Tuesday, December 31, 2013

We are bouncing right into 2014!

Happy New Year!

Papa and Daddy put together the trampoline that the kids got for Christmas yesterday.  It isn't in its final position yet (on the grass where I can see it from the kitchen window) and the net isn't totally fastened down, but these girls couldn't resist taking a little test run this morning.

And, as you can see, they are in LOVE.

I have a feeling that my girls are going to get a TON of great use out of this thing.  They were giggling and screaming and having so much fun!

Tonight we will ring in the New Year with family and friends - but like most parents of small children, we will probably do it well before mid-night.  LOL

Tomorrow we welcome in the New Year - and say Happy Birthday to our little New Year's "Baby", Tilly Pug.

She isn't sure what she thinks of the trampoline, yet.  She stands under there with this look on her face:

LOL! She can't figure out what they are doing up there and why they think it is so funny!

We are looking forward to another year of fun raising a house full of big girls, trying new things, and watching them discover the world around them.  They are growing up so fast and we are loving every minute of it!  Next week, Haydie P turns four.  FOUR. Where are the days going? When did I become the mother of a four year old?  Time marches on. :-)

Happy and safe New Year to all of our friends and family!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Only 364 days to go...

Christmas has come and gone.

We have spent the last two days together, doing all of the regular Christmas stuff.

Yesterday we baked chocolate chip cookies for Santa.

 (Big one mixing, little one adding flour.  That is what I call child labor.)
(This girl runs the mixer like a BOSS!! There is only a teensy bit of cookie dough on my walls. Hee hee. Mama's little baker.)

Last night we opened gifts with my parents.  Hoot and Bug were genuinely more excited to give Gramma and Papa the gift that they had made them than they were to open the ones that wre for them! And when they finally got into the opening of the presents, they were so happy and grateful for everything that the grandparents had brought, shrieking happily and hugging even they smallest present.  They got socks and jammies and, best of all, a TRAMPOLINE. Like a big old huge 15 footer!!  More on that after it gets assembled.  They are so excited!

When we tucked their little heads in bed last night to wait for the big guy, they took a little while to wind down and get those sugar plums dancing. 

Carly called me back up to ask me if there was a way that we could politely ask Santa to NOT look at her while she is sleeping because she didn't like the sound of that.  Privacy comes first, I guess - even before presents! I told her that I didn't think he had time to come in the berooms of sleeping kids, but that I would leave him a note.

Then not long after that, Hayden called me up to ask if Sanat was going to assemble the Lego house that she asked for himself or "does he know that that is why Legos are fun?"  Pretty sure he knows, but I promised to leave a note on her behalf as well.

LOL Where do they get this stuff?

There was LOTS of present opening to be done this morning.

They literally both cried tears of joy over some Frozen-themed underwear and a bookshelf to put Legos on in the living room, amongst other things. Either I am doing something right or I need to get them out more. ;-)

Their genuine care for each other amazes me.  They took turns opening gifts so that they could watch what their sister got and join in on how happy each gift made the other. They kept looking at us with huge happy smiles, hugging each gift and saying things like, "Just what I love!" "I have been wanting this!" "You remembered!" amongst other sweet, joyful, full-of-gratitude things.  They took the most joy in exchanging the gifts that the had picked for each other (oddly, they each bought the other a doll) and kept stopping to hug and thank each other. 

At 2 and almost 4, teaching gratitude and grace and appreciation for the smaller things is hard, but I just try to point out these perfect moments to the, to help them see the special things. It isn't about a big fancy present, it is about making someone else's heart full for a little bit. It isn't about what you received, but the joy that it put into your heart.  It is about loving the little things in life. It is about staying little as long as possible and soaking up every minute that we all have together.  It is nice to feel like they are "getting it" - and this is one of a handful of times that it has been clear to me this holiday season.  :-) These girls are truly my greatest gift. 

And they are cute and funny to boot.

And now we are home from Christmas dinner.
My house looks like the apocalypse happened. 
My girls are snug in their beds.
I am beat.


Christmas was amazing.

My cup runneth over.  And over and over again.

Only 364 days until we can do this again. I am already counting down the days.  That seems like forever.

But I bet that you can look at this next picture and guess what we will be spending a bunch of those 364 days doing.  ;-)

Monday, December 9, 2013

Santa, baby, put a present under the tree....

