Thursday, December 31, 2009

Making A Splash!

Since I am on Christmas break from school, I wanted to do something a little extra fun with Jake. The pool that I used to work at was open this week for swimming lessons, so I decided to sign Jake up! He LOVED the pool this past summer and loves taking baths so I thought it would be fun. He was scheduled to go Monday through Thursday this week. The first day he went, he went right to his teacher, but soon realized that mommy was not with him. Needless to say he did not want swim anymore! Day 2 went about the same. Let's just say he wasn't the happiest swimmer in the pool:(. Since my sister is working there this week we thought that he may do better with his Auntie Al! He LOVED swimming with her yesterday and today he did super!

Not real sure yet, but getting better...We love Allison!!

Thanks Al for all the fun!
Today when the lesson was over, he didn't want to leave!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Quick Kissed Cookies

My friend April made us some delicious Christmas cookies this year. She made us the most fabulous gingerbread cookies ever (Matt and I fought over them because they were so good:) and these cute pretzel Hershey kiss cookies. They looked so fun and festive and I needed a small goodie to take to a friend of mine tomorrow, so I made a few to pass on!
Thanks April for the idea!

Instructions:
Heat the oven to 170F. Set a number of bite-size, pretzels (one for each treat) in a single layer on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, then top each pretzel with an unwrapped Hershey's Kiss or Hershey's Hug.
Bake for 4 to 6 minutes (the white chocolate will melt more quickly), until the chocolates feel soft when touched with a wooden spoon. Remove the cookie sheet from the oven and quickly press an M&M's candy into the center of each Kiss.
Allow the treats to cool for a few minutes, then place them in the refrigerator to set, about 10 minutes. Place handfuls of the candies in clear plastic bags and tie on colorful ribbons.
(Recipe taken from familyfun.com)

Monday, December 28, 2009

We Had Ourselves A Merry Little Christmas!

We had a great Christmas this year!
We were very blessed to be able to spend time with all of our family.
Every Christmas Eve we get together with my side of the family. We start by exchanging gifts with one another and then head to the Christmas Eve service at their church.
My sisters Kelly and Allison.
And of course my nephew Corban and I.
Jake, my sister, and my dad.
Corban and Riley opening up their gift from us!
And Uncle Matt teaching them how to play:)!
Christmas morning was extra fun this year! Jake of course didn't know what was going on, but when he woke up Christmas morning and saw what Santa had brought, it didn't take him long!
Jake in his new p.j's riding on his new bike! This was definitely the big hit this year! He LOVES it and has even learned to say "bike"!

Jake in his new tent!

Jake and daddy riding on his new giant truck!

Such a fun morning was followed by a delicious breakfast at our house for my parents, brothers and sisters! We had biscuits and gravy, bacon, eggs, and 2 kinds of french toast!

After a little afternoon nap we joined up with Matt's family and continued the celebration!

Here is Matt with the kiddos!
And once again...the whole family together!


I can't believe Christmas is over already! We had such a wonderful time and made some very special memories!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

More Christmas Fun!!!

Matt's two brothers and their families arrived this week from Florida. Every other year they drive up to spend Christmas week with all of us! We don't get to see them very often, so it is extra special for all of us to be together over the holidays!
Yesterday all of the cousins (with a little help from the grown ups), put together a gingerbread house that Aunt Katie brought! I think the kids just enjoyed eating all of the treats!
Jake waiting to help out!

The cousins with the finished product...lots of icing and lots of candy...just the way we like it!

Meemaw and Sarah Kate watching all the fun!

Later on that evening Matt had the crazy, I mean great idea of taking everyone to Chuck E. Cheese! We all had a super fun time eating pizza and playing games! Jake LOVED it! He is walking all over the place now and enjoyed every minute of it!
Jake and Chuck E. Cheese!
Most of the pictures I took Jake is not looking. I couldn't compete with the games and rides for his attention:).

Jake and daddy going for a ride!
Uncle Jimmy helping Jake out a little.

Rebekah enjoying the pizza party!
After all the fun at Chuck E. Cheese, we drove up to McAdenville to see all the Christmas lights. McAdenville is a little city not to far from us that is very well known for all their Christmas lights and decor. The traffic to get in to the town was backed up for MILES! We knew we couldn't wait in it with all the little ones, so we found a place to park, hopped out, and strolled through the display instead. It was a bit chilly, but lots of fun!


A few pics of my little family...

