Thursday, December 24

Feeding a little extra!

My sweet Dad is here to spend Christmas with us! It warms my heart because...well, I super duper love him...and we haven't been together on this holiday in many years.

Sad face...

With Little Man resting (because Grandpa Rudy is like catnip for a little guy) and my two favorite grown men off to feed cows, I'm reminded of growing up and the many Christmas traditions I treasure.

James Taylor playing the most beautiful version of Silent Night.

Mom's cornbread dressing (see recipe here), there's something about the smell of green chiles and toasted pecans that is heavenly.

The amaryllis that always knows when to bloom.

A stack of Christmas books on the coffee table, read only once a year.

Trying to decide which present with be the one I open on Christmas Eve (because there's only ONE).

And one of my favorites, my Dad's tradition of always feeding our livestock a little extra on Christmas.

As each year passes, I cling to these traditions a bit more than the year before. But the most cherished is the tradition of celebrating Jesus, the one who came to give us so much. My heart is thankful...for the years gone by and the years to come.

Merry Christmas and may your holiday be filled with many cherished traditions!

Tuesday, December 22

Christmas Tree Brownies

It's Christmas week. Can you believe it?

It seems like I just mastered writing "2015" and here we go again. There's a sneaky little elf somewhere that stole the last 12 months!

Time flies when you're having flan...err, fun! :-)

Any who...keeping with our Christmas tradition, Little Man and I delivered festive goodies around town yesterday to spread a little holiday cheer.

This year, I let him select the treat and Christmas Tree Brownies were at the top of his list.

For your gatherings this week, add a little cheer with these cuties right here...

1 box brownie mix
1 green icing
1 yellow icing
Holiday sprinkles

Bake brownies according to instructions and let cool COMPLETELY. This was the hardest part for us because's a big pan of brownies!

Cut brownies in triangles...circles would make for weird looking trees. :-)

Pipe green icing on each piece.

Adorn with your favorite holiday sprinkles.

Top with yellow icing because every tree needs a star and place them on your favorite platter.

A happy treat for your favorite peeps! (Yes, I realize there's been a pattern of pathetic rhyming in this post but it's the holidays and I've read waaaaaaayyyyy too many children's books!)
Merry Christmas, dear friends! May your week be filled with peace, love, and an overwhelming joy of the Lord!

Thursday, December 10

Comfort & Joy

Decking the halls is my favorite part about this time of year. In this post, from our beloved Interior Design Contributor, Fancy Nancy, she reminds us what's important and how to add that little extra sparkle while remaining merry and bright.

Comfort and Joy

I will admit, in the past I have been one of those OCD Christmas decorators, hanging tinsel one strand at a time, measuring how much slack was in the garland and how many feet between the bows. 
This year is different; because of a new business venture, life has been hectic and I think the Grinch stole about 6 hours out of each day. So……this year’s decorating has been with a blessed nonchalance and Christmas decorations now include a hastily decorated tree, a fire in the fireplace and some fluffy throws on the couch to ward off the December chill. 
That got me thinking about how things change from one year to the next, paradoxically, at a time of year that embodies no change at all, but tradition, custom, ritual.

Isn’t that what we love about Christmas, the traditions that help us hold onto the way things were? Our favorite foods, the smell of baking, naps on the couch during halftime of the football game, card games, Scrabble, and stacks of Christmas books are some of my favorites.

Your home is at its homiest in December. Whether you approach decorating with a case of OCD, or with a blessed nonchalance, let us embrace this season and all that is familiar.

One thing is certain, change is going to come and things will be different, but for now, may you find comfort and joy in the sameness of the season. Merry Christmas to all!

Hope this blesses you and a big THANK YOU to Fancy Nancy!

Monday, December 7

Santa Pancakes

Over the weekend, I made an obscene amount of pancake batter. With two hungry guys and a growling stomach of my own, I must've thought a small army was joining us for breakfast.

With a plate stacked high (seriously, something close to 62 pancakes), I shut the griddle down and walked away from the spatula.

When is enough...enough?

When your stretchy pants are no longer stretchy...that's when!

I was under the impression the pancake gluttony we experienced yesterday would've curbed our pancake cravings for a while...but when I asked Little Man what he wanted for breakfast this morning, he responded...wait for it...

"Pancakes, please."

Seriously, his stamina (and metabolism) is astounding.

Before you go thinking I'm the worst nutritional mom on the planet, let me reassure you...I packed the batter full of bananas and nuts. I know, Mom of the Year...right?

