Dec 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!!!!

I can't believe today is Christmas Eve! It came so fast this year, but I am happy to say I have nothing left to do. Well, until Friday, at least. The house is clean, laundry is done, candy and cookies are made. Now it's time to just "be" in the moment, and enjoy what this season is really about.

Today we are going to go to Brad's Mom and Dad's to open gifts. it's nice, because we get together early in the afternoon, and then we have time to go to church. We always to go Cold Springs Catholic church, they have the BEST Christmas Eve service. They put on a fantastic kids program, complete with "camels" that the kings ride in on! The girls love going to see it every year. Makes it seem more real for them. After church we'll come home and open gifts with the girls. After they go to bed, we'll get everything set up for Christmas morning!! I can't wait. Emma got an American Girl doll (The Kit Kittredge one) and an accessory set, and Rachel got an MP3 player, and an IDOG. Alayna we just got her a doll accessory set (the stroller, car seat, high chair). But the big gift is Rock Band. Although, I'm not sure if that was really for the kids, or maybe just for Brad:) Anyway, can't wait!

We will deliver some goodies to the neighbors before we go today, I bought tins from Crafts Direct, and I filled them with cut out cookies, date filled cookies, English toffee (never made it before, but it was so easy and sooo good!) and chocolate truffles. The girls are excited to have them out:)

I am including pics of the girls making their gingerbread house with Brad. I had a meeting Monday night, so they got to have fun with Dad! It turned out awfully cute!

Have a wonderful, blessed, and safe Holiday Season!!!!!!

Dec 17, 2008

Homemade Christmas

I thought I would share some of the things we made for Christmas this year! I decided I would try my hand in making lip gloss and scrubs this year. The lip gloss was super easy, I bought the supplies from, which was just a tub of their lip gloss base. I should have used the tubes instead of pots, as the consistency is much more of a chap stick than lip gloss, oh well lesson learned. I flavored it with a cherry berry flavor oil that I got from the same place. I had waaaay too much oil leftover, so I made a sugar scrub also. That was 2 cups of sugar, oil (I used olive, because that was all I had on hand. next time I will buy some almond oil), and oil. You add the oil so it is the right consistency, and add several drops of oil. You could use any kind of essential oil, I'm going to make some lavender scrub next time. The I bought some cute little jars from crafts Direct and decorated them. They turned out super cute!!
For the daycare parents, we made potholders that have their hand print on one side, and the poem, "Big hands and little hands together make quick work" on the other side. The kids LOVE to paint! We also made ornaments (I got these at Crafts Direct too), just glass ones that the kids rubbed on a saying on the front, then filled the ornaments with these Styrofoam colored balls. These were adorable! We also made salt dough ornaments, stockings, hand print angels, reindeer (with their hand and footprints) and little manger ornaments. We've been busy! This is my favorite part of staying home though, getting to make these things with the kids:)

Dec 16, 2008


Yes, our tree is really that bright. You may think that it looks like it's glowing in that picture, but it really is. You see, we had to buy a new Christmas tree this year (water in the basement and a tree in a box don't exactly mix...) and Bradley thought, "hey, what about a tree with 1500 lights on it?" Ok, well, our other tree only had maybe 800 lights on it. We love lots of lights, and this one was pre-lit (No more dealing with Mr.Scrooge, aka Brad on putting up Christmas tree day) so Brad happily brought it home.

If you haven't seen National Lampoons Christmas Vacation, you might want to watch it. There's a part where Chevy Chase's character finally gets all the outdore lights on, and the whole family stands outside to watch him light it up. It ends up blinding the whole neighborhood because there were so many lights. Well, that was us. I could hear the angles singing from above when we lit that baby up. You can see the tree from a couple miles away. Not kidding either. It's a beautiful tree, and now we're used to it, but I'm telling ya, if you plan on visiting, make sure to bring your sunglasses!!!

My favorite time of the year

Anyone who knows me, knows that Christmas is my FAVORITE, most FAVORITE time of the year. If the Christmas season could last six months, I'd be all over it. I know people hate when stores start putting out Christmas things in September, but I loooove it!! I love the sites, the smells, the food. Every piece of it. My favorite thing to do is sit in the living room with the fireplace on, having a glass of wine and reading a book. I am trying this year to really "be" in the moment. And to be honest, I feel like I'm succeeding! I'm also teaching the girls more about the true meaning of Christmas and I think they understand that it's not all about them getting gifts, it's about helping others. This year we decided to "adopt" a family from our church and buy gifts for them. With money donations from others, we were able to buy all of their gifts on their wish list! It was so fun to take the girls and have them pick out the toys. Rachel said she really liked doing it, but she wished she could be there to see the kids open their gifts:) And just yesterday Emma was talking about how she really wanted a baby that pees on a potty (seriously, the things they come up with, ugh) (and no, she isn't getting it, sorry kid) and Rachel reminded her that Christmas isn't all about what you get, it's about helping others. WOOHOO FOR RACHEL!!!! She gets major bonus points, lol!
So, I am really at the point of enjoying Christmas, my shopping is mostly done, cards are done, baking is done, and daycare gifts for the parents are finished. Now I can breathe a sigh of relief! I really hope and pray that all of us can sit back, have a mug of something hot and remember why we celebrate Christmas!

