I had a good weekend.  I think it was the first weekend since Tony passed away that I wasn’t always on the verge of breaking down into tears.  What helped me?  I watched a documentary called Out of the Clear Blue Sky on Netflix.   It was the story of 9/11 from the perspective of Cantor Fitzgerald – whose company lost almost 700 employees that day.  It was remarkably well done, and I don’t know if I even remembered that a single company lost that many people that day – hard to imagine I’d forget that information though, no?

In any event, after I watched the movie, the people who survived basically summed it up as “before and after.”  Their life after 9/11 would never be like it was before, and after time you have to accept that fact, and just . . . move on.   I have to realize that my life will never be the same again as it was with Tony, and while that’s painful, it sucks, he was too young, I just have to pick up my boot straps on move on.  I was determined to keep busy this weekend.  I had spent so many long weekends sitting with Tony in the hospital over the years while he slept and I checked out Facebook and Instagram on my phone.  I no longer have to wish I was doing something, now I can just do it.

I met my Mom at the new to me Rosemont Outlet mall – we usually meet in Schaumburg because that’s pretty much half way between where I live and she lives.  But we’ve done that town to death, and I wanted to do something different.  I keep telling Hannah – 2015 is the year of adventure!  Hannah and Jacob came with, and by the time we all parked and got in the place, we were hangry.  We walked around the food court to see what our options were, and I basically went back to the first place I saw – Maoz Vegetarian.   They had samples of the falafel and it was nice and spicy, so I went with that.  You basically got to select your add ons after the falafel sandwich was made.  Sadly, a lot of the condiments had icky red onions in them, but I chose tabouli salad, amazing pickled red cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and tahini sauce to top it off.

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It was so big, I ended up only eating about 2/3 of it.  I need to recreate these at home soon!

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Mom and I went one way and Hannah and Jacob went another way.  I was desperate to find work shoes.  I’ve been wearing these felt like slip ons, but they aren’t very winter friendly and I make a shit ton of noise as I walk through the office – everyone knows where I am with the flip flop of my walking!  After six shoe stores, I found success – at Neutralizer non the less!  See, long time readers know I have one foot that is a 6 1/2 and one that is an 8, and it makes buying shoes difficult to have both feet feel comfy.  Well, I ended up getting these black strapy shoes – it didn’t even feel like I was wearing shoes at all, and they were on sale and only $32 with tax.


I had to take this picture of Hannah with a Michael Kors bag to send to my daughter-in-law Lizz – she loves Michael Kors!

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We probably spent about a good couple hours walking around before we went our separate ways.   The kids have discovered the deep fryer and they are in love.  I made a calzone for myself on Friday night, and I had leftover dough in the fridge so they each built their own – Hannah had ham, red pepper and cheese and barely any sauce in hers, and Jacob had leftover grilled chicken, cheese and hot taco sauce in his.  I love these two pics!

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We woke up Sunday morning to our first measurable snow this year – so weird not to have any snow in December!

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We weren’t going to let that stop us from getting our thrift store faces on though.  We were meeting her friend Melody and her son there.  We easily spent 2 1/2 hours at this one thrift store.  It’s huge.  Best part?  Any green tag that was under $9.19 cents was on sale for .99 cents and any green tags over $9.19 were 50% off.  I made out like a bandit!  The best finds?  The Lands End winter boots were half off and only cost me $6.12!

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And yes Joy, I think the snowman pillow was my favorite find for .99 cents!  The kids went to visit Jacob’s grandparents yesterday afternoon, so of course I got bizzy in my kitchen.  We still have so much food in the house I don’t think I’ll need to pick anything up at the store until at least Wednesday.  A few weeks back Red Gold sent me a blogger lasagna kit in the mail.  I am lucky because at my store, Red Gold’s go on sale fairly often.  My Mom swears they have the best ketchup she’s ever eaten, and actually ordered a case of it a few years back!  Tony wasn’t much of a red sauce fan the last few years, but I puffy heart it.  On pasta, on pizza – I love the stuff.  Hannah likes a little bit.  So I ended up making lasagna roll ups so that she didn’t have to have too much sauce and didn’t have to have meat in hers.  I was given a $10 coupon to buy some Laura’s Lean Beef.  Um, I guess there is a reason I haven’t bought it before – this 16 ounce package?  Cost $9.99!

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The two on the left were Hannah’s.

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I also made more Artisan bread.  This time though I baked it on my baking steel and instead of using my Dutch oven, I put a small cast iron skillet on the bottom rack with 2 cups hot water and transferred the dough directly to the baking steel on parchment paper.  After 10 minutes, I removed the parchment paper and ended up baking this small loaf for 25 minutes total at 450.  I am sure I’ve mentioned it before, but the Artisan bread dough lasts a good week in your fridge – you can just pick off some dough and have fresh bread for dinner on a week night – I actually think it tastes better the longer it sits in the fridge.

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Since I had a piece of bread, I only ate one of my rolls, but it was super filling.  Hannah loved that hers didn’t have meat or too much sauce!

Winter has finally set in – I think we will struggle to get to double digits the first few days this week – I think on Wednesday, our HIGH temperature is going to be –2!  So crazy.  I did hire a neighborhood kid to do my driveway though, I think it will be worth the $20 bucks a pop – we are supposed to get six inches of snow by tomorrow morning too.  It will be nice to have the drive already done by the time I have to leave for work.

My gym bag is packed, my food is packed – make it a great day and keep warm!