Monday, December 29, 2008

Happy Anniversary To Us!!

9 years ago, my Husband and I tied the knot! We were married in a lovely civil ceremony in Germany. I had no one to give me away, my dress was a silver ball gown and I did my own hair and makeup. He wore a suit he already had and shoes from his military dress uniform. When we got ready, my strap broke and he had to sew it back on for me as I was wearing it. Our witnesses were his 1st Sgt and a couple friends. We spent our wedding meal at the Brauhaus and ate bratwurst, fries and beer or coke. His 1st Sgt and LT paid for our meal as a wedding gift from them, and they joined us as well as a couple other friends. There was no fanfare, no party, but it was a beautiful day. And here we are, 9 years later and more in love than ever.

Our marriage has had its ups and downs, but we've grown and changed together. We've been through good times and bad, but through it all, we still love each other. And we're still as attracted to each other as we were 9 years ago.

Unfortunately we weren't able to find a sitter tonight, so we treated the kids and ourselves to dinner out at a Chinese restaurant. The kids loved it, and then we stopped at Safeway on the way home to get ourselves a bottle of Champagne and some ice cream. But we had a really good time!

Here's to 9 years Honey!!!! I hope we have many many more!!! I love you more than anything <3

Here is our Love Story, that I wrote ages ago, and for good measure, here is a photo of the place where we were married:

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Make It From Scratch Carnival and Misc

A big big thank you to Adventures in the 100 Acre Wood, for including my post, Rachel Ray's Fudge Wreath, in this weeks edition of the Make It From Scratch Carnival!!

In other news, my husband is home and made it back safely from Portland. If you're not following the news, Portland is a disaster area with snow and ice. He got home last night right after dinner. Today we spent the day as a family and did our last minute shopping at Wal Mart and then came home and decorated our gingerbread house. The kids had a blast!! Tomorrow I have to do a bit of baking yet, I think I will make some shortbread.

Well, this is a short post, it is time to make some dinner. If I don't get to blog for a few days, Merry Christmas Everyone!!!!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Rachel Ray's Fudge Wreath



I made this today with the kids. The "garnish" is just cut up "dots" candies. I think that the butterscotch chips add just a bit too much sweetness, so I will do it with plain chocolate chips next time, and also add some more walnuts. I did not use the currants either. Other than that, it turned out great! I'm pretty happy with it.

**I wanted to also let you all know, we're expecting a HUGE storm to come through here tonight and tomorrow, so if I lose power, I will be back as soon as I can**


Ingredients

* 1 (12-ounce) bag semisweet chocolate morsels
* 9 ounces (3/4 of a 12-ounce bag) butterscotch morsels
* 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1 (8-ounce) can walnut halves
* 1/2 cup (a couple of handfuls) currants
* 8-inch cake pan, lightly greased with softened butter
* Candied cherries, red and green, for garnish, optional

Directions

Place a heavy pot on the stove and preheat it over low heat. Add chips and milk and stir until chips are melted and milk combined. Save the empty condensed milk can. Stir in vanilla and remove fudge from heat. Add nuts and currants and stir in immediately.

Cover empty condensed milk can with plastic food wrap and center it in the greased cake pan. Spoon fudge into pan around can, making sure to recenter can if it drifts.

The fudge will set up almost immediately. Garnish can only be added in the first minute or 2 the fudge is in the pan, so work quickly. Decorate your wreath with "holly" made from cut candied red and green cherries. A wreath left plain can be garnished with a pretty fabric bow when serving. Chill covered in the refrigerator and slice fudge very thin when ready to serve, a little goes a long way.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Saturday Doings

Thought I might do another "daily doings" post today!

I'm into cleaning mode since the man will be home in two days.

Today so far I have:

*cleaned and disinfected my whole bathroom, including the jacuzzi tub
*addressed and sent a few more Christmas cards
*did a few more loads of laundry
*Made up a batch of Rachel Ray's 5 minute fudge...will do a post about this later
*showered. lol
*cleaned the kids' bathroom

I'll update again later!

*made a batch of oreo truffles
*more laundry
*made homemade pizza and homemade pizza dough (love my bread machine)
*made a few phone calls

Friday, December 19, 2008

Friday

Yesterday brought the news that school was cancelled through till January 5th. So my kids are getting a 19 day break from school!!! They had 3 snow days today, and one late start, which was on Monday. Lucky kids ;o) We have been busy playing in the snow every day since then, making numerous snowmen, sledding and just having fun. We live on a bad road, it hasn't been plowed or anything...not even salted, so I haven't been out of the house since Tuesday!! I'm getting a bit of cabin fever I think. We'll probably head out in a few days though, but I have no reason to go out and we have plenty of groceries.

