Monday, December 21, 2015

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


These are a few of our favorite things...
Liz loves to lounge in her jammies!

Ashley loves to get crazy with crafts!

Tara loves to experiment in the kitchen!

And we all love spending time with our families.
Wishing you a healthy happy holiday season!
Liz, Ash, & Tara

Friday, December 18, 2015

Winter Break Activities!

Oh no. School's out for two weeks! Time to entertain the kids - or let them play on their electronic brain-scramblers. Unfortunately both of those options are not good!

Here are some suggestions to keep those little brains active over the break:

  • Crafts - you can find many easy Christmas/Winter crafts in magazines and online
  • Volunteer - most kids don't have any idea that others are suffering in the world. We need to show them how good they have it and that we need to give back.
  • Read! - Any time is a good time to read.
  • Help Decorate - also a nice time to reminisce when the old decorations they made as little ones come out, especially the ones with their cute little faces on them.
  • Help Bake - always fun and they get to lick the bowl.
  • Help Clean - not fun, but necessary and they should earn their screen time!
  • Play board games - I love playing board and card games. Lots of laughter and good times.
  • Family movie nights - cozy, cocoa, cookies, and camaraderie.
  • Hide the Pickle - a tradition to find the pickle on the tree each day, friendly competition, ha!
  • Make a movie - my boys get wild creative hairs once in a while and want to record their inventiveness... dummies on film to enjoy in perpetuity. Harmless hilarity.
  • Thank yous - make sure they thank their relatives for gifts!

We are all open to suggestions if you have any to add! Keeping it merry and bright!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Speaking of Parties...

Cookies and Christmas just go together! There's peppermint cookies, sugar cookies, gingerbread men, spraetzles? jammies, and those peanut butter cookies with the Hershey kisses on top. Just so many wonderful yummies! With so many cookies, some people have Christmas cookie parties - decorating parties, baking parties, exchanges, recipe swaps, etc. My neighbors do a cookies & beer exchange party. Bring 3 dozen cookies, take 3 dozen cookies or so. And they give out prizes. Last year I won! I found a place that makes edible pictures and I put characters from my books on cookies!

I also love going to a My Favorite Things party where we each bring 5 of our favorite things and go away with 5 new things. I'm bringing book lights and foot cream - for a soothing night ritual.

And neighborhood New Year's Eve parties are the best. Usually we get to bring the kids who run around in the basement while the adults socialize upstairs with the food. Ahh. Ring in the new year right, then walk home! We used to have it at our house when the boys were younger, now we let others have the joy of hosting.

How do you celebrate? What little favorite things would you share? And what goodies do you like to bring to parties?

Monday, December 14, 2015

Five Reasons to Love the Season!

I know December can be a big stress ball, but we must try to slow down and relax a little amidst the crazy, hectic preparations! Don't forget what it's all about. Here are my favorite things during Christmas season:
  1. I get to see my family - Some people complain about seeing family. I'm one of the lucky ones I guess. I adore my parents and my sister who has a great family of her own. I really wish I could see them more than once a year, but this is usually it. We eat good food, catch up, play games, and laugh a lot! I love spending time with them!
  2. My house will be clean - Here cometh the great cleanse. To prepare for company, I does clean the house good. And decorate it up! Tiring, back-breaking, but worth it - and then I get to relax the whole time they're here.
  3. Parties - I love going to parties. I get to catch up with friends/neighbors I haven't talked to in ages because our lives have gone in different busy directions. The funny thing is, I hate getting ready for them. It seems like a waste of time I could be doing preparations and I don't want to go, then I do and have a great time. We need a relaxing break!
  4. Presents! - Make a list and you shouldn't be disappointed (don't show it if you are!). And sometimes there are happy surprises! But I mostly like seeing other people enjoy what I got for them. Better to give than receive, right?
  5. I will make some memories with my kids. - They grow up so darn fast. I'm almost the shortest person in my house! My oldest will be a senior next year, then poof, he'll be gone! Wah!! Hard to believe. So I try to enjoy the time I have with them.
What's your favorite part of the holiday season? Make sure you enjoy it!

Friday, December 11, 2015

Holiday Keeper

Why don't we all dress up in matching jammies
for the family photo?
Unlike some family traditions that may be too far from conventional to make part of your holiday...this one is a keeper for sure!

No, not the jammie family photo.

This is a way better, way cheaper way to promote family fun and unity.

I got this very easy, very wonderful idea from a writer friend of mine, Jessie Andersen.

Her family has a tradition I wish I had thought of when my kids were little- the holiday table cloth.

Every year Jessie's family gets a white table cloth and they all sign it, draw pictures, or leave messages. Then, the next year, they bring one back out for the dinner table.

