Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas, Bailey

We think of Bailey as our child so of course he has to get a Christmas present. If you know him, you know that he can't have cute, stuffed toys because he destroys them within minutes. So I found what looked like a very sturdy, well-made rubber chicken in the pet section of Target. Perfect present! We gave it to him a few days ago and after about 10 minutes I noticed something all over the carpet...

What are those, you're asking?
Oh, they're all the appendages from the rubber chicken. If you look closely, you can see that his nose is gone, the tips of his feet are gone, and those weird things on the top of his head are starting to go too.
So to make sure that our dog didn't choke on the rubber chicken, my husband performed a little surgery on the bird.
Look any different?

Santa Came Early!

Although we didn't get as much snow as we expected last weekend, we still got about 5 inches. Doesn't everything look pretty and white? I think this might be my first actual White Christmas!




Fast forward to Tuesday. I arrived home from work to find a BIG box on our doorstep. Since my sweet husband managed to do all of his Christmas shopping from the comfort of our computer, I have been forbidden to look too closely at any boxes that arrive at the house. Still, I was pretty sure he was done with his purchases. And it was kind of hard not to notice that the tape on the box said "Kittery Trading Post", which is a store near where Chris grew up. Lo and behold, the mystery was solved when I received an e-mail from Mary Pat about 10 minutes later. It was a present from Chris' parents! I couldn't wait for him to come home.

And guess what that wonderfully large box held? SNOW SHOES! The Texas girl in me had only heard of these wondrous things known as snow shoes. I wanted to use them right away but my hubby, the winter veteran that he is, explained that I need to wait until there's a little more snow on the ground. So I am excitedly awaiting the next big snow storm. THANK YOU Jay and Mary Pat!


Monday, December 14, 2009

I Heart Cupcakes

I. Love. Cupcakes. Love, love, love them. Doesn't everyone? When we lived in Newark, DE my favorite place to go was Sweet and Sassy Cupcakes. Never mind that I could probably make a few dozen cupcakes for the cost of buying one from their cute little shop, Sweet and Sassy Cupcakes was my happy place.

I visited Magnolia Bakery on one of our recent trips into the city and the cupcakes were definitely yummy, but I still haven't found a cupcake shop closer to Newtown. So I've taken matters into my own hand...meet homemade chocolate cupcakes with whipped peanut butter frosting. Yummm. And, as per usual, we have the Barefoot Contessa to thank for this fabulous recipe. :)

Pesto-licious

I have a great tip for the, I don't know, six or so of you who read this blog! :) Chris and I have been doing this for awhile now and I just love it.

We love to make homemade pesto. Not only is it more economical than buying ready made at the grocery store, I think it tastes much better. We used to store it in a tupperware container in the freezer. It worked okay, except that we would only use a small portion of it at a time and it was hard to scoop out frozen pesto.

Enter the ice cube trays. We were talking with another couple (DINKS, like ourselves- Dual Income, No Kids) at a farmer's market this summer. They recommended freezing single size servings of pesto in ice cube trays. You can pop out one or two at a time, however much you need, defrost, and you're ready to go! I just slide the ice cube tray into a freezer safe ziploc bag while storing.

We've been making a lot a pesto, tomato, and mozarella paninis lately so last night we had to make another batch of pesto. $2.99 for the fresh basil and then everything else we already had in our fridge, freezer, or pantry. Yum!

And it even looks Christmasy! :)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Holiday Merriment

I am loving our first Christmas season as Mr. and Mrs. Gibson! This morning our pastor said that when two people are joined together, sorrow is halved but joy is doubled...isn't that true? During this season, even though we are away from our families for so much of it, the joy of the Christmas season and the real meaning of Christmas is ever present within our little family.

The weekend before Thanksgiving we celebrated Christmas with Chris' side of the family! It was a great weekend up in the White Mountains with tons of food and lots of laughter.
A hike up Mt. Williard
Caroline and Michele
Linda and Dick

Mary Pat and Chris
I used to say "Hey Gibsons! Get together!" and I would take a picture of Chris with his sister and parents. I tried to say that at the top of Mt. Williard and realized that I'm a Gibson now too! So Michele took the camera from me and I got to be in the picture. :)
Last Friday night was the Newtown Christmas tree lighting. It was cold, but not anywhere near as cold as it was when we went last year!
Then last Sunday was Newtown's Holiday Festival. We didn't go last year but decided to try it out last weekend. Our favorite part was the house tour, where we got to visit historic homes on Main Street all decorated for Christmas, but I also loved the Victorian Tea served at Town Hall. (I actually got apple cider, not tea, but look at the pretty tea cup they served it in!)
After the festival we went to Paproski's Tree Farm just a mile from our house to get our Christmas tree. They had a cow out front along with two goats. Did I ever mention that my husband is pretty passionate about goats? He is constantly looking them up online to see if he can buy one for the backyard. I have mixed thoughts about this.

