Happy New Year

Is anyone else feeling like they are in denial that it's New Year's Eve?!  Eeks - where has the time gone?  We finished with our last family Christmas this past Sunday and only 4 days later we're saying goodbye to 2009 and HELLO 2010!

We had a wonderful 4 days of Christmas with our families.  Needless to say by the end there I was dragging.  It was wonderful spending time with family and enjoying the pure Joy on little one's face!


Everything is put away in it's new home.  The tree is packed away.  All of the Christmas Decor has been purged and packed away for next year.  We are now in full on getting ready/inpatiently baby waiting mode.  Hubby and me keep saying everyday how many days are left and trying to wrap our brains around it, but it still doesn't seem like we are really at the end.

Dear 2009 - You've definitely been a challenge to my family.  I now know more than ever what family really is and means.  You've tested us with my Dad's fall from a tree accident, the hubs being laid off approx. half of the year total, dealing with Gramma's cancer coming back and her treatments, deaths in the family, the whole house debacle.  I'm so glad that you are leaving and we are welcoming 2010 with open arms because if this past year hasn't broken us then nothing will.  We as an extended family are stronger and I know without a doubt that this has made my marriage stronger and I can honestly say I don't think I've ever been more in love with my Hubby.  I already know 2010 is going to better as we will be welcoming Avalynn Grace into our family and new beginnings. 

I'm in the process of making a personal goal list for 2010 that I'll post in a few days.  I want to put some more thought into it.

I hope you all have a safe New Year's and that this coming year will be better for you and your families.


Merry Christmas

Wishing all a Merry Christmas with your families and loved ones! 

We will be having family Christmas's until Sunday, things should hopefully be back to normal around here next week. 


EEKs...a week!

So, I have no clue where the past week has gone but we've been busy!!!  And I'm feeling the busy-ness continue through this week too. Here's what we've been up to.

We got baby girl's room painted and her bed ready.  Still have to get curtains, shelving, and some other odds and ends, but the spare room is no longer and it's now Avalynn's.

Making a village of gingerbread houses. This was our first year not going out to buy a kit.  We melted some sugar over the stove top (**TIP: use an old pan you don't really care about, and use cold water and a hard scraper to get it out of your pan**) to attach the graham pieces to one another.  And for the icing just did a mixture of milk and 10x sugar (**TIP: little bit of milk goes a long way**)  This was little one's first year decorating one all by herself.  I think my favorite thing was whenever she'd get icing on her fingers, this would follow "OOPS, need to clean it off" and lickety lick she'd go to town.


We got our first significant snowfall, appox. 6 inches.  Little one had a blast sledding and making snow angels.  Love her face in these, her joy is contagious.


During the snowstorm we had our first family Christmas to go to.  It was a blast.  Here is one of the games we played.  Your partner had to wrap you in a bag full of random goodies.  Here are some of the following entries.



Christmas Decor - Part Duex

Finally getting around to posting the rest of our holiday decor that we have around the house.

Here's the tree all trimmed out with our family ornaments, we have a mixture of handmade, hand painted balls, and special bought ornaments that have been passed down to us from our mom's and now as little one is getting older and making them at functions they are being added.  I love remembering who they all came from.

Little arrangement on the one end of our tv cabinet.

This is on the other end.  The deer and lantern were both yard sale steals - finds & just added some garland I ripped apart that my Gramma didn't want anymore.

My father-in-law made this nativity set.  For the past 3 years we've gotten 3 pieces each.  You can't really tell from the pictures, but these pieces are HUGE.  Beautiful but HUGE.  They do come with some lovely glass candle sticks, but we never light them. 

Chistmas ball tree that my mom made last year as a present.  Love it! 

This little guy my mother-in-law made one year, I think he's so just the cutest! 

I love this Santa candle, especially how it looks like ribbon candy with the design. 

This is on our bathroom sink, my friend made it last year.  I have a bright green bathroom and this just continues with the bright theme and love all of the colors. 

Here's a portion of our decorated wall of shelving.  Many homemade items on here also.

I love pulling out all of these goodies every year, especially the handmade ones.  They mean the most to me and I look forward to being able to pass these down to my girls some day, as some of them have been passed down to me.


DIY - Christmas Gifts

In our families we always make a homemade gift.  Typically, I've done ornaments in the past and occasionally the Hubs will do something with his woodworking.  But this year with the Hubs working his crazy schedule I remembered two DIY gift ideas I'd seen around the Blog-land.

