Christmas traditions

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As a child my parents always made Christmas time very special.  I remember going together and picking out a tree that my dad would cut down. We'd bring it home and decorate it while listening to John Lennon's Christmas record. My mom would get out all of our special hand made decorations and we each had special ornaments that we would hang on the tree. 
I loved the anticipation of Santa coming and as I grew older, I enjoyed the time I spent with my family. My mom and I would bake and I enjoyed the traditional Christmas dinner we would have. We also always had cinnamon rolls while we opened gifts. 
Now that I have my own family, it is time for me to decide what I would like to do to make the holidays special for my children. 
This year was the first year that Evelyn really started to understand what was going on.  Mike and I decided that Santa would bring each child 3 gifts. We will also each get them one and maybe next year they can pick out one for each other. Mike and I haven't exchanged gifts the last couple of years. We don't usually for birthdays either. We tend to enjoy doing something together so we try to find a concert or a different activity to do. 
Christmas morning I just want to spend together as a family and open gifts and have a big Christmas breakfast. In the late afternoon we go to Mikes uncles house and have a big, really fancy dinner.  It's a meal done in courses. Usually a soup, then salad, next is sometimes pasta and then the main course and then of course dessert. It is relaxing and always a fun time. Oh and last year we decided to do a pj Christmas so everyone wore pajamas. Makes it easier to eat more when you have stretchy pants on.  Ha ha. 
Next year I want to do some baking with Evelyn like I did with my mom. I'm sure more traditions will come as the kids get older but so far I am enjoying all that we do. The holidays for me are all about spending time with the ones you love. 

Christmas

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We had a great Christmas. Evelyn really understood the idea of Santa and was really excited about getting to bed and getting up in the morning. We put out cookies and milk and carrots for reindeer. 
Evelyn woke up early and Mike heard her open the gate to go downstairs. He jumped out of bed and yelled, she's going downstairs. We both ran down the hallway and Evelyn was sitting by the stairs. She said did Santa come? 
We went downstairs and Evelyn was in awe that presents were under the tree. She was so excited to open everything. 
It was a great day. I hope everyone had a great Christmas. 





20 weeks old

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20 weeks pregnant 

 
20 weeks old baby 

Visiting Santa

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We took both the kids to see Santa on Saturday. Evelyn sat on his lap for the first time. She asked for Cinderella, I'm not actually sure what that meant. Either way they both did great and we got a good picture. 

Sensory bin, snow

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I have lots of gifts to wrap and cleaning to get done today in order to prepare for Christmas. I needed something to keep Evelyn busy so I put together a quick sensory bin of fake snow. 
Here's how I did it. 
I used a 9x13 Pyrex dish that has a lid. Then I mixed together 1 box of baking soda and 1/3 cup of white hair conditioner. 
That's all. Evelyn's been busy playing with it for an hour. When she's done I'll put the top on it and keep if for a week.  If it starts to dry out, you can just add a bit more conditioner. 

Let the snow fun begin. 


Time, oh you go so fast

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Today was one of those days that I look at Evelyn and Jack and realize how fast they are growing. I just want to do so much with them. I want to play with them and teach them new things. I want to watch them experience the world and I want to guide them through all of that. 
In my free time I look online for activities that we can do together. Evelyn loves crafts so I try to do something like that with her everyday.  Lately she has been loving puzzles so we do those. Jack is loving toys and of course putting everything in his mouth. 
Our days are non stop.  We are moving and busy all day. 
Between chores and errands and taking care of both kids, no one gets much of a break. Mike gets home from work and jumps right into the grove. It's dinner, clean up, a bit of play and then bedtime starts. It's go go go.
At night when everyone is asleep I think about how the day went and I always feel like I should have done more with both of the kids. I always wish I would have held Jack more.  With Evelyn I always feel like I should have taught her more.  She is a little sponge and is just craving information. It really just makes me sad to see how fast time is moving. Then I feel happy to be able to spend this precious time with them. 
 I should say something like carpe diem, but instead I'll just say, enjoy the days and enjoy the cuddles because time is going to go faster than you think. When I feel so tired because Jack was up 3 times and Evelyn wanted me to sleep in her bed. I think about the time when they aren't going to need me like that. I can always sleep later. 



Glucose free, low carb pizza. Where's the crust?

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I'm always looking for low carb dinner ideas. I especially love recipes that can remake my favorites, such as pizza. 
I found this recipe, "where's the crust pizza"  from the www.plainchicken.com blog. 
It calls for a "crust" to be with a base of cream cheese, egg and parmesan cheese. Then you top it with your normal pizza toppings. 
We tried it out tonight.  I have to say that honestly it wasn't bad but, I did miss the actual crust. I'm a bread junkie those. I could live on carbs and other than cooking lower carb at dinner for Mike, I pretty much do. 
This will satisfy a pizza craving though. I'm not sure I'll make it again but if you are looking for a glucose free, low carb pizza this is definetly one to try. 
Here's the details 

Crust
1 8oz package cream cheese ( not low fat)
2 eggs
Black pepper
Garlic powder
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese ( the green can kind)
 
Use a hand mixer to mix all this together. 
Spread into a greased 9x13 pan and bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees. 

