Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Turkey Day (And Other Adventures)

Well, we had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday - I hope you all did too.  We're feeling pretty exhausted from it still, especially with a jet-lagged baby, but it was so worth it!  

Our thanksgiving was full of family, fun, amazing food and lots and lots of travel!  We started our journey aboard the nicest Aer Lingus plane I've ever been on with our little traveler - she was so well behaved and charmed everyone on board.  Who could blame them?  Baby Einstein and a portable DVD player really helped when she got a little bored.

Our first day in Virginia we went for what P & I have a really hard time finding here in Ireland...delicious Mexican food! (However, for you Dubliners, Pablo Picante on Baggot Street makes some amazing burritos for a quick meal on the go).  C had her first tortilla chip and LOVED it, but not so much that she couldn't share with her Aunty T!

Since our little girl is having a very big birthday next week, we decided some early celebrations with her Virginia family were in order!  
Lemon cupcakes with cream cheese frosting went down a treat - she LOVED them.
She got some fabulous presents - Biscuit (her favourite book series), and a fab coat that her mother wishes came in her size!

And a towel from her Uncle T that her Daddy may never give her back:
After too-short a time in Virginia, we hit the road to drive 6 hours north to West Point to what has now become an annual tradition of spending Thanksgiving with the H family.  General and Mrs. H have been friends with my in-laws since they were all young army couples (sans children) back at Ft. Lewis, WA and then again - with kids - in Germany.  I hear there are some pretty hilarious bath photos of the H and K children but unfortunately I don't have access to those to share with you (can you hear the sigh of relief coming from my hubby?!).  Anyways, we were all together minus the second H son, who is currently deployed to Afghanistan - please say a prayer for his safety and swift return.

Thanksgiving morning began with pumpkin pancakes and then proceeded as it always does - with the K family Turkey Bowl.  This year, however, the guys had a much more exciting setting for the big game.  My sister-in-law, C and I made it for the last 30 seconds, but that was long enough for us - it was FREEZING!
My handsome hubby freezing his hiney off
After the game and some serious de-thawing at the house, and we introduced the two newest members to the annual Thanksgiving celebrations.

Then the festivities really began!  We celebrated with old friends, new friends, and family. The General's permanent quarters are currently being renovated, but his temporary digs are pretty beautiful, too:
Mrs. H packed about 30 people in the dining room for dinner - 72lbs of turkey, endless sides and a bevy of desserts later, we were all ready for a great big nap.  No such luck, however, as the kiddies kept us all on our toes.
The General, tinkling the ivories

You might think my sweet husband is trying to give me a kiss and horrible ol' me is rejecting him.
Have no pity for him.  Look closer - he's reaching for his BEER.
These buddies have the kind of closeness that only sharing a bath when you're a toddler can create.
We relaxed on Friday.  The General took us for a tour of West Point, which was fabulous and I will create a separate post for.  Saturday we had to say goodbye to everyone - always the worst part of a vacation.  We snapped a farewell shot, only the General was missing.
Two good lookin' men carrying their baby girls =  chick magnets.  Trust me.
No lights yet, but we didn't mind
We had such a brilliant time and it went by much too fast (isn't that always the way?).  We're already trying to plan our next trip!

I'll be back soon with pics from our West Point tour.  In the meantime, how was your Thanksgiving??

Monday, November 29, 2010

...And We're Back!

...To a very cold and snowy Dublin.  I'm working on a post about our Thanksgiving holiday Stateside (actually, it might be two posts), but in the meantime here's what we arrived back to yesterday morning:

Flying over the Wicklow Mountains, with Dublin to the East
Killiny and Dalkey
Dalkey (can you see Bono's house?) and Dun Laoghaire Harbour
Dun Laoghaire
Our final descent into Dublin
Doesn't that tree look like something out of Monsters, Inc?

How beautiful is Dublin in the snow?  The pilot informed us that it was -7 degrees Celcius (19 F) on the ground and he wasn't kidding - brrrrrrrrr!  And it's forecast to snow more all week, folks, which is just fine in my book!

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow......

I'll be back soon with photos from our trip, I promise.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Dinner Tonight: Lentil Soup

I'd imagine that (most of) you will be doing a lot of cooking later this week.  So....I'd imagine that the thought of any time consuming cooking would not be very appealing right about now.  So, how about a nice, easy, so-good-for-you and delicious recipe to get you through your Tuesday.

There's a story behind this recipe.  It came from a book that I bought for my husband when I found out I was expecting.  It's a fun book for a dad-to-be and it's called this:

Caveman's Pregnancy Companion: A Survival Guide For Expectant Fathers
We had a good laugh reading this together.  The best part: a recipe section. You know - so expectant father's can cook for their completely exhausted pregnant wives!  And often my wonderful hubby did cook for me - most of the time he made this:

Folks, it's delicious!  This recipe is a vegetarian one, but we add chorizo to give it a kick.  If you add chorizo, too, be sure to remove the skin, slice (or chop) and brown it off in a separate pan before you add it to the soup because it's very greasy and will ruin your broth otherwise.  I'd imagine chicken would also be delish in this soup, but we haven't tried that yet.  Or if you're really crazy, chicken AND chorizo.  Mmmmmmm!

I love how they word the instructions (tools, need fire?, gather):

Here's what things look like before you add the broth.  

Unfortunately we'd eaten it all before I could snap a photo of the finished soup!

