Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas 2008

the break down:

Christmas Eve we spent the morning at the local mall where we spotted Santa before he took off on his big night. the rest of the day & night we spent around the house getting things ready for the next day. we went on a walk around the neighborhood looking at everyone's Christmas lights, put out the reindeer food that we made at Mayden's preschool the week before, opened gifts from the elves (Christmas Pjs & a book), read the book, told the Christmas story, watched Rudolf one final time and went to bed!

Christmas day we slept in until 8:30 (i'm pretty sure this will be the last year for that!) and awoke to discover that Santa had in fact been here! the kids were really happy to see the pile of gifts in the living room. this was the first year that Mayden really understood everything so it was very fun. my parents, sister & her fiance came over around 10. we opened more gifts & had a nice brunch. naps came and went for everyone <-- my favorite part! then the in-laws came over for a nice dinner which was mostly crock-pot made and i was very happy with the end result. we visited & opened even more gifts and then got the kids off to bed. after the kids we're all tucked in Chris and i watched Love Actually... one of our favorite modern Christmas classics. all in all it was a great day.

while Christmas was really nice i just love the day after Christmas when we can all be home alone and go thru some of the things we got the day before. it's very relaxing. the kids had a good time playing with their new toys. we got to go outside for a while too which was awesome.

below are some pictures from the last few days.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


we spent this morning at the mall with our neighbor Collin & his mom. i was hoping to only take a peek at Santa however Mayden had other plans. she begged and we conceded (it is Christmas Eve after all) this picture was just too funny not to post today...

ahh the timeless tradition of torturing our children with a strange fat man dressed in red

Wordless Wednesday

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Cameron's first haircut

Tuesday we all went to my sister's shop to get gussied up. after some thought we decided Cameron could probably use his first haircut. Chris was thrilled to get rid of his ever noticeable mullet, i however was a little more hesitant to cut the curls. for the longest time he's had this one precious little curl (which has since turned into a few curls) hanging out in the back. the instant those curls disappeared from his neck he seemed like such a big boy... *sob* i guess i should get use to this.


just a little wiggly

my big boy hair

all done! thanks Aunt Neeka

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

a blog you should know about

Cake Wrecks is a really funny blog about cakes that don't make the grade. i can't get enough of it and it's even inspired me to bring a camera w/ me to the grocery store just in case i see a particularly wreck of a cake!


Monday, December 15, 2008

homemade pizza

on top of making the cookies on Saturday i also set out to make my first pizza! i think with a little tweaking this could become a weekly dinner project. making your own pizza requires surprisingly little ingredients and it was relatively easy however it wasn't as crisp as we'd probably like. the dough was super sticky. i didn't use a bread maker (i have one, but with no manual) which i believe would make the process even easier! i think i'll give the bread maker a try next time.


cookie day

Saturday we spent most of the day inside making Christmas cookies (or so we'd hoped). first we made the gingerbread cookie dough which i've never made before. while the gingerbread dough was cooling in the fridge we made the very traditional "green Christmas tree cookies". they are a MUST for our family at this time of year and they MUST be green and MUST be in the shape of trees or they don't taste right. i grew up making these each year and fully plan on bestowing this onto my kids. turnes out i can't find my cookie press so the dough is waiting patiently in the fridge until i can borrow my moms later this week. the gingerbread boys are waiting too... i did one sheet but the dough is so sticky that i needed to wait until i got some helpful parchment paper (got it yesterday!) perhaps tonight i'll have enough energy to crank them out.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Christmas in Reverse

on Sunday Mayden and Shawn (and my dad a little bit too) were in the church Christmas play. they did so great! it's amazing how average the practices were and then they really knocked it out of the park when it was show time!! Mayden was really into this whole play thing. i swear she had most of the hand motions down after just one practice, i couldn't believe it!

below is the first song of Christmas in Reverse!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

congratulating May on a job well done with the Christmas play

Monday, December 8, 2008

when you stop to think about it...

