Saturday, December 20, 2008

Christmas muffins

A good friend made these for my mom last year. I just made them tonight and the whole family loved them-
Cranberry Pumpkin Muffins
2 eggs, slightly beaten
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup cooking oil
1 cup pumpkin
2 1/4 cups flour
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup chopped fresh cranberries

Combine eggs, sugar, oil and pumpkin and mix well. Combine flour, cinnamon, soda, and salt in a bowl. Make a well in the center and pour pumpkin mixture into well. Stir just until dry ingredients are moist. Stir in cranberries.
Spoon into greased muffin pans or paper cupcake holders. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. Makes 1 1/2 dozen.
Note-fresh cranberries are only available for a few months out of the year. I bought 2 bags and threw one in the freezer to use later.

Had to do it-

We went to the mall yesterday. I had no expectations. I did tell the girls they could ride the train after we went to see Santa. McKenna had 2 meltdowns before we even got to the mall. She didn't want to sit on Santa or stand near him. I said that's fine. No big deal. We get there, she sees Santa giving kids candy canes and she decides he's not so bad, after all. Avery was ready to talk to him. We met Marla and Reese there. Reese went first. Here are the resultsAfter Reese, all 3 of my girls hopped right up to Santa. Avery talked to him for a while. She told him she wanted a Barbie (aka peek a boo petite) and McKenna said she wanted My little Pony. Santa called Presley a boy, and so it begins. None of my kids have hair for the first 2 years of their life, so everyone thinks their boys. Whatever.

I had a moment of weakness and I paid for a picture with Santa. I wanted Kevin to see it (he was at work) and wanted proof of the memory. $14.87!!!!! for one picture. I had a stomach ache afterwards. I can't believe I spent that much money for 1 picture that will most likely go in a box. Here's what $14.87 buys-Actually, we got 2 for the price of one. When we went to pay for the pix, the computer for the camera somehow broke and we had to wait for 20 minutes while the lady called someone to fix it. The other lady said she didn't know how to work the cash register so she just stood there. Ugh. When the first lady came back to check us out, I asked if we could just have the pix since it took so long. She said no but she'd give us another one for free. Anyone want a 5x7 pix of some cute girls with Santa? I'll sell it for $35! Just kidding, kind of...
Big plans today-the girls are going to a friends house for a Christmas party. I need to do some shopping and I hope to make it to the Y. Kevin should be doing some shopping, if he knows what's good for him :) Then we'll go out and look at lights tonight.

Friday, December 19, 2008

A Christmas Quiz

Heather at Whittaker Woman posted this list of Christmas questions. I joined in and here are the results.

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Wrapping Paper! Bags are no fun! Although I did use a bag for my nephew's gift this year. Simply b/c it was such an odd shape and I had one from last year.
2. Real tree or Artificial? I live in Kansas. The best trees here are artificial!
3. When do you put up the tree? Usually the day after Thanksgiving. Or the week before...
4. When do you take the tree down? sometime during the week between Christmas and New Year, or right after.
5. Do you like eggnog? No, but Kevin and Avery sure do!
6. Favorite gift received as a child? I wrote about it here.
8. Easiest person to buy for? My husband and kids. I know what they want, need, don't already have, etc....
9. Do You have a nativity scene? Yes. Emmanuel gave me a beautiful nativity a couple of years ago. The girls have a Little People set under the tree they can play with. The girls also have one in their room they got from Church last year.
10. Mail or email Christmas cards? Christmas cards? Our family didn't do that when I was growing up, so I haven't gotten into that tradition, yet. I enjoy reading the ones we get, though!
11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? No comment
12. Favorite Christmas Movie? I have a lot-Right now, it's probably Elf. Last night, we all watched the Grinch, I like that one, too.
13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? I wish I could say all year. But this year, it's been in the last 2 months.
14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Again, no comment.
15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Anything my mom makes. She's the best cook. Some year I want her to fix mexican and we can sing Felix Navidad!
16. Lights on the tree? Seriously? We put 3 extra strands on our prelit tree, and put 12 strands on the tree in the basement.
17. Favorite Christmas song? Oh Holy Night. I just like singing that one. I love to hear Avery sing Away in the Manger.
18. Travel for Christmas or stay home? Going North to Abilene on Christmas day. Spending Tuesday night with Kevin's family.
19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeers? You know Dasher and Dancer, Prancer and Vixen. Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen. And Rudolph, too.
20. Angel on the tree top or a star? Neither and let me tell you the girls are not happy. They really want either a star or angel. I like my trees just the way they are. Fashion trumps theology on this one.
21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Hello, Santa delivers them Christmas night so Christmas morning is when you open them! The kids open one gift on Christmas eve every year. And every year that one gift is a pair of pajamas.
22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? Last year, I bought ALL of the gifts for all of our families by myself. I didn't like it. This year, Kevin help a little. He does most of the wrapping of the gifts so I shouldn't complain.
23. Favorite ornament theme or color? I used to just like white or gold. Now I like all of the colors, as long as they coordinate.
24. Favorite Christmas dinner? Last year we had beef tenderloin for the first time. It was good! And we eat homemade Chex mix alot during advent and epiphany every year.
25. What do you want for Christmas this year? I know this sounds corny, but I just want to watch my girls open their gifts and experience Christmas with my family. Wait, I would like to paint our bedroom, too. And I want some black boots at Target that I told Kevin about, showed him in the store, emailed him a link. I wouldn't mind some jewelry either. And I want a better pencil sharpener than the one we have. When you school at home, you use pencils and our little sharpener isn't cutting it anymore....Oh, yeah, and peace on earth-good will toward men.

