Thursday, November 29, 2012

Sick. (With Holiday Cheer Thrown In)

We have had an off week.  A sick week.  Not horrible, but it throws you off a bit.  It started Monday when Layla woke up and said her tummy hurt.  I didn't think much of it as she jumped into getting ready for school and playing.  She mentioned it a couple more times, but said she wanted to go to school.  I may have resisted this and let her stay home, however I hadn't been to work for a week and decided if she thinks she's good, she must be good.  I barely settled into my desk at work when I got the dreaded phone call from the school.  "Layla is here at the office, she just threw up in class"  Bring on the mommy guilt.  If I hadn't pushed her to go so I could go to work the poor thing wouldn't have had to throw up on herself in the middle of class.  This is not the first time this has happened...Ava had a couple of these incidents last year.  What is it about my kids puking at school??  Anyways...I rushed to pick up my sad little baby, who by the way, still didn't want to come home but wanted to go back to class.  I grew up with the wonderful thing of having a stay at home mom.  Something I don't think I fully appreciated until I had my own kids and made the same decision.  (I think the 10 hours/week I work keeps me mainly in the SAHM category with just a bit in the working mom one)  When we were sick as kids, my mom would make us a bed on the couch, let us watch TV and give us 7-up to settle our tummies.  It was pretty great.  So great that I became an expert at being "sick" and missing out on school.  I find that I do the same thing when the girls are sick. When Layla got home, after a quick bath to clean her up, I cozied her up on the couch and turned on the Disney channel.  She spent the day sleeping on and off, watching cartoons, drinking ginger ale and me snuggling with her reading books.  Because she seemed to feel much better it ended up being a really nice day.  I don't ever want my kids to be sick, but it kinda felt like old times...Ava at school and me and Lay just hanging out at home (minus the puke bucket).  By the end of the day she was running around back to her silly self.  Of course on Tuesday morning, a day I don't go to work, I was ready to have her stay home if she had the slightest belly ache.  I think it was to somehow make up for sending her sick the day before.  There were no problems and she was off to school.  Until this morning, that is...

Today Layla woke up and did her usual morning thing, but when it came to get ready to leave for school I got the "I have a tummy ache"  Now, she has been fine since Monday so at this point I was trying to figure out if I was being played.  She looked fine, but what's a mom to do?  Do you believe the stomach bug that was obviously gone suddenly came back?  Do you send them to school and then worry all day that you'll receive a call from the office again?  I didn't know...we headed to the school but she still seemed sad so we kissed Ava goodbye and Layla and I headed home.  Still not sure if she had mastered my art of faking being sick I decided to not make it quite so desirable this time.  I put her straight to bed in her room with a kiss and mentioned that I hoped she felt better soon so she wouldn't miss out on the birthday party she was invited to this weekend.  (Kinda low, but I was testing her)  Not 20 minutes later, Layla emerged from her room and said she felt better and really wanted to go to school.  Hmmmm.   Back into the car we went and had her to school before they even finished calendar.  I still don't know if she really didn't feel well.  I guess if I get a call and she really is sick again, I'll know better next time.  Or not.  

The bug has hit me a little bit this week also.  Again, not bad...it just takes you down a notch.  Since we were feeling a little under the weather I thought the best thing to have one evening would be some chicken noodle soup.  However, we don't eat chicken.  What I made instead is what I like to call chickenless noodle soup...

Perfect for a chilly, "crummies in your tummies" (to quote Dr. Seuss) type evening.  I use all the normal veggies that go in chicken noodle soup...carrots, onions, celery, corn,garlic...threw in some fresh herbs...sage and thyme, s&p...put it all in the crock pot with veggie broth and juice from one lemon and let it cook all afternoon.  We topped it with Parmesan cheese and bow tie pasta.  That along with a ginger ale for dinner and I felt much better.  

It wasn't all a sick week...we managed to throw in some holiday type things.  I'm loving this shopping local or Etsy for the holidays.  I like finding such beautiful unique gifts and did some serious cyber Monday shopping on Etsy and am so excited for my purchases.  I also headed downtown one day to do some more browsing and instead of being overwhelmed by Christmas being shoved down your throat at department stores with lights and things and music...I got the simple reminder of Christmas nearing when I looked up to see this...

