Monday, November 29, 2010

Menu Plan Monday: November 29, 2010



Monday: Hamburger Helper and a salad.
Tuesday: (new recipe!) Easy Cheesy Chicken Bake
Wednesday: Leftovers.
Thursday: Kabobs. Wild rice.
Friday: Hot dogs & sauerkraut. Oven fries.
Saturday: Not sure yet. Depends on what the day holds.
Sunday: Leftovers?

Notes from last week's menu: Thanksgiving was a great success. I added one item though, a last minute dessert decision to try a new recipe for Pumpkin Cupcakes and they were so so good. By Saturday, we needed a break from the leftovers & I needed to get out of the apartment, so we saw a movie (Red) & then went to dinner at Macaroni Grill. That broke up the monotony on several fronts & I was able to finish up the leftovers on Sunday.

The logo at the top will link you to more menu plans!

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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Menu Plan Monday: November 22, 2010



Monday: Ham steaks, scalloped potatoes, steamed broccoli & a salad.
Tuesday: BLTs.
Wednesday: Breakfast-for-dinner.
Thursday: Turkey & gravy, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, carrots & cranberry sauce.
Friday: Leftovers.
Saturday: Leftovers?
Sunday: Leftovers?

Notes from last week's menu: Last week got *all* messed up, thanks to my car giving me the final flip-off, resulting in Tuesday evening spent sitting in a dealership; Tuesday's dinner became a quick stop at McDonald's instead. The Baked Ziti got pushed to Thursday. The kielbasa got pushed to Friday. The pizza got pushed to Saturday. And the Easy Cheesy Chicken Bake will be rescheduled some time during the week following Thanksgiving.

The logo at the top will link you to more menu plans!

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Sunday, November 21, 2010

20 Questions: November 21, 2010

1. Sour cream goes on:
Baked potatoes. Pierogies. Quesadillas.

2. How do you feel about Wednesdays?
They're ok. It's the middle of the week, so with my glass-half-full mentality, I'm halfway to the weekend. During Advent & Lent, we have midweek church services, which have always been some of my favorites. I'm especially fond of this week's Wednesday since it's doubling as Friday.

3. What was your eighth grade teacher's name?
Mr Moll.

4. What is your favorite food that begins with the letter G?
Green grapes, nice & cold. Goat cheese in pasta runs a veeeeeery close second though.

5. If you could go back to in time for a day when would you go back to?
No one particular day. Just an ordinary day when my Gram & Gramp were still alive. One where I could sit in the kitchen with Gram or on floor in front of the couch, asking questions & listening to stories.

6. What kind of cheese do you like on your hamburgers?
I usually leave it up to Troy. Could be anything from Colby Jack to Swiss to Provolone.

7. How many songs are on your iPod?
787. And a wish list at least that long. I love iTunes gift cards!

8. Name one (and only one) fruit and one vegetable that you would choose to stop existing, you dislike them so much?
Fruit: bananas. And I cannot think if a vegetable I hate enough to actually make it stop existing, because what if there is a recipe out there that will allow me to love sweet potatoes or winter squash? Can I just place two votes for bananas?

9. What was your favorite book as a child?
Every year, I looked forward to the Christmas season when Dad would put out his special holiday books & the first one I would reach for (and then over & over again until they were tucked away again for another year) was Jolly Old Santa Claus. The illustrations in it still suck me right in, they are so beautiful. They don't make the edition my Dad had, but it is mine now. I look forward to putting it out every year. Hmmm... I think I need to introduce this treasure to The Precious...

10. Which one of your friends do you think would make the best doctor?
HA!! Nichole. Without a doubt.

11. What should you be doing right now?
Relaxing. It's Sunday. Sunday is a day of rest. (And I also finished today's project to organize the bathroom closet.)

12. What is the most commonly used color in your home?
I think it's a tie between shades of blue & shades of brown.

13. If you had to spend the entire day as a Disney princess, which would you choose to be?
Aurora. You may know her better as Sleeping Beauty.

