Monday, November 30, 2009

Christmas Tradition: Our Christmas Tree

When Rich and were married, I looked forward to starting new Christmas traditions with him and the family we were about to have. I imagined that we would make Christmas cookies each year, watch our favorite classic Christmas movies, decorate our tree while listening to Christmas music and the list goes on. One thing that I never imagined that we would as one of our traditions was pick out a real tree each year to cut down and bring home as our Christmas tree.

I grew up with an artificial tree that we set up when we wanted to, so I just figured that on our first Christmas we would end up going out and buying an artificial tree. It would be fairly costly that year, but then we wouldn't have to put any money into it for a long time. (Notice how cheap I was...I haven't changed! LOL!) I found out quite quickly that Rich had a totally different idea on the Christmas tree. We butted our stubborn heads for a little while and then I gave in. (I'm sure I got something out the whole deal, since he got his real Christmas tree, but I couldn't tell you what it was anymore! LOL!)

We got lost trying to find the Christmas tree farm that year. (There are several around here-we were bound to find one sometime!) But when we found a farm and I got a feel for what picking out a real Christmas tree was like. I loved it! It felt like it was a tradition that I had been missing out on and I wanted it to be a new tradition for our family.

Our first Christmas tree (2005).

So in a few days Rich and I will be taking the kids out to find the tree that will be decorating our home again this Christmas. It might be along the lines of a Charlie Brown Christmas tree, since we may be going behind Rich's grandma's place to get one, but it will still be fun and its our tradition that I intend to keep as long as I can. :-)

This post is part of the Here Comes Santa Claus blog party at Go Graham Go and Jolly Mom.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Wishes

I hope you are all having a wonderful Thanksgiving! We spent the afternoon with Rich's family for a delicious dinner and now I have the house to myself! The kids went to spend the night at Grandma's. (They hadn't seen Grandma in a couple weeks with us being sick.) Rich is out doing his best to try and get a deer.

When I think about all that I'm thankful for, one of the first things that comes to mind is my family. I am so blessed to have a wonderful husband and two beautiful children. I can't help but tear up a bit with gratitude to God for these people that I get to spend every day with. I don't have the house to myself very often, but when I do I realize that I almost feel lost without them here-they are such a huge part of my life! (Then I realize that I can work much more effeciently without the distractions! LOL! I still miss them, though.)

I hope you take a moment today to stop and think of what you are thankful for. Have a wonderful evening and enjoy the rest of this holiday weekend! :-)

Oh! I wanted to share these with you as well. Morgan helped me roll them into balls and put the sprinkles on. (Blake even helped a little with the sprinkles!) We had such a great time making them and I wish you could taste them! They are delicious! ;-)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Christmas Memories

As part of Go Graham Go and Jolly Mom's 'Here Comes Santa Claus' blog party, they asked about a favorite Christmas memory. I have all sorts of warm memories about Christmas, but one of my favorites were the car rides going around and looking at Christmas lights with my parents.

One of those car rides happened when I was around 10. My dad took my sister and I out on Christmas Eve to look at lights. Not a common occurance on Christmas Eve, but it was fun for us. We drove all around for a couple hours until it was time for a bathroom break. Dad found the nearest McDonalds, but apparently around here McDonalds don't stay open late on Christmas Eve. (I'm glad they don't, so they can be home with their families, but I wish they left the bathroom entrance open! LOL!) Without the McDonalds being open, dad took us straight home. We did what we needed to do then went right to bed.

The next morning, as we opened presents, my sister and I found out why we spent our Christmas Eve driving around looking at Christmas lights. Our mom wanted us out of the house! LOL! She was busily knitting each of us an afghan. She actually hadn't finished mine when we had gotten home that night and stayed up long after we had went to bed, so that she could have it done for Christmas morning. I'll never forget what my parents did for us so that we could have a wonderful Christmas that year. :-)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Here Comes Santa Clause Blog Party

Here Comes Santa Claus

Go Graham Go and Jolly Mom are getting ready for the holidays with a 'Here Comes Santa Claus' blog party! It starts tomorrow, November 23rd and I am excited to see what they have in store! Be sure to stop by both sites to check out what I am sure to be some great giveaways!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Breath of Heaven

