Hello from Indy!

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Hi friends!

Hello from Indiana! We are here for a few days, but before we discuss Indy, let’s first back up to the past couple days ๐Ÿ™‚

These little balls of goodness are still making my day over here. A friend suggested putting grapes into the freezer, so that may have to be added to the to-do list –> have you tried frozen grapes? I’m not sure what to expect but I am certainly intrigued!

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Joel’s very big bowl of Sopa de Mariscos (shrimp, scallops, and tuna in a spicy broth with cilantro and onion). I’m not the biggest fan of shrimp or scallops… shrimp is one of those things I’ll eat if that’s the only thing available, but it’s not my primary go-to –> so I passed on the soup, but he very much enjoyed it.

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One of our friends works at Deep River, and he once brought over a ton of chips to a party –> that is how we first got introduced to these chips, and we can confirm: they are pretty great! Joel’s favorite flavor is jalapeno. I picked up a bag for him at our local deli.

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Anyone else an enormous fan of clementines? They are so so good, and I love that they are so easy to peel. It’s impossible to stop after having just one ๐Ÿ™‚ I feel like I regularly eat 3 or 4 at a time. Fun fact: I used to think clementines and tangerines were the same thing. They are not. Clementines > tangerines.

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Before leaving for Indiana, we had a couple meals comprising leftovers in efforts to use up random foods in our fridge. It sure feels great to not to waste or throw out perfectly good food.

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Bacon may not seem like a traditional taco ingredient, but you guys know that doesn’t stop Joel. He is quite the experimenter when it comes culinary combinations.

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Another meal aimed at using up leftovers: rice, scrambled egg, cheddar cheese, and grilled chicken, cooked in coconut oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper. It turned out to be one of those “beige” meals that tasted far better than it looks ๐Ÿ™‚

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There’s nothing like getting into a pair of compression socks at 3am in preparation for a flight. My compression socks served me well during marathon training, but have since been sitting unloved in my dresser. It’s nice to put them to good use once again. I’m happy to report that this preggo gal did not have any lower-extremity swelling from the flight!

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Joel got me a pre-board pass so that I could be sure to secure an isle seat on the plane. This made it easier on me when I inevitably had to get up to use the bathroom, and it was also super handy for taking a quick walk when the ol’ legs felt restless. Side note: who knew restless leg syndrome was a pregnancy thing? I don’t get it often but when it strikes, it is not fun. I suppose I should thank my lucky stars that I haven’t had any of the dreaded leg-cramping at night –> my sister had those during her pregnancy, and she said they are the worst!

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We touched down in Indianapolis after a smooth trip. I suppose we should enjoy traveling just the two of us since those days are surely numbered! ๐Ÿ™‚ We decided that instead of doing one big babymoon, we’d do multiple smaller trips. So far we’ve hit NYC and Indy, and we have plans to head to DC, PA, and possibly Montreal too!

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Joel is an expert traveler and got us into our rental car in no time. Did I ever tell you guys about the time I was in North Carolina for work, and the rental car company ran out of regular cars so I got upgraded for free to a cherry red mustang? That was quite the fun ride ๐Ÿ™‚

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If I wasn’t currently pregnant I probably would have indulged in a glass of wine at the hotel.

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Instead, I stuck with the ice cold lemon/lime infused water. I can’t think of anything more refreshing after getting off a plane!

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This gorgeous fiddle leaf fig in the hotel lobby puts mine to shame. It is so full and glorious. I sure wish mine would plump up too, but I’m pretty sure the air at home is too cold and dry during the winter for that. I’m just glad my fiddle hasn’t called it quits yet! ๐Ÿ™‚

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A late lunch happened at Bru Burger. This is a spot that came highly recommended by a couple friends, and boy were they right ๐Ÿ™‚

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We were not disappointed! Joel’s lunch consisted of the classic Bru Burger, which came with taleggio cheese, bacon, tomato jam, caramelized onions, spring mix (he substituted this instead of chopped lettuce) and mayo. Now that’s a pretty goodlookin burger.

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After lunch we went for a nice walk to enjoy the lovely sunshine and explore some of the local sights. We came across a cool little ice cream parlor that makes the ice cream (and whatever mix-in’s you choose) right in front of you using nitrogen. I don’t know how his hands aren’t frozen!