14. What television series finale did you particularly enjoy?
I love the way they wrapped up Friends, although I'm still not over the fact that it's over.

15. What is your favorite dessert?
Yes, please! Seriously. Ice cream, cookies, a piece of pie, a slice of cake, a brownie, a handful of M&Ms. I'm not picky. And I probably won't turn it down.

16. Where did your last plane ride take you?
To Boston, to see the Sox with some of my favorite people.

17. If you had to describe today using one word, what would it be?
Refreshing.

18. What drink do you typically have nearby when you're lounging around at home?
A glass of water.

19. Looking at your MP3 player, what song do you play the most?
"Why Don't You & I," by Santana featuring Chad Kroeger.

20. What did you last watch on tv (or DVR as the case may be)?
CSI: NY, Hide Sight.

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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Right Now: November 18, 2010

Outside my window... there is a rare moment of non-activity for this time of day.

I am thinking... this week has felt about a year long already & somehow it is only Thursday.

I am thankful for... a fast-approaching four-day weekend.

From the kitchen... has come a really revised menu this week.

I am wearing... Jeans, sneakers & a top with this pattern:


I am creating... a plan for re-organizing my three closets.

I am going... to count the minutes until lunch today. I am starving!

I am reading... my new car manual. There are a lot of features I didn't know I had!

I am hoping... things settle down again for me very soon. I like my nice quiet, boring life much better than all this drama & excitement.

I am hearing... some birds chirping in the bushes, sandblasting, someone walking around upstairs & a chair rolling across the floor. See how rare that moment of silence was just since I filled in the first line?

Around the house... I'm decluttering in a major way & re-organizing. The chaos was suffocating me.

One of my favorite things... is Method hand soap. Sweetwater & the the limited edition holiday Hollyberry scent. After I wash my hands, I may or may not be guilty of smelling them repeatedly just because they smell that good.

I don't understand... those car commercials that run this time of year. You know, the ones that center upon giving a brand new car as a gift. Just who is this target audience? Who gives a whole new car as a Christmas present? And are these people paying it all up front or just presenting a new car with the big red bow and oh-by-the-way? I also got you something else that will be arriving in the mail called The Payments. Just call it the gift that keeps on giving.

I wish... my car had not picked *now* to express that my feelings toward it over the last eight years and ten months have been entirely mutual. I wasn't really planning on acquiring a new (to me) car or, more specifically, a car payment. Merry Christmas to me? Guess I know who those commercials are for after all. Hardee. Har. Har.

A few plans for the rest of the week... include re-organizing, cleaning and some DVR-clearing. I want to get those first tow out of the way so that after Thanksgiving, I am free to enjoy the holiday festivities at WDW!

A picture to share... of the new-to-me car. (It's white, not light blue, but that's what you get from my cell phone.)

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Monday, November 15, 2010

Menu Plan Monday: November 15, 2010



Monday: Pulled pork sandwiches and corn on the cob.
Tuesday: (new recipe) Baked Ziti, with a salad & some garlic bread.
Wednesday: Leftovers.
Thursday: Kielbasa with sauerkraut & pierogies.
Friday: Pizza.
Saturday: (new recipe) Easy Cheesy Chicken Bake.
Sunday: Leftovers.

Notes from last week's menu: I ended up having some chicken noodle soup on Wednesday as I fought off a cold. Saturday, we grabbed a couple of subs from the deli at Publix.

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Friday, November 12, 2010

Food & Wine Festival 2010: The Finale

I'm still not sure how we found the room for this last round after all the food we consumed all week. I'm not even sure how I've managed to be hungry at all since then, although truth be told, while I am *starving* at meal times, my appetite is easily curbed.

I started with something I had been curiously eying since I first laid eyes on this year's menu.

CANADA
Nanaimo Bar.

I don't even know where to start. The chilled-brittle chocolate layer on top? The dense brownie-like bottom with it bits of chopped nuts (and, I'm told, coconut flakes, though I didn't personally detect them)? The cool creamy custard sandwiched between the two? If I weren't so stuffed to the gills, I would have had at least two more of these.

