Thursday, December 23, 2010

Ho Ho

Well, we are full steam ahead in Santa preparations here.  Or "Ho Ho" as his nickname according to Stella goes around our house.  Today we had the talk about what we leave for Santa and his Reindeer.  Cookies and carrots. She's got it down pat. :)
Luckily we were pretty prepared this year.  Presents all accounted for and wrapped except a few small stragglers I'll hit tomorrow at some point.  Most of the food is ready to go and chilling in the fridge. Cookies taken out of the freezer and thawing on the counter.  Hopefully all still there by tomorrow afternoon.  I need to vacuum and mop in the morning but I left that for the am on purpose, if I do it today it would look as if it needed it again anyways.
We made the trip to see Santa this week.  Roo did pretty darn good I must say.  No tears, she even gave the big guy a hug when he asked for one as she was leaving.  Her eyes were pretty big the whole time we were there and she definitely "got it".  We told her she had to tell Santa what she wanted for Christmas when she sat on his lap, so as she timidly approached him you could hear her whisper..."Doggy & Baby Doll". I don't think he could even hear her. I did though and that's what counts.  Love her. :) Such a cutie.
So we didn't get a big smile but I'll take it.

I think she actually looks bored in this one...ha ha!

I hit a low bah hum bug point the last few days and all week was not feeling the Christmas spirit whatsoever. We've all been home most of the week and that usually comes with challenges. Even though this is my blog, I don't really think it's fair to bring other people that have no say in.  That's sometimes hard though because these are my memories, good and bad. That being said, I was just having a hard time snapping out of it and letting things roll off of my back. Which you just have to do. You have to stay positive and adapt. I was trying to meditate, bathe and coombyeya my way out of it but it just wasn't happening. Today though for some reason, I finally turned the corner and Mrs Claus is BACK! It also helps that my husband brought me 2 large Christmas bouquets of flowers. I am looking forward to a nice next few days! Good food, fun times and Santa! The only thing that could top it off would be if I could teleport all of my family (in Seattle) here or us there so we could ALL be together but we're sending them all our love...

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Yummy yummy Christmas Cookies

I've been fighting a head cold for a few days now and I woke up this morning on the losing end. I would like to crawl back in the warm bed and take a sick day. You know, sleep, movie, sleep, bath, book, more sleep. With a 2 year old you can still do all of these things although it will look a little different then I was envisioning. The sleep will be one nap instead of 3 (hopefully) when she goes down, the movie will involve a fairy, princess or barbie. The bath will include lots of squirt toys and boats and the book will be something along the lines of Guess How Much I Love You or Fancy Nancy's Spendiferous Christmas.  As much as the first option sounds more heavenly right now I do recognize it could be worse...much worse.  I could be warming the car up, putting our coats and hats on and heading to work and daycare. So, I will gladly take a sick day with my best bud any time. Although I may have to throw a little baking in there because lately the only time I really feel warm is when the oven is on. No matter what the thermostat is set to.

We've been doing a lot of Christmas cookie baking lately.  Sunday we made Peanut Blossoms and Chocolate Glaze Cookies.  I'm sure everyone is familiar with Peanut Blossoms but if you have never made the Chocolate Glaze Cookies you really should.  Their lackluster name does NOT do them justice.  These have always been my favorite in my Mom's Christmas cookie repertoire. 

Chocolate Glaze Cookies

2 1/2 Cups Flour
3/4 tsp Salt
1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Cinnamon
2 Eggs
1 tsp Vanilla
1 Cup Sugar
3/4 Cup Cooking Oil

Pre heat oven to 375.  Place flour, baking powder, salt & cinnamon in bowl.  Combine eggs, vanilla, sugar and oil in separate bowl.  Beat well.  Shape dough into 1/2 inch balls.  Flatten with floured glass.  Bake on greased cookie sheet 10-12 minutes.  Glaze with melted chocolate chips.  I make mine with a heavy chocolate glaze. :)

              OK, so the cookies don't call for Monster but when on a cookie baking run it really helps in the home stretch... :)              
I think she likes them.

Chocolate Glaze Cookies

Peanut Blossoms

The Peanut Blossoms are pretty common but just in case you have a craving to make them and don't have the recipe handy here you go...