Today I got notice that my hubby is coming home on Monday!!! Two days early!! So we've been doing a lot of cleaning. I always do a deep clean before he comes home. And I haven't even started on my baking yet...ugh!!! That is OK though, we'll get that done yet. That is part of the reason why I haven't been blogging in awhile...too much to do!!

We decided to wait to do our Gingerbread house till daddy comes home because we thought it would be fun if he got to participate. He is gone all the time and doesn't get to do a lot of fun things with us, so that will be a special family activity we will do. We also have to do some last minute shopping that I have been putting off till he comes home because I just don't want to drive in this weather (no snow forecast for today, but again all weekend). He can drive me around while I do my errands.

To end this, I want to share our favorite song right now. I found this by accident last night and HAD to have it from iTunes. It is called Dragostea Din Tei, by O Zone, a Romanian Boy band. hehe Enjoy...lol

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Snow Days

We got tons of snow today!! School was cancelled today, and tomorrow too! I am all set to wrap some Christmas gifts tonight and I will be watching a Christmas movie at the same time. The kids had a great time in the snow today, they probably spent a few hours out there making a few snowmen, having snowball fights and making snow angels. And now I get to listen to them laugh at watching classic Mr. Bean (thank you Netflix!!). Love Mr Bean, he is hilarious...thanks to a teacher of mine in high school, Mr. De Jager, I have a love of Mr. Bean, and Wallace and Gromit, both of which my kids love.

We're counting down the days now till the man of the house comes home. It has been far, far too long since he has been home. I miss the hugs and kisses. I have to say, there is nothing better than a big bear hug from your hubby and a long passionate kiss after he has been gone for 10 weeks! I can't wait till he comes home, I miss him so much. I'm really lucky this year, he will be home for our anniversary and new years, and should be home Christmas Eve.

I just wanted to do a quick update for today. I am going to put the kids to bed in a few minutes and then get started on my gift wrapping. I hope everyone else enjoyed the snow today, if you had snow!!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Works For Me Wednesday




I have tons and tons of laundry to do every day. With 4 young kids, it was never ending. I am perpetually behind, I just can't keep up with it. We have more than 50 pairs of pants in this house alone...ACK!!!!

I don't know why I didn't think of this before, but in September, I FINALLY bought a free-standing clothing rack. One that looks like this:



It has been a lifesaver for me, literally. Instead of folding shirts and dresses, and then un folding again to hang it up, I just hang all the shirts up. I separate by person as I am hanging them up, so when the time comes to put them away, I can just grap that kid's hangers and transfer them right to the closet. At the same time I am putting them away, I grab the empty hangers out of their closets and take them back with me to put on the clothing rack.

It Works For Me!! Check out more Works For Me Wednesday Posts over Rocks in My Dryer.

Make It From Scratch Carnival

A Huge thank you to 11th Heaven's Homemaking Haven for incuding my post, Bisquick Chicken Fingers in this weeks edition of the Make It From Scratch Carnival!!

There are some really yummy entries this week, check them out!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Daily Doings

I thought it might be "fun" to do a post with everything I do every day...Maybe it will motivate me to do more?

*Got up and got the kids up, fed them
*Called the school Transportation office about school-late start today
*started a load of laundry
*went outside in 25F weather to help my son find forked twigs for a snowman project for school
*helped the kids do the dishes and clean the litter box (i'm mean. the kids had a late start today so I made them do chores! Muhahahaha)


It's only 8:41 today and I still have to shower obviously. I also have to go to the post office and mail some christmas cards and a package to my father-in-law. Figure out what to make for dinner, tidy up the house....etc etc.
I'll update later ;o)

3:11 PM

* Showered, got dressed and ready to go
* fed the baby and I lunch
* called the landlord
* Drove on icy roads which scared me
* Went to the post office and mailed out lots of cards and a package
* Went to Target and got a few groceries that I needed
* Did 3 more loads of laundry
* Scraped the ice/snow off the van
* paid this weeks bills
* Called XM radio to take one of our radios off
* Stopped a 2.5 year old from cleaning out the bathroom sink with her oldest sister's toothbrush.

I have to make dinner still, I am making Shepherd's Pie tonight. I also need to research Sinter Klaas for my talk at my daughter's school on wednesday. Do more laundry. Help with homework. Do the dishes. Wrap some presents.

I'll update again tonight!!



