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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Giddy

I've been extremely giddy lately. Actually, today especially. Yes, Thanksgiving is very great and we are all looking forward to it. But that's not it. It's the day after Thanksgiving. No, Black Friday is not my thing. Shopping with crowds is just not that tempting. But here is what is: The day after Thanksgiving, my husband goes into our attic and gets all 18 of our Christmas decorating boxes (yes, I'm a bit obsessed). It starts my most favorite season of the year. This year the kids are just such great ages. Nathan loves to hear stories of our childhoods. So unwrapping all the decorations and telling him the meaning of them, will be so awesome. Everyone will pick decorations for their rooms and we'll all decorate together while Christmas music will finally play throughout the house. We'll light candles, have hot chocolate and sing songs. See why I'm so excited? This year the kids' eyes will fill with wonder as they are old enough. The other evening I went to run an errand with Abigail and it was dark outside. When the door opened, she stopped dead in her tracks as she saw our neighbors house all lit up with Christmas lights. It was great how much it excited her. Today they were fascinated by ice in our driveway. Nathan is still convinced the ice in the gutter of the road was glass because it broke when he stepped on it. I just can't wait for Friday and the whole time up until Christmas. It'll be glorious!

Here are some things we plan on doing with the kids that we are looking forward to:

Cut snowflakes out of paper. (this may be a challenge due to scissors and age of children...)
Sip hot chocolate.
Eat candy canes (maybe while we drink hot chocolate).
Watch great Christmas movies.
Make popcorn chains for grampy's tree.
Decorate pinecones with glitter glue.
Read bible stories.
Write Christmas cards and enclose drawings the kids have been working on.
Make straw star ornaments.
Go to the local live nativity.
Bake a variety of cookies.
Go to the local Christmas exposition.
Enjoy the multi-colored glow of Christmas lights in the dark.
Go for drives, sipping hot chocolate, and looking at the decorated houses in various neighborhoods.
Make handmade Christmas gifts.
Play boardgames.
Make pudding.
Bake something yummy for someone else.
Make a chain garland out of red and green craft paper.
Light candles.
Put up our manger scene.
Read Christmas books.
Start a Jesse tree.
Get a Christmas Tree and decorate it.
Pick a birthday present for Jesus from the Samaritan's Purse catalog.
Get some traditional German Christmas candies and enjoy them.
Hopefully visit old folks in a retirement home and give them coloring pages from the kids.
Bake and decorate sugar cookies with friends. (and of course eat them immediately)
Enjoy a piece of German candy every morning out of our Advent calendar. (I know what you are thinking! However, this is a Christmas season requirement for descendants of Germans. Christmas may not come if this custom is not dutifully adhered to. We are only doing this for you.)

You think we have enough days to do all this before Christmas is here? What are your favorite things to do during the upcoming season?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Breakfast Favorites

Fooled you with the picture below, uh? You thought we eat cake for breakfast? Well, sometimes we eat pie. More on that later. For now, here are two more pictures of Abigail's birthday. Below is the cake I made for her. She wanted a My Litte Pony cake and wanted it to be a carrot cake. Seriously, what little girl wants a carrot cake? I was proud. :-)


Below is what Nathan made for Abby. They are an owl family made out of tissue paper rolls. Got the idea from Frugal Family Fun Blog. You should check it out sometime, it's probably my favorite blog. He was really proud of it.


Breakfast. Finally! You wanted to read about food, right? For a while we actually stopped buying cereal (except for David who is, I'm afraid, uncurable). Then I got pregnant and getting up early to make breakfast lost its appeal. Anyways, here are some of our favorite breakfast recipes. They are all healthy and best of all, delicious! You'll notice that a lot of them are from Ellie Krieger. She's my favorite chef. She manages to make really healthy food that is very yummy. Some of her food is too far out there for me and I don't care for it. For the most part though, we (including kids and meat and potatoes husband) really like her recipes. Plus, her ingredients are usually pantry stables or easy to get.

