Thursday, December 30, 2010

Today I Picked Up A Craigslist Find.

If you haven't got on Craigslist before and browsed all the fabulousness, you're missing out! 

I found a really nice double jogging stroller for only $100! 

In the past I have acquired furniture, baby gear, clothes and toys, and even a pet!  I've also used Craigslist to sell stuff (LOTS of stuff).  We may even have found a car (more on this some other day)on this wonder of a website!

So, if you haven't tried Craigslist, do!  If you have, I would love to hear your success stories (always so much fun)! 

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Today My Heart Is Heavy.

I just heard that my blogger friend, Amy, has recently lost her dear baby girl.  I wish I had words to write that could heal and help end grieving.  My heart goes out to this sweet lady and her husband at a very difficult time in their lives.  Please take a little time to read this post from her sister.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Today I Made Sugar Scrub.

It's so quick and easy!  I made up a nice, big batch for my sister's birthday present.  I upcycled an empty container that used to hold cleansing pads.  I save them for just these sort of projects.

The container I used.

I also used Outdoor Mod Podge (water-proof) to stick a few buttons and a cute, homemade card someone gave me years ago, onto the container. 

Great for crafts that might get wet.

The recipe for the sugar scrub is so simple:

3 parts sugar (any kind)
1 part oil (of your choosing)
1-3 Vitamin E capsules (if you want)
2-6 drops of essential oil (any scent)

I put the sugar in my main, bigger container for mixing and then in a smaller, separate container I poured the oil, squeezed the vitamin E out of the capsules, and added several drops of lavender oil.  Then I poured the oil mixture on the sugar and combined it all together. 

What I made today.

It's wonderful stuff.  I made a bunch to give as presents to some friends, our family doctor, and Ash's nursery teachers at church.  I also made some for myself.  I love it.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Today I've Been Both Industrious And Lazy.

I've cleaned house, organized counters and my desk, done laundry, and mucked out our VERY dirty car.

I also read, played the Wii and watched Prince of Persia. 

I enjoy a well balanced day. 

And that's all I've got. 


Saturday, December 25, 2010

Today I Am Celebrating the Birth of Jesus.

Happy Birthday Jesus!

I hope that all of my dear bloggy friends are having a sweet day, both physically and spiritually. 

At my house, presents have been opened, breakfast has been ingested, love is all around, Mom is talking to her missionary (my brother, Daniel, is serving in New York New York South), Hubster is playing his new Wii game, my brother's mother-in-law is making tamales, Ash is playing with her aunts and uncles, Britt is loving her Radio Flyer Walker, and I am (obviously) blogging and eating Fran's Chocolate Caramels (party in my mouth!!!).  Later on today Tony and I will make ornaments that have our gift to Jesus for the upcoming year written on them. Last year I promised to work on being more charitable and the hubby decided to work on patience.  I think we did pretty good.  :)
I've also been watching short, meaningful Christmas videos on Youtube.  Thought I'd share the ones that touched me.

Kids and Christmas

Christmas Spirit

Look to the Light

A Light Unto Us All

What Shall We Give?

Merry Christmas to you and yours!!!!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Today I'm Racing Against The Clock.

Are you? 

I'm stuffing stockings, wrapping presents, cutting fudge, finishing up the homemade gifts, and don't think I'll be going to bed anytime soon!

Just finished these cute, little, stuffed felt owls for my youngest sisters. 

Upcycled Iron Man shirts for my three youngest brothers.

Orange fudge, raspberry fudge and fudge with almonds.  All for my dad!!!

And of course I turned on White Christmas to watch and listen to while I work. 

Happy Christmas Eve!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Today I Went Sofa Shopping.

The hubby and I took the girls to Ikea and got a sofa.  We really needed one since we got rid of the of the last sofa we had when we moved.  It was old, dusty, giving me allergies and needed to move on.  We found the perfect couch at Ikea.  We wanted something inexpensive, relatively small and would turn into a bed when needed.

I'm pleased and it's nice and comfy.  And it's about time we had somewhere to sit!  Hahaha!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Today I Went To Zoolights.

I've debated whether I should sugar coat it or just tell it like it is.  I think I'll just lay it out for you. 

The trip was a big, fat fail. 

1.  I will never go before Christmas again (we've always gone after, and now I know why) because we could barely walk.  Everybody and their dog, cat, mouse, aunts, uncles, cousins, in-laws, grandparents, great-grandparents, next-door neighbors, and bffs were there!

2.  Next time we will get there right when it opens at 5pm.  We were going with my side of the family and they couldn't get there until after 7:30pm.  FYI: My kids go to bed at 8pm.  For good reason.

3.  We kept losing my family, once we got there, anyways.  **sigh**

4.  The girls enjoyed it for maybe 10 minutes and then their moods (and ours) went progressively downhill.  By the time we left Britt was screaming at the top of her lungs and Ash was doing that annoying fake cry because she had gotten put back in the stroller (for running away from us one too many times).

In the beginning.  Passive, if not completely happy babies.

Blissful, unsuspecting parents.  Little do they know how the night will end.

