Christmas 2011

Have been wanting to get this post up all week.  I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday week between Christmas & New Year’s.  We’ve been busy playing with all of the girls’ new toys and getting all of the Christmas décor packed up and put away until next year.  *Warning – Picture Heavy Post AHEAD*

The Girls’ opening their presents to one another on Christmas Eve.

Santa always leaves new PJ’s for the girls’ Christmas Eve, while we had company their was a knock at our door from one of his elves dropping them off. 

Santa & our presents to the girls’ have arrived.

Girls’ partaking in another tradition, they each have their own tree in their rooms and Santa leaves a wrapped ornament hanging on them, they were opening them up to see what they got this year.

Their “big” presents from Santa.

SO excited she got Start the Party like she asked for.

Brynlee checking out one of her new toys on her new blanket (we made each of the girls a new sew fleece blanket) – AND right after this, Little Miss rolled 3x’s from her belly to her back, what a great Christmas present for us!

Older two playing with their new outdoor toys from GG & Gramps.

My Sister-in-Law put Miss B to sleep.

This is the Hubs Dad’s side of the family – 4 generations!

And to keep it real, this is what my house looked like morning of the 26th.  Spent the whole day getting things organized.

Everyone’s new clothes that I had to de-tag.

Toys more organized under the tree.  And it only stayed like that for another day, because by Tuesday night I had all of the decorations their toy area, pulled old toys for storage and put away all of the new stuff. 


Christmas Photo Session

Normally, I spend an hour on the phone just trying to get through to Portrait Innovations, make our appt, and then we sit there forever waiting as they are always running behind.  This year a fellow mom friend, used a local photographer who comes to our house and highly recommended her, so for 1/2 the price I figured we’d give it a try as well!!!

Hmm…let’s just say it was an EPIC FAIL where Middle Child was concerned.  She wanted nothing to do with photo’s and would just cry and run away.  3 shots is what we got of her, and my favorite is actually without her looking, lols. 

Now for some overload of my perhaps biased opinion be-a-ut-i-ful girls!!! 








Thanks for looking at my cuties!!  Do you go somewhere for your photos, hire a photographer on location or take them yourself? 


2 New Recipes

With all of the “pinning” I do on Pinterest, I’ve actually been trying out a couple things.  2 of them were new recipes to add to my normal holiday baking.  Both were absolutely delish and I highly recommend!!

First up, Apple Cider Caramels – seriously, heaven are in these little bites of sweetness! 


Apple Cider Caramels
Recipe from Our Best Bites
2 cup high-quality apple cider
1 cup heavy cream or whipping cream, divided
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Pinch nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup real butter, cubed

- Pour cider into a medium saucepan and boil on high for about 20 minutes or until the cider is reduced to 1/3 c. Keep an eye on it...it might try to run away. Set aside to cool.
- Line an 8" square pan with parchment paper, making sure to leave about 1" hanging over the edges for easy removal. Coat with a bit of vegetable oil and set aside.
- In a small bowl, combine 2/3 c. cream, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and reduced apple cider. Set aside.
- In a large, heavy saucepan, combine the sugar, 1/3 c. whipping cream + enough water to reach the 1/2 c. line on the measuring cup, and corn syrup. Cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Insert the candy thermometer and simmer until the syrup reaches 234 degrees.
- Remove from heat and slowly whisk in the cream mixture. Add the cubed butter and stir until the cream and butter are fully incorporated. Return the pan to heat and re-insert the candy thermometer. Cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until the temperature reaches 248 degrees.
- Remove from heat and pour the caramel into the prepared pan. Let the mixture cool completely at room temperature or in the refrigerator. I covered the top of the pan loosely with saran wrap and left it out overnight. You could cut the caramels into 1/2" squares and wrap each caramel in wax paper, but I'm lazy so I cut the caramel into 1/2" logs, which meant that I had exponentially fewer pieces to individually wrap. Store in an airtight container or in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks, but I can guarantee that they won't last that long. These things are delicious!

