Thursday, December 26, 2013

This is Christmas

It's the time of year I wish I could hold onto.  Make time stand still.  The sparkle and wonder in the kids eyes, spending precious time with family and friends.  Late nights and long mornings.  Our house decorated cozy and warm.  Hoping you all had a magical Christmas from our house to yours!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Family Tradition

We have spent the last week preparing for Christmas as well as remembering so many happy memories  of my dad when he was with us.  It has been a blessing that we have been so busy with school programs, parties, hockey games, shopping for gifts, and outings with the kids.  I love this time of year simply because it means time with family.  It's staying up late and watching Christmas movies with a gazillion pillows and blankets, its pancakes in your pj's at ten.  It's making Christmas cookies and licking the bowl.  These family traditions make for lasting wonderful memories.  We spent 2 days making all kinds of yummy cookies like we do each year.  We can taste and smell that Christmas is near!

It doesn't get any better than this-crazy mess and all.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


This past weekend our family experienced the loss of my father.  Death is so difficult to explain to the kids especially when it's someone so close.  Although, it's an explanation that we all must teach. We realize and explain that the purpose of our life is to grow, develop, and be strengthened through our own experiences.  It's to live our lives to the fullest and make the best out of each and every day.  We know that our family is strong and that we have each other to help get us through difficult times like death and tragedy as well as to celebrate all of the wonderful times.  We take comfort in knowing that he is in heaven with peace and love all around.  During this Christmas time the stars seem brighter and the lights seem to twinkle more.  We will laugh as we always laughed, play, smile, pray and think of him often.  The life that we shared with him is untouched and unchanged.  He will continue to be with us in the memories that we have and the traditions that we hold dear.  Life continues on……..

Friday, December 13, 2013

Roasted Red Pepper Soup

Yowzas it is cold outside and what better way to beat the chill than with a ginormous bowl of steamy, belly warming soup.  On a cold winters day nothing tastes better than this tomato and roasted red pepper concoction-eat it alone or with a crusty piece of bread and whooop it's the bomb!

Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper Recipe

3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1/2 Sweet Onion chopped
Handful of Baby Carrots chopped
2 Garlic Cloves 
1/2 Can of Tomato Paste
1 12oz Jar of Roasted Red Peppers drain and chop
1 Can Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes
2 Cans of Chicken Broth
1/4 Cup Half & Half
1/4 Cup Unsweetened yogurt
1/4 cup Fresh Basil
Kosher Salt and Crushed Black Pepper to Taste
Fresh Parsley for Garnish

Heat olive oil in a large soup pan.  Add onion and carrots and saute until tender.
Add garlic and saute for less than a minute.  Add tomato paste, tomatoes, red peppers and chicken broth and let simmer for 30 minutes.  Take the time to taste and add salt and pepper. Add the half&half, yogurt, and basil.  Use a hand held submersion blender until smooth.
Garnish with fresh parsley or basil.

MMMmmm….just makes the tummy warm!!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Holiday Sparkle


Most days I wear my hair in a pony or high messy bun.  I like the no fuss look but sometimes I'm lookin' for a wee bit of sparkle especially now with Christmas quickly approaching.  I have a few "fancy" hair pins but why pay for the tiny bit of glitz when you can diy??!!  It's super easy to dress up a few bobby pins with items from around the house or check out Michael's or Target's scrap booking section for tiny sparkles to glue on.

This is a great project for little kid helpers. You can't go wrong.  "Let's make pretty hair pins for mommy and big sister!-YES!!!"  So whether your out Christmas shopping or off to a swank holiday party you will have an easy touch of holiday sparkle.-YAY!



Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Super Stocking Stuffers

Have I mentioned just how much I LOVE (angel's singing) Nordstrom!? My littlest cutie and I just had a lunch date there today and it got me thinking about how this store is the perfect one stop shop!
The shoe department is bomb, accessories, makeup, kids-oh I just love!  Anyway, I put together a list of super stocking stuffers from Nordstrom-something for everyone.  They always have free shipping and the greatest return policy around.  Last year for Christmas my husby gave me this ceramic watch by Micahel Kors similar found here.  I wore it for 2 weeks and one day when I took it off it fell on the floor and shattered!-ugh devastating! But oh no have no fear, I took it back to Nordstrom and explained what had happened and they shipped me a brand new one.  Problem solved!-Yay!!!  
So check out if you don't want to shop in store.

