Sunday, November 28, 2010

Trim up the tree

A cursory look at artificial trees sent us back to the Knights of Columbus Christmas tree lot at a nearby Catholic Church.  We headed out, just Rocky, Maggie & me, leaving Jessie in Grandma Bonnie’s 2010-11-28 2010-11-28 001 003hands.  Maggie was very excited to go out in the snow.  She picked out a 7 footer, fairly soft needles.  The kid selling the trees told us this tree’s branches are stronger for ornaments.  Maggie picked out the first one we looked at, which is fine.  They tied it to the roof and we headed back home.  Fortunately, it’s a short drive back home.

Rocky & Grandpa got the tree in the tree stand in the garage and I brought the ornament boxes up.  2 strands of lights were duds, so we have less lights, but Maggie & Taylor did a great job decorating the tree so the tree looks great.  Taylor was quite amazed at just how many ornaments we have.

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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

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What a blessed holiday!! Rocky’s folks came out for the weekend and brought 2 of Tammy’s girls: Amy & Taylor. Maggie was thrilled that 2 of her “cousin girls” were going to come to visit and that she would have someone to play with all weekend long.

It’s been really cold here and Thanksgiving was no exception. Rocky said it was supposed to be the coldest Thanksgiving on record here in Billings. I spent the day in the nice warm kitchen. Though I did chase Maggie & Taylor outside at one point in the afternoon. It didn’t take Maggie long to beg to come in. I think it took longer to get her into her outdoor clothes than she spent outside! We had a wonderful meal with our usual menu – though this year we had a Caesar side salad and savory sweet potatoes with bacon and red onions.

No one wanted to get up early for Black Friday shopping, though Rocky had to go out Thanksgiving night and at 3 am to get all the Black Friday Shoppers. I took Amy out about 9 a.m. and we hit Target, Big Lots and Wal-mart. We stayed in the Heights and avoided the worst of the roads and shoppers! And we got everything we wanted from the ads – and a bit more, of course. When we got back, Grandma, Grandpa & Taylor went out for their own shopping excursion. Rocky just slept all afternoon!

We had a quiet evening and Saturday. Rocky & I plan to enjoy a night out and we’re planning to skip church so we can go out and get a Christmas tree while the Grandparents are here to watch the girls. We are currently debating investing in an artificial tree. Hopefully we can find one that look real.

More pictures on Facebook.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Moon Set

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the luster of mid-day to objects below.

The snow clouds cleared out over night.  I noticed the full moon’s 2010-11-21 2010-11-21 001 001light when I was up with Jessie at one point.  She awoke early this morning (around 5:30-ish) so it was still dark.  In the house, we can watch the light changing, even though we really can’t see the sun rise. The temperature was in the negatives, even as the sun rose.  Rocky decided to shovel.  I looked out in the backyard and noticed the moon setting.  I don’t know that I have ever noticed the moon setting before.  The colors of the sunrise reflected on the moon with pinks and oranges, lighting the dark purple sky to blue.

More pictures on Facebook.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

First Snow of the Season

snow08We got our first snow of the season this weekend. Maggie was THRILLED. As she told me, she can make “snow men, snow dogs, snow cats, snow mice and snow angels.” She went out almost as soon as she got up this morning. She was only out for about 10 minutes or so when she decided it was too cold. We did get the dogs out for a little bit. We have some pretty whimpy dogs who did not want to be out in the snow. Though, when we got home from the movies this afternoon, Otis was laying out in the middle of the yard. Just when I think I’ve got them figured out, they throw me a curve ball.

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Do you see Rocky's hand in that last photo? He was throwing snow in my face as I snapped the photo.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Thanksgiving, the plan

Thanksgiving is just a few days away. Jessie's very first. The mood is set as we got a couple of inches of snow that appears to be sticking around -- teens and single digits through Thanksgiving. Maggie helped with the menu:

Apple Cider Brined Turkey
Mashed Potatoes & Gravy
Mashed Sweet Potatoes & Bacon
Some kind of salad with dried cranberries
Apple AND pumpkin pie

Tomorrow, Rocky & I will do the shopping and his folks should be here Wednesday evening (we're also going to Harry Potter!! and the girls will go to cousin Christy's house -- Maggie is SOOOO excited). I love this Holiday! I'm looking forward to the cooking, the smells, the football, the Christmas decorations that will come out of the crawl space. This really is the most wonderful time of the year!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Day 165

2010-11-14 2010-11-14 001 006 I can’t believe how big Jessie is getting.  A year ago, I was still a little in disbelief that another baby was on the way.  Only Rocky and I (and my OB) knew Jessie was on the way.  And now, here she is.  Probably getting close to 15 pounds, showing her stubborn personality in everything she does.  She wants to be mobile and has figured out how to get herself around as best she can by rolling and pulling herself around.  She can get herself up on all fours and will rock there a bit.  No crawling yet.  She has gotten a few rug burns on her nose and cheeks from rubbing her head on the floor trying to 2010-11-07 2010-11-07 001 003crawl.  She can sit supported and loves to sit up and bang on the baby piano.  She loves to play in her exersaucer, especially if she can watch Big Sister, whom she loves to laugh at and with.

