Tuesday, November 30, 2010

2010 advent activities

It suddenly hit me today: December is tomorrow. Time flies when you're not sleeping, right? I put up the advent calendar yesterday, and planned out all our activities. Here's what this year holds for us

W-1 Put up Christmas decorations
TH-2 Read Christmas books
F-3 Watch Nightmare Before Christmas
S-4 Rae's birthday, get tree and decorate it
SU-5 Attend a Nativity/Music event at Church
M-6 Set up our Nativity while reading the Christmas Story
T-7 Make Ornaments
W-8 Watch "Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown"
TH-9 Make Snowflakes
F-10 Make House cookies
S-11 Watch Polar Express
SU-12 Drive around and look at lights – award the best looking lights with a plate of cookies
M-13 Make soap snowmen
T-14 Aidan’s special day at preschool
W-15 Make cookies for fire station/library/secretaries
TH-16 Deliver Treats to WBH's work for secretaries
F-17 Preschool Christmas Party
S-18 Church Party or Family movie night
SU-19 Make cards to send preschool friends in the mail
M-20 brother present shopping (taking kiddos to the dollar store to let them 'choose' gifts)
T-21 Make and deliver treats to the firestation and library
W-22 Stinky's Birthday
TH-23 Make bird feeders and read The Animal's Christmas Carol.
F-24 Christmas Eve Dinner at Grandma and Grandpa's house.

Monday, November 29, 2010

I Made it Monday: Buttoned-Up Cowl

This cowl gift for my friend who lives next door, and it's a great last minute handmade gift. Even a beginning knitter could work this up. I'll be writing up a tutorial for a series next month on last -minute handmade gifts.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sunday Inspiration

What will you and I give for Christmas this year? Let us in our lives give to our Lord and Savior the gift of gratitude by living His teachings and following in His footsteps. It was said of Him that He 'went about doing good.' As we do likewise, the Christmas spirit will be ours.

Thomas S. Monson

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Week of Thanksgiving: You!

Stinky sledding on Thanksgiving. Perfect afternoon.

I'm grateful for you all! Thank you for reading my blog. I sometimes worry about putting stuff out into the void, but I love knowing that people are reading. Thank you for reading and commenting, even when I can't always respond right away- the perils of blogging with a new baby on my lap. You all boost me up!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Week of Thanksgiving: The List

Here's what was on our Gratitude Tree this year:

* Naptime * Being Together * Stinky * to b e me * Tealah * Mommy * Daddy * Excedrin * Bubba * Rotten * PreSchool * hand-me-downs * our house * baloons * sugar * Santa Claus * Warm Blankets * having a job * kisses * a high concentration of awesome * Movie Days * candy * toys * WBH * electricity * aunts and uncles * family * my birthday * aunt heather * home * bedtime * cousins * halloween *

Cookie Friday: Jello Cookie Recipe

Jello cookies are just plain fun. Now, I've only made them with lime Jello and Strawberry Jello, so those are the only flavors I can vouch for. We took the opportunity to practice letter recognition, so we made cookie sets for our whole family and many friends. Unfortunately, my "r" cookie cutter is missing, so we had to get creative with some names. As always, let me know if you try these out- I imagine these could make some great seasonal treats with the right cookie cutter/jello combination.

1/3 cup shortening
1/2 cup sugar
1 (3 ounce) package jello
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

Cream shortening and sugar. Add jello and eggs until blended, then slowly add dry ingredients. Roll to 1/3-inch and use cookie cutters to get desired shapes.* Bake at 350 degrees for 6-8 minutes, depending on size. Cool on rack and enjoy!

*Alternately, you can ball the dough, roll in sugar and flatten with a glass. Check what the bottom of the glass looks like first, though. I'll tell you why sometime.

As always, please let me know if you make these and how they turn out!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Week of Thanksgiving: Friends

I mentioned the friends we wer so grateful for, and just to mention a few are Tealah (above), whom we jokingly call my sisterwife (seriously joking here, folks. We don't do that anymore and haven't for a long, long time). I love this girl like she was my sister- I'd break knees for her. Since moving here, we've met James and Elizabeth, some of our very favorite people at church. We're so grateful for their friendship! Also, Kevin and Thalia, the next door neighbors we're SO glad to have and call friends- the kind that will forgive your child for almost setting their house on fire! We're also thankful for having families that we can also call friends. This definitely tops my gratitude list this year.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Week of Thanksgiving: Home Sweet Home

Especially in our Arctic Blast this year, I'm grateful for our home. All the work WBH has done on it has been incredible, too, and it has been so exciting to see what it's becoming from what it was when we bought it.

More than the phyisical home itself, I'm grateful for the feelings we have when we're there. I'm glad it is a welcoming, comfortable place for family and friends, and I'm grateful for all the fun times we have while at home.

We wanted badly to buy a home much earlier than we did- we tried three times to buy, but things were never right until this one. Now, with the friends we have, the congregation we attend, and the other community connections, we know we're exactly where we're meant to be.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Week of Thanksgiving: This Guy

WBH is one of my life's biggest blessings. He's an incredible husband, but watching him as a father makes me love him even more.