Make this, you won't regret it!  And Happy Thanksgiving, folks!

Lentil Soup (serves 2-4)

1T      olive oil
1        large onion, finely chopped
2        medium carrots, chopped
2        celery sticks, chopped
3        cloves of garlic, minced
1        can of diced tomatoes (14.5oz or 400g)
1        bay leaf
1t       fresh thyme 
1C     lentils (whatever colour you like)
1        link of chorizo, skinned, chopped, and sauteed (optional)
6C     low-sodium chicken broth
1        lemon - juice only
1/2C  fresh parsley, chopped
3        scallions

  • Heat olive oil in stock pot over medium heat
  • Add onion, carrot, celery, stirring occasionally until veggies begin to soften (4-5 mins)
  • Add garlic and cook for another minute
  • Add tomato, bayleaf, and thyme and let cook for 2 mins, stirring occasionally
  • Add lentils and salt and pepper to taste, cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally
  • Add chicken broth (and already sauteed chorizo) and bring to a boil
  • Reduce heat and simmer until lentils are tender
  • Add lemon juice, parsley and scallions

Friday, November 19, 2010

Fly-Away Friday: USA!!

Next week we will be here (for too brief a time, unfortunately):
image: roadfood.com
(which is very close to here):
image: penslabyrinth.com
And then we'll be takin' it on the road to spend a few days (including Thanksgiving) here:
image asce.org
image: collegeprowler.com
...where we'll see some very dear friends from our time in the Army and some older friends than that, too. 

We can't wait!  Hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving (if you're Stateside) and a good week if you're not!  See you when I get back - and I promise to have photos!

'Round Here

We're getting ready for a big trip on tomorrow.  We're very excited, but I admit I'm a little nervous about a 7 hour flight, 3 hour layover and another 1.5 hour flight with an 11.5 month old.  Should be interesting, to say the least.  Your prayers are appreciated!

As a result, our week has been quite low-key as I try to start packing and get through the mountains of laundry that seem to keep appearing out of nowhere.  Of course when I need to get stuff done arond the house, C seems to be more active than ever and at the end of the day sometimes find myself wondering what the heck I got done.  Please, other Mums, tell me you feel that way too at times?!  Despite the indoor chores, we've managed to escape to the great outdoors between rain showers (and gail-force winds) to enjoy the last of the golden leaves as winter seems to be right around the corner - at least it's starting to feel that way...brrrr!  And through it all C still manages to to get more and more adorable and hilarious and keep us well entertained.

We tried on her L.L. Bean Bear Suit that her Aunty R bought her before she was even born! (I highly recommend this for your little one - it's super warm but lightweight and not at all bulky.  It runs HUGE so be aware of that.  The suit C has on below is size 3-6months, and she's now 11.5 months and a tall baby,too). When we first tried it on her last December it was absolutely enormous but that didn't stop me from putting her in it for cold winter walks!  This year I thought, well - let's give it a go and what do you know - it still (kinda) fits!

We love bath time in our house.  It's never a relaxing time before bed.  I think it might actually hype her up even more.  But she has a blast.  Normally we all get soaked, but it's worth it, she's hilarious!  When the camera comes out, however, she does get a little bashful

Have a lovely day!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A Royal Wedding

Well it FINALLY happened.  He proposed.  After eight years.  Eight very long years, if you happen to be Kate Middleton, I'd imagine.

I thought they looked very happy and very much in love.  And she looked gorgeous:
I love that dress - the navy is perfect: classic, elegant, and NOT black!  And her hair...beautiful!

As I'm sure everyone in the world knows by now, Prince William gave her his mother's engagement ring.  I'm sure that was very emotional for him and very special for them both.

If you thought Chelsea and Mark's wedding was a media circus, brace yourselves for Royal Wedding 2011.  The Brits have been preparing for this for the last 8 years, as evidenced here: 

People will be sleeping in the streets the night before the big day just to catch a glimpse of the bride and groom.  I'll be happily sitting in front of my TV and the only thing I'll really be concerned with, of course, is what she is wearing!

Will she echo her mother-in-law...

...with a classic princess dress with long train?  (Let's hope not!).  Or will she pick something more modern?

Here are some gowns that I think are fit for a princess.

Dresses for a modern day princess (with train, natch):
 Alita Graham for Kleinfeld
 Ellie Saab for Pronovias

Will she harken the Queens of old with an ornate, royal-inspired gown (all Reem Acra):

She might fall in love with an ethereal and delicate gown with this season's tulle covered skirts and feminine accents:
 Angel Sanchez
 Monique Lhuillier
 Reem Acra
 Vera Wang
Vera Wang

Or will she choose more orante details?
 Badgley Mischka
Lela Rose
Ramona Keveza
Oscar de la Renta

Maybe a more simplistic silhouette:
Oscar de la Renta 
Sassi Holford
Jenny Packham
Oscar de la Renta

Will she pick the popular white/cream dress with black sash?
Vera Wang
Vera Wang
White House Black Market (who knew?!)

Or will she shock us all with the season's trend of non-white or cream wedding dresses?
Vera Wang
Vera Wang
Vera Wang
Oscar de la Renta

Or, heavens forbid, a short dress!
 Oscar de la Renta
Oscar de la Renta

She might follow in the footsteps of the great American princess, Grace Kelly:

Monique Lhuillier
Oscar de la Renta
Whatever she chooses to wear, I know she will look beautiful and definitely fit for a princess.