"Anyone can have one kid. But going from one kid to two is like going from owning a dog to running a zoo." - P. J. O'Rourke

Sunday, December 30, 2012

And The Moral Is...




You're never so messed up that you can't be repaired.

Or maybe,

  • You can't judge a cake by it's frosting?
  • It's what's on the inside that counts?
  • You can hide a lot if you have enough frosting?
Actually, I think the moral is you should grease AND flour your cake pan, but that's not nearly as fun!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Unabashed Plug

I went to see Les Miserables last night with the hubby, so today I will give you my review.  Imo, EVERYONE should see it!  How's that for a full endorsement. 

In the spirit of full disclosure, I should tell you that I'm a bit of a Les Mis junkie.  I've see the traveling production five times, the movie (with Liam Neeson) twice and read the book (only once, and it took me about 12 months).  I also own the full Broadway soundtrack and listen to it at least a couple times a year, from start to finish, and bits and pieces of it many other times.  To me, it is one of the best stories EVER written.

All that aside, or perhaps all that taken into consideration, this new movie version is excellent.  Much better than the Liam Neeson version in that you get the music from the play.  The singing is, for the most part, exceptional.

Let's just take a minute and talk about Hugh Jackman, shall we?  Holy cats, that man can sing!  Who knew?!  Now, I've never seen the X-Men, but I know he's in there...and not singing.  So apparently, this man can play an action figure and sing on Broadway.  My hubby declared Hugh Jackman to now be his favorite actor - and one of those people who makes most other men feel inferior.  Personally, I think he deserves an Oscar for his performance.  It was superb!

Anne Hathaway was amazing as well.  Beautiful singing and superb acting. 

Colm Wilkinson (one of the original actors who played Jean Valjean on Broadway) was the Bishop in the movie.  Great singer and actor, just a small part in the movie,

Those who played Eponine and Marius were also great!  Really, the only weak link, I thought, was Russell Crowe (whom I happen to like as an actor).  His singing, while adequate, was far below the others, and his acting appeared rather flat.  He was fine, just not spectacular, which was a disappointment considering the large role he played in the movie.

The long and short of it is you should get yourself out to a movie theater and see the movie, if you haven't already.  While I'm sure it will be wonderful on your home TV, this is a movie that benefits from the large screen and surround-sound of a theater.

Friday, December 28, 2012

More Fun

Great cover by a great band!

The Party Never Ends

I can't remember ever having a Christmas season quite as jam-packed with activities as this one!  It started on the 23rd and is still going strong!

It started Sunday afternoon with my parents' annual neighborhood Christmas Open House.  We kids show up so the neighbors (from our childhood) can see how we're doing.  We also show up to help eat all the food!

Christmas Eve it was back to Mom & Dad's to go to church, eat more good food, and open presents.







Home for Christmas morning,











then back to the parents' house for Christmas dinner and general relaxing and socializing.


Wednesday brought Ladies' Night here to my house when sisters, nieces and friends converged on my house for food, movies and a sleepover.

Thursday was the annual family dinner at Buca's.  Always a good time, ending with everyone converging on our house for dessert.




Today brings a lunch date and Costco trip with my sil Monica, and a date tonight with my sweetie to go see Les Miserables (YES!).

Tomorrow we will host my in-laws for lunch.

The fun just keeps on coming!!!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Ladies' Night


Nothing like following up Christmas with a little Ladies' Night at our house!  Pizza, Pride & Prejudice, root beer floats, caramel corn...you get the idea!  Loads of fun, but the "older" ladies are going to bed.



Tuesday, December 25, 2012

This...

This is one off the funniest gifts I've ever gotten (actually, the kids got it, but I "borrowed" it).



Yes, indeed, it's the Old Testament done with Legos!  It is positively hysterical!  

Mmmm-mmm-mmm


Thanks to the Newsboys, we've known for years that "they don't serve breakfast in Hell."  I am reasonably certain, however, that dessert will be served in Heaven, and on the menu you will find this tasty pie!

And so you don't have to wait until you reach the pearly gates, I will give you the recipe right here!  It's a slightly labor-intensive recipe, but trust me, it is SO worth it!

White Chocolate Cranberry Pie

Meringue Crust
4 egg whites
1 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar

Heat oven to 275 degrees.  Beat egg whites and cream of tartar until frothy.  Gradually beat in sugar, 1 Tbs. at a time.  Beat until very stiff and glossy.  Spread in sprayed 9" pan, spread meringue in the pan and mold to make a pie crust, not flat across.  Bake for 1 hour, turn off oven and leave shell in oven until oven is completely cool, do not open oven door.  When oven is cool, remove pie shell from oven.

Cranberry Filling
1 can whole cranberry sauce 
1 Tbs. cornstarch
2 Tbs. granulated sugar

Combine ingredients in heavy saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly until mixture boils, boil 1 minute, remove from heat.  Cool.

White Chocolate Filling
1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips
1 egg
2 Tbs. water
1/4 almond extract
2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 Tbs. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Melt white chocolate chips in top of double boiler.  In medium size bowl, beat egg with water.  Gradually stir half of melted chips into egg mixture, mix thoroughly, then stir mixture into remaining chips in double boiler and cook over hot water until thickened and thoroughly cooked (7-10 minutes).  Stir in almond extract; cool.  Whip cream with powdered sugar and vanilla until soft peaks form.  Fold 1/2 of whipped cream into egg mixture (remaining whipped cream is for top of pie).

To assemble: Spoon 1/2 of chocolate mixture into shell, next spread 1/3 of cranberry mixture over that, then remaining chocolate mixture, ending with remaining cranberry mixture.  Top with layer of whipped cream.  Chill for several hours.



Looky What I Got!


My sweet girls (Nina & Molly) bought me this wonderful Title Nine jacket!  And guess what.  It turns into a pillow!


