November 29, 2012

Weekend Plans

The weekend. A December Weekend. Hooray! We will be quite busy this weekend, but it is with fun, family activities. Friday night Steve and Rhett are going back to hunting camp in hopes that Rhett will be successful during his first hunting season. My sister will be returning to stay with us and we will probably order take out and watch a movie. My kind of Friday night. : )

Saturday I plan on visiting with my father and taking him his coffee. I will also redo his calendar for December and take in the chocolate Advent calendars I got for him and his roommate, Marshall. They are always so excited about anything holiday, or chocolate for that matter! Steve and Rhett will hopefully be home for Mass and then after that, I am planning on a simple meal of sloppy joes and macaroni and cheese with fresh fruit for dinner. This time of year I always feel better after eating some kind of fruit. Don't you?

Sunday morning we are going to take our Christmas card picture. Back in the day, when I was young and energetic, we went to a professional photographer to have the Christmas picture taken. I loved it! I always got matching brother-sister outfits and everything. But, the littles grew, as children tend to do, and then we were blessed with little Flynn. She was born in late November, I was recovering from my fourth c-section, and Steve, who is always searching for ways to make my life easier (and in turn his happier!) suggested we stay home and take it ourselves. It wasn't hard to convince me that year, and honestly, it turned out great. We have been taking it ourselves ever since. After our "photo session", we are going to my mom's to celebrate my brother-in-law's birthday. We are having pizza and cake and visiting with family. I hope to be home in time for showers, baths, and jammies so we can catch some of the Steeler game before bed. And that is our weekend. Hope your first weekend of Advent is happy, whatever your plans may be!

Madison and I before her party...

The birthday girl!!
She had a wonderful day. Thank you all for your kind wishes. She loved them all!

My November birthday girls...

Zip is back, keeping an eye on things for Santa.

I am loving this Advent wreath Rhett made at school!

And my evening tea with a leftover birthday cupcake. Just the thing on a chilly evening at home!

November 27, 2012

Grandma Mildred's Pumpkin Pie

This is my very favorite Thanksgiving recipe ever. In fact, this is Thanksgiving to me. Period. I remember my Grandmother bringing this to my house every year. I remember making this with my mother. Now I make it with my girls. I am fortunate to have the recipe written in my Grandmother's own handwriting. I wanted to keep it safe, so I copied it and then framed it. It now rests on a shelf in my kitchen. Every year, I pull out this recipe and ask Grandma Mil to bake the pies with us. Even though she has been gone several years now, I always feel she is with us the evening before Thanksgiving, baking her delicious pumpkin pie. One note, this is a little different than other recipes for pumpkin pie in that it does not include eggs. Grandma always thought eggs made pumpkin pie too "stringy!" And one last note...I am proud to say I use Pillsbury pie crusts. They are delicious, I swear. Enjoy!

       Grandma Mildred's Pumpkin Pie

Ingredients:      1 large can Libby's Pumpkin (29 oz.)
                       1 1/2 cups sugar
                       3 rounded tablespoons flour
                       1 1/2 tsp. ginger
                       1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
                       1 tsp. allspice
                       1 tsp. nutmeg
                       1/4 tsp. salt
                       12 oz. can evaporated milk
                       12 oz. Half and Half

Directions:       Mix all ingredients except milk
                       and Half and Half in a large
                       bowl with a mixer.
                       Add evaporated milk and Half and Half.
                       Mix well.
                       Divide into two unbaked pie crusts.
                       Bake on the bottom shelf of the oven for one hour.
                       Place in the fridge when cool.


November 26, 2012

Sweet Sixteen

Today is the day. The day my Madison has looked forward to for so very long. Today is her Sweet Sixteen. How I love this girl! She is my firstborn. She is the first person on this planet to ever call me the one word I longed to hear...Mom. She made me the one thing,  next to a loving wife,  that I longed to be...a mother. She is everything a mother would wish, funny, loving, respectful.
She is everything I wish to be...confident, creative, determined. She is our Madison Marie...and this is for her...

My Dearest Madison, at sixteen years old you

love music...all kinds but especially Taylor Swift.

love coffee. Especially Pumpkin Spice.

enjoy being home...really!

like to pin food on Pinterest. A lot of food.

are fantastic with hair and makeup. You do you something different to yours every day.

have a sweet boyfriend who likes to spend time with us.

love your job at Dairy Queen and do so well at it.

have the funniest sense of humor.

can put anything together and make the most awesome outfit.

seem to live in your own world when it involves being on time.

are the best friend to your younger sister who looks up to you more than you know.

are a wonderful daughter and sister who is loved and adored!

Tonight we will celebrate you with family and friends and cupcakes...your choice! I hope you have a wonderful day, my daughter...I love you!

