Saturday, December 29, 2007

I got a Nikon D40 for Christmas!

Ever since I had my 35mm SLR die several years ago, picture taking has not been the same. Point and shoot cameras are great, but you don't control anything. There is nothing like the feeling of a big bulky camera in one hand and the lens you are controlling in the other! A digital SLR just seemed a little too expensive, okay, a lot too expensive. I'm cheap! If I could get it at the Thrift shop, that would have been great, but no such luck. Well, this year, John decided I needed a new camera. He got me a Nikon D40 and I feel like a new woman! I forgot what I had been missing. Thank you sweetie! I can officially call this my BEST Christmas present ever. (My new laser level is a close second)

Gingerbread memories...

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Eve...

Our family has a special early dinner on Christmas Eve. Later in the evening, we either read the story of Christmas(Luke 2) or go to a candlelight service at our church. That night, we open presents. Then, on Christmas morning, Santa comes and we have stockings... This works great for me because I don't have to worry about getting a Turkey in the oven on Christmas morning or trying to prepare a feast for later Christmas day. We all get to relax, enjoy our time together, our gifts and eat leftovers! A newly added tradition at our house is Gingerbread house decorating on Christmas day.

This year, we had several visitors for our Christmas Eve dinner; some expected and some were a last minute addition. My friend Linda and her girls came over. Linda's husband is deployed right now. We also have some neighbors that were headed out of town for Christmas and their little girl got sick on the way, so they turned around and came back home. They didn't want to get everyone else sick. I invited them to come make a plate and take it home. (We didn't want to get sick either.) Lynn was so glad she didn't have to cook. Also, we invited the mail man to dinner. I stepped outside as he was delivering some packages and asked if he got a break for lunch. He said that he would just be delivering all day and that he didn't really get a break. I invited him to come back at 2 o'clock and make a plate to take with him. He came back and we made him a plate for the road. It was really fun to share our meal with others this Christmas in an unexpected way.

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas!

A little Christmas tune.

We shared that we got a keyboard for Christmas;we didn't share the details, but it has built in lessons. Kate has learned to play Silent Night and wanted to share that with all of you. She is very excited that it is that easy to learn.

Sunday, December 23, 2007


Tomorrow, I'll be baking this stuffing along with a turkey and most of the trimmings. I have been asked about this recipe once or twice before, so I thought I would share it here.

Audra’s Cornbread stuffing
For Thanksgiving, I made this and used wheat rolls instead of bread heels. I love the texture of this stuffing and the flavor is phenomenal. I'm not a big fan of lunch lady stuffing; you know, the kind that turns to mush and you can scoop it with a large cookie scoop and it holds it's newly molded shape. Me, I like my stuffing light and flavorful.

2 pkgs. Cornbread or 2 8x8 pans- cubed (bake according to package)
3-4 toasted bread heels-cubed (or leftover rolls)
1 pumpernickel bagel-cubed
1 cup margarine
1 cup onion-chopped
1 cup celery-chopped
2 teaspoons rubbed sage
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
4 cans chicken broth

Mix all breads and seasonings the day before baking and let dry out overnight uncovered in a large bowl. In a sauce pan over medium heat, melt margarine and cook onion and celery until clear. Pour over bread mixture. Transfer stuffing mix to large (9x13>). Add 1 can of broth and stir. Bake at 350* for 1 hour covered. Add 1 can of broth every 20 minutes.

Note: Turkey 15 min./lb. @ 400*

We wish you a Merry Christmas!

Last year, I got this idea to do a caroling sleepover right before Christmas. I thought it would be fun to invite some girls in the neighborhood over, bake some goodies for our neighbors and then have a sleepover the following night to carol and deliver our goodies to our neighbors. We had so much fun last year, that we did it again this year. This has the makings of a Christmas tradition in our house. Last Thursday, we had 5 girls come over to help make our Christmas treats. We made Chex Muddy Buddies (Puppy Chow), Chex goin' fishin' snack mix and something a friend of mine just made. She didn't tell me the name, so we just called them Ronda's chocolate covered chips. This is Ronda's favorite Christmas goodie to share:

Ronda's Chocolate Covered Chips

1 bag butterscotch chips (we used Reese’s Peanut butter chips instead)
1 bag semi sweet chocolate chips
1 small can salted peanuts
¾ bag crumbled Ruffles Potato chips

Melt chips in microwave or double boiler. Pour over crumbled chips and add peanuts. Mix well and drop by spoonfuls into mini muffin cups and chill.

On Friday, 7 girls came over for our caroling sleepover and we had pizza then caroled through the neighborhood delivering our goodies to our friends. Kate and Sarah helped make personalized pillow cases for each girl. They used their newly learned sewing skills to make gifts for their friends.

Stephanie, Kate and KaLyn making Goin' Fishin' mix

Meredith (back), Emma and Sarah make Ronda's chocolate covered chips

Hayden gets to shake the bag.

Rachel, Grace and Hayden making Puppy Chow-Yum!

We Wish You a Merry Christmas

Sarah got glasses!

Well, in preparation for getting out of the military, we are seeing every doctor possible while we can. Last week, all the kids had an eye appointment. We found out that Sarah is near sighted. She had recently complained that the board was a little blurry at school. We thought maybe it was because a friend of hers just got glasses. Now we know it was she wasn't just saying it. So, she got to go pick out glasses this week and she loves these cute little pink frames. She was very excited to see her first movie with glasses. Yesterday, we took the kids and a couple of their friends to see National Treasure Book of Secrets. We loved it! It made me want to go back to DC again and go to the Library of Congress, Ford's theater and Mt. Vernon (again). The kids thought it was really cool that Mt. Vernon was in the movie and they had been there.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Star Base Extra Credit

Sarah's school is participating in the Starbase program at WPAFB. She had some extra credit assignments that she did last week. I thought you might be interested in seeing our future chemist, engineer, math whiz...we'll see. Once she finishes in January, there will be photos added to the Starbase website. She attends Fairborn intermediate school.

