Wednesday, November 17

Incoherent Hump Day

This post is going to be all sorts of all over the place.  So here we go.

I fulfilled my itch to start shopping yesterday.  M set a limit that we'll each spend on each other for Christmas.  This sent me into "reevaluate mode."  I had to tweak my ideas and decide what I thought was the most important vs least important.  I still have a couple of other things to buy, but I'm so looking forward to spoiling him.

I bought one of his gifts at Esty.  I <3 Etsy.  If you've never been, you have to check it out.  It's like ebay, but with handcrafted and vintage things.  I've bought some gifts for my mom there as well and have been very pleased with the vendors.  

Then I popped on over to Amazon where I got free super saving shipping because I'm awesome.  There's been a gift I've had my eye on for M for about 4 months, so I finally popped on over and bought it.  It's funny to see the shipping added and then removed from your order.  It's a great way to save a bit extra, though, and also avoid the crazies around the mall.  

I got free shipping at LLBean as well, although I'm not really sure why.  Either way, I'm not gonna complain.  Now I just need to run to Target and TJMaxx and besides wrapping, I'll be done with M's gifts.  

I asked him last night if he'd thought about what he's getting me, just out of curiosity, and he retaliated by asking why I am already buying stuff when it's only November 16.  I told him I like to get my shopping out of the way before December so that I can enjoy the holiday season.  I think he looked at me like I was crazy!

Growing up, my families Thanksgiving tradition consisted of hitting the road early (9am-ish) to drive two hours to my mom's mom's house in Hartselle, Alabama.  It's quite the booming metropolis.  We'd spent the early afternoon there, eating lunch, chatting, and playing with my cousins.  Most Americans eat pumpkin or pecan pie, or something of similar fall-spirit for dessert on Thanksgiving, and I believe Sisi, my grandmother, did indeed make those desserts, but it was always a tradition (for some reason of which I'm still not sure) for her to make homemade banana pudding.  It was the best. homemade. banana. pudding.  EVER.  I have made it and it is just absolutely to die for.  (After lunch, we would drive to Athens, Alabama to eat Thanksgiving dinner at my dad's mom's house, but that's not the point of this story.)

Tradition is essential to me when it comes to the holidays.  I don't like things to change.  For example: We eat Christmas dinner on my parent's fine china.  It's the only day of the year we use it, and I think it's wonderful and a must-do for the holidays.  Well, about 5 years ago, my mom went shopping and bought something she'd been wanting for a long time (apparently.)  She bought Christmas place settings.  They are cute and have holly and Christmas-y decorations.  She brought them home all excited and goes, "Look Ingrid!  We can eat Christmas dinner off of them!"

I stopped her right there and said that we couldn't because we always eat Christmas dinner off the fine china because it's the only day out of 365 that we do.  I won.  She didn't return the place settings, instead we replaced holiday paper products at breakfast with festive holly plates.  Win-win situation.

Ironically, I wasn't upset when my mom bought new stockings even though our old ones were hand cross-stitched by her and Drew and I had had them as long as I can remember.  I'm weird.

As a stickler for all things tradition, when my mom's mom died and my dad's mom decided to relocate her family Thanksgiving to Shoney's, (that's a WHOLE 'nother story...) and we started staying home in Franklin for Thanksgiving, I was hell-bent that we would have banana pudding for dessert because that's how Sisi did it.  I'm pretty sure mom, dad and Drew would've been perfectly content with a pecan pie, but because it was so important to me, they let me make banana pudding.  It's really good banana pudding, y'all.  Made from scratch, with meringue on top.  Absolutely divine!  

So about two weeks ago, mom e-mailed dad, Drew and I to let us know the Thanksgiving menu.  We're a cool family.  Anyway, we're doing the basics: turkey, gravy, dressing/stuffing, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, cranberry chutney, and apple coleslaw.  I don't know what apple coleslaw is and I won't be eating the green beans or cranberry chutney, but yum, the menu looks good.  Mom had told me I could make banana pudding, and die hard traditional me actually said, "no, I'll make some sort of fall themed cheesecake for dessert."  She was stunned.  As anyone would be if they really understood my lack of wavering when it comes to change.  

Autumn Cheesecake-are you salivating yet?
After a couple of hours of research, aka looking through my cookbooks and cheesecake recipes and a little good searching, I decided on "Autumn Cheesecake."  It's gonna be delicious folks.  It's just a basic cheesecake filling with a cinnamon-y graham cracker and pecan crust.  Then you slice apples and place them all pretty on top, sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar and more pecans and then bake for 70 minutes.  Just talking about it is making my mouth water and making me wish it were next Thursday already.  I'm gonna be all Pioneer Woman as I make and bake it, ya know, taking pictures, blogging with the step by step, with pictures.  It'll be great.  And M will be mad at me when the whole house smells divine next Wednesday night, and I tell him he can't eat it until Thursday.  It'll be fun.  And mean. 

Opryland Hotel
Our one-year anniversary's in a couple of weeks.  With the holiday season, I don't really want to go to some fancy elaborate dinner.  I mean, don't get me wrong, that would be fun and such, but I think I'd rather do something more festive.  The Opryland Hotel reopened on Monday, so I've suggested we get dressed up the Friday night following our anniversary, head to Opryland and have drinks at The Falls, their new atrium bar which seems totally relaxed and fun.  Afterwards or before, we can roam around the hotel and look at the Christmas decorations which I love to do every year (post about Opryland pending), but was unfortunate not to be able to see last year.  I'm so happy they've finished their renovations since the flood.  Sounds like a great and casual way to celebrate our love!    
The Falls at Opryland Hotel

Carolyn, Laura and Nan will all be in town this weekend for the UT/Vandy game.  They're three of my favorite college friends and sisters.  I don't get to see them often enough.  Laura came to our Halloween party, but I haven't seen Carolyn and Nan since my birthday weekend when I went to Knoxville.  Carolyn gets in tomorrow night around 9 or so.  We're going to see the midnight showing of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.  I'm so excited, I don't know how to handle it.  Then I'll get to see all my favorite college friends when we go out downtown Friday night.  Carolyn's boyfriend John hasn't ever been out in Nashville, so we're gonna hit up Big Bang and some other wonderful honky-tonks on Broadway.  Then Saturday we're tailgating before the game.  I'm excited because Carolyn, John, M and I were able to get tickets together, so even if we don't care the seats, we'll be able to chat and have a good time.  It's gonna be such an awesome weekend!  Plus, my brother's birthday's on Saturday, so we're celebrating Sunday.  I'm excited to have that to look forward to.  I have so much to do tonight and tomorrow with cleaning and such.  It's totally worth it to see some of my favorite people.  Carolyn is one of M's favorites of my friends, he's totally stoked that she's gonna be staying with us.  

I'm so excited to have fun plans, then a three-day week followed by a four-day weekend.  It sure does make time fly by!


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