First, I saw earlier this year when Chris @ Just a Girl posted a tutorial - the ever so popular Tile Coasters.  Total cost per gift was $3-4.  You really can't beat that and they are super simple and go quickly!

Here's the materials we got: tiles from our local hardware store, a pack of the 12x12 cork tiles (4 in a package), staz-on ink in brown, package of clear stamps, and the spray sealant.

 Here's the hubs measuring out the size we needed for the bottom of each tile.

Bottom of the tile after the cork was glued on.

The finished product after stamping and the spray sealant.  We decided to have two of each design in each set.  We made 8 sets total.

The second gift I stumbled across were these amazing JOY plaques that I fell in love with instantly.  The tutorial is posted over @ Shanty2Chic. Total cost of this project for me was about $15 per set, I ended up having to order the candlesticks and finials online as my craft stores selection was pretty null.  I didn't take step by step pictures of this project, Hubs and me worked on them a little bit each day and are so pleased with how they turned out.  We made 7 sets of these.  Here's our finished project.

There's still time if you need a simple inexpensive christmas gift for someone.  Go out and get your supplies, they will love recieving something handmade.

And - when you happened onto my page did you notice that little one is entered in a contest?  If you have a moment please go take a gander over @ parenting by dummies and vote.  Little one's #28 in case you won't be able to tell, as her bum is the only thing you see and not her face.


Christmas Decor - Part 1

I have a bunch of photos.  Here are some pictures of the garland I made this year and a rag-garland.  The worse part for me is capturing the glitter that's in the garland, just don't feel like the pictures have the sparkle it does IRL.  Everything including the greens for this garland I got on clearance last year after Christmas!!!  I ended up winding 3 greens together to get it thick enough and then just kept on sticking and wiring in the goodies I had.  Love the green and bronze colors.

Here are some close-up's. 


Last year my mom made me this button wreath and it needed something added up above, so in a couple hours I whipped together this rag-garland, I have another longer one in the big arch of our living room.  And love the look of our door now. 



Merry SITSmas!!!

Today is SITSmas over at The Secret is in the Sauce.  What does this mean you ask?  Only a day filled with comment love (with a MAJOR link-up Party!) between all of the SITStah's, and the SITS girls are having a giveaway every hour starting @ 9am EST  today! 

If your stopping by I say Welcome to my little piece of the Blog world.  I'm so glad you stopped by.  If you have a moment to look around please do.  I have a super yummy easy peasy pie crust recipe here and a how-to make cinnamon dough ornaments over here.

I'd just like to say that as we're nearing the end of '09 I look back on this ride my family went on, on the roller coaster of life, and we are so lucky to be where we are today and I look forward to the many changes that will be coming in our life in the beginning of 2010.  The main one being that after a growth ultrasound yesterday, looks like Baby A could be making an earlier appearance than expected, this is exciting and yet a freak out moment all at the same time.  But in the end it all will work out I know.

So, if you'd like to participate in SITSmas (why wouldn't you? this is an amazing community of women) and the giveaways and comment love that is sure to come today, there are just 2 things you need to do and they are explained hereMerry SITSmas to all and to all a good day!!! 

From my family to yours...



Christmas Photo's

Well, looks like I got whatever the little one had earlier this week, hardcore yesterday.  Feeling under the weather and not really up to a wordy post, so figured I'd share our pictures we got done last weekend.  Little one, wasn't really cooperating but we did get a few good ones, so I guess that's better than none.  Hope everyone is having a great weekend.



Cinnamon Dough Ornaments

Last year around the blog-o-sphere I saw tons of great Christmas decor ideas and I knew I wanted to do the cinnamon dough ornaments, after seeing them here and there.  After Christmas last year was walking around Target when there in the automotive section was a lonely red shiny tree with a red glittered bottom for only $2.49.  I was so excited obviously someone had put it down after changing their mind but alls I was thinking was SCORE!  So, it's been sitting on a shelf in my basement ever since.  I dug it out the other day and looked up a recipe and here's what I came up with.

Cinnamon Dough Recipe
Ingredients: 3/4 cup of applesauce (do not use homemade) & 1 cup + 2 tbsp of ground cinnamon
Directions:  Preheat oven 250 degrees, mix ingredients, use cookie cutters for desired shape, use a straw to make a hole for your ribbon/rope, place on cookie sheet, put in oven for 2 1/2 hours, flipping them over occasionally.