Peanut Blossoms

1 3/4 Cup Flower
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/2 Cup Butter or Margarine
1/2 Cup Peanut Butter
1/2 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
1 Egg
2 Tbsp.
2 Tbsp. Milk
1/2 tsp. Vanilla

Mix first 3 ingredients.  Cream together next 4 ingredients and add to flour mixture.  Mix the next 3 ingredients together and add to above mixture.  Shape into balls and roll in sugar.
Place on ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 for 8 minutes.  Remove sheet and press Hershey's kiss in center. 

I've frozen the 3 kinds we've made so far and hopefully they will last for the next 2 weeks. I've already warned Mario & Aubrey to stay out of them BUT that is not who I'm worried about.  I used to be the one to sneak some out of my Mom's stash. Some things never change... :)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Can't help but brag...

about my adorable sister and her family. How cute is my nephew???
I love these pictures.
I love my sissy.
I am a total baby. I started crying just looking at them and thinking about how much I miss them. They are such a special family.  My sister gives 110% to everything she does. She is an awesome sister, daughter, wife, mother & friend. I am lucky to call her my sister & friend. If you are in the Seattle area and are looking to get some pictures done check out Jocelyn's work HERE.
Love love love her style.
She rocks.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

A warm tummy on a cold morning

It has been COLD around here lately. OK, well maybe we haven't seen snow in 30 years but it sure has felt cold enough for a few flakes. Seriously. It was a low in the 20's this week and Sunday night looks to be a low of 18. Yes, in Florida 18 degrees.  I really don't consider where we are real "Florida". No palm trees to be seen, no surfers running in to the water with their boards under their arms, nothing that would even hint of a east coast version of California and mind you it's not 18 degrees as you head towards Miami.  It's supposed to warm up to the high 60's and even 70 degrees Saturday.  Although still an overnight low in the 20's/30's.  We've had oatmeal for breakfast and soup or stews for dinner. I'm still holding out for some snow...
Stella has oatmeal for breakfast most mornings even when it isn't frigid.  She has the regular Quaker Oats not the packaged instant then I add fruit to it. The other day I found a great trick that's super yummy.
Cooked oatmeal...
Add some Apple Juice...
Throw in a few raisins...
Sprinkle with Cinnamon...
and VOILA!
Apple cinnamon raisin.  Super easy, super yummy. Stella loves it. You could always bake a few apples ahead of time, throw them in the fridge and have them ready for the week but I thought the apple juice was a cool trick.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Dear Santa

Dear Hair Gods Santa,
I am writing on behalf of a follically frustrated Mommy my dear daughter Stella. She has been a perfect rascal angel all year and would like to put in a special request. She was quite challenged in the hair department the first half of her short life and while we are grateful for the hair she now does have, it is quite unruly independent. If you could please remove the cowlick that makes all of her hair around her pony tail stick up her so uniquely adorable it would be much appreciated. We would like to start using all of the cute barrettes and pony holders she has for something other then wasted space. As you can see from these pictures it is at it's best right after a nap. Think you could work on this??? Thanks so much.
Oh and she would like a wagon by the way.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Getting in the Christmas spirit!

This weekend we met up with our friends, Brett, Margaret and their kids, Bella & Christopher.  Bellas' birthday party had been in Georgia with family so we got together and threw our own party.  We started with dinner at Chuck E. Cheese then headed over to the Christmas tree lighting and holiday parade.  The girls had fun looking at all the people and lights. 

The Christmas season has kicked into high gear.  Aubreys' schedule has been jam packed, as usual, with chorus, play, guitar, living Christmas tree, dance recital practices and Mario has been really busy with work lately. They had to leave before 7 this morning to get her to a play practice then he'll have work tonight so makes for a long day for him.  Stella hates it when it is like this as she barely gets to see him. It's really cold right now. I'm mean REALLY cold! It was 20 degrees last night but warms up during the day to 50's to 60's. Even high 60's to low 70's last week but I think that was the last we'll see of 70's for a few months. I've been looking on the Internet for various art projects for Stella during the day. She says over and over, "I like to paint". Maybe a future Picasso? She is quite funny.  She has her favorite numbers and letters. You ask her what letter is this and almost always her answer is, "a W"! We are working on a Christmas gift for family today which involves painting so she's happy!

