Moreland & Arbuckle at Bartlett Arboretum

Last Sunday was a busy day for us. Brian helped his mom and dad sort through what they could take to Oklahoma. They didn’t have room for everything in their car so his mom will take the rest home on her next visit in a few weeks.

I dropped off a Father’s Day present for my dad who lives in Derby. I hung out with my family until it was time to head to my Sunday afternoon Zumba class at Andover YMCA. After Zumba I had to skedaddle. Took a quick shower so we could head to Bartlett Arboretum to celebrate Father’s Day with David and Donna.

We initially planned to taking Bebot but our new cooler was too big to fit in the trunk filled with folding chairs so we ended up taking two vehicles. Brian and his dad were in Bebot. Donna and I were in Alex. I hate driving in general and I hate driving to unfamiliar places even worse. Brian’s GPS decided to go berserk and I was totally stressed out. About an hour later, we miraculously found our way to Bartlett Arboretum safely and unscathed. Thank you, Jesus!

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It was a beautiful day for an outdoor concert. Bartlett Arboretum is so magnificent, I couldn’t stay upset. The stress and frustration soon lifted away as we sat enjoying the music. I’d never seen or heard Moreland & Arbuckle before but I really enjoyed their performance. The parts we got to watch anyway, since we arrived at the end of the first set. (In addition to getting lost and taking a long time to get there, we actually misread the web site info. We thought the concert started at 5 PM rather than 4 PM. Oops!)

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At least now we know how to get there and we know what to expect. It’s so beautiful there. Brian and I hope to return for another concert or maybe even attend the Winfield Warm Up in September or the Ecofest in October. There’s not any info yet about these two events on the Bartlett Arboretum web site but they’re both listed on the Tree House Concerts page so I’m penciling them in.

If you’ve never been to Bartlett Arboretum, I highly recommend it. It’s so peaceful and beautiful, and it’s not even that far away (about 40 minutes from our place, without getting lost). Here’s a little documentary about the century-old landmark in Belle Plaine. After watching this, I’m positive you’ll want to schedule a visit.

See you at one of the concerts!

Belated Anniversary Treat for Mom and Dad

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During last weekend’s visit, we treated Donna and David to our favorite steak place — Cy’s Hoof & Horn Supper Club in Sedgwick. It’s a long ways from our home in Southeast Wichita but totally worth the drive. They have the best chicken fried steak I’ve ever had and it’s a huge portion. It’s more than enough for two people to share.

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Of course, I ordered the chicken fried steak because it’s my favorite thing on the menu. Donna ordered the same. David had the prime rib special.

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Brian wanted to try one of Cy’s legendary burgers but, after he told them to take everything out of it, it wasn’t so impressive. LOL.

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He said the onion rings were good, though.

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The homemade dessert that night was banana walnut cake with ice cream.

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I’m not sure what was going on that night. Maybe they were just super busy. The food was good but not has good as we’ve had it there. The service was slow and my mashed potatoes were on the cold side. Though I wished that it was hotter, I didn’t say anything. I hope that mom and dad enjoyed the dinner despite the service shortcomings.

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Belated happy anniversary, Mom and Dad B!

Celebration Continued at Freddy’s

After my Zumba class last Saturday, I met Brian, David, Donna, and grandma at Freddy’s Frozen Custard. It’s our most favorite burger joint.

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They had spent the morning going through grandma’s storage unit.

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Brian’s parents don’t get to visit very often so we made the most of this last visit. It was a productive visit. They were able to complete a lot of things on the “to do” list. The only down side that since it also happened to be Brian and grandma’s birthday month, we did a lot of eating out. I feel like I gained 10 pounds over the weekend.

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Grandma and Brian’s Joint Birthday Celebration

Brian and I are not really huge fans of Olive Garden but we had dinner there last weekend in honor of Brian and grandma’s birthdays. They’ve celebrated their birthdays together since the dawn of time (or really since Brian was born) and have only missed three years. The missed years were when Brian lived in Memphis.

