Tuesday, December 29, 2009

New Favorite Christmas Movie

Yesterday Ben and I saw the most hilarious movie- there were about 4 times I was crying because I was laughing so hard. If you like The Office, you MUST watch this- because it is that kind-of humor. It is so incredibly witty and FUNNY!!!! GET THIS MOVIE- it is an absolute must see (if you like to laugh).
Here is the trailor (though it doesn't do the movie justice because the movie is SO FUNNY!!!!)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Thoughts Before Christmas

My friend posted her thoughts on Christmas and it was a beautiful post (thanks, Jenny!) and caused me to reminisce on the beauty of this holiday season.
Like most people, I love Christmas. I love the traditions, the food, the family gatherings, the presents- both giving and getting (I am human), the food, the vacation time, the decorations, the food, Christmas cards, and most everything inbetween. I HATE shopping in December, and I think those of you who love black Friday are crazy. But, I love getting all of my shopping done before Thanksgiving! I love the magic of Christmas- the happiness in children's faces and the peace and joy that come this time of year.
But- and this is the part I want to make clear- the thing I love most about Christmas is the reason we celebrate Christmas. I love my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I love Him more then any words can convey. I know that He lives- I don't just believe it, I KNOW it. Some might ask how I know, and the answer is simple. I have felt Him. I have talked with Him through prayer. I have seen miracles in my life that came through Him.
I have friends who have daily personal revelations and walks with God. I am not there yet. I do not rely on the Savior as much as I need to. I do not yet have the faith to move mountains, and I certainly do not understand the mysteries of Heaven. But, I know that Christ is my Redeemer, and at this Christmas time of year, I am reminded that I need to try a little harder. Study the scriptures a little more dilligently. Pray more fervently. Become a little more as He would have me be, so that I can be a greater servant for His good.
And so, at this Christmas 2009, I wish you the most blessed Christmas of your life. May we all remember the true reason of the season, and all try a little harder to be a little more like him.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Only Once A Year

As last year, I am a little hesitant to write this post. Due to time constraints, we were unable to deliver our goodies to as many places as we usually do, so I I have to apologize up front for not getting goodies out to everyone! If it were up to me, I would borrow Santa's sleigh for an evening so I could send Christmas cheer to all of you! But, as a mere mortal, I do what I can. And, because some of you asked for the recipes and I never posted them last year, I decided to post them this year.

Audra got to help out for the first time this year which is exciting. She helped Ben dip pretzels- her job was to put the pretzels in the bowl. She liked this job, and kept saying, "I'm helping mommy!" So cute.

Here are the finished products just as I started assembling the plates so it's not that great of a picture:BUT, I wanted to show off my new hair cut. I am a little vain this week, but I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE my hair, and I feel pretty hot right now. I told you I am a little vain. But, you have to understand that I have had "mommy hair" for the past 20 years. I know I got the short end of the pretty stick, so I have to admit that I am greatly enjoying the compliments I have been getting. I will repent tomorrow.

On to the recipes.

Chocolate Dipped Pretzels:

Melt chocolate in the microwave (many of the recipes require you to do this- the best way Ihave found to do this is to microwave for 1 minute, stir, microwave 1 minute, stir, etc.)

Place pretzels in chocolate. Remove with a fork. Place on wax paper to dry.

Magic Cookie Bars

Here's a link to the recipe: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/magic-cookie-bars-from-eagle-brand/Detail.aspx

This is perhaps the greatest treat on the planet, and very easy to make.

Rice Krispies: on the box, but I wanted to just say that I make them every year and they are ALWAYS the first things to disappear, so I will continue to make them as they seem to be a favorite treat.

Choco-Mallow Bars

2 c graham cracker crumbs

1/2 c Miracle Whip

1/4 cup sugar

2 bars (7 oz. each) milk chocolate candy, broken into pieces, divided

1 c mini-marshmallows

Heat oven to 350 F. Mix crumbs, dressing, and sugar; press into 13 x 9 inch baking pan. Bake 10 minutes.

Sprinkle with 1 1/2 of the chocolate bars; continue baking 2 minutes. Spread melted chocolate over crumb mixture. Top with marshmallows.

Microwave remaining 1 1/2 of the chocolate bar in microwave-safe bowl one high 30 seconds. Drizzle over marshmallows. Refrigerate. Makes 24.

