Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Still learning how to Blog...

There are soooo many things I want to learn about blogging. I'm trying really hard not to get frustrated! I've been sitting here for 3 hours trying to figure out how to expand the width of my blog so I can post my pictures bigger. Found a great website with a tutorial on how to use cute fonts for my titles, but it seemed really complicated. Maybe I'm just tired or maybe my brain is about to explode ~ either way this is for the birds. Why can't I just be happy with the way it is?? What is the purpose of a cute blog??

I keep thinking back to high school computer class; I remember feeling completely clueless then too. We had to write a program and it was so foreign to me. My thoughts I remember thinking were, "I will never use this info in the future, why do I have to learn it now." Man, little did I know ~ I really should have paid more attention.

I'm going to try to post a picture of our sweet little puppy and see if it's any bigger; if it doesn't work, I'm going to bed!

This is Sam ~ the newest addition to our family

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Gingerbread House Perfection

2005 Gingerbread House

I've never been one to believe in evolution, but when thinking back on the past 5 years there has definitely been a process of evolution when it comes to our gingerbread house creations. The first gingerbread house we created R was three and I was determined the house was going to look exactly like the one on the box. This resulted in mommy doing all the work and my pre-schooler watching the self-proclaimed master gingerbread house decorator at work. Over the last several years I've tried my best to let the kids take on that roll, but all of you type A personalities out there know how hard that is. Well, I was determined that this would be the "year of the perfect gingerbread house" and when I announced to the kiddos that they would be doing it all from assembly to decoration they jumped up and down as if I had just announced a trip to Disney Land.

Precious little hands at work

A few hours later the kids (with a little help from their wanna-be cake decorator mom) had created a very lovely little village. The pictures I captured tell a story of evolution ~ evolution of a mom who realized that the real beauty is in watching little hands create the

~ Perfect Gingerbread House ~

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

New Year's Resolution #1

It may seem a little premature to be thinking about New Year's resolutions since Christmas is still a few days away, but I can't help to shake that all too familiar urge to save money that hits me this time every year.
For a few years now I've had a growing love for Starbucks.

It all started when a good friend and I decided to meet for a latte. We enjoyed visiting over our hot drinks and banana bread so much we decided to try to meet every couple of weeks. We see each other every day picking our kids up from school, but there's something special about carving out time to meet for a latte. She usually gets an Earl Grey and I my beloved Chai tea latte.

Ahhhh...there's really nothing better than a hot, creamy, peppery sweet cup o' Chai. For the first couple of months of the past few years I've been able to enjoy this indulgence guilt free because my sweet mom always treats me with a gift card for Christmas; once the gift card runs out I have to justify my treat with an occasional "I earned this" note to self. Well, this time of year always puts me in money-saving mode, I am thinking I need to limit my trips to Starbucks. 

 Enter my answer to resolution #1 ~ Starbucks uses this exact tea concentrate in their lattes and when shaken and stirred just right is a dead ringer for the $4 cup of heaven I indulge myself with all to often. Maybe it's the time of year or just the stress of the season, but I've found myself pulling up to the drive-thru and ordering a latte like I'm some spoiled rich lady with money to burn. You have to understand something ~ up until about two years ago I had never even been to Starbucks. I used to scoff at people waiting their turn at the drive-thru throwing their money away.
I'm determined to gain control of this monster I've created ~ I'm not saying my Starbuck going days are over entirely; I'm just saying the monster needs a leash.

~ Here's to ending 2011 with a little more money in my pocket ~

Sunday, December 19, 2010

How do we love you? Let us count the ways...

I must say I don't know many people who love grapefruits as much as we do; and when I say we I mean me and my kiddos. We live for the winter because we know we will finally get to enjoy grapefruit season. My sister-in-law always calls in October to see if we want to buy grapefruits from the Jr. class and I always say "YES!" with way too much excitement that is normal when talking about fruit. This year I bought 3 boxes which equals 72 grapefuits and we've already enjoyed a box and a half. :) Sure you can buy grapefruit year round, and I have given in a few times when the kids have begged hard enough, but when we get home we're always dissapointed. I don't know many 5 year olds who ask their moms if it's grapefruit season yet. It's not out of the ordinary for us to eat six grapefruits at one sitting ~ I mean we really love grapefruit.

