Entries Tagged as 'damian'

Todd & Kelly’s New Years Eve Party

January 2nd, 2013 · No Comments

JP and Damian

Marty, Todd, Dallas

Rachelle, Josh, Vanessa, Kelly

Rita and Mike, Mike and Ella

Kelly, Liz, Maria, Jessica, Tonya

Rachelle and Rita

Todd, Kelly, Liz, Maria, Jeanine, Randy

Rachelle and Dallas


This is the third time we’ve gone to Todd’s house for New Years Eve (NYE 2009, NYE 2011). On NYE 2010, we hung out with this group of friends too, but at Frasca, not at Todd’s house. The last few years our habit has been to go to Jen and Chad’s New Years Eve party early, then head out with these other guys late, but this year, for the first time in about a decade, Jen and Chad didn’t have a New Years Eve party! They extended their Christmas visit in California to go through the new year. It all worked out fine, though. We just headed to Todd’s earlier than usual.

Kelly and her famous jello shots.

Simon and Bernie begging for treats!




Todd drawing.

Mike, Marty

Dallas stealing the mic from Katie


Dallas made his famous Korean short ribs and I made my Irish Car Bomb cupcakes. Kelly had a ton of snacks, some punch and jello shots, and a ton of people brought wine and beer and champagne, so we were all set. So set up. So much delicious food and drinks! I got the new Wii U last week (more on that later) and we brought that over. Sing Party, a karaoke-ish game, was a big hit of the night. We also played a rousing game of Pictionary. We also played a little Left-Right-Center. I lost $6. Boohoo.

Kelly and Todd trying to get a midnight family photo with Simon.

It didn’t work!

Mike and Larry

Kelly and Marty


Liz and Maria

Rachelle and Josh

I don’t really know what happened after midnight. It’s a blur. We ended up sleeping in Todd’s spare bedroom so we wouldn’t have to drive home or try to get a cab. I went upstairs at about 3:30 am and was getting chastised for it!! I’m not sure how late the few party stragglers were up!

Happy New Year!

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Dallas’s Birthday

December 9th, 2012 · No Comments

For Dallas’s birthday we got together with twenty, yes TWENTY – it was the biggest reservation they could make, friends for dinner at Zed 451. The Roundarch holiday party was at Zed 451 last year and we enjoyed it so much we decided to go back. For about $48 each person you get unlimited food. You can go up to the salad bar as much as you want, whenever you want and there are guys who come around with meat and you just tell them how much you want. The salad bar was so good, I could have just eaten that. Tons of great meats and cheeses there too! As for the meat at our table… I can’t even tell you what all we had. Several steaks, salmon, venison, duck, pork belly, sausage. Whoa. So. Much. Meat.!!

Danny, Dallas, Marty, Mike, Todd

Me and the most interesting man in the world.

Not the best photo of me, but it was somewhere around 3 a.m.!

Both before and after dinner we met up with even more friends and hit up a whole series of bars that I’d never been to: Streeter’s Tavern, Jake Melnick’s, Clark Street Ale House, Celtic Crossings, The Lodge. I think we got home at somewhere around 4:00 a.m.!!! Long night, fun night. Great friends!

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Thanksgiving with Damian and Vanessa

November 23rd, 2012 · 1 Comment

Damian carving the smoked turkey.

Damian’s dad, Frank, and Vanessa’s mom, Ada.

Dallas and Dylan played with the balloon.

Playing with Derek.

Dylan is 3 years old.

Playing pool and ping pong in the basement.

Damian and Vanessa moved from their condo in Chicago to a big, beautiful house in Mount Prospect about a month ago. For Thanksgiving they invited us over for a Thanksgiving celebration with a bunch of their family and friends. I’ve seen Dylan, their oldest son, a bit over the last year or so, but I was shocked at how big Derek is! Vanessa was pregnant with him at our wedding and I’d only met him once since then, when he was only a few months old. Dallas and I had fun playing with them and the other kids at the party.

For dinner we had smoked turkey. I never had Thanksgiving turkey this way and thought it was pretty good. They also had an oven turkey that they prepared. We had tons of sides and desserts. Damian also made two big pans of lasagna with homemade marinara. So good. We stuffed ourselves full!

After dinner some people went down to the basement where the previous homeowners left a pool table and ping pong table. Some of the guys got into quite a contest. And Dylan got his turns learning how to shoot too!

Thanks to Damian and Vanessa for their hospitality! We had a great Thanksgiving with their friends and family.

Oh, one more thing. Vanessa asked me to bring sweet potatoes. I wasn’t sure how to make them but when I was at Sara’s Thanksgiving party on Monday, Emily brought some delicious sweet potatoes and was nice enough to give me the recipe. Everyone at Thanksgiving loved the sweet potato casserole and I’d totally make them again. Here’s the recipe:

Sweet Potato Casserole

5-6 large sweet potatoes peeled and cubed
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Place a large pot about 3/4 full of water on stove to simmer. Peel and chop sweet potatoes into cubes. Cook over medium high heat until tender; drain and mash.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).

In a large bowl, mix together the sweet potatoes, white sugar, eggs, salt, butter, milk and vanilla extract. Mix until smooth. Transfer to a 9×13 inch baking dish.

In medium bowl, mix the brown sugar and flour. Cut in the butter until the mixture is crumbly with little pea sized lumps. Stir in the pecans. Sprinkle the mixture over the sweet potatoes. Bake in the preheated oven 30 minutes, or until the topping is lightly brown.

Emily noted that she added some cayenne and maple syrup to her potatoes and suggested you could also add some bourbon or orange juice. I added a bit of cayenne and some pumpkin pie spice. I could see how this recipe could be modified many different ways. Another good tip Emily had was to mix the eggs in at the end of the potato part so that you can taste and adjust seasonings without worrying about eating raw eggs.

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