Friday, December 30, 2011

Festive Fun

Took Caleb and his cousins to The Lights Before Christmas display at the Riverbanks Zoo tonight. Quite frankly, it's a bit exhausting dragging around a two year old and two four year olds at 7 pm, but they had a great time!

Christmas Lights

To be honest, it doesn't much matter what we do or where we take them. They always have fun when they are together!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Are We There Yet?

I really do enjoy the Christmas season, but boy is it exhausting! Between the shopping, wrapping, parties, and my own self-induced baking mania, I tend to push myself to exhaustion. I have got to get a game plan together much earlier next year if I want to keep up any sort of momentum and still maintain a shred of sanity.

Apparently sanity (and sleep) were not that important this year. Instead, sugar was the priority. I can't explain it. Sometimes I just get bit by the baking bug, and I just can't shake it till I just about burn my finger tips off in molten chocolate or on the edge of hot baking sheets. Although it was far less actual baking this year (only one batch of cookies, not featured in this post at all!) and much more treat making.

My Baking Buddy

Caleb assisted me with my last batch of Oreo truffles tonight.  We ended up making three batches of them. It just felt right! He also helped me with the buckeyes a few nights ago. I'm really enjoying 4. He's so interested in being helpful and being a big boy. It's a lot of fun!

Having said that, my kitchen mojo has completely run dry. I'm so glad to be done tonight. In addition to the Oreo truffles, we did three batches of buckeyes, two batches of gingerbread popcorn, three batches of cinnamon sugar roasted pecans, and two pecan pies.

I say "we" in the loosest sense, obviously. Caleb was interested in helping for about five minutes, and Tommy was more interesting in taste testing than anything!

(I wanted to do Kahlua spiked pecans, but since these will be up for grabs  by as many kids as adults, I opted to leave even that tiny bit of alcohol out. Safety first, kids!)

So with that, I'm hanging up my apron for the week. I finished wrapping tonight, and the Christmas shopping is officially done. I'm ready to sit back, relax, and "enjoy the show" for the next three days.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Get Your Yum On

I'm in the throes of holiday treat making. (It's less about baking this year, and more about goodies.) Yesterday I finished up my fourth batch of Gingerbread Popcorn. I shared a good bit of it with my coworkers yesterday and today. The rest of the batch is coming with us to my in laws this weekend.


Tonight was all about my husband's favorite holiday treat, buckeyes. Although time consuming, they are relatively easy, and totally worth every second of effort.

In the end, a double batch yeilded nearly 125 buckeyes that are taking up every inch of space in my fridge.  And I'm still worried it may not be enough to last us through Christmas!

(Of course, it doesn't help that I can't stop eating them already...)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Holiday Fun

It appears that it was a little too ambitious of me to go from no blogging for 11 months to trying to blog daily. It's proven to be an especially difficult goal for me during this hectic holiday season, and the added complication of camera woes did not help! Be that as it may, here's a few pics to try and compensate for the many days I've missed of the December Photo Project!

Today Caleb and I went to visit Santa in the nearby shopping center. Caleb was very excited! I wondered how he would do when we actually got there. In the past, Caleb's enthusiasm turns to anxiety when close-up with a childhood icon.

Santa's coming! Santa's coming!
Of course he's on the Nice List!
But Caleb did great! He told Santa right off the bat, "I'm four!" Then he told Santa he wants a doughnut for Christmas. I think Santa can probably accomodate that wish! After we left Santa's workshop, Caleb told me, "I was so brave! I didn't even cry!"

Aftewards, we headed towards the "town center" of the shopping area, where they have a little road train that rides through on the weekends. While waiting for the train, I snapped a few pics of Caleb by the huge Christmas tree they have there.

Christmas Posin'
This is my JC Penny pose.

Christmas Cheesin'
I brushed my teeth extra shiney just for this pic!
Caleb loved the train ride, of course! It wasn't our first time riding the land train, but he never gets tired of it. He would wave at people and shout, "MERRY CHRISTMAS!" like he was the fat man himself!

