Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Good News and Not-so-good News

Good News: Sarah is on day 5 of wearing big girl panties! Only a few accidents, but overall, she is doing great!!! She is still in that stage where she just gets so busy that she "forgets" and that is okay. We've been trying to potty train for several months, but life gets busy and I'll forget or Bob will forget and it just wasn't working. SO, we made the commitment that over Christmas break, we'd nip this problem in the bud, be diligent and get the job done! And really...she is doing great! She's not 100% yet- she's not at the point where she'll take herself to the potty when she needs to go...but we're getting there. One day at a time! I really, really, really want her 100% potty-trained (including naptime) by May so she can go "upstairs" in daycare and spend the summer in the same class as Beth.

Not-so-good News: After a few days of watching our labrador retriever, Bailey, hobble around, I took her to the vet yesterday. $225 later for X-rays, pain meds, a cordizone shot and more, it was determined that she has bone spurs on her backbone and some kind of degenerative disease in the spaces between her backbone disks. (thankfully, nothing wrong with her hips, as Labs are very prone to!) She is super hypoallergenic to all kinds of things, so it really limits how we treat her. Pretty much, our only option is pain medication. The vet said that a lot of times these things fix themselves, so we're taking a wait-and-see approach. Pain meds everyday for 3 weeks, then on an as-need basis. She will be 9 years old tomorrow - New Years Eve. She's our Y-2K baby - born Dec. 31, 1999. She DID seem to be moving better this morning - but does appear to still be in some sort of medicine fog! (been there, done that!)

Friday, December 26, 2008

A few Christmas pictures

All dressed up for the party at my mom and dad's house on Dec. 23:

Family picture:

Christmas Eve morning at my mom and dad's house:

Christmas Eve at Bob's mom and stepdad's house:

Bob reading The Night Before Christmas on Christmas Eve before bedtime...a yearly tradition:

Christmas morning- checking out what Santa brought:

After reading Santa's note that he had to leave something in the backyard because it was too big to get down the chimney - the trampoline reveal!
Bob's gift to Beth - a music/jewelry box - she is SOOO taken with it!
Bob's gift to Sarah - a new sleeping bag to match the one her sister already has!
Our traditional Christmas morning breakfast- powdered donuts!
Testing out the trampoline Christmas day!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas Ya'll!

I'll post pictures later! We've had a great Christmas so far! The girls have loved all their gifts, with the exception of a few...and have already been out jumping on the trampoline this morning! Both are sleeping right now thankfully! Its been a long 2 days!! Hopefully tomorrow will be a nice calm day of playing outside (supposed to be 68 here!), watching new Disney movies (Tinkerbelle & Sleeping Beauty) and playing quietly with new toys!

Hope you had a great Christmas, too!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Breakfast with Santa & other things...

We took the girls to a Breakfast with Santa on Saturday. Good times and good food! Both girls cooperated nicely for a picture with Santa and they loved opening their stockings that Santa gave them! After it was all over and done, Sarah just plopped right down by our table (which happened to be by a fireplace), broke open her new crayons and coloing book and tuned out the world and colored happily for a while! I think these are HER first crayons...that belong to only HER...and she is still being a little protective of them!

So, its Christmas week and our plans are in full swing. Bob and I work today and 1/2 day tomorrow. We kick-off the festivities with the big fancy family dinner at mom and dad's house Tuesday evening, Christmas Eve morning back at mom and dad's house to open "immediate" family gifts, Christmas Eve at Bob's mom's house and finally...Christmas morning/day at OUR HOUSE! I LOVE the chaos of running to house to house to house....seeing as much family as possible. Yes, I probably complain about it, but honestly, that is what makes this time of year so fun! The family fun, festivities, craziness and chaos! :-) It wouldn't be Christmas without it.... In fact, last year on Christmas Day, it was super quiet at our house because mom and dad went to Florida on Christmas Day and it was just a "blah" craziness! It didn't feel like Christmas....I'm hoping for more FUN this year! Oh course, with the trampoline making its appearance on Christmas morning, I'm sure it will be a very active day!
We are still tossing around the idea of heading to Destin this weekend and staying through Jan. 3rd or so. Bob has to work next Monday and Tuesday, so IF it all falls into place, I'll go down with the girls, my parents and maybe my brother on Friday or Saturday and Bob will drive down on New Year's Eve to spend 3-4 days with us down there, too. I'm still holding out to see what the weather down there will be next week. I'm also a little concerned on how the girls will do with no water to play in. They CAN play on the beach, but both my girls have a "sand" limit and can only take so much. They can also only take so much of the malls and I'm unsure how else to entertain them at the beach in the dead of winter (60's or so down there, as opposed to 30's and 40's here). PLUS, I feel a little guilty about giving them such a big Christmas gift (trampoline) and then taking them away from it for a week! I'm just not sure what we are doing yet.....Stay tuned!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Wise Woman