With Christmas time approaching, Deborah at Just Breathe blogged about the things that got her in the mood for Christmas-the big one being Christmas music. Music happens to get me in the Christmas spirit too, so, after reading Deborah's post, I threw my Amy Grant 'Home for Christmas' CD in to listen to this afternoon. This CD brings back a lot of memories from childhood Christmases. I remember putting it into my dad's stereo and listening to it over and over while singing along. My favorite song to sing along to on it was always 'Breath of Heaven'. It's just beautiful! After a quick search on YouTube I found a video that someone made to go along with the song that I'd like to share with you. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do! :-)

Friday, November 20, 2009

My Life. In Pictures: Smell



Amber at Everything Except the Grill has been hosting her 3rd session of My Life. In Pictures. this week. This is the last day (better late than never, right?) and the assignment is 'smell'. The first thing I thought of was the wonderful smell of the 4 roses Rich got me for our 4th anniversary a few weeks ago. This shot is of just one of the beautiful roses.


If you would like to participate today or see what others have taken pictures of for the 'senses' assignments this week, just stop by Everything Except the Grill!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Crayons + Walls = 'Broken' Arms

A couple weeks ago I found out the hard way (the way I tend to learn things with my kids) that I missed putting a crayon away after coloring time. This is what happened:

You can't see Morgan's face, but she is smiling-very proud of her artwork!

This is the wall next to her bed.

This is the wall at the head of her bed.

Morgan informed me that this was the face that she drew. (Not too bad for never drawing a face before!) My first thought when I saw it was that it had a very strange resemblance to this:


'The Scream'

I think Morgan knew what her Mom was going to feel like doing when she saw the walls! LOL!


I couldn't believe how much Morgan colored the walls (and ceiling) above her bed in such a short period of time! What's worse is that she kept saying "This is fun, Mommy!" as she helped clean it up! All I could think is 'Please no! Don't be fun! I really don't want to clean this up again!' After helping wash for a while, she started telling me her arm was broken and that she needed a new one. I'm hoping the 'broken' arm ruined the fun and she doesn't plan on coloring murals on the wall anymore. (Though hearing her say that was pretty darn cute! I love hearing the way a 3 year old thinks!) Thankfully the crayon was washable and it didn't take long to clean up. I'm still going to more careful about putting ALL the crayons away after coloring time from now on though! ;-)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Not Feeling Well

This is how all of us looked the last several days. Thankfully we are all feeling a lot better now! :-)

For more Wordless Wednesday, check out 5 Minutes for Mom, Go Graham Go! and Healthy Moms.


Friday, November 13, 2009

Its Bibalicious N More!

Alesha at The Jacobsen Family recently set up an Etsy shop for her mom called Its Bibalicious N More. Alesha's mom creates some of the neatest bibs! Take a look at a few of my favorites:

Aren't they the cutest! What I love, besides the fact that they are adorable, is that they are huge! I would LOVE to have bibs as large as these! I highly doubt a speck of food would ever make it to the kids' clothes and that would definitely save on stain remover! LOL!

Be sure to stop by and see what other cute bibs are at Its Bibalicious N More. They would make very unique and adorable shower gifts!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Leaf Themed Day

About a month ago I was all excited about Autumn and doing leaf related activities with Morgan for a Leaf Themed Day. We had a wonderful time with everything we did. Many of the ideas for the activities we did came from Busy Mommy Media's Preschool Theme-Fall post.


Take a peak at what we did:

We made trees using traces of Morgan's hand. Morgan was able to practice using scissors for the first time....next time we are going to try straight lines! LOL!



We also went outside and raked and collected the few leaves that had fallen.





We then went on a nature walk where I pointed out some deer tracks to the kids. I was impressed that, a little further down the road, Morgan was able to fin deer tracks on her own! I am constantly amazed by how fast she learns!



We went into the woods a little ways down the road, but Morgan thought the woods had ghosts and didn't want to go in. (I really have no idea where that came from!) So we just walked in a little ways-enough to find some new leaves.

As you can see this was a while ago-most of the leaves hadn't even started changing yet!


The leaves and other things that were collected in the yard and on our walk.

We then used the leaves to make leaf rubbings! Morgan absolutely LOVED doing leaf rubbings!





Beyond these activities we also sang a couple leaf related songs that we found on the Busy Mommy Media site:

Leaves on the Tree (tune of “Wheels of the Bus”)
The leaves on the trees turn orange and brown. . .orange and brown. .. .orange and brown
The leaves on the trees turn orange and brown, all over town.
The leaves on the trees come tumbling down, tumbling down, tumbling down
The leaves on the trees coming tumbling down, all over town.
The leaves on the ground go swish, swish, swish. .. swish, swish, swish.. . .Swish, swish, swish
The leaves on the ground go swish, swish, swish, all over town.