* Called AT&T regarding a bill
* welcomed the kids home from school and got them a snack
* helped 3 older kids with their homework (spelling, sentance making etc. It took awhile)
* prepped dinner
* cooked dinner
* helped with more homework
* called my Oma
* didn't do the dishes because I made the kids do it.
* uploaded some new photos to photobucket

I need to do some more housework tomorrow! ugh.

As of 10:30PM:

* folded a lot of laundry I did earlier, plus I am washing more. I am really behind on my laundry. It truly is my nemesis
* Did research on "Sinter Klaas" for my daughter's class
* watched an episode of ER while I was folding

And to mama bear, who posted below that this was a busy day. No, it was a lazy day for me. I feel like I got nothing accomplished and I'm quite embarrassed that I actually posted that. I didn't do hardly anything around the house except for laundry and dinner. My man is coming home in a week and I really need to prepare more.

Here is some of what I hope/have to accomplish tomorrow:

*scrub out both showers/tubs and the 3 bathroom sinks
*attend an achievement assembly for my oldest daughter (1PM)
*go to Karate with my son (4:30-5:30)
*prepare a crockpot dinner. I think it will be chili tomorrow.
*call my Oma to ask her what Sinterklaas was like when she was younger

And before my husband comes home, I need to:

*bring xmas bins to the shed
*catch up on ALL the laundry
*de-clutter our bedroom
*wrap all the presents
*decorate the gingerbread village with the kids - our weekend project
*buy the ham and all the trimmings
*bake, bake, and more bake. lol

I haven't been to SPIN class in forever, and I am irritated that I am so busy! I know that this is a crazy month for most people, so I expected that, but I kind of miss exercising. And what is going to happen to me when I go back in january and haven't been for forever? pain! ugh. I hope I can fit in a session friday morning, and then when my husband is home a class or two. At least that way my bum won't hurt too much when I get back on the bike Jan 5th.

This week alone I have had somewhere or something to do every day. Today I was supposed to go to Spin class, but then the kids had a 2 hour delay today because of ice on the road, so I wasn't able to make it on time. Tomorrow we have the assembly and Karate. Wednesday I have to talk to my daughter's class 9:30Am, so spin is out for that too. Thursday I have MOPS in the morning, have to go to Wal Mart afterwards to get a few things for my hubby, and then I get to take my son to Karate at the Y again in the evening. Friday this week looks like my only free day, so I am really really hoping I can go to spin class. But who knows really, because our snow is supposed to accumulate on wednesday, so if there is no school, I can't go.

Phew!

I am going to finish researching my Sinterklaas stuff, fold some more laundry and then go to bed.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Bisquick Chicken Fingers

I made this tonight...no pictures yet, they're in the oven. I've had great success with these in the past, and they are DELICOUS!!!


Ultimate CHicken FIngers- This is the original, I always double the recipe.

1lb boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into strips (or do like I do, and buy pre-cute boneless skinless chicken tenders)
2/3 cup Original Bisquick mix
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (i just use cheddar)
1/2 tsp salt or garlic salt
1 egg, slightly beaten
3tbsp butter, melted

Heat oven to 450F. line cookie sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray. In a 1 gallon ziplock bag, mix the bisquick mix, cheese, salt and paprika.

Dip half the chicken stirps into the egg, and place in bag. Seal the bag and shake to coat. Place chicken on cookie sheet. Repeate to use up remaining chicken. Drizzle melted butter evenly over the chicken.

Bake 12-14 minutes, turning halfway through bake time with a pancake turner, until no longer pink in the center.

makes 4 servings.

Like I said though, I always double so we have enough for everyone. It's delicious! And tastes so much better than the storebought ones.

Ok here are the pictures!!!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Tree Chaos

Last weekend when my mom and sister were over, we put up the tree. I was too tired and not paying attention, to realize that half the branches weren't fluffed, so it has been driving me crazy all week. Then, I noticed that half of my lights weren't working. So today, I decided to scrap the whole thing and the kids and I took it apart and re-decorated all of it. This morning we took the ornaments off, as well as the lights. I didn't want to go the rest of December being irritated by my tree because I wasn't happy with how it looked, know what I mean?

After lunch today, the kids and I trekked over to Target and bought all new lights. We got home and fluffed the branches up, re-strung the lights and re-hung all the ornaments. It looks much much better. I wish I could get a good picture of it with the lights on, it looks really pretty. We have had the tree for 8 years now, we purchased it from Wal Mart when the twins were only 10 months old. It is 7.5 feet tall and 5 feet wide at the base. I didn't even put all the ornaments up this year, we just don't have enough room on the tree. Usually we switch things up every year and vary what ornaments we have.