Our lovely, retro downtown Bozeman decorations!!  Yes, they are slightly cheesy but they have been around my entire life and they just scream Christmas to me and I smiled so big when I saw they had gone up.  (May have freaked out other people walking downtown wondering why this girl was walking with a sh*t-eating grin on her face)  Some people say Bozeman should get new decorations and update, however I hope they never change.  I posted the photo on Facebook and had so many likes from fellow Bozemanites who either still live here or remember them from times they did live here.  I can't wait for the Stroll this weekend when they light them up for the season.  Love it.

We also got our first glimpse of Santa this week.  Now...I'm going back on my trying to stay away from the commercialism of Christmas when I say we went to Macy's to see Santa Claus this week.  However...hear me out.  Every year Macy's sets up a "Mail Box" to the North Pole.  They have paper out to write a list to Santa and drop it in.  Macy's then donates $1 for every letter received to the Make a Wish Foundation.  I can get on board with this because it's for a good cause, the kids still believe and think this magical mailbox is a direct link to Mr. Claus and I peek over their shoulders as they write and get a few gift ideas.
Very serious...her funny list included  seedee's (CD's),  float (flute) and boorbees (Barbies)


We didn't actually stay to sit on Santa's lap.  The girls have never really been into that, and I'm okay with it.  Department store Santa's are kinda creepy in my opinion.  They/I prefer to see him from a distance.  Like when we saw him come into the store and when we'll see him light the decorations downtown this weekend.  Keeps it more magical if you see him from a distance and not up close where you realize the beard is fake and he has bad breath.  

Ava has turned into quite the little elf this year and it is so funny.  She has been frantically making gifts for the whole family...to the point of freaking out a little that she NEEDS to wrap them right now and she has SO many more to make!!!  I tried to calm her down and remind her it is not even December yet and we don't even have a tree to put wrapped gifts under.  I reminded her making gifts is supposed to be fun and she should take her time and stop if she wants.  And...just so you don't think I'm some crazy mom who told her she had to make gifts for her family, I didn't.  She thought this up all on her own.  I also told her she didn't have to make them for everyone...if she just wanted to do a few that was fine also.  She did calm down about it but in most free moments she can be found in her room in a mess of beads, markers and craft making...


She has little cards and tags for each one as well.  She is so very kind and I love her giving spirit.  I love how she thinks of who she is making the gifts for...they are not generic.  How she made my Dad a picture of the two of them at the river in a boat because she knows that's his favorite place.  Or the one for my mom in Hawaii with lots of palm trees.  The best may be the friendship bracelets she made for her and her cousins.  She colored the noodles to use for them in food coloring and each one bracelet has one word on it and when they all have them on together it reads "WE WILL BE BEST FRIENDS FOREVER"  Awwww...so sweet.  (Sorry Nic, Jacob doesn't get one...Ava said he's too little so his gift is different!)

Something else very happy this week.  Awhile ago I mentioned the "Holiday Hands" thing I found through this blog.  I had mentioned my sisters story with them and had an amazing response from three total strangers.  I've been receiving some of the things these women have sent for Kori and her family.  On top of that my sister got a check for 600 bucks in the mail from the same group!!!!!  Totally out of the blue!  This is an amazing blog community that I have stumbled up and SO much good has come from it.  I love the philosophy behind this group..."We cannot do great things, we can do small things great"  The small things they have been doing, are better than great, they are totally fantastic.    

Despite the sickness it has been a good week.  And, I feel so fortunate we have made it this far into the school year without any illness.  We have to all get healthy for a very busy weekend.  It's the Nutcracker, the Christmas Stroll and we'll be getting our tree...yay!!!  

Hope your week is finding you health and happy!!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Food, Food, More Food & Holidays...

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

It is a little earlier than I usually begin the holiday decorating.  I usually wait until at least December or until the turkey leftovers are gone...whichever comes first.  However, when we woke up to giant snowflakes coming down this morning I just couldn't help myself.  We haven't gone to get our tree yet, but today the decorating began.
Layla was a little excited about this, can you tell??
We usually do all the decorating the day we get a tree.  I really like that it was split up this year.  We have SO many other decorations it was nice to only do half today.  I turned on the first holiday tunes of the year (gotta love Pandora) and we set to work...

She was saying "HO HO HO"
By the end I was totally wishing we did have our tree for the grand finale but then I remembered it's still November and to relax.  It's like just a taste of Christmas...