And thanks to snowy, icy weather, he's home with us today.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Week of Thanksgiving: Brothers

When we went in for the mid-pregnancy ultrasound, I was sure that our baby was a girl. I would have put money on it. When the ultrasound tech told me there was no doubt, this was another boy, I was shocked for a moment, and then I thought "brothers!" Then I cried like a baby, but good tears. I love the way that Stinky looks out for his little brother. I love that Rotten laughs and smiles at him in a different way than he does for anyone else. It's almost conspiritorial, and I know it should scare me. I'll worry when Rotten is mobile.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Week of Thanksgiving: Snowy Day!

We got the first pre-thanksgiving snow here in a long, long time. It was pretty light when I took these pictures, but Stinky loved running outside.

"Oh no! NoNuts is peeing on my snowflakes!" (Hooray for cropping, right?)
The rest of us are dealing with a cold, so we've spent a lot of the day snuggled under blankets, keeping warm. WBH is crossing his fingers for a 2 hour delay for school tomorrow- then it doesn't require an extra day, but he still can sleep in.

Week of Thanksgiving

To help Stinky learn about gratitude, he and I made a gratitude tree. We explained that when you're grateful for something, it means a lot to you and you're happy that you have it. Since then, he's drawn pictures on the tags and I've written what it was on the back of the picture. It's been fun to see what he thinks up, and while most of the trees outside are almost bare thanks to windstorms, this one keeps filling up. Somedays he has added 6 tags at a time- all with different things. This is definitely a tradition we'll repeat.

Another tradition that will be repeated is a week of Thanksgiving on the blog. Later on today and for the rest of this week, I'll post something I'm grateful for. Hope you'll be back.

Sunday Inspiration

"Gratitude is a mark of a noble soul and a refined character. We like to be around those who are grateful. They tend to brighten all around them. They make others feel better about themselves. They tend to be more humble, more joyful, more likable."

Joseph B Wirthlin

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Cookie Friday: Taking the Week Off.


Time has really gotten away from me this week! My sous chef and I will be back next week. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Blustery Day

I've been a little absent from the blog, as the boys and I have been spending time with their great-grandma who visited from Arizona this last week.

great-grandma here with my Daddio

Stinky really adored her, asking when we would visit her each morning. She snuggled Rotten, and praised both boys until I thought they might float away with their newly inflated egos. It was wonderful to have her here, and she will be missed now that she's in Arizona again, though I'm sure the warm weather there is more to her taste.

Our gloomy Western Washington winter is upon us. Our first big windstorms of the year are hitting us, making me grateful for these for walls, and the cheerful yellow we've painted on them. It's a nice contrast to the gray outside. Today is especially blustery and I've declared it a movie and sweatpants day, with a big pot of Cincinnati chili to warm us tonight-crossing our fingers that the power stays on.

Lots of projects are in the works- gifts for Christmas, furniture re-purposing, and a no-budget bedroom makeover for WBH and I. I'm really excited for all of it, but it has to be done in spurts, thanks to Stinky and Rotten. Looking forward to sharing those with you, and the sweet suit picture I promised last week.

I hope your week is going well- how are you dealing with the fall weather?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sunday Inspiration

Life offers you two precious gifts—one is time, the other freedom of choice, the freedom to buy with your time what you will. You are free to exchange your allotment of time for thrills. You may trade it for base desires. You may invest it in greed. …Yours is the freedom to choose. But these are no bargains, for in them you find no lasting satisfaction. Every day, every hour, every minute of your span of mortal years must sometime be accounted for. And it is in this life that you walk by faith and prove yourself able to choose good over evil, right over wrong, enduring happiness over mere amusement. And your eternal reward will be according to your choosing.

Richard L. Evans

Friday, November 12, 2010

Cookie Friday: PW's Oatmeal Krispies

I made Pioneer Woman's Oatmeal Crispies this week- I'll refer you to her site for the recipe. I subbed almonds for the pecans, because that's what we had, and added a little allspice. I wasn't crazy about them at first, but the second day, they were really, really good, and as you can see, Stinky wouldn't leave them alone long enough for a picture.

Happy Friday! Next week, Jello cookies!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Caution: This Post May Cause Sugar Cravings

The weekend was full of family and friends, Sunday being both blessing day, and a birthday. To prepare, I spent a lot of time in the kitchen, making pumpkin cream cheese cupcakes...

...German chocolate cupcakes...

...and birthday cake/cupcakes for my beautiful sister-in-law (who graciously let us hijack her birthday this year).

(It's chocolate with cream cheese and cool whip filling, vanilla frosting with crushed oreos- I wish I'd gotten a picture of it sliced. It was even prettier.)
Knowing this was coming, I decided to wait until after last Sunday to start working on losing the baby weight. The leftover cupcakes went to WBH's second period class, where he heard several "I wish my mom baked like this" remarks, which flattered and saddened me. Except for the pumpkin cupcakes, it's boxed mixes and canned frosting plus kisses, folks. Not too hard- it just surprised me to hear, I guess.
Studly suit pictures coming tomorrow!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Rotten's Blessing Day

I almost didn't post this picture, because it really isn't a good look for me, but on closer inspection, the details in this picture make me really happy.