But I had to leave some of the remaining stomach real estate open for...

IRELAND
Kerrygold Cheese Selection. Lobster and Scallop Fisherman's Pie.

Oh. My. Word. That fisherman's pie. You should just drool now. It was like a shepherd's pie but not. It was so so yummy. And the perfect comfort food for a chilly Winter evening. I do not even have the words. Also? I need that recipe. And then there was the cheese plate. The little cup held an apple chutney--tart/sweet and a pleasant surprise against the flavors of the cheeses--and the brown bread was heavy nutty bread, which I bet would have been amazing warm. The cheese on the bottom, the Ivernia, was the sharpest of the three, and was a lot in texture like a Parmesan. The one on the top was an Aged Irish Cheddar, less sharp but still with a bit of a bite. My favorite was the long piece in the middle, the Dubliner, which was milder & very creamy.

From here, we left for a reprise of the waffle in Belgium, and then moved along to several other locations where I passed in light of "saving room" because ohmigosh was I full. I finally located a corner of space when we arrived at...

ARGENTINA
Roasted Corn and Cheese Empanada. Pascual Toso Torrontes.

Nichole & I split this one. The corn & cheese tucked into the pastry was wonderful. A little heavier than I anticipated (or maybe that was just because I was STUFFED) but very tasty. I liked the wine, but at the time we were too busy laughing for me to have retained anything more to share about it.

Before my final stop of the day for seconds on the heirloom tomato salad in the United States, there was one last dish on my list of must-tries. So we doubled back to...

SOUTH KOREA
Lettuce Wrap with Roast Pork and Kimchi Slaw.

This had a bit of kick to it, but the lettuce helped to cool it off just a bit. It was a messy taste, though not as messy as its counterpart from an earlier round (the Barbecue Short Rib). And I may or may not have washed it down with another glass of the Black Raspberry Rice Wine--the world will never know. ;-)

The only complaint I really have about Food & Wine Fest? That my stomach isn't big enough to hold more. There were far too many options for a girl with decision-making issues and ridiculous levels of yumminess that I wish I could have tried more than once. That's really not much of a problem, though, is it? =) Already looking forward to 2011.

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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Right Now: November 11, 2010

Outside my window... it's almost dark already. I think I am probably one of the few people who doesn't hate that turning the clocks back means it's not light out as late into the evening. It feels cozy to me.

I am thinking... mosquitoes should be outlawed in the middle of November. Sheesh! *Two* of them in the apartment tonight!

I am thankful for... those who have served this great country, keeping its citizens safe & protecting the freedoms we have here.

From the kitchen... came some creamy garlic noodles & corn to go with the BBQ chicken on the grill.

I am wearing... red track pants & a tank top.

I am creating... a WDW Christmas plan. There are so many special holiday events & so much beautiful decorating that I want to see.

I am going... to have a nice quiet low-key weekend.

I am reading... lots of blogs this week, in an effort to finally catch up on my Google Reader. Almost there!

I am hoping... to get up bright & early to get my sheets & towels washed this thing Saturday morning, before the laundry room gets busy.

I am hearing... the end of Jeopardy.

Around the house... is clutter. It is maddening. It will be corrected this weekend, now that I've recovered from last week's fun but busy plans.

One of my favorite things... is Dunkin Donuts Apple 'n Spice donuts.

I don't understand... how Derek Jeter won a Gold Glove over the Rangers' shortstop, Elvis Andrus.

I wish... people wouldn't touch things on my desk at work. It drives me nuts!

A few plans for the rest of the week... are mundane: housework, errands, relaxing.

A picture to share... found at Hollywood Studios last week, this just cracked me up.

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Food & Wine Festival 2010: Round Five

We started Saturday's excursion just after the World Showcase opened for the day with...

DESSERTS & CHAMPAGNE
Strawberry Angel Verrine. Dark Chocolate Sensation. Moet & Chandon Nectar Imperial Rose.

