Saturday, November 26, 2011

Tis the Season....

Thanksgiving was busy as usual this year!  The morning of Dave and I ran in a 5k.  I was really excited to run one with him, as it was his first, and he had been working out hard.  He did great, and I was really proud of him.  We finished it together and our official time was 33 minutes.  I thought our times were pretty good, as there was a lot of people, so it was super crowded until about the 1 mile mark, and there were a lot more hills.  The last one I did was completely flat and all on regular road so it was easier.  My only goal was to do this one without stopping and I met it.  Dave had to walk a little, but luckily I have a slow pace, so he was able to catch up quickly. 

We later had lunch at my moms house, and then a few hours later went over to the inlaws for round two.   After a bunch of eating all day I took a quick nap to rest up for black Friday!  My girlfriend and I had planned to head to Target for their sale.  They opened at midnight.  It was crazy crowded, but we did good and got everything we were after.  She took me home at about 3am, and I got in my car and went back out to the local mall to see if there was anything worth having. Apparently an incident occurred  when they opened at midnight, but all was well when I got there.  I hardly ever go to the mall anymore, so I was shocked to see they had opened a Crazy 8's store.  I actually like it better then Gymboree.  It's owned by the same people, and it's really similar but a little cheaper.  They had some good deals! I came home, and then did a little more shopping online.  I got a few things on the Toys R Us website, and some things on Gymboree.  I should have then gone to bed, but I figured I could clean up the house, and then treat the family to a pancake breakfast.  They were excited to wake up to that!

After breakfast, I was happy to have Dave's help with the Christmas decorations.  Usually every year I get everything out and just do it myself, but Dave scored major brownie points by eagerly helping me.  The girls also enjoyed helping. We ended up going out to the local tree lot and buying our tree, and getting that all decorated too.  Laura was our biggest helper and she helped decorate the tree from start to finish!  Emily and Rachel just wanted to see the finished product! 

It's hard to believe that Christmas season is upon us...I love this time of year though.  The girls are at such fun ages, Emily finally really "gets it". 


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

50% off Cookbooks!!!

Are you still trying to figure out what to get your loved one's for Christmas?  If they like to cook, and enjoy cookbooks, consider purchasing one from The Cookbook Market Place.  They have an amazing selection of cookbooks published for various junior leagues, and other community organizations.  Also, readers of my blog will save  50% off the price, when you use the code NAP-HOLIDAY.

I plan on buying the cook book Virginia Hospitality for my boss, (this is a classic cookbook from my local JL, that I pretty much grew up on), and giving her a list of my favorite recipes from the book.  I have been using this book ALOT in our household, from pancakes, to appetizers, to main courses, and desserts!  In fact I am making a cheese ball to bring to Thanksgiving at my in-laws that can be found in this book.
         Islander Cheese Ball
16 ounces cream cheese softend
8 ounces crushed pineapple drained
2 tablespoons green onions, including the tops chopped
1/4 cup green pepper chopped
2 teaspoons seasoned salt
2 cups pecans chopped

Mix cheese and pineapple with a mixer, stir in the onion, green pepper, salt, and 1/2 cup pecans.  Roll into one large ball, then roll in remaining pecans.  Serve with crackers, or pretzels.

*I made this for a birthday party a few weeks ago, and it was scarfed down!


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Get in my belly....

I have made 5 million whoopie pies.  Not really but it feels like it... My oldest daughters school is having a bake sale, and I volunteered to make items for it.  I wanted to make something different, and I went with whoopie pies.  This receipe is something I saw on GRITS blog a while back, and I thought it sounded easy enough.  I wanted to give it a test run though, before I made them to be sold, so I whipped up a batch Thursday night.  Honestly it was really easy.  I actually made half of them when I got home from work, and then finished them up when I got back from a dinner with a girlfriend, and got in bed before too late.  My husband gave me two thumbs up, and I had some happy coworkers, and dinner guests Friday.  Hey, we had to get rid of them.  I made a double batch Sunday morning as I needed 2 dozen for the sale, and then I had plenty of leftovers to give to some family members.  If you want the recipe click here: HERE, I did make one change of using nutmeg instead of cloves, as I didn't have cloves on hand.  I also didn't pipe my icing on with a pastry bag.  I just slapped it on, and it still looked fine.   I found these really easy to make, which is kinda scary, as my thighs may not be as excited to allow me to consume them!


Monday, November 14, 2011

A November Weekend...

Goodness gracious!  The weekends just go by too fast...My husband was off which was wonderful, and doesn't happen enough.  We had a fun date night Friday night enjoying some yummy mexican food and drinks with another couple that I went to high school and played softball with.