Dec 14, 2008

It's snowing, it's snowing!!!!!!!!!

This, my friends, is my dream day. Completely. I was up at my usual time (6:15) drank some coffee and popped the cinnamon rolls in the oven. Emma and Alayna had made the dough last night. And all day long, we have watched is storm something fierce, I LOVE this!!! It's been so cozy hanging out with nothing to do. We did manage to venture outside for some sledding this afternoon. It is COLD out there! But we all had fun (including Jasmine:).

This was a great weekend of getting caught up with things. Yesterday the girls and I made some of the Christmas gifts that we're giving this year, homemade lipgloss and a body scrub. The girls had church practice for a couple hours yesterday morning. We brought in the gifts that we bought for our adopted family in church. The girls really enjoyed buying gifts for the kids, and I pray that we got the right things! I made a batch of lasagna for supper. It was a no-boil recipe that was super easy, and very good. Brad spent the day building a new dog house for Jasmine, that will be one lucky pooch. She even has a hallway in it, for pete's sake. Last night the girls wanted to watch home movies from last year, so that's what we did. I can't belive how much a year changes them! It's so much fun to see them in their younger days.

This week will be busy finishing Christmas gifts and some more baking, and just plain getting things ready for Christmas. I can't wait for my vacation, but I'll be sad when Christmas is actually here. I think the month leading up to it is so much fun, with the holiday movies, music, crafts and other fun things we do. It makes the winter not seem so bad, lol!!
I've included pics of us outside today, and the lasagna recipe!!
No Boil Lasagna

1 qt. spaghetti sauce
1lb. ground beef
1c. water
1 (15 oz) container ricotta cheese (I used cottage cheese and it was just as good)
1 egg, beaten
8 oz. shredded mozz cheese
1/3 c. water
1/4 c. parmesan cheese
1Tbls. parsley flakes
Dash nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 c. parmesan cheese

Brown gorund beef, drain excess fat; add i quart spaghetti sauce and 1 cup water, bring to boil.

In large bowl, mix together Ricotta cheese, beaten egg, mozz cheese, 1/3 c water, 1/4 c parm cheese, parsley flakes and nutmeg. Add salt and pepper if desired.

To assemble: Use lasagna strips uncooked, but rinse in hot water before layering ina 9x13 pan.

Layer as follows:
1. 1 2/3 c sauce, lasagna strips, 1/2 cheese mixture
2. 1 2/3 c sauce, lasagan strips, rest of cheese mixture
3. 1 2/3 c sauce, lasagna strips, remaining sauce
4. top with 1/2 c parm cheese or lots of shredded mozz

Bake at 375 covered with aluminum foil for 40, uncover and bake 15 minutes longer. Let sit for 5-10 minutes.

Dec 10, 2008

Oh the weather outside is......

COLD! Jeepers, we finally have snow, and we're all dying to get outside and sled, but it's too darn cold to go out! Maybe today will be better. We have about 2-3 inches of snow, and that makes me a happy mama. We have a fantastic sledding hill that we love. As happy as I was to see spring coming last year, I was truly very sad that my snow was gone, we had so much fun sledding!

Last night Mom came over and we baked Christmas cookies. Besides three floured children, and a kitchen/dining room full of flour and sprinkles, we managed to put out about eight dozen cookies! We just made the normal cut outs, and then I made my Grandma Omi's Date Filled cookies. The girls of course had a blast and at the end, Miss Alayna was licking sprinkles off the counter. *sigh* Anyway, it was fun, and that's all that matters. It doesn't matter that I spent the whole night cleaning up, or bathing the girls. Nope, it was allllll about them having fun. Just kidding, that's the funny part about being a parent though. I really could have cared less if I had to re-make all the cookies, just seeing them have so much fun was all worth it! Really!

Brad and I bought a new camera, and as soon as I figure out how to get pics from the camera onto the computer, I'll post baking pictures. It's a Sony something or other. I love it, takes great pics, and I don't have to try to hold the battery in while taking a picture!! It also records video too, very neat. This is our Christmas present to each other.

well, I'm off to wake up two crabby kids and get them breakfast, wish me luck:)

Dec 5, 2008

She's Baaaaaaaaack!!

Yikes, it's been almost a month, but, I'm DONE with the novel, and am excited to lead a normal life again. The month of November felt very long for me, I got tired of the novel on about day 5, lol. Seriously though, I just didn't enjoy this year near as much as I enjoyed last year. But, I have successfully written two novels, and look forward to getting my first one published!!

The girls are wonderful, today is report card day, hahahahaha! Now I get to really see what they're like in school! Alayna is still my beautiful, precious, loving, non-whiny, EXTREMELY patient, two year old. Oh, wait, I'm sorry, I was talking about me. She still makes me crazy, but I try my hardest to ignore the thirty minute tantrums while hanging on to my legs as I cook. I know that this too shall pass, and I try to remember to the song by Trace Adkins, "You're Gonna Miss This". I know I will, ROTFL!!!! (That's, Roll On The Floor Laughing, for you not familiar with computer lingo)

Life is busy right now, trying to get finished with Christmas gifts, Sunday School practice, school, gymnastics, and the rest of life. But, as one of my friends said, be glad to be busy because it means your life is full and filled with friends. Very true!

Ok, I promise to post some new recipes, hopefully this weekend. Have a great one!