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We split some coffee flavored ice cream –> it surely had quite the smooth and silky texture, yum! I wouldn’t mind going back for other flavor combinations the next time we are in Indy. This ice cream fueled out afternoon walking perfectly.

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Joel took some time in the evening to catch up on work and prepare for a big meeting while I got all caught up on emails.

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He felt like Japanese food for dinner so we looked up a few spots. We drove past one place, but their menu mostly included ramen (which we do love, but Joel was specifically in the mood for sushi), so we instead headed over to Naked Tchopstix.

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I briefly thought about ordering a cooked roll, but decided I was not all that hungry (the burger from lunch kept me full for the longest time!), so I stuck with a seaweed salad. It was exactly what I was hoping for, and I thoroughly enjoyed every bite. Joel’s choice of a “Sushi Set” was undeniably stellar –> it came with a spicy salmon roll, and one of each nagiri piece: crab, yellow tail, tuna, salmon, shrimp, eel, egg, and red snapper. Yup, I cannot wait for my first post-baby spicy salmon roll!

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What are your recommendations for places to check out in Indianapolis? Have you ever had frozen grapes? What do you have going on in your week so far?ย  ย  ย  ย  ย 

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Happy New Year! And our last weekend of 2017!

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HAPPY NEW YEAR, friends!

Who else is excited for 2018? I have a feeling it’s going to be the BEST year yet! ๐Ÿ˜€

How did you spend your last weekend of 2017? It’s been ridiculously cold here in Connecticut, so we were happy to hang out indoors. Some friends of ours headed down to NYC to watch the ball drop — they had a great time despite the crazy cold! While I admire their gumption, I was pretty content to stay warm at home and watch Black Mirror episodes on Netflix!

My sister and brother watched Black Mirror in the Netherlands last week (they are the ones who told me about it) — my brother thought it was disturbing while my sister thought it was intriguing, but they BOTH said it was thought-provoking. After watching a few episodes, I have to agree with them –> definitely thought-provoking! Some episodes are heavier than others, but they all have “thought-provoking” in common. Each episode is a stand-alone story, so you don’t have to watch them in any particular order. Some of the episodes remind me of Twilight Zoneย in how they “feel”.

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Meanwhile in Europe… several of my siblings spent Christmas and New Years on the ski slopes in Austria!! I got to video-call them on WhatsApp last week, and it was a lot of fun catching up! My brother (the actor/model) and his wife were there for about a week, and just arrived back in NYC yesterday. I’m excited to hear more about their trip! My 2 sisters are still hanging out in Austria and will be there for another week or so — the one on the left lives in Netherlands, and the one on the right lives in Australia! I wish we all lived closer to each other!! (I’m definitely glad my brother lives relatively nearby in NYC!)

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Our weekend was really fun! Joel and a few guys took advantage of the weather by playing ice hockey on a nearby pond. There were a few inches of snow on the ice so they had to shovel first. Since it didn’t stop snowing all day, they had to pause the game a couple times to shovel. I’m glad Joel is back to playing ice hockey — I know he missed winter sports when we lived in Houston all those years!

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Afterwards we cooked salmon at home and ate it with quinoa and broccoli. Lately I have been cooking salmon on the stove top with butter, and it has become my favorite way to do salmon! So simple and delicious. After it’s plated, I add salt and a spritz of lemon — it’s crazy good!

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Joel got to check out a basketball game with one of his friends. It was his first time seeing Quinnipiac play and he said they were pretty good! He watched both the mens and womens teams (both won their games) — this is a photo he snapped before it all started!

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Do you crave certain foods when the temperature drops? When it gets REALLY cold, I feel like I crave heartier meals like shepherd’s pie or anything involving mashed potatoes, gravy, stews, etc. Over the weekend, I decided on chicken pot pie fromย Eli’s! It was probably one of my best decisions yet.