November 22, 2012

(Long) Weekend Plans

Friday is perhaps one of our favorite days of the entire year. It is the day after Thanksgiving. The kids are home. The fridge is full of yummy leftovers and the Christmas decorating begins! We always spend the Friday after Thanksgiving at home in our cozy house, preparing for the most wonderful time of year. We have turkey sandwiches on fresh bread with mayo and provolone cheese and just a touch of salt and pepper. We turn on the Christmas music and pull out the decorations and spend the day together. Steve usually comes home from work early and we watch a Christmas movie together. Ahhhh...I am happy just thinking about it!

Saturday I will visit with my dad. I have a beautiful Christmas wreath for his door. He doesn't really have room for even a little tree, so that should spruce his place up a bit. After that, I am planning on coming home and making something for Steve to take to hunting camp. I am thinking my old stand by...pumpkin bread. Then we have Mass in the early evening. After Mass, I am making what is perhaps the favorite meal of the year...turkey soup. Yep. That is the favorite meal of my kids every year. They like it more than Thanksgiving Dinner itself. After dinner, Steve and Rhett are heading to Hunting Camp. I am so excited for Rhett. This is his first year, and he is bursting with excitement!
My mom and sister are coming to stay with me and the girls. We always have so much fun!

Sunday is a day of movies, and games, and baking. The girls usually play games with my sister all day. She enjoys spending this time with them every year. Sunday dinner will be take-out from my favorite place nearby. I am planning on my favorite steak salad!

Monday the kids have off here. It is also my sweet Madison's sweet sixteen! We have a special day planned for her to enjoy with her family and her friends. I can't believe I will soon have a driver in the house!

Well, there are our plans for this long holiday weekend. I hope yours is happy, and cozy, and fun, whatever your plans may be. I will be back on Monday with a special birthday post for my girl!

Flynn was so sweet opening her birthday gifts. She loved her Cinderella DVD!

She loved when we fact, we did it twice!

On her actual birthday, we had her favorite...pumpkin bread!

Her Birthday hair ribbon...

One of her favorite gifts from Mommy and Daddy...

it is so adorable! We were all  playing with it! Even Madison and Ryan! Love the hot cocoa in the cups!

And of course, Flynn had the most fun with an empty paper towel roll! : )

November 21, 2012

Giving Thanks

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day and we will be spending it together. Just the six of us. My whole world together for a quiet, calm day of family, food, and fun. We are fortunate to have my parents here on Christmas, so I have to share them with my sisters on Thanksgiving! Only fair I guess! Steve is one of seven, so his mother takes turns as well. So we will spend the day in our jammies, watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade start to finish. We will eat turkey and mashed potatoes and stuffing and pumpkin pie. And like so many others, we will give thanks for the oh so many blessings God has given us.

I am thankful for so many things...way too many to list here. (After all, I am sure you have much to do to prepare for tomorrow!)  I am thankful for my wonderful husband, and my four sweet children. For my entire loving family. The cozy home I live in. The clean water I get just for turning a tap. The soft bed I sleep in. The food in my cupboards. The health I take for granted.

I am thankful for my dear sweet best friend Marian who I met the very first moment of college and have shared joys and sorrows with every day since, even though she lives far away. I am thankful for my new blogger friends who have been so very kind and welcomed me into this wonderful world of blogging with friendship and open arms. And so I wish you all a safe, happy, cozy day of family and food and love and thanks. Relax and enjoy and settle in. The best time of the year is just ahead!

November 19, 2012

Happy 3rd Birthday Baby Flynn!

Today my baby turns three. At 8:24 A.M. on Thursday, November 19, 2009, this sweet angel entered our lives and God answered our prayers for "just one more... please!"

Flynn Grace

 I could spend this day in sad disbelief that three years have passed so quickly, but instead I will think of all the joy that she brings to our family! I might still cry when we sing Happy Birthday though! That song gets me every time... And so dear sweet Flynn...this is for you.

My sweet baby Flynn, at three years old you

love to hug and kiss and tell us how much you love us.

love milk. White milk. That's all. No water. No juice.

love ice cream, pumpkin bread, whole wheat bread with nothing on it, and Chicken and Stars soup.

love to play by yourself. You play Little People, kitchen center, baby dolls, and puzzles.

love Taggie, your pink blankie Grandma gave you the day you were born.

love Max and Ruby. A lot. You know every episode.

love to spend the day in your jammies.

still sleep in your crib in our room. : )

fall asleep every day in the car when we pick up the kids.

tell me you will go to the potty "after my party!"

love Cinderella. Everything about her.

are very organized and like to tidy up before bed.

love when I put my make up on and have "pretty eyes!"

tell me, "It's just you and me, mom!" when Daddy leaves for work.

make our whole family so very happy and complete!