Okay...now I'll digress to the holiday we just recently celebrated.  Thanksgiving.  What lovely celebrations we had.  The whole break was fantastic.  One where the girls and I spent more time in pj's than in clothes.  We really only got dressed to go to our Thanksgiving festivities...that's how you know it's a good break.  

Our first celebration was Thanksgiving pajama breakfast with friends.  We started this last year with our besties, the Frasers.  They came over everyone in jammies and we had cinnamon rolls, mimosas and coffee.  I was SO sad they couldn't make it this year so we could continue the tradition.  I decided to invite our neighbors over instead because I had a whole coffee cake and bottle of champagne just waiting to be shared this Thanksgiving morning...

We missed our Frasers and hope to reinstate Friendship Breakfast next year, but we still had a lovely time.

Then it was time for more cooking.  I have not had or made a turkey since last Thanksgiving.  As you know, we don't eat much meat.  Stuffing the turkey this year almost made me want to jump fully on the vegetarian wagon...

It's so disgusting.  How can something that is so gross to do end up tasting so good?  I stuff mine with a mixture of sour apples, onions, fresh herbs and homemade stuffing...so yummy.  I guess we'll see next year if I forget how gross it is or if I end up making a tofurkey.  We finally got out of our pjs, packed up the food and headed to my parents.  We always get two types of holidays.  The first is with my family...loud, lots of people, crazy children and TONS of food.  I love it for all its craziness.
The dueling turkeys...

 Cousins Playing...

 Breaking the wish bone...

 And the kids doing their version of the Thanksgiving Story...it was hilarious!

The other family Thanksgiving we get is with Matt's family.  This one is always much smaller with just us and his parents.  It is calm, so relaxing and again way too much food.  I particularly love this celebration because we always have a Lebanese feast.  And, as much as turkey says Thanksgiving to me, I love embracing Matt and his cultural...especially when it comes to food.
Second Thanksgiving food preparation...spinach pies!!


Oh, we ate good.  Hummus, tabbouleh, rice stuffing, green beans and rice, spinach pies and so much more.  Today as we were having some leftovers Ava said the funniest thing..."Mom, I bet Sadi is sad she lives in a Lebanese family since there isn't meat in it"  It was a wonderful evening with good company and ending with games, which in my opinion is the best ever...even if it is a kids game.

..ays our little vegetarian


Headbanz...may be one of my new favorite games.  (And, not that I'm competitive or anything but I did win.)  We went home feeling totally stuffed and full of family love for the second time this holiday.  

At the end of last weekend I wrote about such a busy time and not having a lot of quality time with just my girls.  This break, I got to make up for that.  We had five whole days together and we filled them with very little plans.  Lazy, cozy days tucked inside...tons of cooking and baking  and just enjoying being together.  It was refreshing.  No plans just lots of time for little things.  Things like making blueberry pancakes...

Impromptu trips to the park when the sun was out...

Popcorn and Movies on Friday afternoon (much better than fighting Black Friday crowds...just sayin)
Yep...still in jammies
At home date nights...
Pasta Pomodoro...one of the best sauces EVER (recipe at the bottom)

And, there were two cherries on top of this weekend.  Number one...I had my first sale on my Etsy Shop, Savvy Chic!!!  YAY!!! I was SO EXCITED!!!!  It made it feel more official.  Hopefully, many more to come.  Number two...we bought tix for spring break and are heading to Florida again!!  We went last year and had the best time.  We've been going back and forth about it...trying to decide if we should go someplace else for a family trip this year, but it's really hard to beat the 80-degree weather, warm ocean water and sandy beaches of Florida in March when it's still cold, grey and snowy here in Montana.  I can't wait.

Now it is just a hop, skip and a jump away from Christmas.  I LOVE this time of year...it's just the coziest time.  I try to focus on family, food, love and all the wonderful things this holiday brings.  I try to stay away from the craziness and commercialism of it all.  We are trying hard this year to only buy a few nice, quality gifts for loved ones, make ones when we can and keep the spirit of the holiday where it should be.  We are going to try to buy gifts locally, or support fellow Etsy artists and not rely on the big box stores of plastic, generic toys.  I know this will not be totally possible and there will be some silly toys that I buy to stuff in stockings...but I'm going to try my best to stick with my plan.  I look forward to the family traditions of heading to the mountains to get our tree, the Christmas Stroll, cookie making parties with my mom, aunt and sisters and taking my girls to the Nutcracker.  Holiday parties, school and church programs and more.  It has begun and I am embracing it.

