Sunday, December 27, 2009

Meet Maddie

It's not very easy to capture someone's true nature through thirty second video clips, but I'm fairly positive that these videos represent the very fiber of Maddie's being. In words I'd say that Maddie is a sweet, caring, hilarious, creative child. She is giggly, kind, innocent, imaginative and an absolute ham. But words can only go so far.

To set this up, Rob and I were talking in the kitchen while Maddie was playing in the snow outside. Rob looked out the window and realized that Maddie was telling secrets to the snow. I snuck into the bathroom, and caught a few seconds on camera. (There's not really any sound to this one)

Rob went outside and asked Maddie what she and the snow were talking about. She said that it wasn't snow, it was a boy, and they were probably getting married. When Rob asked what this boys name was, Maddie said that he hadn't told her yet.

I finally took the camera outside, and we had this little chat.

Is there any wonder as to why I adore this kid?

Thursday, December 24, 2009

1 Day and Counting

For my final (and most important) Christmas post, I'd like to share my favorite scene from one of my favorite Christmas videos.

Merry Christmas, my friends! May your holiday be filled with love.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

2 Days and Counting

Don't forget that you can track Santa Claus on the night of his flight. It starts fairly early on Christmas Eve, so even the little ones can see Santa's progress. Until then, there's a link on the home page that takes you to Santa's Village. Each little houses has an activity for your kids to enjoy. Click HERE for the site. It's a fun little place for the kids to release some of the Christmas energy that I'm SURE you're starting to notice.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

3 Days and Counting

Remember a few months ago when we made donuts, and by donuts I mean, the tastiest homemade donuts I've ever had? A bunch of people were asking for the recipe (which I so kindly lifted from my friend Kat) so I thought I'd share it as one more little Christmas treat. Everything in me wants these for Christmas breakfast, but it might be too much chaos with presents and getting the turkey brined and cooked on time. But if YOU get a chance, I highly recommend them.

2 cups buttermilk
2 large eggs, beaten
5 1/2 cups flour
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons nutmeg
6 tablespoons melted butter

In a medium bowl stir together all dry ingredients and set aside. Whisk together buttermilk, eggs and sugar. Add melted butter and whisk again. Add dry ingredients and gently stir together -- do not use a mixer. Dough will be sticky. Start heating frying oil to 375 degrees. Roll or pat dough on a well-floured board about 1/4 to 3/8 inch thick. Cut with 2 1/2-inch doughnut cutter. Form the scraps into a ball and reroll and cut. Fry in hot oil. Doughnuts will start to crack on top when they are ready to turn. Remove from oil when golden brown. Drain on paper towels. While warm, roll in or sprinkle with granulated sugar as desired.

Makes, roughly, two million donuts.

We didn't have a donut cutter, so we improvised. I used the lid to the PAM bottle as the outside circle, and then used the top to a 2-liter soda bottle to cut out the middles.

We then googled donut glaze, and chocolate/vanilla donut frosting. We also rolled some in a cinnamon and sugar mix. Sprinkled with red and green sugars, and served with some hot chocolate, these donuts would be a perfect way to start your holiday.

Monday, December 21, 2009

4 Days and Counting

What a difference a year makes.

Remember Christmas 2008? Yeah, me neither. Were my kiddies really this small last year?

Friday, December 18, 2009

7 Days and Counting

I can't remember a Christmas with my family that didn't include opening presents to the songs of John Denver and the Muppets. All the songs were taken from a Christmas special that they put on many, many years ago. So long ago, that I was too young to remember it. Thanks, YouTube, for showing me what I've been missing all these years. (For my family - much more of the special can also be seen on YouTube)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

8 Days and Counting

No creepy Santas here. Just three kids and one holly, jolly man that told Maddie he remembered her from last year, when she was three. Oh, did I mention that we didn't tell Santa Maddie's age, AND that we didn't even see this Santa last year? Okay...maybe that's a little bit creepy.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

9 Days and Counting

Every year I think, "Yes, yes, THIS will be the year that I design a beautiful Christmas card with family photos, and send it to all my friends. Then they'll think, 'Oh, that Melissa is so creative!'" But there are two problems that I run into. 1. I have NO idea how to design a card. 2. I have no motivation to learn how to design a card. So, that being said, pretend I designed this and sent it to your house. Also pretend that it's awesome. Remember to think, "Oh, that Melissa is so creative."
Click to play this Smilebox newsletter: Happy Holidays!
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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