Train Ride
I own this train.

It's been a very busy Christmas season. I think I was so focused on hosting Thanksgiving for the first time that I just totally forgot to prepare myself for Christmas, so it's felt very rushed this year. I HAVE to start shopping/wrapping earlier next year!

But it's nice to be able to take a break from all the craziness to enjoy a little silliness with my most favorite reindeer of all!

Silly Reindeer

Monday, December 12, 2011

DPP Day 9: "I have a playground in my back yard!"

So this is the final result of the playset we had installed on Thursday for Caleb's Christmas present this year.

Now to finish sodding the back half of the yard and laying some mulch for the play area. Boy, this homeowner business is never done!

DPP Day 8: Holidays in the Office

We're having a cubicle decorating contest this year. While winng isn't super important to me, I do tend to geek out when it comes to theming up something.
This is my cubicle as of last week. I've got a few more ideas up my sleeve, but I'm not sure if I've got any remaining motivation!

What you can't see is the little, three-foot white Christmas tree with blue and silver ornmaents to the right of this picture, or the icicles hanging from the bookshelves in front of my cubicle. Now to find more snow roll and window snow spray...

DPP Day 7: Anticipation

It wasn't my intent to go AWOL on the December Photo Project so early in the game. Remember my camera woes? Well, they continue.

I can't find the charger for my old camera that I'm using right now. I remember seeing it shortly after we moved into our house in January, but now that I need it, it's nowhere to be found. Nuts. so I've ordered a new one from Amazon and have been waiting on that for a few days now. Hopefully it will be hear soon!

Until its arrival, I have finally decided to get smart on my smart phone. So here commences blogging from my Android. Please pardon any typos. And please forgive me as my pictures get seriously low res!

Okay, enough preamble! Here's a photo I grabbed Thursday. Caleb is getting a playset for the backyard for Christmas this year, but it had to be installed early. Unfortunately, due to some scheduling issues, we arrived home about two hours before it was complete.

I tried to talk Caleb into helping me decorate the tree, which we had just put up the night before, but he wasn't terribly interested in that. Instead, he pulled up a kitchen chair to the window and watched the progress. Roughly every two minutes, he'd announce, "I think they're almost done, Mommy!" It was a long wait.

When the guys finally did finish, it was dark. Fortunately, they were kind enough to leave their flood lights on for a few minutes while Caleb ran around to check it out. The sqeals and giggles told me everything I needed to know! :)

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

DPP Day 6: MaMaw and Me

This was an attempt to grab a picture of the adorable new headband I was sporting today. While I never grabbed a decent shot of the headband, I did manage to see something else in this shot.


That's my grandmother, MaMaw, on the left. My dad's extravagant and fantastic mother.

Whenever we would come to town, she would take us on MaMaw Days. Just me and my brother and my grandmother, out for the day. This usually involved a trip to Chuck E. Cheese and Toys R'Us. We'd wander around the store for ages, debating what to bring home. It seemed unfathomable that she would just let us pick a toy, just because.
I also remember when she remodeled her kitchen. It was shockingly gold and over the top, the way only MaMaw could pull off. It felt so glamorous, just like her. She love a bit of sparkle.
She passed away when I was in high school, so I never got the chance to know her as an adult. I wish she was still around so I could hear stories about my dad and his brother misbehaving as kids. While I may not have inherited quite the level of class MaMaw had, she certainly passed on her appreciation of things that sparkle and shine to me.

I miss my MaMaw. It's nice to be reminded of her from time to time, especially this time of year.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

DPP Day 2: Breakfast With Caleb

Caleb is not the best at meals. I mean, he's great at eating. He's not picky and has a good appetite. But sitting still long enough to eat an entire meal is difficult. More often than not, he is joined at the table by toys of his. This is a habit I probably need to break, but it keeps him at the table, even if not seated the entire time.