Uh-oh.  Look at the child in the back seat.  That is the start of the discontent!  At least Ash was chipper until the last 5 minutes.  **thankful**

Oop!  There it is!

Now, to end on a more positive note.  Some of the good parts of the visit. 

Baby looooooved the fish in the aquarium.  She kept bouncing up and down and flapping her arms like she was doing jumping jacks. 

Ash and Daddy.  They had a great time running around together for a little bit.  Hard to say who wore out who.  They are both in bed now.  **laugh**

And I figure that I should include at least one pic of the lights.  This is one of my favorites.  Daddy, Mommy, and Baby Orca!

Maybe we'll try again after Christmas.  Maybe we'll try again next year.  But, we WILL try again.  Zoolights is supposed to be magical!  Tonight was decidedly un-magical.  My next trip to Zoolights WILL be a happy one.  :)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Today I Caught Britt Two Thirds Of The Way Up The Stairs.

I swear I looked away for two seconds and when I went to find her, she was almost at the top!  Scared me to death!  I had no idea she could do that!  And she could have fallen so far!  Can't believe how much she's growing lately.  She 9 months now and I'll try to remember to post her stats after the doctor visit this week. 

And just for fun:  I put Britt in Ash's bed and snapped some pics.  They are always so happy to see each other in the morning and squeal loudly.  It's heart warming.  And deafening.  Here they are after I've removed their pjs and night time dipes.  All fresh and ready for clothes.

**laugh**  I know.  Cheesy and goofy.  But, it made me laugh and smile.  So, if you've got my humor, then you're laughing and smiling too. 

Friday, December 17, 2010

Today I Put Together Several Question Jars.

I'm not going to talk too much about this.  I just have too much to do.  I got the whole idea, the questions, and instructions here.  I am (have been) giving these as gifts for Christmas this year.  I'm loving how they've turned out. 

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Today I Addressed Christmas Cards.

The practice of sending Christmas cards is dying.  I get less and less every year.  I havent been sending out fewer (maybe I should).  I have to admit, there are many good reasons to let the card mailing slide: 

Time consuming
Stamps are getting stinkin' pricey!!
Cards aren't always cheap either
Facebook has made keeping in touch and staying updated a year long event

But for me Christmas cards are beautiful.  I love every single one of them.  They're all different.  All beautiful.  Some are just photographs, with the greeting printed right on them.  Others include a family newsletter.  Some just have a signature.  The handmade ones are awesome!  I tend to send ones with a short, personal note and a family photo. 

When I was ten, my dad sat me down with a stack of blank Christmas cards, stamps, a pen and his little black address book.  He wrote out what he wanted me to copy into each card and left me to it.  After that, I did the family Christmas cards every year until I moved away from home.  As I got a little older I included a little letter with a blurb about each family member. 

To me, Christmas cards are part of a wonderful part of my childhood.  They mean Christmas.  They get me into the holiday spirit.  I wish I had started earlier this year.  But, its okay.  I decided to trim my list a bit this year (regretfully) for all the reasons I listed above.

I've got a nice, little stack of cards ready to take to the post office tomorrow.  It gives me nice, warm fuzzies.  :)  I made a lot of them with blank cards and bits and pieces of old cards, pictures, and such. 

So, what camp are you in?  Christmas cards?  Or not?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Today I Made MORE Holiday Junk Food.


These are Peppermint Pretzels and they are goooooooooooood!


1 lb bag of pretzel rods (I used the regular ones for bite-sized yum)
6 oz almond bark, broken
2 Tbs shortening (I got the non-hydrogenated kind!)
candy canes, crushed

Melt the almond bark and shortening in the microwave and stir.

Dip the pretzels and lay them on wax paper to harden a bit, then dip again as many times as you want and then roll in squooshed candy canes. 

All wrapped up (with yesterday's fudge) and ready to go!


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Today I Made Cheater Fudge.

Two ingredients:  Chocolate bars and sweetened condensed milk. 

Got my inspiration here and here

I used bags of Hershey's mint chocolate bar mix.  I also decided to add crunched up candy canes (which bumps it up to three ingredients).


I used 18 ounces of chocolate.  Here they are just before I dumped two 14 ounce cans of sweetened condensed milk on them. 

In the beginning stages of being melted.  I put them in the microwave for 30 seconds, then stirred, another 30 seconds, and then more stirring.  Over and over until it all melty, smooth goodness!

Pre-squooshed toppings.

Post-squooshed toppings.

Finished product!  Well, almost.  I stuck it in the fridge to set and left the kitchen for the night.  Can you guess what I'll be sampling at about, oh, breakfast time?  **evil grin**

*update: I should have included chocolate chips or some other harder chocolate.  This makes for a soft fudge.  Not bad, but will probably have to reside in the fridge until consumed.  :)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Today I Looked At Lights.

We went to Garden D'Lights and Snowflake Lane in Bellevue this evening.  The girls got to stay up an hour and a half later than usual and did surprisingly well.  If you are anywhere near Seattle, I highly recommend both of these events.  We caught the garden on a free night, but it's only $5 per adult on other nights.  The Bellevue Botanical Garden people did an aMAZing job of decorating!  It was so fun to see the girls' eyes get all big as they took in the incredible displays. 