Hope your Thanksgiving weekend was Happy.

Pasta Pomodoro
-Heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a sauce pan over med heat for a few minutes.  Add 3/4 cup chopped onion and cook for 10-12 minutes.  Add 4 cloves of minced garlic...cook a few minutes more.  Add a pinch of red pepper flakes, stir.  Puree one 28-ounce can of whole tomatoes...add to sauce along with a pinch of salt and some fresh basil leaves.  Cook, slightly covered for around 20 minutes.  Stir in 2 tablespoons butter and 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese.  Stir until melted and smooth.  Add 1/2 cup of the water that you use to cook the noodles.  Stir and then add cooked noodles (homemade are best!!)) to toss gently to coat.  ENJOY!!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Giving Thanks.

I did it.  I finally finished adding all the photos back into this blog.  For that I am thankful!!  Don't worry, I'll have bigger thanks for this holiday but in this moment I am SO thankful to be DONE adding photos back in.  I did not add all 500+ back in...I just couldn't do that.  In fact I cringed every time I went into an an old post and read "a story better told with photos than words"  (maybe I use too many pics to tell my stories?)  What I did do was go through each post, add a few photos to complete the story and deleted the black boxes that were left.  Phew.  Done.  End of that...I will be much more careful about deleting things from here on out.  

Now...on to real Thanksgiving type things.  The girls didn't have school today.  Although the majority of the day they spent playing "school".  I get it.  My sisters and I used to play school all the time...we even had a chalkboard.  In between the playing I had Thanksgiving Eve plans...baking, cooking and making some turkey-type crafts.  The cool, grey day was perfect for these indoor cozy things.  We did it up right by staying in pj's all day as well.  Thanksgiving is a holiday right up my alley...all about food.  I would love to host the whole thing for my family and spend days cooking a delicious turkey meal.  However, this tradition still lays with my parents so I get baking pies and for the second time I also make a turkey to bring.  (This is because I always end up with a free Hutterite turkey through our grocery store and I feel much better eating it if I know where it came from.  It's a "happy" turkey)  Today was my baking day...pumpkin pie, pumpkin cheesecake and some coffee cake for breakfast.  The beginning...

For me baking does not always go fantastic.  It's sometimes hit and miss.  Today the crust of the pie burnt a bit,  the pumpkin cheesecake cracked on top and my coffee cake crumbled coming out of the pan.  My saving grace is it may not look pretty, but usually still tastes good.
I'll hide the cracked cheesecake with the whipped frosting and sprinkle the coffee cake with some powdered sugar...problems solved.
In the midst of the baking the girls and I squeezed in some craft time.  Every time we have dinner at my parents everyone pretty much sits in the exact same spots.  My dad at the head of the table with my grandpa and mom on either side, littles at the kids table and the rest of us scattered on the other end.  Even so, each Thanksgiving I feel compelled to make place settings.  Probably the same reason my mom pulls out the nice dishes for holidays...it's just the thing to do.  We made some fabulous turkeys to decorate the table tomorrow...
Crafting...
Finished Project...


We wrote on each one "Things to Be Thankful For..."  I took things the girls said because I love a child's perspective on this.  With them you get the things you know we are supposed to be thankful for...family, food, shelter.  You also get the honest answers of toys.  This is ok.  It is good to be thankful for all we have and if you are 5 years old you are pretty darn happy to have toys.  I am thankful for so many things.  I could makes lists of things I'm thankful for, but I'll spare you that and narrow it down to one thing...

Family.  If I had to pick just one thing it would be family.  I am thankful for my healthy girls who make me so happy Every. Single. Day.  I feel like the luckiest girl in the world because I get to be their mama.  I am thankful for Matt.  He is the rock of this family and my very best friend.  There is no one else I would want to share this adventure with.  I am thankful to have loving, supportive, healthy parents.  I am thankful for sisters.  Oh, I am so thankful for my sisters...it's been an up and down year.  There have been times I thought I might actually lose a sister and at this moment I am so happy to have them both here.  I am thankful for nieces and nephews who make me laugh, let me spoil them and are the best cousins to my babies.  I am thankful for grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, in-laws and best friends who might as well be family.  There is no lack of family love in my world and for that my heart is full of gratitude.

