Hello, I'm glad you're here, and hope you enjoy your visit. It has been said that "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." This blog is about me, my adventures, silly moments, and keeping in touch with you. Life is exciting and so full of possibilities, so let's enjoy the journey together.

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Sunday, December 26, 2010

Family, Food, Fun. . . Thanksgiving

Without question, Thanksgiving is my favorite Holiday of the year. We usually go to Denver to Celebrate this holiday.  Our big mistake this year was debating the entire morning whether we should even go or not.  The roads where we live were absolutely horrid from the blizzard the previous day.  According to the internet, Evanston, WY was closed as was Rock Springs.  However road conditions into Colorado were looking favorable with the exception of a winter storm advisory for Glenwood Springs.  Finally we decided to just go for it, we were dropping Oscar Dog off at the daughter's, (they decided they wanted to spend the holiday with the hubby's family instead of us). . . . how boring!

Before leaving on any trip we check little things like the oil, brake fluid, window washer fluid, those kinds of things.  The genius helped out on this years inspection.

When we stopped for gas we picked up a treat for ourselves too.  It's always good to have something to snack on during the long drive.  This would be a super long drive because it would be LATE when we arrived.

Mine is the "good & plenty", the genius picked up the drink and chips.  Before we would get back home, I would go through two packages of these, one on the trip there, the other for the journey home.  I like black licorice and these little guys make a great munchy, but not messy,snack food.  I don't like salt and gunk stuck to my fingers while I am driving, so chips, or cheetos and stuff like that aren't my favorite travel snacks.

These are power wind mills.  It was almost dark but you could see them clearly.  Since we were looking for amusing things to show Stanley I thought I would show them to everyone else too.

As we arrived into Denver we found this display of lights at a business that was stunningly beautiful.

This is our GPS device.  The genius gave this to me for Christmas last year and I use it all the time.  It is quite possibly my favorite and most useful gift I have ever received.  One of the reasons I like this little device is that I am positively one of the most pathetic directionally impaired individuals ever born.  I get lost even when I know where I am going.

Today was no different, in fact it was at its worst.  As we approached the outskirts of Denver the little man, who gives me excellent directions and keeps me on the right track told me to take a cut off, but at 1:50 am I wasn't listening, in fact I completely ignored my little man faithfully hanging in the window, because I was confident he was WRONG!  I told the genius to turn him off to keep him quiet.  Every exit I came to he would politely but firmly inform me that he was "recalculating" and then take the next exit, turn etc.  As I became weary of listening to him we simply turned him off.  This turned out to be a BIG mistake!  As we cruised down I-70 it became apparent that I should have listened to the advise of the GPS, nothing was looking familiar, street names anything at all.  Not only that, but the estimated time of arrival to our destination was increasing by the mile.  I quickly repented and had the genius turn on my voice hanging in the window, but he was not giving me directions.  We decided that he was mad at me and not talking to me any longer.

If you are confused by the above illustration/map, you should have been there with the Genius and myself at 2:30 am wandering lost and lonely in the streets of Denver, Colorado!
fortunately for us,  most people were at home, so traffic wasn't a problem, we pretty much had the streets to ourselves.  As you can see, we went for quite the tour!

At step #5 on the list, we re-entered our destination and he, my little man hanging in the window, quickly began giving me instructions.  It was dark, I couldn't see the road very well,  it was late (or early if you would prefer to look at it like that), and I was tired, but I couldn't see where he wanted me to turn, so we missed it and drove further off track.  I turned a u-turn and we attempted once again, we still missed it.  Finally my little man hanging in the window began giving new directions.  I followed faithfully.  We were directed to follow Wadsworth and then to take the ramp to I-25.  He kept telling me to keep left, at this point there was a fork in the highway one to Ft. Collins the other to Colorado Springs.  As we came to this fork, my little man suddenly directed me to go North (right), but I was staying left and didn't catch the change in direction soon enough, so Ft. Collins it was.  We were now in Downtown Denver, quite a bit past where we wanted or rather needed to be.  Finally, following directions from the little man hanging in my window we once again got turned around and going the right direction.  45 minutes later we arrived.  How grateful we were.  They were waiting up for us and had the light on.  Bed that night felt so great!  I slept like a rock.

This is our trusty van, absolutely caked in salt from the trip.  I realized the next day that part of the reason I was having such difficulty seeing the road was that our headlights were so plastered in this white film of salt that they were hardly shining.

