Saturday, October 30, 2010

McDonald Family Pumpkin Carving Contest

This is one of my favorite things throughout the whole year. It all start back in 2004. However, I do not have the pictures from that year. Each year the pumpkins have become so much more interesting and the number of entries has grown. The rules are that you can not stencil your design and you can only use the parts of the pumpkin on the final product. No outside props.



No Photo (Lost to a computer malfunction)

No contest due to Rob and Nina's Wedding


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Snow White Party

This year for Lauren's 3rd birthday I threw her a Snow White party. Back when I started planning, Snow White was her favorite princess. A few weeks out she switched to Ariel, but we decided to stick with our plan. I was so pleased with how it all turned out. It was a sweet little party. I was a little sad that not many of Lauren little friends ended up actually coming. Sarah actually had more of her friends there. I wanted to keep it small, though, and Lauren did have her BFF there, so it worked out just fine! Enjoy!

Theme: Snow White & Seven Dwarfs
Colors: Primary Blue, Red, and Yellow accented with Red w/ white polka dots
Apple Cupcakes: The Cakery in Southlake
Choices were Red Velvet, Vanilla, or Chocolate
Entertainment: Snow White (she was awesome! Even the 6 year-olds loved her!)
Food: Chick-fil-A and apple slices for the kids
Adults had spinach dip, spinach salad, fruit salsa with cinnamon pita chips, and nuggets, too!
Drinks: Witch's Poison Brew (Apple Lemonade)
Favors: Apple Letters and note pads/pencils for the older ones
Snow White gloves, apple purses and beads for the younger ones
Snow White Board book for the baby
Photography: Alyssa Maisano and myself

The Apple Cupcakes

Lauren and her BFF

Snow White entertaining the children

The Favors

My little 3 year-old princess!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Eating my way through Chicago this weekend I went to Chicago with my husband who was working the Bears game for FOX. I LOVE going with him every time he goes to Chicago. When I can't go, I am sad all weekend knowing that I could be up there with him. Why Chicago you might ask?? Well the shopping (Michigan Avenue is to die for..I know it has all the big name retailers, but let's face it, they are bigger, better, and all in one place.) Second, I love staying in fancy hotels my husband gets put up in. He has been in so many different ones I could start my own travel book on where to stay in downtown Chicago. I love nice hotels and I love the city/downtown nightlife. Drinks out whether it is just me and him, with my AXO lil' sis, or with his crew.. is always fun. However, eating is probably my favorite part of Chicago. I LOVE to eat out and there is no better place to do it than in Chicago!

SO here are some of my favorites..this is by no means a list of all the places I like, just my favorites. And there are still so many left to discover. Next time I am dying to try an Indian place. If you are reading this and have been to a great Indian place in downtown Chicago...let me know!

So here it goes.
(Click on Logo's to go to websites)
1. Bandera
Not your typical Chicago restaurant. In fact, it is a chain and I don't think it originated in Chicago at all. However, the only other ones you can find are in AZ and CA and it is soo good. We eat here for sure every time. It is in the same family of restaurants as Houston's, so if like that place, you will love this place.
What we get:
We start with the Queso (not your typical Mexican food restaurant queso)
I get the beef ribs that are melt in your mouth good. They come with these stringy fries that are perfect.
Charlie gets the rotisserie chicken (what they are known for) and it comes with green rice (sort of like a Spanish rice)
We also both get the skillet cornbread to share. This item is not specifically spelled out on the menu, but they are known for it. It is like cake, but better.
If we have any room left over after that we split a banana cream pie. We usually don't.

Aside from the food, the ambiance is great. It is dark with a jazz band. It also sits above Michigan Ave. Right in the heart of it all!

2. Shaw's Crab House
This was a new place I tried this weekend. Charlie had been before and when I couldn't get us into Joe's (see the #3 on the list), we decided this was a great 2nd choice. Oh boy, was it ever...This might be my new favorite place to eat at every time!

What to get:
For appetizer: We split the crab cake and the Snow Crab California Roll. The crab cake was excellent (but not as good as Del Frisco's in Dallas) and we chose a very safe bet on the sushi. They have a very extensive sashmi/sushi list, so if you are into that, this a great place for you.
We also each got a cup of the clam chowder...YUM!
For main courses he got the Surf/Turf which was the King Crab Legs and the steak, and I got the Surf/Surf which was King Crab Lags and Lobster tail. Not sure which was better. Lobster is my favorite, but the Crab Legs were out of this world! We got a side of green beans, too!
No dessert on this one, but let me tell you they looked divine. We were just too stuffed! They had Raspberry pie, Key Lime pie, Pecan Pie, homemade ice creams (peppermint, no less) just to name a few.