Nutella Toast

Like the Nutella mustache? I do. Very dastardly villain, if you ask me. Caleb is joined by RPM, No Stall, and Lightning McQueen (of course!)

Monday, December 05, 2011

DPP Day 4: Little Helper

We began painting our kitchen and living room yesterday, with the notion that we could accomplish it in a day. Turns out, not so much. We finally finished around 2 o'clock this afternoon. Hooray!

The trickiest part was keeping Caleb occupied. I played more than one game of hide and seek in which my seeking wasn't as earnest as it should have been. Fortunately, he's at an age where he thinks the point of hide and seek is to eventually jump out and try to scare someone, so he wasn't too concerned that I never found him.

Little Helper

My little helper insisted on being a part of the action, so whenever possible, we tried to include him. In this particular shot, he is painting a monster, in case you were wondering. :)

Pretty pleased with the results, so I'll share those as well. :)

Living Room

No Christmas tree yet. Need to get one! The eternal battle of real vs. fake rages on.


Again, pretty pleased with the results. And pretty knackered, too. This might call for an early bed time!

DPP Day 3: Tape It Up, Chris

Tape It Up, Chris by kellyangelo
Tape It Up, Chris, a photo by kellyangelo on Flickr.
This was taken with the intention of being yetserday's DPP post. But since we didn't get to bed till about 1 am due to a loooong day of painting the kitchen and living room, blogging fell be the way side.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

DPP Day 2: Mr. Fix It

It's probably hard to see, but there's a hammer in one pocket, a ruler in the other, and a wrench in his hand.

With any luck, he may have inherited the handy man gene my father-in-law posses in spades. It seems to have skipped a generation with my husband, who can manage some basic repairs, but prefers to pay a professional with anything serious.

But my father-in-law can fix anything, as Caleb is quick to tell you. He's fixed things we thought were impossible to fix. I wish I had a brain that could take something apart, find what's wrong, and put it back together. My brain simply doesn't work that way. But if something ever breaks in the house, Caleb is the first to say, "Papa can fix it!"

And you know what? Papa can!

Friday, December 02, 2011

December Photo Project, Day 1

Well, this is a terrible confession to make. Day 1 of the December Photo Project, and I can't find my dang camera. Looked all over it for it this evening, but no luck. I'm sure it's probably somewhere super obvious, like right in front of my face, but for the life of me, I can't find it.

So instead, I'm going to throw up a picture from last week.

Caleb taking a walk with his Papa, aunt, cousin and dad. They had been fishing and decided to take a quick walk across the street to see if there wer any alligators out. No luck on either the fish or alligator front,  but Caleb didn't seem to mind. He was just happy to be hanging with family!

Thursday, December 01, 2011

December Photo Project

In an attempt to resuscitate this very dead blog of mine, I'm going to join the December Photo Project that I read about on my friend Renae's blog, The Grand.

I'll preface this by saying I am not a professional photographer, nor do I own a fancy camera. In fact, my newer camera died after one too many pictures in the rain at Disney World last month. Rest in peace, Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS3.

So I've moved back to my handy Nikon Coolpix S51. Just a hot pink little point-and-shoot held together with some electical tape where I've dropped it a few too many times.

Wow. I am not kind to my cameras. It's not on puprose, I assure you. I'm just clutzy by nature. It drives my husband crazy. (As my dad might say, "It's a short drive!") All that to say, don't expect artsy pics from this here humble (and recently silent) blog. I just want to capture some memories this month and restart my creative engine.

So as a bit of a teaser, here is a pre-DPP photo to get this party started.

We hosted Thanksgiving this year for the first time ever. I was pretty stoked because we finally have a house with living space large enough for a feast of this size. Earlier this year, we bough some really grown up peices of furniture for this, our first formal dining room. So to host my in-laws for turkey day was a pretty big deal, and I was quite happy with how everything turned out (even if the corn casserole was late to the party!)

All right! Let's get this party started!