Next recipe is for Cream Cheese filled Snickerdoodles by Cookies & Cups.  These are big cookies and so yummy, they were gone pretty quickly! Sorry I don’t have a picture of these.

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup room temp butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • Filling
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  1. Make the cream cheese filling by mixing the cream cheese, 1/4 cup sugar and 2 tsp vanilla. I used my hand mixer for this.
  2. Cover the cream cheese mixture and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 400°
  4. Cream butter and 1 1/2 cup sugar until fluffy.
  5. Add eggs and 1 tsp vanilla. Mix until combined.
  6. On low speed mix in your flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt. Set dough to the side.
  7. In a small bowl combine remaining 1/4 cup sugar and 2 tsp cinnamon, set that aside as well.
  8. Remove the cream cheese mixture from the refrigerator.
  9. For each cookie you will need 2 flattened balls of dough, 1 Tbsp each. (The flattened disk will be approx 2″ in diameter)
  10. Place 1 tsp of the cream cheese mixture on top of one of the flattened dough disks. Then place the other flattened dough on top of the cream cheese. Pinch the edges together to seal.
  11. Carefully form into a ball and roll in the cinnamon sugar mixture. Place on a plate as you finish making each and refrigerate. Before baking the cookies they should chill for 15 minutes.
  12. When the dough is chilled bake on a parchment lined baking sheet 2″ apart for 8 minutes.
  13. Transfer to wire rack to cool.
Makes approx 24 cookies Adapted from

If you are already finished with your baking for the season, definitely file these away to try next year – I promise you won’t be sorry!!!


Catch Up Post

Man oh man I can’t believe it’s been a month since I’ve last posted.  Something had to give in my everyday life and the computer has been it.  Unless I can do it from my phone I don’t have time to sit and type.  I’m glad to say I’m finally starting to figure out a new normal for our every day routine.

Here’s to the highlights and mishaps of the past month.

- B is 2 1/2 months old now.  I honestly can’t believe it.  Even when she’s up through the night, I just snuggle her and smile through the lack of sleep the following day, because I know she is our last baby and one day *even though it’s hard to believe* I’m sure I’ll miss these moments.


- The Hubs and I have really been focusing on our parenting style and figuring out what works the best for E & A.  We’re doing a combo of 1-2-3 Magic and praising decision making for E.  I’m really glad we have been focusing on this part of our lives as I have fallen even more in love with my kids and motherhood. 

- Thanksgiving was a very horrible day.  1st the Hubs *who works for a  satellite tv company* had to work.  That was a big bummer, it just didn’t feel the same doing our rituals with the kids without him.  After he got off work he was on his way to meet us at my grandparents and a doe came running across the highway.  Daisy, aka van, is in the shop and will hopefully be fixed by the 14th of next week.  Plus the older two were sick with horrible coughs and A was miserable crying everytime she coughed.  I was glad to just get home and have the day over with.

3 girls tday


- And now we are in December and all the fun that happens, decorating, advent calendars and the daily activities, christmas music, homemade presents plus some retail shopping.  Have tons to share this month.  :o)


My Happy List


- This picture is topping my list, can’t you just see that love in Middle Child’s face.  She is my mini mommy.


- Baby B is finally putting on some weight – love this to no end!

- Many 1sts this week for my girls, tonight will be Baby B’s 1st Halloween Parade, ToT night will be Middle Child’s 1st actually partaking in it, and Friday is Oldest Child’s Halloween Parade/Party at PreK, this will be her first school party. 

- On top of the fun holiday stuff mentioned above we also have carving and painting pumpkins on the agenda.

- The Proposal, one of my favorite movies, it’s DVR’d and I play it whenever there is nothing else on tv, normally during Baby B’s nighttime feedings – watching right now. 

- The Hubs and I will officially be starting our Christmas Shopping today – there are only 61 days left. 

- Our families for being here to help lift us up with their support always, but especially the past couple weeks.


Friday Confessions


I confess...

I'm so behind on many things and it's driving me a little batty.

I confess...

