Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

Can you believe that it is the last day of 2012? Wow! I'm always amazed how quickly October-December speed by compared to the rest of they year.  I just wanted to take time to wish you all a Happy New Year today and plan to take tomorrow off from blogging.  No worries - there are lots of posts in the works and I have my blog plan laid out for the next two months already :-)

So, with no further words needed . . .. .

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Weekly Menu - Trying to Recover from a crazy few weeks

Yes, this post is a day later than normal but I wanted to get the Christmas posts up :-)

I don't even know why I planned a menu the last two three weeks.  Between sickness, birthdays, Christmas and the kids staying with Papa and Nana . . well, it all went down the tubes.  We haven't been actual grocery shopping in about 2 weeks - I just had my husband stop and pick up a gallon of milk or a loaf of bread as needed.   I actually went to the store yesterday, my mom brought the kids home and graciously said I could take her car and get groceries while she hung out with the boys at the house.  I am so thankful to not have to go in the evening :-)

This next weeks menu is more like a week +.  I don't really plan to go to the store again until a week from Monday.  So this will be a big list!

Saturday:  Simple !!  We'll have Spaghetti and Garlic Bread.  The boys love it, it is super easy to make and, after grocery shopping, I always hate cooking a big meal.

Sunday: Roast, Carrots and Noodles after church .  Comfort food at its best!  Then will have a frozen pizza for dinner.

Monday: New Years Eve!!  Before kids, Darryl and I had our traditional evening of snacks.  Tons and Tons and Tons of snacks.  Since having kids, we just haven't figured out a good New Years Eve plan.  So this year, this is my plan.  For dinner we are going to have Meatball Soup and Broccoli Cheesy Soup along with some bread.  I know, two soups for 4 people?  Well, I've been wanting to make some soup to freeze for my lunches so this is perfect.  After the kids go to bed, we still like to have snacks so the plan is to make Loaded Baked Potato Chip dip and Chips, Fruit and Dip and then cheese and crackers. I also plan on having some goodies made - Christmas Truffles, Peanut Butter Fudge and Cake Batter Cookies. I might make a crock of Hot Chocolate so we can have Hot Chocolate and a treat before the kids go to bed for something fun.

Tuesday: New Years Day AND Our Christmas - We are finally celebrating Christmas with the boys today.  For breakfast we'll have Sausage Gravy and Biscuits, Cinnamon Rolls and Orange Julius'.  Then for our "Christmas/New Years Dinner" we are going to have a Ham, Stuffing, Bacon Cheese Potatoes ,Gravy, Green Bean Casserole and then goodies left over from yesterday.  Now, to keep it real - first we were going to have Turkey for dinner but . . .I forgot to take it out of the freezer so then I figured we would just do a whole chicken since it thaws faster but . .. after going to the store, my fridge is FULL and I have no place to put a chicken (or a turkey, for that matter) so I'm going to pull out the Ham that I froze from Thanksgiving and we will eat that :-)  Less work for me anyway!

Wednesday: Time to get back to normal ;-) HA  Breaded Chicken Thighs, Parsley Potatoes, Broccoli and Biscuits

Thursday: Cabbage Rolls, Crash Potatoes, Green Beans

Friday : Swedish Meatballs, Noodles and Salad

Saturday: Chili and Homemade Bread

Sunday: Pork Loin, Salad, Mashed Potatoes after church and then Chili Dogs (using left over chili) and fries for dinner.

Monday: Baked Shrimp Scampi, Savory Rice, Broccoli and Garlic Bread

WOW!  Lots of food and cooking.  I plan on pre-making a lot of the food for Monday and Tuesday so that I can relax some.  If needed, I'll cut things out so I'm not a crazy cooking lady HA! 

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Christmas Day 2012

Christmas Morning - such a wonderful day, isn't it?  We were thankful that the boys slept in but once we were all up, they were more than ready to get the day started.  Breakfast was wonderful - prepared by my dad and Darryl.  Scrambled Eggs, Bacon, Toast, and Orange Julius.  The boys waited patiently as all ate ;-)

First up were the stockings!

Finally, it was time for what these two little boys were waiting for  . . presents!!!

Such a fabulously wonderful day.  The boys not only loved getting their own gifts, they loved giving Papa and Nana gifts and watching everyone open each present.  They were patient despite being so excited!!

We also had great visits from family - My Uncle Dick and Aunt Barb stopped by for a bit and then my niece Alicia and her husband Alex came over for dinner and to visit.  It really was the perfect day.

Later that evening, Darryl and I packed up and headed home.  The boys decided they wanted to stay at Papa and Nana's house for a "few more sleeps" :-) 

To think, we still have two more Christmas Celebrations - we are doing our own Christmas with the boys on New Years day and we still have Christmas with Darryl's mom - which we missed due to illness.  Not sure when we will "Make that up" :-)

Friday, December 28, 2012

Christmas Eve 2012

Christmas Eve.  What a fun, glorious day - the pre-curser to Christmas and the day when the excitement really sets in.  This year, our Christmas Eve started out slightly different because I had to go to the doctor.  The sickness finally won out so I headed out to my appointment and left the boys with instructions of what to do to be ready when I got home :-)  It's good I went to the doctor since I had ended up with Asthmatic Bronchitis - some good meds and I was on my way to recovery (hopefully!).  I talked to Josh on my way home and he said, "We are waiting for you so we can leave for Papa and Nana's house!!" HA!  As soon as I got home, we loaded up and headed out with a stop at the pharmacy on our way out of town.

