Friday, November 30, 2012

You Win!!!

Aleah Harmsen, come on down! You're the next contestant on "This and That" or send me your email :-) ( You are the winner of the $50 Amazon Gift Card!!!

Aleah's favorite post was "The Three Hermanos - How My Brothers Changed My Life" about my adopted brothers!!!



Thursday, November 29, 2012

This and That GIveaway - It's Not the End Of The World!

Hey, hey, hey!!! This is the last day!!!

No, it's not the end of the world, but it is your last chance to enter to win a $50 Amazon Gift Card.

So, what in the world are you waiting for?  Follow this link to win!  11:59 PM EST is the moment of finality.



Sundeck 3

This is the big one Weezy!

Are you ready for a little auditory adventure?  I have just the ticket for you my friends.

Pete's musical buddy, Colin O'Malley, has written an epic song called Sundeck 3.  We are so excited for Colin!

Oh, and to make this news even more awesome, Pete produced / mixed the song and played guitars, bass, and drums on it.

So, stop everything that you are doing right now (except breathing, breathing is good) and go to iTunes and buy Sundeck 3.  You will love it!

Okay, why are you still reading this?  Go now!



Monday, November 26, 2012

Sassy Stairs

Boring, boring, snore fest, boring, blah, blah, blah.  That was the story of our staircase before this month.  

And now...

We have beautiful, fun, sensational, sassy stairs. 

We used lovely flower decals from Target to spruce up the front panels of every other stair. 

Now, those are some stairs that I could get excited about climbing multiple times everyday...or not.



Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Turkey Anxiety Disorder (T.A.D.)

Oh, help me Rhonda!

Today is T.P. Day (Turkey Preparation Day). My palms are so sweaty that I could brine the turkey with them.

In order to process my feelings on this dreaded day, I have written a poem. I have titled it "Turkey Lurky". Here goes...sorry in advance...

Turkey Lurky, Turkey Lurky
Where for art thou, Turkey Lurky?

In the fridge you wait for me
To come and place you gently
In a brothy, frothy brine
Seasoned well with salt and wine.

A turkey by any other name would smell as sweet
I'm so sorry that they cut off your feet
And stuffed you in a plastic bag
I feel the need to stop and gag.

Composure gained, I must go on
This poem is getting way too long
All the world's a stage, and the time is nigh
I think that I'm about to cry.

Turkey Lurky, Turkey Lurky,
Where for art thou, Turkey Lurky?

Out, out darn spot I start to say
Giblets make me swoon and sway
The time has come, the time is near
When I will scream, "Pete!!!! Please stick your hand up this turkey's rear!"

Turkey Lurky, Turkey Lurky
Where for art thou, Turkey Lurky?



P.S. I am so thankful for those of you who bravely endure this blog and I want to thank you. Please see yesterday's post for a chance to score a gift card from Amazon.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

When In Rome...Do As the Romans Do and Say Thank You!!!

This giveaway is closed. Thank you so much!!!!
This and That is celebrating its 2nd Birthday and you are invited!!!

Friends, Romans, countrymen, women and anyone else in the world over the age of 18, lend me your ears, um, eyes...

I have something fun and fabulous to share with you.  Oh boy, this is really, really, ridiculously exciting.  SQUEEEE!!!!!

On November 30, this here blogalicious blog will be exactly two years old.  I love this blog, it is like a member of my family.  Except it's really quiet, it does not complain about my cooking, and it's only slightly weird and awkward. 

What I love most about this blog though is YOU!!! Yes, you faithful family and friends that I know and friends that I would love to know, make this little project very special to me. You have blessed me with your awesomeness these past two years. 

So, I would love to say thank you and here is how...

From now until November 29 at 11:59 PM,  please leave a comment at the bottom of this post (you will have to become a follower of "This and That" to do so).  I would love to hear what your favorite post has been these past two years. Then, on November 30, 2012, our bloggy birthday, a reader will be randomly selected to win...drum roll please...

A $50 Amazon Gift Card!!!  It will be emailed to you, and you can spend it any way your little heart desires. 

The winner will be announced on the blog on November 30, 2012.

Once again, thank you for making blogging so much fun.  Now, go spend time with your family, eat a ton of turkey, and try not to make too much fun of Uncle Bob as he falls asleep sitting up in the armchair, snoring so loudly that the house shakes. 

