Sunday, November 28, 2010

Visit with Santa

Audrey, 7
Carter, almost 4
Chloe, 16 months

Last week my Mom & I took the kids to visit Santa. As you can see, one family member was less than thrilled about the man in the red suit ... but trust me, we didn't leave her on his lap for long. :) I usually take the kids in the few days before Thanksgiving - it's a little early but it makes for a quick trip and no lines, and they usually have off from school anyhow.

I know people have different opinions about telling their kids about Santa, but for us it is just for fun. Actually, I have never made a big deal out of Santa ... but Audrey kind of picked up the ball and ran with it at an early age. The kids have such fun with it all that I really don't want to burst their bubble, but it is only a matter of time for Audrey. The other day she came home from school and told me that some boy on the bus said that Santa was just a man in the suit - and she said (and I quote) "everyone on the bus went {gasp}!!" (I personally thought it was funny that the whole bus was appalled by what he said.)

Anyhow, we usually leave cookies for Santa, put reindeer food out on the lawn, and he leaves a couple favorite presents for the kids. Honestly, I think Audrey WANTS to believe in Santa because she is a sharp cookie and there have been many instances where she would have reason to doubt. I don't remember ever really believing in Santa as a child ... but I would pretend to believe because I loved all the traditions surrounding him.

This weekend we took out the Christmas stuff and I found these photos from the past few years. It is so fun to see how our family has changed, and how the kids in particular have grown. The pictures start with Audrey at age 3. (I know I have some pictures of Audrey earlier on but I can't find them at the moment.)

Audrey, age 3
(and I was almost 8 months pregnant with Carter)

Audrey, age 4 & Carter, age 11 months

Audrey, 5 & Carter, almost 2

Audrey, 6
Carter, almost 3
Chloe 5 months
And Mommy, age 37
(Only way I could get Carter to be in the picture this year was to have him on my lap!)

The Santa is the same man in each picture!! (And my Mom & I say he is the "real" Santa, because - geez, doesn't he look authentic to you??)

Hope you are enjoying this holiday season!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Wii did it

Yup, we got us a Wii.

It all started with Audrey asking for a DSi for Christmas. Which we really didn't want to buy her (for a variety of reasons). I said to Chad "If we're going to spend that much money, I'd rather spend a little more and get a Wii that the whole family could enjoy."

Which led to Chad having a discussion with his co-worker about buying Christmas presents.

Which led to her saying they had a Wii that they really didn't use, and she would bring it to work for us to "try it out."

Which led to just bringing it home to try it. (Which is kind of like bringing home a kitten to see if you really want to keep it ... which is why we now have a cat ...)

Which led to the kids having a ton of fun with it. (Okay, the grown-ups were having a lot of fun too ...)

And now we have a Wii. So if you're looking for Christmas present ideas? Well, we don't have too many games yet... and bowling is getting a little old ;)

Yeah, notice the coffee table pushed in front of the TV? That's because the kids whip those remotes around so close to the TV that one day there is going to be an accident of gigantic proportions if there isn't a blockade!

Thursday, November 25, 2010


Our completed Thanksgiving tree - filled with so many things to be thankful for!

The whole Thanksgiving gang at my parents' house

Chloe eating her first Thanksgiving dinner - her favorites are mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce!

Daddy and his girls

Carter being a goofball ... which is his favorite thing to do these days.
Which is why we had to have a review session about appropriate table behavior before arriving at Pop-pop & Mom-mom's house ...

My parents gave the kids this musical snowglobe. It was a huge hit with the kids ... but I have a feeling I will want to hide it in a closet in about 2 days... :)

Giggly girls

Daddy giving all 3 kids a pony ride.

It was a special day. I was especially thankful that my lifelong friend Melissa could join us.

And Mom, the food was truly yummy, even if you didn't think it was all that stellar! ;)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Today I was looking through a bunch of old photos on the computer. I happened upon these gems, taken during a vacation to Florida in May of 2006. Audrey was only 2 1/2 and I was newly pregnant with Carter.

Ahh, sweet memories. :)

Carter saw a few of these photos and asked where he was. Hard to explain to him that he was not born yet!

And ... hard to believe that in a little over a year, Chloe will be at this same age. Boy have things changed around here since then!!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Thank you Shutterfly

So folks, you know how I am always game for a good deal?

Well here is a GREAT one! (Especially if you are a blogger ... take note!) Stay with me now as I digress for a moment....