1. Typography Tray $10 found here.  Super cute initial tray for all your rings, change, paper clips, etc.
2. Juniors Heart Watch $20 found here.
3. Kate Spade Polka Dot Tumbler $18 found here.
4. Nesting Measuring Cups found $24 here.
5. Marc Jacobs Roller Ball Trio $39 found here
6. Kiehl's Ultra Facial $39 found here.
7. Headbands found $10 here.
8. Tucker and Tate Striped Beanie $18 found here.
9. Art of Shaving kit found here.
10. Mac Brush Set $49.50 found here.
11. First Purse $18 found here.
12. Bare Minerals Deluxe Foundation $39 found here.
13. Men's NorthFace Gloves $40 found here.
14. Lego R2D2 Key Chain $11.99 found here.
15. Swell Chalkboard Water Bottle $48 found here.

Happy Shopping!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Christmas Baking In The House

I remember when I was little my mom would go to a cookie exchange in December and come home with a platter full of amazing Christmas cookies.  One year she came home with these peppermint meringue cookies and we started making the light and airy cookies ourselves every year after that.  The kids and I enjoy making batches of different Christmas cookies and this year I thought I would introduce these cookies to them as we begin this season of cookie baking!

Peppermint Meringue Cookies
2 egg whites, at room temperature    

    1/8 tsp. salt        

    1/8 tsp. cream of tartar

    3/4 c. sugar    

    1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

    1 c. chocolate semisweet chocolate chips

    3 T crushed peppermint candy canes

Heat oven to 250 degrees. Place egg whites in small bowl of your Kitchen Aid mixer and beat at high speed until foamy.  Add salt and cream of tartar and continue beating until soft peaks form.  Add sugar one tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition.  When meringue is stiff and white, remove bowl. Fold in vanilla, chocolate chips, and candy canes. -You can also add walnuts or pecans if that's your thing.  Drop by tablespoonfuls, about 1 1/2 " apart on lightly greased cookie sheets.  

Bake 40 min. Remove to cool.  Store in airtight container.


I'd love you hear about your favorite Christmas cookies.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Taking Christmas Card Photos

I'm not a professional photographer and most people aren't but I do love taking pictures of my kids.   One of the things I enjoy each year is getting that great picture for our Christmas cards.  I use a Canon Rebel T2i for most of my shots.  It's a great beginner DSLR.
It's important that you go into this with low expectations and a sense of humor.  The kids need to feel your sense of calm and believe me it took having 4 kids to realize this. It has gotten easier every year believe it or not.  Below is a photo shoot that I did two years ago when our youngest was 6 months old-oh yea and trying to get our dog in it too.-tee hee

I think we ended up with this one. Minus our dog but baby is smiling.

Four things that are important to me when I take the pic.

1. What are are the kids wearing?? 
They don't have to be matchy, matchy but I try to choose something complimentary.

2. Location is also very important.  
Will the kids be inside or out?  Photos are best taken in places where there is little visual background distraction. The focus of the photos should be of the children not the cars or cluttered counter tops. When outdoors chose a place with soft grasses, beautiful trees, front steps, or simply a textured wall.   

3. Lighting is equally important.  
Since I don't have all of the equipment that a professional would bring to a shoot, I rely on the time of day in order to achieve the best light.  Just before sunset is the best time to capture the natural golden hour glow for outdoor photography.  No harsh flashes necessary.
I also have a few places inside our home that have great natural light.  Choose locations in your home near large windows or glass doors.  Once again-no flashes necessary when you have your kiddos in the right light.

4. Lastly, editing is important for minor imperfections and enhancing color.  
I like to use Photoshop Elements and Pic Monkey.  They both have easy editing options and for me editing needs to be easy.
You can change color to black and white, whiten smiles, erase scabs on knees, and the list goes on.

Once I have taken a billion photos and the kids are beyond restless, it's time to pack it up and choose one or some.  This year I decided to do a collage card and I chose 5 pics.  I used to enjoying making all of our cards but with everything going on in the month of December I decided that ordering cards was much easier and saved me a ton of time.  There are so many options and the designs are fantastic. With sites like Minted and Tiny Prints you can upload photos and choose your card in a matter of minutes.  They both have great sales going on now.  Easy and speedy-perfect for this time of year when I'm trying to cross a gazillion things off my long list of to-dos.
So get out there and take that photo, time is running out.  Or just have a good friend over and take one of the whole fam. Below is our family when our 3rd was just 4weeks old.

Good luck-you'll do great! 

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