Saturday we hung out, went to the gym, and then spent the afternoon and evening at a friends house for their 4 year old's birthday party.  The mom went with a Pirate theme.  She made an amazing cake that had a layer of strawberry filling so it looked like blood when the cake was cut.  She went all out decorating the house and yard, and the kids wore pirate hats and got their face painted.  The birthday boys great grandmother even showed up dressed like a pirate!  What a cool granny!
That cake is simply amazing!  She's the chick who lent me the Elmo pan for Emily's party, and gave me some cake making advice =) 

Sunday we went to the church at the preschool that our girls go/have gone to, as their friend was singing in the preschool choir yesterday.  Once we got home from that, I went into crazy 50's house wife mode.  I have cooked a lot of food in my life, (ok since getting married, let's be honest, my mom spoiled me rotten with home made meals).But I had never made mashed potatoes from scratch.  I don't really know why, I own a potato masher and all, heck I have done mashed sweet potatoes, but never just normal ones.  We just don't eat a lot of potatoes I guess.  I also did a apple pork roast I saw on Pioneer Woman's blog, and made a pumpkin cheese cake with a home made crust.  It took a super long time to make all of this mess, but I was so stinking proud that everything turned out yummy!  I just don't know how my mom and grandmothers did this every Sunday, and heck my mom and grandma would make home made rolls too!  We had rolls, but I went with frozen ones, and I did canned green beans.  My husband was pretty excited about the meal, and I made sure to let him know this wont be happening every Sunday, but I will try to do it again from time to time.  I even broke out our wedding China and crystal, and let the girls drink apple juice out of the wine glasses.  They were so confused why we were eating in the dining room, and using the nice stuff, but they loved it!

I have made a slight dent in my Christmas shopping.  Nothing exciting, but hey anything gets me closer to being done...I am itching to get my Christmas decor out, but I try to wait until we buy our tree, and the tree lot doesn't sell them until the day after.  I am just so excited though!  The kids are at such fun ages!  I did purchase the Elf on the Shelf, so that will be a new tradition for the girls. I am also thinking about having an ornament making party for the kids.  Nothing as big as the Halloween party, since we will be doing this all inside, and I don't think I can mentally handle that many people in my house, but just a few of their friends.  I want to use cookie cutter with salt dough, and have the kids paint them.  Salt dough is so easy and cheap to make, and I think the kids would love it!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Christmas is coming...

I have slowly started my Christmas shopping. Don't get excited I have one present for each child and that's about it so far.  I have a crazy amount to do, but I will get there....I hate how rushed the holidays seem, we just celebrated Halloween, and Thanksgiving is a couple of weeks away... But in an attempt to be organized  I recently purchased the girls Christmas dresses during a big sale at Gymboree.  I looked all over Etsy, and Zulily for something cute for the girls, but everything I likes cost about one million dollars or so, and so when I found these dresses for a bargain I nixed all other ideas. 

I am hoping that Barnes and Noble has the Elf of the Shelf in stock already, as I plan on hitting that store up on my lunch break to make that purchase so we can get going on the Elf tradition in our house this year.  I have seen all kinds of cute ideas on Pinterest do to with the Elf. 

So that's what mode I am in now.... I am focused on the holidays... 


Sunday, November 6, 2011

The garage sale of all garage sales....

I went to the garage sale of all garage sales yesterday...One of the elite communities in Williamsburg, Kings Mill has two garage sales a year, and yesterday was the fall one.  I had never been before, but a girlfriend of mine who grew up in Williamsburg talked me into going.  I am so glad I did!  They hold it at the Busch Gardens overflow parking lot.  It was freezing cold when we go there, but totally worth freezing for.  I bought a cool tunnel/tent combo toy for the kids that's brand new and that I might have Santa pick up and deliver on Christmas Eve.  I scored a Junior League Cookbook from Florida for a dollar, a ton of childrens clothes, brand new pair of stride rite shoes, clothing for me, etc.  I got a cute dress that I can wear to work that was brand new with tags still on it for $2!   They had a brand new electric smoker for $30 that I went back to get but was gone... The husband could have killed me for not getting it, but I mean we have two smokers, why the heck would we need another?  Apparently though it's nicer then what we have, and he said he would have sold our old one. Oh well now I know better.  Someone that my friend knows scored a flat screen tv for $30 that the owners had just upgraded to a bigger TV and just wanted to sell the old one cheap to get rid of.   I was truly overwhelming, and I saw so many other things I wanted.  We also went to a few other sales nerby, and I got a bag of about 40 hair bows that someone had made for $3, and they are gorgeous!   I also picked up a few more books to read.  I think I am hooked on garage sales, after getting so many good deals yesterday!  I am totally going to go to the Spring one, and this time I will be sure to have more cash on me, and to take the husbands truck =) 

Halloween 2011

Oh my goodness.... It's several days past halloween, and I think I have what one would call a Halloween hangover...Last week I was completely consumed with getting ready for our Halloween pumpkin party.  It was a lot of fun, but a lot of work.  I was crazy busy making for for the party, and attempting to clean the house.  Sometimes I wonder why I clean up before  party, because 10 minutes into them the house becomes a mess all over again... We had a good turn out, a ton of kids, and some of our friends.   I made one of those pumpkin bundt cakes that have been floating around Pinterest, and a million other things...

The kids had a blast though and we had glitter, paint, and pumpkin inards all over the back patio.  So worth it though.  I totally deserved that bottle of wine I consumed at the end of the night....

Dave and I were off the next day, but we were busy running to school parties/parades, and then we came home  to get prepared for Trick or Treating!  We had a few friends bring their kids over so we could trick or treat as a group which was fun too.  I am so glad to have friends with children about the same age as ours.  It just makes everything special.