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If you are in the greater New Haven area, you should think about adding Eli’s to your restaurant rotation! Their food is so tasty! Their chicken pot pie TOTALLY hit the spot!!! It’s described on their menu as “chicken breast, potatoes, carrots, peasย and a cream gravy, topped with puff pastry” –> and it did not disappoint! It was the perfect meal to savor on a cold afternoon! Just LOOK at that beautiful puff pastry ๐Ÿ™‚

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I love the bags that Eli’s uses for their sides (i.e., bread, sauce). They look like old-timey newspaper clippings! ๐Ÿ™‚ Love when restaurants pay attention to the little things like this.

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My friend Colleen who lives in Brooklyn loves to bake with her free time. She occasionally sends me photos of her creations. This is her marble loaf from Saturday — I wouldn’t mind taking a big bite of it!

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Another random thing we did over the weekend was head over to Westville (a neighborhood in New Haven) to pick up a couch-sectional for our basement den! We’re excited to set up the den properly down there. It’ll be a nice spot to hang out, watch movies, and since the sectional has a pull-out mattress, it will also be another sleeping option whenever we host larger groups of guests! Oh, and by the way we thought Westville seems like a really cute area ๐Ÿ™‚

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What is your go-to breakfast? Joel and I usually each have 2 eggs over easy…. but lately, I seem to have fallen off the egg bandwagon. I have been branching out to other breakfast foods. The past few days I have been eating piles and piles of CANTALOUPE for breakfast! I swear, cantaloupe just getsย me. I’m pretty sure I wake up thinking about it. So yummy and refreshing.

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Joel put up our new curtains over the patio door! We debated getting them in white but ended up going with pale blue. It was the right call. There is a second layer of sheer white curtains (might be hard to see in the photo), so we can draw just that if we still want some light to come through. I just love how it looks! ๐Ÿ™‚

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It snowed another inch or so over the weekend. I love a nice fresh layer of snow ๐Ÿ™‚ Although I must say, I miss spending time in the back yard! It will be nice when things warm up and we can have lunch on the patio.

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Lunch on Sunday consisted of a burger with sweet potato fries. There is also a generous layer of guacamole in there which made me very happy ๐Ÿ™‚

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And dinner was leftovers: chicken pot pie and sweet potato fries! The chicken pot pie tasted even BETTER as leftovers!

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Our New Years Eve was pretty quiet around here. We watched the NYC ball drop on TV (and gave virtual high-fives to every single person who braved the cold!), I baked a cake, and we soaked in the last few moments of 2017 together! It was a perfect relaxing evening at home and I wouldn’t trade it for anything!

Have you seen Black Mirror? What foods do you crave in the winter? What did you do for New Years Eve?ย ย 

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Calling Australia, Wayback Burgers, and Salt Licorice!

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Hi guys!

What’s everyone up to this week? Can you believe it’s the LAST Wednesday of November? Guess what, tomorrow is my dad’s birthday — HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD!!!

I am especially happy that technology exists that allows us to talk with my sister who lives in Australia! She and I use WhatsApp regularly to keep in touch and it’s awesome to be able to catch up for free.

On a random note, does anyone remember years ago when we would have to buy calling cards in order to call family that lived overseas? It was always an expense PLUS the call quality was never great (remember the crazy delays that would happen when talking?) haha! Technology sure has come a long way!

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Anyway my sister is currently working on her masters degree in Sydney and will be living in Australia for at least another year. So far she really seems to like it, and it looks like it’s all working out well for her! She took us on a tour of her office and then her apartment. We then took her on a little tour of our house — she saw it when were looking at different homes to buy, but she hasn’t seen it since we moved in. It was fun seeing more of her life and chatting. It’s hot and sunny in Australia currently! ๐Ÿ™‚

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We had a coupon for free burgers at Wayback Burgers, and decided it was the perfect excuse to pick up burgers for dinner. We had never gotten food from Wayback before, and ended up really liking their burgers. I love discovering new places! We would never have known it was there if we hadn’t received a random coupon in the mail! Instead of fries, I opted for onion rings, which turned out to be a GREAT decision. I hadn’t had onion rings in forever and they totally hit the spot! Onion rings and ketchup is one heck of a combo. Oh, check this out — this huge “triple triple” burger sign was up in the store… apparently if you can eat one of these huge monsters in under 30 seconds (the current record) you will win free burgers for a year! How on earth someone ate this thing in 30 seconds is beyond me!

