Friday, December 31, 2010

5 ? Friday! New Year's Eve Edition!

Before I dive into 5 ? Friday (hosted by the lovely Mama M) I need to dive into all that is wrong with the above photograph.

1.  I set my camera to timer and positioned myself in front of my Christmas Tree with a New Year's Tiara.

2.  See #1.

Let me now dive into what is right with the above photograph:


Although I did do a kick ass editing job and turned my tiara into some sort of firework.

And now onto 5 ? Friday!

1. How long does your Christmas tree stay up? 
Until New Year's Day.  Maybe the day after.  I am very good about being VERY annoying and demanding the tree be disposed of New Year's Day.  
I'm actually very good at being annoying about anything.  Just ask Hubby.
2. Do you have plans for New Year's Eve?
I am one of those rare creatures who despises New Year's Eve.  I don't drink, and New Year's Eve tends to go hand in hand with a surplus of drunk people.  After a few hours these people get very annoying.

I think annoying is the running theme here. 

Anywho, we are going to my mom and dad's.  Its a marvelous place.  We will let the munchkins stay up as late as they wish and then crash.  Hubby will drink too much and crash.  

New Year's Day inevitably will go hand in hand with several overtired, whiny munchkins.

This will be annoying.  

To punish everyone I will insist we have to take down our tree.
3. Do you have any New Year's resolutions?
I always begin the New Year with the determination to enrich my life through new experiences.  The determination to be a better wife and Mommy.  The determination to be a better person.

4. How did you spend New Year's Eve when you were younger?
I don't really remember.  Which translates to two very important points:  I don't remember some because I was just very young.  The others I don't remember because once upon a time I was the annoying drunk person.  I loved everyone.  Everyone was wonderful.  The world was the most magical place.

Hubby would love to see it again one day (more like one night).  
No chance. 

5. What was the best way you've ever spent New Year's Eve?  
My favorite New Year's Eve is any New Year's Eve that is low key, with family and friends.  

Tonight will be a night of family and friends.  I am actually looking forward to it.  
Pigs must be flying somewhere because I never thought I'd look forward to New Year's Eve.

Happy 2011 Everyone!  

Be safe and smart.  Try not to be annoying.  

I wish everyone a phenomenal 2011!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

2010: My Year in Pictures

I always marvel at how each year goes faster than the year before. 

I remember after having my first baby, how time moved slowly.  I absorbed every detail of his life.  There was time to make baby books and have playdates. 

I even had time to talk to Hubby. 

But with each munchkin life has gotten more complicated. 

More busy. 

More full.

Here I am, four munchkins deep, and years are passing in the blink of an eye. 

Time truly does fly when you are having fun. 

Without further ado, a random picture from each month of 2010.  My year in 12 pictures.

The Moopa is Baptized.
Major snow storm.  No power.  Risked lives driving to my mom and dad's. Stayed 3 days until we broke down and bought generator.  Turned generator on and power came back.  Can't return $600 generator.  Anyone want to buy a generator?
Disney. Heaven. Food. Kids happy and smiling. Me happy and smiling. No money left but we're all happy and smiling.
Egg Hunt! Run munchkins! RUN!  Find the golden egg for a super cheesy prize!
Visiting dearest friends, my Munchkins experienced their 1st boat ride.  Life is all about new experiences.  LLG looks like he begs to differ.
LLG's Preschool Graduation.  Sniff Sniff.
While at the beach, the Sports Fanatic Wins his 1st Boardwalk Game.  He threw footballs into moving tires.  I told Hubby maybe he should throw them in case.  My Sports Fanatic nailed all three. I will never doubt his boardwalk game skill again.
Ice Cream for lunch!  I'm so cool!  Really I just wanted ice cream. No cool Mom involved.
Dreams come true.  Hard work is rewarded.  Lessons are learned.  My Sports Fanatic starts as Quarterback after 2 years of playing "on the line".
Football games get old real fast when you're 1.
Football season ends with Game 1 of the playoffs.  More lessons are learned.
The Gymnastics Queen wins her 1st gold.  A wonderful moment.  An expensive moment.  I see my part time job funding her training lasting an eternity.  I will run returns and fold baby clothes until the end of time.  By the way, would you be interested in opening a charge?  I can save you 15% today...
This was so much fun I think I'll add one more....let me browse my hard drive....
Hey, my invitation to Cold Stone gets hungry too.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Cinnamon Swirl Bread: A Recipe

I have had some requests to post the recipe for the Cinnamon Swirl Bread.

I can't blame any of my readers who desire white bread swirled with cinnamon sugar, hot out of a bread machine.  (No bread machine? Scroll down for a recipe from the Pioneer Woman).

Happy Bread Making!

Cinnamon Swirl Bread

Set Aside 1/4 cup granulated sugar and 1/2 tablespoon cinnamon.

In breadmaker, fitted with kneading paddle, add (in this order):
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons room temperature butter
1 egg at room temperature (place egg in moderately hot water for approx 10 minutes to warm to room temperature)
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
3 and 1/2 cups bread flour
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast

Select white bread, I make a light crust.  My bread machine pauses, for "mix ins".   I then remove and roll out on a floured surface to approx. 1/4 " thick.  Sprinkle on cinnamon sugar mixture and tightly roll, pinching ends.  Place back in breadmaker to finish rising and baking.

