Saturday, January 29, 2011

Christmas Eve

We started our Christmas celebration at Mikes brothers house. We had some great finger foods and now it was time for what the boys had been waiting for... opening presents!

Joshua got a new shirt.

Noah got a new football. Seth got legos.

Here they are after opening all their gifts. I have a feeling that football isn't going to leave Noah's hand for a long time.

After our visit with Mike's family we head home to open our stockings. It's usually really late when we get home, but the boys never let us forget that its our tradition to open stocking on Christmas Eve.

Everybody waiting for mom to get a few pictures before the fun begins.

Noah got a new headset for the xbox. We try to put unique little things in the stockings.

Each of the boys got a new book light for night time reading. Leave it to Noah to think of an alternative use!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Christmas Goodies

Every year the boys and I spend a whole day baking goodies for our neighbors, letter carriers and garbage collectors.

We made three recipes this year. Three of my favorite holiday recipes.

First we made these easy-peasy caramel pecan turtles. This is my favorite kind of dessert to bake... few ingredients... quick... and easy. All you need are three ingredients. Rolos (we used caramel dove candies this time because I could not find rolos any where... they worked fine, but I prefer the rolos), pecans, and mini pretzels.

The boys fill the baking sheet with pretzels and then put a rolo (or dove candy) on each pretzel. Put baking sheet in the oven and bake for about 10mins at 350 degrees. Just long enough for the chocolate to get slightly melted. Quickly pull sheet from the oven and carefully place one pecan on each pretzel. Gently press the pecan into the chocolate. Then place the baking sheet into the freezer until the chocolate has hardened again. Make sure you test at least one to see if they are ready.... YUM, YUM!!!

The second recipe we made was Amish Ginger Cookies. A lot more complicated than the first recipe, but definitely worth the trouble. My mouth is watering just thinking about these yummy cookies! Here is the recipe...

3/4 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup molasses
2 1/2 cups flour
1 t. ground ginger
1 t. ground cloves
1 t. ground cinnamon
1 1/2 t. baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl beat together butter and sugar until creamy. Add egg and molasses and beat until combined. Add the remaining ingredients and mix until well combined. Roll dough into 1 inch balls and roll in sugar until coated well. Place balls on baking sheet and slightly flatten with a spatula. Bake for 5-7 mins. or until they are barely turning brown. Allow to cool for 1 min. on baking sheet and then remove to cool further. I didn't get any pictures of us making these cookies... I think that is when someone asked if they could take a turn at taking pictures....

Hmmmm, wonder who that could've been?

Now you understand why there are no pictures of the cookies!

Okay, now on to the 3rd and hardest recipe. Gingerbread Rice Krispie Treats! They are yummy... that is true, but lets just say I would be locked away somewhere,... somewhere far far away if I had to make these more than once a year!

It starts out like any other recipe...

1 stick butter
2 T. molasses
1 1/2 T. pumpkin pie spice
1 t. salt
1 (10.5 oz) bags mini-marshmallows
12 cups Rice Krispies cereal

Grease a 9x13 baking pan well. (with butter) In large saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Stir in molasses, pumpkin pie spice, and salt. Stir in marshmallows and cook, stirring occasionally, until marshmallows are melted.

everything seems to be going well...

Add cereal to marshmallow mixture and fold in quickly to coat.

FOLD in quickly? uh oh... here's where the trouble (insanity!) always begins.

Scrape cereal mixture into prepared pan and let cool for a few minutes. Lightly coat hands with butter and press Rice Krispies into the pan.

they make it sound sooo simple... Sheesh!

Cool, cut into bars and enjoy!

you better enjoy them 'cause i'm never making those beast bars again! ...or at least not til next Christmas!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Decorating the Christmas Tree

We finally got our tree home and now its time to decorate.

Someone suggested we put a star on top of the tree and leave it just like it is... Funny!

Seth got to be the first to cut the twine and start untying the tree.

While Joshua snipped off the top.

Almost there.

Yea! The last bit of twine coming off.

The next day we pulled out all the decorations. Seth and Noah opening the box of decorations. They were so excited.

As the decorations were going up, I was in the kitchen preparing hot chocolate for everyone.

With lots of marshmallows! YUM!!!

The boys and Mike were busy getting the lights on the tree.

I was busy setting the table and putting other decorations around the house.

It was now time to put on the ornaments. One of our favorite ornaments are the "J" candy-cane ornaments we made a few years ago. All we did is attach (hot glue) ribbon to the bottom of candy-canes and then hang them upside down on the tree. We hang them in a "J" shape to remind us of Jesus, which is really what this season is all about.

I wanted to get a picture of everyone holding their favorite ornament. Here is mine... a Starbucks coffee cup of course!

Noah's would most definitely be the Noah's Ark ornament.

And we couldn't leave Mordecai out of the fun. Last year he got this ornament in his stocking. I don't know what happened to daddy's, Seth's and Joshua's picture... I guess I will have to work on that next year.

Every year we put a nativity set under the tree. It was Noah's turn to get to set it out.

There it is all decorated and just waiting for presents. The best part of decorating the tree is while pulling out the ornaments, which most are homemade, we reminisce about where and how the ornament was made. It's fun to look at an ornament that one of the boys made in preschool. With their name on the back its hard for them to deny that they were the creator... as much as would like to!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Christmas Tree Huntin'

Once again our family went to the mountains to find a Christmas tree. It feels weird to still be talking about Christmas in January, but I'm just trying to get caught up so I can get my second blog book printed. Nowadays I don't have time to scrapbook, so my blog has been a great substitute for that and for keeping family and friends updated on our family.

Look at all those trees.

It was very cold. In fact we postponed our trip twice because of bad weather.

But we managed just fine!

On the hayride to the field of trees you could still see lots of snow from the snowstorm which occurred the weekend before.

I walked around scoping out trees while the kids...

had a snowball fight.

They also like to play tag while running through the trees like crazy people.

The boys have lots of fun... and well... nobody knows us up their anyway!

Another perfect snowball.

Okay, it's finally time to get serious about looking for a tree.

Found it! It sure didn't take long to pick out one this year once we started really looking.

really, i just think everybody was cold and ready to go.

It sure didn't take those guys long to cut it down and...

get it loaded up.

Now we're headed back to the main building for some nice warm hot chocolate and apple cider.

We always have fun on this family trip... even when it's freezing outside.