Beth was a "wisewoman" is her Kindergarten's little Christmas pageant today. She did so great!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Snow...err...Ice Day

We had an "ice day" yesterday -no school - the result of about 3/4 inch-1 inch of ice that fell Monday night. It was yucky and slick. Beth spent the morning with mom making a gingerbread house and "sledding" down their driveway. Both girls had fun in our own driveway just "ice skating" and enjoying being outside. Schools ran an hour late today, so we still had a somewhat lazy morning and Beth got to enjoy hot chocolate for B'fast two days in a row!

Sarah "skating" in our flower bed!

Beth jumping in the big pile of ice!

Friday, December 12, 2008

I'm a Single Mom (at least for a week!)

Bob is off to different parts of the country for business from now until next Friday (with a brief stop at home for Sunday night). I'm looking for creative things to do with the girls. Last weekend we made cookies and clay ornaments. I'm not opposed to more cookies, but I need other ideas....Tonight is movie night - which means Beth gets to pick out a movie at Blockbuster and we snuggle up in my bed after Sarah goes to bed and watch it. BUT, I need other ideas to keep them (and me) from being stir-crazy and bored on Saturday & Sunday. Next week won't be too bad, as it will be business as usual with school & work and I'll just have to fill an hour or so each night. I may drive them around looking at Christmas lights one night, but that is really a "Family" tradition and I hate to do it without Bob. Any other fun Christmas things I can do with them? My brain is overloaded and I can't think.......

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Maybe our Christmas Card picture?

I'm thinking I might use this picture for the "From Our Castle to Yours" idea.... What do you think?

Monday, December 8, 2008

Cookies & Truffles & Clay

After an afternoon of baking, here are the two finished products:

Oreo Truffles (recipe below)

and Cinnamon Polar Bear Cookies (recipe not on my computer)

Yields 36-40 balls/truffles


1 package regular size Oreo cookies, crushed
1 (8 ounces) package cream cheese, softened
1 package white almond bark
1 package chocolate almond bark

1. Empty Oreos into large plastic bag (ziploc, etc). With a hammer or mallet, crush the oreos into tiny pieces. (I use the big end of an ice pick).
2. Using a blender or hand held mixer, mix Oreos and cream cheese together.
3. Roll into walnut size balls.
4. Chill for an hour.
5. Melt approximately 3/4 package of white or chocolate almond bark.
6. Stick a toothpick in an Oreo ball and dip it in the melted white or chocolate almond bark.
7. Allow to harden on wax paper - Takes about 15 min.
8. While waiting, melt about 1/4 package of white or chocolate almond bark.
9. When Oreo balls are no longer sticky to the touch, decorate with drizzles of chocolate or white almond bark. Store in refrigerator.
**I just use a sandwich bag with a tiny hole cut in one corner to drizzle the almond bark.

I also made Baker's Clay and cut out a few ornaments for the girls to paint tonight. They are always a fun project, but definitely at least an all afternoon project or a 2-day project.
Baker's Clay
Great for Homemade Christmas Ornaments!
This recipe yield about 10-12 "normal" size cookie cutter ornaments

1/3 Cup water (more if too dry)
1/2 Cup salt
1 Cup flour

Mix all ingredients until a dough forms.
Add more water if too dry.
Separate and add food color if desired.
If you'd like to keep your creations & make ornaments, roll dough out with rolling pin and use your favorite cookie cutter shapes to cut ornaments...repeat until all dough is gone. Its easiest to use a drinking straw and poke a hole (for a ribbon or hook) into the top of the ornament before baking!
Bake at 275 degrees, for 45 minutes - 1 hour.
Paint & Varnish, if desired, once cooled.

These are from Beth's Special Day last year and they were painted/decorated by the 4 year olds.....but at least you get the picture:

Friday, December 5, 2008

Is this a cheesy idea for a Christmas card?

I'm thinking about letting the girls get all dressed up in their princess dress-up stuff and then taking their picture by the Tree and doing a card that says something like "From Our Castle to Yours"......cheesy??? I'm just trying to find ways that would make the girls cooperate to actually get their picture made!


I'm clueless about what Christmas gifts to get a few people on my list. I need some ideas!