This makes a 1 and 1/2 pound loaf.

**To make without bread machine, use this recipe: Homemade Cinnamon Bread **

Wordless Wednesday: A Confession

I have a confession to make.

I have an expensive addiction.  

I'm addicted to warm fuzzy footwear that is completely unflattering. 
Wearing these boots does absolutely nothing for the leg.  There should be a warning on the side that reads:

Caution: Unless worn naked, wearing these WILL NOT quicken Hubby's pulse.  
I will now stipulate that I DO NOT wear these naked. Nor do I recommend it.  I recommend flannels.

The End. 

Mommyhood Footnote:  Bless my mother's heart for every pair of UGG boots that graces my cold, tired Mommy feet.  Because the Lord knows I would never make a purchase for myself that was over $20.00.
This collection has taken a few years to grow to its current wonderfulness.

**Unfortunately this is NOT a sponsored post.  If anyone knows anyone who knows anyone who works for anyone who sells UGG Boots, give them my number.**

Wandering Wednesday

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A Blizzard and a Breadmaker

Today was a snowed in, clean the house and bake bread day.

With a blizzard outside my windows it seemed like the perfect day to make bread. 

As if we needed any more food we shouldn't be eating around here.

Two years ago, I begged Hubby for a breadmaker for Christmas.  I just HAD to have one.  I imagined waking to fresh bread every morning and enjoying french baguettes with dinner every night.  I imagined munchkins in freshly ironed clothes and birds singing outside my windows.

Fast forward to the present. 

Here is the breadmaker I just HAD to have. Here is the breadmaker that was going to iron clothes and make birds sing.

Check out the dust on top.  Nasty. 
This morning I stood over this rusty, ignored Cuisinart and decided to bake Cinnamon Swirl Bread. 

After the ingredients were loaded into the Cuisinart, the munchkins begged to play in the snow.  Preparing 3 munchkins to play in snow is just about as enjoyable as sticking needles in my eyes.

But watching them play in snow never ceases to make me smile.

How on Earth they can stand to play outside when the temperature is a toasty 10 degrees in beyond me.  One of the many wonders of childhood.

After approximately four hours in the Cuisinart, my Cinnamon Bread was ready to be devoured. 
I devoured some while gazing at the majestic landscape and crazy munchkins outside my kitchen window. 

An unwritten law is that if you bake Cinnamon Bread, you must enjoy a slice while it is still warm.

Gazing at majestic landscapes and crazy munchkins is optional.

A few hours later, in an effort to rid my kitchen of the cinnamon bread, I offered to make french toast for dinner.  I could no longer continue to slice and ingest fresh cinnamon bread.  I had to act fast before I ate the while loaf.

Here is my recipe for French Toast.

And here is photographic evidence of this Domestic Goddess preparing french toast for her family on homemade Cinnamon Swirl Bread.

Man did I feel like a "Martha Stewart-y" rock star.
This french toast was so delicious it wasn't even right.  I had no business preparing such a meal when the house is already crawling with leftovers and sinful desserts.

But I'm such an overachiever.  I can't help myself.  I beg you to make breakfast for dinner tonight.  And if you're feeling like a Domestic Goddess make french toast on homemade bread.

And then don't make bread again for two years. 

Mommyhood Footnote:  If you don't have a breadmaker, you could make bread the pre-Cuisinart way.  One of my very first posts on this blog was homemade Cinnamon Bread sans breadmaker.  I found the recipe on The Pioneer Woman. 

Sunday, December 26, 2010

A Mommyhood Christmas

A Mommyhood Christmas plays out pretty much the same way every year.  To summarize:

We watch A Christmas Story from 8pm Christmas Eve until 8pm Christmas Night.
The munchkins share anticipation and excitement, resulting in an evening of glorious sibling harmony.
Quality cookies are left for Santa. 

Dad reads "The Night Before Christmas", and the stockings are hung by the staircase with care (until the money tree arrives and we build a great room with a fireplace...).
Mom and Dad get in bed approximately 2am, while visions of sugarplums dance in our munchkins heads.
We are awakened by munchkins approximately five hours later, and Dad stumbles down the stairs to "see if Santa came". 

Gift opening begins, and smiles stretch from ear to ear.  The wait is finally over!  New toys have arrived!
Despite my best efforts to look presentable for the surplus of Christmas morning photos, I always look like this:
The munchkins immediately play with their presents from Santa.
 And breakfast is the snacks Santa left in our stockings.
 Sometime during the day, my parents somehow always shock us with a giant gift we would never purchase ourselves.
By midmorning, we shower and dress in our new Christmas clothes.  We then spend the day at my parents' house opening gifts and enjoying a brunch that could feed a small country.  