I hope you all are able to spend this Christmas with your family, and that you'll experience the true meaning of this special time of year. Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

There's no place like home

I came across a new blog today, and I loved this post. I've worked outside the home off and on since Avery was born almost 6 years ago. I didn't realize that I wanted to be a stay at home mom until I actually had a baby. I just assumed I'd stay home on maternity leave, then go back to work. No conflicting thoughts or feelings. It would just happen. Boy, I was soo wrong. My heart ached when I went back to work. I remember pleading with Kevin after coming home from the hospital after Avery was born to let me not go back to work. I was teaching at the time and knew I couldn't legally just quit. And we couldn't live on Kevin's income at the time. Having to work outside the home was very hard for me. I would get depressed. I would be jealous of other moms who stayed at home. I was bitter. I had a good work ethic, I liked work, once I got there. I just didn't want to leave my baby. My heart was home. I felt called to be in the home. Kevin got this book, which confirmed by feelings. In 2007, Kevin was offered a position that allowed me to stay home. These last 2 years have been the best. I LOVE being home. Granted, I work 1 day a week during the college semester. Even working 1 day a week is hard most weeks. This position provides a cushion and some extra money for us. There have been many times when I want to quit. In my head, I feel I've been offered a great job, and I don't want to let it go. This job gives my kids a chance to spend the day with grandparents. But is it right during this season, while I have little ones at home? I still consider myself a SAHM. I thank God for the opportunity to be a wife and mom. I don't want to take this for granted. Ok, long rambling thoughts. Scroll back up and click on the link that started this post.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas Confessions

I'm almost done with Christmas shopping, but not quite. I still have stocking stuffers and a few other things to buy. It's crazy cold out today, so I'm staying in with my baby. I got a few things Saturday, and, while shopping for others, I ended up buying a really cute shirt for myself. When I showed it to Kevin, he rolled his eyes and asked why I always buy things for myself at Christmas time? I admit, I do this every year. As I got to thinking about it, I realized that Christmas time is really the only time of year that I actually go shopping. I don't go to the mall, I don't shop just for the fun of it anymore. I just don't get around much anymore (hear the song playing in the background!) Since Thanksgiving, I've bought a pair of jeans, a vest, and 2 shirts for myself. Mainly b/c they were so cheap and mainly b/c I knew no one else would get them for me.

So, what about you? Do you ever buy stuff for yourself this time of year? Time to confess...