  • WBH's beard is growing back in, because he's awesome and participates in group themed Halloween costumes.
  • Stinky's clothes are too big, because if I buy the size he's currently in, we can only use them for three months. He's covering his ears because a large number of family members were encouraging him to smile and stand next to us- he was trying to go get his flirt on with the leggy blonde about 20 feet to our right.
  • I look crazy tired because Rotten is going through a growth spurt and wants to eat all night long- but the dress just recently fit again and I was excited to wear it.
  • Rotten is barefoot because when WBH changed his diaper, he stuck his feet right in the poo. However, we managed to avoid any bodily fluids on the suit... yup, I've reached the poo-talk place. I'm telling you, I need more sleep.
  • Behind me, you can see the reflection of the stunning fall day that we started with- three hours later it was pouring rain.

So while on first glance I almost dismissed this picture, I'm glad I didn't. The stories in the details are too good to pass up.

More pictures to come!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Sunday Inspiration

In a hundred small ways, all of you wear the mantle of charity. Life is perfect for none of us. Rather than being judgmental and critical of each other, may we have the pure love of Christ for our fellow travelers in this journey through life. May we recognize that each one is doing her best to deal with the challenges which come her way, and may we strive to do our best to help out.

Thomas S. Monson

Saturday, November 6, 2010

It's a Good Crazy

My house smells like molten chocolate right now. That's not exactly kind to brag about, but it is true. This weekend is a whirlwind of family gatherings, beginning with my adorable sister-in-law's birthday lunch, continuing to Rotten's baby blessing and ending with a family luncheon. My grandmother, aunt, and uncle flew in from Arizona tonight. It will be crazy, but it's a good crazy. I'm mostly in charge of showing up with the baked goods, hence the chocolate scented house. I wish I could make this blog scratch and sniff.

Rotten will be wearing the same sweet suit that Stinky wore, that was also worn by his uncle. looking back on the pictures from Stinky's blessing day (February 2007) has been fun.

Have a great weekend!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Cookie Friday: Kolacky

These babies are addictive. A cream cheese cookie filled with your favorite jam provides a good balance of sweet with a little savory. These go fast in our house.

3 oz. cream cheese
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 cup flour

Jam- I prefer tart jams for this, but I've heard of people using pie filling, too.

Mix first three items together and refrigerate for at least two hours, up to overnight. Roll dough to 1/8 in. thick and cut into circles with 2 1/2 inch biscuit cutter or glass. Pinch dough together at three places, creating triangle shape seen above. Drop jam into the centers of each cookie, half a teaspoon to a teaspoon in each. Place on cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes, until cookies are golden.

If you have trouble getting the corners to stay together, you can try putting them in the freezer for an hour before baking them.

Enjoy, and let me know if you try these out!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

This Face

There have been a lot of tears at my house this week. Mostly mine, some from Rotten. It turns out that the "Purple Crying" video that I rolled my eyes at when the nurse at the hospital was so insistent that I watched applies to me, too. That tiny angel in the see-through bassinet in the hospital can transform into a a bright red screaming demon at the drop of a hat. Mornings go well enough, but in the evening life can get pretty hard. Usually, I'm the only one who can console him, which is also hard. So, there have been a lot of tears at our house and I sometimes fall into bed at night, exhausted and wondering why I thought I had a clue about motherhood.

Then, he wakes up next to me in the morning, and first smiles, then sticks his tiny little tongue out at me. I stick my tongue back at him, and we go back and forth like that until he lets loose a soft giggle and I kiss-eat his cheeks like a starving woman. They refuel my batteries, those first few minutes of the morning.

The Purple Crying will go away. This evening, he stuck his tongue out at me again, and we went back and forth until I got the giggle I was needing. I realized that I've forgotten what life was like without him, just two months ago. It feels like he's always been with us now.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

november blog header

I wouldn't normally write a post about a new header, but I wanted to share why this one is special. Stinky's preschool had a field trip in October, and we arrived a little early. To keep him occupied while we waited for his classmates, I wrapped the camera cord around my wrist to keep it safe, and we walked around, letting him take pictures. The picture of the gourds was one of the ones he took, and I'm really impressed with how it turned out, so we decided it had to go up. Bravo, Stinky!

Monday, November 1, 2010

He Made More Monday: More Pumpkin Sculpture!

Just before we left for Stinky's preschool Fall Festival, WBH went to get the Wild Things pumpkin, to discover it had rotted and grown mold (don't store your pumpkins inside). So, what to do? Re-do it, and then some! Stinky wanted an Allosaurus:

Then he added a mad hatter to the mix:

and added one of our holiday favorites to the mix:

In total, WBH did 8 pumpkins for us, our family, and friends, and some have talked about comissioning him to do the work next year. He really rocks!