Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas To All and Happy Birthday To Jonathan!

Tonight all of the festivities begin for me and my family.  Tonight it's off to my parents house.  Tomorrow everyone is coming to our house to celebrate Jonathan's 6th birthday and to have Christmas dinner.  Then it's off to the in-laws for the weekend! 

I wish all of you a Merry Christmas and  Happy New Year!

My Gifts

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Worst Christmas Cookies Ever

I have been waiting to get things checked off my to-do list so that I could set aside time for baking Christmas cookies with Jonathan.  I wanted to have most things done so that we could really enjoy it, otherwise, I tend to get overwhelmed and then get "snappy." 

Yesterday, I had all of the shopping and gift wrapping done, so I declared it baking day!  I'm not going to kid anyone--I cannot make sugar cookies for the life of me--so I decided to buy premade cookie dough this year.  I found a fancy Wilton pan that has the cutest Christmas shapes that I thought was perfect to use!  My husband and even the baby got involved smashing the premade cookie dough into the fancy shapes and I carefully wiped off any access we might have left behind.  We listened to Christmas music and laughed at how silly we were being. 

We put our cookies in the oven and waited out the cook time by getting our frosting and sprinkles ready to decorate our gems when they came out of the oven. 

Boy, were we in for a surprise!  The cookie dough and managed to rise and the cookies were very dark in color.  I was hoping that when I took them out of the oven that the dough would flatten, but it didn't.  We ended up with what looked more like Christmas muffins, very dark Christmas muffins.  Not exactly what we were going for! 

"The Culprit"


Trying to be optimistic, I thought that as long as they tasted good, we could slap enough frosting on them to cover up the dark color.  Nice plan, but they tasted horrible!  Not only did they look like muffins, but they tasted like them too, and they had a nasty after taste. 

That's when I decided they were unfit for consumption and threw the suckers in the trash.  Jonathan was crushed, so I took what was left of the premade dough and made some extremely flat cookies.  We slathered them with frosting and sprinkled the heck out of them!  Jonathan pretended that we were in a cooking class and enjoyed having the sole responsibility of frosting the cookies.  I had to chuckle, because I would never be allowed to teach a cooking class, but my little guy doesn't care...at least not yet, anyway. 

Not exactly the "memory making" experience I had in mind, but a memory was made none-the-less.  I know we will never forget making the worst Christmas cookies ever!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Ghosts Of Christmas Past

As a parent, I have been trying really hard to make sure that I make Christmas memorable and magical for my children.  In my quest of making memories, I have been thinking about what Christmas memories stand out for me, so that I can recreate the magic.  It's pretty interesting what has come to the surface.

As I dust off the cobwebs, the first first thing that comes to mind is a memory from when I couldn't have been older than 3, or maybe 4.  It is vague, but I recall walking down the stairs of our tri-level home and finding "Dapper Dan" and  "Dressy Bessy" dolls.  They were not wrapped and were just sitting under the tree waiting for me.  I loved those dolls and played with them for years--long after I was able to dress Bessy. 




The next memory I have is not as pleasant.  When I was 5, I was sick with the chicken pox on Christmas. 

I remember being confined to the downstairs sofa in front of the TV with plenty of coloring books.  I was miserable.  My mother would use cotton balls to smother me with calamine lotion and I can still smell that nasty odor and how badly I itched.  Although I was extremely itchy, I do remember watching excessive amounts of the Bernstein Bears, but every time my mom would turn her mixer on while she was baking cookies, the picture would go fuzzy.  I did get plenty of "poor babies" which made my sisters' eyes roll, but I was loving all the extra attention.  I didn't get to unwrap the majority of my presents that year, though.  I was just too uncomfortable.  Isn't it amazing that my children will never have to deal with the chicken pox because of a vaccine?  Or the fact that they will never understand that we didn't have cable and that the TV actually went fuzzy went you turned on a mixer? 

The next year, I recall a little incident in which I pretended to be sick at school because I wanted to be home when my mom was decorating our Christmas tree.  I guess my mom just wanted to get things done that year and didn't want to be bothered by four children's idea of "help," so she opted to do it while were all in school.  I very distinctly remember going to the school nurse and telling her that I needed to go home.  When she asked if I was sick, I lied and said my tummy hurt.  Instead of being able to go home and help with the decorations, however, I was forced to stay in my bed, because "after all I was sick."  That was a hard lesson learned. 

