Saturday, January 2, 2016
To our miracle baby,
I'm nearly 17 weeks pregnant with you, and even though I am often physically reminded that there is a baby growing inside of me, I'm not quite certain that the reality of this pregnancy has completely soaked in yet. Maybe that's because you were such a surprise - a beautiful, perfect surprise ~ to your Daddy and me. Maybe it's because this pregnancy is so different than my first. With your brothers, I had doctor's appointments and ultrasounds every few weeks, so I was literally seeing two little lives growing inside of me throughout my entire pregnancy, giving me a very unique connection to that pregnancy. Your brothers were also my first kids, and while that doesn't make them any more special than you, it does mean that I had more time to sit down to my computer and blog about that pregnancy, which led to the blog series "Letters to my Babies".
Being a mom to twin toddlers and being pregnant with a third baby leaves me exhausted at the end of the day. So many times I have said to myself, "I need to sit down to my computer and write to my baby". And yet just as many times as I've said that, I've thought, "Oh, but I am so tired, I can't possibly do anything else today."
Know this, Little One. Know that even though I may not be writing to you as often as I did your brothers, you are equally loved, and we are just as excited to welcome you into our family. As my bump increases and my sickness decreases, I look forward to writing to you more often. Until then, you are loved more than you could know. We anxiously await your arrival, for you are a beautiful reminder to us of God's grace and blessings on our lives.
Friday, December 25, 2015
We decorate our tree the Saturday after Thanksgiving.
I buy the kids a new ornament each year for the tree.
I buy the kids a new pair of Christmas pajamas from Target's Black Friday Deals, and we give the kids their new jammies and ornaments before we decorate the tree.
We make chex mix and cookies to kick off the holidays and watch our first holiday cartoon, before going to bed.
Family Christmas Cards
Making Christmas Ornaments
going to see Christmas Lights
Something you Want
Something you Need
Something to Wear
Something to Read
Thursday, December 17, 2015
Part of why I tried this recipe is because my husband loves all of these ingredients! Pineapple, onion, ham, cream cheese....yep, this is the perfect cheese ball for him! Because really, cheese ball is one of those things you take to a party and usually have some leftover to take home. If I'm going to have leftover cheese ball, I want to make sure my husband loves it enough to consume it before I get to it!
This really is a great cheeseball to take to a party, and is something I've been making every holiday season for the past few years!
12 oz. softened cream cheese
1 small can crushed pineapple, well drained
2-3 tbs. powdered sugar
2 tbs. chopped green onion
3 tbs. chopped deli ham
1 c. chopped pecans
Mix everything but the pecans together in a bowl. Shape into a ball and top with chopped pecans. Serve with cracker.
It's not the holidays in our family without Mom's bagel dip! I've shared this recipe on my blog a few years ago, and thought it was worthy of sharing again. This is an appetizer that my mom always makes for our Christmas family party. This is definitely not a dip that I make often, as it is far from healthy. We get it once a year at my mom's Christmas party, and then I make it once for me and my husband right around Christmas time.
My husband came home tonight and was thrilled to see that I had made a batch for him to munch on. I have to say that you probably need to be a mayonnaise lover to enjoy this dip, as the base is mayo and sour cream. The texture is obviously that of a mayonnaise consistency and you can't miss the mayonnaise taste in this dip. What makes it yummy, in my opinion, is the dill. It just brings a bright flavor that seems to pair nicely with the bagel bites. This might not be a dish everyone loves, but I don't know anyone in our family who doesn't look forward to this at our annual Christmas party.
1 1/3 c. mayonnaise
1 1/3 c. sour cream
2 tbs. dried dill
2 tbs. dried parsley
1 tsp. minced onion
4 oz. of thinly sliced deli beef or corn beef
one bag of bagels
Mix everything but the bagels together in a bowl. It's best to let sit in fridge for several hours or overnight to let the herbs give off flavor. Tear bagels into bite size pieces before serving.
My mom always used original Budding Beef, found in the lunch meat section of the grocery, so that's what I use too. I can usually find it at Kroger.
Tuesday, December 15, 2015
You can't go through the holidays without baking cookies. I like to bake. I also like cookies. What I don't like is having dozens of cookies around the house, because I am usually the only one who eats them! My husband is really not a "sweets" kind of guy, but he will eat baked goods if they are fruity.
This year I stumbled on this cranberry bliss cookie recipe from Cookies and Cups. I saw a few different versions of this cookie on Pinterest, but chose this recipe because it made three dozen cookies. I was looking for a new cookie to make for an event, but I also wanted to keep a dozen cookies at the house to see how my husband liked them. Cranberry bliss cookies are now the Christmas cookie of choice in our home. He loved them! I mean, can you really go wrong with a basic butter cookie, filled with dried cranberries and white chocolate chips, topped with a cream cheese frosting, more cranberries and then drizzled with white chocolate? We will be making these again next year for sure!
