Friday, January 29, 2010

Gymnastics Girl

Beth finished up dance last May. We wanted to wait to see what school would do to our schedules and give Beth time to decide what she wanted to do- dance or gymnastics or something else. Finally, we decided it was time to get started. She chose gymnastics, and I found a great little gym at the edge of our neighborhood.
She goes for an hour, once a week. On her first day, the beam was her favorite.
Every time she tries something, she looks at me through the window and grins from ear to ear. At her second class, the bar was her favorite.
I can't wait to see her face when she really accomplishes a new "trick"!

Monday, January 25, 2010

I'm in love

with sopapilla cheesecake! I have had it a various friend gatherings over the last year. Finally, I gave it a go to make it. So easy and so yummy! And, probably so bad for you, but who cares!

2 packages crescent rolls (the sheets are the easiest)
2 packages cream cheese (the good stuff, not light), softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups sugar
1 stick butter
Preheat oven to 350*. Spray 9x13 pan with Pam. Press 1 package of crescent flat in bottom of pan- press seams together if need be. Mix cream cheese, vanilla, and 1 1/2 cups sugar until creamy. Spread over rolls in pan. Cover with the other can of rolls- press seams together again if needed. Melt butter and pour over top of rolls. Mix 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 tsp cinnamon, sprinkle over top. Bake for 35 minutes. Cool, cut and serve. Refrigerate leftovers.

It's best to bake the day you serve. And, it's FABULOUS warm! Enjoy! I didn't take a picture, and I refuse to take a picture of the scale to prove that I've eaten more than enough of it in the last week.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Did I mention we had a white Christmas?!

As if Christmas isn't magical and amazing all by itself, we had a white Christmas! That's right, in Texas, we had snow, on Christmas! I couldn't stop smiling at the wonder of it all!!!!
Christmas Eve day, it was cold and windy. Mid morning, I was on the phone with Popi, staring out the window when I noticed the snowflakes falling. By lunchtime, they were really falling. As we drove to lunch, we noticed it sticking on fenceposts and such. Watching out the windows of the restaurant, we'd see flurries of snowflakes, then nothing, the more snow. We got home, took a few pics in the snow and though that'd be about it.

It kept snowing and snowing and sticking and sticking. It was amazing! The news referred to it as a blizzard. Honestly with the winds gusting up to 50mph, those cold snowflakes hitting our faces weren't fun. It hasn't snowed in the DFW area on Christmas since 1926. I'm so glad Popi and Yaya were here to enjoy it with us! Beth is one lucky kid when it come to snow. Her first Christmas it snowed (near Houston, no less), it snowed on her 3rd birthday (in April), and then this Christmas, plus some odds and ends little bits of snow here and there in between. This was Jacob's first time to see snow, and he wasn't so crazy about it.
Christmas morning, this is what the yard looked like. The "blizzard" had given way to a beautiful white yard, glistening in the sun. Incredible!
The snow did make it a little tough to drive new tractors and 4 wheelers, but they gave it a try.
We had SOOOOOO much fun! Popi helped us build a snowman (experience from TN winter as a kid) that we, of course, had to make look like he actually belonged in Texas.

We had a FUN snowball fight. I stockpiled mine like Calvin (and Hobbs) then rapid fire shot them with horrible aim. We laughed and squealed as the snow ran down our shirts after the perfect shot. Then, Popi fired one at me, but it hit Jacob square in the head. Poor baby! Popi had to say sorry and gave Jacob the chance to get him back, but Jacob wasn't interested in the snow anymore. Jacob was still talking about that today (yes, almost a month later). Yaya stayed safe by taking all the pictures.
We spent the day playing in the snow, coming in to warm up and rest, back out in the snow, etc, etc. It was slowly melting away as the sun shone on it, though it was still pretty stinkin cold.

Even the day after Christmas, there was enough snow along the retaining walls to play with. So, while Yaya and I went shopping, the boys and Beth played at home.

This was the most magical Christmas yet. Beth was completely enamoured with Santa and his magic. Jacob was fascinated by the whole process and fun. Popi and Yaya spent 3 days with us. AND IT SNOWED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Santa was here! (Round 3)

Santa came and left some great goodies- just what they asked for and a surprise or two. Of course Beth was most excited about her American girl doll, that looks just like her. She also got a Lite Brite and a pink fishing pole. Jacob got a bigger baseball tee, Cars Geotrax and a Buzz Lightyear.

Mommy and Daddy also has some fun surprises hidden in another room. We had so much fun picking those out and keeping them hidden until Christmas morning!