Here's my tips:
  • This was a very very very wet dough to work with (ok, I wouldn't even call it a dough, it's mush), sprinkle ground cinnamon on surface you plan on rolling it on, sprinkle on top, and coat your rolling pin several times throughout the rolling process.  
  • When placing your holes make sure they are far enough down if it's a narrow shape (like snowflake) so there's no cracking.
  • Easiest way to transfer these to a cookie sheet, is to coat a spatula with some cinnamon and slide it under your shape, the excess areas will break away.  I started trying to use a knife, but b/c it's mush, it wasn't working very smoothly. 
Here's a picture of them before transfering them to the cookie sheet.

After letting them cook, I broke off any excess little pieces from the sides.  Used some red and white baker's twine I had around and hung them on the tree.  Only disappointment is they are sort-of hard to see on the tree.  But they do smell rather yummy when you walk by.


Baby, Pregnancy, 31 Weeks

Today was baby appt day!!!  The little one loves these days because she gets to hear the baby's heartbeat.  It was so cute, when waiting for the Dr. to come in, she stepped up on the ledge thing for the table I was sitting on and  hugged the belly and told Avalynn to not be scared the Dr. was just going to check her out.  I mean really - love her!!! 
All looks good.  Still measuring 2 weeks ahead with fundal height.  And I did ask about having sharp pains and he asked if I felt like everything was going to fall out and when I agreed he said it's completely normal.  I do not remember it this early with the little one, but then again perhaps this is why there's that saying, "everything happens faster the 2nd time around." 
Next Monday the 7th we have a growth ultrasound scheduled.  And then I only have 6 more appts left, 2 more bi-weekly's and then the 4 weekly's.  Eeeks - it's going so fast and we have nothing done in her room yet.  The even more sad part is that almost every weekend from now until D-day is packed.  But I'm trying to still not stress, I know it will get done, just feeling some mommy guilt perhaps.  
Pregnancy Review:
How far along: 31 weeks.

Total weight gain/loss: 15 lbs - eeks, had my appt today and it was not a good gain, I've been a little crazy with the desserts & chocolates this past month, the funny thing is I normally can make them but hardly ever eat them, guess that's pregnancy for you.

Maternity clothes?: Definitely.

Strech marks?: No new ones.

Sleep: Getting more uncomfortable and now in the wide awake for random hours during the night.  Bleah.

Best moment this week: Hearing her beautiful heartbeat @ today's appt.
Movement: OOO - yes!
Food cravings: Sweets, Corn Dogs, Pasta's and Breads oh-my!

Gender: 110% GIRL
What I miss: to sleep like the dead, no sharp pains.  

Labor Signs: Not really - just some Braxton Hicks if I do too much.

Belly Button in or out? Still in, but it's getting flatter as it's being pushed out.

What I am looking forward to: finally meeting her and holding her in my arms.  It's not just the length of this preg. I've been waiting, since my first miscarriage after having the little one, so this is 2+ years and I'm so ready for her to be here.

Weekly Wisdom: That with less than 2 months left, we should really start her nursery!  I mean really - how can I say I'm so excited and then not have anything ready yet.  My only excuse is that I can't very well do it myself and with the Hubs working his 7 day weeks it's been pushed to the side. 
Milestones: Getting through everyday at this point.  I'm ready to be considered fullterm and to have her! 

Here's some pictures from today. 


And I'd also like to say thank you to everyone for the sweet comments on our name choice.  I'm still having to defend it to some family members - but am standing firm as this is what I already consider her to be and it feels like a good fit. 


Well, we made it out alive...

The final day of the Hubs 4 day long weekend and we are re-cooperating.  We had a wonderful Thanksgiving with both sides of the family.  Turns out we were able to see New Moon (it was up in the air because of the showing times) I won't gush too much, but O-EM-GEEEE compared to Twilight movie!!! 