Any computer time usually only involves being able to use the mouse, I have emails to respond to (Steph - I will get back to you on the carseat!), comments, blog posts I wish I had the time to write.

I confess...

For real, am at a total low place with my "friends".  As Baby B is 24 days old today and they still haven't met her.  It saddens me the excuse of being too busy being used.  And what I thought was true friendship makes me second guess.

I confess...

We had Baby B's 3 wk check and she still isn't back up to birth weight.  It's frustrating with me breastfeeding that her older sister A could pack on the weight like no other and I can't get hers back up.  So, we are having lots of 1 on 1 time and more nursing sessions through the day.  I hope that at next weeks weight check she shows a good gain.

I confess...

Whoever said it gets easier less worrisome for parents each child must be mistaken.  I feel like I had very minimum concerns when Emma was a newborn and didn't stress/have anxiety like I do have with A & B.

I confess...

I need to figure out a better daily routine.  I guess it's a good day if we are all dressed, me showered and dressed, fed and the house cleaned up by the end of the day.

I confess...

I need to do something for my soul, it's feeling a little empty right now.  I want to hear that music speak to me, be creative, get lost in a book, do something artsy with my girls', make time for house decor projects and making gifts for our loved ones for Christmas.

*I really really feel a little better getting all of this out there! Click on the button above and check out Mamarazzi's confessions along with all of the other people confessing today.



My Happy List


It's been one of those weeks and I've decided I need to sit down and re-assess - make my happy list.  I'm linking up with Mamarazzi, click over to read every one else's Happy List.

- Our beautiful 2 wk old is fast asleep on the cushion between the Hubs and I, while we watch our Tuesday night shows.
- Prepared freezer meals made for us, that make days like today that much easier because I just have to thaw and bake dinner for the family.
- DISH now has a Barbie channel - it occupies the older 2 for a little bit at least.
- Fall decorations have come out of the basement.
- Feeling my creative bug coming back.
- MIL offering to take the older two overnight this coming long weekend.
- The Hubs coming home after working 12+ hr days and putting the baby to sleep so I can get some extra ZZZ's.
- Cashews, m&m's, water, iced tea - my go-to's the past couple days.



Baby/Nursery Sewing Projects

During my pregnancy with B, I knew there were some things that I wanted to try sewing for her nursery and some of the baby items we’ll be using.  I had previously shown the burp rags I made, here.  Next up I wanted to recover the bumpers that we had in A’s nursery.  Personally, I found it incredibly hard to narrow down fabrics.  I searched tons of places on-line and finally we just headed to Joann’s and the Hubs saw the outer fabric first, knew it was perfect and had the colors I wanted!  If I ever recover a set of bumper pads again, I definitely want to do the piping detail, which I didn’t do on B’s.

2011-09-12 12.58.01

2011-09-12 12.58.09

Next up I wanted to make another boppy cover.  I had to improvise since I bought the wrong yardage then what was recommended and a zipper half the size that was recommended, can I blame pregnancy brain and not writing it down?  Thankfully, it still turned out great, love the colors and that one side is a flannel, soft and warm.

2011-09-05 16.23.58

Last project was actually completed by the Hubs.  Recovering the infant carrier carseat.  Only thing I helped with was tearing out all of the seams.  The fabric for this we checked out the home décor fabrics as they are more heavy duty.

2011-09-18 22.36.32


Doing these projects has increased my love of sewing so much.  All fabrics were bought on sale and with coupons and I love how each of these are personalized especially for her, especially since they are hand me downs from Miss A.


Brynlee Renee has ARRIVED!

One week ago at this time I was holding my beautiful 3rd daughter.  Here’s her birth story, my 3rd induced labor. Monday the 19th I went into triage to get the gel.  I was sore/cramping and the Hubs and I enjoyed a lunch just the two of us and then went walking around the mall for a couple hours.  Nothing happened, it didn’t put me into labor.