Our first stop was Bob Evans to meet my parents for a late lunch.  My mom had coupons for feel dinners so it was easy and inexpensive :-)  The boys were thrilled to finally be with "Papa-Clause and Nana-Clause" HA!  To make it even better, it started snowing while we were there.  Snow just seems to "make" Christmas.   We hung out at the parents house until time for the Christmas Eve Service at my dad's church.  It is always such a great service and it did not disappoint.  The music, the message and, for the first time, a true candle-lite service.  We all gathered in a large circle, lit the candles, and sang Silent Night - it was so beautiful. 

We then headed back to my parents house for snacks.  This is a tradition in our family - Christmas Eve Snacks.  Shrimp Cocktail, Crescent wrapped litt'l wieners, cheese and crackers and more.  Then we headed downstairs to give the boys their Christmas Eve Gifts.

 Our Christmas photo of two cute little boys.  This is the best we got - the rest they are just being silly boys which I love!

 Christmas Eve Gifts - we got the boys new Christmas PJ's and I made them each an ABC book using all of their own toys as inspiration (I'll be sharing more on that later).  Plus they got a couple of toys from Papa and Nana- John Deere Flashlights and Jack-in-the-Boxes. 
 Of course, we had to get photos of the boys with their new PJ's :-)  I love this shot . . .plus lots of outtakes!

 Finally, a long standing tradition in my family - the photo of the kids in front of three - facing it :-)  I love it. 

 The boys went to bed willingly and slept until 8:00 the next morning which is fabulous.  Not sure how many more years we have of sleeping in on Christmas Morning!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Nate's Third Birthday

Our special little Nathan turned 3 on December 22nd and we had lots of fun celebrating. Thankfully we were starting to be on the upswing of being so ill so Nate was able to have some fun.

First up are his Birthday Shots from his Photos take about a week or so ago!

 Don't you just love the photo with the lights?  I do!  I love that it marks the season without looking so Christmas-y.

Now on to the parties!!

We started our celebrating on his actual birthday with just a small party - just the four us.

 The Birthday Boy!!!  Don't you love that shirt?  I ordered his shirt from Sassy Pants Designs LLC - the same shop I ordered Josh's birthday shirt from.  She does fantastic work and is so easy to work with - I was able to tell her what the theme was that I wanted and she sent me some ideas to chose from and I was so very happy with his cute shirt :-) 
 Now, lets keep this real.  This WAS our birthday decor this year.  I feel a little bad because I had planned to do more but, well, I'm starting to sound like a broken record - sickness changes plans.
 The birthday dinner - "Chicken and Fries" . . Nate's favorite. 

 Yes, we ate dinner by candle lights because we roll like that HA  Actually, our dining room fixture has gone bad so we can't use it until my electrician dad can get over here in January and put up something new.  For now, we eat in the darkened room or add some candle light for a little more light!  The boys kept trying to blow it out - there was spit flying everywhere!
 We have a little tradition in this house and that is we have Meijer mini-cupcakes on the boys actual birthday when it doesn't fall on their party day. Normally, I've been so busy cooking and baking getting ready for the party that trying to create one more dessert is just not fun. These cupcakes are just fun and we all love them.

 Presents - the best time of the night!  This year Nate got a V-tech camera that he has been waiting for since Josh got his last year, a puzzle and then an Mama and Baby Elephant.  Nate loves those little animals you can get . . specifically zoo animals.  He calls them all his friends so how could I not get him some special ones?  The boys were cute with their cameras - Josh got his out and they walked around taking pictures of each other . . .taking pictures and then played the little games that are the cameras too. 
Finally, we measured Nate :-)  He is up to 3 feet 2 inches - growing like a weed.

Party # 2!  We celebrated with the Grandparents on Sunday, the 23rd.
 After we all attended our church program, we went to a local BBQ place for the party.  It was originally supposed to be at our house but we had to shift it due to all of the illness. 
 Nate blowing out more candles :-)  These cupcakes are Eggnog Cupcakes with Eggnog Frosting.  Everyone else raved about them but I'm not so sure.  Maybe my taste buds are just messed up.
 Finally, all of the gifts!  Josh loved watching Nate open his presents and was even more excited when he got to open one of his own. 

Nate got all of this awesome Dinosaur stuff, a Little People Nativity Set, and a Sock Monkey.  To say that he was excited is an understatement.

We really had a great two days worth of celebrating.  As we did with Josh, we will be taking the family on an over night hotel stay in January because they boys love to "Swim and stay in a hotel".  With all of the busyness of the holidays, we decided to take our little getaway after the new year and are looking forward to a fun couple of days :-)