Saturday, November 29, 2008

Prelude to Christmas?

If this is any indication to how Christmas is going to turn out this year...I am boycotting!
I was busy decorating my tree and watching the Alabama/Auburn game when the disaster occurred. Of course Jody would not answer his I called my friend Rebecca {whose tree full of Radkos fell last year}. Her and Jody pulled up about the same time. Jody held the tree {whining the entire time that I was interupting his game least it fell during half time} while Rebecca and I undecorated the tree. My losses weren't near as bad as hers {the chair prevented it from falling completely down} major loss was my finial {a wedding present} and the bottom of my Christopher Radko 40th Birthday ornament. I have already been on ebay bidding on a new one. Here is the tree last year:
RIP Finial!
Thank you to my dear friend Rebecca who came to my resue...I couldn't have done it without you.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thankful Thanksgiving

I got up early this morning {while everyone else in my house was still snoozing} to make 4 batches of this:
Mac and Cheese...and I am very thankful that most of it was devoured throughout the day, leaving only about 1/2 a pan for leftovers.
Once everyone started stirring, we headed over to Debbie's to assist Uncle Christopher in the turkey frying adventure:
Taking out the first of of 3 turkeys:
Picture perfect:
Carved and ready for the Thanksgiving Table:
It was super moist, delicious and delightful! I am also thankful that every morsel was quickly devoured...leaving nothing for leftovers!
Here are some more pictures of food from yesterday's cooking marathon.
A Chocolate Covered Almond Coconut Cake:
Orange/Cranberry Relish {which I hear was a HUGE hit with Baby Carter}:
After the turkey was carved and the dolloped dressing and mac and cheese were cooked, we headed out to Nanny Nan and John B's for lunch with Jody's family. {All the "cousins" are boys with the exception of Mary Reese.} While she was cooking in her playhouse, the boys were doing this:
Climbing on the roof and dumping out sand {I am thankful no one got hurt}.
After a huge lunch, we headed back home for a little of this:
After some power naps, we headed out to Popsy and Gigi's for one more round! The cousins had a fun time playing:
I am very thankful that all my siblings have been able to bond this week. It is very rare that all 4 Willis children are together. I think the last picture I have of all of us together was from 2004:
Here is an attempt of one with all the children and their children:

It didn't turn out too much better than the last one: Needless to say, we couldn't get into our pjs fast enough tonight! We hope everyone had a wonderful Turkey Day filled with family, friends and delicious/delightful food! We had a very Thankful Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving Cooking Marathon/Bonding Session

Christopher, Stacey and I had about a 12 hour cooking marathon/bonding session today in preparation for Turkey Day! We did lots of yummy stuff that I can't wait to taste tomorrow.
Aunt Stacey and Mary Reese supervising the start of the marathon:
First we brined the turkeys:
According to Tyler Florence, "If you not brining, you not doing turkey the right way." These birds are soaking in salted, sugared water with garlic, onions, green peppers, celery, oranges, lemons, limes, bay leaves, rosemary, thyme and oregano. Tomorrow he is frying 3 and cooking 1 in the oven wrapped in a wine soaked cheesecloth.
I made countless batches of cornbread and biscuits, then crumbled it all in the food processor to make dressing:
Christopher chopped up tons of onions and celery, then I sauted them all in a little bacon grease and olive oil. He also minced some fresh parsley and fresh sage. We stewed some chicken thighs to make our broth. Pat Smithson the came over and helped Debbie and I put the dressing together and dish it up in "Kitty-style" dollops:
{My sophomore year in college, the Auburn/Alabama game was played Thanksgiving Day at Legion Field. The Smithson and Willis Families decided to have Thanksgiving together that year because all the dads and kids were going to the game. While we were all at the game, our moms and Kitty {Pat's mom} stayed home to prepare the Thanksgiving Feast. My mother was getting ready to just dump the dressing in the pan when Kitty grabbed the spatula out of her hand. Kitty said you have to put the dressing in the pan in dollops. Ever since then...we have been dolloping out our dressing Kitty-style.}
Baby Carter and Mary Reese had a little coloring session later on in the afternoon:

We also made some sweet potatoes stuffed in orange cups that you top with marshmallows and pecans, a chocolate-coconut-almond cake and a cranberry/orange relish. We had a wonderful day in the kitchen!