Muesli Parfaits
Nathan's favorite. He will actually request this. We fight over them. I win; I'm bigger and stronger....for now. They are super easy, super tasty. The only thing to remember is that they have to be assembled the night before as they have to stay in the fridge for a while. Go here for the recipe.
Whole Wheat Pancakes
Adapted from this Ellie Krieger recipe. My kids like really dense pancakes rather than fluffy ones. These freeze really well and re-heat easily in the toaster. Just put parchment paper in between your pancakes so they don't stick to each other when you freeze them. They will be very dense. ;-)
Mix together:
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup wheat germ
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
In a separate bowl mix:
2 large eggs
1 cup 1 percent lowfat buttermilk (or put 1 TBSP lemon juice in a 1 cup measuring cup, then fill rest with milk and let stand 5 minutes and substitute that for buttermilk)
3/4 cup lowfat milk
2 tsp honey
Combine flour and egg mixtures. Spray a large non-stick griddle with cooking spray and heat over medium heat. Spoon about 1/4 cup batter per pancake int ot the pan. Flip when the pancake tops are covered with bubles and the edges look cooked, about 2 minutes. Cook until pancakes are golden brown and cooked through, and additional 1 to 2 minutes. Serve with real maple syrup or honey.
Individual Mini Apples Pies
What's better for breakfast you ask then fresh apple pie? Not much, right? Well, maybe the muesli parfaits. These take a little work ahead but you get a bunch of cakes and if you freeze them before baking, you can just pop them in the oven in the morning and your house will smell lovely. Plus, if you have little ones, these are perfect sizes. Click here for the fabulous recipe from Heavenly Homemaker. We like to do the muffin tin version.
Pumpkin Pancakes
My kids actually eat these although they are not really dense. Love these in the fall. Go to Parenting magazine's website here for the recipe. Serve with real maple syrup or honey.
Denver Frittata
David's favorite. It's a really yummy egg dish. This one, in our house at least, is a grown-up only. The kids just aren't eating the whole egg yet. Abby probably would but since Nathan has declared the "disgusting," she won't touch them. Thanks Nathan! Don't you love how one uttering of a sibling can undermine your months or years of hard work to grow a good eater? Anyways, go here to Parents magazine for the recipe.
Multi-grain Waffles
These also freeze really well, taste great and are good for you. Especially if you add some fruit on top! Go here.
Those would be our favorites. There are many more in my binder as I tend to collect recipes. But these are tried and true. Hope you'll try some and like them as much as we do.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Happy Birthday, Little Girl!

If Nathan hadn't already changed our lives forever, this little spitfire most certainly did. The hair says it all! Her personality matches it perfectly. She gets tons of attention because of it and she has the personality to go along with it. She's a ham for sure and loves to keep people entertained. She loves to sing and dance (daddy is most preferred here). She likes to color and sometimes to just quietly read with her Tag. She knows her letters and their sounds and can easily memorize any Veggie Tales song. She probably prefers french fries over ice cream. Her favorite colors are pink and purple and the pink worn-out bear and her lamby are never far away from her. She adores the kitties but hasn't learned the art of "gentle" yet. Loves her brother to death but sometimes can't figure out how to play with that wild child in a lady-like fashion. She'd probably rather sit than run like Nathan but that may be due to a recently discovered lack of iron (so much so that she'll have to be medicated). Abby likes anything girly, loves to dress-up, is very fond of hairclips and hats and as of late, strives to be a ballerina.


Abby-isms:
  • "So-o. (pause for dramatic effect)....."
  • "But I said..."
  • "You are the sweetest mommy"
  • "Nathan! No!"
  • "But I don't wanna go night-night" (every night....)
  • "Are you proud of me?"
  • "I want something to eat." (that is the most often heard phrase in our house right after "I love you')
  • "Can I listen to my music?" (that is the most often heard phrase during car rides)
  • "I'm not feeling good" (when asked to help do chores - at 2!!!)
  • "I hurt myself!"
  • "I'm just gonna get....(enter 50 toys of your choice here)" when asked to do something or go somewhere
  • "I love you" Abby is quite fond of that phrase. :-)


Always with bear and lamby


Quite the fashionista, uh?


It's not easy finding the right bucket to go with your outfit.


Donning Nathan's hat and glasses.

Yep, she's a girlie girl.

She's got the angry look down.


Here's a pouty look. Notice the inverted foot to underline the mood. She's good!


Happy little cute girl.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

It's Not Easy Being Darth Vader

You can't eat candy because your face mask doesn't have a mouth piece.

You keep tripping over your own feet because you have no peripheral vision with that mask.

Your lightsaber becomes a handicap when there are tons of kids walking around you.

The lightsaber from the costume store is a far cry from what you are used to.

You have to be very courteous to people even though you have the lightsaber because they, after all, hold the candy. And isn't that the ultimate force????

You are the scariest guy in the universe but the little pink lovebug by your side gets all the attention.

People don't give you the respect you deserve after they see you snuggle with your sister's lamb.