Friday, November 27, 2009

It's beginning to look a lot like....

Christmas! This morning we got out the Christmas boxes and put up the tree. Max and Mia were in charge of hanging the cookie ornaments they had decorated. Mia did a great job of hanging them all on one branch! :) The cookies look great on my gingerbread tree!
The stockings are up! Max is getting excited for Christmas. He told me this morning that Santa Clause is his friend! We are looking forward to a great season.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving and Christmas Prep

We have had a really great Thanksgiving holiday. We spent the day at home and had Thanksgiving on our own for the first time. I went all out with our dinner. I brined the turkey for 20 hours and it turned out fabulous! It was a delicious spread and we were all very full and happy.
After dinner we had pumpkin pie with whipped cream.
After some time to digest we decided it was time for more sugar and made gingerbread cookie ornaments.
We used chocolate chips and marshmallows to decorate our cookies.
The tree is going up tomorrow and I am sure it is going to be gorgeous!
We had a wonderful day together as a family. It was chilly outside, but warm in our little apartment. We are very blessed.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

More than just Pie

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving!
I am thankful for:
tiny baby smiles
2 and 4 year old smiles
the tender mercies of my Savior
the hope and joy I find when I read the Book of Mormon
my wonderful husband
the examples of my parents
President Monson
beautiful music
the chance to serve in the temple
and...Pumpkin Pie!

I have everything to be thankful for. I am glad for the day we have to recognize our many blessings.
Now I am off to brine a turkey! (for which I am very thankful) :)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Pretty in Pink

We did a little photo shoot before church this morning. Mia was in her new pink dress and silver shoes. She wanted to wear her little white gloves to complete the ensemble. Such a little diva!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Christmas Shopping and Cookies

We spent this morning at the mall getting into the Christmas shopping season! We went to the Disney store and discovered that Mia has a great love of Disney Princess barbies. Max enjoyed the chocolate lollipop samples that See's Candies were giving out. Ty had to buy some spicy sausage from Hickory Farms. He gets some every year at Christmas time :) I was happy to find that my favorite hand soaps from Bath and Body Works were on sale, and since we needed soap anyway......Bought a BUNCH!
This afternoon Max wanted to make chocolate chip cookies. We have been making cookies a lot lately, but all for Christmas and other events. Max wanted some that we could just eat ourselves so we made some. Zac sat in his high chair so he could be with us. He was so happy and cute! He just wants to be a part of the group!

I just saw...

....And loved it!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

8 weeks

Zackary is 8 weeks old now and adorable. He is starting to talk. I love all of his baby coos. I kiss him all of the time.

It's A Feast!

For lunch today we enjoyed a pre-Thanksgiving feast hosted by Max's preschool. Each of the little students was dressed in a pillow case indian costume and wore necklaces they had made from beads and acorns. They were adorable and so excited!
Each child had colored a large picture of a turkey that their teachers made into placemats for the occasion. On the menu: chicken nuggets, macaroni and cheese, green beans, mashed potatoes, rolls, and desserts. It was all very delicious and fun.
Mia was super happy to be able to join in on some of the preschool fun. She ate all of her green beans, chicken nuggets, and plenty of cookies. After lunch the students sang some songs for us. I was glad to see Max with his new friends and hear from his teachers. This was a great little holiday celebration!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Aprons and Extracts

I am not a big fan of cold weather so today called for some inside activities! The kids started off with a little painting project. Mia had some ceramic animals to paint and Max had a wooden alligator.
Everything came out great and there was minimal paint to floor ratio when we were finished!
Next: A little inspiration from this bag of chocolate chips!
Dark Chocolate Chip Mint Cookies!
Max has been helping me in the kitchen for a while but I have only recently let Mia really help. Her first few attempts resulted in a kitchen covered in brown sugar, but she is doing really well now. I put ingredients in a little bowl and she pours it into the mixer.
The board of taste testers approve!
We have a great cookie, all ready for Max's school party tomorrow!

2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 cup butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. peppermint extract
2 eggs
2 cups dark chocolate and mint chips

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Mix together the flour, cocoa, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.
3. Cream the butter with the sugars. Add the vanilla and peppermint, and the eggs.
4. Mix in the dry ingredients and add the chocolate chips.
5. Bake for about 9 minutes!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


After we dropped Max off for preschool this morning it was time for a little shopping! Mia has been in desperate need of shoes and I thought today should be the day for such an occasion. She picked out these adorable pink sneakers. They are very shimmery and very Mia. They are also velcro so I am very happy.
I also came home with some dark chocolate and mint chocolate chips from Nestle. I am planning on making some double chocolate chip mint cookies later today. New shoes and chocolate cookies just go together to make a great day!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

That's A Wrap!