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I must have had a brainfart because I completely forgot to mention this in my thanksgiving post! Last week we picked up some fresh flowers from our grocery store. They were $6.99 ish for a small “Fall” bouquet. Super pretty! We don’t get fresh flowers often, but I always love when we do! Especially in the colder months when there’s not much going on outside in the way of greenery/flowers — they just have a way of adding something lovely to the home.

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When I got home and transferred the flowers to the vase, I felt like the arrangement was a little on the sparse side. To help fill it out, I clipped some grass from our back yard — you can see the white ish plumes of grass here:

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The grass helped to fill out the bouquet arrangement, and I ended up really liking how it turned out! Who knew grass could come to the rescue! ๐Ÿ™‚ It made for a nice little addition to our thanksgiving ambiance. The bouquet is still going strong with no signs of wilting. Fingers crossed it will still look nice a week or two from now.

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Another photo from our weekend… we made a big brunch with my brother and sister-in-law. Pancakes, kielbasa sausage, bacon, apples, eggs, and clementines! I stuck with the pancakes and sausage –> topped with maple syrup, this is one delicious combination! I love a good weekend brunch!

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A couple days ago we popped over to Bed Bath and Beyond to get a humidifier (we had a discount card and gotย this oneย for $10 off). It took a while to find the humidifier section… We circled the entire store and it turned out it was the first section we had passed. I always feel like I can never find anything in Bed Bath & Beyond!

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Side note about the humidifier: we turn it on at night but have found that it is kind of loud. It bubbles a lot as the water is boiling and turning to steam. It’s woken both of us up overnight – not exactly ideal, but I’m sure we’ll get used to it with time. But I would like to know: is this just something we have to get used to, or are there quieter ones out there? If anyone has recommendations for quieter humidifiers, let us know!

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It turns out our Bed Bath & Beyond has a World Market inside the store! I love World Market so much, they have the coolest stuff from all over the globe. Back in Houston we used to go to our local World Market all the time, and our favorite thing to get there were these salt licorice snacks! A highschool friend of mine from Denmark introduced these to me when I was younger, and I have always been on the lookout for salt licorice ever since! I never see it in the regular grocery store, but it is WAY better than regular black licorice which I’m not a huge fan of — if you ever go to World Market, definitely check out the salt licorice!

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I don’t know about your house, but the thanksgiving leftovers are still going STRONG here! We ran out of green beans but still have a lot of turkey, stuffing, mashed & roasted potatoes, cranberry sauce, gravy, and PIE! It’s a good thing Joel and I don’t mind eating the same thing for days on end. If we eventually need to switch things up, I have a few ideas up my sleeve for how to use leftovers.

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Oh another thing we still have leftover from thanksgiving are theseย Hawaiian rolls! But you know what, they aren’t going to last too much longer because we are quickly devouring them. They are way too delicious to resist!

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Have you ever tried salt licorice? Got any recommendations for quiet humidifiers? What’s your favorite brunch food?ย 

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Our Thanksgiving, and the Annual Black Friday Tradition!

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Hi friends!

Happy Monday! It’s hard to believe Thanksgiving has already come and gone. I am STILL reliving the thanksgiving memories through my photos so I thought I’d share some of them with you!

We had cheese and crackers on hand before the actual meal, as well as some raspberry preserves. Last year we had goat cheese and fig preserves on the platter too, which was lovely. This year we kept it simple with cheddar and swiss. I branched out with the crackers by getting the generic brand… they turned out to be a little crumbly. They tasted great but were a little messy on account of the crumbs. Next time I’ll stick with a tried and true cracker brand.

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We ended up doing a combination of cooking, catering, and potluck for the meal. For the catering, we got the Classic Thanksgiving meal for 12 from Whole Foods (check out their holiday meals here) which included the turkey, green beans, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, and cranberry sauce. So great! All you do is place the order online and pick it up in store! I ordered the meal a week early because I heard they sell out — and I’m glad I did, because they totally ended up selling out! Whole Foods also provided some awesome instructions for reheating (ie, temps and times) which helped to simplify the whole process. We were really impressed with everything and would definitely be open to catering again!