Tomorrow we get to celebrate all this in what I consider the best possible way.  Around a table of delicious food.  Good company, lots of laughs, noisy kids, plenty of chaos, food and wine.  What could be better than that.

Lots of Thanksgiving Love.


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Ebb and Flow...

This time of year our weekends tend to be one extreme or the other.  One may be just our little family of four the entire weekend..no one else, no phone calls, no plans, nothing more than a lazy Saturday and Sunday.  Others will be very full...lots of plans, activities, things to get done.  This weekend was the latter.  It was even an extra long one as the girls and I had Friday off.  This should have meant more free time to be lazy.  It did not.  It was busy.  It verged on chaotic at times and I found myself a little tired here and there...longing for a weekend of nothing.  However, I remind myself that it's this ebb and flow of things that makes you appreciative.  The lazy weekends I sometimes crave getting out and doing something social.  Then on a busy one I want to tuck my family into our home, turn off the phones and ignore the rest of the world.  I try to keep this in mind so I can appreciate what is happening at the moment and know we always get a balance of both.  

Our whirlwind weekend began early on Thursday evening.  We had parent teacher conferences for the girls.  Oh, how I love these.  I think my girls are fantastic and smart and all that good stuff parents are supposed to think.  What's better is when you have teachers confirm how fantastic these little girls are.  We heard such beautiful things about them being polite, kind and hard workers.  These words make me a prouder mama than hearing they are in the top reading level or are the smartest kids in the class.  Kindness and manners trump a lot in my book.  I take in what these women who get to spend all day with my kids have to say and left feeling happy that these are more positive influences in their lives.  We are so freakin lucky to live someplace with such amazing public schools.  I am well aware this is not the case everywhere and as we approach the holiday of gratitude I put this education community very high on my list.  After leaving the school full of parental pride, we took advantage of having Grandma and Grandpa home with the kiddos and headed downtown for a proper date night...

We got some food and then had tickets to Broad Comedy, a show that comes to town once a year.  It was SO funny!  I laughed so hard my stomach hurt when we got home.  That kind of laughing is good for the soul.  

Every year right before the holidays I feel compelled to clean out the girls rooms and get rid of things before the onslaught of more gifts.  I'm what you call an "anti-hoarder" so sometimes the amount of stuff they accumulate stresses me out.  I try to be chill about it and let the little trinkets and junk  treasures they have in their rooms be, however once a year I take control.  I let them be a part of it and tell them we need to get rid of some old toys to donate to others.  This buys them off and they part with a few stuffed animals and books and old toys.  During this process, I secretly fill our garbage with SO much junk that isn't even suitable to give away.  I love their creativity, but seriously...the things I find...hundreds of crafts, rock collections, plastic nonsense, just randomness...it's got to go.  REALLY...who needs this many baby dolls...
It's freaky.  Now I love their sweet little thoughts...they say "We can't get rid of this one, it's the one Kim plays with when she's here"  However...not all of the above dolls made the cut.  Any with pen all over their face, that Layla claimed to have done when "she was a baby or two years old" had to go.  

We took a break from all this cleaning out to have play time with cousins and my sisters.  Because the majority of them are in school all day it was fun to have them all together on a day off.  This all ups the noise level and chaos and it was a very loud, crazy afternoon.  The evening didn't slow down as we dropped Layla off at a birthday party, took Ava out for pizza then headed home to put very sleepy girls to bed and settle in for an at home date night.  Thank goodness it was boy date night turn and I got to relax with a glass of wine and watch Matt cook.  I must say, he is getting good at this...

It was a very summer-like meal...salad with grilled peaches and blue cheese and a caprese sandwich.  Delicious.  And for dessert?  An absolutely ridiculous amount of ice cream with almonds...

When I get myself ice cream at night, it's a small little bowl.  When Matt does it, it's at least three scoops.  Now, I'm not one to waste perfectly good ice cream so I ended the night very, very full.

Saturday I got to spend with my sisters shopping and lunching.  Now, this may not be quite the same as it has been in the past but I'll take it.  A few hours alone with my two lovely sisters with no children needing anything from us.  I know we'll get back to the more carefree, full of ridiculous laughter and antics again in the future...but for now I'll take this.  They are two of my favorite women in the world so any time with them I enjoy.  The day turned into the evening and family staying for dinner.  It ended yet again with very tired little girls going to bed after another full day of playing with their cousins.
  Love it.