The lane is free and starts at 7pm every night.  Only lasts about 15 minutes, but soooooooooooo fun!  Loud Christmas music with lots of drum-playing toy soldiers, dancing snowmen, mice, polar bears and even  sugar plum fairies (more on that in a bit)!  As we were leaving, a cute toy solider stopped us to say hi to Ash and give her a candy cane tootsie pop (anyone know where I can get more of those?).  She was over the moon!  She had just met a "gabby" and then a red cheeked, smiley lady gave her CANDY!

Daddy & Britt-Britt.  Poor baby has a mean mother who stuffs her chubby head into hats that are too small.  Haha!

My favorite.

Me 'n my babies.  Tony told Ash to say cheese.  Hence, the cheeser-face.

Snowflake Lane.

This toy soldier was grooving to the music.  Hubster and I were both impressed by his dance moves on stilts!

Look at that happy little smile on Ash's face!  She was just really, REALLY thrilled to see this winged creature with the pretty purple dress and magic wand! 

I just wish I'd thought to snap a pic of the cute, sticky mess Ash was after she'd polished off her lollipop!  Haha!  Such a fun night. 

Oh, oh!  And it was pouring buckets all the way to Bellevue (which took a while due to traffic) but as soon as we got out of the car, the clouds parted and the raining stopped.  Hallelujah!


Saturday, December 11, 2010

Today I Played Patty-cake.

Britt loves Patty-cake and Peek-a-boo right now. And a friend of mine on Facebook posted this hilarious video. I just have to share. **snort**

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Today I Made Gingerbread Cookies.

It was messy and time consuming, but oh-so yummy!

I started with a recipe from an old magazine and totally tweaked it. They turned out potent!  They almost bit back!  Haha.  I didn't take any pictures of the finished product, so the stock photo will have to do.  Just imagine that the dough in the pictures is more of a dark chocolate color.

So, if you're looking for an intense gingerbread cookie - try this one on for size!

Makes about 6 dozen cookies. 

You'll need:

7 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
16 tablespoons Earth Balance Natural Spread
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
4 teaspoons ground ginger
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1.5 teaspoons ground cloves
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon coarse salt
2 large eggs
1.5 cup of blackstrap molasses

1.  Sift flour (does anybody know if that it really necessary to do this step?), baking soda, and baking powder; set aside.
2.  Mix Earth Balance Natural Spread and sugar for about 2 minutes; mix in spices and salt.
3.  Mix egg and molasses into wet ingredients, occasionally scraping down sides of bowl.
4.  Add flour mixture; mix on low speed unto combined.
5.  Divide dough in half, put into plastic bags, flatten, close and refrigerate 1 hour.
6.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
7.  On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/4 inch thick.
8.  Cut into shapes and then transfer to cookie sheet.
9.  Bake until cookies are set, about 8 minutes. 

For frosting (if you want it):

Combine Pacific Rice Drink, powdered sugar, and a tablespoon (or so) of Earth Balance Natural Spread until it looks and tastes right.  :)  Then decorate.

And in case you were wondering about the Earth Balance Natural Spread and the Pacific Rice Drink, here are some pictures so you know what you're looking for. 

I get the soy free spread for my kids' sake and it's dairy free too.  I love it and eat it as much as Ash.  It's not low fat, but neither is butter and since it's a plant fat, it's better for you.  The rice drink works in every recipe I've tried as a replacement for milk.  Ash has been drinking this stuff since she was 11 months.  To say she's addicted would be an understatement.  :D 

Have YOU made any Christmas cookies yet?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Today I Left My Babies With My Mom (and sisters).

I left around noon and ran errands for about 5.5 hours.  Waaaaaaaaaaaaay longer than I wanted to be, but because I couldn't get my tush outta bed at a decent early hour, I got stuck in traffic on the way home.  And the mall???  It was a nightmare.  On a Wednesday.  At 1pm.  What the heck?  I went there to return half the stuff I bought, impulsively, on Black Friday.  Confession #1:  50% of the items I bought on Black Friday were adorable clothes for Ash.  Confession #2:  Ash doesn't need anymore clothes.  At all. 

I'm so thankful for my mom and sisters.  My girls can by a handful.  Though, I guess they were really good today.  Which means they're gonna get me back, for being gone all day, tomorrow.  Yippee.

Nana and Britt.  **love**

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Today I Decorated For Christmas.

I think I'll let the photos do the talking for this post.

The wreath I put together.  The pink isn't really this dark or orange.  Stupid camera.

Our tree.  On top of the toy cupboard.  Our apartment is too small for the big tree this year.

Lovin' the pinks and blues.


Let's pretend I washed the mirror before taking a picture.  **giggle**

I collect nativity sets.  Picked this adorable one up at the local thrift shop last month.  $3.  Score!  I'm afraid it may be the only set displayed this year.  If I do find a spot to put another one out, it'll definitely be my pink Mexican creche!

I'm thinking of using the ribbon as a Christmas card holder too.  What do you think?  Does it add or subtract?