I made these this year, and I am not sure that I like the Miracle Whip in it, but you can't really taste it so it is good. They turned out great, and I will make them again. This is a recipe from Kraft Foods.

Milk Chocolate and Caramel Clusters- I absolutely LOVE these- I always double this, and it is one of my favorites! This recipe comes from Better Homes and Gardens- the best cookbook ever.

12 vanilla caramels, unwrapped

1/2 cup milk chocolate pieces

2 T water

2 c honey graham cereal, slightly srushed (about 1 1/2 cups)

3/4 c peanuts

Line 2 cookie sheets with waxed paper; set aside. In a heavy medium saucepan combine caramels, chocolate pieces, and water. Heat and stir over low heat until caramels are melted. Remove saucepan from the heat. Stir in cereal and peanuts.

Working quickly, drop cereal mixture from a teaspoon onto prepared cookie sheets. Let stand until firm.

Marbled Mint Bark- LOVE LOVE LOVE this recipe for Christmas- super easy, and super yummy! Again, from the Better Homes Cookbook.

1 lb. vanilla flavored candy coating, cut up (I use white chocolate bark)

3/4 cup finely crushed red and/or green striped peppermint candies (I use candy canes)

Red food coloring- optional

1/2 c semi-sweet chocolate pieces

Line baking sheet with foil, set aside

In a microwave-safe bowl microwave candy coating pieces on 100 percent power for 2-3 minutes, stirring after each minute. Stir in crushed candies and, if desired, red food coloring to tint to desired color. Pour mixture onto prepared baking sheet. Spread to about 1/4-inch thickness.

Melt chocolate pieces in microwave. Drizzle over peppermint mixture.

Let candy stand about 2 hours or until firm. Use foil to lift candy from baking sheet; carefully break candy into pieces. Store, tightly covered, at room temperature for up to two weeks.

5 minute fudge: I won't give you this recipe because it was given to me from a friend and I don't know if it's a family recipe or something, but it is YUMMY!

That's pretty much it- if you have any questions, let me know!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

5 Months

(Please be sure not to miss the picture of the day post below!)

Claire turned 5 months old today, and this past month has been interesting.

You all know Claire has been sleeping with us, and that had been working out perfectly. But, about 3 weeks ago she started waking up 5, 6, 7 times a night just screaming. Ben started sleeping in Claire's room again, and I started getting zero sleep again. Right before Thanksgiving I had a breakdown and Ben got to hear more four letter words come out of my mouth then ever before, and I knew things had to change. I decided to try sleep training her in her crib. So, the day before Thanksgiving I put her in her crib for the very first time to try and take a nap. It didn't work very well- she only napped for about 30 minutes, but at least it was a start.

I should interject and say that I absolutely HATE the cry-it-out method. I know many of you use it and love it and have had great success with it and that is wonderful. But, for me I don't like it- it failed miserably with Audra and I never want to go through that again. But, we do like Dr. Ferber's method. He is a cross between cry-it-out and go to them every time they cry. Basically, you let them cry for 5 minutes then go in and soothe, then let them cry for 7 minutes and go in and soothe, etc.

The day after Thanksgiving we decided to give it a try. I could never let her cry for a full 5 minutes before I went in to soothe her, so I went in every few minutes. But, she has actually always been able to self soothe, and this method seems to be working well. The first couple nights were rough, but last week she slept until 5:30, then just nursed and fell back asleep until 9. That gave me hope, which was quickly dashed by 2 horrible nights in a row, but the last 4 nights she has just woken up once around 3:30 to nurse, then she goes back to sleep until morning. She goes to bed in her crib great, without any crying, and she is now napping for longer stretches of time in her crib which is great! Of course, it would be better if I was home more for her naps, but we are doing our best.

So, hopefully (I really don't want to jinx this!) we have a sleep-trained little girl without hardly any crying. At least until she starts teething. Or gets sick. Or has a growth spurt. Or gets shots...

Picture of the Day

Please be sure to notice the mismatched shoes and the shirt on backwards (on top of 3 other shirts). Oh, how I love this girl!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

November Totals

OK, here's my grocery totals for November:

Total Spent: $ 231.35

Total Saved:$353.52

Not bad, but I am still not to my goal of only 200/month. But, I started out at over 400 a month so I am feeling pretty good! Plus, I did have one "binge" week where I bought a lot of stuff not on sale and without coupons because I needed things for Thanksgiving pies. Oh, well- I still came out looking good!