The Leaves are Falling Down
(”the farmer in the dell”)
The leaves are falling down
The leaves are falling down
Red, yellow, green and brown
The leaves are falling down

It turned out to be a really fun day! So fun that we've done some of the activities again since-with leaves that had actually changed color! LOL! Next year I plan to wait a little longer to do our fall themed activities. I'm looking forward to Blake joining in and doing more of the crafty things with Morgan and I! :-)

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Be sure to check my very first GIVEAWAY!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Name Your Tune CD Review & GIVEAWAY! *CLOSED*

Congratulations to Alexis AKA Mom!

This is my first review and giveaway and I'm SO excited! This is a product that I had actually tried winning myself in the past, thinking it would be a lot of fun for the kids, so to be contacted to review it was very neat to say the least!

Before I get into my review, let me share with you what the Name Your Tune CDs are all about:

"Name Your Tune is an exciting new children's music compilation that is made-to-order and personalized for each child. The child's name becomes the feature part of every song and is heard more than 80 times throughout the 14-song CD. The songs are familiar and much-loved tunes for children, parents and grandparents, making Name Your Tune a great way to learn and have fun together. Name Your Tune CDs are available in more than 4000 names... and growing!"

I'll have to admit that I was quite impressed with the whole Name Your Tune CD! Before receiving it, I had wondered if Morgan's name would sound like it was dubbed in, but it didn't sound that way at all! Each song sounds very professionally made-like the song was sung just for Morgan!

I also LOVE the songs! Not only are they songs that can make you want to dance and sing along, but there are a few like Head And Shoulders, If You're Happy And You Know It and Wheels on the Bus that actually get the child involved with hand motions.

Morgan thinks the CD is great too! She didn't realize that her name was actually on the CD, so I read it to her:

"Special Songs for You, Morgan, Love Mommy and Daddy"

She giggled of course! Then she wanted to listen to it right away! Here is a little video of her initial reaction:

As you can see (and hear) she really likes it! I love how surprised she was to hear her name. She had to listen to the whole CD with me and was even trying to sing along. If I know her-it'll be worn out in no time and we'll have to get a new one! LOL!

We really enjoy this CD and I'm sure you would too! The Name Your Tune CD would make a great personalized gift for any little one this Christmas!

Buy It: The Name Your Tune CDs retail for $20 each or $18 each for 2 or more. (A portion of all their sales goes to support the Hear Here organization-an organization that provides hearing aids for children.)

Coupon Code: Use the code 'KN5' at checkout and receive $5 off your CD!

GIVEAWAY: One winner will receive their very own Name Your Tune CD! Just visit the Name Your Tune website, then come back here and tell me either a song you like or the name you would to choose if you were to win! Be sure to leave your e-mail address so that I can contact you if you are the winner. (North American residents only please!)

Giveaway will end on November 17th, 2009 at 10:00 PM EST. Winner will be chosen via Random.org and notified by e-mail. Winner will have 48 hours to respond and if I don't hear from them I will choose another winner.


*Disclosure: I was not compensated in any way to do this review. The product was offered to me to review and keep. All the views expressed in this post are my own.




Monday, November 9, 2009

Make Something Monday: Pheasant Fold-Over Pie

Make Something Monday

Ever since Rich brought home 42 pheasants from a pheasant hunt, I've been having to come up with ways to prepare them. The pheasants have already been cleaned and all that's left of them is the breasts and legs. There are also 3 packaged up per freezer bag, so I just defrost them one freezer bag full at a time. Then I rinse them off and remove any other feathers/BB's that I find and boil them. After they're cooked, I shred the meat and stick it in the fridge until I figure out how I want to serve it. I've tried several recipes and one of the favorites is this recipe that I took from a Creamy Beef Fold-Over Pie recipe that I got from Alexis at Running Away? I'll Help You Pack!


Pheasant Fold-Over Pie

1-2 pheasants (meat cooked and shredded)

1 small onion, chopped (1/4 cup)

1 can (10 3/4 oz) condensed cream of chicken soup

1-1/2 cups frozen mixed vegetables, thawed, drained

1 Tablespoon ketchup

2 cups Bisquick mix

1/2 cup boiling water

1/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (1 oz.)

