Monday, November 26, 2012

Thankful - picture post!

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. I spend weeks planning and preparing, days cooking and baking... and gain a lifetime of memories. This year my partner in crime, Jen, spent the week over at our house, preparing and helping me get everything ready. Couldn't have done it without her!

The menu was quite extensive: 23-pound turkey, Honeybaked ham, to-die-for mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, cranberry jello salad, biscuits, corn casserole, sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, pasta salad, appetizers (meat, cheese, crackers, candied nuts, fruit) lots and lots of ALCOHOL, made-from-scratch apple pie, pumpkin cheesecake, pecan pie, Hershey pie... and I'm sure I'm forgetting something. Talk about food coma! 

Brother Brian, Cody, and Michelle

Bro in law James and sister Nik
Table decor

The clan!

Cute Kelli :)
I could eat his cheeks!

Cody and JJ

I'm thankful for him
Love my siblings!
Puppy love


... and I totally slept for 13 hours the next day, but it was worth every second of preperation and moments of exhaustion.

We took on a few little projects around the house before Thanksgiving.
First, I made these little candle holders from an idea I got on The Chew (thanks Clinton Kelly!)

Eric installed me a new kitchen sink! YAY!

Finally, what Thanksgiving weekend is complete without setting up the tree?!?



My cute Santa's helper!

Now, it's time to think about the Christmas menu. ;-)

In the meantime, I'm trying out some Paleo recipes in an attempt to eat healthier and get a jumpstart on my new years resolutions. This morning, I made this triple chocolate protein shake (yum)! Seeing that I don't like veggies, this will be an adventure in planning and conjuring up recipes that I like to eat. Here are a few of my favorites so far:

Simple Blueberry Muffins (where do I buy almond flour?)

As you can see I have a limited number of approved recipes so far. :-P I plan to have some salmon, sweet potato fries, lots of roasted potatoes, and turkey burgers.

Anyone ever eaten Paleo? I'm not going crazy, and not doing it 100% purist, but if I even cut back on my processed carbohydrates (hello, pasta almost every day of my life) by half, I'd be doing good. Any good recipe suggestions?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


What does it mean to shine? What comes to mind when you think of someone who "shines"?

I recently listened to a song from the show Nashville, (which I don't watch... just heard the song) called "Undermine". A part of the lyrics, "it's a whole lot harder to shine, than undermine" got me thinking.

At first, I was sort of guilty, thinking of all the times I have wanted to talk bad about someone, or when I held a grudge against someone who had hurt me and wished horrible things upon them. We've all been there at one point or another. That word, undermine... its almost like digging a hole underneath someone and allowing them to fall in. Vindictive. Calculated. It's easy to imagine someone like this that we know, or even how we've acted that way towards someone else.  And the lyrics are correct by indicating that it isn't difficult for us to fall into this unattractive behavior.

What's harder for me is to think of someone who truly shines. I think we'd all like to think we shine... we wear pretty makeup, get our hair done, have a rocking body (or at least we work hard at it!), or wear trendy clothes. People might notice our outward appearance often; we may get a lot of compliments that make us feel good. We post cute pictures on Instagram that make us feel good about ourselves. Maybe we exude confidence, and feel like we can conquer the world. We do a good job at work and get kudos from the boss. Maybe some of these things make us feel like we're "shining". We're in the spotlight, if only for a moment.

But to me, when I think of someone who shines, I think of none of those things.

To shine. So, what the hell does that really mean?

To me, someone who is truly beautiful shines from the inside out. As cliche as that sounds, it couldn't be more true. The attractive physical features, nice clothes, confidence, or success is the last thing I think of when I think of someone who shines.

Someone who shines can often be broken inside. They often think of themselves last, and put others first. They talk about their struggles, not to seek pity, but out of a desire for transparency. Because of their transparency, they attract others with similar features. They often lack confidence, and continually struggle with insecurity and self-doubt. The last thing they think of themselves is as someone who "shines" or even someone who has anything to offer.

But one thing is for sure: they shine.

I only know a handful of people like this. In fact, I can count them on one hand. But the ones I do know are near and dear to my heart. Sometimes, when I think about them, I want to cry, simply because I love them so much and can't imagine losing them. It's not that I go around analyzing people I know (ok, sometimes I do ;-), but they simply stand out. Well, they shine. How appropriate.

Turns out Hayden Panettiere was only partially right. It is much harder to shine than undermine, but I don't think she's thinking of the same kind of shine that I am. I'm partial to the kind that's found very, very rarely, in the most unassuming people... in the most unexpected way.

"Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light." Brené Brown

Shine on.