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We don’t really care where we eat as long as we are all together. Brian’s mom and dad came up from Oklahoma. Kevin, Kasey, and their kids Kyndra and Andrew were able to join us for dinner as well. Here are some fun photos we took at dinner.

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It took some doing but I finally got a good photo of David, Kevin, Andy, and grandma.

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Here’s a good one of Andy and grandma.

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Brian and I got grandma a gift card to the Nifty Nuthouse, everyone’s favorite candy shop, and she got a bunch of other goodies from Brian’s mom and dad, including these giant chocolate covered strawberries.

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These strawberries are the size of apples!

Brian got a couple of Superman prints from his mom and dad, which are now hung in his bathroom in the basement. The placement is a little awkward but to each his own. Besides, we’re have a bathroom decorating contest in the basement and I’m convinced that my bathroom, which has the lithos we got from Julie and Viktor eight years ago, will win (with or without the help of the awkwardly positioned Superman prints).

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Brian really loved his prints! Thank you, mom and dad!

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Here are some pictures of food.

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Brian got his usual.

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David got his usual.

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Donna and I both got the chicken and shrimp carbonara.

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I was disappointed that they no longer put frozen peaches in the peach bellini iced tea but they let grandma order out of the kids’ menu and they gave us a whole basket of Andes mints at the end of our meal so all was forgiven.

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We had a great time at dinner (perhaps a little too much in Brian’s case). Thank you so much to everyone for celebrating with us.

Brian’s Birthday Weekend

Here’s the long story about this weekend for those who are interested. Last year I took Brian to the Dominican Republic for his 40th birthday. This year I wanted to do something special but not that grand. We were initially going to Kansas City, Missouri or somewhere drivable. Jay and Becca mentioned they were going to be visiting Sandals Whitehouse over Brian’s birthday and, if we wanted to tag along, we could get a really good deal now that Brian is moonlighting as a travel agent.

We’d been to Jamaica a few times already but we’d never been to Sandals Whitehouse so we were kind of excited about it. We were to leave on Brian’s birthday, Saturday, and return on Wednesday so I’d only miss three days of work. Since it was kind of a last minute trip, the hotel was already fully booked on one of the days so we just couldn’t make it work. Lucky for us, we held off purchasing airfare until we could secure our rooms so we weren’t out anything (except for some clothes and shoes I’d bought specifically for the trip but I can wear those this summer).

Because the Jamaica trip fell through, we had absolutely nothing going on. Naturally, I was accepting invites left and right. We got invited to a tasting lunch at Gianni Bacci’s, and then the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Beta Kappa Omega chapter’s 80th anniversary gala on Saturday, and then on Sunday we had a birthday dinner for Brian at Bonefish Grill (Thank you, mom!) and the Down to the Wire: 24 Hour Film Race showcase at the Wichita Orpheum Theatre. Had it not been Brian’s birthday weekend, I probably would have said yes to even more stuff. LOL.

SIDENOTE: It’s not very often that I have this much freedom on weekends because I teach Zumba every Saturday and Sunday at Andover YMCA. I just happened to have subs lined up this past weekend because I thought I was going to be in Jamaica.

Here’s our conversation leading up to the weekend…
BRIAN: You hijacked my entire birthday!
CHING: What do you mean? We had nothing planned.
BRIAN: That’s what I wanted to do.
CHING: Nothing? You wanted to do nothing at all? You are such a bump on a log! You need to live and do stuff.
BRIAN: I’m not a log.
CHING: No, you’re a bump.

I’d normally feel bad about taking the whole weekend over but we’d been celebrating his birthday pretty much all month (last weekend we had Abuelo’s and Redrock Canyon Grill) and we’re going to continue celebrating when his parents visit this weekend. On top of that, the weekend turned out fantastic. Even he will admit that he had a blast.

Anyway, we’ve been together for about 16 years now and we are compatible in every way. I think the only thing that really causes a bit of tension (though nothing serious because we don’t really have serious fights anymore, we make such a great team) between us is that Brian wants to do NOTHING and I want to do EVERYTHING. I suppose that’s how we balance each other out. I would probably die of exhaustion if it weren’t for Brian and he probably wouldn’t experience life as much if it weren’t for me.

