Saturday, November 29, 2008


I was excited about Thanksgiving because we were celebrating it with the family and I always love that because it means a big celebration. To me, a holiday isn't a holiday unless it is a big production. I know there is much said about a more intimate celebration, but I am afraid that isn't for me - I tried it before.
It was hosted at my uncle and aunt's house in Manassas this year and each of the different families were responsible for bringing different items. I was in charge of dessert - what a surprise! :) I am please that the family likes my dessert and asks me to bring it whenever possible. I decided on an apple pie, a cherry pie, and 2 chocolate mousse pies. I pawned off the pumpkin pie on my mother since she was only asked to bring corn!When I woke up that morning I immediately put on the Macy's Day Parade so that Jasmine could watch it. I remember being awoken by my dad every year that I was growing up to watch the parade and now I am having my child watch it. She only half enjoyed it - maybe she needs a few more years to get into it!
We then headed to the Grist Mill park to watch Lorne play in the annual Elder's Quorum Turkey Bowl. Jasmine cheered from the sidelines with me and we got to watch Lorne intercept the football once and play his heart out! I am glad he takes part in this tradition because it is fun to watch him play with the guys.After delivering a cake to a client and getting ready, we headed out to Manassas so we would be there before 3 PM. With our pies in tow, we arrived safely and it seemed everyone was happy to see us. After the setup of the food we all took turns dishing up and we ate all of the traditional fare of course. Everything I love about Thanksgiving - food wise - was represented. We had turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes with marshmallows, green beans, corn, and bread. It was all delicious and we ate almost everything - there wasn't much left for anyone to take leftovers.Jasmine had a blast talking with everyone and playing with Roman again. She ate a lot of corn and sweet potatoes but didn't touch much else - I think she was too excited. We all sat around talking and enjoying the company and after while, eating the desserts. Everyone raved and it was all a huge success.I took a lot of pictures as I always do and we left around 7 PM to make sure we got home in time for a bit of rest before bedtime. I do have so much to be thankful for and if I began to list it all, it would take me all day. Suffice it to say that I am thankful for the richness of my life - my family, friends, my testimony of the living God and my Savior, my home, my talents and all the rest of the things that I am so blessed with.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Summer Comes for a Visit

My friend (and former mission companion) Summer Thorp, who currently lives in her home country of Canada with her husband and son, needed a break and a time to recharge her batteries so I suggested she come visit me for a few days and we could have a great time. She agreed to do so and we picked her up at the airport Sunday afternoon.
I was excited because it is rare we get a chance to visit face to face. We spent last New Years with them up in Canada (there was a post on this) and had so much fun. This time we were a lot more relaxed because in addition to my having tons to do, she didn't need to do a lot of touristy things. One thing that was super fun for Jasmine while Summer was here was that Summer offered to do her hair almost everyday and she did beautiful french braids that I don't know how to do. She was going to teach me but we ran out of time!We did head up to the Visitor's Center Monday night to see the display they had for the Reflections of Christ and we forgot our cameras, so we don't have pictures of that! It was so nice to spend a little while on the temple grounds and Summer hadn't been there since she was a little girl.
Tuesday, we ran errands and I took her to Potomac Mills to do some shopping. Since I get tired on my feet a lot these days, we only stayed a few hours but it was still lots of fun!
Wednesday we did something touristy - I couldn't bear to have her come all this way and not take her to see something she hadn't before. We went into Old Town Alexandria and visited Gadsby's Tavern. I hadn't been there since I was a child and Lorne and Summer had never been. It was a great tour. It wasn't super long but it was very informative and we learned all about the functions of a tavern in Colonial Virginia in the 1800s. Did you know, that if you stayed at the tavern, you had to share a bed with someone else and also the room with as many as 10 other men? If you were a woman, you couldn't stay there. Each tavern also had their own special punch that was the specialty of the tavern and they all tried to outdo each other with their punch (alcoholic of course). It has been recorded that George Washington himself spent time there.After the tour, we walked around Market Square and got a few pictures and walked into the Lavender Moon Cupcakery, only to discover they were out of cupcakes for the afternoon. It was a great afternoon and I know Summer enjoyed it immensely.That night, we made pies. Since she would be joining us for Thanksgiving, I had her help me make the pies I was asked to bring to the festivities and since Summer likes being in the kitchen she was happy to help. It was messy fun and everything we made turned out delicious.Thursday we did the Thanksgiving thing (more on that in a separate post).
Friday was her last day here with us - well, only a half day since she flew out that afternoon. I indoctrinated her in the American art of Black Friday shopping. It is not for the faint of heart, folks. We were out of the house by 5:30 AM and arrived back home by 11:30 AM - triumphant in our purchases but not without a few battle wounds - like standing in line for 2 and a half hours at Toys R Us. If she hadn't been there with me, I don't know if I could have done it. She seems to have survived it - though I don't know if she would ever do it again!
Saying goodbye was hard since I don't get to see her often and it felt like the time flew while she was here. I could have though of a million more things for us to do but alas, time was not on our sides. I hope she got what she needed on her little trip here and that we will get to see her and her family again soon.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Celebrating Grandpa & Tia Casey's Birthdays

