Monday, December 28, 2009

Cozy Creamy Tomatoey Soup

Sitting by the fire, bitter coldness looming outside, a good family movie on the TV, and this soup make an ordinary night extraordinary.
Cozy Creamy Tomatoey Soup
  • 2 (28 oz) cans crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can chicken broth
  • 18 fresh basil leaves minced OR 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 C whipping cream (I used fat free half and half instead which worked great)
  • 1/2 C butter or marg (I used 6 Tbsp instead which worked great)

In a large saucepan, bring tomatoes and broth to boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about 10 min. Add basil and sugar. Reduce heat to low; stir in cream and butter. Cook until butter is melted. Enjoy!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Our Shepherd Boy

Last week was the infamous Christmas program at Treyton's preschool. I went last year. My hopes were high but the program could be summed up in 3 words: long, long, long. So this year I packed everyone up without a spring in my step, I'm sorry to say.
We headed to the near-by church that held the event and had some wait time before the show began. Galina found a friend. This sweet grandma helped watch the two little girls. I love sweet grandmas that help moms who have their hands full. Note to self: be one some day! Of course I brought things to do. Barbie, didn't last long.
But before she got up on stage to entertain the crowd by lifting up her dress (like last year), the preschoolers arrived. Here is Treyton's class. Treyton is right next to his teacher.
Since Galina was actually sitting still, I do whatever I do when I have down time these days....try to get Brielle to smile.
It didn't work but my attention was diverted to the front. The four year olds were up!
Treyton's class is the top row (minus one boy who went skiing that day...they must've been at the program last year).
And look! Darling Gracie, who Treyton has already proposed to. She is in the front row, second girl on the left dressed in black. They were in the same class last year and share music and recess together this year.
After their songs, Treyton came over to get ready for his role in the upcoming nativity scene.
He was chosen to be a shepherd in this year's program.
Okay, now I was excited. My boy! Chosen to be a shepherd!
Meanwhile, Galina and Sweet Grandma were checking out the scene. Sweet Grandma found another kid to take care of. Curly haired cutie who will never outgrow her lap, I am sure.
The other student from Treyton's class in the nativity was Addison. She's the majestic angel below.
He's lucky that I was holding Brielle for I would've embarrassed him profusely with a blanket of kisses had I been baby-less.
His job was to bring the sheep up to the manger and then stand near-by.
Look at him! The best shepherd I've ever seen!
And there is the whole preschool for the grand finale. What?!?! It's over already? How did it go by so quickly this year? Okay, I was the shepherd boy's role that distracted me from the singing, singing, and more singing.
Next was the bus ride three blocks back to the school. The kids love this bus. They were able to ride it to practice twice before the big day of the program. It ranks right up there with a Disneyworld ride for some unknown reason. A highlight. My memories of hundreds and hundreds of hours traveling to and from school always come back when I sniff the fumes and hear the hum of such a traveling vehicle. NOT a highlight, let me tell ya.
Back at the ranch were cookies and punch.
My sweet boy filling himself with sweet treats.
Galina mooched more snacks that she was allotted by her charming personality, the little stinker. Don't other parents realize they should ask before feeding a two year old more treats? This child has plenty of energy to spare before eating cookies!
Treyton and Mrs. Kerby, his teacher.
But look at this. Here's Addison again (the angel). She tackled him with a hug before we headed out. Treyton gladly returned it. Move over Gracie, I think his affections are changing.
This picture now hangs in Treyton's room by his request. A shepherd and an angel? I could think of worse combinations. Where is that mistletoe anyway?

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Minnesota International Version

Apple Cider Cake

The best recipe I've come across lately is simple, simple, simple. A wonderful treat to warm up your inners.
Just take a spice cake mix and switch out the water for apple cider. Bake as directed.
Then take your favorite powered sugar frosting recipe and switch the milk for apple cider. Frost when cake has cooled.
I made this cake using 2 round pans and stacked it with frosting in the middle and on top. Sorry I don't have any pics, but we (mostly me) ate it all up! Oh soooo yummy! I'm tellin' ya, you've got to try it. Mmmm, mmmm good.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Catch-all Christmas Tree

This last minute craft was a hit! I simply cut out Christmas tree shaped pieces of construction paper. Here's Treyton with good ole' friend Seiban.
Then I raided the house for "flair": pieces of tin foil, string, hole-punched holes, marshmallows. The kids happily decorated their trees in fashionable styles. Speaking of fashionable styles, notice Galina's boa. Fancy!
The marshmallows were a hit. I told each they could have 5.
Galina's were gone in an instant.
Here are the finished products. Seiban's went home with him before I remembered to take a picture.
Can you guess whose this one this is?
Galina the opportunist!

Monday, December 14, 2009


Normally, this is the look I get. Sweet as that is, lately I have been seeing something I like even better.
She's starting to smile!!!!!
Finally, a little kudos for my work. (Immediately following this shot she was smothered in kisses; I couldn't control myself. It happens a lot when I'm around her, poor thing.)
Then there are these.
Kicking baby legs - it doesn't get better than this!
I'm finding myself enjoying the little things about Brielle more and more each day. Third time parenting is wonderful. I know it's a fleeting phase so I'm soaking it up and feeding my soul.
God's precious gift to me.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

He's Come a Long Way, Baby!

I had to chuckle, under my breath since we were in church. There sat a young couple a few rows ahead of us. They had a baby....I'd say 8 months old. Anyways, the little guy started fussing and the mom was trying to console him to no avail. That's when she leaned over to her husband who was staring at his little man and whispered something in his ear. His head disappeared as he bent down rustling through the diaper bag. Up he came with a Bible. Very sensible, I'll admit. It was sermon time afterall. But Mom, with baby boy's volume and kicks escalating, shook her head and said something else to her hubby. Down he went again and this time came up with a bottle. I determined that the mother had said, "Can you get me the bottle," whereas the husband first heard, "Can you get me the Bible?" I turned to my husband who was listening attentively to the pastor and ignoring my lips pushed together in a suppressed smile.
He has come a long way.
Four years ago he probably would have made that same mistake. Now, if our baby was fussing in church, I wouldn't even have to lean over and ask for a Bible/bottle. He'd get it to me before I'd even have to ask. That's what 4 years and 3 kids does. It made me realize how far we'd come on this parenting journey. Yet, in reality, we've only just begun. I wonder if anyone with teenagers was watching us?

Monday, December 7, 2009

Galina Monroe

We actually had plans. Homebodies by nature, we revolted and went out to a little Christmas party our friends' church was having.
What fun! We donned our Christmas clothes, our party personalities, and hit the road.
Look at these two. Melts my heart.
And this one.....can you get any sweeter?
Speaking of sweets we headed to the cider/cookie table for some vittles.
Sugar cookies with frosting are one of life's greatest pleasures.
After singing a few Christmas songs, our little firecracker had to wander.
What's this?
I think I like it...
Look at me!
Twirl, twirl, twirl in my pretty dress.
Whee....Marilyn, you've got nothin' on me!
HAAAH HAAAAAA! (If you know Galina, you know this noise she makes.)
Hello people....the attention shouldn't be up front but back here...ON ME!
Shake, shake, shake your groove thing!
The wonder of Christmas can appear in the simplest of ways: even a heat register of all things. Don't be too busy to miss the magic of this time of year.