Last night we celebrated with your family and friends and all things Cinderella! Tonight, birthday girl, we will have a fun little party with just us. Mommy is making pizza and pumpkin bread, your favorite! Happy Birthday my little Flynn!

November 15, 2012

Weekend Plans

Another weekend is here...time is sure flying, isn't it? This weekend is a busy one and an exciting one as well. Friday night Madison has to cheer at a playoff game. Yes, we are still playing football here. Last weekend she missed the game because of the anniversary party we attended. Steve and Rhett will make the trip, but it is just too chilly for Flynn (and for me to be honest!) So Peyton, Flynn and I will spend a quiet night at home in our jammies!

Saturday morning I will have a  quick coffee visit with my dad. Then the older girls and I have a hair appointment. I really enjoy that special time I spend with the girls. Our hairdresser is a friend and we always have such a nice visit. Saturday afternoon we will attend Mass. After that, I plan on having barbecue beef sandwiches and chips for a simple supper. I am going to put the beef in the crock pot early Saturday morning so it will be ready when we return! So good and soo easy!

Sunday is a special day...we are having Flynn's 3rd birthday party! Back in the day, when I was young and energetic, I had huge parties for the littles. Now, much older and wiser, I realize that small, comfortable parties with those we love are much more fun and relaxing. Therefore, we have a few family members coming to celebrate with our little Flynn. She is beyond excited. She is most excited about the candles?! (like Aubrey, Cindy! ) After the party, I plan on cleaning up and organizing everything (because stuff like party decorations and mess drives me crazy! I can't go to bed until everything is "back to normal"!) Then it will be baths and bed for the little ones, and the Steeler game for those of us who can stay awake! Flynn's actual birthday is Monday so I will have to prepare myself for the fact that my baby is turning 3! Well, that is our weekend. Hope yours is happy, whatever your plans may be!

So excited to find this holiday tea to enjoy at night this season!

Flynn was excited to go to the anniversary party last weekend!

Me and my baby...

Our November cupcake delivery...that Cranberry Bliss one is calling my name!

November 11, 2012

A Touch Of Thanksgiving

The day after Halloween, we dusted off all things spooky and packed them away until next year. After a quick dusting...because I am weird like that... we put up the few Thanksgiving touches we have around the house. I sometimes feel sorry for gets passed right over as we rush into Christmas. I am guilty of this, I know! So in honor of this special, laid back day of are a few pictures of Thanksgiving decorations around our home...

This cute little couple keeps me company right here on the computer desk.

I pulled out the sweet little dishes we use for snacks.

I have had this little wall decoration forever!

The smaller but still sweet basket of books that are waiting to be read after dinner.

What would a holiday be without a Little People set to play with?

Our Thanksgiving mantle...

And finally, we are loving this Be Thankful candle which burns every evening in our home.

November 8, 2012

(Long) Weekend Plans

It is a long weekend for us! Hooray! It is also our last "lazy, free" weekend for a long time! Friday night we are traveling out of town for a 25th Anniversary party for Steve's brother and his wife. I can't believe it has been that long. Their wedding was the first family event I attended with Steve's family. I remember it like it were yesterday!

Saturday morning I will be visiting with my father for our weekly coffee date. I am going to de- Halloween his room and get it ready for a few Christmas decorations! After that, I plan on a quiet day at home with my family. Makes me happy just thinking about that! Saturday evening we will attend Mass and then return home for dinner. I plan on marinating some chicken breasts during the day and popping them in the oven when we get home. I will serve them with a vegetable and some baked potatoes.

Sunday morning is free. In fact, our whole day is! I will probably sleep in until at least 7:30 and then have a relaxing morning with my family and the paper and perhaps some coffee cake! Sunday afternoon I may take some time to do a deep housecleaning. Believe it or not, I am actually excited about it! I have a weekly cleaning schedule, but every now and then I like to do a deep clean and with everyone home, I will have lots of help! I like to give the house a good cleaning before we start decorating for the holidays. I am just funny like that... : ) Now after a hard day's work of cleaning...take out pizza may be in order!

Monday my littles are home from school and we just plan on spending a quiet day together. One of our favorite things to don't laugh! watch old game shows on GSN together! They love those old ones... you know, those really old ones I used to watch in high the $25,000 Pyramid and Password. It is the simple things in life that make me happy! Well, that's how we are spending our weekend. Hope yours is happy, whatever your plans may be!

Madison and Ryan before the Halloween Dance. I loved their costumes!

Look what I found at the store!

Have you tried these yet? They are soooo good!

Flynn sporting the first of the Christmas jammies this year!

November 4, 2012

Trick-Or-Treat!...Halloween 2012

Our Halloween began with a spooky Halloween breakfast. This is what the table looked like when my little ones came down on Halloween morning.