Tuesday the 20th I woke up feeling amazing.  We were at the hospital @ 8:30.  The midwife checked and she said if this were my 1st delivery she’d recommend another gel as the 1st didn’t do much.  We agreed to try pitocin and re-assess my progress in the afternoon.  The Dr. then came in early afternoon to break my water.  My main goal this delivery was to hold off on the epidural as it stalled my two previous deliveries.  I waited until I was 6cm and then asked for the epidural. 

Shortly after getting comfortable, pain wise – my mom brought the girls’ in for a little visit.  Once they left I took a nap for about an hour.  I woke up because I was starting to get uncomfortable.  Played a card game with my sister and then she decided to go get a drink.  I woke up the Hubs telling him to get awake because I was pretty sure next time they checked me, it’d be baby pushing time.

The midwife came in and said that I changed drastically and that I’d be able to push through the last bit I needed to.  She left and ended up coming right back in because Brynlee’s head was right there without me doing any pushing.  Just as I was getting ready to start pushing my sister walked in the room in the knick of time.  A couple minutes and about 10 pushes later, Miss Brynlee Renee entered the world at 9:59pm, weighing 9lbs, 20 in, on 9.20.2011.  The lee in Brynlee’s name is for my Gramma who passed away exactly 4 months ago on the 20th. 




I feel like this time after delivery is kicking my butt.  I’m feeling overall pretty much back to normal physically.  But holy cow, super emotional, this time around.  I hope that all of this level’s out sooner rather than later!  I feel like this transition of 2 to 3 kids has gone much smoother than it did going from 1 to 2. The girls’ love their little sister so much and I have to confess that Miss A is doing so awesome, is super gentle and hasn’t showed much jealously issues yet like I feared.  Granted it’s only been 1 week, but this gives me hope!  Now I must go wake her up to nurse. 


Cell Phoneagraphy

I have a bunch of randoms from the past 2 weeks since I haven’t been great about doing those posts.  I wanted to get these on the blog before Miss B’s arrival this coming week! :o)

Recently Updated7
- Miss A with her first double ponytail.
- The Oldest doing one of her favorite things – coloring!

Recently Updated9
- I love that they love one another so much!
- Coloring together, both cheesing it up!

Recently Updated6
- Emma at her meet the teacher day.
- Avalynn was smiling big so we could send a photo to the Hubs to brighten his work day.

Recently Updated8
- Shot of Philadelphia.
- The back of the van loaded up with our Ikea purchases!

Recently Updated3
- The Hubs and Miss A on his new bike.
- She had so much fun playing on this box.

Recently Updated4
- The Hubs’ and girls before heading to church.
- Here’s probably one of my last belly shots – 39 weeks!

2011-09-18 13.20.38
- BFF, her little man, me and the girls’ at the luncheon for his Baptism. 


Final Pregnancy Post

It's official - Miss Brynlee will be here in the next 96 hours at the latest!  Squeee - I can't believe the time is so close and literally upon us, only 2 days before I head to the hospital Monday morning for the gel.

Are we ready for #3?  Everything is done for her arrival here at home, room done, meals are cooked and in the freezer for that 1st week home, plans are made with family members to take off and help watch the girls' and me once I'm home and the Hubs is back to work.  I just can't wrap my head around there being a 3rd bundle of joy here, and I how I'll get to witness the bond my 3 girls will have, just watching E & A now my heart swells with joy watching them together.  I know now after my youngest how your heart just expands to make more room to love the new addition so am not worried about any of that.  :o)  My oldest will transition well with another baby, she did great with the youngest.  Now the youngest on the other hand, I'm worried as she is such a Mommy girl, it's beyond ridiculous, if she sees the oldest sitting on my lap or snuggling, she is right there throwing a fit, trying to squeeze herself on my lap and push her sister off.

I've been feeling pretty crampy and having BH's all week, each day the crampy feeling lasting longer and longer.  I would LOVE to go in labor on my own, especially since this is our last baby.  I was holding out for my Mani/Pedi last night, but now that appt has passed.  This video is floating around my birth board and I showed it to the oldest.  Our plans today besides cleaning the whole house is to do this fun little dance and whatever other dancing to get Miss B moving.