After exploring the toys from Santa, we all got to open our stockings. Kevin and Jacob both got "Star Wars" lights.
Jacob was thrilled by his tie from Santa, then dino slippers from Mommy and Daddy. He had to wear it all! As soon as he opened his cars hot wheel storage box, he had to organize all his cars. An organizer after my own heart!
Then, Jacob put his slippers on me, so he could try on Beth's Princess slippers.
As for Kevin and I, we got lots of things that we wanted, too. Yaya loved the big bowl Beth painted at Art Barn and the coffee mug Jacob painted. We had so much fun making them for her! Popi, as usual, gets new flip flops and surf movies. It was a bit cold this morning for flip flops though.
Beth, my sweet reader, loved her box packed full of books. The pink gloves from Santa, that matched her sweater, were awesome!

We had so much fun opening gifts and sharing in the magic of Christmas morning, in front of the fire in the fireplace, Christmas music in the background and snow falling outside (more on that next post). I couldn't stop smiling all day! We ate our traditional Christmas morning breakfast- the same casserole that my mom made every Christmas morning. We played and played with new toys all day, got some rest, played some more. Then, Kevin and I got a date night- Chinese buffet and to the movies to see Blind Side (which I REALLY reccommend). Good stuff!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Yaya and Popi Christmas (Round 2)

On Christmas Eve day, Popi and Yaya arrived in time for lunch, so we met them at what Jacob calls "the restaurant". It's the new Mexican food place that took almost a year to build, and it's our new favorite place, less than 5 miles from home. Doesn't get better than that! Ok, back to Christmas stuff.

After Jacob got a nap (while Beth played with Popi and Yaya), the kiddos got to open gifts from Popi and Yaya, plus gifts other family had sent with them. Every, single, present, Jacob asked Popi "what's in there Popi?". He was pretty excited about his dinosaur book and handsome clothes.
Beth opened a new set of jommies and declared that's what she was wearing for the night. Then, she opened another set of jommies (from someone else) and declared she'd wear those. THEN, she opened a nightgown from Popi and Yaya. Yep, that was it, she was wearing those. Little did she know Santa would deliver what she actually ended up wearing. She also got excited about new Fancy Nancy books and a bunch of books about snakes.
Kevin got to open a gift early, for the fun of the family- a marshmallow gun. It was funny, until..... he shot down Tinsel. Yes, that's right, all the way from the kitchen to the living room, Tinsel (our Elf on the Shelf) got shot down on his last night with us. Beth was in a sheer panic- how would we get him back up? did he lose his magic? would he be able to get back to Santa that night? I told her to go in the other room while I used his book to scoop him up and take him to the "hospital". I carefully put him back on his perch and reassured Beth that everything would be okay. Sure enough, Tinsel still had his magic, because he was gone in the morning (just like the book said). Needless to say, that was the last time the gun's been used.
After all that excitement, the boys settled down with their "pooters" (according to Jacob). It wasn't long before it was time to get ready for bed so Santa could come!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Christmas Traditions

Making cookies for Santa
This year, we went for good ol', from scratch, chocolate chip cookies (with some M&Ms thrown in). We were all decked out, ready to do some baking. Everyone helped add and mix ingredients. Then there was "patient" waiting for them to be cooked. The last batch finished just in time as Popi and Yaya arrived into town!

Santa brings Christmas jommies
Every year, since Beth joined our family, Santa has delivered new jommies Christmas Eve, before bath time. The first year, it was just Beth, then he brought jommies for our family. Last year, Santa started bringing jommies for us AND Popi and Yaya (since they've been at our house every Christmas for the last 3 years). Normally, Santa rings the doorbell and has left a package on our porch. This year, I guess we were having so much fun that we didn't hear the doorbell. We found the package as we were heading outside to leave the reindeer some food. Back inside, the only picture I managed was Beth jumping for joy at her long, pink nightgown. But Christmas morning, we were all decked out in our new, color coordinate jommies.

Reading What God Wants for Christmas
Sometime when Beth was little, I got this interactive story on clearance the day after Christmas. It has proven to be one of the best traditions for our family. The book tells the story of Jesus' birth, in a fun poem, with boxes to open revealing each character of the story. The final box is a mirror- because what God wants for Christmas is YOU!

We have some other traditions, too. I get at least one new piece for my Christmas village every year. This year, I got the clock shop. I get at least one new Christmas every year. I usually choose based on gorgeous artowork or a tender story. I got a few books for the kids, but our special book this year was our Elf on the Shelf. We watch lots of Christmas movies- the Santa Clause series, Polar Express, the old Miracle on 34th, White Christmas. And listen to lots of Christmas music. I LOVE CHRISTMAS!