Then Black Friday, aka BF, morning came upon us.  Unfortunately, it now seems I'm entering the wide awake at random hours in the middle of the night phase of the pregnancy.  Oh JOY - not really, since 2:55am rolled around and I just laid there until the 4am alarm clock went off to wake up Hubs.  I'm no newbie to BF shopping.  I consider myself entering into the veteran stages.  Done the complete all-nighters going to the midnight openings before and shopping through the day no problem.  But this year - I made a tragic mistake in the route I had planned for the Hubs and me to hit that morning.  Here is what I've learned:

  • Never, EVER go to Walmart 1st thing!  Really, no matter what kind of deals you think you're getting, they are not worth that headache.  BUT, if you do decide to enter that mayhem remember this
    • You do not need a cart.  I'm telling you, you really don't.  Especially if you are going to a highly traffic area, for example - toys or electronics. 
    • Make a plan of attack with your shopping partner.  You have those top items on your list, split them up and take a deep breath before heading into the Jungle.  Make sure your wearing ears and eyes are open to everything, because it can get nasty in there.
    • Do a quick scan of the shelves when looking for what you want (because really - you want to get out of that area asap) and make sure to check end caps and other random places for the really good priced deals, because that's where they will be.  Or just look for the people leaping over one another or throwing punches (yes I witnessed this on Friday).
    • Once you are able to meet up with your partner and navigate your way through the crush of carts and people that just seem to be standing still, see they really didn't need that cart to push just one measly item in it!  Send him to the checkout area, while you grab a couple last minute items in other non crazy areas of the store, this way they can scout which lines are moving faster/less people etc.  By the time you finish grabbing stuff that's on your list, there's only 2 people ahead of you in the check out - sweet!
  • As your rush out of that 1st place, you are pleased to see your doing great on time/schedule and will be able to make the next store opening with a few minutes to spare.  
  • There's really no need to stand in line, unless of course you get a free gift card for the first "x" amount of people.  Couple minutes before opening time, walk to the end of the line and then you should be in and through the door within a minute - I'm telling you people, the lines move fast!  
  • Continue on your route, plan and attack each store with your partner and you'll be done in no time at all.  
Perhaps it was because the 1st place we went to was so HORRIBLE but the rest of the stores seemed like cake compared to Walmart.   Hubs and me agreed - never ever again (oh yes, I'm saying the never word) will we go to an opening for Walmart on BF, not worth it at all. 

And in the end we are 3/4's of the way finished with our list.  I was pleased with the prices we got on all of our purchases, we're well within the budget I set and will still be once we finish up the last few people we need to buy for.  That feels even better!

I'm working through all of the new followers and comments I've gotten this week, should be caught up and back on track in the next day or two.  Hope everyone enjoys the end of their weekends!


Happy Thanksgiving

Ahhh - the day is finally here!!! I just wanted to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving, hope you are spending it with your loved ones and taking a moment to think about your thankful things today and enjoying all of the yummy food that will be prepared today. 

Thankful Tidbits

#24 - my family putting up with my crazy pregnant moods lately and understanding everything.

#25 - That my family, our extended families & friends are all healthy and we get another year to celebrate.  It's been a rough year between my Dad's accident in March (falling 20 feet from a tree and being in the ICU for 2 months), Gramma's cancer back and her treatments, plus with the Hubs and me still having 4 sets of grandparents alive, I cherish these years even more, because I'm afraid of how many more we only have with them.

#26 - Even though I'm up much earlier than I'd like, I'm thankful for the Hubs being in bed with me this morning instead of already off to work by 5am.  And little one is still sleeping, normally she'd be hoping into bed with me about this time.

To whoever will be out with the crazies (like me and the Hubs) tomorrow between 4-5am, I hope you find the deals you want and get what you want too, even if you have to fight for it!  Lols.  :: shudders ::  We're actually going to attempt WalMart this year, I'm picturing a stampede. 

I have much blog catching up to do & promise to return the comment love and follower's etc later this week after the crazy-ness of the next 3 days. 


Friend Makin Monday

Amber is hosting this and decided to participate this week, since Thanksgiving is my 2nd favorite holiday.  If you want to join in, go click on the link and join up for the party.  Here's her questions for the week:

1. Turkey or Ham?
- Definitely Turkey!!!
2. Favorite side dish.
- My Nanny's candied sweet potatoes...can't wait for leftovers of those too!
3. Favorite dessert.
- Pumpkin Pie with some extra creamy whipped topping.
4. Black Friday: Are you going or not?
- Yes, Hubs and me will be one of those crazies out there shopping.
5. If so, what's on the top of your list?
- Tag Reader (in purple) for the little one. 
6. Going out of town or staying close to home?
- Close to home, all family is local, but will be splitting the day between my family & the hubs family.
7. Hosting or helping?
- Will help out when arrive with setting things out and clean up, but not making anything to bring along.
8. Name one family tradition at Thanksgiving.
- We go around the table and say something we are thankful for.
9. What do you do after dinner?
- We leave one place from lunch and head to the other place for dinner, this year though Little One is sleeping over at my parents, so we might see New Moon.
10. What are you most thankful for this year?
- To have a healthy family & pregnancy, for Hubs having a job, our bills are paid, food on the table, and our extended family for being there for anything and everything we might need. 

