Suburban Life

Well we’re at my parents now. It’s okay so far. Some days are better than others. Really it’s nice that my mom is around to help with Evie all of the time, she’s been great. And I feel like I never have to clean or do dishes, because she’s kind of a neatnick. I feel bad about it but it’s like it’s just always done. So that’s nice I guess.

But you know, I guess I just feel a little displaced. Like I’m just waiting and can’t live my life until the next step happens. The house is moving slowly. We had problems with the structural and the framing and now it might not even be finished until January. The day we found that out I was pretty upset. I just wanted to be in my new house for Christmas. Of course we’d be with the family for Christmas regardless, but I just wanted Evie to wake up and have Santa and all of that in her new house. I don’t know. I guess I’m being sentimental. But still it’s just a bummer.

Life in the suburbs is pretty different from our little neighborhood. We used to walk everywhere, and now we pretty much never walk anywhere. With the exception of the dogs, but yeah. I joined a music class for Evie down here, and it’s just such a different vibe. I don’t know how to put my finger on it, it’s just different. Maybe the moms are older? Or younger? I have no idea. Maybe it’s just the teacher and I’m projecting my feelings about being down here on the other moms.

It’s not that I hate the suburbs. Really there are a lot of amazing things and I can totally see living here some day. We are a short walk away from an amazing trail. It’s five seconds to Whole Foods, a great shopping center, and pretty much anything we could ever need. The restaurant scene does leave a little something to be desired, but you know with a 15 month old we’re not exactly having leisurely fancy dinners anyway.

I just want my own house. My kitchen knives and my room and my things. Two more months. Or three.

New Additions to Thanksgiving Traditions

I went to a lovely baby shower yesterday for Jess, and I met a bunch of amazing bloggy ladies, and as we were talking about our blogs, I of course sheepishly had to say that I don’t write very much. And now, I’m looking here, and I realize I haven’t written since August. I won’t make any grand announcements about writing every day, but for today, I feel a little like writing, so I think I will.

It’s November and I’m definitely in nesting mode. Working on the house, cooking, all of those fun domestic things. Today I’m actually doing a test run for a new side dish I might attempt at Thanksgiving at my grandma’s house in Texas this year. We are typically a pretty traditional family. Same dishes at Thanksgiving every year since I can remember. Turkey, dressing, broccoli casserole, sweet potato mush (not sure if that’s the official name), my grandma’s homemade rolls, fruit salad, and about ten different pies. Nary a green thing in site. Well I guess the broccoli in the broccoli casserole, but that hardly counts when it’s drenched in velveeta does it? So, yeah, old school Thanksgiving.

And don’t get me wrong, I love every minute of it. But I also love the idea of bringing some new school flavor to Thanksgiving too. Last year, I found my pie, which is phenomenal, so I’ll definitely be making that again. And this year, I’ll also contribute a green salad, nothing fancy, just standard spinach, strawberries and walnuts or something along those lines. But for the new side, I’m trying something I’ve never done before. It’s butternut squash, which I love and eat all of the time, but can seem a little “different” to my family. But, it has tons of bread and cheese, (definitely not a healthy item) so I think that’s a plus. If all goes well, maybe I’ll post the step by step recipe later this week. I am a tidge worried about my ability to find Gruyere in this small Texas town, but my step-mom is an amazing cook so I’m sure she’ll hook me up.

I have to say I am really excited for Thanksgiving. Only five days of work, then I get to go to Austin on Saturday to see my little sister in her college element for the first time. Oh I know that is going to be a shock. My little baby sister is a college gal complete with booze and idiotic frat boys left and right. She’s a still a sweet angel baby to me though.

Then, Amy and I will drive from Austin to Midland for the big Thanksgiving extravaganza. One full week of family, fun, and nothing else. Can. Not.Wait. I should actually probably start fasting now in anticipation of all of the food I’ll be consuming during that week. But instead I think I’ll go try my creation. Fingers crossed it’s a winner.