Hmm...looks a little tall, don't you think?
Headed back to the car!

And here it is full of all the ornaments that we love. This is after Chris took about a foot off the top and bottom of the tree so it would fit in the house! :)

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Christmas tree...CHECK!

If you know my husband, you know that he doesn't have much patience for stupid questions. And, although I do think I'm book smart...I can frequently come across as street stupid. At the end of this video is his reaction to one of my less thought out moments.

(For the record...we DID have to take nearly a foot off the top and bottom of the tree once we got home!)

Cut your own- our annual Christmas tradition from Jessica Hasty on Vimeo.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

We only got an inch or two of snow on Saturday, but it was enough to coat everything in white and make it look and feel like Christmas! Since the weather was at last in sync with the holidays, I decided it was time to deck our halls at Casa Gibson.

Paproski's Tree Farm here in Newtown, CT where we cut down our own Christmas tree this afternoon...less than a mile from our house!! I've never picked out a tree in the snow before. :)
For someone who loves having drawers, closets, or any hidden space as organized as I do, there is just something about a mess of photographs on the fridge that makes me smile. It's fine for the other 11 months of the year, but for December I thought it would be fun to do something more festive. So after finding this idea on one of my favorite home decor/home improvement websites Young House Love...
I made these magnets and I love them!
I'm usually pretty traditional when it comes to Christmas decor (i.e., red, green, and white) but these ornaments at Target were different and really pop against our fridge.
Last year I took this plate and this candle and poured a bag of cranberries around the base. And I liked it. When I went to the grocery store on Saturday for cranberries...no such luck. Sold out. So I took these mini ornaments I already had and stuck them around the candle instead!
And I think I'm digging them. Maybe we'll just stick to eating cranberries from now on! :)

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Capon: the other, OTHER white meat

Chris loves Ina Garten. You might know her as Food Network's Barefoot Contessa? Even I have to admit that every recipe we've ever made from her has turned out "fabulous" (one of Ina's favorite words).

We always giggle at one particular recipe in her barefoot contessa at home cookbook. It's the recipe for a roast capon, and Ina introduces it like this:

Capon is a rooster that's been- how shall I say this delicately?- "altered" to become a hen. They tend to grow much larger than chickens- about eight to ten pounds- so they're a terrific alternative for a holiday...or if you're just having a few friends in for a simple dinner.

Does it make you giggle too? We had never even heard of a capon (which I thought was pronounced like the gangster, but the a is actually long and the o short) let alone seen one at the grocery store. But when we were shopping for a turkey that would feed four for Thanksgiving I noticed one tucked in the corner of the meat section. I pointed it out to Chris, thinking it would be good for a laugh, but as it turns out he couldn't resist! And the guy working in the meat section seemed to think quite highly of capons as well and told us all about them. So, for Thanksgiving, we served Ina's roasted capon and it was, indeed, fabulous.



Along with the capon we had spinach gratin, parmesan smashed potatoes, and homemade cranberry sauce. Empty plates = happy bellies. :)

Monday, November 30, 2009

Miracle on 7th Avenue (aka "How we got front row spots for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade!")

Mary Pat and I have both always wanted to see the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Since Chris and I live within driving distance of NYC, this was the year to make it happen!

Jay and Mary Pat arrived in Connecticut early Wednesday afternoon. After a nice evening with them (and a mean parsnip risotto dinner- seriously, where has this vegetable been my entire life?) we turned in so we could catch one of the trains into the city early Thanksgiving morning.

We were out of the driveway a few minutes after 6:00 a.m. and made it to White Plains, NY to catch the 7:05 train into Grand Central with time to spare.

Once in the city, we started walking towards the parade route. It starts up near Central Park, goes through Times Square, and finishes in front of Macy's. We didn't want to be near the very end of the parade so Times Square seemed like a good option.

Our original spot was actually down on a side street perpendicular to 7th Avenue, sort of set back from the actual parade route. It was supposed to be an emergency entrance in case a fire truck or ambulance needed to get to someone on the parade route, but they said we could stand there and would only need to move in case of an emergency. It was a decent spot considering the parade was starting in under half an hour.