After gift opening, one of my brothers always has the pleasure of putting together some annoying toy with over 1,000 tiny parts.
As the day turns into night, there inevitably is some type of shenanigan such as the "Feats of Strength".  Something super tough like ab crunches with a child on your knees.
Every year there is one gift given to all men that can be universally enjoyed.  Something everyone wants but would never buy themselves.  Something useful and classy.
We finish our day by feasting on our annual Christmas dinner.  Homemade chicken and dumplings, as only my mom can make them.
Hope your Christmas was just as Merry as mine.  And now, onto mess organization.
Happy Monday!

Mommy Blog Hop!  I'm the featured blogger!  What a great Christmas gift!
Sippy Cups and Cloth Bums

Christmas: The Aftermath

I haven't uploaded any of my glorious Christmas photos.  I've been too busy eating, sleeping and dealing with this:
I am a "neat freak".  Clutter makes me crazy.  My mind starts to short circuit when clutter is near and I rush around on auto pilot trying to organize it until I can think clearly.
My usual post Christmas routine is to stay up as late as my tired eyes will allow and organize this catastrophic mess. 
This year I chilled out a bit and let the mess do the same.  I woke up and the house was still a disaster.
The munchkins are busy playing with their piles of new toys, and I will have PLENTY of time to get this pigsty in order. 
By this afternoon, I will be happily uploading the 200 Christmas photos and organizing our Christmas mess.  I will be going' nowhere for the next 48 hours. 

Happy Returns Day! 

Saturday, December 25, 2010

We Caught Santa!

Merry Christmas!  

Look who we caught in our living room!  Hope Dad isn't on the Naughty List next year for sneaking a picture of the man in red!
**For your coupon and to make your own picture, click on my "I Caught Santa" link to the right!**

Have a VERY MERRY Christmas! Lots of love to all my wonderful readers!

Friday, December 24, 2010

NYC: Our Day in Pictures

Today we had a marvelous day in the Big Apple.


We were invited to see a musical, ImaginOcean, and I was intrigued.  The musical is for children, written by John Tartaglia.

Remember Johnny and the Sprites?  On Disney Channel?

Mommy brains remember everything according to children's television, literature or toys.  That's how the cookie crumbles.

A major bonus to getting tickets to see ImaginOcean, was that I desperately wanted to take my older kids to NYC for Christmas. 

I wanted to take them last year too, but December flew by in the blink of my Christmas loving eyes.

The only roadblock to my day in NYC with my children?  My complete and total fear of NYC.  I am a NYC novice. 

My mother raised us to be in fear of just about everything.  It worked beautifully.

I was afraid to do anything for fear it would kill me, put me in the hospital or impair me severely.

This included but was not limited to: Running with any object what-so-ever, speaking to anyone outside our circle of friends, playing with balloons, using kitchen appliances and utensils and visiting NYC.

NYC was a dangerous, scary, dirty place.  Just a mention of the place blinded my mother with panic.

This tiny problem, my fear of the city and my inability to get around by myself, put quite a damper on my big plans to take the munchkins in for the day.

Luckily I have several siblings to draw from when I need a surrogate husband or a buddy for any event.

My brother Travis, with his exquisite knowledge of getting around NYC, won the job.

And he toured us around beautifully.

We did it all. 

We began with the train.  The train ride ranked in the top 3 "favorites" for my nine year old son.

Can anyone say "sheltered"?
Hot off the subway, we exited into Times Square.  The moment my two oldest munchkins walked up into the street made the entire day worthwhile.  They gazed up, took in the sights of Times Square, and they simultaneously gasped, "Wooowwwww". 

It made my Mommy Heart sing.  For so long I wanted them to experience NYC in all it's glory.  And here we were, in the heart of Times Square.
Braving the cold, we visited Toys R' Us, the Disney Store, and took in the sights as we walked to Rockefeller Center.
We took a pit stop and hit the Nintendo Store.  Not even in my son's wildest dreams has he imagined such a heavenly place.   
After a small purchase (I'm such a Snazzy, yet practical Mom), we continued onto Rockefeller Center.  I have imagined taking my munchkins to see the tree and the rink for years.  This was the highlight of my day.
The highlight for my munchkins was watching St. Nick work his magic on the ice skating rink.
When we started to freeze up again from the lack of walking, we hustled over to American Girl so my daughter could dream big, expensive dreams.  She then bought one of the only things under $20 in the store: a tiny stuffed dog. 

And she was happy as a clam.
With two happy munchkins, my brother insisted we head over to Saint Patrick's Cathedral.  I'm extremely thankful we did.

We were finally ready to feed our tourist tummies, and my original frugal mom plan was something cheap.  One step up from McDonald's.  We went another route.
Word on the street was that Angelina and Brad had taken their kids here once upon a time.

I was sold.

I was also charged admission to get inside and eat. Yes, I just said "admission".  To go inside a restaurant.

I was also charged $15.00 for a club sandwich.  We weren't in Kansas anymore.

But we did see aliens.
We finished our day at ImaginOcean.  A perfect place to sit, relax and thank all that is holy you are inside and warm.

Look at these warm, happy "not as sheltered because they are in NYC" faces.

After the show, which was just long enough and enjoyed by all, we headed to the subway to begin our trek home.

What a rockin' day.

And I'm still alive.  A miracle.