3. Joe's
No I am not referring to Joe's pizza and pasta that you see in every town in America...I am referring to this:
Lucky for me, I could not get us in here over this past weekend. I called 3 weeks ago to get a reservation for 2 people for either Friday or Saturday and they were booked solid. Thanks to that we ate at Shaw's! However, I will want to eat here again. I ate here a few years ago. Funny enough, that night we didn't have a reservation and luckily they did have room at the bar, so we ate at the bar. Full menu, but on bar stools no less. I can't remember exactly what we got. I am sure stone crab and lobster were in the mix. I do remember it being awesome, so I plan to go back. Even if I have to call now for a reservation for next year!

4. Gino's East
There might be native Chicagoans (if that is a word) that would laugh and say I don't know good deep dish when I see it, but I love Gino's East for deep dish pizza. Don't think I ate anything else there because I knew what was coming prior to the pizza and had no room for anything after I ate it.
See what I mean.

5. Soup Box

My AXO lil' sis who lives up there took me to this little gem of a place when I was up there last December. She must have noticed I was frozen, because she suggested we go get soup for lunch. PERFECT! That is all they have there. 12 wonderful soups. You can even taste them like you can taste gelato at a gelato place. They give you a slab of bread to go with it. SET. So I checked the other day to see if there was one here in Dallas/Ft. Worth because I was craving a good soup for lunch, but to my disappointment they are only in Chicago. Boo.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Lauren is 3

It is hard to believe that 3 years ago today my Lauren was born. Her birth was so easy and quick (unlike her sister's 36 hour marathon). I should have known that the differences would not stop there. I could not have two more different daughters. are a handful, you don't sleep at night, you want to do everything by yourself, you want to be first, you want to do everything your sister does (except eat fruit and vegetables), you are a macaroni and cheese addict, and you are a bit of a wild child. However, what should I expect from a 3 year old. You are entering the terrible 3's! I have to look at you in a different are the baby, so of course I have to give into you more. I have to try and say every night at 1:30 am, it is just because she loves me that she wants me to come tuck her back in. I am so glad you look up to your older sister. Sarah is sweet and smart and I want you guys to always be close. I can't worry too much about the amount of mac and cheese you eat, because I did the same when I was your age. It is pretty good stuff! At least you do still eat your baby food sweet potatoes. I also have to allow you to be a bit of a wild child now so you can get it out of your system. My little goody two shoes Sarah will more than likely be my nightmare when she turns 13, so get it out of your system now, so I don't have to deal with 2 later on.

I love you so much Lauren. You are trying, but oh so sweet and such a little doll. I love that you love going to Sarah's activities and supporting her. I love to watch you dance, especially when you are dressed up in that pink Barbie dress. I love when you sit in my lap and watch TV. To have you close to me, quite and still, reminds me of when I used to carry you around before you were born. So sweet. I love your little good night kisses and your big hugs. I think it is cute that your favorite song right now is Phoenix's Listomania. It is cute that you called IHOP, Hip Hop the other night. I also love that you call your gymnastics leotard - "lee-guitar" Sorts of sounds like lead guitar. You love your snacks, you love your sister, your love your mommy and daddy and we love you back! Happy Birthday big girl. Go easy on me this year! Please!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Happy Birthday!

Today is my hubby's birthday. I have had a pretty busy day, so I am just now getting around to posting about it. I feel bad, because there is only like 4 hours left in the day! Anyway, today he is 41! That is insane to think about. Last year I threw him a great little surprise party for turning 40. See it HERE.

SO my Charlie is everything to me. He is so loving, so supportive, my rock, my best friend, the best daddy (our girls ADORE him), the best husband and I feel so incredibly lucky that I found him. I feel so incredibly fortunate that he saw something in me that made him want to be with me forever. He puts up with all my weird ways and my moodiness. He works so (and I mean so) very hard to give me and our girls a great life. We are a great team and he is our smart, loving, and hard-working leader. I love him just as much now as the day I married him and he is truly my heart and soul. Love to my sweetie! Happy Birthday!
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