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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Coming soon - The 25 Days of Christmas!

The holidays are in full force here - the decorations are up and the shopping is well underway. I've got Christmas crafts planned and ideas for this year's card. Christmas 2011, I must break you!

Paper ball ornaments.

This weekend, Lauren and I made our first Christmas craft - paper ornaments. I found a Martha Stewart kit for half off, so I thought, why not? At first, I was a little intimidated by them, because they looked like they required a strong understanding of geometry, and I got a C in geometry. In reality, they were really quite easy and very addictive! I may even make some of my own for future occasions because I have 2 inch scalloped and round whole punches that I can use to make the large size balls.

 Christmas 2011 mantle.

This year, I decided to change up the dining room mantle. The hydrangea wreath has been hanging above the mantle since the end of summer and is super fragile. I didn't want to move it so that I could hang my usual wreath in its place for fear that it would fall apart, leaving me with little green clovers all over the dining room.

Elf in a wreath.

So instead, I left it there and gave it a little Christmas flair by perching a red suited elf in the middle and little red birds around the perimeter.

Choo choo.

I made these paper houses last year, but I never put them on display. They too, along with the train, are both made from kits by Martha Stewart. I love paper houses - they make me happy each time I walk through the dining room.

Traveling through a winter village.

After I took these, I got to thinking that it might be fun to do a little photography project for Christmas. Some folks do projects where they take a photo everyday for 365 days. I could never commit to that, but I think I can take 25 Christmas themed ones, kind of like a photo advent calendar. Of course, it occurred to me that I just wasted five days worth of photos here, but no one said it would be easy. In fact, I'm already stressing about what to do for December 1st because we have a Girl Scout meeting that night and time will be limited. I guess I'll just have to wish for a Christmas miracle!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

We are thankful.

 Apple pie.

For husbands who make delicious apple pies.

Pinecone turkey.

For little girls who make pinecone turkeys.

Thanksgiving buffet.

And for lots of food and family to share in it.

Hello, pilgrim.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Visit from St. Nick and Noreen.

Holly Trolley.
This past weekend, we were treated with a visit from my cousin Noreen and her husband Nick. We'll now refer to him as "Saint Nick" because he graciously tolerates our wacky family and our quasi liberal beliefs. ;)

I love when my family visits because I get to do stuff that I wouldn't normally get to do. Like spending a gorgeous sunny day in November walking around the city. Our first stop was Macy's, so Lauren could complete her annual visit with Santa.

It has been my life long dream to take my child to see Santa at Macy's downtown. We tried this once before back in 2007, but failed miserably. However this year, we got'er done and then some!

My only disappointment was that they moved Santa from his own private village on the sixth floor to front and center on the first floor. No matter though, because Santa was awesome. He patiently and attentively listened to Lauren's requests and asked her specific questions about each item. They even had a little sidebar about cookies.

I'm sorry to say that at this time, I'm not going to share the photo of Lauren having her tête-à-tête with Santa, because I might be using it for our holiday card, and I want to keep up the suspense.

Pranty Girls with Santa.

But I wouldn't be so cruel as to leave everyone completely hanging, and will instead share this group shot. I like to think that Santa is looking the other direction because he spotted Katie Holmes and Suri shopping in the shoe department.

 With Elf.

After our visit with Santa, we headed to Market Square and the ice rink where every mascot in the city of Pittsburgh, including Steely McBeam, Iceburg, the Pirate Parrot, and Kenny Kangaroo were skating around the rink. We snagged Buddy the Elf for a quick photo. Check out Arby's curly fries in the background!

 Mt Washington.

Then, we took a trip on the T over to Station Square so that we could do the ultimate Pittburgh touristy thing and ride the incline to the top of Mt. Washington.

Nick and Noreen.

Did I mention what a gorgeous day it was?


After all that adventuring, we were pretty darn hungry, so we enjoyed a taste of Germany at the Hofbrauhaus.

 Vats of beer.

The restaurant brews its own beer in these giant vats.

 Tall cool one.

Beer comes in two sizes - this is only the half size.


This is Steve. Steve has the best job in the world. Steve gets to drink beer while he works.

Pranty Girls.

Lastly, we concluded the evening at our house, where all us Pranty girls posed in front of the fireplace. If only we could do this every holiday!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Pilgrim's progress.

 Plymouth in miniature.

 After a brief hiatus, I'm finally ready to get back to blogging. Since we left off, I've helped coordinate our Girl Scout Troop's annual Magnut sale and investiture ceremony, traveled to Boston for my annual business trip, enjoyed a visit from my cousin Noreen and her husband Nick, and of course, continued to manage life around the kitchen remodel. Even with my Thanksgiving dinner hosting responsibilities, this week is actually a slow one for me, as next week is going to pick up the pace once again. So I better get blogging and picture taking while I can!

Today, the entire first grade at Lauren's school presented a Thanksgiving program and feast. The kids told the tale of the pilgrims, sang top 40 hits like "Albuquerque Turkey" and announced what they were thankful for (Most kids were thankful for their family. However, Lauren was thankful for turkey, even though she doesn't eat it. When I asked her why, she said she was thankful for turkey as an animal, not as food. Glad we cleared that up.).

 Happy pilgrim.

 Needless to say, adorableness abounded. Can you stand that paper bonnet?

 Anxiously waiting for the Thanksgiving program to begin.

 I want to make one for myself.

Here's a clip of Lauren's big moment in the spotlight. She worked so hard to memorize her lines (Note her male co-stars are reading from the script).

Men will always try to hold you back, Lauren. Better get used to it now.

Each class specially decorated their feast table. Lauren's class made their very own Plymouth village in miniature.

Rainbow pilgrim house.

Lauren's house is the one with the rainbow roof. Somehow, I don't think that is historically correct, as the colors do not coincide with Puritan sensibilities.

My little pilgrim.

One last look at the paper bonnet, cause you know you love it. Next up - photos from our weekend adventures in the city with Nick and Noreen, including the annual visit with Santa!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Hallowore out.


After two full days of Halloween activities, I'm completely exhausted.

First, I got to help out at Lauren's class party at school. I'm so glad I took the time off to do it. Opportunities to do things like that will get fewer and far between as she gets older. Plus, the kids were just too cute and pretty well behaved.

Miss Kitty, Padme and Captain America.

Here's Lauren with another one of her BFFs. And Captain America.

Captain Jack.

Apparently, Lauren sits across from Captain Jack Sparrow. Here he is going through his pirate booty.

Squishy eyeball.

Speaking of booty, all the kids got squishy eyeball in their treat bags. They were the real hit of the party. I can't tell you how many of those things I was asked to hold.

Halloween parade.

After some crafts and games, it was time for the big parade around the school. The first grade teachers all dressed like pit crew to match their "World Class Champions" and Cars theme. I also was impressed to see so many kids representing the 80's. Do you see Micheal Jackson from Thriller?


And how awesome is this Pac Man costume?

Miss Kitty in the parade.

There's Miss Kitty herself.


After the parade, the whole class posed for a photo in the hallway.


Here's Miss Kitty taking a breather between the party and trick-or-treating. What a life!

Miss Kitty and her posse.

Lastly, here's Miss Kitty and her trick-or-treating posse. As you can see, she was well protected. The Secret Service is going to dress just like that when she becomes President.