Wednesday, December 26, 2007

A Cash Christmas

Merry Christmas to you and yours, bloggers. If you're still off work enjoy every last drop of vacation because I went back to work yesterday and it was depressing. Here's a recap of our Christmas adventures:

Gin Blossoms in Effingham
Brent and I headed for Effingham right after work on Friday to meet Mom, Dad, Rob, Lori and Dan for the Gin Blossoms concert at Effingham's new theater, The Rosebud. A band called One Lone Car opened for them, and they were awesome. Dad bought me their CD, which was being sold by none other than Nikki Pope's parents from Alton, IL!! Weird. When I heard that the band was from Alton, I thought, "Hmmm, Nikki Pope's from Alton. Wonder if she knows them." That is a small college girl's mentality that people from big state schools find annoying. "Ohhh, you went to Purdue? Do you know my friend so-and-so?" They never do. However, if it's flipped and they know someone from Manchester, chances are very good that I've at least heard the name.

Cash Family Christmas
On Saturday we celebrated Christmas with my mom's family. Four of the five siblings were there with families, so it was a pretty good turnout and a pretty good time. We planned to go caroling but it started raining. I was so disappointed...I even brought my pitch pipe and everything. Back in high school and college my friends and I always went caroling one evening before Christmas, and I would like to think that we were a big hit. Maybe we'll have better luck next year.

Christmas lounging: poor Brent knocked his kneecap out of place when running on Thursday night. He has a month of physical therapy ahead of him starting next week. He was pretty miserable, especially having it bent on our long car rides.

Cousin Jensin lounging

Dog Whisperer Michael "Pack Leader" Cash and his faithful followers...although I don't think dog nor girl paid too much attention to his commands.

We watched the movie Waitress over the weekend and after it Mom told me I was her LuLu. Here we are, getting ready to go whip up some Falling in Love pie.

We also celebrated Springfield's Most Famous Baby Landon Kutscher's birthday. Did I ever mention that he won a cutest baby contest sponsored by a Springfield radio station? Well he did. We hear that Regis and Kelly are having a cutest baby contest and first prize is a $125,000 college scholarship. If the picture can be baby+bulldog I would say he pretty much has it in the bag. (Sorry to all of you out there with babies.)

Landon on top of his scribble pad

Auntie Lori and her nieces

Monday, December 17, 2007

"Festivus for the Rest of Us!"

Hello you Bloggers in Blogland! Our weekend was filled with holiday fun and hopefully yours was too. The fun began with a Christmas dinner party at the Sinders'. Jen and Kevin were there and it was the first time we'd seen Lee Anne since she surprised Rachel by coming home from North Carolina for her birthday in February. Rachel made a wonderful meal of pork loin, a sweet/regular potato bake, asparagus, salad, bread, and carrot cake (in remembrance of all my ruined carrot cakes last week). We played a rousing game of Uno, struggled to answer questions in Trivial Pursuit, and enjoyed the annual Christmas showing of National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation and...uh...Dumb and Dumber. Charlie the Corgi seemed to really love us on this visit (even Brent), but I attribute his affection to the bites of pork I gave him. It was either that or the bacon grease I rubbed behind my ears on the car ride there.

Trying on Justin's Ugly Sweater for size...
Before the Great Goodwill Hairball of 2007 came flying out of it...

Saturday morning started bright and early with an 8:30 a.m. trip to Marsh for party supplies as we hosted the 1st Annual Stevenson Family Ugly Christmas Sweater Party/Adopt-a-Family Extravaganza. People had gone plumb crazy in anticipation of the approaching snowstorm and all seemed to rush to the store at once. You would have thought it was December 1999 and we were gearing up for Y2K again. I was just there for wine and meatball-fixin's...I was and continue to be very unconcerned with the danger of starving to death during a weekend snow (knock on wood). I hate to brag, but I think I could sustain myself for quite awhile with my own reserves.

The Ugly Christmas Sweater party was not only a blast but we also gathered a lot of great goodies for our Christmas family. Thank you everyone! The weather really did shrink the guest list, but we were so glad that a lot of our Indianapolis-ites could still make it and were surprised and thrilled that our friends Emma, Greg and Laura from the North came anyway!

Lana (a.k.a. - Santa's Little Helper), Lindsay, and Craig

Justin and Rachel - Christmas pin, anyone??

Brent and The Oglesbys

Greg and Clinton

Manchester Laaaaadies....a few who aren't wearing pants

The Wal-Mart Christmas Vest

A proof of our Christmas card for 2008

Another potential Christmas greeting

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

You Know it's Christmas When...

...there are shopping bags all over your house, Starbucks puts your mocha in their Christmas cup with the pretty blue sleeve, and you find yourself developing the most efficient agenda to enable you to celebrate Christmas with multiple relatives in multiple states over a 36 hour period.

Christmas is in the air at the Stevenson household and I'm sure it is in yours too. Last Friday I had a Christmas party with mainly former BKD girls (and two who are still hanging on) at our friend Christi's house. My job was to bring the dessert, and I chose to make a carrot cake. After various problems, included expired baking powder, expired Baker's Joy, and just plain old bad judgment, at 11:30 on Thursday night the tally was: 2 ruined carrot cakes, 0 edible carrot cakes. Needless to say I hit the Panera on my way home from work on Friday hoping to pick up some brownies and shortbread cookies. They had no cookies and two brownies. I ended up with a holiday plate full of assorted breakfast pastries but it was better than nothing.

