November 30, 2010

A long weekend of giving thanks

Since we don't host Thanksgiving dinner and don't have to be anywhere until after noon, Thanksgiving morning is a very laid back morning for us (thanks to you mom and mom-in-law!).  What to do with this lazy morning?  Break out the Nerf guns.  The Nerf guns were birthday gifts from September.  I've been hiding them because I didn't want to deal with the fall-out of unleashing my two little guys with guns and ammo.  But it was Thanksgiving and they pleaded so nicely that I caved and opened them.  Correction, dad caved and said we could open them, then he went back to bed for a morning nap. (thanks Phil).  We hung the target up on the window and both boys were very good about only shooting at the target (thanks boys, good boys).  We got some target practice in.  Their skills improved a lot once Phil reappeared and gave them a little lesson in aim.

Then we headed out to Phil's parents house for Thanksgiving dinner (lunch?) number 1.  There are nine grand kids here and six of them are 5 and under.  LOTS of fun.  They love Mimi and PaPa's house. Love it. I love how much they love it there. (thanks God for letting me meet and marry in to such a wonderful family)   We had the first snow of the season.  Not enough to play in but enough to make everything look pretty and bright.

Lots of playtime with cousins.  The "big" kids are so great with the younger ones.  They play with them til they drop.  My kids never sleep so well as they do after a day with cousins.

 Then on to my mom's house for dessert and more cousins.  How are these kids still on their feet?  The adults went out for our annual siblings T-day night out drinks while the kids stayed for a slumber party at Grandma's (thanks Natalie and Mom!).  It was a very full, long weekend with lots of family time.  I am so very thankful for my family(s)!  I am so very exhausted but I'm also very much looking forward to more at Christmas time.

November 20, 2010

Christmas Pictures, Christmas Card Ornaments, and a sale...

The past few weeks have included several attempts at getting a suitable photo of the boys for Christmas cards.  The criteria for suitable is merely no fingers in the nose, no choking each other, and preferably both faces in the pictures. Sounds easy?  Its not.

In between these little photo shoots I've been trying to come up with something a little different for our cards this year.  I wanted to do round ornament-like cards but couldn't find them anywhere.  I'd just about given up after briefly considering just printing them myself (the thought of cutting them each out by hand was nightmare inducing) when an email from the photo lab I use landed in my inbox. They were now offering die-cut print press items including (joy!) round die-cuts.  AND they're on sale (joy! joy!)

So I'm spreading the joy.  I created seven different designs (see the full set HERE) available to order through December 1.  For full details and pricing check out

Only 35 days until Christmas!

November 8, 2010

Bribes work...

I can never get my boys to sit still for the camera. I can rarely get them to look at the camera. I bribed them with Halloween candy. It worked. Boys sitting still (briefly). Boys looking at the camera (the pics with the less than thrilled looks on their faces didn't make the cut). I love the candid shots but sometimes it's nice to see their pretty little eyes gazing out from the picture). Now if only I could get them to sit still next to each other and look at the camera...

November 4, 2010

Boys and sticks

We are overrun with squirrels in our neighborhood.  Not your average squirrels. These squirrels are fearless: they chew on our outdoor decorations; dance on the deck; play with the kids toys outside.  They climb up on the window sills, knock on the window and mock us.  The squirrels are taking over the neighborhood, the little thugs.  So I decided to turn by boys out on them.  Strike a bit of fear in those little squirrel hearts.  I told the boys to go outside get some sticks and yell and wave those sticks at every squirrel they saw.

They were supposed to be scaring off the crazy squirrels with sticks and noise.  They were supposed to not use the sticks as weapons.  I guess if you give a boy a stick, well, they're going to be a boy with a stick.

This is an unfair fight.  I mean, really, look at that tiny little stick versus big brother's branch of a stick.  

Maybe I should step in... or maybe not

It's all fun and games until somebody gets hurt. Or loses their stick.
 (He's calling his big brother "bad baby" here.  Big brother hates it when he calls him that.  I don't know where he learned to say 'bad baby'.  I swear.)

He wasn't hurt; well maybe his pride was.  I think his daddy just needs to teach him the 'speak softly and carry a large stick' rule (I would definitely appreciate the speak softly part).

