Thursday, December 24, 2009

C'mon Santa!

Alright, we're ready for Santa to arrive! :) We've been tracking his travels on and my son & I set out a bowl of popcorn in the front yard (for the reindeer, of course), a plate of cookies and a glass of milk, along with a note from Keegan! We said our goodbyes to the Elves in our tree and the kids are all tucked into bed in their new Christmas Eve pj's!

We've had an exciting Christmas season filled with fun activities and lots of great memories! The elves came and did their nightly pooping and playing and Keegan enjoyed looking for them on the tree!

Here the whole family is on the hunt to try to spot an elf:

Gotta love the "poop" trails! Keegan cracked up that they pooped on his jacket!

Here are the kids in their new pj's! We only let them open one present from us on Christmas Eve and it's always new pj's. They don't have to be Christmas-y pj's but just new! Keegan was really stoked about his guitar pj's and Tatym seemed to really like her snowman pj's!

This year I gave away some Snowman Soup (so cute, simple and fun)! Here'a the note that was attached to the bags:

Here's the completed bag:

The package includes 1 packet of hot cocoa, a little baggie of mini marshmallows, a peppermint stick and 3 hershey's kisses:

I LOVE CHRISTMAS!!! I'm sad that it's almost over but yet excited for a new year to begin! I've got lots of plans and hopes for the upcoming year but as we know, the Lord is in control and I'm all for that! If my plans don't fit His will then I'm ok with that! He knows far better than I do, what's best for me and my family! So Merry Christmas and bring on 2010!


I just wanted to take a minute and wish everyone out in Blogland, a VERY Merry CHRISTmas! I pray that everyone takes some time to reflect on why exactly we celebrate this amazing event...the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ! I pray for amazing time spent with family, love surrounding you and many amazing moments shared with those closest and most important to you! God bless you (although He's blessed us all more than we deserve with the freedom to just accept Jesus and be given the best gift of eternity spent in Heaven rather than being condemned to spend eternity in Hell) today, tomorrow and in 2010!!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Buckeyes...soooo yummy-licious!

These yummy little treats are a HUGE hit! They take some time to complete but they are SO worth the effort! I've had special requests from friends, asking me to make sure they get some of these!

1 1/2 cups smooth peanut butter (I prefer Jif)
1 stick butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar (about 1 box)
1 package of almond bark for the outside layer

Cover a cookie sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper and set aside.
Mix ingredients together. **I've found that if you cream together the peanut butter and butter, then add the vanilla and add the powdered sugar about 1 cup at a time and mix between cups, it's a whole lot easier to get it blended! Refrigerate for about 15 minutes. While it's in the fridge, melt down the almond bark, making sure you continuously stir the chocolate so it doesn't burn. Next you will dip the PB balls into the chocolate (Almond Bark). I drop them into the chocolate pan and use a spoon or spatula to make sure it gets fully covered in chocolate and then I use a toothpick to pull it out. Place the balls on the cookie sheet. Once the cookie sheet is full, place it in the fridge to harden the chocolate.


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Our Minivan Express evening!

Well, long story short, my normally wonderful son, Keegan was a MAJOR B U T T tonight and really put a damper on the whole evening! It started out good and I'm not exactly why/what caused Keegan's evil twin to appear but alls I know is that I wish we could have a do-over! LOL! We started our day by making these cute reindeer cups.

Keegan didn't seem to into it at first but instead of having him start out doing one himself I just asked him to help me with mine. Then he got into it and made his own!

Next, we went to see Santa and that went great! Tatym didn't seem to mind sitting on his lap. Granted, she never smiled and she wouldn't take her eyes off of her daddy but hey, she didn't cry or try to get away from him so that I am thankful for! :)

I remember one year Keegan wouldn't sit on Santa's lap without us so that year was a family shot with Santa with me on Santa's lap, holding Keegan! LOL We came home and watched Polar Express and Keegan really liked it.

After the movie was over (and this is when I think things started to turn south) I said he could play video games. My hubby said he wanted to get the Express going so I had Keegan go get pj's on and I hid the tickets underneath the couch cushions he had been laying on, on the floor. I started popping popcorn and boiling water for hot chocolate or apple cider. When Keegan came out we asked him to clean up the living room and so he found the tickets.

