Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Walt Disney World - Orlando - Magical Family 2011

Anyone attending? We have not been to Walt Disney World with AA yet so this may be a good time to take her for the first time.
Who will be there?

Magical Families Gathering Registration

It’s time for all Magical Families to start making reservations for our Gathering on Oct. 7-9, 2011. To participate in the Magical Families Gathering, please do the following:

  • Register on our event Web site so that we know who’s attending. On this site, you can also register and pay for the “IllumiNations” Dessert Party.
  • Call Walt Disney World Group Coordinators (during weekday business hours) at (407) 939-767 to book everything EXCEPT the “IllumiNations” Dessert Party. All costs are detailed here.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us at magicalfamilies@gmail.com.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Changes - Kitchen Updating

We have a kitchen updating project started which will involve replacing some appliances, painting and a new tile back splash. No counter changes or flooring at this time.
We selected stainless steel but do not like that personally; it shows the fingerprints, but we wanted to update the kitchen to what others want and admire when looking at newer kitchens.
The appliance replacement has begun with the new dishwasher already installed the day before Thanksgiving; it replaces the noisiest dishwasher ever.
Next will be the replacement of the 1960's double oven. Since the configuration is very different from the new ovens, a new cabinet must be installed first.
Here's the new appliances (from my iPhone).

Question: What is the best product for cleaning those fingerprints off the stainless steel appliances?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Glasses are Staying On

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving Greatness!

We had a great visit and Thanksgiving dinner with family at the Cruce home. Such a wonderful home for children to run around inside and outside; and there was a full house of rambunctious girls: Kilee, Alivia, Alyzabeth, Stella and Dylan. The food was delicious and plentiful, just how Thanksgiving should be! Love to all the family who helped provide the meal and desserts (yummy cakes and a pumpkin cheesecake!).

First, the news; AA has prescription/corrective glasses. Since she wore her sunglasses everywhere she was only too happy to have a new pair and in pink! She selected them so loves them. Her sunglasses now have corrective lens in them too.

The tire swing was a hit and lots of fun (I am sorry that I didn't get on it!):

Some of the ladies made wild grape vine wreaths; found out it is an annual tradition:

We brought a bouncy house in case the girls needed a place to get rid of that extra energy; they were crawling all over each other:

Miss Cara provided many craft activities for the girls: their favorite was making Indian Princess feather hats:

Dylan (our grand #3) enjoying a slow ride with her Daddy:
Lots more photos in our public Picasa web albums.
Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving! 2010

We hope everyone is having a wonderful day with family and friends.
Happy Thanksgiving!
We will be with family at the Cruce home!

"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them."
-John Fitzgerald Kennedy

"He who thanks but with the lips
Thanks but in part;
The full, the true Thanksgiving
Comes from the heart."
-J.A. Shedd

"Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise; be thankful unto him,
and bless his name. For the Lord is good..."
[Psalm 100:4]

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Teal Cap

A few pictures with AA sporting her new teal cap and bow, purchased from here.
The serious pose:
Indoors, trying to get a smile:

Outdoors with a smoochy pose, she just wasn't in the mood to model today! See the hot pink cap here.

MOFRO "Brighter Days"

See J.J. Grey and MOFRO in Portland Maine (and Massachusetts and New York this coming week).

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Exercise - Our Neighborhood Walk

We take walks (or bike rides) around our neighborhood and lately have turned down the same side street as a new home is being built in our neighborhood. It will be a beautiful, LARGE, two-story home, right on the river. The extended family is part of the Chinese adoption community and are so friendly to us. I know they will enjoy the new home soon.

Love our camera, to capture AA's "speed" with such clarity.

New home, looking at river from upstairs, where a balcony will be:
The riverside summer kitchen/porch area:

From the street:

Friday, November 19, 2010

A New Dutch Oven = Artisan Bread

One of my favorite Birthday gifts was a 6 quart Dutch Oven from my lovely DW. I don't know how manly a Dutch Oven sounds but it sure put a smile on this face. Thank you Aly!

I have been wanting to make Artisan Bread using the No Knead method for a while now and with the new Birthday gift I had my chance. We love homemade bread around here and my first attempt with this recipe, while fraught with chef error, delivered the soft spongy center complete with crunchy crust I was after.