Friday, December 12, 2008

Family Pix 2008

Yesterday, we had these pix taken at Portrait Innovations. I made the appt for during the day, thinking it wouldn't be as busy as an evening or weekend time slot. Boy, was I wrong. We waited for almost an hour to get one set of pictures taken, then waited another 30 minutes for the second set. There were so many people there. Everyone was dressed in black, red, and white. Presley was awake the whole time, but didn't smile at all. The older girls were great. Kevin and I decided we will do this again, but just to get the girls pix taken. We weren't very happy with the family portrait. Oh well. I should have had our family pix taken earlier this fall, so they could be outside. I've been stewing over this since Presley was born, I'm glad it's over.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

I'm a survivor!

I got the "all clear" from my oncologist last week! I'm so happy. It's been 16 years since I was first diagnosed with thyroid cancer. It all started at the beginning of my senior year in high school. I was singing a lot and getting ready to audition for college. I kept having sore throats and noticed a knot the size of a big gumball on my neck. This is one of my senior pictures, you can see the lump in the bottom right part of my neck. This picture was taken 3 months before I noticed any symptoms.

Hey, it was 1993, that style was cool back then! Anyway, we lived in southwestern Kansas at the time. After 10 days of tests and visiting 4 different doctors, I was finally diagnosed with metastatic papillary carcinoma. My first surgery was on September 26, 1992 (does that date sound familiar to anyone?) The weekend I had the surgery, over 100 people came to the hospital to see me. And the hospital was 6 hours away from my hometown! I spent a week in the hospital healing and having more tests done. Before I left to go back home, I had one radiation treatment, which consisted of taking a pill. My goal at the time, was to get home b/c I was nominated for homecoming queen and I didn't want to miss it. I didn't end up winning. 3 months later, I went down to Houston, MD Anderson Cancer Center. I went there every 6 months for the next 4 years. In 1996, an ultrasound showed the cancer had come back. I had another surgery, this time followed by radiation that kept me in the hospital and in seclusion. I hated that. I've been on a yearly check-up schedule since then. I have ultrasounds and more thorough tests every 2 years, when I'm not pregnant or nursing. Had a scare back in 2004, but everything turned out negative.

I'm ready to be done with this chapter in my life. My right side of my neck and face is numb. I have a 9 inch scar on my neck and I'll take medicine for the rest of my life. At one point, I thought this disease had taken away any chance of having a baby. I've had the opportunity to witness and be with 2 other girls who've gone through similar surgeries, one a friend-the other a 10 year old student of mine. I've had good doctors, great doctors, and 1 horrible doctor. My family has been phenominal. The churches I've been a part of during these times have been great. My relationship with Christ has grown through this experience. I know he has plans for me. I see it in my little girls' eyes. My boyfriend turned husband has been wonderful, he is an encourager, motivator and optimist. I don't know what I'd do without him. I know the best time of my life is still ahead.

The Lord will keep you from all harm- He will watch over your life; The Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore. Psalm 121:7,8

Monday, December 8, 2008

Avery the artist

Kevin posted a drawing Avery did over the weekend here. She is so talented! She didn't get that from either of her parents. I can sing, I can't draw. Kevin can sing, he can't draw. When she was in preschool as a 3 year old, her teacher told me that Avery would get frustrated with the other kids who weren't coloring in the lines. The teacher had to put good colorers on either side of her. Needless to say, art is her favorite subject in school.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Misc. thoughts

Various thoughts I've been thinking include, but are not limited to-

  • I miss singing. With the exception of a couple of funerals, I haven't sung or led worship in public in 2 years. I'm starting to really miss it. I've considered getting a church job, just so I could sing again ( and the pay would be helpful, too)

  • I love this time of year. It's so magical. I can't remember figuring out about Santa, I've always believed in him. In my mind as a child, I remember thinking, "my parents couldn't afford this, so there must be a Santa!" My favorite Christmas gift was a bike I got when I was 5. My second favorite was a stereo-it was huge!

  • I spent alot of money this weekend. I need to slow down, we still have 23 more days in this month!

  • That said, I think I have most of our Christmas shopping done!

  • Kevin gave me an early present. I got highlights in my hair yesterday. I realize this is so shallow, but I love having highlights! It's been 4 years since I've had my hair colored. The stylist kept saying my hair looked so healthy. Duh, I haven't colored it in 4 years!