Headed to Gianni Bacci's for lunch. Things were going swimmingly until it started raining. LOL.

This is a picture of us on our way to the tasting lunch at tasting lunch at Gianni Bacci’s. We had to pull over on the way there to roll the top up because it started raining.

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Brian got to try a couple of different beers with lunch.

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Thanks to our friend Ebony for the gala tickets.

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I don’t know about Brian but hearing Sheinelle Jones‘ keynote at the gala was definitely the highlight for me. She’s so inspirational.

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We got to hang with the Shermans also, which was an added bonus.

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On Sunday we met mom and Jenni at Bonefish for a birthday dinner in Brian’s honor.

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Mussels! Mmmm!

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Can’t go to Bonefish Grill and not have bang bang shrimp.

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Brian had the sirloin and crab cake with double mash side.

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Jenni had the fontina chop with au gratin potatoes.

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I had the imperial tilapia with double jasmine rice. I don’t care what they say about tilapia. I still like it.

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Mom had the bang bang shrimp tacos.

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We all shared a creme brûlée for dessert.

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We ended the evening at the Orpheum for the Down to the Wire: 24 Hour Film Race. What a wonderful weekend!

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P.S. This one is our favorite out of all of the film entries.

Lemon Parade from Eron Rawson on Vimeo.

Mother’s Day Weekend

I hope everyone had a fantastic Mother’s Day weekend. We started ours off on Saturday night with grandma.

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They had a lovely reception at Cherry Creek for all the women residents. There were snacks, fruit punch (fake sangria) and sangria. They even had an acoustic guitar player.

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Grandma got a lovely carnation from Sharon.

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She also got first dibs on the sangria.

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For our part, we got grandma a Mother’s Day card and the Annie soundtrack that she’d been wanting since we watched the movie.

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Kudos to the Cherry Creek staff for putting together a nice reception for the residents.

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On Sunday morning we met dad, mom, and Jenni at Piccadilly Grill for brunch. We were on a bit of a tight schedule because mom and dad wanted to be at Derby Bowl for Logan and Matt’s first bowling league at 12:30 PM and then I had a Zumba class to teach in Andover at 1:00 PM. We managed to make it work.

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Here are some pictures of the fantastic brunch spread.

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The buffet today was double the size of their normal brunch.

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In addition to the regular buffet, there was a waffle station, omelette station, and a ham and roast beef carving station. They also had smoke salmon, various cheeses, and tabouli. Piccadilly is a Mediterranean restaurant after all.

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There was a huge selection of cakes and pies for dessert.

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Made me wish I didn’t have to teach Zumba so I could stuff my face silly. I still tried, though. At almost $25 per person, you best believe I tried to get my money’s worth. LOL. I’m kidding! I behaved (for the most part).

Piccadilly Grill on Urbanspoon

Anyway, I’m really glad that we got to have brunch today at Piccadilly. Brian told me that they’re going to be tearing the place down so today was the last Mother’s Day brunch before the demolition happens. I hope that Piccadilly Grill returns after the new building is finished. The thought of the restaurant closing really makes me sad. There are very few places that serve a fantastic brunch buffet here in town and Piccadilly is one of them.

If you’ve never been to Piccadilly Grill, I highly recommend checking it out. Specially since their days are numbered. Who knows when they’re reopen or if they reopen after the construction is complete. Check them out and let me know what you think in the comments below.

Dad’s 60th Birthday Dinner

And we take a break from all of the DC blog posts to show you pictures from dad’s 60th birthday dinner at Cy’s Hoof & Horn.

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They say that it’s better to spend money on experiences rather than buying things so rather than buying a present for dad we opted buy dinner for the family instead.

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For dad’s birthday Brian and I took mom, dad, and Jenni to our new favorite place to eat steak. Jenni got the filet mignon, which is what I had the last time. I thought it was good but I really, really liked Brian’s chicken fried steak so I ended up getting the chicken fried steak this time around.