The whole family!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Tis The Season

My first few days off of school have been very busy. I usually like to slow thing up a bit when it comes to our schedule, but I guess that doesn't always happen when Christmas is just a few days away! Matt was supposed to drive to Pittsburgh this past weekend to see the Steelers play, but ended up back home after 17 hours on the road. The roads through West Virginia were terrible and no one could get through, so everyone sat for hours before anyone could even turn around! He was so sad he didn't make it to the game, but ended up watching them finally get a win on t.v! My sister Allison spent the weekend with me. We had lots of fun Christmas shopping, baking, and watching Christmas movies on t.v.
Last night my mom, brother, sisters and the gang all headed to the Billy Graham Library. We had heard that it was beautiful this time of year. We decided to go last night thinking that it wouldn't be so crowded. It wasn't to bad, but with so many little ones with us, it made it a bit difficult to see everything. I think we still all had fun.
We did manage to snap a quick pic of all of us in front of the tree.

The live nativity.

This is actually the house Billy Graham grew up in. We didn't get to go in because of the little guys, but it sure looked pretty from the outside!
And then we continued with all the Christmas fun with our annual Christmas cookie day! We all met at my sister Jenny's house for the fun (and mess). We made a delicious variety of cookies...peanut butter Hershey kiss, sugar cookies (with lots of frosting and sprinkles), chocolate dipped pretzels and thin mints! Yummy!

Tim, Al, and Jake ready to get started!

Allison helping the birthday boy with the sugar cookies!

My sister Kelly has been working in a bakery over the holidays so she was a big help today in the kitchen!
Today Jake got an early Christmas present from my sister, Jenny. She is always making cute little shirts for her kiddos and she made Jake a very special shirt to wear too!
Look who it is???
I love, love, love it!
I can't wait for him to wear it! It is so cute and couldn't be more perfect for him!

Friday, December 18, 2009

A Snowy Change Of Plans...

Well, as of early this afternoon I am on officially on Christmas break from school! Yippy! I am so excited and so ready for a breather! I am most excited about being able to have some fun with Matt and Jake!
Today was a bit crazy at school. We were scheduled to have an early dismissal this afternoon at noon, but because we are expecting some crazy, wintry mix, our day was shortened even more. We had just finished a very special and fun Christmas Alive chapel when an announcement was made that the school was closing! All of our fun Christmas party plans were quickly cut short. My class was going to be making gingerbread houses, so the kids quickly whipped some frosting on them, loaded them with candy, grabbed a goody bag, and were rushed out the door. I think my kids were excited that it was going to snow, but a little disappointed that things came to an abrupt end. I saved what I could and can maybe have a little New Years celebration when we return in January!
But for now, I am going to take it easy, enjoy my family, and celebrate our Savior's birth!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

More Than Color

I have been busy this week trying to get all my gifts together for my teacher friends and Jake's teachers at school. I tried to get a little creative when putting them all together. I found this neat Christmas poem that when given with a bag of M&M's and wrapped with a big bow, looked so pretty!

More Than Colors
These special little candies,
Come in colors bright and fun.
There's more than color to be found;
A story of God's Son.
The M's turn into W's,
If you turn them upside down.
A few more turns and E and 3's
Are waiting to be found.
M is for the manger,
Where Mary laid her precious boy.
Little did the world know,
This baby would bring great joy.
The W is for the Wise men,
Who followed a bright star.
The star revealed a King was born,
The came but, oh, so far.
In Bethlehem they found Him,
Just as they had been told.
3 is for the gifts they brought;
Frankincense, myrrh and gold.
W is also for their worship,
As they bowed before their King,
Salvation is the promise given,
There's nothing we can bring.
Faith alone is how we come.
He died to set us free.
E is for eternity,
God's gift to you and me.
Barbara Hook's Version

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Christmas Cheer

This weekend I took a little time and got a jump start on my Christmas shopping. It is hard for me to get to much done before school lets out for Christmas break, but I did manage to pick up a few things. It has been so fun shopping for Jake this year. We try not to go overboard, but it is so much fun shopping for your own kids (good thing we just have one this year)! I am so excited about what we bought so far and I can't wait for him to see all his goodies Christmas morning!
Last year we bought Jake a sock monkey for Christmas. "Marley" has become a very important member of our family. My mom saw these CUTE sock monkey jammies and picked them up for him. Aren't they darling?!?!?!?
Jake in his Marley jammies by our Christmas tree.
I have one more thing to share with you...
Once a month our school puts on a breakfast (or feast) for the teachers. They always have everything you could possibly ever want or think of for breakfast.
Well, this past Tuesday was our big breakfast and I had some of the BEST breakfast casserole ever! It is called Blueberry French Toast. It was delicious. It is a Southern Living recipe. I am planning on making it for Christmas morning at our house this year.
It was so good, I had to share...