Temperatures for the entire trip were cold and the top of the van never thawed out from the remains of the blizzard  from the night before we left home, 600 miles later it was still frozen & crusty. Some of the roads were wet and snowy, even a little icy in spots, but nothing came from the sky.  so this is most definitely left over from our storm before leaving.

The table is looking like Thanksgiving,  I'm so excited, good food, turkey, mashed potatoes, salad, rolls, pie.  just thinking about it makes me hungry.

However, preparations didn't go so swell.
In fact this particular Thanksgiving Dinner was sort of cursed I think,
I wonder if it all started when I turned off my GPS?
I was given the responsibility of making the cranberry/orange salad.  I felt pretty confident that I could tackle this task with ease, so quickly began my project, the first dish of the day.

The problem was that the thermometer I was using was off, so my sugar solution slightly over cooked, well, okay excessive is probably a better description.  as I dumped the cranberries in to cook until they "burst" they didn't even have a chance.  The sugar mixture completely solidified around them making a big glob. It was actually kind of cool, the sugar just peeled off of the cranberries like a cocoon.

In the end we were able to rescue all the cranberries

This is Tom Turkey, he looks wonderful both getting dressed for the oven, and coming out.  but we were to quickly discover that Tom wasn't quite cooked all the way.  translation, no dark meat today.  We cut off the breast meat, microwaved it until we felt good about it and turned the rest into turkey stew.

This is the yams, they look so scrumptious, but we think the cousin-in-law added too much OJ and they came out floating in itself, it didn't taste bad, the description was more like yam stew, tasty, but very soupy.

The cranberry salad that I tried to destroy earlier, turned out beautiful, and very good.

Stirring, mixing and getting ready for dinner.  Everything smelled so good, that is what helps to make Thanksgiving memorable.

Aunt T, used a yukon gold potato in place of russets, which should have been fine, but they turned out a little gluey, okay, alot gluey.  The rolls were a hit, the stuffing was a little dry, oops, that was my fault! I was planning on using drippings from the turkey, but there weren't very many and we needed them for the gravy which turned out fabulous, but I didn't add enough moisture in the stuffing, so it was pretty dry.

When we arrived in Colorado, it was late and I thought to make things easier and faster we just left the pies in the van.  it was definitely cool enough that I wasn't worried about refrigeration, but even though there was no snow, it was a little too cold and my banana and banana cream pie became frozen, frozen bananas don't look to swell, in their skins or in a pie.

This is the pie the genius made, Apple/Cranberry, it thawed very beautifully and was most definitely the best looking pie there.  The friend and the genius both made one, the friend said his pie was a hit too.

Even though the banana cream pie didn't look so swell, the report was that it tasted great, I have to admit it was pretty good.  YUMMY. . . Thanksgiving pie!  they had made their own pumpkin filling from a pumpkin from the garden, it didn't turn out to well, and we ended up throwing it out, we're not sure what happened to the pecan pie, it was just runny, kind of like the sweet potatoes, only with pecans.

In short, Dinner was a hit for very memorable and interesting this year, but not for fabulous.I still love Thanksgiving, and Colorado, like I mentioned earlier, Thanksgiving is all about family, fun, and memories. . . which we have plenty of!
I wouldn't trade those for anything!
Thanksgiving is over and now it's time to get ready for Christmas!  As tradition dictates, the genius and the Cousin-in-law braved the crowds for "Black Friday" deals and shopping.  
They came home exhausted and took a nap.

Next, I helped Aunt T. prepare for Christmas, we put out the Christmas decorations, inside and out!
First, the inside gets a new look.  We weren't there when they got the tree, but the beginning transformation from one holiday to the next is pretty exciting.

First the inside gets a new look, then outside for lights.  It was actually a pretty nice day, even though it was still a wee bit chilly, it was tolerable.  Better than the weather we left the day before coming here!  I think I would have said, never mind in sub-zero snowy temps.

The decorations are so festive, it makes me excited for Christmas

Christmas lights at night are the best.  One of my favorite things is to drive around and look at the lights.  I tried to put up lights at our house one year and it was a disaster.  living in an older home that doesn't have enough outlets for the functioning of our modern day appliances is challenging enough, adding Christmas lights didn't work at all.  we had to plug them in from inside the house which meant that I cut a small trough out of the threshold to drag the cord in and still close the door, (some call me "resourceful")  then the breakers kept tripping, in short it was a bigger pain than it was worth.  So, if I ever get a house with a bigger kitchen, I will also make it so I can put up Christmas lights too!

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