I have sporadic memories too, ones that I am not sure how old I was, or what year it might have been.  Like baking peanut butter cookies with my grandma (although I guess I had to be very young, because she passed away when I was 5).  I thought I was a big shot because I got to use a fork to smooch down the cookie dough. 

I remember hanging red stockings, with my sister, Penny, on the railing entering our home; making Christmas wreath decorations out of cotton balls to hang on my Grandfather's tree; having my sister, Kelly, pull me through the snow on our old-fashioned sled; saving my morning milk money in order buy Christmas gifts for my family, being excited that my oldest sister, Gail, was coming home to spend the night on Christmas Eve, the tin-foil "reflectors" my mom made for the lights on our Christmas tree, The Oak Ridge Boys tickets we got as a gift for the whole family, singing Christmas carols at my grandmother's house, my Mom's cookies, and my Dad making breakfast.   

So, I guess I don't need to stress anymore about making memories for my kids.  They will have good ones and bad ones, just like I have.  What matters is that they are surrounded by family, just like I was. 

Friday, December 17, 2010

Linky-Dinky-Doo 12-17-20

It's Christmas party time!  Wondering what to wear?  This is great post from Bramblewood Fashion!  I love that all of the looks are cute and on a budget!

I am planning to do all of my holiday baking this next week while the "boys" are out of school.  Jonathan loves to help me in the kitchen, so these snowflake pretzels are the perfect thing for us to add to our baking list!  Thanks Mom Endeavors!

Need some last minute and cheap gift ideas?  Then, you need to check out this list from Today's Fabulous Finds!  There is nothing like 15 gift ideas under $2.  I love we "whisk" you a Merry Christmas--and I need a new whisk!

This year, I am planning to make Christmas breakfast ahead of time and just pop in the oven while the presents are being unwrapped.  This recipe from Get Cooking will be on our table this year!

Thanks to a high school classmate of mine, Jonathan was kept busy with this snowman activity on a recent snow day.  I'm sure it will come in handy for Christmas break--especially because if you send him a picture of your artwork, he'll send you and upgrade link! 

Its' super cute!  Here's Jonathan's...

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Throwback Thursday!

I was trying to think of some of my favorite country Christmas songs to blog about today and I must say, I have a long list!  While the traditional Bing Crosby's "White Christmas" and Nat King Cole's "The Christmas Song" are on my favorite Christmas song list, I have so many country versions on the list too! 

I love Ricochet's version of "Let It Snow," Dolly Parton's version of "Winter Wonderland," Lorrie Morgan's version of "Up on Santa Claus Mountain," Barbara Mandrell's "It Must Have Been The Mistletoe," and just about anything Martina McBride touches.

There is one song, however that can bring me to tears every time I hear it..."The Christmas Guest."  While I do respect Grandpa Jones' version of the song he penned, I love Reba's version...she is just so expressive!  So, grab your tissues and take a listen!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Company Party Time!

Okay, sorry for the pause in blogging...but this is a busy time of year! 

Every year, I look forward to the kids holiday party at work.  I am so glad that my employer continues this tradition.  Radio has been hit so hard in the last few years with the state of our economy, that cut backs have been made every where.  Unfortunately, holiday parties are easily placed on the chopping block.  Which, by the way, it has for our "traditional" holiday office party, but the kids have kept theirs! 

Every year, Santa makes an appearance and the kids get to sit on his lap and tell him what they want for Christmas--and they get an early present for being so good!  We snack on cookies and take home a goody bag filled with radio biz perks!  We are talking gift certificates and show tickets!!  The kids will be so excited to see Sesame Street LIVE in January! 



I'm happy to report that Tyler's first visit with Santa went well--although he can't get over those two new teeth, so his tongue keeps running over them, but I think the picture is still cute!

This year, Santa's "elf" provided some extra entertainment.  He made these amazing balloon hats for the kids.  Jonathan had his heart set on a Rudolf hat, but when he got up to "Fitzwilly" he asked for a Christmas tree.  Go figure! 



When we left the party, we went to Fazoli's for dinner in order to redeem the free meal certificate Jonathan got for having perfect attendance the first 9 weeks of school.  We then piled in the car with the snacks from our party goody bags and drove around looking at Christmas lights.