How cool is that!

Good News

I was so pleased to see that Mom & Dad have some indulgent holiday drink at their house as well!

I think I will indulge later today.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Wrapping Time

Yes, I'm one of THOSE people, who don't wrap their presents until Christmas Eve!  How convenient that we currently have an empty room (with a door) in which to wrap!!  

Time to grab an indulgent holiday drink, some scissors and tape and get to work!




Sunday, December 23, 2012

Another Favorite

Time for another one of my favorite Christmas songs!



I particularly like this song because it reminds us of WHY Jesus came to earth, and it wasn't to be a cute baby in a manger.  "Nails, spear shall pierce Him through, The cross be borne for me, for you.  Hail, hail the Word made flesh, the Babe the Son of Mary."  As I've said here before, Christmas is just the prelude to Easter.

So, if I don't find time to wish you all a blessed and merry Christmas in the next two days, I will do it now - Merry Christmas, friends!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Never Too Late

It's never too indulge in a little holiday candy making....Or candy eating, for that matter!







About six hours of work yielded 13 pounds of turtles, peanut butter cups and chocolate covered cherries!

Now all that's left is the eatin'!

Thanks, Dad, for taking the time to teach us the tricks!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

A Little Culture

Every once in awhile, I like to spice up the blog with a little cultural experience, so today I give you..

My Heart's in the Highlands 
by Robert Burns (1759-1796) 

Farewell to the Highlands, farewell to the North, 
The birth-place of Valour, the country of Worth; 
Wherever I wander, wherever I rove, 
The hills of the Highlands for ever I love. 

My heart's in the Highlands, my heart is not here; 
My heart's in the Highlands a-chasing the deer; 
A-chasing the wild-deer, and following the roe, 
My heart's in the Highlands wherever I go. 

Farewell to the mountains high covered with snow; 
Farewell to the straths and green valleys below; 
Farewell to the forests and wild-hanging woods; 
Farewell to the torrents and loud-pouring floods. 

My heart's in the Highlands, my heart is not here; 
My heart's in the Highlands a-chasing the deer; 
A-chasing the wild-deer, and following the roe, 
My heart's in the Highlands wherever I go.

Still trying to figure out how rove and love rhyme (or woods and floods and North and Worth, for that matter), but that's beside the point!

I've never been to the Highlands.  Tried to get there twice, the first time, when I was pregnant with Evan.  We only got as far as Birmingham (from London), so we were a long way from the Highlands.  We had to cut our trip short due to concerns about the pregnancy.  

The second time was when I was in Glasgow for the World Pipe Band Championship.  I wanted to get up there so badly, since then I was really quite close, but.....alas, I didn't really have the time with the band commitments and all.  So, although I have yet to get to the Highlands, my heart really is still there.  Maybe I will make it yet someday!

Okay, maybe all these words really do rhyme if I speak with a Scottish accent....

I'm In The Mood

Hmm, I think I'm in the mood for an indulgent holiday drink!  Good thing I have this in my refrigerator...

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Musical Rooms

Now that the addition is done, it's time to get everyone moved into their new room.  This, unfortunately, is easier said than done.  

Here's the plan (and how it's working out, so far) - Nina, Molly and Emily move into the new bedroom,



Aidan and Marcus move into Nina and Molly's old room, 


and Raelea and Zoe get to stay put, but without Emily.

Now, as you can see, the only room that is remotely put together is Zoe and Raelea's.  It still needs a new paint job, but at least they are living in it, and it is neat and tidy.

The boys cannot get into their new room until the big girls clean it out - no small task, I might add - and it needs to be painted (unless the boys want to live with dark green, vine covered walls).  Oh, and lets not forget the mold on the panelling in the corner (oh joy!).

While the big girls are all sleeping in their new room, it awaits window coverings, and finding a home for all of their....belongings.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

I Love This

I heard this a few years ago, and I've never listened to this song the same way again.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Good Song For The Season

When life gets too hectic and out-of-control, just give this song a listen!

Simple Life by Ben Kyle

BEN KYLE / "Simple Life" from RED 23 FILMS on Vimeo.

The Innkeeper

An advent poem, written and read by John Piper.  If you've never heard it, I encourage you to take a few minutes and listen.

The Innkeeper from Desiring God on Vimeo.

Let The Festivities Begin

The Christmas Season has kicked into full gear over here as of this weekend.  After our very sad day on Friday, we started doing the Christmas thing full bore on Saturday.  Chris' birthday marks the day to get our Christmas tree every year, a tradition started in his family when he was young.

This was the first time we've ever had to cut a tree in the RAIN.  We've done snow before, we've done sub-zero temperatures, but never rain...until this year.

Chris - ready to cut the first tree that gets in his way

Okay, maybe not this one though...

Raelea thought maybe she should be doing the cutting.

Finally, a perfect tree was chosen.

The tree cutting was followed by tree decorating.

Erin joined in on the decorating tradition.

Much thought is always given to where to place each ornament.  Okay, not really, the little kids just put them on wherever they feel like it, usually one on top of another!

It doesn't seem that long ago that Snickers was just a little pup enjoying her first Christmas.

 All the fun of Saturday was followed with more fun on Sunday.  We hosted a little Christmas party with our small group from church.  As always, much good food was made and then consumed in great quantities.  It's a requirement of joining our small group - you must like to cook good food and eat lots of it!



As is tradition, we had a white elephant gift exchange.  Molly was waiting to see what sort of treasure she would end up with...

As you can see, she got quite the gift!
There you have it!  A weekend of festive holiday activities.  I still haven't sent out my Christmas letter...sorry!  Hopefully, I will be doing that tomorrow...or maybe Tuesday.  And somewhere in there, I will need to finish my Christmas shopping as well.