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Brian and dad both got chicken fried steak also.

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I don’t know why we each had to get one, all three of us could have shared one piece. The chicken fried steak portions at Cy’s are enormous.

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Mom got a steak salad. Only my mom would get a salad at a steak place. LOL. At least her salad was topped with slices of beef, I guess.

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Brian and I can’t wait for his mom and dad to visit because we want to take them to Cy’s also. Now that we’ve discovered Cy’s we just want to bring everyone there.

Cy’s isn’t just a great place to eat steak, it’s a great place for a nice family dinner. I hope dad enjoyed his 60th birthday dinner just as much as we did.

Things are Getting Serious

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I just ordered a new ball. I haven’t bought a bowling ball in 20 years. Things must be getting serious. The next thing you know I’ll be sporting a wrist brace and everything.

Speaking of, we debuted our new team uniforms at bowling on Sunday. You can’t see them very well in this photo but this is what the outfits look like.

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Brian and I already had the sweatpants. We got them at the last Zumba Convention. Brian actually found the sweatpants when he was shopping at the store while I was in one of my training workshops. When I got back to the hotel room and saw them, I sent him back to the store to get me a pair also. They are so comfortable that we’ve been wearing them to bowling every Sunday. Rather than buying a whole new set of uniforms for everyone, I ended up just ordering the same sweatpants for mom and dad. So then I just had to buy us all some black shirts to wear with them. Voila! Bowling uniforms.

Mom and dad really love the new bowling outfits. I shouldn’t have been so surprised, though. How can you go wrong with comfy sweats? I joked today that if we start doing really well, I will spring for “real” bowling uniforms. Like legit bowling polos (complete with our embroidered team name and logo) and maybe khaki pants for the guys and khaki skirts for mom and me. But then, after getting used to wearing sweats to bowing it’s going to be hard to go back to wearing regular clothes. Our current bowling uniforms are super comfy.

Anyway, I saw some videos of the jet black Hammer Taboo bowling ball and it really made me want to buy one. However, dad said that drilling will run me around $60 and it might not even be the right ball for me. He suggested that I talk to someone from the local pro-shop about a suitable ball and if I buy the ball from them then the price of the ball usually includes the cost of drilling.

I still really like the jet black Taboo but after talking to both dad and Kevin Andes at Wichita Bowling Supply I realized that the Taboo may be too much ball for me. I ended up just ordering a Blur Pearl because it’s going to give me more predictable results and will suit my style of bowling better. I’m really optimistic that the new ball will improve my game. Anything is better than my ancient Columbia 300 Quantum, which is at least 20 years old. Surely.

Incidentally, the Blur Pearl is also manufactured by Columbia 300. And, this entire time I thought I was using a 12-pound ball but my current ball actually weighs 13 pounds. I wanted to go up to 13 pounds anyway so I get my wish. LOL. Eventually I’m thinking of going up another pound but it may be a couple of years before I’m ready to throw a 14-pound ball. I need to get stronger first.

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Speaking of strong, I’m off to a great start this year. I bowled a 500-series last night. It felt great. I was the only one on our team who consistently bowled above my average every game. I earned my new bowling ball, I’d say!

When I bowl a 600-series I’m totally getting that jet black Taboo! I don’t care if it’s too much bowling ball for me. It will serve as a trophy to commemorate my achievement. LOL.

Ted’s Cafe Escondido

We had the opportunity to try a new restaurant a few weeks ago when we were in Oklahoma to deliver Brian’s old truck to his dad. We’d been looking to buy a new vehicle for a few years now and just hadn’t found the right one. Plus, we were saving money because we didn’t want to finance it. We paid for Crichton in cash in 2007 and we finished paying off Bebot in 2008. We didn’t want another car payment. However, we promised that we would give the truck to Brian’s dad once we got a new vehicle.

Goodbye, Crichton.

