Monday, December 31, 2007

Shivers of excitement!!!

This made my year! I'm so excited!


This is everyday sweet, happy Calvin.

This is very sick, sad, weepy Calvin. He is showing you that besides the high fevers, stuffy nose and bad cough, he also has a lingering paper cut on his finger. The injustice of it all!

Mommy could use some serious sleep - without Calvin in her bed.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Bundled up Boogers

The kids all bundled up on the day after Christmas for some fun in the new snow! If I had photoshop, I may have edited out some of the boogers, but I guess they really are part of life in the frozen North.

I have to point out a couple of my favorites.

This is pure happiness.
And this one - or two. Look at this cute kid! I just want to squish him and kiss him!

Do the dimples just get you? They get me every time.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Snow is falling all around; on the rooftops on the ground

This is our backyard on Christmas Eve. Wait, what's that thing in the tree? Let's move a little closer.
It appears to be a hula hoop. Do not ask how long that has been stuck in the tree. It is frankly too high for me to get down. I hope the squirrels like it there.

Here is one of those squirrels the morning after Christmas. Looks like he's enjoying all of the new snow!
We should have put Bryan's car in the garage - except we have a 2-car garage and have never been able to fit two actual cars in it. We pat ourselves on the back when we can fit one.

GORGEOUSNESS! I seriously love snow.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Why I am going to Weight Watchers tomorrow

We did our fair share of baking on Christmas Day as well. The kids worked on their gingerbread (graham cracker) houses and Koo and I made treats for dinner. We were invited over to our friends Ken and Kelly's house for dinner and were in charge of dessert. I am always in charge of dessert. I think it would help my non-existent waist line if I offered to bring salads from now on.

First up though, we had breakfast. Koo made this Breakfast Strudel from the Country Inns and Back Roads Cookbook. It was so very tasty - especially after eating stocking candy all morning!

After our quick foray into savory foods, we went right back to making treats. Koo made her double-chocolate cheesecake the day before and we brought it with us for Christmas dinner. Somehow I did not get a photo. Trust me; it was delish. By the way, we did not add the ganache layer and it did not need it!

Next up are a lovely confection Koo calls "White Trash Truffles". They are seriously easy to make! Koo used a cookie scoop to measure out the dough . . .

. . . then rolled them into neat balls and froze them. Then we melted chips and a dab of shortening and dipped them.

Then, if you are running for mother of the year, you let your children eat the rest of the melted chocolate by dipping bananas in it!

They look like they enjoyed that. In the meantime, I made some Glazed Orange Morning Rolls
from Bread for Breakfast. I could not find the exact recipe on-line so I linked another favorite from her book. The rolls are pretty straight forward. Just a yeast dough and after rising you spread it with a mizture of softened butter and orange and lime zests - then roll.
They were yummy though I would reduce the baking time by about 4 minutes. The first batch was a little too brown.

Here we are at dinner! Kelly bravely cooked for a crowd on Christmas Day and we all appreciate it! The food was wonderful (especially the roasted root vegetables) - the kids liked the deviled eggs and we had to keep Sophie out of the shrimp or she would have polished off the whole bowl! After dinner, we played some of our favorite board games. Merry Christmas!

Oh there's no place like home for the holidays . . .

Christmas day was everything it should be. The children were excited and yet they slept until 8:00. We had a blanket of white snow on the ground outside, Santa had come and we were all cozy inside in our forest of green pajamas. As we opened presents, big flakes of snow started falling outside and it kept snowing all day and through the night. It looked like a scene out of a movie - just magical!

Here is Max's note to Santa and his reply. Uh oh, looks like Santa was too full to finish his cookies!This was the year for trains in Calvin's life. He was blessed with many a Thomas item and found the advertisements inside their boxes to be just about as cool and the trains themselves!

Sophie loved her new Target doll and horse, lots of books, her new apron and her webkins unicaorn.
We took frequent reading breaks. Sophie has her head on her new sleeping bag.

Here is our Max. His favorite gifts? Batteries, Harry Potter glasses and wand, loads of books and webkins. Silly Santa bought him the wrong Harry Potter robe on-line - she bought the Slytherin instead of the Griffendore robe. BIG mistake Santa.

Every year I think to myself "next year I am getting up early, taking a shower and doing my hair and make-up for Christmas morning". It never happens.

The kids opened gifts happily until this thing came along. Then it was all over and all three kids just wanted to play with the motorized train that you fill with water from the water tower and it actually puffs steam as it goes around the track. Three days later, I still cannot pull them away and it is the first thing Calvin talks about every morning and the last thing he mentions before bed. Thank you Johnny!Here is our little ham with Koo in her green pajamas in the background.

We hope you all had a very Merry Christmas! We always feel so very blessed this time of year for the wonderful friends and family in our lives. We are grateful to each of you and wish you the very best in this new year!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Comfy, Cozy on Christmas Eve

Ahhh, Christmas Eve. Koo came down the night before to spend the holidays with us.

We did a lot of cooking and cleaning . . .

we played a lot of games . . .

and we got a couple of "boo-boos". Calvin is showing you the one on his finger (a paper cut) and Max is showing you just how hard 7-year-old boys are on their clothes!

Here are some of the things we were cooking. The pumpkin roll was a recipe from my friend Stacey P. She brought a small one over as a Christmas gift and I ate the whole thing myself! The whole thing. Note my double chin in subsequent posts.
I doubled the batter recipe it and made it in a full sized cookie sheet.
The meringues are a recipe I have made many times. Instead of the walnuts, we added crushed peppermint cookies and bittersweet chocolate.

THIS, however, was the crowning culinary achievement of the day. The crepe cake! It's gorgeous, really impressive when you cut into it and oh sooooooo delicious! And not so simple to make I might add. The crepe batter is a brown butter crepe batter and it will not work with your crepe maker if you have one - which I do, and could not use. Luckily, I doubled the crepe batter recipe as we had to make them one at a time on the stove top and many of them were eaten by the family as we went along. Because my crepes were a bit smaller than the recipe, I made 25 layers.
That evening we joined the Quicks for dinner at our friends Thomas and Lori's house. Thomas is full Italian on both sides of his family, so he prepared a full traditional Italian feast for us - and boy was it good!
Here is Calvin demonstrating what he ate: the cheese off of his linguine with clam sauce and a lot of bread. Those are steamed clams in the bowl next to him. They were delicious, but none of my kids were adventurous enough to eat them! Sophie and Max loved the linguine and both asked for seconds! I did not mention the clams in it.

As appetizers, we had shrimp with cocktail sauce (Sophie's personal favorite. I think she ate about 30!), crackers and three kids of cheese including a wonderful goat cheese with honey in it. My kids kept eating it and saying "we are eating what Mary and Joseph ate" because of the primary song When Joseph Went to Bethlehem. I loved the fresh mozzarella with fresh basil and tomato - yum!
Here we are at dinner. The bowl in the center is a squid salad which was surprisingly delicious! It was very garlicky and the squid very tender. I stuck to the ring shaped squid as I have an aversion to eating anything with visible tentacles! I offered some to Max and he about had a heart attack.The platter on the table is a selection of marinated salamis, prosciutto, red peppers, artichoke hearts and garlic. It was so amazingly tasty on the crusty bread. This may be the yummiest Christmas Eve dinner we have ever had! Thank you Lori and Thomas!

Don't they have a lovely home? Just beautiful. After dinner and dessert we headed home to open our Christmas pajamas and read the Christmas story together. A wonderful day.