Sayulita, Mexico

So, remember how we went to Mexico in December to celebrate my 30th birthday? Well I never posted about it, but that is all about to change. This post is mostly just for me to chronicle an awesome vacation, but also for you so you know that if you’re planning a vacay anytime soon, you should go to Sayulita. Because it is AWESOMES.

Sayulita is a little fishing village about 45 minutes north of Puerto Vallarta. There aren’t any big fancy hotels there, which is great because I think it minimizes completely annoying tourists (like myself I guess). Anyway, we used VRBO, which rocked, and found a house called Casa Angel. We went with my cousin and her husband (purchasers of the awesome yogurt-machine) and when split between the two couples, the house was very affordable.

The view from the street:

casa angel

The backyard, including private pool and amazing view of the ocean:

pool view

It was about a 15 minute walk down some serious hills and dusty roads into town or to the beach, so we tended to stay around the house in the morning and then walk into town for lunch/afternoon beach time. Some shots of the town and beach follow.

ChocoBanana, an awesome breakfast spot:


Dusty roads:


Afternoon at the beach:



Best fish tacos of my life:

fish tacos

Sorry that it’s a tidge blurry, but it’s the best one I’ve got – enjoying the sunset:


It’s been about a month, so it’s time for my next vacation now right?

Oh dear. I have been missing haven’t I? I had a draft started about the perils of gift wrapping (well, mainly it was just about how terrible I am at it) but I didn’t even get around to finishing it.

I have no excuses. I mean, I’ve been busy, for an unemployed person. I’ve had some interviews (keeping my fingers and toes and pretty much everything else crossed about those). I’ve also been doing some Christmas shopping and the like. And I’ve been getting ready for our trip to Mexico.

We leave tomorrow and I could not be more ready for some time in the sun. I’ll be back after the holidays, so in the meantime, let me just wish you all Merry Happy. I will miss you.

Taking Some Down Time

I am watching Paula Deen doing a “Fried Christmas” meal right now.

Seriously. Fried Christmas.

Oh Paula. If I was her husband I’d be sneaking spinach salads every day. She’s pretty much trying to kill everyone she loves. This meal includes a full-on fried ham, loaded mashed-potatoes, fried asparagus with cream sauce, and red velvet bread pudding.

Holy Lord.


This in-between-holidays period is kind of a dead time for cooking for me. John has been/will be out of town for two weeks in December, and when he’s gone, I stick to easy meals like opening up a can of soup. In fact, I’m probably keeping Amy’s black bean chili on the shelves. I love that stuff.

I guess I’m just resting my culinary muscles for the big things, the pies, the casseroles, etc. Oh and for those of you wondering, the chocolate hazelnut pie for Thanksgiving was a huge hit. Will be my new pie for sure. Anyway, yeah. Just resting the culinary muscles. Gotta be well-rested if I’m going to attempt to another pie this month. Two pies in the span of two months. Wow. Makes my stirring arm hurt just thinking about it.

It’s not that I even have that much cooking to do for the holidays, because mostly the older generations in my family still own those duties. I think it’s just the idea of the holidays that exhaust me. Don’t get me wrong, I love it, but the decorating, the list-making, the cooking, the dressing up, the parties, the mad dash to the mall, it’s all just sort of exhausting. It’s like every meal, every night and weekend, are scheduled down to the last minute. And for a girl who hates making plans in advance, it can really put a cramp in my down-time.

So tonight, because I can, I guess you’ll find my curled up on the couch, watching Paula Deen fry a ham, and eating a cup of black bean chili. This is what the holidays are all about people.

Things I’m Loving: Holiday Edition

It’s funny how the minute we’ve eaten that last piece of pie on Thanksgiving day, Christmas suddenly appears. Out of nowhere every house in the neighborhood is aglow with tiny white lights, garland decorates every fireplace and staircase, and Christmas music pervades even the most unlikely places (the park anyone?).