P.S. This is not an endorsement or a paid thingy for me.  Amazon does not even know that I exist (although I have been called an amazon woman from time to time by Pete, when I have gone three months without shaving my legs, but that is really more than you cared to know).  Sorry, sometimes I just share too much. 

P.S.S. Also, please just leave one comment per follower. That means your brother Daryl and your other brother Daryl will have to comment on their own.  Oh, and Facebook comments are great, but my brain can not handle that much greatness, so they will not be able to count as an entry. 



An Alien Ate My Eyelashes

Don't be fooled, this is really an alien disguised as a cute toddler. 
Last week I was feeling a bit adventurous and I bought my first pair of false eyelashes.  I just wanted to try them and see what it was like to have long, lush lashes.  After 30 minutes of wrestling with the little buggers,  I finally got them to stick to my eye lid and not my fingers or face.  Then I spent the next several hours batting my lovely synthetic lashes at Pete, winking at strangers, and giving the kids butterfly kisses.  It was great fun for someone like me who leads such a glamorous life.

After the novelty and glue wore off, I took the lashes and put them away in their cute little case for safekeeping. Then, I sort of forget about them until tonight.  Pete and I had a dinner date with some friends and I was feeling all glamorous again.  So I went to put on the little lashies and they were not in their case! Dum...dum...dum...

I also noted that there was a seriously large glob of toothpaste on the counter next to the empty case.  Our bathroom suddenly morphed into a crime scene as I followed a trail of minty tooth polish on the floor.  The trail ended abruptly at the toilet, where it looked like someone had used a week's worth of toilet paper in a failed attempt to wipe up the Colgate carnage.  This looked like the work of a real professional.

With my eyelashes missing and a toilet paper mache sculpture left behind, I needed answers and quick. I questioned a couple of the older monkeys, but they were most unhelpful.  Then, I caught a whiff of peppermint as Mr. Toddler Toes twinkled by.  Hmmm..I had found my number one suspect, and the evidence was stacked against him.

So I asked, "Have you seen Mommy's eyelashes?  They were on the counter in our bathroom."

"Oh yes!" he said.

"Did you touch them?" I inquired.


"Where are they?" I pried.

"They are in my playroom."  he said.

"Will you find them for me?" I pleaded.

"No, they are really lost, Mommy. You need to get some new ones." he said in his most matter-a-fact voice.

I still have not found those lashes and I have searched his playroom several times.

I think that he ate them.

I guess we will find out soon enough. What goes in, must come out.  That is sure to be one glamorous poop.



Saturday, November 17, 2012

Celebrating the Season - How to Make a Grand Entrance

With the season of thanksgiving upon us, I thought it might be fun to share some ideas and tips with each other for making this Thanksgiving a memorable occasion for you and yours.

There is nothing quite like a warm welcome, right? When guests come to our home, I like to create an inviting mood before they even enter the front door.

To create a great first impression, consider adding a wreath or hanging a flower urn on your front door. I love changing the flowers in our urn to coordinate with the seasons. Fresh flowers and foliage can be preserved easily with florist's water picks added to the stems.

Other fun touches may include: outdoor lanterns with aromatic candles placed by your front door to light the way for guests or seasonal decorations such as rustic willow pumpkins and springs of fall grasses.

Really, the sky is the limit when it comes to making your guests feel welcome. I would love to hear your ideas friends. Feel free to leave a comment / link to pictures below.



Friday, November 16, 2012


Nineteen years ago, today a little person we love was born and the world became a better place.

If you ever have the chance to meet her, you will not soon forget her.

Those eyes, that hair, her smile...

But those physical features are just the icing on the cake.

Her heart is what you will captivate you.  It certainly has captivated us...

Amanda, we count it a privilege to be called your family.  Happy, happy birthday lovely one.




The picture attached below is just a glimpse into our day to day world...

I am thankful that this hot mess of teenagerness is a part of our life...he keeps it real around here.



Saturday, November 10, 2012

100 Montaditas - I Love You Tiny Sandwich Place

So, there is this new place in town called 100 Montaditas. Fun and trendy, straight from Miami. Very fresh ingredients on tiny little buns. Oh, and the olives are wowsers!

Pete really liked the the Spicy Bravo Potatoes with garlic mayo. I really liked everything, which is pretty much par for the course when it comes to food.

This is a fun little place to hang with your peeps any old time. Just make sure you invite me.



Friday, November 9, 2012

Truffle Oil Popcorn

Popcorn with butter is delicious.

