Thursday, April 29, 2010

Cute Cupcake Wishlist

How cute are these??

Could these be more perfect for me? Especially the top two. Love them all!

{Disclaimer: I haven't ordered from any of these Etsy stores; this is not a recommendation for these sellers. I'm just admiring their adorable cupcake cooking garb.}

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Can't wait to make this again. Here's what's in it:

I used iceberg lettuce because that's what we had on hand...you could use whatever. I'd prefer mixed baby greens, so next time, that's what I'll use for the base
 Mushrooms (use your favorite kind), washed & sliced 
Snap peas
A small tomato, diced
Half an avacado, diced
Crumbled bleu cheese
Half a sliced bbq pork cutlet
Poppyseed dressing

For the cutlet, I marinated it in Paula Deen's apple cinnamon BBQ sauce before grilling it. Oh. My. Gravy. So freaking good. I loved the combination of apple and pork (porkchops & applesuace, anyone?). The sweetness of the bbq and the blue cheese go perfectly together. I'm kind of proud of myself for coming up with this one.

Mike used ranch dressing on his, he said it was kind of like a cobb salad, minus the hard boiled eggs. So, that's cool. And another way to go.

The awesome thing about this salad is that I can use whatever veggies I have on hand at the time. Whatever comes out of my garden, I can put it in this salad. It will still be yummy. I have a feeling we'll be eating a lot of these types of salads all spring & summer.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Spring Colors

I can't get enough of all the signs of spring, all the pretty colors. We spent at least 4 months under snow, looking at the same two colors: brown and dirty white. I felt like I was going to jump out of my skin if we didn't get spring soon, and now that we finally have it, I feel like I have to take in every moment. (I'm sure you're sick of reading about how happy I am that it's spring.)

So, I'll shut up, and share pretty colors.

One of these days, I'm going to fill this with red tulips.

Like this.

Weeds, again.


I saw my tiger lillies starting to sprout up in the front yard the other day. Can't wait to see that orange. And whatever colors are out there that I can't remember :)

Monday, April 26, 2010

Patio: The Before

I got it in my head a couple of weeks ago that we needed to build a patio. Fortunately, after all this time, Mike is almost used to my spur of the moment, ridiculously random ideas. I'm willing to bet that even he would admit that most of these ideas ultimately turn out to be awesome and just what we needed :)

Fast forward. Here are the before pictures:

Pretty much everything you see will be patio in the near future (fingers crossed). We need to remove pieces of sidewalk up to the taller set of stairs. The edge of the patio will be even with the bottom step on the taller set of stairs. We're obviously pulling out the two dead bushes (plus a tree stump you can't see in the picture). We're moving the rocks elsewhere...possibly lining the stairs from the driveway or to build up a wall that's already existing in the yard. We'll see.

Here's the brick we're using (1550 of them got dropped off in the yard on Saturday):

So, in total, the patio will be 326 square feet. Huge. I love it. It will be an on-going project, I think, for at least a couple of years. We'll use what we have for patio furniture for the time being, and I'll keep my eyes open for a great deal. I'm looking to make this an outdoor living room, so I want really comfy patio furniture. Eventually, we'll probably put up some sort of covering for shade, and I'd like some additional lighting.

I can easily see myself sitting out there during a rainstorm and taking pictures, or reading a book I can't put down til all hours of the night. Mike is excited to light the fire pit and listen to a Royals game with a cooler of beers beside his chair. Sure, we have different goals for the space, but at least we'll be together :)

Oh, and here's a pretty picture of a weed:

Apparently, I'm willing to crawl on the ground to take pictures of weeds now. Hmm.

Sunday, April 25, 2010


I'm the type of person who honors their commitments. If I promise to do something for someone, I will do everything in my power to do it. If I can't do it, for any reason, I'm up front about that and apologize and do whatever I can to make it up to the person. This is multiplied if I'm charging someone for something...a service, a product, my work...whatever.

I can't go into details here, because I refuse to publicly badmouth someone in print, even if I believe they deserve it. But, I will vent.

 When someone advertises a specific service performed in a particular way, I expect them to deliver that service. I understand that certain things can't be helped, but when there's nothing limiting a person from performing that service, I will never understand why it isn't performed. It's completely unethical and just plain lazy.