His face lit up when he saw it but for some reason when we told him it was our version of the Polar Express and that we'd be getting in the van and going around looking at lights, his attitude just went to poop! He whined because he wanted to play video games and said he didn't want to go. I tried to keep my cool but after a minute of listening to his horrible attitude I yelled at him for being rude, caring more about stupid video games then spending time with his family. I told him that I put a lot of thought and prep into this and that he was being disrespectful and a spoiled brat. He got grounded from video games which set off his mouthiness. If it wasn't illegal I would have left him home alone and just taken my daughter out with us. I wanted to call it quits but really my hubby & I wanted to go so we went forward with our plans. I let Keegan pick which new mug he wanted (he chose the red) and he seemed to have a brief moment of happiness as we were getting ready to head out:

But it quickly changed again. I handed him his ticket and said the kids couldn't ride without their ticket and he refused to take it and said he didn't want to play. By the time we got in the van I was just fuming, my husband was frustrated and Keegan was in tears! What a fun event, right?! Uggghhhh... Tatym seemed pretty excited and was just chowing away on her popcorn and diggin on having her own big cup of juice!

Even before we got out of the driveway she was already saying, "WOW!" and "WHOA!". Every house we drove past she was all sorts of excited about which totally made things better considering how badly Keegan was behaving! He was ordered to keep his mouth shut unless he was going to change his attitude and treat us nicer so he was pretty quiet other than a few comments about some cool decoration or something. He never really perked up and wouldn't let us take a picture of him

Gotta love strong-willed, stubborn children...right?!?! LOL In the end I know he enjoyed looking at all the cool lights and he ate his popcorn and drank his juice, I think his stubborness is what held him back from coming out of the grumpiness and showing us he was actually happy to be out and doing this! We delivered goodies to friends and family around town and listend to Christmas music the whole time! Even with the rocky start it was a lot of fun and we saw some really decked out houses! I even took a picture of the front of our house with our few decorations. My hubby (love him to bits) is too cheap to really let us go too wild with the outside decorations. Our neighbors have the house lights plugged in at their house (we're in a duplex) so that's pretty much the only reason we have those up and my mom & stepdad made us the cross and it doesn't take much electricity so he allows me to have it up! LOL I'd love to have the whole yard and house and bushes decorated...maybe when we become independently wealthy! :)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Santa's letter came today!

Keegan & his letter from Santa

When Keegan was 1 I paid like $5-$10 for a company to mail him a letter from Santa along with a sticker and something else (I must be getting old, my memory isn't what it used to be LOL) and I think I paid for one the next year as well. I then decided that it was pretty stupid to pay someone else to send him a letter when I could do the same exact thing! Every year since then I've always bought some Christmasy typing paper and envelopes and typed up a letter from Santa. Keegan had his letter to Santa done like 1.5 weeks ago and he mentioned a few times that he hoped Santa would remember to write him back. Oops...way to go slacker mom! LOL Night before last I typed up his letter and had to sneak it into the mailbox yesterday when we were out running errands! Today Keegan went out to get the mail but he never looks through it so he didn't see his letter. I pulled it out and the look on his face was priceless! I LOVE that he still believes in Santa, it adds so much more magic and fun to the holiday. Don't get me wrong, I know Santa is not the main part of Christmas and we do focus a lot on Jesus but the Santa stuff is fun to do because of all the surprises. This in no way means we don't love Jesus more than Santa, we're just having fun while the kids are little! Anyways, I had Keegan read me his letter and every other sentence he'd look up at me with this sparkle in his eye and a big smile would form on his face! I wish I video taped it! I didn't do a letter to Tatym just because she could care less about it but next year...yeah buddy, I'm all over it! LOL

Looking forward to tomorrow!

Every year in December my mom, my sister, Kimberly, my grandma & I all get together and do some major baking one day. We generally try to rotate who's house we do it at to make the driving fair and this year it's my turn! This year on the baking menu we have Buckeyes (chocolate covered PB balls), which I'll post the recipe tomorrow or the next day! These have got to be the biggest hit of all. I've already got some requests for these so I know I'm going to have to make a mother-load of them! :) We're also going to do sugar cookies, peanut butter blossoms, chocolate (white & milk) covered pretzels, muddy buddies, andes mint cookies, ritz cracker pb sandwiches dipped in chocolate (not sure if there's a shorter name for those), reeses pb bars, and most likely some pumpkin cupcakes!'s going to be a long day! Now my kitchen is ITTY BITTY so cramming 4 of us in there and most likely my little Ms. Tatym will want to be in the mix, it's not an easy thing to do. I'm going to set up "work stations" with folding tables and pretty much take up the kitchen, dining room and living room areas! I'm really excited to spend some time with these ladies, we have a great time together doing this! I'll have plenty of pics and recipes to post tomorrow!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Minivan Express