Monday, December 6, 2010

She's Crafty

Check out my new "hobby"! So I was looking on Etsy for a winter hat for Stella and Mario chimed in "Why don't you just make one"?  Hmmm, well the neighbour had just mentioned that she was crocheting a few blankets and it would be a good winter hobby for in the evening. This is not like any of the one's I was looking at but I thought it quite nice for a first attempt! We followed a pattern out of one of my neighbors magazines and theirs was green and red, like an elf version. I wanted something a little bit more versatile so I switched up the colors. I have moved on to my next item but that's super secret since it's a Christmas present! Mario's is kicking himself though for his suggestion and he's quite sick of the color yellow he said. My project I'm working on now is yellow also.  It was quite funny yesterday as we are driving home and I look over at the car next to us and there was a lady in the passenger seat crocheting away.  Where I would have probably laughed before I wanted to hold mine up and say "cheers"! :) Why yes, I think I have lost it. Thanks for asking...

Monday, November 29, 2010

How much do I heart Shutterfly??? Let me count the ways...

So even if they weren't having this insanely awesome promotion for bloggers here I would love to brag about how many cool things I have ordered from Shutterfly.  I have recommended the site/company to many people. I know there are a few companies online that you can order prints/photo books/announcements/Xmas cards from but by far, my personal fave has got to be Shutterfly. 

Just this last weekend I was here working on our Christmas cards for this year. Love their selection and designs and they are having some great sales right now.  My cards were already designed and ready to go when I came across this great promotion for bloggers!
Hello Bandwagon! I am jumping on! 

Mario and I had a small beach wedding that included mostly close family.  So after the wedding we sent out announcements to extended family and friends that didn't attend. Guess where we ordered these adorable announcements???
You guessed it.
Need to announce an occasion of your own? Wedding, baby, new fish? You can create your own masterpiece right over here
For Father's Day I ordered Mario his own photo book that included solely pictures of him and baby girl.  He started crying when he opened it. (Sorry babe!)
I LOVE it and love flipping though it occasionally.
I also recently made a photo book from Stella's Birthday party to keep in her keepsake box.  I am anxiously awaiting it's arrival which should be any day now!!!
Take a wild gander where I ordered them from?
Mmmhm. You guessed it.
You can make your own book right over here and make your man cry. :)
For Mario's parents' Christmas gift last year we made them calenders.  The cool kind that have your personal pictures which we corresponded to what was going on in that particular month.  You also can add all of your families important dates.  They turned out great and it was SO easy! The hardest part was going through all of our pictures and picking out which one's to choose.
Where did we make these wonderful gift ideas you ask?
They also happen to be running a special right now on calendars, buy 1 get 1 50% off!
That great gift idea can be created right over here

Last year for Stella's birthday thank you's I ordered a simple white card with a cute border.  I added her name across the top and voila personalized thank you's for any occasion.
OK, overkill I know but thank you's are polite and you should order yours now right over here
They also have this cool little area where they have special offers just for YOU! OK, well maybe not specifically for me but I think the more you order the more "special" you are because there always seems to be a special offer for me and the best part is they are FREE! If you have a Shutterfly account go down to the bottom right of the home page and click on "view my special offers".  There is almost always a tasty little treat waiting!
But seriously...I use the product. I love the product.
Right now they are offering bloggers 50 free 5x7 Christmas cards here (Yes, photo cards included. I asked.)
Oh how i love cool free stuff.
Especially from a site I love and use regularly so thanks Shutterfly and this concludes my shameless plug.
Back to your regularly scheduled programming.
Thanks and goodnight.

If you receive a Christmas card from us this year...why yes they are from Shutterfly and yes they were FREE!!!

Black Friday Nightmares!

 image via news tribune

So there was a whole row of the cutest kids dress up ball gowns you've ever seen! Just beautiful! I went to grab one for Stella. Obviously the lady next to me was admiring them also, since she reached out to grab the same one at the same time. I won.  She challenged me with, "What size do you need"?  I responded vigorously, "4T"! Then challenged with "What size do YOU need"?  She volleyed back, "4T". It was a standoff. We both held our ground but I could tell she was going to stop at nothing to get the dress I held.