I will never have this particular instance back. There's no way to recreate it, no way to make up for what we've lost.

Promising someone the highest quality and delivering mediocrity is not fulfilling a commitment to them. Doing a job is different than doing it well. Why don't people strive for excellence anymore?

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Molly & The Moos

(That would make an excellent band name...)

So we got new cows. Molly loves cows. Absolutely adores them. She loves to play with them, chase them, bark at them, and immitate them. We often say she wrangles them, because she really does. It's cute to see an 18 pound pug leading cows to behave the way she wants them to. Cows that easily weigh 20 times more than she does.

Here are some photos I took the first night we had them. I'll explain as we go...

These are most of the cows. It's tough to get 8 animals to stand still and together, so I never actually got a picture of all of them at once. Oh well.

Pretty self explanatory here. Cows. Doing their cow thing.
Little pug, always part of the action.
Molly, asserting herself with the cow. Love the blur of his face (he's about to stand up and dance around).
Molly: 1, Cow: 0
Eating a victory dinner, bovine style (I told you, she really does think she's a cow, especially when others are around.)
And she's finally sick and tired of Mommy taking pictures of her and her friends.

So nice to feel like we're on a farm again. Have I mentioned how much I love spring?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Love This

Saw this quote on Ali's blog this morning. Seriously, swoon.

"Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense." (Emerson)

I'm pretty sure I'm going to make a wall hanging out of that or something. I (we) could definitely benefit from that reminder everyday.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

War on Envy

I'm learning that I'm much more comfortable divulging secrets on my blog than I am in my real life. Maybe I have a sense of comfort knowing that not many people (if any) read my blog. And word tends to spread quickly when you say something out loud, I've found.

In trying to keep things real on here (the tattered and crumpled part of the blog), I'm realizing my short-comings and faults, and admitting them. Here's today's: I often envy others' lives (or specific components of their lives.) I think this is probably a common characteristic of many people (especially people in my GottaHaveItNow! generation - the alternate name for Gen Y.) So, by admitting it, and realizing how much it is a part of my life and actions (and how bad it is for me), I can start to change it.

What brings this about, today? Well, I was driving in Omaha, off my normal path, at lunch today. I found myself in a neighborhood I love, and would have loved to live in at some point in my life. It's an older neighborhood, very historic, the houses are beautiful and just my style. As much as I love the neighborhood, I often feel sense of resentment when I'm there because I can't live there. People don't have cattle farms in the middle of cities.

Then I realized - what the heck am I jealous of? I have a house JUST like those houses. Built in the same time period, same style, same sense of history. The only thing I'm missing is neighbors living on top of each other, narrow streets, zero parking, tiny yards, and one of the busiest streets in town. Why did I want to live there so badly?

Don't get me wrong, I still admire the neighborhood. It's pretty awesome to have so many cute houses lined up next to each other. But, I have exactly what I've always wanted, just at another address (50 or 60 miles down the block) :)

Today was a good day for my War on Envy. I definitely won this battle. It's a really good, satisfying feeling. I think I'll keep fighting :)

Monday, April 19, 2010


Nature. I'm not an outdoors girl. Blah.

I live on a farm though, so I've sort of been put in a situation where I should enjoy being outside at least occassionally.

Here's my nature stories from the last couple of days:

I'm exceptionally pale. I'm prone to heat exhaustion, so I tend to not stay outside for long periods of time. I was out for about 2 hours on Saturday and I'm already sort of sun burned. Maybe bright red is the new tan.

I'm petrified of snakes. Petrified. When I was growing up, rubber snakes weren't allowed in our house. If a snake came on tv, the channel was changed. My mom would go through my science text books and cover the pictures of snakes so I wouldn't be afraid to turn the pages. Yes, it's ridiculous, but it's true. I've gotten a little better with the tv thing (we don't have to change the channel, unless it happens to be a nature program on the life of snakes or something). I was cleaning up the yard on Saturday and went to move a hay bale. I reached for the strings, and almost TOUCHED a snake. Oh. My. Gravy. I've never been that close to a snake before, and not only did I almost touch it, I almost picked up the hay and put it against my body. Yuck. I still shiver at the thought of how close I came. And then I giggle about how quickly I ran away and how loud I screamed. At the top of my lungs. Like a cheerleader in a bad horror movie.