What? You don't believe in starting a meal with dessert or having champagne at 11am? Sometimes you just have to live a little. I kind of expected to like the Dark Chocolate Sensation better (because, hello, CHOCOLATE) but it just seemed heavy to me. This may or may not have had something to do with the fact that it followed the extremely light & delicate Strawberry Angel Verrine, which was all airy angel cake with strawberries & cream & a wee bit of custard. Not to mention, I went with the sweetest BUBBLES! they had to offer. Not saying the chocolate wasn't good, though, because it was. I just liked the strawberry dessert more.

Once I had licked my plate, we set sail for...

CHARCUTERIE & CHEESE
Cheese Fondue with Croutons and Roasted Potatoes. Nueske's Charcuterie Plate with Applewood Smoked Beef, Duck and Ham.

First, there is just no way that melty cheese can possibly be bad. As for the smoked meats, I liked the beef the best. The duck was a little too...something for me. The ham was just ham, which I have on my own frequently.

We stayed "local" for our next tasting, hopping just one booth over to...

CANADA
Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup. Chicken Chipotle Sausage with Sweet Corn Polenta.

The soup was creamy cheesy goodness with a bit of potato in it. The sausage & polenta were tasty, but I enjoyed them less than the soup. I really only had a taste of each. We were sharing so we had room to try more things in...

FRANCE
Creme Brulee au Chocolat au Lait

I'm pretty sure very few desserts provide more satisfaction than the tapping of the caramelized sugar on the top of a creme brulee. It was surprisingly light, both in taste & texture, but so very yummy. Just enough sweet, just enough chocolate, just enough weight to it to be enjoyable without leaving me too stuffed to move on to...

POLAND
Golabki.

I had been waiting on this dish forever, it seemed. And it was so worth the wait. That was a little piece of pork-stuffed cabbage heaven.

It took some time to free up some more space. I had a nibble of dishes Nichole & Daniel were sampling but really just enough to get the flavor of it (my rule for photos was it had to be something I ate at least a whole mouthful of, so nibbles didn't count) but it took me nearly a full lap to find the space for...

AUSTRALIA
Lamington.

This was delicious. I wasn't sure what to expect from the description: Chocolate-Covered Butter Cake. Now I know why they left it at that. It couldn't have been put into words. The butter cake was rich-tasting but not at all brick-heavy. The chocolate frosting was lick-the-fork-clean good. And the coconut was just the right addition. I'm pretty sure I couldn't have selected a better way to end this round.

Just one last circuit remaining...

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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I Want Wednesday: November 10, 2010

**This Sport+Store would be awesome for my trips to WDW when I travel light (aka camera-less). I Want it in chrome please!


**I Want this cozy Land' End cardigan in Cappuccino Heather. I am always freezing at work but most days, I just don't need an actual coat (hello, I *do* live in Florida!) & I get tired of wearing my two light track jackets.


**Now don't go getting any funny ideas with this one. I'm just a Disney fan & a girl. But if I *were* in a state of planning (I'm not) & I were one of those women who was doing it up big (I am *so* not), I have no doubt I'd be saying "I Want to wear the Belle Disney wedding gown!" It's so soft & pretty. (Also, I didn't care for the Aurora design, which is a bummer, her being my favorite princess & all.)


**They say this is a bridesmaid dress & if I were in the market for such things, I would totally go for this JCrew dress in vintage burgundy. It's the perfect shade of red & I think it's a style that would work on almost anyone. Plus, it really *must* be one of those dresses you could wear again, because if I needed a pretty dress for a fancy party (I don't), this would be the one I Want.


**I Want to see the Candlelight Processional at Epcot, preferably narrated by either Trace Adkins or Brad Garret. I think either has a great voice for narration.

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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Top Ten Tuesday: November 9, 2010

Top Ten Things I'm Looking Forward to This Weekend

10. Wearing comfy yoga pants.
9. Flopping on the couch with my fuzzy blanket.
8. Flipping through some magazines.
7. Editing the rest of my photos from last week.
6. Catching up on some more DVR'd television.
5. Spending some time with Troy.
4. Being guaranteed the Patriots game on Sunday Night Football.
3. Doing some housework (I'll be relieved to get rid of some clutter--it bugs me).
2. Mindlessly playing Cafe World.
1. Changing out my Halloween ghosts & witches for Thanksgiving decor. The pumpkins all stay up!