10 Days and Counting

Mint Chocolate Deliciousness
Shopping List
One Devil's Food Cake Mix
2 Eggs
1/2 C Oil
Peppermint Chips, or Candy Cane Kisses

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Combine all three ingredients (it's much easier in a mixer). Roll into balls, and place on a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 7-8 minutes, or until cookies begin to crack. Immediately upon removing from the oven place mint chips on top, or press kisses into the middle of the cookie. Allow to cool. To obtain original texture and/or shape of the mints, place outside to cool (or in a fridge). That way, the mints won't melt completely. OR, if you prefer the melted look, let them cool inside on the cookie sheet. (Then you can sprinkle with green and red sugars!) Tasty AND festive.

Monday, December 14, 2009

11 Days and Counting

It wouldn't be right for me to do all these Holiday Season posts without making a special mention of my Christmas-loving Grandpa.
Mele Kalikimaka, Grandpa! You're in our hearts this Christmas season.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

16 Days and Counting

If you haven't seen this site yet, go to it IMMEDIATELY. I just got two videos from Santa that were specifically for Maddie and Jude. It was a hit, to say the least. The kids were absolutely ecstatic that Santa knew so much about them, and they were even able to see that they were on the nice list, thus far! Check it out HERE. Oh yeah, did I mention that it's completely free?! Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

17 Days and Counting

This was Maddie's first visit with Santa. To put it nicely, she thought he was a creep. Seeing kids freaked out by Santa is (in my book) just one of those things that never gets old. Good thing we didn't take her to see either of these creeps!

For even more Christmas laughs, click HERE. Thanks, Stef, for sending me some much needed Christmas Cheer!

Monday, December 07, 2009

18 Days and Counting

Now that my kids are a little bit older, I want them to understand the true meaning of Christmas. On Sunday night I asked Maddie and Jude, "Whose birthday do we celebrate on Christmas?" Maddie thought for a second, and yelled, "JESUS! And Hazel from my preschool." True. I was proud that she had some idea of what we were really doing. Rob then asked, "Can you see all the animals up there?" pointing to the Nativity Set. "All the animals came to be there when Jesus was born. And the three wise men brought presents to Baby Jesus." Maddie looked at the animals, and the Baby Jesus in Mary's arms and said, "Yeah. And then Jesus puts you on his naughty or nice list."

We're still working on that one.

Friday, December 04, 2009

21 Days and Counting

When I look back at Christmases past, there are a few gifts that stand out as being the best gifts ever.
#1. Black riding sled from my Grandpa. I'm not sure what happened to it, I think we may have actually ridden it into dust. We lived on a hill growing up, and used this every day of every winter.

#2. Sylvanian Family House. I had the bear and rabbit families.

#3. My first guitar. With the exception of the fight that later ensued between my brother, Dan, and I regarding said gift. I believe he referred to me as, "one of THOSE girls." I punched him, called him a few nasty names, and then felt bad as my mother cried over Christmas dinner because her kids, "can't spend one day together without fighting." Sorry mom. Not sorry, Dan!

#4. Pool Table. It was a family gift, from my dad, that arrived two weeks before Christmas. It actually sat, ASSEMBLED and WRAPPED, in the basement until Christmas morning. The sad thing is that we still weren't sure what it was until we opened it.

#5. Penguin sleeping bag. Another gift from my grandpa. When I look back at Christmases from my youth, it's one of the first gifts I think of. I've never seen another one quite like it. This one is similar - but not quite the same.

Now that I'm the mom, I'm always on the lookout for life changing gifts. I'm still trying to decide which items are the big hits, and which ones we really can pass on. Any ideas?

Thursday, December 03, 2009

22 Days and Counting

Pumpkin Crumble Pie
Super easy and super tasty. Always a hit around the holidays.

Shopping List
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1 egg
1.25 tsp cinnamon, divided
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1 frozen pie crust
1/4 packed brown sugar
2 Tbs flour
2 tbs slightly softened butter
1/2 c chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F

In a medium mixing bowl combine pumpkin, sweetened condensed milk, egg, 3/4 tsp cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt. Pour into pie crust (if crust is frozen, follow thawing directions on label prior to pouring in mix).

Bake for 15 minutes

In a small bowl combine brown sugar, flour and remaining 1/2 tsp cinnamon. Using a fork, cut in 2 Tbs butter until mixture becomes crumbly. Stir in nuts (if desired) and sprinkle topping over pie.