I'm sitting in my living room, stalking reading blogs in my Google reader, and I hear a huge thump on the front window. A bird has flown into the window. Again. This happens at least once a week during the spring/summer. You would think the birds would learn. And it's not like my windows sparkle like the ones in Windex commercials. They're not even close to clean.

This is my experience with nature: sun burns, close encounters with snakes, and stupid birds with flat foreheads.

Why do I love it here so much? :)

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Butterfly Story

My mom loved butterflies. She had several flower gardens throughout her yard, and she always planted flowers that attracted butterflies. She had sun catchers and lawn ornaments and garden picks and who knows what else throughout the house and yard depicting butterflies.

On the day of her funeral, my aunt and uncle were sitting in front of the church in their car, right behind us. My auntie told me later that a butterfly landed on her side mirror after her door was closed and stayed there while they waited to move. It continued to stay there through the slow drive through town to the cemetary. Easily 3 miles, if not more. It stayed through the entire graveside service. It didn't fly away until we were able to walk away from Mom's grave finally.

My auntie told me that she and my mom had had a conversation a few years back, and they both promised one another they would come back to say hello often, if one of them went to Heaven before the other.

Could I really believe that my mom could wave hello with butterflies? I wasn't so sure at the time, but you never know.

For the rest of the summer and fall, I saw more butterflies than I've ever seen in my life. They would fly outside my window at work, around my yard, I'd notice them when I was shopping, and so on. It was certainly thought-provoking, but still being skeptical, I thought that maybe I was just more aware of their presence in my life.

Then, late in October, I was sure my mom was telling me she was with me. For those of you who haven't experienced Nebraska weather, late October is certainly not the time for butterflies. It's normally cold, sometimes even snowing. I had a long drive home after a very hard day, and started crying as I was driving on the interstate. At one point, I looked out the window to my left, and saw a single butterfly by my side. I looked to my right, and there was another one by that window. I looked up, to acknowledge my mom, and saw what I can only describe as a swarm of butterflies over my sun roof. It was the most comforting feeling in the world, like I was being hugged. I'm 100% sure that Mom had a hand in that.

Since then, I've always seen butterflies whenever things are tough. I know they're her way of hugging me. No one can convince me otherwise.

Every year, I see my first butterfly of the year on her birthday. I don't know how it happens, but 4 years in a row is too many to be coincidental in my eyes. It happened again yesterday. I was working in the yard with Mike, looked up, and there was a beautiful butterfly flying around the yard, admiring all the signs of spring.

So glad to have spent my mom's birthday with her, one more time :)

{You can think I'm crazy if you want. You're certainly entitled to your opinion. You can even tell me I'm crazy. I'll probably agree with you. Doesn't mean I will ever stop believing in my mom's butterflies.}

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Birthday Wishes

This is my mom (and my nephew). Aren't they beautiful? This is one of my favorite pictures of both of them.

Today would have been my mom's 51st birthday.

It's hard for me to really think about my mom without being very emotional. Day to day, I'm much better with her death. I completely accept (and have since almost the day she died) that God has much bigger plans for her than I can ever understand, and that he must have really needed her in Heaven. This is a concept that is bigger than I am, because I KNOW we still needed her here on Earth, more than words can even say. Thank goodness for that faith; it helped me be calm the days she spent in the hospital, make the decisions I never wanted to make, get out of bed the days following her death, and get on with my life in the weeks and months since then.

It's the big picture that gets to me. The things she's missing. The things about her that I miss.

I was staying with my mom in the months before she died, getting ready to move into a place of my own after a very hard time in my life. I distinctly remember her telling me, after I got off the phone with a friend, that it was good to hear me laugh again. During this rough patch in my world, I didn't have a lot to laugh about, and it took me some serious time and healing to get back to a place where life was full of more smiles than frowns. When she told me that, it struck me as something I would always remember. Now that I can see children in my future, I can sort of imagine what she meant - it must be a joyous sound to hear your child laugh, especially if they haven't done it all that often lately. Because I carry those words with me, it makes it possible for me to be happy, even when I'm missing her terribly. Because I know she'd much rather hear the sound of my laugher than see my tears.