(Here are our tickets, ready and hiding in my craft cupboard!)
The other day my friend Denise let us in on a cool new tradition to start with our families! She saw this posting on Confessions of a Homeschooler about doing a Minivan Express...our version of The Polar Express! I've already printed off the golden tickets (printed on picture paper to give it more of a glossy look) and have talked to my hubby about it. We're going to rent The Polar Express movie and sit down for a family movie night. We're not going to tell Keegan (Tatym is too little to understand anyways) what's in store for him, we're just gonna let him think it's any ol' regular family movie night. After the movie we'll have him shower and get ready for bed. While he's in the shower I'll slip the golden ticket in his bed and get the van warmed up, popcorn popped and hot cocoa ready. I want to print out a map of our town and highlight the areas we're going to go check out so Keegan can mark them off or help be our tour guide! :) He always likes telling us how to get places, which roads to turn on and what not! Every year we go look at lights anyways but this will just be a more fun way to do it! I LOVE starting new traditions with my family and this will fit in perfectly!! I'm pretty sure we're doing all this Sunday night and definitely pictures will follow and a report on how it went!

The BEST frosting EVER!

The other night our Tiger Cubs celebrated the December birthdays and my wonderful friend Dea (a Tiger Cub mom) made cupcakes. I was at work that evening but when I got home I was surprised to find a cupcake on the stove, saved just for me! Awww....what a sweet hubby! Anyways, as I scarfed the thing down I was just drooling over how yummy the frosting was! Being that it was midnight I opted to wait until the next day to beg Dea for the recipe. She said it's a Wilton recipe so of course I had to whip up a batch!

1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 tsp. clear vanilla extract (I used regular and it was fine)
4 cups powdered sugar
2 tbs. milk

*makes about 3 cups of icing

Cream shortening and butter together with an electric mixer. Add vanilla. Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. When all mixed together the icing will appear dry. Add milk and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Keep bowl covered with a damp cloth until ready to use. **For best results, keep icing bowl in refrigerator when not in use. Refrigerated in an airtight container, this icing can be stored 2 weeks. Rewhip before using.
*For thin (spreading) consistency icing, add 2 tablespoons light corn syrup, water or milk.
*For Pure White Icing (stiff consistency), omit butter; substitute an additional 1/2 cup shortening for butter and add 1/2 teaspoon No-Color *Butter Flavor. Add up to 4 tablespoons light corn syrup, water or milk to thin for icing cakes

I added food coloring for Christmas baking!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Christmas Snowflakes

I finally got off my lazy bum and did some crafts with the kids today! I've been working at my out-of-the-home job more frequently this month and it's thrown me all off. I was introduced to a fantastic blog today:

Confessions of a Homeschooler
And that got the fire lit for me to bust out the supplies and work on some Christmas crafts! Since I have to work tonight I couldn't get started on anything that would take too much time so we opted to make snowflakes!

Keegan had made one in our homeschool co-op and proudly pulled it out for me to see and he had to help me re-learn how to even make one! Let me just say, thank goodness for the internet, they have how-to videos for everything! :)

Here are some of our snowflakes:

Even Tatym got in on the action more as an onlooker but still, she didn't seem to mind!

Here's Keegan proudly showing off his snowflake:

I decided to add glitter to mine (of course!) can't ever go wrong with glitter I mean geez! :) Keegan attempted to dress his snowflake up a bit and here is his end product! Glitter glue and googly eyes! LOL

Here are 2 of mine:

This one is my favorite! Keegan drew the star that pointed the way to baby Jesus, some chinese people "because I like karate" (LOL) and Santa on his sleigh with the reindeer!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Andes Mint Cookies

These cookies are my hubby's FAVORITE cookies! I usually only make them at Christmas time but once in a blue moon I'll bust some out to put a smile on his face! The recipe is on the back of the package but thought I'd put it on here while I was at it. I was a baking machine today! I made a batch of oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, 2 batches of Andes mint cookies and 5 dozen pumpkin cupcakes (recipe in a previous post). I took some down to this building that has opened it's doors as a warming shelter to our local homeless people! What a blessing from God! We've had such horrendously freezing cold days for several weeks that it's just awesome that people are willing to do something like that! A friend of mine rallied people into donating blankets and clothes and stuff and today I thought it might be nice if people baked goodies and took them down there! I'm so thankful to have a roof over my head and it breaks my heart to think of people out in the freezing cold and rain! I prayed for everyone at the shelter and I just pray a blessing on the owners of The Green Spot for opening their doors to the less fortunate!
Alright, here's the recipe for the Andes Mint Cookies:

