November 29

Happy end of November!  Did you all have a great Thanksgiving?  We had a fabulous time around here!  It was pretty chill and relaxed and we just had fun together.  Waaaaay better than last year!

First we have to start with our special weekend guest.  Luna came to visit while her family traveled for the holiday!

She really loved that back corner.  Luna is about the same age as Charlie and super sweet, if maybe a little crotchety in her old age.  We enjoyed having her!

And now for the food… we should start with the pies, right?!  Cat and I prepared all the crusts on Wednesday, but then decided to make ALL THREE PIES on Thursday morning.  It was rough!  That’s a lot of work and not enough room in the oven :/

Here’s the Dutch Apple before:

And after.  (are you salivating yet?!):

And the rhubarb-raspberry-strawberry pie:

This thing looked fairly decent before it went in the oven:

And then it nearly exploded while cooking.  The whole top kind of came unattached and just floated around a bit.  Still tasted delicious, though!

And Jim’s favorite, the pecan:

Both of the kids helped on Thursday morning.  It was so nice to share that time with them!

Cat and I could hardly wait!

So we had a breakfast of champions instead.  Because – why not make cinnimon rolls, too, when you’re already cooking insane amounts of food for dinner?

Here’s the menu.  It shows all the food, but doesn’t reflect how both G and Christine were helping to make a lot of it:

It was fun having friends over cooking in our kitchen 🙂

The bread turned out yummy!

As did the turkey:

Somebody reeeeeeaaallly wanted some!

Jim has really gotten the turkey-cooking down to a science.  It turns out great every time!

The table was set:

And the food was served buffet style on the peninsula:

Dish up!

After Shannon and Rob dined with Shannon’s family, they came over for games and dessert.  Here are four of my most favorite people in the whole, wide world!

And the group minus G:

And with G!

Vendlinski Family Tradition: Pie for breakfast!!!
Then, on Friday morning (before it rained) we managed to get outside for a hike.  It was important to do this because we are ANTI black Friday nonsense.  We drove up to Calumet and tried a hike we’d never done before at the Black Creek Nature Sanctuary.  It was great!  I’m so glad we made it out there!

We expected it to be snowy as there’s still lots of snow on the ground everywhere else.  But it was so strange – this close to the lake and not a flake anywhere!

The sky was pretty angry and the wind matched it, but it was so fantastic to be out there on the lake.  It was quite soothing to hear the waves crashing on the shore and to smell the fresh, lake air:

I wore my winter boots even though there wasn’t any snow…

The waves were pretty big!

So fun!

There was a creek that emptied into the lake that the kids had a blast skipping stones into.  Part of the creek was frozen (the far side) while the near side was water, so they were trying to skip stones through the water and have them land on the ice and slide.  It was neat!

Thanks for the pic, Christine!

This is one of my favorites:

Still smiling on the way back.  It was a great hike!  Just far enough to make it worthwhile, but not so far we got too tired.  It would be fun to come back in the summer and hike out to the lake and spend some time hanging out there.  It was so pretty and so secluded!

Then on Saturday evening, we headed over to Shannon and Rob’s for some karoake.  The McDonalds stopped by for a while (we brought Luna with us so they had to pick her up there on their way home from Wisconsin).  It’s been so great that our two kids have two other kids to play with now on social occasions!

The kids sang a lot of songs together!

Too much fun!  On Sunday, we boiled the turkey carcass and made turkey soup for after we returned from the movies.  The movie, you ask?  Wonder!  And it was wonderful!  If you haven’t read the book or seen the movie yet, it’s highly recommended from this household!  And if you currently have our copy, can you let me know?  I remember lending it out to someone, but can’t remember who!

We’ve started a countdown to our New Orleans trip on the chalkboard.  Each day, the kids will add one word which describes the area to the board.  Lewis started with:

I passed this frozen swamp on my run on Monday.  Neat.

I’ve started knitting again.  I’m making a special project.  I’ll show you when I finish 🙂

I had some extra alone time yesterday so I decided to go for it with dinner.  I made stuffed bell peppers:

And fresh pumpkin soup.  Oh, and there’s salad, too.  There’s always salad!

Did I tell you about the minimalism challenge I’ve been doing all month?  It’s been fantastic!  There are so many things in this house that we don’t need or use anymore!  The challenge starts at the beginning of the month where you find one thing to get rid of.  You can donate it, throw it away, recycle it, or sell it – anything, really!  Just as long as it gets out of your house.  Then, on the second day, you find two things.  You continue until the last day of the month where you’ll be getting rid of 30 (or 31) things!  I’m almost finished, but there are still a couple of piles in this house that I haven’t gotten around to scaling down yet, so I think I’ll keep going.  One big thing I wanted to go through was a bin of things I have left from high school.  I found these neat glasses that I used to wear!

And also some of my drawings.  Cat really liked this cat picture, so she decided to copy it:

She’s doing a pretty good job!  And that’s exactly what I did to draw it.  I can never imagine up my own stuff and make it look cool, but give me something to copy and I can do a great job!

Oh, a few days later and here’s what our board looks like now:

We’ve finished hanging everything in Lewis’ room now, so I can show you before and after photos.  Yay!  Here’s the before from the doorway:

And the after.  It was so sunny when I took these!  I wasn’t so sure about the color scheme that he chose (bright blue walls with black and red accents), but I think it actually came together quite nicely!

Before (those marks on the wall wouldn’t come off and there wasn’t any leftover paint to fix them):

After:

Before:

After:

Fun, right?!  Ok, I think that’s it for this week!  See you later!

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