1. Bob's Sister (Sister-in-law #1) - works a lot, in school, married with two kids, travels a lot, not very girly
2. Bryan (my brother) - newly married, new house, young, attorney (and ALL he has told me is that he wants a Lowe's gift card...that isn't fun!)
3. 5-year old little Angel Tree boy - no specific requests? Whats a good idea?
4. My almost 87 year old grandmother....??????

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Weekend Update & Recipe

We had a great weekend! Turkey day was hectic, but it always is when I host. Lots of people to feed...lots of house to clean....lots of things to prepare/cook....I'm kinda glad its over. We made it through Thankgiving Day ALMOST drama-free. Things always turn ugly when politics come into the conversation, don't they? Ugh! The girls stayed up LATE, but slept till 8 a.m. on Friday morning! WOO HOO! Here is some of our Thanksgiving crew:

Friday I decorated the house and put up the tree and lights. We had dinner at mom and dad's house - Italian - a nice change from Turkey & dressing. The girls stayed up LATE again, but slept until 8:30 a.m. on Saturday morning. DOUBLE WOO HOO!

Saturday was kinda lazy. The girls and I put the ornaments on the tree and they spent the better part of the morning playing dress-up and dancing to Christmas music! I spent a while at Church preparing for teaching Sunday school. Then we got dressed and headed to one of the local state parks for dinner with Bob's family - a yearly tradition. I usually love all the photo ops with all their wonderfully decorated Christmas trees, but this year, they only had ONE and it wasn't even that great....bummer.....The girls were less than cooperative, so I didn't get that "Christmas Card shot" I wanted....I'll try again some day at our own house.
After dinner and the drive home, we headed back to mom and dad's house to say hi to a friend of the family and for the girls to get their new "fur" capes and muffs that mom bought them. The girls stayed up LATE again, but didn't sleep till 8:30 a.m. on Sunday morning....everyone had to get up for Church.
I helped mom make Wildcat Bourbon Balls (recipe below if you are so inclined to try them - they taste MUCH better than a drink!) all day Sunday afternoon. Sarah went to bed on time...Beth watched Tinkerbell till 8:30. Then bedtime....Monday morning at 7:00 a.m. was awfully hard for all of us!

Thus begins December and a month full of busy weekends and weekdays!
Wildcat Bourbon Balls

You will need 2 large mixing bowls, 2-3 cookie sheets, toothpicks and a double boiler, as well as tin’s in which you will “season” the finish product.

1 stick of real butter
2 - one pound boxes of confectioners sugar (Powdered sugar)
2/3 cup of 100 proof Kentucky Bourbon (a scant 2/3 cup or it will be too gooey)
1 – eight ounce box of unsweet Baking Chocolate Squares (I use Baker’s)
3-4 squares (3 or 4 oz.) of semi-sweet Baking Chocolate Squares
1½ ounces of paraffin (I use Gulfwax)
About 2 cups of pecan halves – not pieces

In bowl #1 cut the butter into a box of confectioners sugar until it is grainy. In bowl #2 mix the bourbon with a box of confectioners sugar.

Now dump the ingredients of Bowl #1 into Bowl #2 and mix. It’s best to mix it a little and then just use your hands to mix and kneed the mixture until it is smooth. Now refrigerate the mixture until it is hard but still pliable. (A few hours)

Remove from the refrigerator and roll into 1 inch balls. Place balls on wax paper, which is on a cookie sheet, and refrigerate until firm.

When the balls are firm, they are ready to dip. In a double boiler, mix the unsweet chocolate, the semi sweet chocolate, and the paraffin and stir until melted and blended. Stick a tooth pick into a ball, dip it in the chocolate and then gently twirl the toothpick over the mixture so it will drip back into the pan. Now, twirl and drop the covered ball onto a cookie sheet covered with wax paper and immediately press a pecan half on the top to cover up the toothpick hole. Do not let the finished products touch until they are hardened. Place cookie sheets back in the refrigerator until the Bourbon Balls are hard. Now, place them in a single layer in tins. If you must stack them, add a layer of cardboard between the layers. Place tins in your refrigerator for about a month. Then, enjoy sparingly!

As you begin dipping the balls, be certain they dry to a satin finish. If not, add more paraffin. You may use the same toothpick until it gets messy. If the balls fall off the toothpick before you twirl them, then put them back into the refrigerator to firm up some more. If you’re in a hurry, you can stick the balls into a freezer to firm up quickly.

Do NOT drink - um, eat - and drive!