Wednesday, November 30, 2011

First Semester - Check!

So, tonight I had my last class in my first semester as a graduate student.
In one sense I can't believe I actaully started and finished an entire semester, and in another sense it went by so quickly that I haven't even had time to process it.
As I reflect on the two classes I completed, I have a few thoughts.
First, I can't believe I did so well.  This isn't to pat myself on the back, but 2 A's is a pretty good accomplishment in my book.
Second, the adult conversation has been a life-saver.  It totally fulfills my desire for intelligent conversation that makes me feel like I use my brain.
Thirdly, I could never have done it without my husband.  I appreciate him everyday, but this semester has caused my appreciation to soar.
Example . . . tonight when I got home he had one out of two kids bathed (quite the accomplishment).
He had a delicious, hot dinner ready for us to eat together.
He was happy to see me, instead of the crazy look I usually give him when he gets home and I have been with the kids all day.
All in all, I think I like graduate school.
It has been an adventure so far, and I am so grateful for the opportunity my dad has given me to persue something I never actually thought would happen.
Here is my encouragement to you . . . take a risk.
Start something you never thought you would accomplish.
You may enjoy it more than you ever thought you would.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thanksgiving in pictures

Here is a picture review of our Thanksgiving.
At least some of it.
The best parts weren't captured on film.
 The little boys dressed in their Thanksgiving best.

My boys in the shirts my mom made.

One of the big "kid" tables.

The little kid table.

A close-up of the name-cards my sister in law made all 24 people.  Aren't they adorable?

The turkey chef doing his thang.

The turkey looks delicious, and the man looks proud.

Kiss the cook.

We had a wonderful time with family and friends.
So very much to be thankful for in the Bettelli household.


Monday, November 28, 2011

The Menu Plan that wasn't

I really wish I had a menu plan for this week, but I don't.

We have had a house full of people and so much going on that there just wasn't/isn't time.
I am going to try to finish off our leftovers and then wing it from there.
Sounds like a good plan, right?
If nothing else, I figure it will remind me why I need a menu plan in the first place.
Now, on to more exciting things . . .
My sister in law has a nice camera, and I asked her to take some family pictures of us for our Christmas card while she was here.
I think they came out really cute, so I wanted to post a few on the blog.
These aren't the ones on the card because most of the people who read this will be geting one in the mail, and I don't want to spoil the surprise.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Insta-Friday, Uh I mean Wednesday

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and as I have mentioned quite a few times before . . . we are hosting.
That being said, I am taking a little break from blogging until Sunday.
I decided to do Insta-Friday today.
I wanted to share my phone pictures from this past weekend and the beginning of the week.
We were in Tallahassee from Friday to Sunday, and here are the photos to prove it:

When we got to Tally we headed straight to Po' Boys for the best fried pickles evah.  Ya, I said "evah."

The next morning we threw a little shower for my friend, Stephanie, who is having her first baby in February. 

Another one of our friends from college, Laurie, has a super cool job that takes her all over the world. 
She is heading to Russia after Thanksgiving, so we all voted and decided she needs to take this hat.

Sorority sisters before the lame game.

All pictures from the game. 
First my friend, Nicole, and I. 
My husband and I.
My brother and I.

The only other thing I did this week besides laundry and cleaning was take the kids to the park.
Here is my evidence.

Hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving.
Talk to you Sunday.


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

I'm blank because . . .

Got this cute idea from Little Miss Momma.
I'm weird because . . .
I can never, ever eat or drink anything with an expired date.
I love change, like I thrive on it.
I enjoy school, always have.
I hate washing dishes, but I never use my dishwasher.
I hate feeding my kids unhealthy food, but it doesn't bother me one bit to put it in my own mouth.
I stress about my kids naps.
I am not a newborn fan . . . at about 4 months I get into it (it being babies).
I have an extremely hard time getting rid of clothes, because what if I need that dress I had in eighth grade for something, ya know?
My favorite food is cookie cake, but it has to be American Cookie Company.
I don't like to snuggle if I am trying to go to sleep.
I'm a bad friend because . . .
I hardly ever answer my phone.
I have little to no time to devote to friendship at this point in my life.
I am becoming more of a homebody as we add kids to our brood.
I am incredibly forgetful and absent-minded.
I am a good friend because . . .
I love a lot.
I am genuinely happy when my friends succeed.
I am loyal.
I love throwing wedding and baby showers.
I don't mind if you call me in the middle of the night (can't promise I'll answer, but I don't mind the call).
I am sad because . . .
My grandma and namesake won't be a part of our holidays this year.
My sister-in-law's dog was hit by a car today and died.  The family is taking it hard.
Sometimes I feel like I can't do anything right.
I don't have time to make all my good ideas come to fruition.
Some people won't get a Christmas this year.
I am happy because . . .
Thanksgiving is Thursday, and we are hosting.
God has blessed our family with so much more than we deserve.
I love my boys so much it hurts.
We have food on our table.
I have already started Christmas shopping.
I am excited for . . .
Both sides of our family to be together in one place for four days.
Black Friday Extravaganza.
Cooler weather, whenever it decides to get here.
Change, whenever it comes.
George in his first Kids' Christmas program at church this year.
Two fried turkeys.
Cool idea, right?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Menu Plan 11-21