I made two loaves. The first browned up too much, calling for a temperature adjustment to our less than stellar and soon to be replaced oven. Loaf number two browned up nicely but I left too much free flower on from handling. Easy enough to correct for the next time. To improve, I'll just have to keep practicing. Darn the bad luck.

Must run. I hear my timer going off! Pardon me if you will. Time to butter some hot fresh bread from the oven! And then more Practice - Practice - Practice :)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Black and White Wednesday - All Pink!

It was a chilly day so dressed AA in long sleeve shirt (from Aunt Mia and Uncle Mike) and cotton tights. All PINK. Lots of PINK!
Check out all the great Black and White photos here.

With our new lens on the Nikon D40x, I am getting some shadows, only some of the time, so not sure what I am doing wrong. Anyone know?

It is getting close to Thanksgiving, so have many thoughts of thankfulness. Being thankful for all my family and the wonderful blessing to all of us. Thankful for AA!
Happy week!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Sophia Jane Boutique - AA's New Look

Look over the cute girl's hair treasures and see AA's picture's on the top of the blog/store.
Here's AA's new look to keep her head warm during the Florida winter!

We also bought a teal set, so can't wait to have the next photo shoot!

Monday, November 15, 2010


Over the years, I have attempted to organize the household goods, the paper mess and everyday commitments, with little success. Sure, I do get alot done but allow the house to stay cluttered while we gather more stuff (even though we say we won't).
Within a year, my goal is to have the biggest yard sale which means I need to de-clutter the house. One task at a time and I am on my way. The steps to accomplish this are written down.
I found this eBook over at I'm an Organizing Junkie.
Here's some inspiration to get you started!
Click here to visit Becoming Minimalist.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Baking a Cake for Daddy

My hubby doesn't want a big deal made for his birthday but a cake and candles is still a must! AA and I had fun making his requested cake flavor (this year an old fashioned spice with raisins, two layer cake with cream cheese frosting).
AA insists it is icing not frosting - who's to say she is wrong!
Her mixer is always on duty to beat the eggs:

She is a good stirrer:

More smiles thinking about eating the cake (or at least licking the bowl and beaters when we are done):
The baked two layers:

I didn't get pictures of us making the icing, it was a dust cloud for a while in the kitchen. Letting AA pour the confectioners sugar in the mixing bowl and stirring, we had powdered sugar dust all over the place!
AA helped with some sugar sprinkles (yes, I did guide her hand so that it went on the cake!).
Last but not least, the frosted cake going into the refrigerator for later:

Placed the candles on the cake when we began our birthday celebration:

I even washed the good dessert plates; have to use something pretty for birthday cake! I purchased a set of six, on a whim about 20 years ago when we (Hubby and I) were at a Maine auction with my parents; everyone said I "got a good deal". I liked the fruit design in the centers and the delicate colors on each plate, each one is different. They are Johnson Brothers, Made in England.

The final joy with candles and singing Happy Birthday! The three of us and Carolyn all enjoyed the yummy cake. Happy Birthday wonderful husband!

Birthday Fun - A Prairie Home Companion

We had a wonderful evening out for Hubby's birthday while cousin CR stayed and babysat for us. We went to see and listen to the A Prairie Home Companion Show and were gone a total of nine hours which I think is a record for both of us being away from AA together.
These photos were taken with an iPhone since only point/shoot cameras were allowed inside the venue.
First, Garrison Keillor walked through the crown very slowly singing an opening song, it really got the crowd into the show and never let our attention wane after that!

J.J. Grey was the guest local musician and sang several songs, including Lochloosa; his band is called Mofro but he appeared as a soloist. Check out his music on the A Prairie Home Companion web site under "St. Augustine" or at his own web site.
(this is a late post to document more of Hubby's birthday activities!)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Visiting with Bloggy Friends!

It was all about meeting precious Miss Hannah..... She had fallen asleep in her car, so was a bit shy at first, but not for long!

Catherine's family was a pleasure to meet and speak to; wonderful family!

The girls starting to get to know each other while eating lunch:
Girls having a private chat:Hannah exploring the sand for the first time; she loved playing on the beach:
Hannah, JMei and AA:

Getting soaked by an unexpected huge wave:

Lunch place was a good location, access right out to the beach:
Love the girls; all enjoying the waves:
They look like they could fly away with the sea gulls and pelicans (it was windy enough!!):

Saying our goodbyes; it was a lovely visit, sad to see such good friends leave:
Hannah is such an adorable child; her giggles and pure joy are amazing!