Friday Night:
Roma's Pizza (The Best!)
Several episodes of Lost (I continue to be confused)
Dove peppermint bark = Yum-O!
To bed Too Late

Kids up before 7 :(
Family Pictures, and they turned out great!
Birthday party for adorable 1 year old twins
Back to the Future movie marathon with Ty
more Dove peppermint bark :)

Relaxing morning spent in pajamas
Toast with the kids
Church (we made it!)
Fabulous Dinner at the Richard's
Looking forward to a new week!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Wish Lists

This morning I told the kiddos that we could go to Target to make a Christmas wish list. I decided to take pictures of all of the things that are wishing for this year. As it turns out they want everything in the entire store, but there were a few toys that stood out to them. Mia has a great love of all baby dolls....
And anything Dora!
Max is still a fan of the wooden train sets....
...and Batman. It should be a fun shopping season!
After Target we spent the afternoon at the playground. It was another gorgeous day! We are having such an awesome November here in Tennessee!
Baby Zac was sort of awake and sort of happy. He seems to enjoy being outside in the sunshine and to feel the breeze on his little face. Everyone can use a little vitamin D!
We finished the week with a little more holiday baking. Today it was chocolate biscotti, truly one of the best things ever! I am so sad to see this go into the freezer, but it is a good thing for my hips! Ty should be home soon and we can start the weekend! Tomorrow we are taking family Christmas pictures. Hopefully we can get everyone to cooperate :)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Girl Time

Max was at preschool and Zackary was napping so Mia and I had a little girl time. We played Mr. Potato Head (one of Mia's favorites!), ate broccoli salad, made caramels, braided hair, and watched Dora. It was fun to have a little one on one time with my girl.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Midweek Fun

Today we built a fort underneath the kitchen table. It was comfy cozy and full of blankets and pillows. I gave the kids some snacks and set Max's little tv up so that they could watch a movie in their little fort. Movie of choice: A Christmas Story! This is my very favorite Christmas movie and right about this time of year I get to start watching it! I think Max and Mia liked it too :)
All of this fort building, snacking, and movie watching was so that I could be in the kitchen doing this.......
Making double almond toffee! SOOO good. Another Grandma Newman candy recipe. Max and I sampled the candy to make sure it was delicious and not poisonous. Hopefully we can stop eating it so that we can have some to give away at Christmas time!
And in the middle of all of the craziness little Zackary slept peacefully in a sea of blue. He is 7 weeks old now. He has been a lot happier lately and I am so thankful for that! I have been praying that he would feel peace and joy in his little body and I can tell that he is! I am so thankful for prayer and my little Zac! (and forts, and candy, and Max, and Mia, and TY....lets not forget him)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A Big Day!

I just got back from dropping Max off at his first day of preschool. I was torn as we drove from our apartment to the little school. Max's little eyes were full of tears and he told me he would miss me so much. I started to have second thoughts about sending him, but I want the best for him and I know that this program will get him ready to start kindergarten next year. By the time we had met his teachers and some of the new friends in his class he was ready to say goodbye. It was so weird to drive away without him. I miss him and I can't wait to pick him up and hear about his first day!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Max gets ready and more food

Tomorrow is Max's first day of preschool! We are getting very excited for the big day! We went to the store this morning so that Max could pick out some special treats for his lunch box. He wanted Little Debbie christmas tree cakes and those tiny boxes of raisins. He spent his day at home making an army of dinosaurs and cars. He is a great little guy!
I spent the day getting my "Julia" on in the kitchen. (FYI: Julia Child)
I started by making this awesome Broccoli salad that I found at
It is super delicious! I had it for lunch and Mia shared. She is a broccoli fan!
This recipe makes a ton. I made a scaled down version and it turned out great!