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Monday, November 8, 2010

Menu Plan Monday: November 8, 2010



Monday: Sausage burgers and tater tots.
Tuesday: Goulash with garlic bread and a salad.
Wednesday: A Kashi frozen pizza that's taking up some space in my freezer.
Thursday: BBQ chicken, garlic butter noodles and corn.
Friday: Tilapia with Lemon-Butter Wine Sauce, wild rice and broccoli.
Saturday: Depends on what the day holds.
Sunday: Leftovers?

Stayed the course last week. The only days that "changed" were the days I was at WDW, only in that I actually know where I ate dinner: Tuesday - Biergarten, Friday - Desserts & Fireworks (that's right, dessert for dinner), Saturday - Via Napoli, Sunday - Epcot for Food & Wine Fest.

The logo at the top will link you to more menu plans!

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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Food & Wine Festival 2010: Round Four

On the first counterclockwise excursion around the World Showcase Lagoon, Nichole, Daniel & I made our first stop in...

NEW ZEALAND
Seared Sea Scallop with Vegetable Slaw and Lemon Vinaigrette. Villa Maria Private Bin "Unoaked" Hawkes bay Chardonnay.

I had the sea scallop last year as well. It was perfectly seared & so tasty, especially against the crunch of the vegetable slaw. i wish I could recall more about the wine...but I can't.

It didn't take us long to decide on our next destination. The lure is just too great to bear to pass by the delicious smells coming from...

GREECE
Chicken Souvlaki with Tzatziki. Boutari Naoussa.

The chicken souvlaki was very tasty, but a little challenging to eat (especially when you are attempting to split it between three people). It was worth it though. The yogurt sauce added a nice dimension to the spices on the chicken. I don't seem to remember anything about this wine either--I actually had to text Daniel to figure out which one it even was!--which leads me to wonder if I even took a sip at all. I shouldn't have trouble remembering the *first* two wines of the day...

It was particularly warm on Sunday, so our next mission was to find Nichole a cool, refreshing beverage. We landed in...

FRANCE
Escargot Persillade en Brioche.

While Nichole sipped a Parisian Cosmo Slush, I shared some escargot with Daniel. It was just as much buttery, garlicky goodness as the last time...and *this* time I remembered to snap a photo!

After departing France, our next stop brought us home to...

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Heirloom Tomatoes with Oregon Blue Cheese, Red Onions and Basil. Sagelands Vineyard Riesling, Columbia Valley.

I have been anticipating this dish since I first laid eyes on this year's Food & Wine Fest menu. I waited for the one person who enjoys tomatoes & basil as much as I do. It was not easy. This salad was so.very.good. We discussed attempting to recreate this ourselves at a later date, but substituting thinly sliced shallot for the red onion & increasing the amount of basil. Really, though? You cannot go wrong where tomatoes & basil meet. The Riesling is as they all are for me: delicious. I surprised myself by immediately noticing that this one had a definite citrus flavor to it! I usually don't taste the subtle flavors of a wine that easily & I thought I was mistaken, but Daniel confirmed it. (The red wine in the photo was the Sagelands Vineyard Merlot, Four Corners, that he chose. I didn't actually order two wines. Heh.)

Determining that it was time for something sweet to wrap up our culinary travels, we made our way to...

GERMANY
Apfel Strudel featuring Wether's Original Karamell Sauce. Gunderloch Diva Spatlese Riesling.