Thankful Tidbits

#23 - For Avalynn making her presence known, now instead of the just the jabs, she's starting to move around and stick her body out more, Hubs think it's the weirdest thing to see, as it looks like there's an alien moving around from the outside. And today it's felt like continuous somersaults.  


Christmas Bug - is biting a little early this year.

This is my absolute favorite holiday of all time.  I normally am patient enough to wait until after Thanksgiving/Black Friday before decorating/baking/listening to Christmas music.  That Saturday I always have the Hubs drag up all of the decor and spend the weekend decorating.  And we never start the shopping until Black Friday (where we get 90%) of it all bought for everyone on our list.  But this year, I just can't seem to help myself, perhaps it's because I've been out running around more than normal that I'm seeing all of the decorations and stores ready for the holidays. 

Yesterday little one and me packed away all of the fall decor/everyday decor and really cleaned.  This morning I started bringing up a few items from the basement and setting them out.  I feel a little bad, like I'm cheating on Thanksgiving because really, to be honest -  Thanksgiving is my favorite eating holiday of the year.  I just can't seem to help myself this year.  I'm thinking perhaps it's also having something to do with the little one, she's old enough to really start getting Christmas & Santa.  Speaking of Santa, in case you haven't heard all Macy's locations are have a Santa Letter drop-off box & the bonus, every letter they receive they will donate $1 to the Make-a-Wish foundation up to $1 Million.  How awesome is this?  Little one and me will be writing her letter next week and dropping it off the following week, hopefully to run into less traffic and shoppers. 

This past weekend the Hubs and me started our shopping too, only a little earlier than normal.  Waiting for the majority of it this Friday but since it was just the two of us, decided to get a jump start on a few things.  Plus decided to order our online items this week, to ensure they will arrive on time, items that I can't find in our local stores.  I want to share this amazing on-line company called CSN Stores that approached me to review one of their products.  I'm so excited to share it with you in the next couple weeks, the cost is great and an excellent idea for anyone on your list!  Do you need some Christmas Decorations for the inside or outside?  Really, go take the time and check this company out.  They have a big selection, great prices and many of their items have guaranteed delivery by Dec. 24th. 

Thankful Tidbits

#19 - the Hubs made it through the 1st round of layoffs on his job.

#20 - For the wonderful cuddly day I had with little one.

#21 - Date night with the hubs, long long overdue, dinner and some shopping.  Little one stayed the night with the in-laws.

#22 - Seeing the joy in little one's face when I met her for lunch today and to take her home with me. 


Great-Gramma's Never Fail Pie Crust

Yesterday, little one and me went over to Gramma's to make some pumpkin rolls & try out Great-Gramma's Pie Crust. I normally just buy the frozen or refrigerated pie crusts but this year I wanted to make my own and Gramma shared her mom's recipe with me.  So simple and fantastic that wanted to share.  Really - I expected this elaborate process, but in 5 mins the dough was made, couple mins of rolling and we were done!

"Never Fail Pie Crusts"
- Sift together 3 cups of flour, 1 tsp of salt and 1 cup of shortening.

- 1 well beaten egg, 5 tbsp of cold water, 1 tbsp of vinegar.

We then divided the dough into 3rd's.  Rolled out the 2 pie crusts for some pumpkin pie.

To take easily off the mat/table, we slid a spatula underneath it, folded it loosely in half and then picked it up into the pie plate.  Pinch up the excess dough, if any hanging over the edge just swipe that off.

We had some left over dough and decided to make some sweet rolls.  Roll out the dough, spread butter, we added some homemade apple butter, and then sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.  Roll it up and then slice it into pieces.  Place in a buttered/cooking spray dish @350 bake until tops are golden. 15-20 mins.

I love going over to Gramma's during November and December for pumpkin roll making and cookie baking.  And I'm glad that she shared this recipe so I can continue making it and pass down to our girls some day.

Do you have any traditions/memories with loved ones during the holiday season?

Thankful Tidbit 

#18 - To still have my Gramma around.  She just finished her 2nd bout of chemo & radiation (last month) in the past 3 years and as we get older, I'm more appreciative of the wonderful memories with her and each holiday we still get to spend with her.