Blueberry Stuffed French Toast
A Fantastic, gooey, delicious combination of french toast and blueberries!
Nonstick cooking spray
12 slices Texas toast, crusts removed (if desired) and cut in 1-inch cubes
1 8-oz. package cream cheese, cut into small cubes
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
9 eggs, beaten
2 cups milk
1/2 cup maple syrup Blueberry Syrup or maple syrup (optional)


Coat a 3-quart rectangular baking dish with cooking spray; set aside. Place bread cubes in prepared dish. Top with cream cheese and the blueberries. (At this point, you can cover and chill up to 24 hours.)Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl combine eggs, milk, and the 1/2 cup maple syrup. Whisk until combined. Slowly pour the egg mixture over blueberry-and-bread mixture to evenly moisten the bread.Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. If necessary, cover with foil the last 10 minutes of baking to prevent overbrowning. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Cut in squares. Serve with Blueberry Syrup or additional maple syrup, if desired. Makes 12 servings.

Friday, December 11, 2009

A Walk Down Gingerbread Lane

Wednesday evening we decided to head out for a little Christmas cheer. I called my mom and my sisters to see if they wanted to meet for a quick Wendy's dinner and then go for a little walk down gingerbread lane.
Matt with Jake and Sophie!
A very fancy hotel that is not to far from us was hosting a local gingerbread house contest. Visitors could come and take a look at some of the creations and vote for their favorite ones!
They were amazing...

and so is this little guy, my nephew Riley!

Each gingerbread house had so much detail and was made out of every imaginable kind of candy!


This was one of my favorites. I love all the detail! It looks good enough to eat!

Monday, December 7, 2009

A Small Town Christmas

This weekend my sister Allison, Jake, and I went to our little town's annual Christmas tree lighting. It is right in our neighborhood at the town hall, so we bundled up with our coats and gloves ready to help count down until the tree shines tall and bright! It was a bit chilly, but they had hot cocoa and hot apple cider to keep everyone warm. They had a live nativity, horse drawn carriage rides, and even Santa and Mrs. Clause arrived on a fire truck!

Jake and mommy cuddle close to keep warm!

5, 4, 3, 2, 1...yeah! Let the Christmas season begin!

We met our sweet friends, Courtney and her little guy MD, up at the park and enjoyed a carriage ride with them. The boys loved the horses!

Matt was working this weekend so I was so glad that Allison could join us! She makes things so much more fun!

Jake's little hands were frozen because of course he didn't want to keep his mittens on and then it started to drizzle just a bit, so we headed back home, full of Christmas cheer!

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Christmas Tree Tradition

For the past several years Matt and I have gotten our Christmas tree the weekend after Thanksgiving at the same place each year. We decided to make this a tradition because this is the way we got engaged. It was really fun this year taking Jake. Christmas is just a little more magical with kids!
Matt and Jake looking for just the right one!

Making sure our STAR will fit just right!

We loaded it up, took it home, and decorated it just the way we like it...simple with lots of lights and a bright shining star on top!
We also have a guest visiting our house this year. Troy, our family's "Elf On The Shelf" is making his debut. He is making sure Jake is a good boy (ahem...no biting) and will report back at the North Pole to inform Santa. Well, since Jake is a little to small to really understand about Troy, he is just sitting in our tree getting ready for the many years ahead! I can't wait to really start this tradition with Jake!

Our simple, but perfect tree!
Ho Ho Ho!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Let The Christmas Season Begin!

Yesterday I got a GREAT new cookbook. It is called 100 Best Holiday Cookies. I love this time of year because one of my favorite Christmas traditions is to bake lots and lots of Christmas cookies. I have always been lucky enough to have lots of time off during the holidays. My mom, grandma, and my sisters always love to pick a day and bake away!
This cookbook has some really great recipes that I can't wait to try like hot chocolate cookies, melt in your mouth Christmas marbles, lumps of coal, and pumpkin cheesecake squares! I will post some of our favorite Christmas cookies recipes soon!

I love listening to Christmas music. Some of my all time favorite Christmas Cd's are...
and nothing is more relaxing than hearing this...
These have been playing pretty much non-stop the last few days. I had to add another Christmas CD to my collection so I made a quick stop at the bookstore today and picked this one up...

I was also very excited that this Bible study was coming out today!
I have been waiting for several weeks for it to come out! I loved, loved, loved Kelly Minter's study, "No Other Gods". I got so much out of it and couldn't wait to start her new study on Ruth!
I am doing this study with my mom and my sisters. If you are looking for a good Bible study I highly recommend it!


Only 25 days until Christmas!
The countdown is on!