Please keep in mind that the kids did most of the decorating, so there are some bare spots. lol We have always done a "family" themed tree, though I do do a gingerbread themed tree for the kitchen usually. I scrapped that idea this year though, because we just don't have the room.

Behold the tree in all it's glory!!!

Friday, December 12, 2008

My Christmas Baking List

I mentioned yesterday that I had done a huge grocery shopping trip earlier this week. When I planned out my groceries, I also carefully went through my pantry and recipe books to decide what kind of cookies and treats I would be making this year. I am pretty sure I bought enough ingredients, but if not, I can always buy extras.

Here is my list for this year:

No Bakes (The Man's favorite)
M&M cookies (I'll be doing it with just chocolate chips this time)
Gingerbread men- from scratch, not a bag mix
Shortbread
Peanut Butter Fudge (my favorite!!!)
Chocolate Fudge with Walnuts or Rocky Road fudge with marshmallows-haven't quite decided
Oreo Truffles - Kids' favorite
Buckeyes
Pumpkin Roll

Possibility:

Thumbprint
Peanut Butter Balls

Now since I don't have the luxury of a large freezer, all of this will be done over several days. Most of them I will only do one batch of, like the gingerbread, because the kids like to decorate them and we always have more than enough. The Buckeyes make a huge batch, probably 5 dozen, so there is no need for doubling. I always always double the no bakes and chocolate chip cookies because my husband loves those.

We'll start our baking probably the 21st or 22nd I think. And this weekend the kids and I are putting up the gingerbread houses!!!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

I Guess It's Time

I think I've done enough hiding away for now. I haven't really been inspired, but I just need to do it now. I don't want all my readers to run away!!

The last couple weeks have been really busy for our family. We had Thanksgiving, and then the following weekend, my mom and sister came to visit. Plus, we've had a few days off from school, a Choir concert, Karate Lessons, MOPS and other general stuff that keeps a family busy.

The other day I made my grocery list for the next 2.5 weeks or so, and spent waaaay too much money. It was necessary though, as we needed a lot of extras for Christmas baking and stockings and what not. Plus, we also needed expensive items like laundry soap, cat litter, beef etc. But I am all done, and just need to purchase our Christmas dinner stuff yet (we still haven't decided what to eat!!!!), and a few extras for our gingerbread house and stockings that I couldn't find at wal mart earlier this week.

The Gingerbread house will be decorated this weekend! I am looking forward to it, we always have so much fun doing it. I will have to do a special post about that and show off some pictures. Tomorrow night we're going to a Family craft night at our YMCA. They are starting this and doing it once a month for Full members,and you can go in for 1.5 hours and do all kinds of seasonally appropriate crafts. So this time we're doing Christmas crafts. The kids are really quite excited about it, I think it will be a lot of fun.

Next week also starts the last week of school before Christmas Vacation!!!! The kids' last day is December 19th, so only 6 full days of school left. My husband is coming home on the 24th, Christmas Eve, so we'll have lots do do before he comes home. I will be doing all my baking after the kids' break starts, because I don't have a lot of freezer room and I want the cookies to stay fresh. I'll really have to pack that fridge and freezer, and I am a little worried about it actually. Hmmm...perhaps I can make the dough ahead of time and then bake it closer to Christmas? I'll have to see.

Anyway, I'm running out of steam already, lol. Bare with me as I try to get back into the swing of things...

Merry Christmas!!!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Still No Time

I'm still here.

Maybe it's the weather, maybe a touch of winter blues, who knows...but I just haven't felt like blogging. My mom and I had huge argument and I am still trying to recover from their visit. They left yesterday morning. I just really haven't felt the urge to blog lately, so I hope everyone understands. Please continue to visit, don't go away forever, lol. I will start posting regularly, but I need to get some thing in order around the house and get ready for christmas too!

On the plus side, I am all DONE shopping for Christmas. I finished the last of it up this weekend when I went out with my sister. It feels good to be done. Now, all I have left to purchase is a gift from the kids to daddy (they'll pick that out) and stocking candy, and get my baking stuff. Our tree was put up over the weekend, it looks pretty, and I like having it up. We've had the same tree since Dec 2001!!! lol We bought it when the twins were just 10 months old.

Anyway, I'm off to finish my grocery list, shower, get the baby bathed and dressed, go shopping for groceries and genearlly try not to lose my head.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Quick Update

Hi everyone..


Didn't want you to all think I died and fell of the face of the earth, lol!
My mom and sister have been in town visiting us for an early Christmas/Sinterklaas, so I haven't had any time to blog at all. You know how it is...


Anyway, I hope to be back up and running tomorrow night or Tuesday early morning.

Ta Ta for now.

