year and I was pretty terrible... I was very slow and nervous... but it was still a lot of fun!

thankful #12: a gadget

Lorex Video Monitor.  I would marry this magical, little white box if I could.  I love it.  I expressed my love in an earlier post where I reviewed some of the bajillion baby items we have.  The monitor makes life so much easier with three floors and lots of creaky stairs.  It is smaller than a regular monitor and it fits perfectly into a plastic disposable wipe box so it is easy to bring with us when we go on trips.  I could go on and on but I realize that video monitors don't excite everyone like they excited me so I'll end it here.

thankful #13: something old

My 1998 Honda Accord.  She has 195,000 miles and is still going {relatively} strong.  We have been through a lot together in the ten years since I bought her from my Granddad.  Trips to the Bay Bridge to meet Josh for week night dinners when I was in college.  Flat tires on the way to meet Josh at the Bay Bridge which then led to creepy backroad driving in a tow truck with a tow truck driver who went on and on about his recent prison release.  Ripped seats from trying to shove a giant grill into the backseat when it clearly wouldn't fit.  A few slammed curbs in college... one big curb collision which led to the tire falling off and me driving home on the rim... oops.  But somehow she survived all that. 

Sometimes I dream about a getting a new car, but then I get behind the wheel of my Accord and it feels so familiar.  I know I will eventually need something more reliable and family friendly but until then I will enjoy poppin' curbs in my beat up old honda.

thankful #14: something new

Jack!  I don't even know where to begin expressing my thanks for the happy little baby that we have been blessed with.  Josh and I ask each other every single day if he could be any cuter?  Josh sometimes asks if we should "stop while we are ahead" and not have anymore kids since Jack is so wonderful and cute.  Sure, Jack cries and is fussy and doesn't sleep well {teething sucks!} and there are days when he needs to be held nonstop... but those usually he is a smiley, giggly, squirmey little guy who just wants to give kisses and eat his toes.  He is the best and, besides his daddy, he is the best thing to come into my life.  I love those two handsome boys so much! 

This seems like a good time to post some pictures of my boys.....

just hanging out when Jack was about three days old...

watching football with daddy...

my boys and me on my birthday!

thankful #15: a recipe

I bet you think I am going to say cornbread, huh??  Well, I'll admit that I was tempted.  I mean, it is awesome... but I think I will go outside the box here and say that I am thankful for the baked ziti recipe that I made a couple weeks ago.  It was so easy and it fed us for days.  I think my pee smelled like ziti by the time the pan was finally gone.  I am pretty sure that my body had a faint marinana scent after five days of eating ziti. 

I didn't layer it like some recipes called for.  I didn't use sour cream like some recipes called for... it is italian food people... sour cream instead of ricotta? Puulease!  The recipe I found was easy and delicious.  I will be making this regularly.

Baked Ziti (recipe adapted from Allrecipes)

1 package ziti pasta
24 ounces ricotta cheese (I used less than this... 24 ounces seemed like a LOT... not sure how much exactly I used- maybe 16 ounces?)
2-3 cups shredded mozzerella cheese
1 egg, beaten
1 (32 ounce) jar spaghetti sauce (I used a meat sauce my mom had kindly made for us)
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add ziti and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain and rinse.
In a medium bowl, mix ziti, ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese, egg and 1 1/2 cups spaghetti sauce.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
Lightly grease a 9x13 inch baking dish and spoon in ziti mixture. Top with remaining spaghetti sauce, followed by Parmesan cheese.
Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes; let stand for 15 minutes before serving

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