How awesome this must be to bring out an "archived" table cloth from years ago and enjoy.

Jessie and daughter, Jemma.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Avoid Doggone Sickness

Why are people sick as dogs?
 Fido can eat trash int he wag of a tail without any side-effects.
Wouldn't we want to be as healthy as a dog?

I'm going to tell you a really gross story. The worst part is, it's totally true.

Last winter, I was walking into a department store and one of their employees was walking in with me. As we approached the door, the worker sneezed- one of those snotty winter sneezes that require several tissues to contain the flow.

Problem was, she didn't have a tissue. Instead, she used her hand. A wad of snot filled her palm. Without missing a beat, she flicked the mess on the side walk and walked right into the store.

She touched the door handle. Shoved a cart out of her way. Straightened a display case of holiday cookies...all on her way to the cash register, where she rang up items, touching each and every one with her snotty hand.

It was soo gross. And I realized...this probably wasn't a rarity. People sneeze in their hands all the time, and then touch all the stuff everyone else is touching.

The problem is- what to do?

Become a germ hermit afraid to go out into world?

No, that's no fun, especially during the holidays. We busy housewives have gifts to buy and dinners to prep. We can't avoid the public and their grossness, but we can minimize the spread for their germs.

Just follow my grandma's hand washing rules.

Always wash your hands before you eat and after returning from a public place. I'd get less frowns from kissing a dog on the head than if I sat down at the table without dirty paws. My grandma always said, "Soap is cheap...use it."

Good hand washing can be as good as a flu shot. 

Monday, December 7, 2015

Christmas Easy

Cartoon by M. Nadler and Sunday Funnies & Factoids

It's the Christmas season! If life is as chaotic for you as it is the Really Real Housewives, then we could all use a break! To make life a little simpler, here's a super quick tip...

Do you have a fake tree, or a real tree that just doesn't smell as pine-fresh as it did on day one?

Add an air freshener!!

I got a Glade plug in warmer, attached it to an extension cord, set it to low, hung it from a branch hidden inside my tree..and voila....

My tree is now perpetually fresh and festive!

Friday, December 4, 2015

What a Wookie!

Confession time -

I could have given you the countdown to the release date of Episode VII at any time in the past several months. The days to Christmas? Not so much. I guess you can see where my priorities lie. (One hint: The answer is always Star Wars)

So as soon as we got our tickets, my most pressing concern has been WHAT DO I WEAR TO THE MOST IMPORTANT EVENT OF THE ENTIRE YEAR???? (Only my wedding keeps it from being the most important event of my decade)

Lucky for me, Target helped me make that decision tonight, and I have never been happier. Or furrier, for that matter. I probably won't be the only one, but be on the look out this Wookie at the theater release of The Force Awakens!!

Please ignore my filthy mirrors. Finding the perfect Chewbacca onesie was waaaay more important than cleaning.

Who else is dying for Star Wars?

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Twist on Tradition: Spinach Stuffing!

Pssst! Don’t freak out on me, but.... it’s already DECEMBER. You’ve probably already been wracking your brains for Christmas gift ideas, but have you thought about this year’s menu yet? If you’re like me, you’ve likely worn out some of your traditional recipes over the last few rounds of holidays and are on the prowl for a new twist. Sometimes I just want something new! And if that something new happens to be something easy and inexpensive, then I’ll be a happy little elf.
I don't have a pic of my recipe, so here's a funny. 

With that goal in mind, here is a quickie that I’ve perfected over the years that gives a new twist to a standard holiday classic – Stuffing! Love it or hate it, this is one dish that will always be a holiday staple, so why not give it a new look?

Spinach Stuffing

Here’s what you’ll need:
  • 1 Can well drained spinach (or Italian cut green beans if it takes straps and crowbars to get your fam to eat spinach)
  • 3/4 Cup melted butter or margarine
  • 1/2 Cup water
  • 1 chicken bouillon cube
  • 3 Cups unseasoned stuffing mix
  • 2-3 Cloves Chopped Garlic (fine) (I add 4 cloves to mine, but I have a pathological fear of vampires)
  • 1/8 – 1/4 Cup Chopped Onion (fine)
  • 2 Tsp Italian Seasonings

Here’s how to make it:
In a medium sauce pan, dissolve the bouillon cube in the ½ cup of water, then add melted butter. Stir in drained spinach and all seasonings. Bring the mixture to a boil, then immediately remove from heat. Stir in stuffing mix (gently) and cover for 5 minutes)

And Voila! Now you’ve got an original easy-peasy Christmas dish that goes especially great with ham. One note on this one, though – it’s definitely not a recipe to use for stuffing a turkey. The greens in this recipe would turn bitter in the bird, not to mention come out looking like Yoda turds.

What twists on tradition have you made in the past?
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