LA Police Gear

I have written about LA Police gear before, do you all remember? Well, they are looking for more business!

Check out their website and look for the 5.11 Jackets. The 5.11 Tactical Clothing series has a lot of great items. If you are looking for a bargain, the 5.11 Tactical Packable Jacket is only $29.99, plus free shipping. Also, along with these awesome prices, you will get a free Schick Quattro Titanium Razor! You can't be a great deal like that, and you can get a bonus stocking stuffer as well. LA Police Gear is also offering up a free travel mug, and free flashlight with certain items, along with the free shipping.

LA Police Gear also has some new pants in the 5.11 Tactical series, such as the 5.11 Tactical TacLite Zip Off Pants. They look pretty cool, as they are both shorts and pants. It is like getting two for one!

Check them out! They also have some great promos right now too, when you purchase any of the 5.11 Tactical series clothing. You could keep these freebies as gifts too if you wanted, to save for Christmas or upcoming birthdays. And if you need live customer help, they offer live chat help!! I love that this site offers that, as it can be so hard to get a hold of customer service with some other companies. Kudos to you La Police Gear!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Builiding Your Relationship With Your Spouse

I was just thinking of this last night, how couples can work on their relationships. I'm not talking about marital problems or anything like that, but what they do to strengthen their relationship, what they do to spend time together etc.

My husband and I have been married for almost 9 years. I can't believe that I met him 10 years ago. It seems like a lifetime ago...we were young, both 18, still teenagers! Now we're both close to hitting 29 and we've been married almost a decade. Time certainly changes a relationship, and it can have its ups and downs. We've certainly had our fair share of those, but in the end, we still love each other.

So, back to my original point, how do you work on your relationship? What do you do together that keeps your marriage strong? My husband and I talked about this last night and realized we need to spend more time doing things together when he is home. Since he has gotten his lap-top, and me my PC, we don't' spend enough time together. Before we had our computers (we were computer free for two years), we always played games together. One of our favorites is "Mo-Mo", a really fun card game. And I always beat him at Yahtzee. Wait, I take that back...I DESTROY him when we play Yahtzee, LOL!! He beats me at Scrabble, and we do equally well at Trivial Pursuit. We just love to play games together, and have resolved to get back into it once he comes home again for Christmas. I'm really looking forward to it.

We always have a fun time when we do this. We'll sit at the kitchen table with a cup of tea and play for hours sometimes. We laugh, and flirt, and joke and playfully insult each other's game strategy. The TV doesn't come on, no computers either. It is just us and the game, in the kitchen. I wish we had not forgot this over the past few months, but we are making an effort to do it again. Now, we do talk for hours each day sometimes over the phone, but there is just something different about it when we're in person. It just fills me with happiness!! We are hours from family, and our sitter is now 45 minutes away also, so we aren't left with many choices to go out on a date. We get those when we can, so we substitute with our kitchen games.

So tell me what you and your spouse do for fun? What helps to strengthen your relationship?

Monday, December 01, 2008

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

And I'm tired already!!

I haven't posted much this weekend/week yet because life has just been crazy, and I am just worn out. I don't mean to be ignoring my blog, I just don't have the energy. We had a busy holiday week last week, and this week I've been preparing for my mom's visit this weekend. And then my daughter has a choir performance on Thursday night at 7PM (ugh, not looking forward to that with a two year old! lol). Friday night I am doing a bit of shopping...maybe. Saturday morning I am picking up my layaway for my mom and sister's gifts, they're arriving later that morning. I'm busy till next Tuesday basically!!!!

Christmas prep is in full swing here at our house! I've been listening to Christmas music on iTunes and on the radio and our XM radio in the van. We've put up all of our decorations except our tree, which we will put up this weekend when my mom and sister come to visit. Yesterday I was able to get to our storage unit and get all of my Christmas decor out. Once the kids came home from school, they went crazy with decoration, and had a lot of fun. I collect snowmen and snow globes, so our decor is predominately that. I don't really "do" Santa, so we only have a few of those.

I'm almost done with my shopping too, which is a big relief. All I have left to do is purchase the kids' books, a couple stocking stuffers and order the extra controllers for the Wii we bought the kids.

Baking will wait till the kids are off school. I simply do not have the freezer room to store anything long term, so it always has to wait. Since my mom and sister are coming this weekend, we will probably do our gingerbread houses next weekend, and then the following weekend will will start our baking.

Tis the Season to be Jolly, right? So I'd better get my jolly on, it is lacking a little bit.

Ah, and thank you to MamaBear over at GottaLittleSpaceToFill for including my post Easy Peasy Branmuffins, in this weeks Make It From Scratch Carnival