Since Grandpa and Tia Casey share a birthday, we celebrated together over family dinner. Jasmine had a great time playing with her cousin Roman, now that he walks and plays more she is really enjoying him. Uncle Lorne even got some quality time reading to Roman and Grandpa and Jasmine shared some tickle time!Dinner was good - we ate lamb and lasagna and had banana cream pie for dessert. The best part was just having a nice dinner all together where we enjoyed each others company.

The Nutcracker

Since Jasmine is taking ballet classes, we thought this would be a good year to take her to see The Nutcracker for the first time. We hope to make it a yearly tradition. The dance school where Jasmine takes dance from, was putting on a performance at a local high school and so this was a good opportunity to take Jasmine.She was very excited to go and was enthralled from the very beginning. She got a bit fidgety in the middle but we couldn't blame her because we took her during her nap time. We were so impressed by the quality of the performance and even more impressed to find out that that young lady who played Clara was only in 8th grade and the young ladies that played the Snow Queen and Dew Drop were only 15 years old. They had amazing technique for their ages. The school also had 2 guest performers that are current professionals. The lady who played the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier were seasoned professionals and I am sure the kids on the stage were delighted to share the performance with seasoned professionals. All in all we had a great time and perhaps in a few years Jasmine might be on the stage performing herself.

The Guitar Cake

This cake is one that stands on its own. We were asked to do a guitar cake for a lady who has a son that turned 16 years old. This would be a replica of a guitar that the kid wants and that he will be receiving for Christmas (he doesn't know that of course). The trick about doing this guitar cake was the paint job. I was terrified that I wouldn't be able to make it look like the original. I used gel food coloring and paint brushes and the painting took about 2 and a half hours. I was pretty happy with how it turned out.We made all the pieces by hand and most were edible. The neck and the strings were non-edible. The client was ecstatic with how it turned out and later wrote us an e-mail to tell us that the cake was delicious too and that the birthday boy was surprised and happy with his cake! What do you all think?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Jasmine's Preschool Thanksgiving Feast

I had the wonderful opportunity to volunteer at Jasmine's school for the Thanksgiving Feast they held the Friday before Thanksgiving. I also signed up to bring the sweet potatoes. I was excited because this was something I have been looking forward to doing for a while - being able to help out in the classroom.Jasmine was very excited and you could tell the kids knew something was going on. I heated up my sweet potatoes with marshmallows and helped dish up the plates for the feast. A great bonus was that I got to have a plate of food too! This is great incentive for a pregnant lady!
Jasmine didn't eat as much as I thought she would - I think they served the feast too close to breakfast time - they ate at 10 AM and Jasmine usually eats breakfast at 8:30 AM. She ate all the candy corn off of her cupcake (made by another mom) and ate her turkey wrap. She ate a few bites of everything else but didn't want the pumpkin muffins at all.I am glad I got to help out and when I was done cleaning I left to do a few things before I had to come back and pick her up at the end of the school day. I love these little moments I can share with my daughter and hope to be able to participate more as she continues school and continues growing! I want her to know that I love her and support her in everything.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Dinner with Jen

My former aqua aerobics instructor (when I was at GW and was very pregnant with Jasmine) and current good friend came into town for a few days to accompany her husband on a business trip. She contacted me and we made arrangements to go out to dinner and catch up a bit. Since Jen Byrne and her husband Dave live in Boston, we don't get to see them too often and I was excited to get to have an evening to see what she has been up to.
We picked her up at the Kingstowne Metro station and we had dinner in Old Town Alexandria at my favorite pizza place called Bugsy's. It was a great time and very relaxing. After dinner we took a walk to a little shop called The Christmas Attic and it got me into the beginning of a Christmas mood. They were even serving samples of Spiced Apple Cider - which was delicious.
The evening ended too quickly but I was grateful for the few hours I got - I suppose I will have to make it back up to Boston one of these days and see her!

Autumn Leaves are Falling Down

So our yard was full of leaves and it was time for Lorne to take care of them. Jasmine wanted in on the action so Lorne raked a pile of leaves for her and she proceeded to jump and roll around in them. It was so cute. It was also so cold - so I made sure she was nice and warm. Of course I couldn't help but grab the camera and get some shots of Jasmine in the leaves.Lorne then had Jasmine on his lap while he mowed the leaves and she had a blast. She really loves her daddy and I love to see how tender he is with her. That is what it is all about -