When you think about it, it's amazing how God works...yes, I've skipped from grapefruits to God, but bear with me there is a point to this. The winter months are the hardest on our bodies because we're stuck inside deprived of the vitamin D our bodies need to keep illnesses at bay ~ enter the glorious grapefruit ~ full of vitamin C; which as we all know is very important to our immune systems. Once again, God knew exactly what He was doing when he created the pamplemousse (that's French for grapefruit because I thought you might be getting tired of reading the word grapefruit.)

BTW, February is National Grapefruit Month, but I just couldn't wait 'til then to blog about this juicy fruit.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Jump with me Mommy...

This is a question I hear about 50 times a day and about half the time I give into the request. Everytime I hear her sweet little voice say those four little words I'm taken back a few years to when her older brother was a toddler and would say, "Pay toys wiff me momma, pay toys." There's no way to pin point the last time he uttered those words, and that fact alone is what has made me so conscious of his sister's efforts to get me on the trampoline. I know all too soon jumping with their mom will be the last thing they want to do. Yesterday was December 15th and 80 degrees outside so when she asked me to jump with her it almost felt criminal to even consider saying "no." In the summer we take advantage of the warm weather and know we can pass on spending every minute outside because one beautiful day follows the next, but now in the middle of winter we must spend as much time outside knowing tomorrow may bring a freezing wind and snow flurries.

Not only do we have a blast jumping, we play games like Crack the Egg, Dead Man Dead Man Come Alive and ever so often the tickle monster shows up and might even give a wedgie or two. There's nothing better than the sound of my kiddos laughing...oh yes there is, the sound of us all laughing together. I had Bub take my picture jumping on the trampoline on my 37th birthday; I think the 'jumpoline' as he used to call it, is the perfect tool to help keep you feeling young and alive. Those of you moms out there who think your too old to jump ~ try it. I promise you'll be feeling like a kid again in no time. And the next time I hear the words, "Jump with me Mommy," I'll set aside all that seems too important and race them to the trampoline. You never know it could be the last time those words are spoken ~

Monday, December 13, 2010

How about a bowl full of yummy Buck-eyes? I found this recipe a few years ago in a Gooseberry Patch cookbook and thought they sounded like a little bit of heaven. I decided this year it would be great to make a little something for the people at school that might get overlooked when it comes time for gift giving; when I came across this recipe again I thought it looked perfect. I've already tasted several just to make sure they were ok to share. :) They're so delish I've decided to share the recipe. The only thing I would change is next time I will dip the entire ball of peanut butter goodness into the chocolate. The recipe says to only dip 3/4 of the ball, but the peanut butter is a little gooey. If it were all encased in chocolate it would be easier to bag up and share. Enough about that ~ here's the recipe:


2 c. creamy peanut butter
1 c. graham cracker crumbs
2 c. powdered sugar
4 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
4 T. shortening

Combine peanut butter, graham cracker crumbs and powdered sugar, mixing until smooth; refrigerate at least one hour. Roll teaspoonfuls of peanut butter mixture into balls and place on wax paper; refrigerate until ready to dip. (I found it helpful to freeze for about 10 minutes before dipping.) Melt chocolate chips and shortening in a double boiler, stirring until smooth. Insert a toothpick in the peanut butter balls and dip in chocolate until 3/4 covered. Return to wax paper to cool. Makes 5 dozen. 

As we were rolling the balls I couldn't help but think about Christmases past...all of us cousins sneaking the wonderful candy that was always present at the dessert table. I have two aunts who are excellent candy makers. Somehow their ball candy was always perfectly round and shiny with chocolate ~ almost too pretty to eat. I wish I had a picture of the hard cinnamon and wintergreen candy or the Martha Washingtons...mmmm, those were the best.

Here's wishing all of you a season full of sweet memories...

Sunday, December 12, 2010

This is so cool!!!

Thank you to my friend Jennifer for pointing me in the right direction. The Clover Lane blog has the best intructions on how to create really cute blog headers using Picasa. Oh, let me tell you, this is just beginning people. I can become a little obsessive when I get my mind made up (I did rinse cloth diapers for 3 years because a few loved ones thought I would cave after the first week.) I was up at 5am this morning copying instructions.  Some of you may remember a while back I posted on FB how "behind the curve" I am when it comes to technology; so really it's ok that I'm just learning how to and getting interested in blogging...I'm right on time.

Next thing on the list to master: how to put music on my blog...


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