Sunday didn't slow down.  It continued to feel very busy.  Thank goodness for our lazy mornings of cartoons for kids and coffee for us in bed.  Those were the quiet moments.  We had plans of neighbors coming over for dinner so a good deal of the day was spent cooking.  That and working on school projects...

Ava had to create a musical instrument.  I tried really hard to keep quiet about my thoughts and let her creativity really take the lead on this.  What came was 100% Ava.  Glass bottles filled with water that makes music by hitting with a metal stick.  She named it the "tap ding"  Much better than the version of a drum I would have suggested she make.  Because I felt we had done so much already the past few days I wasn't super excited about a night of company.  However...we had such a lovely time.  We have two sets of neighbors that we hang out with occasionally.  We often try, but rarely get all of us together at the same time. This evening it all came together and it was the whole group.  This meant SO much good food and SO much laughter.  It just feels easy and fun. Bonus of the evening?  The flourless chocolate cake for dessert that our one neighbors brought.  This is why it pays to be friends with a restaurant owner.  A ten dollar slice of cake in the comfort of your own home, because they are trying out a new recipe?  Yea...not bad at all.

I like to remember to enjoy the ebb and flow of these times.  I end this weekend feeling very fulfilled by spending so much of it with friends and family.  I also feel a little tired and like I missed out on some quality time with my family of four.  However, I know this week we get five whole days together.  Five whole days to be filled with cooking, eating, family and many quality moments.  Moments where I plan on feeling nothing but thankfulness for all I have.  Yes, there will be some gushing about all I am grateful for in the next few days.  For now...I'm going to join my exhausted family and tuck myself into bed.

Happy Thanksgiving Week.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A New Venture...

I've been working on a little something in my free time and I'm finally ready to show it off.  I haven't talked about it with friends or family (besides getting my awesome hubby's advice here and there).  I think I've kept quiet because it  makes me incredibly nervous to try new things.  I tend to be risk adverse and worry more than I should about what people think.  If there is one thing I am so grateful for that Matt has taught me it's that it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks.  If I feel good about it and it makes me happy then that is all that matters.   He is the one who encouraged me to start the blog when I began chattering about it and he's the one that encouraged me to start something I enjoy, so here it goes.  I've started small and maybe one day it'll grow bigger but as I said I'm risk adverse so this is me dabbling my toes in...

I've opened an Etsy online store to sell some of the fun vintage things I find at antique stores.  It also has an art/photography section.  Matt is an amazing photographer and we have our home decorated with his work.  We get compliments on it often and I wanted to have it a part of this new venture.  I have been finding frames and letting my creativity go a little wild on them to create funky and unique home decor.  I have had such fun taking the beauty of his work and adding a bit of an edge to it so it's not just a standard photograph for your wall.  With the girls both in school now and just working part time, I've really enjoyed doing something different.  Maybe it will be a huge success and grow and one day I'll have my funky vintage store on wheels in an old school bus (that's my crazy vision!) or maybe it won't.  If that's the case then I already have Christmas presents for friends and family.  In any case, I'm excited about it and I think if you have passion you can have success.  I'm also nervous because there is the part in the back of my head that can't help but wonder if people will think I'm crazy and it's just a silly idea.  I wish I didn't have those thoughts, but I do.  However, I've gone for it and if you think I'm crazy or silly please just keep the thoughts to yourself so I can be blissfully unaware.  (However...if you have constructive criticism I am ALL for it...this is very new to me and I know some of you have been in this Etsy/blog world longer)  My blog will continue to be about my family, food and enjoying our happy little life.  It will not become an advertisement for Savvy Chic.  I will however, occasionally put a photo of a new item at the end because some of them are just so great I have to share.  For example this is my absolute favorite I have right now.  It just might have to stay with me if it doesn't sell...
Retro Red Clutch...can use with or without the handle...LOVE!  
Okay...thanks for letting me share about my latest venture.  I also have a Facebook page set up for it, so if you get a chance, check it out and "Like" it.  Pass it on too.  And, keep it in mind for one of a kind holiday shopping.  Free Shipping.  Okay.. I promise, I'll really stop...it's just the marketing degree in me...sell, sell, sell!!!