Please take a moment to watch this, she is so adorable with her accent and it literally cracks me up harder and harder every time I watch it, esp. thinking of doing it 9 months pregnant.

Since this is our last, I've been thinking of what I'll be glad to never have to do again b/c of Pregnancy, here's my list:

- Those appt pee in a cups.  Granted it's not a big deal, except for the fact that I have to remember where I put said cup, esp. when it's just monthly appts, and then to remember the night before my appt to make sure it's out so I remember to do my thing.
- Taking Glucose tests, between having to drink it for early detection of GD and then during the regular time when  you should, so glad to be done with that!
- Hip/Pelvic Pain - with each pregnancy this got worse, and there's absolutely no laying on my side, b/c getting out of bed, I literally feel like I'm 80 years old and my hips will pop out of joint.
- I know the Hubs won't miss some of my crazy emotions! ;o)

As the Hubs and I close on this chapter in our lives and marriage it makes me a little sad and excited all at the same time.  We are blessed with this big family, after several trials, to create our family.  As sad as it'll be to go through my last first's with B, I look forward to just raising our kids and enjoying the differences of leaving babyhood/toddler hood to them being kids'.



Friday Confessions


I confess... the oldest hasn't even been in school for 1 week, and as of yesterday the youngest has a runny nose and is sneezing.

I confess... For the past week I haven't been able to sleep in our bed at all.  I'm now sleeping on the recliner as the hip/pelvic pain is too severe, not worth it to even try laying down.  I miss my bed so much!

I confess... Between 1-3am, I normally wake up wide awake.  Last night I actually slept all night, so thought for sure tonight would be the same, except like mentioned above youngest is not feeling well, so I keep hearing her toss/turn/moan through the monitor and her Leap Frog dog must be near her b/c I keep hearing "ruff ruffing" noises and "Good Night Little Monkey".

I confess...the oldest is going to be a pleasure later today I'm sure with her interrupted sleep.

I confess...I can just hear the meltdowns coming my way later today.

I confess... The weather today dropped down to the 60's and I get to finally put the girls in some of their new wardrobe.

I confess... Fall is my favorite time of the year!



Peach Leather Recipe

We love fruit leather’s in this house.  We normally get the Archer Farms Organic ones from Target.  This is always something I’ve wanted to try to make, just never had taken the plunge.

Couple weeks ago, was perusing one of my favorite site’s Pinterest and came across a recipe for Peach Leather


Here’s the recipe:

4 Ripe Peaches (skin on)
1 Tbsp Honey

1. Preheat oven to 225 F degrees.
2. Rinse and remove seeds from peaches.
3. Place the peaches and honey in a blender and puree until smooth.
4. Pour the mixture onto a parchment lined baking sheet and spread with the back of a spoon or spatula in a large rectangle (my rectangle was 11 x 15 inches) making sure that the thickness is completely even.
5. Bake for 3-4 hours or until dry and not sticky to the touch. Remember, cooking times will vary depending on how thick you spread your mixture and how much water (juice) is naturally in the fruit.
6. Set aside and cool at room temperature; it takes several hours for the fruit to soften up. Note that when you first take the fruit leather out of the oven, the edges will be a bit dry and crispy, but if you allow it to sit out for several hours it softens up nicely.
7. Cut with a knife, pizza cutter or scissors into strips, keeping the paper on if desired, then roll the leather into “roll ups”.
8. Serve.

They say that cooking times could vary based on the thickness of your mixture and your oven, so anywhere from only 2 hours to 4 hours. 

Here’s what I learned: Definitely make sure you have the same thickness all over, I thought I did, and I so did not, therefore only 1/2 of my pan was usuable.  The thinner part was just beyond done and another portion after 4 hrs was still very wet, wouldn’t even pull off the parchment paper.

Both girls’ loved this for their dessert tonight.  This is a definite addition to my recipe book and I look forward to trying other fruits.

Have you tried making any fruit snacks or leather's?  Any favorite recipes?