We finally found the exact car that we wanted to add to our family in October. We would have delivered the truck to Oklahoma sooner but we promised Jenni that Brian would help her move in early November so we couldn’t get rid of the truck just yet. Our opportunity came Thanksgiving weekend because neither of us had to work.

It was fitting too. Rather than participating in the consumerist juggernaut that is Black Friday, we used the day to drive to Brian’s parents’ home in Oklahoma and deliver the truck to them. We gave it to them for several reasons. Brian’s dad likes to do projects at home and in his workshop and had been looking for a truck to haul stuff to and from the store. They have a couple of four-door sedans that aren’t really conducive to hauling big, bulky items. We figured that he would get more use out of the truck than we would. We also wanted to get rid of the truck because Brian doesn’t really enjoy helping people move and he got tired of me volunteering him and his truck long ago.

It didn’t make sense to sell the truck or trade it in because we wouldn’t get what it was worth. Plus, Brian’s dad was looking for a truck and it didn’t make sense for him to buy one when we had a truck that we no longer needed. Giving them the truck was a great way to say thank you for everything they’d done for us over the years. And, how appropriate that it happened on Thanksgiving weekend.

Ted's Cafe Escondido on Urbanspoon

But I digress… I really wanted to tell you about this restaurant that Brian’s parents took us to that day. The place is called Ted’s Cafe Escondido. We don’t have one here in Wichita, but it’s very similar to Abuelo’s. They have the same kind of tortilla chips that I like and the menu options are similar. Prices are comparable also. I guess the restaurant is more like Abuelo’s and Felipe’s together. You’ll see what I mean when you see the food pictures.

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Brian had a bean and cheese burrito smothered in queso. This is what my unadventurous husband gets everywhere. Unless we’re splitting something. Then he is forced to eat what I’m having. LOL.

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I had the pork chile verde and Brian wanted nothing to do with it.

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Donna had the handmade tamales.

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I can’t remember what kind of burrito David had because so much time has passed. I really should have blogged this weeks ago but we’ve been super busy.

The restaurant gives you a free sapodilla on request. It’s good but not as good as the mini, bite-sized sapodillas at Felipe’s Jr. You have to pay for those, though. One could argue that free is better. LOL.

Of the places we’ve tried in the area, which is not many because we’ve only been down there a couple of times since they moved, this one is my favorite. That doesn’t say much, I suppose. Check back in a few months.

Thanksgiving 2014

My coworkers take Thanksgiving very seriously. Our lounge area and break room were totally decked out last month for Harvest Feast.

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Our coworkers who organized Harvest Feast really outdid themselves this year. They even got matching aprons. How cool is that?

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We all chipped in $5 for the meats but Brian didn’t want me to show up to work empty handed so he made me the banana pudding dessert thing that we love so I would have something to bring to the potluck.

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It was a huge hit. How could it not be? This thing is like crack. Anyway, if you’d like the recipe or if you’d like to see all the other variations we’ve made in the past go here.

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We hosted Thanksgiving again this year so I decided that I probably ought to decorate. We found this beautiful wreath at the store that matched our Christmas tree on the main floor, which is natural and woodsy, so we had to get it. It looks great, don’t you think?

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This is the Christmas tree in the basement.

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We didn’t decorate too much but we put up enough decorations to be somewhat festive.

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We like personalized things. Can you tell?

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I liked these napkins and placemats not only because they’re personalized with our last name initial but mainly because they’re neutral and match the rest of our decor.

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We brought out our wine glasses for mimosas so I finally had the opportunity to use my festive wine charms.

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This was Molly’s first Thanksgiving back with us.

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Molly and grandma kept each other company as we reheated the food that was carefully prepared by the Fresh Market.

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We had a great time celebrating with family.

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Here are some pictures of the food we enjoyed at Thanksgiving.

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We were wise this year and created a project plan for when things needed to go in the oven. It worked out perfect. Everything finished right on schedule.

The food was delicious and we had way more food than we needed. I’m thinking either we order less food or invite more people to our little Thanksgiving shindig next time.

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Jenni’s birthday was the day before Thanksgiving so we celebrated with her.

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I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. Until next year!

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