Made by Girl bracelet

Like my gorgeous bracelet? It is a birthday gift ;D

Isn’t it gorgeous?

I wore it for Thanksgiving with a bunch of skinny bracelets on either side and it looked great.

Made by Girl also carries this bracelet in fuchsia and dark brown, I wanted something very neutral so I chose the camel color but I was tempted by the fuchsia as well. Hmmm, maybe for Christmas ;D

Food coma

Holy crap, that was a lot of food. And I didn’t even have turkey! Steve made an awesome bacon-wrapped pork loin so I went for that. And my mama’s world famous sweet potatoes with marshmallows. And Steve’s fabulous apple crisp.

My mom’s neighbor makes these adorable turkeys — mom bought a bunch and sent them to me for my table settings:

Don’t they look sweet?

I had set the table like this:

And then I remembered we were also having butternut squash bisque, so I had to re-do my settings to add the bowl – oops!

The little guys had to move to the chargers:

Here is the aforementioned pork loin; it was so moist and yummy!

And the bisque, which I will be enjoying later:

We have a silicone mold that we used for the cornbread:

They turned out so cute, little leaves and pumpkins.

Huge biscuits, gingery honey carrots, and the sweet potato/marshmallow casserole in the back:

We also had delicious turkey breast made by my in-laws, stuffing and gravy, green bean casserole, spicy lentils (kind of random, but I made them last year and people liked them), garlic mash, sweet potato medallions with caramelized walnuts, and I am sure I am forgetting more stuff, but it was all yummy and most of it was made by my awesome husband. Our cousin J brought a fabulous veggie basket with all sorts of goodies, including my favorite olives from Trader Joe’s.

We had a great time, and the boys had a blast playing with their cousins. We have big bellies and happy hearts. I hope your thanksgiving was a great one!

So thankful

Tomorrow we will be celebrating Thanksgiving. I was not born or raised in the U.S., but my parents and I celebrated Thanksgiving because we found a new start here.

I am an incredibly lucky girl and have so much to be thankful for — my husband and sweet boys, my mama, memories of my dear dad, lovely friends and family who support me, and last but definitely not least, all the wonderful people I have met online, including my sweet readers!!

For those of you celebrating this most American of holidays, I wish you good times with your loved ones. If this is just another Thursday for ya, then I hope it’s a good one ;D

We’re not letting it mellow

When we moved into this house eight years ago, the living room was painted a dismal grayish-peach that made the space look small and drab. Wanting to lighten it up, I chose a buttery yellow for the walls. My husband Steve wanted a tan color for the trim so this is what we went with:

Both colors by Behr.

Eight years later, I’d had it with the yellow walls. So had my husband. We knew we wanted a warm neutral since those are the colors we gravitate to, our living room is filled with browns, creams, tans, reds, so to throw a grey or pure white wasn’t going to work. Steve picked Chamois Cloth by Behr, which looked lovely on the paint card, but it turned out to be pink. We don’t do pink. I do pink occasionally in my clothes, but pink walls are not us. Here are the painted and unpainted areas side by side after the Chamois Cloth snafu:

So it was my turn to get paint, and since it’s closer, I went to Lowe’s and got Valspar’s Cream in my Coffee:

Yes, that’s my youngest helping out, and you can see the difference between the yellow walls and the new color. Not a huge difference, just a subtle de-yellow-ing that left our walls looking brighter.

The color was a bit lighter than my husband had imagined, I think, he kept mentioning tans and that he wanted “color”, but he ended up liking it because a) our house is so dark that we need all the brightening up we can, and b) because it made for a peaceful, serene backdrop and accents in bright colors could then shine.

Speaking of our youngest, Alex, I have to say that one of the things I love the most about Steve is that he encourages the kids to jump in and help with whatever we’re doing, as long as it’s safe for them. Alex asked if he could help so out came a little roller he could handle and after covering up the floor, off he went to roll paint on the wall to his heart’s content.

Alex kept saying how happy he was to help — it was such a big deal for him to work alongside mommy and daddy! It was a big deal for us, too 😀

Another shot of the new color on the walls:

I love how our wrought iron “pops” with the creamy walls. Even though the color is lighter, the living room feels calmer without all that yellow. We are super happy with the results and if you ask Alex, he will grab your hand and show you the wall he helped paint ;D

Have you?

For you.
For your family.
For your friends.
For your future.
I hope you have, and if you haven’t and are in the right age bracket and/or have family history of breast cancer — go do it!

Cold weather comfort

I planned this post before temperatures started soaring in my neck of the woods, but although we’re in the eighties here for a couple of days, I am still enjoying my cup of tea in the mornings. And, it should be colder in a few days. Right? Right??

Recently my husband and I have been enjoying some hot and comforting beverages to ward off the chill in the mornings and late evenings. He tends to go for the spicy and full bodied (hmm, wait a minute) while I enjoy whatever kind of new-to-me tea is my current favorite.

From left to right, this is what we are enjoying right now:
Yogi Detox tea – No, I am not doing any sort of actual detox, but I was looking for something for cooler weather and the herb/flavor mix seemed right up my alley. It tastes so good, with a hint of spice but still calming and comforting. Even my husband, who is not into teas unless it’s chai, asked me what it was because it smells so good. I got it at my regular grocery store.