Chris and Jay went to get coffee while Mary Pat and I held the spot. All of a sudden, out of nowhere, several NY policemen came up to the barrier we were standing behind and said that they were letting 5 people at a time cross 7th Avenue to stand in the middle of Times Square! Mary Pat and I couldn't believe our good fortune so when it was our turn, we took off across 7th Avenue without hesitation.

Check out that front row spot!!!

I was able to get ahold of Jay and Chris by cell phone and when they told the policemen their wives were across the street, they let them come too. (We were originally on the far side of the street where you can see people standing and then off to the left a bit, back from the main road.)
And it begins!


Cyndi Lauper!
Good sports for waking up before dawn on Thanksgiving morning for their wives. :)
As always, Santa brought up the rear!
And that's all folks!
After the parade we walked around the city for a few hours. This is the building in the Diamond District where Chris bought my ring! Only he was about 30 floors up. :)
Rockefeller Tree- the lights are on, but it's not lit yet. The tree actually came from Easton, CT less than 20 minutes from us!

Overall, the entire experience was just a great one. We got a fantastic spot to watch the parade, everyone was in such a jovial and friendly mood, and I never realized the parade was so interactive- people were shouting hello and yelling "Happy Thanksgiving" left and right! So fun.

I hope you had a terrific Turkey Day! (Or Capon Day, as was the case at Casa Gibson...stay tuned!)


It's Not Easy Being Green from Jessica Hasty on Vimeo.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Bailey

How cute was Bailey when he was a puppy?

I know, I can tell- you're just melting inside. :)

And while I still think Bailey is the cutest thing on 4 legs, some of his habits aren't so adorable. He piddles when he's excited, or nervous, or very relaxed. He booty-scoots across the floor. He has a bad habit of stealing my sandwiches when I'm lunching on the coffee table. But all that aside, we still love him to pieces, which is why we so badly want to end bad habit #4...the licking/chewing/biting of his feet. We know he's in terrible pain and sometimes the licking is so loud it wakes us up in the middle of the night.

If you have a dog, have ever had a dog, want a dog, or just like dogs in general, there's a good chance I've spoken to you about Bailey's feet. And I've gotten some great ideas! After ruling out allergies with the help of the vet, here's my new game plan:

1. Mix it up. We feed Bailey dry food 3 times a day. I've learned that dry food is exactly that, dry, so he is definitely not getting enough fats or oils. Mixing in a wet food or using fish oil (we have tried this but are not very consistent with it) are two good ways to get more moisture into his system.

2. Goodbye, chemicals. I am slowly greening up my routine, but one thing I haven't switched or even thought of switching is my good ol' Tide. Eons ago I heard that Consumer Reports claimed Tide was the best at keeping clothes looking like new so I've used it ever since (and so does my Mom...which I guess is where I heard it). BUT, I've learned that the chemicals in household cleaners can really affect animals. Since Bailey sleeps with us, if I switch to a natural laundry detergent when I wash the sheets or any blankets that he curls up in, it might help.

3. Eat your veggies! I was one of those terrible children who didn't like vegetables. Don't worry Mom and Dad, I'm so much better now! Apparently wheat, soy, and corn are not well digested by our four-legged friends but they make up a HUGE percentage of most dry dog foods. I've learned that when Chris and I are having veggies with dinner, Bailey can have some too. There are some things to stay away from (eggplant, bell peppers, raw tomatoes, garlic and onion, grapes among others) but fruits and veggies are just as good for dogs as they are for humans. And leftover steamed broccoli is never as good the next day anyway, right? Bailey will love the leftovers!

Did I ever think I would even entertain the notion of feeding my dog fresh fruits and veggies? Absolutely not. But desperate times call for desperate measures. Keep your fingers crossed that something works!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Gutted

Well it's finally done! Don't get too excited though, I'm referring to the demolition of the drywall, not the actual bathroom itself. It's been over a month since we've done any serious work on our half-bath renovation (remember this post here?) but we're finally ready to move forward. Stay tuned!

Gutted. This was what the bathroom looked like at the end of two hours. The old toilet is long gone, the ugly light fixture is history, the new toilet is waiting in the garage, and the sink is in the dining room waiting to be moved back in. The tile's still on the floor...for now. My husband has always wanted to try tiling, so that may be coming up too. :/
Even Bailey got in on the fun. Here he is eating a piece of wood paneling. And see all those little dots floating around? No, they're not ghostly orbs- just a LOT of dust particles.
Happy dog.
Someone get me a tool belt, clearly I'm a natural. :) And check out my cool safety glasses...Dad, I am definitely your daughter.
I tried to get him to smile, but he was working too hard.

Hopefully there will be pics of a finished bathroom SOON!