Wednesday, December 31, 2008

On New Year's Eve

So far today we have:
  • taken down Christmas decorations
  • hung pictures on the wall
  • worked on laundry (halfway through)
  • uncluttered the kitchen and dining room and living room
  • had the kiddos clean their rooms (how do they learn so young about closets and under their bed hiding spaces?)
  • eaten breakfast and lunch
  • moved some furniture
  • worked out at the gym (not me, just Brent)

Later today we will:

  • unclutter the office
  • play games as a family
  • eat appetizers for dinner
  • build a fire
  • roast marshmallows
  • tuck the kiddos into bed
  • drink something bubbly
  • watch a movie while waiting on midnight
  • enjoy another piece of this:

Warm Fudge-filled Cheesecake

I hope that all of you have a wonderful New Year's Eve! And a happy birthday, Shawna!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

From our family to yours...
Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Brown Paper Packages...

tied up with strings. This is my "signature Christmas gift wrap". Ever since we've been married, everyone on our gift list gets the brown paper package...every year, the ribbon and "trimmings" have differed, but the brown paper always remains the same.

I love that you get SO much paper on a roll...I love the rustic look that can be dressed up...and I love being able to buy it any time of year! (and not pay more because it's Christmas paper!) I have so much fun planning how I will dress it up...I've done simple red and green raffia, Christmas tree tags, painted metal "Merry Christmas" signs (my very favorite year!), stamped Christmas tree images...this year I chose twine and rustic jingle bells that I found at Target! I think they turned out pretty cute.

And the best thing about the packages under the tree is that, as of this past Monday, they're on their way to family! (which is very good since yesterday we had snow and ice and today I have three sick kiddos at home. Nasty colds and stomach bugs!)

(And as you can tell in the above photo, I do own "normal" Christmas wrap...which I use for my nieces, Christmas gift exchanges, etc. But that roll of striped wrap you see above is fabulous...I've had it for over three's from Hobby Lobby...and it still has a ton of paper left! Great quality too!)

As for a's been awhile, huh? I had this soup recipe a few weeks ago at a friend's house and proceeded to make it a few nights later. It's delicious, and is cream based but doesn't "seem" heavy when eating it. Really really good with homemade bread pull out your bread machine or loaf pans and get busy! (and make sure to note the "half a package" of frozen spinach. I accidentally used the whole thing, and while it was still great, the consistency was a little different.)

Chicken Artichoke Soup

1/4 cup butter
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
2 14 ounce cans chicken broth
2 cups half & half
1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 cups cooked chicken, diced
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 can artichokes, sliced
1/2 package frozen chopped spinach
1 4 1/2 ounce Brie

1. Saute carrots, onion and garlic in butter until tender. Add broth. Bring to a boil and then simmer 15 minutes.

2. Mix half & half and flour until smooth. Stir into soup. Cook until thick and bubbly.

3. Add chicken, whipping cream, artichoke, spinach and Brie. Stir over medium heat until Brie melts.


p.s. Happy 31st Anniversary, Mom and Daddy! I love you!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Because of this,

the big kiddos played outside in the dusting of snow (it's now covering the ground completely)

Madeleine and I looked on from the porch (...she wasn't quite sure of the windy snow hitting her face, but she loves watching her big sister and brother!),

Hadleigh tried throwing snow at me,

we squeezed together to keep warm,

Madeleine continued to observe from the warmth of inside,

we drank some hot chocolate

and I taught the kiddos how to make snowflakes!

We also read a Christmas book from our basket (The Christmas Angel), did some homeschool, and spent lots of cozy time inside! The dinner plan for tonight is scrambled sausage eggs and snowflake-shaped pancakes!

It's been a fun-filled snowy day here! Hope you've had a good one too!

Monday, December 01, 2008

December First, really?

I really can't believe it's already December. Usually, I am thrilled by the beginning of advent, of awaiting Christmas...and while I'm really excited about this month this year, I've been a little reluctant to begin.

Usually, I want to get started right after Thanksgiving. So when Brent asked me if I wanted to get our tree this past Friday, you can imagine his surprise when I said not yet. And the reason is, I'm really a little sad to take away my fall decorations...mostly because I found them and put them up Thanksgiving morning. (One of the "perks" of moving, I guess.) And they look so warm and I'll share them with you here, and then maybe I'll feel better about putting them away tomorrow so that we can start decorating tomorrow night!
I haven't seen these pumpkins in several years...thanks to the black hole that is our attic...but I'm so glad I rediscovered them! I just love them...and of course, the leaves!
This wreath and candle are usually on my dining room table...but the pumpkins pictured above were the centerppiece for our Thanksgiving dinner with friends, hence the wreath on the kitchen island, complete with yummy cranberry sauce!

And this one's especially for Shawna...since she's been asking for house pictures for the last 6 months! We've been building lots of fires already...which makes everything so cozy. Thankfully, fires get to continue through the winter! (That is, obviously, our living room. You can see the kitchen through the doorway on the right, and the section of wall you see in the foreground is a corner of the dining room. Picture taken from the entry.)

There are a few other little knick-knacks, mostly fall and Thanksgiving crafts made by Hadleigh and I guess now, I'll get to look forward to next year!

And don't get me wrong, I am SO excited about decorating and celebrating Christmas! It just always means that my favorite season is over for the year. But I'm really looking forward to a month brimming with excitement, joy, and surprises!

I'm also beginning today, my December Daily album, a project thought up by Ali Edwards...but more on that tomorrow! I'm off tonight to my first Christmas event of the month...our squadron spouses Christmas Coffee! Looking forward to it!


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