Christmas (in it's consumer driven form) is kinda ridiculous... we have people; mothers, fathers, kids, babies, brothers, sisters... dieing in our world DAILY! it's 100% preventable, how can we let this happen?

i made an effort to tone down our gift giving this year and decided to make a bunch of our gifts (which i will post more about after Christmas) however i bought most of the supplies from Walmart (one of the biggest human rights offenders) sooooooo needless to say next year i will try to do better. the guilt continues as i've also handed out my wish list to family members. FYI if you're still looking for gifts Etsy is a great way to support people on a homemade level.

please watch this video and adjust your lives as you see fit.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

harmonica man

so Cameron figured out the harmonica this morning and that's all we've been listening too (with about 15 second breaks in between) good times!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Monday, December 1, 2008

goodbye my beloved Diet Dr. Thunder

don't you just hate it when you find out that something you love is bad for you? TV, desserts, consumerism, sugar, coffee, the lists just goes on and on but this time around i'm talking about diet sodas.... my poison of choice:

Diet Coke? nope.

Diet Pepsi? noooo.

Diet 7-up? nah.

Diet Dr. Pepper? i'll take it but my true guilty pleasure is it's generic counterpart Diet Dr. Thunder. the bubbly no calorie liquid candy. the simple crack of the opening can is enough to get my body to physically react. oh and the stuff is cheap at $2.30 a case, that's only $.20 a can!! how can you turn that down? by becoming educated, that's how. it's even worse when your accountability partner (husband) knows you know better and should stop ASAP. but i just bought 3 cases of the stuff yesterday!!

if i am truly on a mission to become a more whole person (in body, mind & spirit) as i say i am, then i need to ween the artificial sweeteners out of my life. a few months ago Chris and I gave the stuff up for about 6 weeks so it can be done. Stevia is our new friend but i just hope we don't find out some horrible truth about that stuff next month.

the breakdown seems to go like this: your body doesn't know what to do with artificial sweeteners because they aren't a natural food. for a similar reason we use butter and not margarine. however you don't want to go the route of High Fructose Corn Syrup either as that's both chemically altered AND high in calories. for more info on diet sodas watch the video below.

i know i'm going to get a nasty email from my grandparents about this one as they've been preaching this message for years!

Thursday, November 27, 2008


seems i've been a little neglectful of blogging recently. i think it's a combination of being really busy and not having anything interesting to report. today was Thanksgiving and it went by without any real consciousness of what today represents. we did have a really great time hanging out with Chris's side of the family. and now this house is buzzing with the anticipation of the Christmas decorating/celebrating we'll be doing tomorrow thru Dec 25th. here are some pictures from today.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

my PopPop & his peppers

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

a lot of bloggers do this on Wednesday... so i'm going to start this week! (sorry for all the words :o)

Monday, November 17, 2008

just a little bit of Christmas

i tried to stop them, but Father Christmas turned our sweet 3 year old into his little elf. together they convinced me it would be a good idea to put up a little Christmas tree in Mayden's bedroom early. i am normally very avid that we do not start celebrating Christmas until after Thanksgiving. maybe it was the way her eyes lit up or all the jumping that accompanied the begging... i donno, but i lost all reason and agreed to it. looking at her sleeping in the glow of the lit tree tonight i can't help but think she has the prettiest bedroom of all and she has the best daddy around!

below is a mini video of Cameron discovering the Christmas tree. he just stands in front of it screaming little shreaks of joy, then oooooh(ing) and ahhhhh(ing) at the balls.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

food photo contest

there is a "fun with food" photo contest going on at 5 minutes for mom. along with Prego they are giving away $500 worth of groceries (which we could really use w/ the looming lay-off). i chose this one of Mayden in the summer of 07. the girl loves her watermelon!

Monday, November 10, 2008

the great smoothie search- #2

nothing beats matching your smoothie! last night i made smoothie #2. i found the recipe here

ingredients- 1 banana, 2 cups chopped kale, 1 tsp maple syrup, 1-2 tbsp flaxseed and 1/2 cup brown rice milk

make- i needed to substitute one of the ingredients i didn't have on hand. i exchanged brown rice milk for regular cows milk. so only one hard to find item... although it's not that hard to find in a health food store. this recipe only made 3/4 of a glass so i would definitely double or triple the recipe next time so i don't have to make it everyday.

look- wow what a bright green! this smoothie looked MUCH more appetizing than #1.