In terms of home-cooking, we cooked a couple supplemented sides the day of, including roasted sweet potatoes and mandazis (Kenyan donuts). And as far as potluck, our friends brought over a few homemade side dishes (corn pie, brussel sprouts, carrots, bread rolls), which were all delicious! They also brought over drinks (wine, beer, and cider) and a few homemade desserts (pumpkin pie, mini pumpkin muffins). The pie coupled with vanilla ice cream was unbeatable. It all made for an INCREDIBLE feast!

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My brother (wearing the black shirt) and his wife (wearing the white sweater) came up from NYC to spend the holiday with us. They stayed a few days and made their way back to New York on Saturday night. It is always awesome to see them and spend time together. I hope they will eventually move to Connecticut at some point! Oh and side note, we set the food out on the kitchen counter so that everyone could fill their plates buffet-style. There were so many dishes that it made more sense to do it this way rather than try to fit everything on the table!

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Joel did a nice job carving the turkey! Every year he is in charge of the turkey, and has always done a nice job. We usually cook our turkey in a bag because that’s how his mom used to do it. This year since the turkey came with our Whole Foods order, we didn’t have the pressure of cooking it, which was really nice! All we needed to do was pop it into the oven to heat up (Whole Foods provides all the instructions for heating each dish). After the feast was over, he made a nice turkey soup with the bones. DELICIOUS!

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This is only the second or third time we have eaten in our actual dining room. Our house has a formal dining room and a breakfast table area next to the kitchen –> we usually eat at the breakfast table, but it was super fun to use the “real” dining room! Since there were a good number of us, I used a couple benches instead of chairs. This made it easier to fit more people at the table. I’d say the 9 of us fit pretty well around the table!

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After we finished up with the big meal, we packed up the food into containers and got everything into the fridge. It was nice having everything put away instead of letting the food sit out all day long (which is what we have done in the past! haha). Many hands made for light work and it didn’t take long to get all the leftovers put away.

We were stuffed to the gills so none of us were ready for dessert just yet. We decided to play some rousing ping pong to help work off the meal. Joel definitely won every game he played, and we all joked that we need to befriend a professional ping pong player so that Joel will meet his match!

After ping pong came PIE! ๐Ÿ™‚ I had a mini pumpkin muffin (they were similar to mini pumpkin pies –> crust on the bottom, filling on top!) they were ridiculously yummy. My sister-in-law nailed her recipe! I also had some vanilla ice cream on the side, which of course was the absolute right decision. I was way too stuffed at that point to try any of the other pies, but each pie got amazing reviews from everyone else!

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While dessert was underway, we debated which game to play. We are huge fans of game nights (one of our holiday traditions is to get a new game every Christmas) and we all voted for “Bang!” If you have never played Bang, you definitely should get your hands on it stat! We always have fun whenever we play it.

It’s a game based in the wild west, and each person is a character. The only character that is known to the group is the sheriff, and everyone else’s character is hidden. There are outlaws, a renegade, and a couple deputies. There was a fair amount of shooting (of course) and everything else you’d expect in the wild west.

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Thanksgiving was such a fun day and we really enjoyed soaking in time with friends and family. We were utterly exhausted that evening and rolled ourselves off to bed with full bellies and happy hearts.

Over the past few years we have gone to see a movie with family on Black Friday, and it’s become such a fun little tradition. We have an incredible theater near us that is brand new — they have a crazy amount oof stellar food/drink options (Joel took advantage of the kettle corn this time around) and big comfy seats that recline.

This year we saw Justice League! Apparently it didn’t have great ratings, but we all enjoyed it anyway. I still haven’t seen Wonder Womanย yet, but now I am even MORE excited to see it! I love Gal Gadot and how she portrays the character.

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We’ve been enjoying all kinds of thanksgiving leftovers over here. We probably have enough to last us through the week! I feel like the food is even tastier as leftovers. My favorite thanksgiving food is stuffing and I am pretty thrilled that it is still making an appearance on my plate! I’ve seen a couple leftover pinterest recipes for turkey pot pie, so I might give that a try at some point. I guess we’ll see where the week takes us! ๐Ÿ™‚

What’s your favorite thing to do with thanksgiving leftovers? Did you do any shopping Black Friday or Cyber Monday? What do you have going on this week?ย 

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