1. Move oven rack to lowest position; heat oven to 375 degrees. Spray 12-inch pizza pan with cooking spray. In 10-inch skillet, saute onion over medium-high heat for 5-7 minutes.

2. Stir soup, vegetables, ketchup and pheasant in with onions. Cook 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally until heated through.

3. Meanwhile, in medium bowl, stir Bisquick mix and boiling water until soft dough forms. On surface sprinkled with Bisquick mix, gently roll dough to coat with mix. Shape dough into a ball; knead about 5 times or until smooth. Roll dough into 14-inch round; place on pizza pan.

4. Spoon pheasant mixture over dough to within 2 inched of edge. Fold edge of dough up over beef mixture.

5. bake 24 to 27 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Top with cheese. bake 3 to 4 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Let stand 5 minutes before cutting.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Blake's Kind of Lesson!

Rich and Blake like to sit in the chair and look at farming magazines together and it turns out Blake is catching on to some things:

Narrated by Morgan

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Season of Giving

I have had all sorts of calls asking for money lately. Some of them I've given to and others I've had to politely decline and tell them maybe next year. I would honestly LOVE to be able to give to every worthy cause out there, but since that is not possible for us, I have to stick to only a couple. With all those causes calling, it really makes me think about giving this holiday season and who I would choose.

A new favorite is Operation Christmas Child. We were introduced to Operation Christmas Child for the first time through our church last year. It was actually fun to shop as a family for a little one who might not have Christmas if it wasn't for the shoebox that we put together. Not only do they receive the gifts we have sent, but they receive an even better gift-the message of Jesus. It is a wonderful cause by Samaritan's Purse that we feel is a great way to start showing our little ones what it means to give.

We have actually put our shoebox together already this year since the shoeboxes will be dedicated in church in a couple weeks. Here are a couple pictures so you have an idea of the types of things that you fill a shoebox with. (Ours is for a 2-4 year old boy.)




If you would also like to put a shoebox together and don't know where you could drop it off or what to put in it, just check out the links! :-) You could also win a Veggie Tales prize pack if you blog about about Operation Christmas Child and what it means to you.

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Monday, November 2, 2009

Make Something Monday: Apple Cobbler with Cinnamon-Swirl Biscuits

Make Something Monday

This recipe was derived from a wonderful Peach Cobbler with Cinnamon-Swirl Biscuits recipe that Alesha at The Jacobsen Family shared. I didn't happen to have fresh or frozen peaches, so I wondered how the recipe would work with apples. The only thing that I changed was adding some cinnamon to the apple mixture and leaving out walnuts and lemon peel, since I didn't happen to have them on hand. It turned out great! And I even used apples from our own apple tree that Alesha reminded me that I had-LOL! I had never thought of using apples from our own tree before, because the apples always look bad, but it turns out that they are great once you peel them! LOL!

I'm going to let you visit Alesha for the recipe. Plus you'll get to see what it looks like when it's made from peaches-yum! :-)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Halloween 2009

Now that the kids are getting a little older, especially Morgan, we have been able to have more fun with the holidays. Halloween happens to be the first holiday since Morgan started home school preschool, so I tried to come with Halloween related activity for her to do each day of the week leading up to Halloween. We did crafts, read books, watched movies and baked all with Halloween in mind. Every time we'd go to do something Morgan would ask if we were 'making Halloween'. She was so cute when she'd ask that and she enjoyed everything we did! Here is a slide show of the fun we had this Halloween:


(Music: 'Tell Me What You Want to Be' by Jetta and the Jellybeans)

Halloween day went a little different than what I planned this year. I didn't actually have the kids all day on Halloween! They stayed Friday night at Rich's parents' so Rich and I could go out for our anniversary. Rich ended up having to work 11 hours on Halloween and didn't pick the kids up until after 6:00 pm. They were still able to trick-or-treat at Rich's great grandmother's assisted living home earlier in the day. Then, after he picked them up, they went to Rich's family's houses. They then picked me up, so we could go to my parents' house. It was a busy day for for Rich and the kids, but I had a nice day to myself! LOL! I feel bad that I missed out on most of the fun though. One day we'll have two running vehicles again and hopefully things won't get so complicated! Despite it being different than usual, everyone had a great Halloween! :-)

If you would like any recipes/directions for the Halloween activities we did, here are the links:
Pumpkin Pancakes
Mummy Cookies
Paper Towel Ghosts
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