Wang Derm Thai Iced Tea – We love to drink thai iced tea, and last night we enjoyed a nice chilled glass of it after my husband had been cleaning out the garage all day. Because I try to avoid dairy and this was made with condensed sweet milk, it is not something I will have often, particularly in the coming cold months, but it was such a treat.

Celestial Chamomile Tea – Love, love, love this. I make it most evenings as part of my evening routine, and it reminds me of the tea the nuns used to make at the school’s nurse’s office whenever I had stomach issues. Now I know it was probably all that dairy I was drinking when I was little – d’oh! This is found just about everywhere.

Twinings Winter Spice – Steve bought this one and I am a total convert. It is sort of a mix between my beloved chamomile and the detox tea above. It has the chamomile base flavor with spices added. Also found everywhere during the cold months.

The last two are two David Rio Chai blends we got at World Market:
Flamingo Vanilla (pink tin) – I like this one because it has more of a vanilla kick, is decaffeinated, and I can make it with my rice milk. The Orca Spice blend in the blue tin has more of a spice blend and it is also great with any non-dairy milk. Or dairy, obviously, just not for me ;D

These are some of our current favorites, nothing was gifted or given to us, it’s just a few comments on what we are enjoying lately. Hope your week is a great one!

Behind the scenes with the Xenomorph

My husband spent about 40-50 hours making the costume, including the entire night before Halloween. I did my best to keep him fed and Mountain Dew-ed but that was pretty much the extent of my contribution, this project was all him.

Here are some pics I took during the making of the Xenomorph costume:

The wire frame for the head.

The torso, made up of wire ribbing with duct tape over it, blackout vinyl, electrical conduit, pipe insulation, and vacuum hose. The back horns/pipes are made up of pool noodles.

My little vampire (so cute with his missing teeth!) putting on the helmet that supported the head:

The head structure during drying time

There are two pieces of clear plastic on the top — made from soda bottles — which is where my boy could see out of. It was very hard to see him, though, which made for a better illusion.

Thank you to everyone who has posted/emailed us such nice comments. I think Steve rocked it out of the park with this costume and I’m so proud of him! Have a great weekend!!

The Xenomorph from Alien

Last year, my husband rocked making a Godzilla costume for our little man Alex — he even made the SF Chronicle’s list of finalist in their costume contest!

This year, it was our oldest boy’s turn to get a daddy-made costume, and he requested the Xenomorph from Alien. At 7 1/2, he has never seen the movie (neither have I, by the way) but he saw the alien itself on youtube and decided that was it. And daddy obliged:

Yes, my husband is insane 😀 He worked on this costume for about two weeks, roughly 40-50 hours, and has yet to go to sleep since yesterday. But he loves making stuff like this and even more so, when his kid loves it as well. And our boy did.

I love his sweet classmate’s face here, the kids loved the costume and kept asking my husband how he made it.

My husband and his parents were there to help our boy put on the costume, here Gran helps Aidan walk out of the classroom and line up for the parade:

I love the look on Steve’s face here, so happy that his boy loves his costume!

More pics from the parade:

Happy Halloween, everyone!

The 36th AVENUE

Thursday Favorite ThingsWeekend Bloggy Reading


Past Halloween costumes

Before we do the big reveal of this year’s awesome possum Halloween costume, I thought I’d do a little recap of (mostly) the boys’ past getups.

Baby Aidan rocks his reindeer outfit – I love his chubby fingers!

This was his official costume, but on the day of, he was very cranky and spent the evening in a shirt and diaper. But he was a darn cute Superman 😀

Alexander gives us fierce with his Count Dracula costume:

We won a costume contest at our friends’ party, wheee!

The first time that elephant costume will be seen, this time on Aidan; Alex was a SF Forty-Niner, and as always, the first house was our dear neighbors’, we have been truly lucky when it comes to the people on our block.

Second year for the elephant costume, Aidan was still in the grip of elephant madness, so he wore it again.

Alexander was a little batty that year (ba-dum-pum!) and he LOVED trick-or-treating.

As you can see, we got LOTS of mileage out of that elephant costume. Aidan was moving on to dinosaurs and was a t-rex rider:

This year, Aidan was into Bakugan, so daddy and I obliged. I sewed the wings and Steve made everything else.

Alexander loved Wubbzy, so I made him the outfit, while Steve painted the face on and crafted the tail.

Aidan starts his superhero phase, and looks awesome (she said un-biased-ly) as Captain America:

And, so far, the mother of all costumes, Steve knocks it out of the park with a Godzilla costume for Alexander:

Yeah, we love making stuff, don’t we? This year is Steve’s most ambitious project yet, and it’s coming along nicely. Alexander is wearing an off-the-rack costume — we hadn’t planned it this way but it’s worked out that the boys are getting homemade costumes on alternate years, Aidan’s Bakugan costume in 2010, Alexander’s Godzilla costume last year, and Aidan’s … let’s say, “of foreign extraction” costume this year. Which is nice as I don’t think we can handle TWO fancy homemade costumes AND Halloween decorations every year. Alex did get the Wubbzy costume as well in 2010, but it was just a simple jacket and pants.

Hope your weekend is going great, and best thoughts and luck to all those in Hurricane Sandy’s path.