More pictures tomorrow of the turkey frying and all the other festivities! Hope everyone has a wonderful Turkey Day!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Hot Diggity Dog!

It was a Hot Diggity Dog of a birthday party! Yesterday we celebrated Banks' 6th Birthday and Mary Reese's 4th Birthday with hot dogs, s'mores, cake and ice cream.

The "mustard and ketchup squirt" themed cake thanks to Judi Moore:

After eating hot dogs with all the fixings, the kids went outside to roast these:Then it was time for cake and ice cream after a round of "Happy Birthday":

Then back outside for the always entertaining pinata {you should have seen how many people it took to hang it up}:

After William Penley busted it open, this is what we saw: Sarah Laine with her loot from the pinata: We sent all our friends home with rice krispie treats in the shape of a 4 or a 6:

Thank you to all our friends and family who made our birthday celebration so special!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Indians by Email

I just checked my email. In there I found these: Along with a message from Ms. Smith (a 2nd Grade teacher) - "We were on our way to lunch and I caught a bunch of indians, seriously."
And if you were at the Mexican restaurant down from our house for dinner would have seen 1 lone Indian!
Thanks Ms. Smith for sending us this special memory of our Kindergarten Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Southern, Y'all!

I love the weekends! We usually have a big family breakfast at least one of those wonderful weekend mornings! I can't image not being from the South and missing out on all these delicious goodies!
Today we had these:
Buttermilk biscuits, buttered and topped with some Pear Butter and Apple Butter I made a few weeks ago:
We also had some cheese grits and bacon. I did throw in a little cultural experience to our breakfast this morning.
A Country French Omelet: A new recipe I found in the Barefoot Contessa's Back to Basics Cookbook that I picked up a Costco a few weekends ago! Eggs, bacon and potatoes...need I say more?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

School Celebration

Mar Mar took these to school today to share with her friends:
She also sent them home with a treat:
It's great to be 4!

Happy 4th Birthday, Mary Reese!

On this day four years ago, this bundle of joy came into our lives:
One of my favorite pictures from the first few days of your life {it pretty much sums up the last 4 years}:
On Sunday night, we celebrated the birthdays of these very special people:Granny Lulu’s Birthday is 2 days before Mary Reese’s. We celebrated with a hamburger/hot dog dinner {a Mary Reese request}.
After dinner we dived into these:
Mary Reese requested “chocolate cake with white icing and 3 strawberries on top in a circle.” We compromised with these cupcakes. Granny Lulu requested a caramel cake!
They each made a wish before blowing out these:
Then the birthday girls had a few of these to open:
Mary Reese loved her new Disney Princess game for the Wii {we got some playing time in today on our day off}, her new High School Musical dolls {sorry Gabriella that you got left at school for 2 nights by yourself}, Hart Family dolls and all the new lip gloss {Mommy got a make-over Monday night}!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

What do you wear?

When you have a teeth cleaning appointment at 8:00 am on your day off?
Your princess nightgown, blue jeans and crocs...what else! Some battles aren't worth fighting!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Halloween Night

Our Halloween tradition started 5 Halloweens ago continued on this year...we got together with a huge group of friends at the Bibbs for trick-or-treating and eating! The Yummy Mummy appetizer and Sam Barnett's famous cheesecake made their appearances again this year!!! Along with yummy fried chicken, mac and cheese, asparagus, salad and bread. We got smart this year and took the kids trick-or-treating before we ate!
Here are my Alabama football player and Cinderella getting ready to trick-or-treat:
{they weren't being very cooperative with the picture taking}
Before heading over to the Bibbs, we trick-or-treated a little bit in our neighborhood:
{The Lamps had special treat bags ready for us...thank you!}
Trick-or-treating with part of the gang:
Chowing down on some real food before hitting the candy bags and the cheesecake:
{a new meaning to the word "helmet-head"}
The only thing we didn't get this year was a group picture! I was really sad about that because they always turn out so hysterical! We made one more stop on our way home at the Villarreals! They were handing out some yummy pizza shaped sugar cookies along with huge handfuls of candy! We got to visit with the entire Villarreal gang {including Holley Ann} before heading home and crashing for the night! I am just very thankful that Halloween didn't fall on a school night this year so we could all "sleep in"! Hope everyone had a safe and happy Halloween night!