River, Woods, Grandma’s House

I’ve talked about a certain Sean character on the blog several times–not nearly as often as I talk about Rachel, though. You guys should really know who she is by now ;-). Well, from now on, you will also be expected to know who Sean Christopher Hardy is!

Who he is, to be exact, is one of Josh’s and my dearest friends and (as of today) Rachel’s adorable boyfriend.

This past weekend, our family had the great post-Thanksgiving opportunity to have Sean over for dinner at my grandparents’ property out in Canandaigua. I’m not just saying this in case Sean is reading, but we really had a blast with him there. At our worst, we mostly just eat, sit, and watch TV at Grandma’s these days, but having a guest over made Rach and I want to go romping through the woods to give a glimpse into the world we knew when we were kids.

Down by the creek, we walked across the bridge my Grandpa built many years ago that has since then served as a dam and caused mounds of silt to pile up in what used to be a clear pool next to the bridge. It was flooded, so it was quite a miracle that none of us (ahem, me) fell in.

Perfect pic of her!

Next to the creek is an old hunting shack that was there even before my grandparents bought the property. We should have guessed that it was much too rotten to have any structural integrity whatsoever. Nevertheless, I demanded that Rachel crouch in the little cabin so that I could take a picture. When the floor collapsed and she landed on her bum, this is the gem I ended up with.

Dey be da cutest
 

Aw, now dat is cute

The woods were beautiful at sunset, and my companions didn’t look too bad either, as you can see. Haha! That evening we also had the opportunity to take advantage of another blast from the past for Rachel and I–riding in Grandpa’s 1922 Ford Model T.

It was magical.

I was in the front seat. They didn’t leave without me.
 

We rounded off the evening with a cutthroat game of bocce (Team Seanchel . . . or Rasean . . . won by a hair) and watching The Amazing Race. Nobody else in my family follows the show, but Josh and I have bets on certain teams as per the tradition of the young adult group we watch with. We were really into it. In the end, Josh’s team sadly got eliminated :-(. It’s less sad when you realized that his team was made up of two almost-70-year-olds who gave everyone else a serious run for their money.

Anyway, my team (for Amazing Race, not bocce) is still in it! Woot. All in all, a fabulous day. I wouldn’t have changed a thing–except the fact that my Grandpa didn’t like my amaretto cheesecake. More on that later.

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Happy Birthday to One of My Rachels!

Today just happened to be the birthday of a certain now-fourteen-year-old someone who received a DVD copy of Fiddler on the Roof from her brother and sister-in-law, experienced a lovely birthday massage (not from her brother or sister-in-law), and is currently dining at the exquisite Red Lobster.

That someone is . . . drumroll . . .

The lovely Rachel Jeannine Thurston!

Now, the above ice cream cake looks very tasty, but it is lacking a festive birthday message because decorative icing apparently does not take well to very cold cake. The cluster of fourteen candles is covering up a lovely blue smoodge that would have been the ‘H’ of “Happy Birthday Rachel!” had things turned out differently.

Little Cousin “helping” blow out the candles . . . one of which turned out to be a trick candle!

This was actually my first ice cream cake, believe it or not. It was a layer of chocolate cake sandwiched between oodles of chocolate and vanilla ice cream. I’m not usually a huuuuuge chocolate ice cream fan, but this was quite tasty. Therefore, in honor of being acclimated into the chocolate ice cream cake club, I have decided to whip up for Rachel some cocoa-scented hand cream.

Now, the Thurston family is all about homemade gifts. Momma Thurston makes toffee, peanut brittle, and to-die-for biscotti every Christmas for all of her friends and family. Rachel loves making homemade spa treatments. Josh . . . well, I mean, Josh and I didn’t make the Fiddler on the Roof DVD, but you should have seen the “custom designed” wrapping paper Josh created for the occasion.

And as for me–I whipped up my own personal everyday “spa treatment” for my little sis. Recipe to follow!

Hope you had a great day, Rachel! I’ll have to give you your belated present for Christmas. Enjoy the musical in the meantime.

Starving Artist: Peppermint Tea Smoothies

Well, today was bright and sunny and in the balmy upper fifties. A nice change from the blustery rain of Tuesday and Wednesday; however, all these weather changes continue to throw me for a loop. The minute I decide I’m ready for the Christmas season, bare trees, snow, and cold, a day like today rolls by and I heave a sigh of confusion.

Today, I present the perfect ode to that confusion–peppermint tea smoothies. You know? Smoothies–something sweet and cool you eat when it’s warm. Peppermint–something sweet and cool you eat when it’s cold! Kills two birds with one stone.

Peppermint Tea Smoothies

1 1/2 cup vanilla ice cream
2 cups brewed peppermint tea (frozen in ice cube tray)
3 tablespoons honey
candy canes for garnish

Blend all ingredients except candy canes. And enjoy your enigmatic winter-summer treat!