There is just something so satisfying & comforting to me about apple strudel. Plain or with a sauce. Warm or room temperature. With raisins or without. This strudel had just a couple of raisins & was room temperature, but the best part were the *two* sauces. It sat in a wonderful pool of vanilla sauce & was topped with a super yummy caramel drizzle. (You'll have to forgive the photo. It was dark out & I was left with the sole option of having my dessert & wine held beneath a muted light while I tried to hold as still as possible, since I never bring a tripod into the parks with me.) The Riesling--mmmm, Riesling--was sweeter than the one I had with the heirloom tomato salad, and it had a definite apple undertone. More specifically, it distinctly reminded me of the mellowed flavor that my Gramp's apples had during the Winter, when he would bring a few up from the root cellar to slice & have with popcorn. It was the strangest thing for me to taste that so vividly. Each sip started out tasting "just like wine," and ended with the "tingly bite" that wines always have for me, but between those two was a burst of mellow apple, plain as day.

I still have a pretty decent list of dishes I want to try. I am sure we'll make at least one more round this coming weekend & then I will have one last chance the following weekend to squeeze in anything I've missed. I can't believe it's been almost six weeks already!

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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Top Ten Tuesday: November 2, 2010

Playing around with a new idea. Random Top Ten lists that pop into my head. =)

Top Ten Favorite Trick-or-Treat Candies
10. Bite-sized Twix
9. Fun-sized Hershey bars
8. Fun-sized Kitkats
7. Bite-sized Milky Ways
6. Fun-sized M&Ms
5. Fun-sized Twizzlers
4. Fun-sized York Peppermint Patties
3. Fun-sized Starburst
2. Reese's Peanut Butter Cups
1. Reese's Peanut Butter Pumpkins (and yes, there *is* a difference, I cannot even believe one would suggest otherwise)

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Monday, November 1, 2010

Menu Plan Monday: November 1, 2010



Monday: Spaghetti & meatballs with salad, maybe some garlic bread.
Tuesday: Something at WDW. I have a vaction day!
Wednesday: Meatloaf patties, mashed potatoes & French-cut green beans.
Thursday: A quick "Chicken Voila" meal from the freezer & a salad.
Friday: Another vacation day for me & another meal at WDW.
Saturday: More WDW.
Sunday: WDW?

Minus some kitchen drama last Tuesday, the menu was executed exactly as planned. Saturday's dinner was at ESPN Club while we watched the World Series on the big screen & Sunday's dinner was Food & Wine Fest, Round Four.

The logo at the top will link you to more menu plans!

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Snapshot from Along the Broken Road: October 2010

A photo of me:
Take your pick!



1) Candle scents this month:
Mango Peach Salsa. Honeydew Melon. Apple Cider. Home Sweet Home. Orchard Pear. Cafe Au Lait. Vineyard. Pumpkin Pie. Autumn Wreath. Mandarin Cranberry. Apple Pie. Autumn Leaves.

2) What I am reading this month:
Many magazines. Trying to weed through the pile still & get them recycled.

3) Top three four songs I was drawn to:
"Trip Around the Sun," Jimmy Buffet with Martina McBride. "My Best Days Are Ahead of Me," Danny Gokey. "Days Go By," Keith Urban. "Don't Blink," Kenny Chesney.

4) Movies I saw:
Not a single one. There is no time, between new tv shows, playoff baseball & football starting.

5) Favorite tv moments of the month:
Fringe: The Box - I loved the look on Walter's face when he got his inheritance from Bell. The Big Bang Theory: The Zazzy Substitution - I laughed so hard when Sheldon said "Zazzy!" when introducing the cat.

6) Something yummy I made:
I tried several yummy new recipes, but I think the Pumpkin Chili won.

7) Restaurants where I ate:
TGIFriday's. Louie Mack. Bonefish Grill. ESPN Club. Cosmic Rays.

8) Something that made me cry:
The Chilean miners rescue. Their reactions upon being brought up from the mine. The people who rescued them. The whole thing was very moving.

9) A goal I had for this month:
To get some direction on my medical issue. I'm definitely moving in the right direction! I have a specialist selected, details in line from my insurance company & some wheels in motion.

10) This month I looked forward to:
Food & Wine Festival!!

11) Something I want to remember about this month:
How excited the Rangers were each step of the post-season process. Things haven't gone as golden for them in the World Series so far (down 3-1 as of October 31), but they've still been a fun team to watch.

12) A photo I took this month:

Italy Pavilion, Epcot.

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