We started Jessie on solids about a month ago.  She loves sweet potatoes and sweet peas.  She’s not quite sure what to think about the oatmeal and pears yet.

She is starting to work on getting some teeth and we’ve had a few sleepless nights.  She does sleep in her crib quite a bit, but every so often prefers to snuggle with Momma.

Tonight, she had her first story read to her by Maggie: “Dr Seuss’ ABCs”.  She giggled through most of it.

I scream you scream we all scream

When I was pregnant with Maggie, Rocky bought me an ice cream maker for my birthday.  I craved ice cream.  More precisely, I craved Malts.  The dry malted powder was impossible to find in Richmond, so I “settled” for homemade ice cream and chocolate malts from Dairy Queen.

A couple of weeks ago, I purchased some half & half and whipping cream with the intention of making some ice cream.  My ice cream maker had a great easy no cook recipe using half & half, whipping cream, sugar and vanilla.  Well the days got away from me and we used up the half & half in our coffee.  I noticed earlier this week that the whipping cream was about to expire so made it my goal to finally MAKE ICE CREAM.

I searched through my cookbooks, but was unable to find my go-to recipe for easy vanilla ice cream.  I found a few cook versions, but I didn’t have all the ingredients.  Then I found what I thought was a no-cook version in my Betty Crocker cookbook.  I only read through the full recipe AFTER cracking the 3 eggs.  Oh well.  Then I found a true no-cook recipe online.  As I have a full quart of whipping cream to utilize, I decided to have a little Ice Cream Throwdown of my own, though I don’t expect Bobby Flay to take on this challenge!

So here are the 2 recipes I’m trying out.  Currently both are “cooling” down in the fridge.

Betty Crocker:

3 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup milk
1/4 t salt
2 cups whipping cream
1 T vanilla

Mix eggs, sugar, milk and salt in 2 qt sauce-pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, just to boiling (DO NOT boil).  Refrigerate in chilled bowl 2 to 3 hours, stirring occasionally until room temperature.  Stir whipping cream and vanilla into mixture.  Follow directions on ice cream maker to freeze.

2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 cups half & half
3/4 cup white sugar
1 T vanilla

Combine whipping cream and half & half in a large bowl.  Slowly add sugar until blended.  Whisk in vanilla.  Refrigerate at least 3 hours (or as long as 3 days).  Whisk mix to blend and freeze according to manufacture directions.

I think the Betty Crocker recipe will be better simply because eggs make for a much smoother, creamier ice cream.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Ladies Night!

Last night, I enjoyed an evening out with Liz, Chris & Alyssa.  We started the night at a fundraiser for the Rimrock Humane Society2010-11-06 2010-11-06 001 001They had wine, hors d’oeuvres and silent auction – though we lost track of the evening and didn’t get a chance to bid on anything. They served a chardonnay and a cabernet and of course, I don’t remember the label.  A glass or 5 will do that!  A preliminary report says they raised over $10,000!  It was a great way to show support to a wonderful organization.

The benefit was over far too soon, so we all headed to Walkers for another drink.  I enjoyed a Sauvignon Blanc, well 2.  The 2nd one was the one too many, but as I had a designated driver (Alyssa) and 2 sleeping children at home, I simply enjoyed the indulgence.

We all had a blast and enjoyed our much needed night out.  Now we’ll have to let the guys have a turn.

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Monday, November 1, 2010

A Halloween Weekend

 2010-10-30 2010-10-30 001 005We had a long weekend of Halloween activities! 

Maggie had a hard time deciding what she wanted to be.  Several weeks ago, she received a mermaid costume from her friend Caleb for her birthday.  Soon after that she decided she would be a “mermaid, princess, cowgirl, bright & shiny knight ninja.”  Then we went to Sam’s Club and she saw all the cool costumes there and changed her mind.  She decided she wanted to be a lion and Jessie should be a butterfly.  THEN Aunt Tammy came to visit and brought a Snow White and Cinderella costume.  Confusion set in.  She waivered back and forth until we told her she had several parties and could be both Snow White & Cinderella.  The Monday before Halloween, Maggie decided she really really needed to be a butterfly.  I explained there wasn’t enough time to make or IMAG0159 buy a new costume between Monday and her Halloween party at school.  So, she told me that it was okay, she would show me how easy it is.  She got a piece of paper and her crayons and designed her butterfly costume!  I did talk her into Snow White for Friday.  Which she told me “then, Mom, I will need an apple, pretty shoes and red lipstick.” (unfortunately we forgot an apple.)

Saturday, we met up with the Krieger's to Howl-o-ween at the Zoo.  Maggie & Olivia had lots of fun and were both very polite, saying “Trick or Treat” and “Thank You!”  Dylan enjoyed following the big girls and Jessie just loved watching everyone.

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Sunday morning, Maggie was Snow White at church, but decided to be a mermaid at the Halloween party in the afternoon.  Maggie had fun playing the games. We missed the parade, though, because Maggie was ready to get home and go trick or treating!

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Back home, Maggie was insistent that she finally get to wear a butterfly costume.  Daddy made her some antennae and I helped her put on her fairy wings.  She was very pleased with the results.

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Happy Halloween!!