For Hayden: Olivia's House Lego Friends set
For Carly: Doc McStuffins talking clinic
I can't believe that they both told Santa what they wanted loud and proud and then sat on his lap and smiled for the picture! I LOVE IT! :-)

(Thank you for my cousin, Debra Clifford for taking this picture of my ladies with the Big Guy.  It is SO CUTE!!)

Happy once, Happy Twice, Happy Chicken Soup with Rice.

It is COLD here. 

The high today was 20 degrees.

It was -3 when I took Hoot to preschool this morning.

And I have two little girls with runny noses and the sniffles.

After we picked up Hoot, the girls and I made an executive decision to go home, do puzzles, take a nap, play Christmas play dough and have something cozy for dinner.

 (Yes, my kid was wearing jammies all day.  Judge away. LOL)

We came to the conclusion that between the frigid weather and the sniffles that chicken soup was in order.

Chicken Soup with Rice, to be exact. 

Do you remember that book? Whether you do or you don't click HERE.  We have been singing this song all afternoon.  It's a catchy little tune. :-)

Did you click it?  Did it remind you that it is your snowman's anniversary?

Don't worry, you don't need that cake.

Because I am going to tell you my recipe for kid-friendly Chicken Soup with Rice.  It doesn't have many ingredients or interesting things because it is one that I really want my girls to eat.   The Bug LOVES soup.  She is a soup eating fool.  Hoots like her soup basic - chicken, carrots, broth.  She is my picky sister and I just want something that will feed my sniffly little girl - so it's nothing fancy.  Just good, simple food.  And it is healthy too! :-)

So here you go.


Allison's (cookin' once, cookin' twice, cookin') Chicken Soup with Rice

You will need:
  • Some olive oil
  • 1 big bag of carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 big white onion, peeled and diced
  • 5 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
  • Fresh or dried sage, rosemary, thyme to taste (I just dump a little handful/pinch of each in. I know - annoying in a recipe, but it will be fine.)
  • 1/4 c. flour
  • A sprinkle of salt
  • 1 pound of boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 4 quarts of chicken stock
  • 1.5 cups of brown rice
  • A little bit of water
  • 1 pound of fresh green beans, snapped into 1 inch pieces
Start with some olive oil in the pan over medium heat. Add the carrots and onions. Add herbs and garlic. Sprinkle with salt.  Sweat the veggies until translucent. Sprinkle in the flour and cook until golden brown. Add the chicken stock, stir, and crank up the heat.  Toss in the chicken - you don't have to cut it or anything.  Just dump it in whole.  When it gets to boiling, turn it down on medium-low.  Let it simmer for a couple of hours, until the chicken is falling apart, sort of shredding itself. Easy peezy.  1 hour before serving, add the rice.  Let the soup cook, stirring occasionally, until the rice is done.  This is where you might need to add some water - the rice soaks the soupy part up, so the water will make more broth. Add a cup or two - as many as you need to make it soup again. If it is thin enough for you, skip the water. 10 minutes before serving, add the green beans.  Cook on low until the beans are tender crisp.

And there you go. 

Whoopy once, whoopy twice, whoopy chicken soup with rice!!

Both of my girls chowed down on this soup - and so did their Daddy and Gramma and Papa and I.  Hopefully it makes their colds feel better.  And hopefully you get cozy and make some, too - if you do, leave me a comment below and tell me what you think. :-)

Saturday, December 7, 2013

The first Friday in December every year, our small town has a big Christmas tree lighting ceremony downtown.  This was a highlight of my childhood - you bundle up and head downtown, meet up with everyone you know, and countdown until the big moment.   Then you get to mingle around, walk over to City Hall to see the lights, enjoy a cookie and some cocoa.

The Christmas Tree Lighting is something from my childhood that I will never forget.

Now I get to share that with my girls.

This year was complete with fireworks!!  That was a first! We were super close and they were really beautiful, lighting up downtown.

We had one kid who thought they were GREAT.

And one who REALLY didn't.

 But the lights and the soap bubble snow were enjoyed by all.



We all had so much fun - and this morning when we woke up, we had a big surprise....

The world was white out there!  We all couldn't wait to play in it!
So, we braved the cold and went exploring.



Tilly was loving it, too.

Daddy helped build a snowman.

And it turned out ADORABLE. 

(But not as adorable as the little girls who made it! :-)