I have to say I’m kind of loving it this year. Although I have a tendency to get jaded about the Hallmark quality of this holiday, the often over-the-top displays of consumerism and greed, I don’t feel that way this year. Granted, it is only the first day of December, but so far I’m just giving into the joy of it all. A few of the things I plan on enjoying during this holiday season:

courtesty Pottery Barn

  • The intoxicating smell of cinnamon-scented pine cones
  • Pulling out my monogrammed stockings
  • Wishlistr (such a fun way to make your list)
  • Gift guides galore (found great ones here and here)
  • My Grandmom’s homemade rolls
  • The warm glow Christmas tree lights give a room
  • Stocking up on thank-you notes early
  • Longing after a pretty dress for a holiday party I’m not even invited to yet

What are you looking forward to?

My Pie

So it’s November, and Thanksgiving is rapidly approaching. Like many of you, I will be attending two Thanksgiving dinners, one at my in-law’s house and one at my mom’s house. Both of these meals will be fabulous I’m sure, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t looking forward to my mom’s house a little more.

It’s not that I don’t like the meal my in-laws typically create, it’s just that it’s different from the Thanksgiving traditions I’ve become accustomed to, those that I grew up with. Different isn’t necessarily bad, it’s just, well… different. Many of the elements are the same. The turkey, the dressing, the sides of sweet potatoes or yams, the pies, they’re all there. But they’re wearing different clothes, and sometimes it’s hard for me to recognize them. My marriage is young, so I’m sure over time I’ll become used to these strangely dressed items, the broccoli casserole made with bread crumbs instead of rice (not my favorite), the spicy green beans (which I love). My husband and I will surely combine our traditions as our grandparents and parents age, and hopefully one day our meal, our table and our home will create new and different Thanksgiving Day memories for our families.

So even though we won’t be having a Thanksgiving meal in our home this year, and in fact we’ll be attending two separate celebrations, I’ve decided to start some of my own traditions that I can carry out regardless of my location. I’ve talked to my mom and this year I’ll be bringing a healthy butternut squash side dish in lieu of the sickly sweet yam goo that I’ve avoided for long, and my sister and I will also be attempting a new pie. That’s where you, dear reader, come in.

In terms of pie, my mom is going to stick to the basics this year, pecan and pumpkin, although we’ve been known to have all kinds of different pies in my family, from oreo to rhubarb and pretty much everything in between. For my pie this year, my very first pie, I’d like to have something new, something different, and of course something delicious.

In that vein I’ve been scouring the web looking for new recipes to try. My plan is to try the pie this week, and if it’s a complete disaster, which could very well happen, I’ll try another pie (or however many it takes) next week. Hopefully by the time Thanksgiving rolls around in two weeks, I’ll have perfected something. Or at least I’ll have something edible.

I’ve narrowed it down to a couple of different options, but now I’d love to hear your input. If you already had a pumpkin and pecan option at your house, what else would you get excited about? Keep in mind I’m going for different, exciting and new, but I’m also hoping to start a tradition out of this pie. This is going to be MY PIE.

Option 1:

Roasted Grape and Mascarpone Cheese Pie from

I like the idea of this pie because I think the grapes and cheese would pair nicely with a glass of wine after a big meal, and I don’t think it would be quite as sickly sweet as some of the other fruit pies out there. My main concern with this pie is that I’m typically not a fan of warm fruit, so I don’t know whether or not the roasted grapes will appeal to my pallet. And it’s obviously all about me.

Option 2:

Chocolate Hazelnut Pie from

To me, this looks like the ultimate indulgence. Intense chocolate and hazelnut flavors, and a nice departure from fruit. Would be delicious with coffee of course.

Option 3:

Black Bottom Banana Cream Pie from

This is another cold pie, which I know can be off-putting to some people. I love banana and chocolate together though, and for some reason banana cream pie just seems like a great Thanksgiving topper. John always says drinking apple juice reminds him of his childhood, and I think eating some banana cream pie might do the same for me.

Option 4:

Chuck the pie idea and go with cookies, a cake, bars or these sweet potato balls, which sound kind of crazy and yummy (even though I was just talking smack about sweet potato goo).

What do you guys think? Do you have any new suggestions I haven’t though of? Where oh where is my pie?