One of my biggest memory failings in life (and I don't have many...I have a ridiculously sharp memory) is whether or not I told my mom that I loved her as she went to bed, the night before she went to the hospital. I won't really go into the story of her death, but whatever it was I said to her in the moments before she went to bed would be the last conversation we had. I'm 99% sure that I did tell her I loved her as we were saying goodnight, because I always did, but my memory is failing me. I should at least tell you that she was in perfectly good health when she went to bed that night...it wasn't even a glimmer of a thought in my mind that she might not wake up the next morning.

That is the one lesson in life I'll take with me everywhere. For the rest of my life. Tell people you love them. You just never know. I cannot emphasize this strongly enough to people who've never experienced the unexpected loss of a loved one. Mike and I don't leave the house without telling each other, "I love you." I don't leave my family without a hug and an "I love you." Same goes for the pets...I send Molly off to play in the yard, and she knows there's a rule that she has to hug me before she goes. It's just part of my life that I take opportunities to express my love when I have them. Until I don't have them anymore. And even then, I still do it.

I talk to my mom, all the time. People probably think I'm nuts, and I really don't care. I have long conversations with her. I really miss her talking back, laughing at my ridiculousness, telling me everything will be okay, getting excited about whatever bargain I found at Target that week. I miss my best friend.

I'm crying as I type this. Because that's what I do. I try not to, but then I think, that's not natural. I try to not think about her death, but instead her life. Her death was one day, her life was 47 amazing years.

So, happy birthday, Mommy. Thank you for being part of my life, every moment of every day. You are the best gift I could have ever been given.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Early Week Ramblings

No pretty pictures to share tonight. Boo.

Last night was fun. Mike came home and I made lemon pepper chicken and cole slaw for dinner. It was yummy. I'm really craving ice cream lately. It's one of my sure signs of spring/summer, so I guess that's why. I really don't need ice cream. I need to find some lower-fat version of ice cream deliciousness.

We watched Dancing with the Stars. Okay, I watched, Mike complained. Poor guy, he puts up with all my girly reality shows. Is anyone else really ready to see Kate leave? I know she's trying hard, but I don't think her heart is in it and I don't think she's having fun. It's hard to watch.

Tonight, we're going out with my family (Dad, brother, and possibly nephew) to this dive bar in a small town near my hometown. They have the best tacos on Tuesday nights...ridiculous greasy and simple to make, but so good. And they're only $1.25 each! Mike promised me ice cream tonight (I doubt I'll want ice cream after tacos)...so if we go, it will be to the cute little place down the street from my dad's. I haven't been there in years, can't wait.

Why does my life seem to revolve around food that's bad for me?

I'm feeling very restless. I need to get out of town, I think. Or make some major changes at home. I'm very much in the mood to organize things, so I think that's how I'll spend my day tomorrow and Saturday. Sound good? Hold me to it. Kaythanks.

Have a good evening!

Monday, April 12, 2010

My View

This is what I was looking at while I was waiting for Mike to come home from work yesterday:

We've lived here through about a full year of daylight savings, which should give you an idea of how many of these I've seen. (We're not home in time for the sunset in the winter.) It still takes my breath away every time I look at it. I probably have over 100 pictures of the sun setting over our pasture, and I don't think that's nearly enough.

I've been working today on making over my front door. Honestly, I don't think it needed a makeover. For starters, we never use the front door unless we're yelling at Molly to stop bothering the neighbor while she's walking her dog. Molly doesn't listen. Oh, and the front door is easily 50 feet from the road, so it's not like people can even see it. Second, I love the chippy paint that's been on the door for a good while. Oh, and it's red chippy paint, which makes it even better. But, I think it looks even better. Here's the full view:

Sorry about the angle. It's extremely windy today, and our screen door doesn't like to stay open. So, I had to stand on the ground (2 feet below the door), try to hold the screen door open and take a decent picture. It didn't really work. But I'm too impatient to wait for Mike to get home and hold open the door.

I made the wreath (and it's twin) a couple of weekends ago. I think the white and green are very springy, and I love it. It's twin hangs on the back door, which we use all the time, so I can actually see the pretty colors. The cool thing about these wreaths is that I just stuck the flowers and greens into a grapevine wreath without any gluing or wiring, so if I get bored, I can just change them out. In theory, I could even switch it up for every season, but that probably won't happen.