I'm a little behind considering it's now the middle of the week, but we had a lovely weekend playing in the snow...


It was a chilly day, but it didn't seem to bother the girls in the least.  They went up and down the hill about a hundred times.  Matt and I stood at the top giving pushes down and freezing our butts off.  I went down with them once or twice just so I could run back up the hill to stay warm.  (And because it makes you feel like a kid, let's be honest)  We finally convinced them it was enough by bribing with hot cocoa at home...
  
Best part of playing outside is always the hot cocoa at the end.  I remember when we were kids, my sisters and I would put our faces in the snow right before we went inside.  That way our faces would look so red and cold that our mom would offer us hot chocolate.  I'm sure she was going to do it either way because she's an awesome mama, but we were convinced that we were "tricking" her into thinking it was the only way to warm our chilly faces.  

That evening I was trying a new recipe and what better way to do that than with company?  I love lasagna, however, Matt does not.  He has a problem if the noodles get crunchy on the top (weird, right?  Those are my favorite!)  Anyways...I thought maybe if I made the noodles homemade like I do for so many of my pasta dishes, they wouldn't get crunchy.  Homemade noodles tend to be more bread-like, so I didn't think they'd get crunchy.  It was a success!  Amy, Chad and their family were over and everyone enjoyed it...kiddos and all!  I didn't take a photo, but I'll add the recipe to the end!  I haven't been good about taking photos lately.  I think because I've been working on slowly adding back all the ones that got deleted that photos are not my favorite thing right now.  So far I've added photos back to September posts...only six more months to go...ugh.  Although, it has been fun to re-read old posts as I add photos back in.  Always a silver lining right?  

Sunday to divert the girls from asking to go sledding in the freezing cold again we suggested a trip to the museum.  I knew they had a new exhibit and our membership is only good through Christmas so we wanted to take advantage.  I love that we have a membership there, it makes impromptu trips so much easier.  You don't worry if you only stay a hour...it doesn't have to be a full day.  Although, I think the girls could have stayed all day this time.  They were very into the "Raise The Roof" exhibit....lots of fun, hands on activities.

The favorite was building a virtual doghouse to see if it could withstand natural disasters...that one was funny.  After wandering the museum we made a stop in the awesome playroom and finally dragged them out a hour later...
I love, love, LOVE the toy kitchen they have there...wish we had it at home instead of the plastic kitchen the girls have!

Hmmm...what to eat first
It was a nice family afternoon.  Going to the museum is one of our "winter" activities.  Something on my long list of things we can do when it's too cold to be outside.  

It was a good weekend to be tucked in with family.  The temperatures are warming up, but our town is still snow filled and it makes me giddy with excitement for the holidays.  Last night I went out with a couple of friends for dinner and when we walked outside it just smelled like Christmas.  I can't believe Thanksgiving is a week from tomorrow, I can't wait.  I have so very much to be thankful for.  Speaking of which...thank you for listening to me about my new venture...very exciting indeed.

Happy Day to Ya!!

Lasagna
NOODLES:  On a clean surface mix 2 1/2 cups flour (I used half white flour and half semolina flour) with a teaspoon of salt.  Make a well in the middle.  In a bowl combine 2 large eggs and 3 egg yolks and 1 tablespoon of olive oil.  Slowly pour into the well, incorporating into the flour mixture with a fork.  Once it's all combined, knead until smooth.  (Add more flour if it's too sticky or a little water if it's too dry)  Cover with a towel and let rest for 30 minutes.  Divide dough in two and roll out to 1/8 inch thick and cut into lasagna noodle size strips.  Put in a pot of boiling water for 1 minute, then put directly in a bowl of ice and then lay out on a kitchen towel until you are ready to use.
I use my MARINARA sauce.  In a greased casserole dish layer sauce, noodles, sauce, mozzarella cheese, cottage cheese (you could use ricotta, I just love it with cottage cheese!) until you are out ending with sauce and a sprinkle of mozzarella and Parmesan cheese on top.  Cover with tin foil and bake for 45 minutes at 350-degrees.  Take off the tinfoil and make for 15 more minutes.
Enjoy!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Brrrr.....

Baby it's cold outside.  And, I am happily inside...