3/4 c. softened butter
2 oz. softened cream cheese
1 1/4 c. light brown sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 1/4 c. flour
1 c. white chocolate chips
3/4 c. chopped dried cranberries
6 oz. softened cream cheese
1/4 c. softened butter
1 1/2 c. powdered sugar
1/2 c. melted white chocolate chips
1/2 c. chopped dried cranberries
1/2 c. melted white chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 375 and line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Cream butter and cream cheese until smooth. Beat in brown sugar. Add eggs, vanilla, baking soda and salt. Once combined, slowly mix in flour. Stir in chocolate chips and cranberries. Drop dough on cookie sheet two inches apart and bake for 9-11 minutes. For the icing, beat ingredients until smooth. Ice cookies once they are cool. Top with dried cranberries and drizzle with chocolate.
For best results chill dough for two hours or overnight. Although, I didn't have time for that and mine turned out fine. I found that the icing never set up enough to stack the cookies without messing up the icing. I ended up serving them on two plates, instead of stacking them into a pile on one plate, like I normally do with cookies.
It's the holidays and tis the season of cranberry goodness! I'm not a huge cranberry fan....or even a citrus fan, for that matter....but I will say that I eat every crumb off of my plate when enjoying a piece of this bread. It is incredibly moist and has great flavor.
I discovered this bread last year when looking up holiday baking ideas that my husband would enjoy eating. He is not a man who eat sweets ~ at least not the sweets I enjoy, like chocolate and holiday spices. However, he does like a good "fruity dessert", and he particularly loves berries and citrus. This cranberry orange bread has now become a favorite of his.
I got this recipe here from Sally's Baking Addiction. Be sure to check out the link for the original recipe, along with tips about freshness and storage of the baked bread. This recipe is definitely a keeper and will be made in my family for several holidays to come. The only thing I did different from the original recipe was omit the pecans. My husband hates nuts in his desserts. I also never keep buttermilk on hand, but if a recipe calls for buttermilk, it is important. My mom taught me along time ago to add a tbs. of vinegar to cup of milk to create buttermilk, and so that's what I did for this recipe.
This yummy bread, topped with a streusel and orange glaze, can be served for breakfast, brunch or dessert. It even makes a great holiday gift for teachers or neighbors. I ended up making three or four loaves last year and gave them away to people who helped watch my boys throughout the year.
1/4 c. all purpose flour
2 tbs. sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
3 tbs. butter, cold
2 c. all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup. chopped cranberries, fresh or frozen
1 large egg
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/3 c. sugar
1 c. buttermilk
1/3 c. vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tbs. orange zest
1 c. powder sugar
1-2 tbs. fresh orange juice
as much orange zest as you want
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9x5 loaf pan with nonstick spray. Make the streusel by mixing flour, sugar and cinnamon and then cut butter into the mixture with a pastry cutter or fork and set aside. To make the bread, toss flour, baking soda, salt and cranberries together in a mixing bowl and set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk egg, brown sugar and sugar together until there are no lumps, then add buttermilk, oil, vanilla and orange zest until combined without overmixing. Pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and gently mix together. Pour batter in loaf pan and top with streusel. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour, or until the bread pokes clean. To make the glaze mix ingredients together, adding more juice or powdered sugar to get the right consistency. Once bread has cooled, top with the glaze.
Monday, December 14, 2015
I've shared this recipe on my blog a few years ago. It ended up being a Pinterest hit, so I'm sharing it again, seeing as how it is a favorite of mine this time of year.
I first had these sausage and cream cheese crescent rolls when my aunt made them for a family Christmas gathering. They were delish, and I was pleasantly surprised to learn how easy they were to make! You can't go wrong with only needing three ingredients. The nice thing about making these for the holidays is that these ingredients are almost always on sale this time of year.
These are super easy and always a crowd pleaser! They can be served for breakfast, brunch or as an appetizer for a party. Sometimes I'll even make them for my husband as a game-day snack.
2 cans of crescent rolls
1 8oz. package of cream cheese
1 lb. breakfast sausage
Cook sausage and drain the grease. While sausage is warm, mix in a bowl with the cream cheese. You can use a spoon, but I think my hands are the best utensils for this job. Once mixture is combined, stuff a spoonful of the mixture in each crescent roll, and wrap up making sure that none of the mixture will come out of the roll while baking. Bake rolls as directed on the package. Best when served warm.
One batch makes 16 rolls. When making for a crowd, I always double the recipe. One doesn't seem to be enough for most people! Also, if I am making these for breakfast, I will often make the sausage and cream cheese mixture the night before and put it in the fridge overnight, so that the crescent rolls are ready to be stuffed and baked first thing in the morning.