Then I woke up. 
Seriously, a Black Friday nightmare. 
 I've officially lost my mind.

Aubrey and I went down to one of the sales at midnight armed with the local circular and actually got everything I had "circled" minus 1 item.  Success!!!  We didn't get home until 2:30 though and so 6:30 comes early.  When I groggily woke up I realized I had been dreaming of a standoff with some random woman over a dress.  The funny thing is...there were tons of these dresses on the rack for 1 and for 2 Stella is no where near a size 4T. Black Friday obviously got to me. :)

I blame it on the year before.  I had never done Black Friday before. I'm sure at some point I had done some shopping later in the day, but I had never done the whole get up at some ungodly hour and jockey for items that the stores only carried 2 of to get you in to spend money on other things.  Last year I decided it was time.  I got up at like 3 am and headed out in the dark. I got to the first store right as it opened, grabbed a buggie (that's what they call a cart in the south) and jumped into the sea of others trying to make their way back to the toy section.  I quickly realized I was getting no where with a cart. I abandoned the cart and went in search of the items I had marked on this coveted circular with my sharpie. Nothing, everything I had planned on getting was gone.

I moved on to store #2 with said circular with similar sharpie markings.  FAIL.  OK, OK. Store 3? Nope, nada.  Even worse I had to drag 4 different play tents up through the maze that led to the checkout.  Each time to be informed that the tent in my hand was NOT the tent in the circular.  Every tent I brought up was a variation of the Disney Princess tent just not THE specific one.  I was getting mad by the 4th tent and asked the girl at check out to please have someone find this needle in a haystack only to be informed it was sold out. 

Fading quickly and getting more pissed off by the second I drove to the 4th store.  By this time it was about 6:30 A.M. and I had made not 1 purchase.  At this point I abandoned the circular and just started shopping for deals. Success! I finished almost all of my shopping and saved a nice amount of money. Was the whole morning worth it, probably not. I most likely could have saved the same amount just shopping for deals through out the season.  I had the experience though. The famous "Black Friday" experience. It has obviously scarred me for life. 

This year was a greater success. I still got out the sharpie and circled.  I started with what I had wanted to get the most. Upon arrival I staked out the 4 wheeler and waited for the clock to hit 12:01.  Well, actually 11:56.  People started grabbing their items 5 minutes earlier and who was I to stand there like a dummy.  I told the lady next to me that everyone had started getting things and she could probably go ahead.  She told me her husband was a lawyer and would kill her if she started early.  Her loss, let her look like the dummy.  There was only 1 item I didn't get that I had wanted and the clerk informed me that their store never received that item.  7 out of 8 isn't bad odds. 
Happy Holidays!!!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Da Girls!

We went down and took some pictures at the beach last weekend. I really really like them and am excited to get some up on our wall.

I am pooped from Turkey prep.  It is the night before Thanksgiving and I am DONE!!! All we have left is season the turkey, stuff the turkey and cook the turkey. Oh and vaccum upstairs and swifter the family room, but those are Mario's job.  I feel like I got a really good workout in at the gym. So far I have Cranberry sauce, Mashed Potatoes, some kick butt stuffing, a Pecan Pie, Sweet Potato pie & green beans.  I feel like I've left something out...hmm.  Mario's mom is bringing sweet potatos, rolls and olives.  We also had Book babies at the Library today then cooked & cleaning and now it's time to relax. I've been a real party animal lately. I've taken up a new hobby, crocheting. Yes, I know. I am getting old, either that or extremely lame. It's actually soothing. You can just zone out and get really zen when doing it. So far I've made Stella a hat and am working on a blanket now. More on that at a later date though.  So I have been sitting in bed while Mario is asleep crocheting me little heart out til after midnight lately. Last night I was going to try to crash early and where did I end up? On the computer surfing Amazon. I'm not doing Black Friday this year I am going to do my shopping from the comfort of my own computer in my pj's. Ahhh.
Get your free Amazon Prime Mom membership here

You get free shipping on tons of items!

For now it's time to RELAX! Gobble Gobble!!!