And then I painted our address numbers on the middle panel in the door. I realize now, looking at the picture, that I centered the numbers between the doorknob and the end of the door, rather than the whole door itself. Whoops. Oh well, it's not perfect. I think that's okay. It's tattered :)

I was able to go outside around lunchtime and sit on the deck, with my feet up on the railing, and Molly in my lap. She actually sat still for a few minutes and enjoyed the sun with me. Then she was done, and off to bark at the wind.

I love spring. Love, love, love. Keep the perfect days coming, God!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Hello, Spring!

After a very long, awful, and (literally) life-threatening Nebraska winter, I haven't been able to wait for some signs of spring. I appreciated the mud that caked my car for weeks last month, because it at least meant the snow was melting.

I've been able to open the windows all weekned and let in the warm sunlight and feel the spring breeze. My allergies don't normally allow for much of this, but at this point, I can't get enough. I even hauled out the camera to take a couple of pictures in the yard, and I'm fairly pleased.

 Obviously, I've edited this photo (no, I don't live in BlackAndWhiteland). But, I think it's just gorgeous this way. I pay a lot of money for framed prints that look very similar to this. I can't resist the homemade fences and the blooming tree that's surrounded by other trees waiting their turn for spring. Don't ask me what kind of tree that is that's blooming - my best guess is apricot or peach, based on the blooms. It didn't bloom last year or produce fruit though, so who knows. I'm not exactly a tree expert.

This photo is the beginning of my blooms on my beloved tulips. They are a gorgeous orangey-red when they bloom and I can't get enough of them. I really didn't mean to get this kind of a photo, but I'm so glad I did. Our awesome, original barn is in the background (built in 1900) and you can see a good chunk of our little farm. I love it.

So, that's spring on the Vogt farm. I'm in the middle of BBQing some ribs for dinner, along with homemade bread turned into garlic bread and some baked (well, grilled) potatoes. Love love love eating outdoors.

Hope everyone's weekend was fantastic!

Friday, April 09, 2010

Alter Ego

I've never really mentioned this on this blog, but I have another blog entirely devoted to papercrafting and other creative endeavors. It's kind of pathetic right now since I haven't posted on it in well over a month, but that's sort of how creativity goes, right?

I don't know why, but my obsessions come and go. Sometimes it's making cards and scrapbooking and I have the best ambitions and intentions. And then I get distracted and it's all out the window. That's what happened this spring. I got distracted with making my house look prettier.

When you think about it, it's all creative expression. I couldn't make it through more than a couple of days without doing something creative. My job is very...uncreative. It's all about paperwork and processes and other logical things. I need a creative outlet.

Anyway, I will try to find more balance in the coming weeks, but no guarantees. My focus, for now, is the house because I want it to be beautiful and "us" before we have other, more practical things to worry about.

If you're interested (and don't already know), my creative blog is called PaperMeadows. You can visit it by clicking on the linky if you want to view some older posts. Perhaps someday, I will write on there again :)

Monday, April 05, 2010

Spring Decorations

I meant to get these pictures posted before Easter, so let's just pretend :) I have a ton of Christmas decorations, and since fall is my favorite season, I have far too many fall, Halloween & Thanksgiving decorations (especially after my fall wedding). But, after this never-ending winter, I was so ready for spring. I had to have some pastel spring/Easter decorations. And then I realized that I have no pastel-y decorations, so I had to make something up.

This is behind my couch, in the corner of my living room:
 Just a couple of disclaimers. 1. My wall is not actually yellow. It's more of a suede color. Apparently the light of my flash doesn't do it justice. 2. What the heck is that stripe of light on the right side? 3. I'm not really a terrible photographer. I promise.