Christi, Lana, Ashley Carrie, and Candy

On Saturday we decorated, cleaned, put up the tree, etc. One project of the day was to make a lighted star that I found in Martha Stewart Living. Martha said to use 5 bamboo gardening stakes of equal length, but I used dowel rods. Come on Martha, let's not make this harder than it needs to be. You arrange the rods into a star and then secure all the inner and outer points with zip ties. Then I ran a string of lights up each side and secured that with zip ties too. Below are some pictures...I think it turned out pretty well...the star isn't quite as even as I had hoped but it was easy, inexpensive, and a lot better than the inflatable snow globe with Pooh and Friends down the street. I will try to post a picture of that house if I can get one tonight without being creepy.

The frame of the star

Star on floor

Neither of these two shots look quite right to me...I'm thinking I don't know how to use the camera or something...

Our very small but cute Christmas tree...a door buster from Black Friday 2006!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

What a time to be thankful! There are so many things....the people I blog about each week, a marriage off to a good start, a great job and lots of work-life balance, good health, a Starbucks on every corner that treats its employees well and provides them with great benefits....

The list goes on and on!!

Here are some pictures from the Thanksgiving weekend festivities. On Wednesday we met Becca, Andrew and Ashley for dinner at Casa and then joined Emma, Greg & Co. at The Inn for free fries. We forgot they didn't start until 10...oh how things change a few years after college! Brent was blown away by North Manchester and especially by The Inn...I tried to tell him that it wasn't much. To all the Manchester gang - it's not much, but it was ours!

Thursday was Thanksgiving dinner at the Pillers' which included Nick and Stormy. This was their last Thanksgiving in Kendallville after almost 20 years here. Nick already packed up and headed to Philadelphia and Stormy is soon to follow after a few key cases go to court at her office.

Mom woke me up at 4:00 a.m. on Black Friday and she was right as usual - there was grumbling. Once I had my peppermint mocha I was ready to hang out at Best Buy for about 45 minutes while Mom was in line. You'll see her head in a crowd of shoppers later. Big scores of the day: flannel Martha Stewart sheets, a $40 Ralph dress shirt, and a Sonicare toothbrush from Target. WOOO!

Mom and I went to Drew's shower at Gene Stratton Porter on Saturday afternoon. It was a lovely brunch - good job Julia and Jordan! It was great seeing Drew again and helping her get ready for her big wedding to Chris Conrad on December 28th! Drew's big scores of the day: a Kitchenaid mixer from Ma-maw and a "classy" nightie from that mischevious Jordan...Drew loves that kind of thing!! (ha.)

On Saturday night we celebrated Brent's birthday with my parents a week early and he had his favorite, carrot cake. He also opened Mom's big score at Best Buy - Season Three of Entourage, Parts I AND II.

It was a great weekend at home but now it's back to reality! I had a big paper due today but now that it's turned it's nothing but smooth sailing into the weekend. We had a new roof put on our house today that will be finished tomorrow, so I guess that's kind of exciting.

Until next time...

Action shot: running to the car after picking up some tartar sauce for our crab cakes on was serious business!

I don't think he uses his squinty-eyed mean look when delivering packages...

Thanksgiving table favors..nothing says we're thankful more than a chance to win more money.

Emma and I: we call this our "Been out in the cold November Rain" look

I never once noticed this sign at The Inn until now. Hmmm.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Mid-November Review

Rocking out to music in the basement - always made better by great costume accessories

With Lori's little Shitzu Sadie - Sporting her Flamin' Hearts sweater

Cornhole with bird boots

This is going to be a short blog because I'm tired and just want to snuggle up in bed and watch The Hills. However, it has been quite some time since the last blog so I thought the least I can do is catch you up on our weekend if you are interested. Last week was Veteran's Day, so we enjoyed a day off work and I remembered our veterans I am sorry - I really and truly appreciate the sacrifice made by our service men and women - after all, I DO work for the military AND I watched every installment of The War AND Saving Private Ryan recently, BUT it was very convenient to get some shopping done while crowds were at a minimum.

The big project this week was making Brent's surprise cornhole set for his birthday. A big thank you is in order to Justin Sinders who cut out the holes in the boards while Rachel and I talked and kind of sanded. Thank you, Sinders! I made a final push to get the set at least in working order by the Oaken Bucket game, which did happen. Brent's birthday is not until the end of the month but I think he was glad we got to play this weekend.

After the football game we headed for Effingham where we spent Saturday night and Sunday visiting my Grandpa and Grandma Pillers, Mama, and Lori and fam. Grandpa has been sick lately so please keep him in your prayers.

I promise I'll have a more entertaining blog later this week with pictures from our upcoming Free Fry night at the Chet, Thanksgiving, BLACK FRIDAY!!! (as Big Lou so excitedly proclaims), and Drew's shower. Phew - I love the holiday many fun things to do!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

It's the Sinders' Anniversary Celebration!

On Saturday we had the Sinders and Jen and Kevin over for dinner to celebrate Justin and Rachel's first anniversary! It was actually October 21st, but it's hard to get a free weekend for everyone sometimes. Seems like it was just yesterday that we were enjoying the delicious cuisine, romantic atmosphere, and open bar at their wedding. It was also the day Brent missed his first home Purdue game in almost a decade, if that gives you any indication how much we like the Sinders.

Our menu for the night:

Spanakopita and Shrimp Shooters in champagne glasses

Strawberry and Mushroom Spinach Salad
Rosemary Potatoes
Parmesean Chicken Breasts
Green Bean Bundles (see recipe on Big Lou's post)

Chocolate Cake with homemade chocolate frosting and pink polka dots, to resemble their wedding cake


I love our dining room table!

Dishes we don't use very often - so why not get them out whenever you have a chance!

We toasted the Sinders' anniversary, but also Jen and Kevin's first year together as well. Jen was a bridesmaid in the wedding and Kevin was a groomsman, and they started dating after that night!