taste- this is where it gets tricky. the texture was great! the milk in this one (instead of the water in #1) helped make it have more of a milkshake consistency. however the aftertaste was pretty strong and definitely tasted like i had just eaten grass (if i knew what grass tasted like). using the brown rice milk instead of cows milk might help with the taste so next time i'll use the rice milk. maybe i will also try backing off of the kale next time and work my way up slowly to the full 2 cups. the "colder is better" rule also applied to this smoothie and despite the grass taste i was strangely addicted to this smoothie.

kids- neither kid would go near it. Cameron took a good long look at it and backed away slowly while shaking his head and even added a little "noooo!". this may be because i asked them if they wanted to try it instead of waiting for them to think it was their idea... strange kids. it's a no-go if they won't drink it.

verdict- with a little tweaking i think we may have a winner!

mohawk hats

i found this great little book called Crafty Mama and in it are really cool things to make. i made these mohawk hats this weekend and i love them... the kids look so funny in them but their also really cute! i'm going to tweak the pattern a little and try to make them better but overall these are great.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

the great smoothie search- #1

on our short trip to visit my grandparents in PA last week (i'll post more about that later) my pop-pop gave me a blender & 2 huge bags of Kale freshly picked from his organic garden! now i have no more excuses...

so i'm on the search for a great "green smoothie" that our family can incorporate into our eating habits. if i can find one that meets all the criteria i think it could be a really easy way to get more healthy.

must include Kale (or another very dark leafy green)
must include some form of Omega 3 (flax, fish, egg etc)
must be drinkable (this is especially important for the kids)

tonight i made the one in the video that i posted a few weeks ago.

ingredients- 1 banana, 1/2 cup blueberries, 1-2 tbs flaxseed, pinch of Dulce, 2 cups kale, 20oz water

make- simple recipe, mostly easy to get ingredients and overall very cheap to make, the blueberries probably cost the most. this made over two glasses full so i was able to save some for the next day. not having to make this everyday is a big plus! i did skip the Dulce as i was having a hard time finding it anywhere!

look- it looked completely unappetising but i'm not sure there is any getting around that with these kind of smoothies. greenish purple in color w/ little bits of kale & blueberries floating around. (this could probably be remedied if i had a better ($400) blender like the guy in the video has)

taste- it didn't taste as great as i thought it might. i don't know why i was expecting great taste when it looked like that. the bits of kale and blueberries made it a little "chewy" and weird to swallow. using a straw & eating something in between sips helped a lot. the glass i saved in the fridge for the next day tasted MUCH better so i think the smoothie being very cold is key. thankfully the banana was good at covering up the kale taste.

kids- i was sure the kids wouldn't go for it. Camo went to bed before i made this so he hasn't tried it yet. i made a point not to ask Mayden to try this (or she would surly say "NO") so i waited until she asked me about it. she did.... she took one sip thru the straw and said she liked it but when i asked her if she wanted more she said no. the next morning she took another sip w/o being asked so i think there might be hope in getting her to drink some daily.

verdict- not bad, probably worth revisiting however i am looking forward to trying others... i think there is better out there!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

a historic moment

Rosa sat so Martin could walk.
Martin walked so Obama could run.
Obama ran so our children could fly.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Mayden says...

Chris: who do you like better Obama or McCain?
Mayden: i like McCain because i like candy canes!

not too sure we'll be following the logic of a 3 year old, but it's good to know where she stands :o)

Saturday, November 1, 2008

halloween, halloween; trick-or-treat... our costumes can't be beat!

we had a great Halloween this year! weather makes all the difference, warm & dry works wonders. Mayden decided she wanted to be a princess (much to my dismay) and i am really into themed costumes for the kids so we made Cameron her Frog Prince! they turned out to be a very cute duo... oh and Shawn is Anakin from Star Wars :o)

a few months ago i read something somewhere (maybe a parenting magazine) that said it was better to do an overkill on Halloween candy for one day than to stretch it out over many days or weeks. better for your teeth and better for your body. so today we did something we normally would never do. we gave Mayden complete control over all her candy. she could eat whatever she wanted whenever she wanted... in fact her first "real food" didn't get into her body until 6PM!!! she had about 1/4 of a PB&J (surprise, surprise) sandwich and 1/2 cup of cottage cheese... all other food today was candy! it was hard to sit back and watch this, but stuck to my promise. this was a one day deal and we made sure she knew it so what's left of the candy (which isn't much) is up and away now. i'm hoping she'll be relieved to eat real food again tomorrow.