 Tyler REALLY enjoyed his snacks!  I had a fabulous time with my family and I am very thankful to work for a company who puts kids and families first!  I'm very fortunate to have hit the Mommy jackpot when it comes to doing what I love for a living and yet still being able to spend the majority of my day at home.  These little perks are the icing on the cake!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Linky Dinky Doo 12-10-10

While looking for last-minute do-it-yourself gift ideas I came across some neat ideas!  Here are a few that I'd like to share.

I love to give photos as gifts, it truly is a gift that keeps on giving! 
Uniquely You has some great ideas...like this one:



I also like the idea of making things that require little sewing, like this cute scarf holder idea from A Box Living:


I also love to use nature when decorating, so I really like this necklace tree idea!  Get a tutorial here.


Share your ideas with me...link them up!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Throwback Thursday--Put A Little Holiday In Your Heart!

"Put a Little Holiday in Your Heart" was a made-for TV movie, which first aired in 1997 and starred a teenage LeAnn Rimes.  When this movie first came out, I remember being so excited!  I also remember being disappointed that Bernadette Peters had such a huge role...I would much rather see LeAnn more. 

This past weekend, Lifetime aired the movie as part of their Fa La La La Lifetime promotion--which I love, by the way--so I sat down to watch it again.  I was intrigued to see how I would react to the movie 13 years later. 

I was no longer excited to see what LeAnn would be wearing, or if she could act, but I was excited to hear her sing.  Let's face it, the girl has pipes!  LeAnn has been going through a lot of harsh press lately because of her affair with Eddie Cibrian and she is pretty much non existent on Country radio.  All of that was on my mind as I watched the young LeAnn in the movie, taking advice from the "seasoned" Bernadette Peters character.  LeAnn's character was reminded not to let family take the backseat on the road to fame and fortune. 

Despite her personal life, and her current CD, LeAnn will remain one of my favorite singers, and I am curious as to how her career will ride this storm.  In the meantime, I love the song "Put a Little Holiday in Your Heart."  And it wouldn't be Christmas in my home, without it!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Toepickitupitis

I have learned so many new skills as a mother that I would have never developed had I never had children.  Skills that I am in awe of on a daily basis.  For instance, changing a 9-month-old baby's diaper.  I think it should seriously be considered an Olympic sport.  The art of cleaning a baby's bottom while, said baby, is twisting and turning in order to get away from you while screaming at the top of his/her lungs, getting the diaper back on straight without gaps around legs, or ripped, and without needing a bath afterwards is truly a skill someone without children will never understand. 

I discovered a new skill recently.  I like to call it toepickitupitis.  It sounds like an illness, doesn't it.  Well, it's not one.  Let me give you, what we in the radio biz, call a pronoucer...  (toe-pick-it-up-itis).  The definition of topickitupitis is the ability to pick objects up with your toes.  Man, have I gotten good at it! 

Just this morning, I put my skills to the test as I was trying to get ready for work.  You see, my 9-month-old is going through a little "mommy attachment" phase.  In other words, if I am in eye sight, I must be holding him.  Now, picture getting dressed while holding a twenty-some-pound baby and dropping your sock.  I could lean over, breaking my back and forcing the baby to grab onto my hair in order to hold on, or I could put my toepickitupitis to work!  All I have to do is simply lift one leg up to my opposite hand and we are all good to go! 

This skill also comes in very handy when the baby is in the highchair during dinner, even though he is not eating, because he screams if he is not included in any activity, and he drops a toy.  One could get up from the table, leaving their dinner plate...or one could enable their toepickitupitis skills.

I have even found that this skill translates over to everyday life.  Case in point:  I was using the straight iron on my hair the other day and I dropped my hair brush.  Why should I put the straight iron down in order to bend over and pick it up, when I posses the skill of toepickitupitis? 

Yep, I am in awe of myself.

Friday, December 3, 2010

ChicNSavvy: Win a Spa Getaway and Lunch With Faith Hill! Also,...

Had to share this! A spa day with Faith Hill?! Awesome!

ChicNSavvy: Win a Spa Getaway and Lunch With Faith Hill! Also,...: "Enter To Win a Spa Getaway and Lunch With Faith Hill! Also, 50 first-prize winners will take home bottles of Faith Hill True Fragrance! On..."