Back at the ranch...the remaining dough (from yesterday's extravaganza) yielded one GIANT pancake.

And because we like to play with our food, we transformed it into a Santa pancake!

Voila! Here's an easy step-by-step.

Little Man checked the above referenced ginormocake, making sure it was cool.
Once room temperature, we placed two milk chocolate chips on the pancake for the eyes and a slice of strawberry for the nose. Next, we used whipped cream (in the can...GASP) to make the beard.
We then dropped a thin line of chocolate syrup for the mouth. Caution: It runs so don't use very much. You can also substitute this for chocolate sprinkles or black licorice, get creative!
This was Little Man saying Santa needed a tongue...which led to the Mommy speech, "It's not nice to stick out your tongue, even if you're Santa"...which led to the exaggerated eye roll!
Finally, we placed halved strawberries as the red on Santa's hat and used a bit more whipped cream for the white.
Tada! Another happy, festive dish!

UPDATE: Because, at first glance, this seems like a sugar high waiting to happen and my Mom of the Year crown is beginning to tarnish...I wanted to update you that Little Man only ate the hat! Strawberries, whipped cream, and 1/3 of the ginormocake.

And the nose.

And maybe one eye!

 'Tis the season! :-)

Thursday, December 3

Feed Sack Games

It's time for another delightful DIY from our beloved, Leigh.
She and I have many things in common...including, an abundance of feed sacks lying around. While mine fill the recycle bin, in contrast...Leigh has found creative ways to repurpose and give them new life...I want to be like her when I grow up!
Here's a few game ideas to keep the kiddos occupied while you wait for Dad to call it a day...or just need a moment to wrap their Christmas presents...after locking yourself in the closet. 

 Sack Toss: Form a ball from torn sack and wrap with duct tape. Roll tops down of additional sacks and place in a line. See who can sink the first shot!

Airplane Game, AKA: Flight School: Cut feed sack down sides, leaving it attached along bottom. Unfold and lay flat to cut various sizes of holes. Trim edges with duct tape (because you want it to last more than 2.5 seconds. Designate points to different holes and attach string to top edge (for hanging). Cut and fold an airplane (or three, in Leigh's case) and you're all done...hours of fun!

Tic-Tac-Toe: Lay feed sack flat and crease the edges. Make a tic-tac-toe board on top with duct tape. Use rocks (or whatever else your kiddos can find) as game pieces. I wonder who won? I'm going with the Beagle...I hear they have mad sack game skills!

Along with games, there's a plethora of other good uses for feed sacks.

Have you considered?
1. Cover your plants during the winter season.
2. Making a kid's smock during messy craft sessions.
3. Keeping a spare sack in your car for transporting plants or mud soaked tennis shoes.
4. Making your kids a snow sled.
5. Create a sewing pattern or costume.

Once again, I'm inspired and I will no longer deposit my sad sacks in the garbage least not ALL of them! Hey, I have to be me!

Stay tuned for more Delightful DIY projects and a big thank you to our lovely Leigh!

Wednesday, December 2

Some say "cart", I say "buggy"!

We strive to teach our children manners, morals, life lessons...preparing them for the big ol' world...hoping they'll grow up to be amazing human beings that contribute to society and...

Wait for it...

After use, return their shopping carts to the designated receptacle!

(Some say "cart", we say "buggy"...who's with me?)

It may seem silly but around this homestead, ORDER is a necessity for continued sanity. Unless it's a buggy-littered parking lot.

It gives me a twitch.

Consequently, it now gives my son a twitch.

I love this little person and his joyful desire for everything to be in its correct place...except on days like today.

Days that are crammed full of obligations and rushing from point A to point B, pants ablaze.

Yes, these days don't allow for my sweet, methodical child to insist on returning EACH INDIVIDUAL cart within reach to the above referenced receptacle.

Proud, yet slightly annoyed, an attempt to explain (or bark, depending on how the day is going) our time constraints and obligation to return ONLY ONE CART is made.

Until the look...

The somber look that only comes when one questions something that on any other day would be of the utmost importance...and your child responds "But Mom, this cart will be sad without his friends".

Pardon me for a moment while I sob uncontrollably...making the man passing by visibly uncomfortable.

You'd think this would be a lesson for me to slow down and smell the roses...and while this was a good reminder...more importantly, I learned #1: to be less "aghast" about my outrage because he's always watching...and #2: to stop attaching human emotions to inanimate objects because it backfires (usually when we're in a hurry).

Yes, in case you're wondering, TOGETHER, we returned eight carts to their "friends". All is well in the world.