Menu Plan Monday!

We were in Tallahassee for the depressing Florida State game this weekend.
We had fun, and we were kids-free which was totally weird.

Obviously, this comes as no surprise to most, but Thanksgiving is Thursday.

We are having 25 of our closest friends and family at our house for turkey day, so it is bound to get crazy 'round here.

Therefore, our menu-plan will look somewhat like this:

Breakfast and Lunch - anything we can eat to make room in the pantry and freezer.

Dinner Monday thru Wednesday - same as above

Thursday - stuff our faces with turkey and all the fixin's.

Friday thru Sunday - leftovers and more leftovers

Recipe of the week:
Sweet Potato Casserole
(I make it every Thanksgiving because it is my daddy's favorite)

4 cups sweet potatoes, mashed
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoons vanilla
2/3 cups milk
6 Tablespoons butter, melted

1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/3 cup butter
chopped pecans, optional (I never use them)

Mix first six ingredients together and spread in a 9x13-inch dish. Mix topping ingredients together and sprinkle over sweet potato mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Makes approximately 10 servings. This can be made the day before Thanksgiving and kept in the refrigerator and baked on Thanksgiving morning (which I always do).

Happy Cooking!


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Salting Roses, Chapers 22-25

Only one more week for our book, Salting Roses.
Here was my take on chapters 22-25.
Cons –
1.  I go back and forth with Katherine. She seems tough, which is a positive, but I don’t like the way she bullied Alice into getting what she wanted. I also hated the way she communicated her opinion on children. That was completely heartless and so far from the way I feel. Children are a blessing, and there is nothing in my life I am more proud of.
2.  I wish Ben would have gone to the tea with Katherine. That would have been classic, and probably one of my most favorite conversations in the book.
3.  I come from a family of lawyers, so it always irks me a little bit when people down them. The description of the lawyer in chapter 25 was pretty standard in my opinion, but it is not always correct. Authors should not act like it is.

4.  Artie dies. The worst part is that Gracie never got to take him to the game she sold her special glove for. That is terrible, right there.

5.  Arresting Ben for kidnapping? Say what, Lillian? That lady has a mean streak in her, and she will take it out on anyone or anything to get what she wants. She is not my favorite character. Not even close.

Pros –
1.  I really enjoyed Ben and Alice’s heart-to-heart in chapter 22. We don’t really see much interaction between the two throughout the novel, but this was a good picture of their relationship. They do have an intimacy that time has brought, and they both seem to enjoy it in small doses.

2.  I do enjoy the plot that Alice and Katherine have decided to carry out. “Operation Get Gracie and Sam Together” is officially underway. If only they knew Sam closed the deal that very night.

3.  I really like the fact that the plot has really deepened in these chapters. Lillian’s character has brought quite a few things to light that are enjoyable for the reader to decipher.
4.  Sam and Gracie did it. Yes, it. While I am in no way an advocate of sex before marriage, I did enjoy their final expression of their feelings for each other. The scene was a bit intense for my taste, but at least they enjoyed themselves. And the reader knew it.

5.  Gracie’s story to the lawyer about the birds in Shady Grove was classic. Classic Gracie. I think she hit the nail on the head. I hate when people think they are better than other people because of what they do or what they have. That does not make a person. We all need to learn that.
Well, what did you think? 
We are ending the book this week, and I can definitely say I am enjoying the last half a lot more than I enjoyed the first.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Insta-Friday 11-18

Insta-Friday once again.
 life rearranged
I love these posts.
It keeps me documenting our daily life, which is the reason I started this blog in the first place.
 I never want to forget the little moments.

Here is life most nights in our house - Tim and George play Wii, and Ethan thinks he plays too.

Last Saturday we were in Disney.  I already showed you some of the pictures, but here are a few I saved just for today.
First, my hot dog lunch.  It was big, and it was good.