So, anyway, these are just things I had laying around the house for the most part. Working from left to right: the stand is a candle holder I found on clearance for a dollar. I plan to rough it up with some sandpaper soon - it's too white for me. I made the bird's nest and eggs. The candle sticks were wedding gifts and they have white, lacey looking egg candles on top of them. The small glasses in front are from a crystal barware set I inheirited from my great grandma and then my mom. In the middle, I used a cake stand to make everything taller. The pink fluted candy dish was my mom's, and I put a champagne glass full of jelly beans in it. The other dishes are from a matching set given to me by my grandmother (creamer, sugar bowl, and custard dish). The glasses in front are from our everyday drinking glass set. All the candles were actually on our captain's table at our wedding reception, but now I use them in almost every decorating scheme I come up with for my sofa table. The pitcher is something I bought awhile back because I think it's adorable. You can't see it in the picture, but there are bird impressions all over it. It all screams spring to me. Oh, and the eggs are just different kinds of candy - M&M's, Dove chocolate eggs, and Starburst jelly beans. What do you think?

I'll probably leave it up for a little while longer, and then go to something more universally spring. Pastels really aren't my thing, but I'm in love with cream and white right now, so I might do a fresh display of cream/white and maybe a brighter green.

I also ordered these bowls as soon as they went on sale at Pottery Barn:
They're cute little egg shapes, and come in 4 pastel colors (blue, yellow, pink & green). I think they'll be great for next year. I love buying things on sale after holidays, and then having something new to use the next year, without having to spend money on full price decorations.

I finally picked out pictures for our wedding album this morning. Almost 6 months after our wedding. Yeah, I'm really on top of things. I can't wait to see the final product now :)

Happy Monday!

Sunday, April 04, 2010

This is My Life

Have you ever just been going about your day and realized, "This is how my life has turned out"?

I had one of those moments today. I'm married to the man I will be with for the rest of my life. My family is who they are. I pray that it continues to keep growing with marriages and births, and that the people who are in it now will be in it for a long time. We are living in the house we intend to continue making a home.

Obviously not everything is perfect. What is? I wish we lived closer to a lot of my friends who are a plane ride away. I wish we could see some family more than once a year. I wish I could have one more day with my mom.

But, this is how my life has turned out, and it's pretty amazing.

Our lives will continue to change, possibly very soon. Are we ready? I have no idea. :) But I sure hope so.

I hope everyone had a blessed Easter. Ours was full of family, both Saturday & Sunday. We really are extremely lucky to be so involved with our family and get to spend time with them whenever we do. I can't imagine being anywhere else this weekend and wouldn't have missed it for the world!

Thursday, April 01, 2010

For the Love of...


Mike and I are both food lovers, in case you didn't already know that. I love to cook, Mike loves to eat. We both come from a family of really great cooks, and people who appreciate good food. So, it's no wonder that we celebrate everything with a fantastic meal.

I'm so excited for Easter this coming weekend. It's one of my favorite holidays. So, I've been busily thinking up a menu and spent last evening with my grandma to figure out who was bringing what. It's always a challenge for me to give up control of the cooking, even though I grew up with holiday meals being potluck style. I just want to provide for everyone when I can and allow them to enjoy the holiday without having to go to the trouble of cooking.

So, here what we'll be eating Saturday evening:

Cheddar bay biscuits
Creamed spinach crescent rolls
Glazed ham (I'm still deciding - honey or cherry - any thoughts??)
Baked mac & cheese
Green bean casserole (of course - holiday staple!)
Dad's cheddar corn bake
Twice baked potatoes
Italian veggie pasta salad
Deviled eggs (it wouldn't be Easter without them)
Grandma's orange jello salad (known affectionately as "roofing tar" in our family)
Other Grandma's watergate salad (known affectionately as "green stuff" in our family)

And for dessert: cheesecake (I'm still torn between strawberry or peach)

What do you think? I'm pretty sure we'll all be stuffed by the end of the day!

I'm so very blessed to have the family situation that I do when it comes to holidays. First of all, I adore my in-laws. I think they're just the greatest people I could possibly imagine and I love spending time with them whenever I get the chance. We will be having lunch with them on Sunday afternoon, so I'm planning on bringing the pasta salad and some ham & pickle roll-ups for that dinner.

I also love the way my family comes together for holidays. We don't always see each other often, so I feel truly blessed to go home and see everyone (or have them to our house if they can). What I've always thought was cool was that we usually combined holidays when we could for both sides of the family. My mom's family is always welcome at my dad's family, and now as we're older, I really appreciate seeing all of my grandparents in one room and having a big holiday meal with them.

I hope everyone has a blessed holiday and can enjoy some time with family, friends, significant others, and some spectacular food!