Once again, Christmas is rolling around faster than a freight train at night. And for many of us that means thinking about Christmas cards among other things.

I've been taking a look around Shutterfly's website for some inspiration. They have some great cards this year.

I really like this one:

I like how the cover photo is really prominent and I like the simple scalloped frame design a lot, but what I REALLY like about this card is that inside the card there is a little spot for a picture of each family member and a few lines where you could write a little "year-in-review" summary about that person. (Kind of like putting the "Christmas letter" into the card itself. No more pieces of paper falling out all over the place and getting separated from the card itself!) Isn't that a great idea? If you search their "story cards" you will see a whole variety of cards that have this feature.

And I think this one really reflects the reason for the season:

This one also has space to write a little something inside (although just a short message on this one). And the cover has 3 spaces for 3 little faces. Perfect for our family. :)

Here's another idea - I like the simplicity of this one, the variety of photos you could use for this card .... and I LOVE the monogram. I think monograms are so classy, don't you?

Honestly, there are a lot of options to choose from. I don't know quite how I will choose!

I also have to make a plug for the photo books. I just ordered a photo book that I made of Chloe's first year, and it turned out great! (I will add - I was having trouble using the code for a discount and called customer service, and they were VERY helpful. I was so glad to not have to hassle about it.) Photo books are also currently 20% off and they make good gifts too.

Okay, now on to the good news. Shutterfly is offering all bloggers 50 FREE 5x7 flat or folded stationerycards in exchange for a blog post on their stuff. Since I have been happy with my Shutterfly experiences for many years now, I was happy to do this. If you want to take part too, go to join in on the free offer:!

Thank you Shutterfly!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Art Show

Audrey's artwork (from school) was selected to be a part of the local art show this past weekend!
Here she is with her "African shield". :)

(Her friend Kaitlyn also was selected and her Leaf picture is above Audrey's!)

I was very happy for her that she was selected. I think lately she has been feeling a little lost in the sea of humanity that is her elementary school. So I'm glad there was something special that she did and that she could be excited about.

Friday, November 5, 2010

What to do, what to do ...

... with all the Halloween candy in your house?

[it is calling my name as I type ... "eat me, eat me" ... I WILL resist ...]

Well, I for one do not want to gain 15 lbs. from eating it, especially BEFORE Christmas even arrives, because it is a given that I will probably gain a few over the holidays.

Luckily, I have a few ideas about how to rid the house of the excess.

First - take all the little non-chocolate pieces (lollipops, pixy stix, starburst, etc.) and stash them away. (A few at a time so the kids don't notice, ha!) Then ... if you are hosting a birthday party or something in the next 6 months ... use them in the pinata or goodie bags. Not that I have EVER done this. Ahem.

Second - take the chocolatey pieces, put them in a big old ziploc bag and stash them in the freezer. As before, a few at a time. This way it is hard to give into temptation, and you can dole it out a few pieces at a time over the next few months. Not that I have ever battled this temptation myself. Ahem.

Third - use them up in your Christmas baking. This is my favorite idea. 'Cause I love to bake... and especially for Christmas!

Got Hershey bars? Melt them up and drizzle them over almost anything and you look like a gourmet. Or dip pretzels, oreos, etc. in them and roll in sprinkles.

Got Snickers bars? There is an awesome cookie recipe I call Santa Surprises that uses them (and you could substitute Milky Ways and 3 Musketeers easily as well. And you don't really need the minis, you could always cut the fun size in half too.) Drizzle aforementioned Hershey bars and some Christmas sprinkles over top of these babies and you have one delicious Christmas cookie. Just a note - for the recipe, click on the word Santa Surprises above. For some reason the link will not highlight itself! AARGH!

Got Reese's Peanut Butter Cups? (Nah, me either. Already gone ... but some of you might not have a weakness for them like we do here...) Here is another great cookie recipe that uses them. Or here's another. Make them, put some red and green sprinkles on top, and voila! Christmas cookies. Give them as gifts. Or eat them yourself!

Got M&M's? Pick out the red and green ones and then you have Christmas M&M's! (Just kidding - who has time or is crazy enough to do THAT??)

We also have lots of Kit Kat's around and I'm not sure what to do with those ... other than just eat them. Or give them away!

Okay seriously now. If you have candy that you just don't want - many shelters will take them and use them for their residents. Both Audrey's & Carter's schools have sent home notices that we could send candy in if we wished. So don't throw it out ... someone can surely use it, even if that isn't you!