We saw the Electrical Parade on Saturday night.  Both boys loved the lights.

This kid, oh, this kid. 
Reading books to yourself . . . good.
Playing in the toilet . . . bad.

On Tuesday night we got to use a BOGO coupon at Pei Wei. 
We love that place, and the coupon was such a welcome surprise.  Thanks, Ashley.

On Wednesday night, my sister (she is kind of a big deal) got me a ticket to see advanced screening of part 1 of Breaking Dawn
Thanks, Gina.

Lastly, on Thursday morning George had his Thanksgiving program and feast at his preschool.
Too cute for words.

Hope your week was as fun as ours.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Inspiration Workshop - Thanksgiving

I am linking up with Gussy for her "Inspiration Workshop" this week.
Gussy Sews Inspiration Workshop!
Her prompt this week was Thanksgiving . . . how appropriate.
We began an annual tradition last year of having Thanksgiving at our house.
We moved into our first house last July, so we wanted to invite everyone who has opened their homes to us so many times before to come and enjoy our hospitality.
The house isn't big, but it is a pretty good use of space.
We had 16 people last year, and we will have around 24 this year.
I guess people feel comfortable at our abode, because the number keeps growing.
Here is a picture review of last year's festivities.  We expect much of the same this year.
The little boys made turkey cupcakes.

I got shirts made for my two babies, and they were so adorable.

Tim fried a turkey for the first time.  It was delicious, as evidenced here by my sister's hungry expression.

For every holiday I can remember growing up, we always had a "kids" table and an "adult" table.
We seem to be subconsciously carrying on the same tradition.
I don't quite know how I am still sitting at the "kids" table with two kids of my own.

And the "adult" table from last year.

There is nothing quite like food and family together.

I am so thankful for all the people in my life that the Lord has blessed me with.

I don't say that flippantly because I know so many who have never felt even a fraction of the love I feel everyday.

I truly want this Thanksgiving season to be a time where I reflect on all the blessings God has given me.

He is so good, and I am so undeserving.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Happiest Place on Earth - Recap

This weekend we traveled all the way (a 1.5 hour drive) to Disney World.
We have season tickets, so it is a pretty frequent occurance in our house.
Epcot has a yearly event called "The Food and Wine Festival" where all the countries set up booths with appetizer size portions of their signature dishes.
You can walk around and taste all the different flavors for a fraction of the cost, and you don't get full on one thing since the portions aren't dinner size.  Win-win for me.
We strapped the boys in the stroller, and around we went to taste as much deliciousness as we could fit in our bellies.

We also got to see five characters in Epcot.  They have five characters in a row, and you only have to wait in one line to meet them all.  It is one of the best character greeting places in all the parks.
Ethan couldn't figure out what was going on.  He is old enough to understand that he sees these people on tv, but he can't grasp the fact that they are in front of him in real life.

It is quite hilarious.  No crying or screaming, just awe.  Pure awe.

On Saturday morning we headed to Magic Kingdom, and George rode Thunder Mountain for the first time ever.

I got to be the parent who experienced it with him, and it was awesome.  That was his word.

We got to meet a few more characters before heading back to hotel for nap time, which is my favorite part of vacation. 
Especially in Disney, because little boys are so worn out they will sleep for hours.

We headed back to Magic Kingdom after our naps.  It was 9 pm by the time we got back in.

We saw fire works.

Watched the elctro-parade with all the lit floats.

Tim and George rode Thunder Mountain again at midnight before we headed back to sleep.

Both boys slept in until 9 the next morning. 

That is a miracle, by the way.  7:30 am was our record before that. 

On Sunday we went into Animal Kingdom.

We rode a few rides.  Met with some characters.  You know, the usual stuff.

One thing that stuck out to me on this trip was the amount of unhappy parents in the parks.

I was telling my husband that it was so funny how much planning parents will do to give their kids a good time, but in the end they just end up stressed and exhausted.

I was talking to another mother at one point while Tim had George, and I was with a sleeping Ethan.

She jokingly told me that her husband wanted to sue Disney World for false advertising.

He thought the slogan, "The happiest place on earth" was far from the truth.

The sad part is that he is right for most people.

They spend their life savings to bring their kids to this wonderland, and what ends up happening is . . . exhaustion, stress, crying kids, hunger, and so on.

All that to say, I am so thankful that we live in Florida and can get season passes at such a good rate.

We don't feel the pressure to see everything in one trip.  We know we will be back, so we take it easy.

If our kids don't want to do something or see somthing on a certain trip, then we skip it and come back to it next time.

Thankfully, it is still one of our happiest places on earth.