Whole Foods Broccoli Crunch Salad….Picky Palate version

1 1/2 Cups mayonnaise

3/4 teaspoon brown sugar

2 Tablespoons honey

2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper

1/8 teaspoon paprika

20 Cups broccoli florets (I got the big bag from Costco)

10 strips cooked, crisped bacon (crumbled)

1 Tablespoon fresh minced garlic

1/2 Cup diced red onion

1 1/2 Cups craisins

1 1/2 Cups cashews, coarsely chopped

1. In a mixing bowl, combine the mayonnaise, brown sugar, honey, vinegar, salt, pepper and paprika until well combined.

2. Place the broccoli, bacon, garlic, onions, craisins and cashews into a LARGE bowl. Pour dressing over top and gently mix to combine.

3. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

After lunch I decided it was time for some candy making.
Ty's Grandma Newman makes the best candy! Every year at Christmas time she sends us the most amazing caramels and toffee! It is a favorite part of our holiday. This year I was able to learn how to make some of her candy myself!
Today I used her caramel recipe to make almond turtles. I put almonds at the bottom of some Christmas printed mini muffin cups and poured the hot caramel over them. I melted some semi-sweet chocolate and poured that over the caramel.
These are going on my Christmas goodie plates and I think they will be fabulous.
Thank you Grandma Newman!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Pumpkin Spice Whoopee Pies

I made these awesome cookies for relief society today. Recipe courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats at

Whoopee Pies:
  • 3 cups plus 2 Tbsps all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 TBSP cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup melted butter
  • 3 cups pumpkin puree
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and spices. Set aside.
  2. In a Mixer Bowl, whisk the sugars, and melted butter together. Add the pumpkin puree and combine thoroughly. Add the eggs and vanilla and whisk until combined. Pour the flour mixture over the wet ingredients and slowly whisk to combine.
  3. Preheat oven to 350F.
  4. Using a cookie scoop, drop cookies onto a baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Once cool, fill centers with cream cheese icing.

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 stick butter, Room Temperature
  • 8 oz. Cream Cheese, Room Temperature
  • 3 1/2 cups Confectioners Sugar, maybe more
  • 1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla
  • Dash of Salt
Beat Cream Cheese, Butter, Salt & Cinnamon until lump-free and smooth. Gradually add sugar until well combined. Add vanilla until just incorporated.


This weekend I had a chance to watch the movie, "Julie and Julia". I loved it! I thought Meryl Streep was amazing as Julia Child and I was completely inspired to put on my high heels and pearls and get in the kitchen to cook up something amazing!
Too bad I don't own any pearls, but Christmas is coming :)

Friday, November 6, 2009

Cookie Baking 101

To make the perfect batch of chocolate chip cookies I start by gathering together my tools: mixer, measuring cups, recipe, spatula, etc.
With the help of eager participants we mix all of the ingredients together to just the right consistency. At this point it is important to eat way too much cookie dough and feel slightly lightheaded.
I use a cookie scoop to measure out equal amounts of dough for each cookie and try not to overcrowd the baking sheets.
I always pull the cookies from the oven a little early so that they can finish cooking on the cookie sheet without burning. Voila! Perfect chocolate chip cookies!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Preschool and Popcorn

We have been enjoying a beautiful sunshine filled day! I think days like today are just perfect. Cool enough for sweaters, but warm enough to play outside! We got Max all signed up for preschool. He starts on Tuesday. I am missing him already, but I am so excited for all of the learning that he will be doing!
We went to Target to buy Max a lunchbox for school. They have all of the Christmas decorations out. They also have all of their caramel corn and this year they are featuring a dark chocolate drizzle flavor! I think we ate almost half the container today! After our popcorn feast we went to the playground to burn off some sugar. It was great!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

November in Tennessee

We made it back to Tennessee just in time for November! Zackary was blessed on Sunday. It was a very happy sacrament meeting for us. Zac wore his khakis and his white collared shirt. He was very cute and just afterwards he had an explosion in his diaper and I had to take him home to change his very messy clothes. I am just glad he waited until after the blessing.
Today I took everyone to the library for storytime. We haven't been in forever! Max and Mia were super excited to pick out a bunch of books and movies. Later we walked to Old Navy and the cookie store for a little field trip. We ended up with 2 bouncy balls and a giant chocolate chip cookie so it was successful.
Tomorrow I am signing Max up for preschool. I am way behind, but glad we found a place with an opening for him. I started baking for my Christmas cookie plates yesterday. It is going to be a busy month! I am looking forward to Thanksgiving and Christmas!