Weird Science

Sarah is participating in Starbase. A local program to promote math and science in schools. She has had so much fun. She is launching a rocket that she built today. This video was for extra credit. She is demonstrating Bernoulli's Principle.

A Christmas Classic...

We often hear the sounds of Christmas carols ringing through our house. This is the song that Hayden is heard singing most. Yes, he sings it that way EVERY time. Now, he just has backup music and a microphone.

It's almost Christmas Charlie Brown

Kate and Sarah ready to sing!

Sarah- just to the right of teacher

Ms. Gillespie, Sarah and one of her friends

Last night, we found out what it is like to be in two places at once. Kate and Sarah both had a Christmas musical performance for school at the same time. Sarah performed at the high school and Kate performed at her middle school and they both started at 7pm. We split the family down the middle, and off we went. I took Sarah and Rachel to the high school and John took Hayden and Kate to the middle school. We took a picture of them together before we left. They both did a great job and had a lot of fun. They have both been working really hard. Sarah has had to be at school at 7:30 two days a week for the past three months. They both had a great time and are looking forward to their next performance.

My Rootin' Tootin' Cowboy

Hayden got a cowboy hat from Pa Bob for his birthday in August. Well, let's just say we got some big heads in our family. (It didn't fit.) So, Pa Bob and Meme have been on the hunt for a new cowboy hat. It arrived in the mail and Hayden opened the big red box with glee. He just knew it was his hat. He was right. He loves wearing it and usually has some funny grin to go along with it.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Littlest Reindeer

Rachel had her 2nd grade musical tonight. She has blossomed into a performer. She sang every song and did every motion. I don't know if you remember last year's performance... she didn't move. All hands were up in the air, except for Rachel's. It was too funny! Well, tonight, was much different. She had such a good time and did a great job. It was really fun to watch her perform. I included the group picture, but couldn't really make it much better. I'd need a better camera for that. A point and shoot just doesn't work well in a poorly lit room when you are sitting far away. It just gives you an idea of the stage... I just wanted to share.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Searching for Bolognese sauce!

Okay, this may sound CRAZY, but this is the best bolognese sauce ever. A friend of mine sends it to me ever once in a while if she has extra from her stash. She gets it from a friend that lives in Germany. I can't find this in any local market here in the Southwest region of Ohio. I have checked! I have found a website in Texas that sales this exact package, but it is $4 per package. In your shopping, if you happen to find this for less than $4 and would be willing to ship it to me, please let me know. I am out. The cupboard is bare. Now, that being said, if you know of a good bolognese sauce recipe, I'd be willing to try that too. Just thought I'd try my blog to see if any of you have seen it or would be willing to look for it. Thanks!

Snow Day 2007

Our kids and some neighbors playing in the snow.

Sledding down the hill...Rachel, Hallie and Hayden.

Sarah buried in the snow.

Hayden multi-tasking: sledding and eating snow.

Jesica had gone in and was looking out the window, watching all the kids play.

Our first snow day of this school year. We were expecting 2"-4" and we got at least 4". We haven't heard the official report yet. Either way, there was no school. Boy was there excitement in our house this morning.

Sewing class #2

Kate and Sarah went to their sewing class again on Monday night. This time, they made their pajama pants. They came home so excited! I just wanted to share.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Just a few pictures

Last night, we were taking some pictures. I thought I would share a few. Hayden had a little mishap with a friends dog yesterday. They had been playing and she was pawing at him trying to get him to play with her again. Since she is so big, her paw is at face level for him. He looks much better today.

Sew much Fun!

Emma and Sarah busy on their pillow cases.
Sarah hard at work.

Kate is concentrating.

Kate's pillow case

Sarah's pillow case

Okay, there are many things I can teach my children, but I decided that sewing was not one of them. I learned how to sew in 4-H when I was about 8 years old. I had somebody else teach me and I loved it so much that I started making doll clothes and then later in Junior High, I made some of my own clothes (mostly mini skirts and shorts). I loved going to fabric shops and choosing just a yard to make something. Learning how to sew was probably one of the most valuable things I ever learned. I thought about teaching the girls and had asked them if they were interested, but they didn't really care to learn. Last month, in the local paper, I found an article about a sewing class for kids that was two nights, two hours each and they would make a pillow case and pajama pants. The cost was relatively inexpensive, so I asked if they were interested. This time, they actually acted excited about learning to sew. Last Monday was their first class at Sew In Style in BeaverCreek. They had sew much fun! Sarah's friend Emma was able to go also. As soon as we got home, Kate and Sarah both put their pillow cases on their pillows. The next morning, they both commented about how well they slept. I thought that was so funny. They are talking about making pillow cases for their friends for Christmas.

They found out about a sleepover in January that they really want to go to. They will go to the shop at 4:30 on Friday and stay until the next morning. They will get to make some fun sleepover items and their choice of American girl doll clothes or Build-a-bear workshop clothes. They will have dinner and breakfast provided. I signed them up this week and they are thrilled. They have already been talking about it. If you are looking for a Christmas gift, neither of them have a sewing box. Also, there are monthly classes, and clubs that they would love to go to. It is great to have extra ideas.