FYI--the recipe calls to put the whole bag of mint pieces in one batch of cookies but I don't like that much in mine so I just made a double batch and used one bag of mint pieces. I'll post the recipe as it is on the package but just thought I'd add my 2 cents! :)
1/2 cup salted butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 package (10 oz) Andes Creme de Menthe baking chips
2 2/3 cups flour

Blend butter, sugars, baking soda, baking powder, vanilla and eggs until mixed. Stir in Andes baking chips and then flour. **I've found the easiest way to add this to the mix is to add the chips, blend together and then add a 1/2 cup of flour, mix, add another 1/2 cup flour, mix again, add another 1/2 cup, mix again, etc. The dough gets pretty tough after you add the flour in.** Chill approx. 1 hour in fridge. Drop dough on greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes.


Thursday, December 10, 2009

Muddy Buddies

I've gotta giggle a little bit because less than an hour ago I post about my weight loss (lack thereof) and my goal and then I go and make some Muddy Buddies! :) Don't worry, I'm not eating very much of them!

I've never made these before but I think Kate from Jon & Kate +8 made something like it but she called it...what did she call it??? My mind is blanking! Anyways, it looked really good and I always wanted to make it and now that baking season is in full swing I got the hankerin to make some up!

Of course I had to get my big helper to help me out:

9 cups corn chex (or rice, wheat or chocolate chex) cereal
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup butter/margarine
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1. Pour the cereal into a big mixing bowl

2. In a microwavable bowl combine the choc. chips, peanut butter and butter. Microwave on high for 1 minute. Stir. If necessary, microwave for another 30 seconds or until mixture can be stirred smooth. (Our microwave did the job in the first minute.)

3. Stir in vanilla. Pour mixture over cereal, stirring until evenly coated. Pour into 2-gallon resealable food-storage bags. Add powdered sugar. Seal bag; shake until well coated.

4. Spread on waxed paper to cool. Store in airtight container in refrigerator.

Viola: Muddy Buddies!
They taste so yummy!! Now I'm off to bag some up and take down to my hubby at work! He'll be super happy for the little treat!!

Here's a pic of my wonderful assistant enjoying some gobs of peanut butter (YUCK!):

Weight Loss Adventure

Ok so I've done HORRIBLY with my diet lately and this week I've gained 2 lbs. I'm back up to 250 lbs. *grrrr* but yesterday I switched back to diet pop (I'd been drinking regular pop for the past 2+ weeks) and I'm cutting WAY back on my special coffee drinks from Human Bean. Since life has been so busy lately I'd been getting the coffee drinks almost daily and those suckers I'm sure are mega loaded with calories. I haven't gone on a walk since before Thanksgiving so I desperately need to get back to exercising. We're having a freakishly cold winter this year so that doesn't help along with my lack of motivation to get me out the door in the evenings! With it getting dark earlier in the evening its getting harder for me to go out walking alone. I plan on getting my concealed weapon permit along with my husband and I want to buy a pink pistol and I joke about hot gluing rhinestones on it too...ok, so it's partially joking and partially seriousness! LOL What can I say, I'm a girly-girl! With the world being as messed up as it is and what seems to be an increase in violence in our county, I would just feel better if I could carry a little gun. Not that I'd want to use it but I think even being able to pull it out just to show the bad guy that I'm armed would make me feel better. My husband is a gun-lover so it's like a dream come true for him to have a wife that actually wants to carry a gun! Don't get me wrong, guns scare the ba-geez out of me but I think in this day and age it's definitely worth having and knowing how to safely use.

So...when I started my weight loss adventure my goal was to reach my ideal weight by my 30th birthday. I now have about 13 1/2 months to lose 90-100 lbs. All the WW materials say for my height (5'9") I should weigh around 155 lbs. My DH likes girls with a little meat on their bones (which I jokingly just say he likes fat girls...he doesn't think it's as funny as I do) so he doesn't like me saying that I want to get in the 150's so I guess I should say I want to get back to the weight I was when we first met. At 17 years old I fluctuated between 170-175 so to get to that weight I need to lose 80 lbs. That averages out to 1.4 lbs a week that I'd need to lose! OY...I really better start shaping up (literally) or I won't be reaching my goal by my 30th birthday! So, please pray for me! Pray that I have stronger will power, that I can keep my eyes on my goal and not get bogged down or slip into old habits!