I had planned on Halloween Confetti pancakes, but due to the storm, we had school off on Tuesday, so I made the pancakes then. On Halloween morning, we had cinnamon rolls with orange icing. It actually worked out better, as the girls need to leave quite early in the morning. Note to self: remember that next year! After the kids left for school, Flynn and I whipped up some quick Halloween brownies because you can never have too many sweets on Halloween, right? Yummy!

 After school, we finished some quick homework, then Steve came home early from work with pizza. I learned long ago that Halloween trick-or-treat night is not the time for a fancy Halloween meal. We have that the night before, so on trick-or-treat night we can eat, get dressed and get out the door quickly and without hassle!

This year we had some super cute trick-or treaters.

a cat...

a mouse...

a joker...

and a princess...Cinderella!

After trick-or treating for a couple hours on a rainy, cold night, this is what my kitchen table looked like!

This always makes me a little crazy...but fortunately, with my littles, it is about getting the candy, not as much about eating it! The first thing the kids do is go through and put anything they don't want...the "yucky" stuff in a bag for Steve to take to work. This bag is always much bigger than the ones we keep at home! Then the trading begins with whatever is left. After everyone is happy, I give them individual bags to keep their own candy in and we put it in the pantry. Usually in a couple weeks, it is long forgotten! Except by me, who can spot a snack size bag of peanut m&m's a mile away! 

After the candy was taken care of, we washed up and tried to watch a movie, but eyelids drooped, and we called it a night. Halloween 2012 was a huge success and a day I hope my littles will remember long after all that candy is gone.

Halloween 2012
Madison 15, Peyton 12, Rhett 10, Flynn 2

Things I want to Remember:

How excited all 4 of my kids were to get ready...

How sweet it was that my 15 year old wanted to dress up to help out...

How content I felt as my whole little world was together in our van on Halloween night...

The excitement in Flynn's eyes as we pulled up to a house with the porch light on...

How wonderful my husband is to enjoy this as much as I do, and how he held Flynn's hand all night...

How Rhett looked up an address for a little girl in his class, and wrote in on a piece of paper...

How he asked me if he looked alright before he went up to her door...

The special giant Hershey Bar Rhett received at another little girl's house!

How I willed myself to enjoy THIS moment, not long for years past, or worry about the future when I won't have littles anymore...

The tears that welled in my eyes as I watched from the van as my littles went house to house...

How Flynn turned and said at every stop,"Mommy, you wait here. Don't leave, ok?"

How Flynn gathered up all the "red" kit kats she could hold and asked me to put them in the candy jar.

How Peyton thanked my over and over for the wonderful day as I tucked her in.

The smile on my face as I snuggled under my flannel sheets at last.

November 1, 2012

Weekend Plans

This weekend is a mix of seasons for us. We are still celebrating Halloween and actually thinking ahead to ...yikes!...Christmas! Friday after school we are heading out of town to get Flynn's picture taken. This is something I do with all my littles. I have a 4 month, 8 months, and 1-year picture taken. Then I have a yearly one taken every year around their birthday until they are in school and begin to have it taken there. I have gone to the same place for all my children and am excited to see how Flynn's 3rd birthday picture turns out. After her picture, we are going to the Hallmark Store so each one of the kids can pick out an ornament for Christmas. This is a tradition I started with Madison and we have continued every year since. It is actually the "unofficial" start of our family Holiday Season! I have a labeled box for each child, and every year we put his or her ornament inside. We use these ornaments to decorate the kids Christmas tree. This is the tree Santa puts the presents under! I love to look at all the ornaments and see what each child was interested at each age. And when they are all grown and leave when they are say...30, they will have a whole set of ornaments to take with them!

Saturday morning I will visit with my dad at the nursing home. Last week he called and asked me not to come because his roommate was sick, so I am looking forward to visiting with them both. Saturday afternoon is free, so we will probably rest and relax before Mass. Dinner on Saturday is a family favorite, tuna and noodles. Yes, believe it or not, my family actually asks me to make that! Madison has a Halloween dance on Saturday night, and the rest of us will be home watching movies and taking it easy!

Sunday morning is also free! I am planning on sleeping late...ahhh...and then having a big brunch. I like to do this once and a while when we are home without plans on Sunday. We have pancakes, sausage, eggs, hash browns, and fresh fruit. Sunday afternoon will probably bring football and more football. The Steelers play around 4 so we will have a light dinner during the game, then it will be baths and bed! I am taking advantage of these lazy weekends! I know that hunting season, birthdays, and Christmas are not that far away! I hope your weekend is lazy too, whatever your plans may be!

Our spooky, fun jack-o-lanterns from last weekend!

My Rhett standing still long enough before school for a quick picture!

My little pumpkin...outfit by mommy, shoes by Flynn!

Look who's old enough to take Kirby out all by herself!