Reduce oven to 350 degrees F, and bake pie for 40 minutes, or until set.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

23 Days and Counting

My Christmas wish list:

A new robe
One of THESE bags
A multi-colored scarf (preferably non-itchy)
Outside boots (maybe these?)
And world peace, obviously.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

24 Days and Counting

It's that time again, and the spirit of Christmas has taken over our house in full force {aka, I say, "you'd better be good so Santa brings you presents," at least fifteen times a day}. Okay, maybe that's not technically the Christmas Spirit.

Either way, I love taking in all of the sights, sounds, and smells with my husband and children. Last year my mom sent me a few of her old Christmas decorations, and bringing them out this past week has brought out my holiday nostalgia. This one, in particular, means a lot to me. I remember absolutely loving it as a child. I'm still not sure how she made it, but I'm hoping that in a few years, I'll also get the church that she made as well. {yes, that's a hint, mom}

Oh...and if any of you are saying, "24 days?" Just know that I debated for a long time. I'm still not sure if that's right.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Captured by Greg

My favorite part is clicking on the 7 second mark over and over to see how hard he hits.

My second favorite part is the sound it makes.

Oh...I mean, my favorite part is that he was okay.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The First of Many

We're back, and I can't even begin to explain how amazing our trip to Mexico was. Simply put, it was one of the best weeks of my life. I loved every single minute of it. Seeing as how I have over 300 pictures, I'll have to break it up into several different posts. I'll start today with some pictures of the grounds.
This is the hut that Rob, the kids and I stayed in. It was called "La Casita."Here is an inside shot of our cozy little house. The stairs lead up to the bathroom.

A few steps from our hut was the entrance to the Cenote.
Inside the Cenote. The water slide was so much fun...but we still couldn't convince my mom to take the plunge.
This is the play room that Jude spent most of his vacation in. He'd wake up, open his eyes and say, "Now I go in the play room?" I'm seriously considering remodeling his bedroom into one of these!
This is the lounge area off of the pool/dining area/kitchen. The whole area was so open, that it was easy for all of us to be doing different things, but still close together.

The kitchen and staff. The staff were so wonderful, and really funny. They didn't speak very much English, but we had a few Spanish speakers with us to ease the language barrier. The day that we were leaving, we caught one of the staff members translating what we had written in the guest book. When I laughed and called him out for knowing English, he just laughed. Makes you wonder what they overheard!
One of the other cabanas on the property. Derek, Jessica and their kids stayed in this one.

The inside of my mom and step-dad's building.

Here's a final video of the main area. The wonderful thing about TANINAH is that we were able to occupy the property all by ourselves. They only rent it out to one group at a time, so we were able to be together, yet alone: something that my entire family hasn't done in years.

I'll leave it at that for today, but believe you me, there are many more adventures to come!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Forgive My Absence

I still have two more days, but my to do list is a mile long, and I probably won't have a lot of time for blogging. My mom is taking us on a "jungle vacation" in Mexico. Picture Swiss Family Robinson living, with today's amenities, a private chef, and a cleaning crew. There's a mini-golf course on the property, an underground swimming cave, pool, hot tub, hut-style sleeping...oh, I could go on and on, but you can just check it out HERE. I'm excited BEYOND belief. The truth is, Rob and I haven't been on a real vacation in six years, so I think we're due. I'm sure I'll be posting a RIDICULOUS amount of pictures when we get back, but for now, I'll leave you with a few summer photos that somehow missed the blog...but were definitely worth posting.
Adios Amigos!

Friday, November 06, 2009

My Giant

Jude is getting too old to still be two. Too old, and too tall. I'm starting to get the nasty looks and eye rolls from places that allow kids two and under to enter free. Everyone thinks that I'm the mom who's trying to get freebies well into the threes and fours. I don't mind if people don't believe me, but I'm really starting to wish that he was three for his own sake. At our church he spends Sunday School in the Nursery (the room for babies 18 months to 3) and he seems to be a LOT bigger than most of the kids. It became apparent in the picture I took of him and his Nursery friend last week. (Actual photo below)

The good news is that as of January 1st, all of the kids that are 3 will move out of the Nursery and into Sunday School. The bad news is that Jude's birthday isn't until January 18th. He'll miss the cut off by two and a half weeks. Lehman's terms: he'll have to spend another YEAR with the 18 month olds. I hope he doesn't scare the little kids when he starts growing facial hair next year.

Saturday, October 31, 2009