  • We're getting our family pix done this week. Finally. Presley is 10 weeks old and I don't have any paper pix of her yet. All of them are in the computer.

  • We have a crazy busy week ahead. I have juries 2 days, we have dentist appts. pictures, and Friday night we're hosting a party for Kevin's student workers and my voice students, should be fun. Sunday, Presley is getting baptized up in Abilene. Somewhere in there, Avery will have school, Presley will be fed, and McKenna will get to play barbies with her mom. I love my life!

Friday, December 5, 2008

My mom's b-day

Here is my mom with Reese, my niece.

My mom was born on the anniversary of the bombing of pearl harbor. She is 59 today. I love her so much. She is the best mom in the whole world. She is also the best grandma. Things I love and appreciate about my mom.

  • She loves her husband and cares for him. She irons his clothes, cooks for him, cleans for him

  • She loves her children. She took care of us when we were sick, stayed in the hospital with us. She made dresses for us at Christmas. She permed our hair. She did all of our laundry.

  • She loves her grandkids. She is always buying something for them. She reads to them, she plays with them, she cooks their favorite meals.

  • She's the best cook. period. Everything she makes is delicious. Her gumbo is out of this world.

  • She has the gift of hospitality. She loves to entertain.

  • She loves yellow roses.

  • She doesn't like chocolate very much

Being a mom myself makes me appreciate her all the more. Now I realize how much she sacrificed for us. If you see my mom today, wish her a happy birthday. Say a prayer of blessing for her.

Happy Birthday Mom, I love you!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Chex Mix thoughts

I love chex mix! Not the kind you buy at the store in a bag. I love the homemade kind. I remember our family made it every year during the holidays. My aunt Marlene makes the best, actually I think she pays someone to make it for her, but that's not the point. I usually follow her recipe to make my own. She does the original, but doesn't put in the bagel chips. Then she adds about a cup each of

  • bugles

  • cheerios

  • kix

  • cheese-its

  • and cheese balls

Oh, it's sooooooo good! I could live on that stuff. Especially with an ice cold Coke in hand. I just found a crock pot recipe here. I think I'll try making it that way next! How do you make your chex mix? Leave a comment and let me know!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Save the Date!

Homemade Gourmet Christmas Open House!
the Osborn abode (leave a comment if you need directions)
Monday, December 15, 2008

This is a great opportunity to shop for those on your Christmas list. There will be great food, drinks and more gift-giving ideas to make the holidays extra special. If you can't make it, feel free to browse Sally's website and place an order. Or call me and I'll place an order for you. RSVP by leaving a comment. Hope to see you there!

Homemade ornaments

Last year I bought this book, and I loved reading the history about all of the traditions we do to celebrate advent and Christmas. Kevin wrote a little about it here. Last year we made homemade ornaments. We can't eat these, b/c of the glue. It was so fun we decided to make them again this year.

1 cup cinnamon

1 tbs each of ginger, nutmeg and ground cloves

1 cup applesauce

2 tbs glue

mix together to form dough. you may need to add some flour, we did. roll out and cut into shapes. make a hole at the top of each ornament, we used a straw. Let air dry for a few days, turning often.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Productive weekend

We had a great weekend putting up the trees, ornaments and decorating the house. I'll post pix of the outside tomorrow, hopefully. We've watched Elf 5 times so far. We've eaten more Chex mix than I care to admit. We had wonderful food and special times with our families and friends.

Here is our tree in the living room. Avery is playing with the little people nativity set.
Here is the tree in the basement. Kevin also painted the bathroom downstairs and it looks awesome! We found some $5 paint a few weeks ago in a color that we thought would be fine. It looks really good.
Yesterday, the girls and I made ornaments for their trees. They take a couple of days to dry, then we'll hang them and post more pix.
Presley had her 2 month appt. today. She weighed 11lbs, 12 oz. Hard to believe she had so much trouble gaining weight after she was born. She is doing great. Cried a lot after getting her shots. I've spent most of the afternoon holding her, which I don't mind a bit.
I'm making breakfast for dinner tonight. Chex mix for dessert! I'm hoping Coke is on sale at Dillons this week, b/c we are dangerously low! Good thing we don't drink pop with our biscuits and eggs!