Winter arrived to our little Bozeman today.  The temperatures were dropping when we went to bed and when we woke, this is what we were met with...

I always have mixed feelings about winter here and all this snow.  I think it might be rubbing off on Ava.  Earlier this week when it started to get chilly she declared that we should move to Florida.  This morning when she saw all the snow she was all about it, making plans to build snowmen, go sledding, wear her new gloves.  All thoughts of Florida left her mind and as she played in the snow later she smiled at me and told me "I don't miss summer anymore"  I totally understand this mixed emotion.  There was a part of me today that felt irritated by the snowstorm...people driving slow on icy roads, the extra time it takes for everyone to get bundled to get out the door, the freezing in the car for the first 5 minutes until the heat finally kicks in and the knowing this is just the beginning.  Knowing that there are people living elsewhere that are still wearing flip flops.  But, on the other hand it can feel incredibly cozy.  It's the perfect excuse for wearing a scarf over that sweater, it looks beautiful all white and fluffy and it means we can tuck into our home this weekend with my girls and not leave for any reason.  It also feels very much like the holidays are approaching and I can start dreaming of things like Christmas trees, stockings and big turkey dinners (with a happy turkey, of course)  I suppose that is why we haven't packed up our bags and rented a U-haul.  And, how can you resist when this is the joy the snow can bring...


I bundled up and attempted to build a snowman with them.  Turns out it wasn't the right snow for snowman building.  Anyone who lives around snow understands that it has to be a nice wet snow for a snowman and this was way too fluffy.  So, the girls just played around and I stayed out for as long as I could stand the cold.  I think I held out a good twenty minutes before I called it.  I made the excuse that I was going in to make them some tea and a snack and finally got the rosy cheeked girls to reluctantly come in.  The promise of sledding tomorrow helped with this.  Fluffy snow is perfect for sledding.  So, for the time being I will be embracing the cold, cozy weather.  When we get to the day after Christmas, I'll be singing a different tune.

In the midst of all the election chaos this week and arguing and negativity I found something that is bringing people together.  It is something really special and it made my week.  A few months ago I stumbled across this blog called Momastry.  Not only is it a great blog, they have this community that is just amazing...you have to check it out to understand it because I can't explain it well.  Basically this community works to help others in all sorts of different ways.  When I first heard about it I emailed them about my sister's story.  They responded and said they were going to try to find a way to help.  They kept in touch, but at the time hadn't found a way to help with her family.  Now, they are doing what they call "Holiday Hands"  People can put needs they or someone they know has as the holidays approach.  Others can read through and pick someone they would like to help.  I was intrigued by this little community of helping others (mainly mama's) so I went out on a limb and put my sisters story on there.  (I haven't even told her this so if you're reading this Kori, I will explain it all better when I see ya!!)  I explained briefly what was going on with her being sick and the medical bills and about her amazing family.  This isn't a place where someone is going to swoop in and pay off your medical bills...it's little things.  Within 5 minutes of posting it I had not one, but TWO responses!!  Two responses from TOTAL strangers who want to help my sister and her family some way this holiday season.  I was in such AWE of these women who didn't even hesitate.  This morning when I got up I had ANOTHER email of someone else who wanted to help.  I have been in contact with these three women today about how they can help...them asking questions about Kori's kids and favorite colors and stores they shop at so they can send gift cards to help Christmas shop.  It is just pure kindness.  It inspired me to take another look at this list and go through to find someone I can show this same kindness too.  As I read through story after story of others struggling I just wanted to help them all...to show them the same generosity that people had shown us.  One totally caught my eye.  A Mama who simply wanted someone to send some homemade goodies because they don't have a lot of food and she knows her kids would love some treats.  I emailed immediately to find out where I could send them and I can't wait to bake up some cookies and breads to send to them.  This Holiday Hands?  It shows the good in people.  It shows all the kindness that is out there.  It doesn't matter who is president or which side you stand on...these are the real things going on. 

Phew...that got longer winded than I expected.  I think it's because it just really blew me away.  Now, it's time for a very chilly weekend.  We have no plans.  That is another plus to winter...I feel no pressure to plan things on the weekends.  It's not like summer when I want to cram all the hiking, camping and playing outside into the few weekends we have.  In the winter we slow down.  We snuggle in, cook, eat, watch movies and just enjoy.

Stay warm and Happy Friday!