Substitute the peppermint tea for other favorite varieties of tea for many delicious and refreshing smoothies. Both green tea and Chai are two personal favorites. *sigh* Chai.

Oh, by the way, who do you think the three smoothies are for?

Awkward and Awesome Thanksgiving

The chef!

 
Awkward:

  • No more snow as of yet. Boooo!
  • Taking an antihistamine right before consuming large amounts of tryptophan . . . and waking up four hours later. Talk about awkward. Happy Thanksgiving btw . . . zzzzzzzzzzzzz . . .
  • Fitting in all of the family and friends we want to spend time with at the holidays . . . literally impossible.
  • Being invited to five turkey dinners. Not two. Not three. But five.
  • Josh setting up the family’s Netflix account on the Wii. OMG. Such an ordeal.
  • Twilight fans.
  • Ramen noodles. So good, but I feel my blood pressure rising while I eat them.
  • Aragorn, the Thurston’s obese cat
  • Falling out of bed so hard that I now have a goose egg and a brush burn. I am special.

Awesome:

  • Mama Thurston’s mashed potatoes. They are an enigma of smoothness.
  • Trivia night last night! Second place. What are you gonna do?
  • Getting to see fellow marrieds Hannah and Kevin this Saturday
  • Saving money. Budgeted $120 to buy a new taillight–spent $15. Budgeted $40 to get pants tailored–spent $4. Bunches of win.
  • Cranberry relish. Homemade.
  • Meeting my cousin’s fancy hockey-playing girlfriend. She’s a serious beast. Not physically, though. She’s small and cute 🙂
  • Date with sister Nikki. Oh, how I have missed her!
  • Black Friday shopping . . . so excited . . .
  • The Jeremy Sumpter Peter Pan movie soundtrack
  • Decorating the Thurston’s Christmas tree

Long, Healthy, Sexy . . . Nails!

Not to brag, but if there’s one thing I’ve got going for me in this life, it’s my ability to grow out my fingernails. Look at how schmexy them bad boys are! Clean, not discolored in anyway, no cracks, smooth and even . . . I’m always so sad to cut them.

You know you want some! 😉

Why Grow Out Your Nails:

  • They’re beautiful. Elegant, mysterious, ladylike–long nails communicate all of the above.
  • Scratch that itch! Nails are great for flickin’ that sensitive itch right next to your eyeball without cramming your whole finger in there and going blind. They also make for good back rubs if used carefully. 
  • Your hands can look “dressy” without polish. Just a quick file and you’re ready to go.
  • Better French manicures. Who doesn’t love hearing, “Are those fake nails?” when they’re not?
  • Be different. If you take care of long nails, you will be a total population minority. Almost of the world either keeps their nails super-short or grows them out long and dirty out of laziness. Be a trailblazer!

How to Grow Out Sexy Nails:

Moisturize

Body tissues need water to grow at their healthiest. Using a nice, natural lotion on your hands and even massaging it into the cuticle from where your nail grows will improve the health of your nails.

Wear Gloves

Not only will this keep you from getting dirt and other grime under your nails as you work, but it will also protect them from breaking during chores that are hard on your hands.


Wash ‘Em

Every time you wash your hands, wash your nails–underneath, too! This will keep them white and shiny.

Vitamin E

This is the vitamin that promotes hair and nail growth. A lack of Vitamin E can also cause white marks and nicks on your nails. You could take a supplement or just eat a lot of fish, almonds, and avocados :-).
File, Don’t Clip

If and when your nails do chip, rather than having to clip all of your nails back down to square one in order to level them out, file the chipped nail smooth and then file the other nails into a similar shape. Your nail length will last so much longer his way! Note: You should never saw a nail file back and forth. Move it in one direction only.

Pamper Every Now and Then

Soaking your nails in a hot natural oil is what fairytales are made of. Not only does it feel utterly luxurious, but it moisturizes, strenghtens, and provides much-needed Vitamin E.

Wear a Top Coat

Wearing clear polish adds an extra shine and protects nails manicured or not from chips and nicks.

Skip the Colored Polish

This one is hard for many ladies, but the number one cause of nail discoloration is wearing colored polish. If you must use bright polishes of try out the crackle or matte trend, make sure you never leave polish on for more than ten days and always give your nails a week-long break before applying a new color.

Skip the Acetone

Use a nourishing polish remover without acetone, which can severely dry out and damage your nails.

Don’t Bite!

It’s a no-brainer. Don’t do it.

I hope that you all have some luck folowing these tips. Remember, if you’re not going to keep them clean, don’t bother growing them out. Under your nails is a huge area for bacteria growth, and nothing says “I don’t take care of myself” like long, yellowed nails.