November 3, 2010

Haircut time... so long beautiful little girl

We had a lot of fun trick or treating and the people were soooo nice.  I can't tell you how many times I heard 'what a beautiful little girl'.  Too bad I don't have a girl.  I had a yoda.  A yoda who needs a haircut apparently.  Here he is in costume with his hair all tucked in (you can't see the flowing locks out the back).  And in fairness to the compliment givers his hair did not stay tucked in long.  And he is beautiful.

This guy does not like hair cuts. It took multiple bribes just to get him to stop running from me shrieking.  Thank goodness we have a rather large stash of Halloween candy to bribe him with.  This is the before.  He's clutching a sucker in those tight little fists.

 Here is the during.  I had him sit on a step stool that I placed in the sink and covered with a towel.  The buzzed off hair went in to the other side of the sink (yes, hun I had the drain plugged.  no hair went down the drain.  He fought me but I'd just tell him to put the sucker back in his mouth before it got hairy.  ick.
I finished him up with scissors... totally winging it.  I'm not even going to pretend I'm good at this.  I gave him a bath and cleaned off all the hair.  Then I saw it was still pretty bad.  Thank goodness for hair product.  We just spiked it up a bit; like we did the whole uneven cut on purpose.  Then after I get him dressed and ready to go pick up his big brother I noticed that the hair product ruse wasn't gonna cut it.  I had to trim a bit more on top.  Five minutes til we had to be out the door.  What to do? what to do?  Hmmmm, I know, I'll lay him down on the counter with his head over the sink and just snip away.   I have to say it was pretty effective.  Don't laugh...

And the after, as he is enjoying bribe part 2.  I get the feeling I won't be in charge of haircuts around this house anymore.  I think he looks adorable though.


November 2, 2010

Chocolate Bavarian Torte [recipe]

I am not much of a cook.  I don't cook for enjoyment. I cook for survival.  My kids need to eat and they're too young to use the stove, so I cook.  Most of my siblings got the cooking gene; they can just throw something together or improvise as they go.  Me: I study the recipe, follow it closely, yet still manage to turn out blah, but thankfully edible, meals.  My friend can make just about anything out of nothing, and then use the leftovers from that to make another whole meal and it all is delicious.  How does that work?  You can read about her magic at  I've tried copying her, it doesn't work.  Its just in her blood.

I do sometimes enjoy baking. Mostly desserts.  Which is odd since I don't have much of a sweet tooth. Regardless, October is over (thank goodness!) and so a celebration is in order.  Bring on the cake.

1 box plain devil's food cake mix (with OUT pudding in the mix - harder to find)
1 - 8 ounce package cream cheese softened
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 pint whipping cream (whipped)
2 Tbsps chocolate shavings or chips (we used mini chocolate chips) for topping

I recommend you check your fridge/pantry/cabinets for all these items.  Especially for the required ingredients for preparing the devil's food cake.  This might require 3 eggs.  You might only have 1 egg.  Then you might have to run to the grocery store, kids in tow, hoping you can get eggs and get out and back home in 15 minutes or less.  Its possible that on this quick trip to get eggs you might make the mistake of walking past the Halloween clearance aisle and hear a little voice reminding you that you said you would buy some Halloween decorations when they went on sale.  Darn those kids and their selective memory.
So two hours later...Prepare and bake the cake according to the package instructions (you do have oil and eggs, right?).  Get your cream cheese out to soften and whip the cream.  The boys thought the mixer was magical as they watched the 'milk' turn fluffy.

Mix the softened cream cheese, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt until fluffy.  Fold in the whipped cream.

 Once your cakes are cool split each one in two (using dental floss makes it easy easier)

Place one layer of cake on a serving platter and spread with the cream mixture.  Repeat layers and top with with mini chocolate chips.  Wrap with plastic wrap and chill for 8 hours or overnight.  Thanks to our extended Halloween aisle tour it looks like I've got one heck of a breakfast treat for tomorrow morning instead of dessert for dinner tonight (sorry Phil).
What are you having for breakfast?  ;) 

This recipe can be found at