After it is baked let it cool for 10 minutes and then top with whatever pizza fixins you like. I put sauce, cheese, pepperoni and mushrooms. Then bake it again for another 15 minutes or so. 


This picture is after we already started eating it. Ha. 

Healthier version of broccoli cheese soup

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I was looking through my cookbooks on a hunt for a broccoli cheese soup. Most of the recipes called for velveeta cheese. Don't get me wrong, there is a place for that amazing processed cheese goodness but the thought of eating it with a spoon somehow makes it very unappetizing for me. 
The healthier versions only called for a couple of ounces of cheese. Come on people, I am trying to make a broccoli CHEESE soup, I need more cheese. 
So, in the end I came up with my own version and it was perfect. 

3 cups vegetable broth ( chicken broth would work too)
10 ounces frozen broccoli florets
1 medium onion, diced 
2 carrots, diced
1 tablespoon garlic ( I used the jarred stuff but fresh would be great)
Salt, pepper
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup milk
8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese shredded

I put everything into a stock pot except the cream, milk and cheese. I let it come to a boil and then let it simmer for 15 minutes or so. Then I used an immersion blender to smooth it all out. I like it to have texture but not be chunky. 
Then I added the cream and milk and then slowly added the cheese and let it melt. 
When everything was melted I simmered it for a few more minutes and ladled it into bowls. 
It was better then expected. 

Birthday gift from Mike

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For my birthday Mike bought me the iPad air. We don't usually do bit gifts for birthdays or holidays. Since I've been blogging more and using Pinterest all the time Mike thought I'd enjoy having my own iPad. He has one and the one for the house has pretty much become Evelyn's. She has all her videos and games on it. It has been a lifesaver when traveling.
I've only had the iPad air for a couple of days and it is pretty awesome. He even had my name engraved in it. Awe!!!




Can you believe I'm 3...?

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It's my birthday and I can't believe I'm 34!!  Crazy. I don't mind people knowing my age. I know as we women get older we tend to shy away from others knowing our age. It's no big deal to me though. I love birthdays and look forward to mine each year. Mike made sure to tell me that I am now in my mid 30's. Ha. He is an ego boost for sure. 
Anyways to celebrate we are making chili and cornbread from my new Pioneer Women cookbook that my parents got fir me. I'll post the recipe later. It looks so good. I'm excited for dinner. 
Until we eat though, I am enjoying a glass of wine and some quiet time while both the littles nap. 


Holiday decorating

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I love decorating for Christmas. This year is especially exciting because it is our first Christmas in our new house. 
I'm still figuring out what needs to go where and I'll probably buy lots more after Christmas when things go on sale. This is what I've done so far.
I have a few more things to do but I'm running out of time with Christmas neing only 2 weeks away. 








Christmas pictures

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I had the little ones pictures done a couple of weeks ago and we just got them back. Here are a few of them. 
I decided not to put them in the tradition red outfits. I just don't really like red and I wanted something festive and a little different. 
I think they turned out really cute. 




Evelyn's entire outfit is from old navy. Jacks entire outfit is from Carter's. 

It's a coffee day

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Both of the little ones have runny noses and are coughing. So you know what that equals, yup, no sleep for the mama. Jack was up every 2 hours and Evelyn went to bed at 10:00 and was up at 5:00. 
I'm having my first cup of coffe now but I'm thinking it's going to be a 3 cup morning. Oh how I love coffee. 
I busted out the Christmas mugs too. Also I'm having a mini bagel with pumpkin cream cheese. It is amazing. It actually tastes like pumpkin cheesecake. It's only here for a limited time so I'm going to stock up. I might start eating it with a spoon. Why waste calories with the bagel. 

Jack's first bite

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Jack is almost 5 months old and is growing great.  He eats often during the day and sleeps well at night.
So, we decided to let him try some rice cereal last night.  I remember giving Evelyn rice cereal for the first time and she didn't like it at all.  She is nearly 3 and eating is a battle most days still.
So, I wasn't expecting Jack to take more than a bite.  This early it is just about teaching him to swallow.  The rice cereal is mixed very very thin with breast milk.
Well, he really liked it.  I only gave him a tablespoon and he ate it right up and was reaching for the bowl.  I hope this is a good sign that he will be a good eater.
I can't believe we are already to this stage.  It is like once they start eating, then they are drinking out of a sippy cup and then all of a sudden you look back and realize they are running and are a toddler.  Time just goes by way too fast.  

Christmas tea

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I attended our church's ladies Christmas tea this afternoon. This was my 5th year and for the past 2 I have hosted a table. 
This is my favorite church event out of the year. It is a time where the women of our parish get together to celebrate the Christmas season. 
We listen to some songs and hear the Christmas tea story. We have dessert and of course tea. The church ladies also make some amazing champagne punch. 


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