Sunday, December 30, 2007

New Christmas Surprises.

Well, here we are! After all of our Christmas fun and busy weeks, we are home and happy to play! Santa came, and left everyone some great new things to keep us all very entertained.
Jaydon loves his marble track block set! He can build new tracks and watch his marbles roll for hours on end.Emily is completely happy to bake and decorate with her new cooking gear. Yummmmmmmy!

Little Ezra finally got over his fear of this battery-operated rocking horse (the neighs and movements scared him) and now he loves to rock as long as he can! Joel (a little camera shy) could build with his new Lincoln Logs all day and all night, if he didn't have to stop to do real life things (like eat and sleep).
We had a beautiful Christmas, and were VERY happy to be in our own home. We hope that your Christmas experience was one of joy and love.
Most of all, we were so happy to celebrate the birth of Our Savior, Jesus Christ. How peaceful life is, when our thoughts are filled with Him. I love talking about, singing about and celebrating Him. It was such a joy to start our own new family traditions and keep the Savior at the center of our Christmas.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

"That's a BIG pile of rolls!" quote by my daughter

I finally set aside a day for ONLY baking (and tending to children...a little). We deliver a little Christmas cheer to our neighbors, 16 of them on our cul de sac, every year. I loved that tradition growing up, and I want to continue it with my own family; arguments, bad attitudes and all :) (my brothers will remember that well, I'm sure). So, all day, my boys and I made dough, let it rise, and rolled each butter-dipped piece into over 100 crescent rolls! The boys love to help me in the kitchen, so it was entertainment for all. When Emily was home from school, she helped wrap and put ribbons and name tags on each gift. I did not want let this family project become a "mom" project.
These recipes are simple and delicious! I highly recommend them. The rolls are a bit time consuming, but worth it, in my opinion.

Crescent Rolls:
(this recipe, compliments of my friend, Mary)
5 c. flour
1 cube butter, softened
1 c. milk, lukewarm
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 Tbs. salt
1 1/2 Tbs. yeast in 1/2 c. warm water

Mix flour and butter with pastry blender or hands, until crumbly. In separate bowl, mix milk, beaten eggs, sugar and salt. Add yeast & water combo. to the egg mixture. blend lightly. Combine wet ingredients with Flour mixture. Mix with hands until doughy.
Cover dough with plastic and a warm towel. Let rise double (about 3 hrs.). divide into 3rds. Roll out 1/3 into a circle and cut like a pizza. Melt another cube of butter. Dip each piece in butter, then roll from wide end. place on a baking sheet, let rise again, 30 min. Bake @ 400 for 10-12 Min. Repeat with each section of dough. Enjoy warm rolls with the delicious butter! YUM!

Cranberry Butter:
2 c. butter, softened
1/2 c. raspberry jam with seeds
1 can whole cranberry sauce
3 Tbs. powdered sugar.

add all ingredients in blender and blend 5 min. until butter is whipped and blended well.

So, after getting our hands a little doughy, we washed up, wrapped some up, ate a few, and wished each neighbor a Merry Christmas with our not-so-harmonic singing. It made for a great FHE activity.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Ode to the Birthday Boy!

Happy Birthday to my wonderful husband!!!! I love this man! What is not to love? He's:
a GREAT husband
and FABULOUS father of 4!

You never know what this imaginative guy has up his sleeve.
Happy Birthday Ryan!
I love you!

Why I'm not Baking...

When I look at a room like this, I get so discouraged. Laundry is my greatest enemy these days! Between work-out clothes for Ryan and I, children's soiled sheets (too many of them), and muddy-back-yard-play-clothes, there is just TOO MUCH LAUNDRY! It's never ending! I thought I had it down to a science, for about 6 months. All was well; then #4 was born, we moved, big kids stopped wearing Pull-ups at night and started to have night-time accidents and it threw off the 1-load-a-day routine I had worked out.Now the ratio is all off and it piles up so quickly. It's not so much a matter of getting it clean...that part is easy! It's the sorting, folding and putting it away! Most of the clothes (not the ones on the floor) are clean. They just never get put away.
Then, there is the entirely other issue of the laundry room becoming the dressing room. We won't go there. So, I ask you, what do YOU do to keep the beast under control?!!! Please share.

I've decided that posting this issue would help me be motivated to get my laundry room back under control. So here, for your viewing, are some before and after shots. Granted, it took me 2 days to get from one to other, but it's great to have it done!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Something I Miss

It's the season for baking, creating, and presenting delicious food. I long to be in my kitchen whipping up cookies and treats, breads and muffins, anything to tempt the pallet. The smells, the warmth and the comfort of home made pastries and breads are almost unbeatable. However, it's just not the time in my life when I can spend hours at a time (even 1 for that matter) trying out new recipes or indulging in guilty pleasures (home made cream puffs). We are busy around here with other fun, time consuming things. (Like changing diapers, cleaning up messes from snacks and meals, and playing games or doing puzzles). I fully enjoy doing these eventful things with my young family. But I do miss baking and cooking. I still put together a thing or two, but not as much as I'd love this time of year. I know there will be a time when I can bake to my heart's content. Hours on end! The kitchen in a delicious, buttery, baking mess! And then I'll probably wish I had little ones around to play games and do puzzles with. **sigh**.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

What we've been doing...

We love decorating for Christmas around here!
It took us a while to get everything down from the garage, and unwrap it, and find a place to put it, but it's so fun to have it done!
For as long as I can remember, my mom put up the Christmas village on the fireplace mantle and I'm happy to carry on the tradition! It's the highlight of my Christmas decorating, for nostalgic reasons most of all. We love the "Christmas in the City" we've collected over the years. We love placing each little person, tree and car as if the scene is telling a story. This year, we finally fit everything in. Ryan made a 7 ft. by 1 1/2 ft. board to hold the little city. Now nothing has to be left out.
To complete the mantle decor, Ryan's mom embroidered our names on each of our stockings, and we get to hang them "by the chimney with care". (they've always been propped up NEXT to the fireplace, or just forgotten completely). It's great to feel cozy and festive with the decorations up!
Sunday was the big tree-decorating day, and the excitement was in the air. As you can see, the boys got all dressed up for the POWER RANGERS!!! There's just no telling what's next for these two. Hanging ornaments while doing stunts takes some real talent, I'll say. (They didn't even break anything)!
It's great to get into our collection of eclectic ornaments and remember who made it, or what trip we purchased it on. I love the tradition of picking up an ornament wherever we go, so at Christmas we are flooded with wonderful memories.
Of coarse, there are always the Pre-school ornaments (times 3 kids = ALOT of pre-school ornaments)that are hand made and covered in glue and glitter. Painted by tiny fingers and colored every color of the rainbow, they are sure to catch your eye on any Christmas tree! I love the ones with a picture of that child from the year they made it. Looking at those every year makes me wonder how it goes by so fast!
When I was first married, I always thought I wanted a pristine, fancy, theme-type Christmas tree to be glowing in the front room window. I realize now how much I would have missed out on every year when decorating with regular store-bought ornaments. What I love the most, is watching the kids see each ornament and their faces light up as they remember making it, and how special it is to them. It's o.k. to have a cluster of five hand-made works of art drooping on a single bough, right? (I haven't lost sight completely of that pristine tree).

What's your favorite part about decorating for Christmas?