Friday, December 30, 2011

What I've Learned this Year:

1.  Never take an 11 month-old on a boat.  Even if you promise them that they will see dolphins.  Not  fun!

2. Don't pitch the Target $10 gift card promotion prescription coupons before they expire.  Your child will need a scrip filled within 24 hours.

3. Little boys really do stink.  Open the windows in their bedroom and air it out at every chance you get!

4. Oxiclean is a mother's best friend.

4. So is  This Santa will never shop the old way again!

5. Murphy's Law: When traveling with a 14 month old, flight delays and being stuck on the runway are inevitable.

6. All day kindergarten is a l-o-n-g day...for your kindergartener, too.  (It took me a good month to get used to it.)  

7. Don't wear suede boots to the mulch playground. 

8. Blogging is a lot of work, but can be very rewarding.  Thanks to those who have stopped by in 2011.  
Hoping to learn from my mistakes in 2012!  

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Creamy Crock-Pot Chicken

This is my kids' FAVORITE overall #1 dinner.  And I like it because it's the crock-pot!!!!  One time Clare came home from school to the smell of the crock-pot cooking this recipe and told me our house smelled like a big hug.  :)    

Creamy Chicken

1lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 pkg dry chicken gravy mix
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 cup chicken stock
8oz pkg cream cheese

Sprinkle gravy mix over chicken in crock pot, mix soup and chicken stock and pour over the top.  Cook on low for 8 hrs.  During last 30 minutes, stir in the cream cheese.  Before serving, remove chicken and whisk sauce until smooth.  Serve chicken and sauce over noodles or rice.

It's even a favorite as leftovers for lunch.  (Or as a mid morning snack if you are Jude...)    


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Gift of Sanity

Christmas was a bit crazy for me this year...  My older sister got married out of town (for us) the week before Christmas.  I thought I had planned the trip there and what I had left to do when we returned rather well...  Then Ryan ended up with an appendectomy 4 hours after we got back in town from the wedding.  (Something very spontaneous for left-brained me!)

Add in 3 kids, unloading and reorganizing and getting back on schedule from a long weekend out of town, a 15 month-old with an ear infection, the "normal" household routine, school Christmas parties, Christmas plays, last minute gifts and errands, assembling gifts, and wrapping I felt like I was treading water.  

And I'm not a very good swimmer.  

I was very grateful when my in-laws offered to take the two older kids for TWO NIGHTS so I could tend to Ryan and Ellen and the rest of my Christmas list (which I edited quite a bit after the appendectomy!).  At first I felt so guilty that Clare and Jude weren't home.  I felt like a bad mom for have to call in the reinforcements.  But then I also realized that I had been so overwhelmed I had lost all charity in my words and actions towards them and Ryan.  (OK, I might have been told this by my better half...)  With the older kids having a ball at Grandma's house, I had less on my plate and was able to embrace preparing for Christmas instead of stressing over all of it.  And Ryan and I enjoyed being able to spend time one-on-one with Ellen.  (Something that doesn't happen a lot.)  I also realized when Clare and Jude returned on Christmas Eve (what a wonderful gift!) that I was in better (perhaps more rested!) mood and had a lot more charity and patience toward them.  I needed that break to be able to be a better mother and wife.  I am very thankful to have been gifted my sanity this Christmas!  

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas 2011

 Christmas morning...

Plasma cars!

"Everybody gets a car!"

I'm hoping for hours of entertainment this winter riding these in the unfinished basement!  For the kids, too.  :)

Ellen opened very carefully.   

If she could only take over real vacuuming...

Showing Daddy her new toy.  

OPTIMUS PRIME!!!!  (In bed with him now!) 

Clare trying out the Xbox Kinect from Grandpa and Grandma...

In the meantime this track has been a HUGE hit with Jude.  Kind of funny that he didn't ask for it, but I knew it would be something he would love.  (iPlay Build-A-Road.)    

And a tent for everyone to share.

 Trying to get a nice Christmas picture...  Ellen insisted on sitting in her booster seat.  

Hope everyone had a very MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

(Image found here)
"Sink down and kneel.
Bow low before His presence 
there upon the hay."

-Jeanne Kun in My Soul Magnifies the Lord; A Scriptural Journey with Mary 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

'Tis the Season...for Christmas Programs!

Clare and Jude both had their Christmas programs at school this past week.  And both were angels...typecasting?  I like to think so!  :)

Christmas break starts today for everyone!
Glad we are one step closer to Christmas!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A December Wedding

 My sister's wedding was this past weekend!  
It was a beautiful day...and I survived my matron of honor toast!

First came the rehearsal on Friday night...

After the rehearsal dinner we questioned if some people had coordinated their attire...

Then since it was the only time that all 6 siblings will be together :( we gave my parents their Christmas gift: an ipad!  

Saturday was the wedding.

Some people came down the aisle by themselves...

...others needed a bit of assistance.

Here comes the bride!


The highlight (or lowlight?) of the ceremony was when my brother, Max, had to read the petitions off of his iphone because the hard copy had been misplaced.  Crisis avoided.  
(Another "highlight" was his steller 'stache!)

 Marian devotion by the Advent wreath. 

Walking to the get-away car to cheers and applause!

 Next came a fun reception!

First dance.

 (Dancing makes you really thirsty!) 

Pretty centerpieces.


 My kids' favorite part of the reception?  The candy buffet!

Another sweet ending was the floating lanterns that saw the newlyweds off!

Congratulations to Katie and Andrew!

(PS - A not so sweet ending was for Ryan who ended up with an appendectomy after our 9 hour car ride home on Monday!  I drove him straight to the ER and he ended up in surgery 4 hours later.  He is home now and recovering.  Makes for an exciting story!!)

PSS - Thanks to Jane, Carrie, and Rachel for the pictures I missed!