Popcorn with truffle oil is divine.

I highly recommend you try it sometime.



Thursday, November 8, 2012

Life is Like A Ferris Wheel

I snapped this night shot of the Ferris Wheel at Navy Pier in Chicago over the weekend. I think that Ferris Wheels are very beautiful especially at night, but I would not dare to ride one. I am terrified of heights.

It may sound weird but life is kind of like a ride on a Ferris Wheel. Before the ride starts, we find ourselves at the bottom of the wheel not able to see much but the ground and the carts ahead of and behind us.

As as the ride begins, slowly we begin to rise up, we start to be able to see past the ground level. The carts ahead of us no longer impede our view. We don't even notice the carts behind us anymore. And why would we? There is so much to see as we look out. As we climb, ever-so- slowly, we see things we would never be able to see at the ground level. We are rising above it all, getting a bird's eye view of the scenery. As we reach the top of the wheel we can see for miles in all directions. Then, slowly we descend again to the ground. Our all encompassing view becomes impeded with each moment. Finally, we reach the ground exhilarated by the view. Wanting for more.

Riding a Ferris Wheel is like those times in our life when we can't see anything but the here and now, the tasks ahead of us, reminders of our past mistakes. We long to move forward, onward and upward, to see past the hardships, the hurts, the never ending responsibilities. We wait with hopeful anticipation of better days. It may take days, months or even years, yet we wait.

Then the ascent begins. We find that we can see past the obstacles blocking our view of what lies ahead in our life journey. We find ourselves looking at the here and now, but seeing the horizon rise up before us. We realize that there is a much bigger picture. We find clarity in the 360 degree view, even if it is momentary. Just that glimpse gives us hope for the future, peace with our past, and joy for the present. The descent is now full of understanding, full of anticipation, alive with possibilities. Even when we reach the ground again, we know that the only way to go again is up.

In Jeremiah 29:11 God says, "For I know the plans that I have for you. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future."



Sunday, November 4, 2012


Our youngest monkey girl has been studying about birds lately.  Recently, we read about bird migration.  It was really fascinating and I was kind of geeking out over some of the information.  For instance, did you know that some birds will fly 3,000 miles non-stop over the ocean during migration? 3,000 miles!!!

For the past couple of mornings, I have been thinking a lot about migration.  There are several hundred geese in the field behind the hotel and they have become my alarm clock.  There is no sound quite like a collective chorus of honking geese. Wow!  

As I watch them from afar (geese are not known to be very congenial creatures), I notice that they are on a mission of sorts.  They spend hours in the field doing two things.  First, they seem to be positioning themselves in the most sunlit areas of the field.  They stay on the grass that is drenched by the sun.  At the beginning of the day, when the sun is only shining on a small portion of the field, they cram into that area.  As the sun rises and more of the field is illuminated, they spread out.  Second, they are constantly eating.  The field must be full of worms or bugs of some sort that the geese are gorging on. 

The days are growing shorter and colder. Instinctively, the geese are preparing for migration.  They will need the extra fat from the bug feast and the warmth and vitamins that they get from the sunshine to make their long hard journey South.  It's almost time. 

As they take fight in a few weeks, they will take a course that is familiar.  In fact, birds have been known to stop at the same bird feeder around the same time each year as they migrate. They will face wind resistance and have to self correct.  Even a slight deviation in one direction can throw them miles off their mark.

I feel like I have learned some valuable lessons by observing the geese for the past couple of days.  It dawned on me this morning that I am preparing for a migration of sorts.  I am migrating out of one season of my life and into another.  It takes a lot of preparation to migrate.  I have to make sure that I stay in the light of the Lord, so that I do not loose my footing.  He guides me with his light.  I need to make sure that I am filling myself with spiritual truths.  Feasting on them.  Fattening up, preparing for the long and often times, difficult journey that lies ahead.  There will be resistance and that could result in me deviating from the course if I am not able to recalibrate.  Ultimately, I want to stay the course and migrate well.  At the end of the migration route, there are greener fields. 



Thursday, November 1, 2012

Chilling In Chicago

I had to pinch myself just now as I typed that title. Not just because I am in Chicago which is pretty awesome in and of itself. And not just because I am chilling out listening to some great worship music. And not just because I get to spend time with a dear friend. And not just because I am wearing the softest, fuzziest socks ever. But mostly because I have an amazing husband and sweet children who encouraged me to go take some time to recharge and reconnect with my Creator.