December 27, 2012

Merry Christmas!

I know I'm a little late posting this but Merry Christmas to you all!  We have had a wonderful couple of days and Ken is off until after the New Year.  We've enjoyed being with family celebrating the birth of Jesus and our first big snow.  We hope you all are blessed this Christmas season!

December 20, 2012

Holiday Baking.

I love baking for Christmas and New Years.  I love baking gifts to give to neighbors and friends.
Except maybe when I'm pregnant.

I do have all these wonderful helpers.  But lets be honest, they are also wonderful eaters.  And how could a Mama resist sharing some of the treats with her own sweeties?  Which means that a double batch quickly needs to be a quadruple batch.

All that is just par for the course with a big family, I think.  And it really isn't such a big deal to just make more.  But, here's the rub:  I'm a baking disaster when I'm pregnant.  I forget these things.  I spill and I drop and I forget what I was going to do next.
And then I get tired of standing.
So, I sit down and peruse Pinterest.
And burn whatever I was baking.
Really, this is just a laugh-at-myself moment.  I'm not complaining!  I just wonder if my time would be better spent snuggling on the couch with Peter instead of cleaning up my chaos! :)
However, if you managed to make it this far through this post--here is a recipe for you.  I found this on Pinterest, of course.  And it is yummy.

Getting started making the popcorn.
Cinnabun Popcorn
Original source was Our Best Bites, I think.
12 C popped popcorn (about 1/2 C kernels or around 1 1/2 bags of microwave popcorn for me)
1 cup pecan halves, roughly chopped
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup karo syrup (or honey makes a good substitution)
1 stick real butter (1/2 cup)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 squares almond bark (about 4 oz)
Preheat oven to 250 degrees
Place popcorn and chopped pecans in a large bowl and set aside. Use a bigger bowl than you think you need.
Combine brown sugar and cinnamon in a 2 liter capacity microwave safe bowl. Mix well. Chop butter into chunks and place on top of sugar mixture. Pour corn syrup over the top of everything. Microwave on high for 30 seconds and then stir to combine. Return to microwave and heat for 2 minutes. Remove and stir and then microwave for 2 minutes more. *If you microwave it too much your popcorn will turn out really hard.
Remove from microwave and add in vanilla and baking soda. Stir to combine. Mixture will foam and rise. Pour caramel mixture over popcorn and pecans and stir very well so everything is well coated. Stir more than you think you need to.
Spread popcorn mixture onto a foil-lined jelly roll pan. Place in oven and bake for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.
Remove from oven and spread out on a large piece of parchment, waxed paper, or foil.
Melt almond bark according to package instructions. Drizzle over popcorn mixture. When almond bark is hardened and popcorn is cool, break into chunks and enjoy!

My finished product!

December 19, 2012

Happy Birthday Ken!

Happy Birthday to my dear husband!
The big 3-8.  Seems like a big number to you this year!
You are the best husband and father a family could ask for!
We love you so much and hope you have a blessed year filled with joy and peace!

December 17, 2012

Second Week of Advent in review.

As much as I would love to not cram all my pictures into one post, it seems that is all I can manage these days!  Better to record the days in some way than not at all, I suppose!  We had a wonderful second week of Advent and wrapped up all of our activities for the year.
We started off the week with the puzzle from St. Nicholas.
I think Ken and I are having the most fun working on this in the evenings! 
We had our first flurry of snow.
Though short lived, it was fun, fun, fun.
Notice they have on no socks and no shoes!
We celebrated the Feast of Our Lady of Guadeloupe with tacos.
And we watched Juan Diego: Messenger of Guadeloupe.
We worked on our pyramid practice some more.
It looks pretty good but it really doesn't work because of the size differences. 
I like this one better.
Whew! No one can fall off and get hurt! :) 
We celebrated St. Lucia day with some cinnamon rolls.
From a can, thankyouverymuch.
Elizabeth was thrilled to be Eliza-Lucia for the morning. 
Funnily enough, we came home the same day to no power overnight.
So, we unexpectedly celebrated the Feast of the Saint of Light by candlelight.
It was cozy! 
Crafting has been at an all time high this week.
These kids can't get enough!
As we lit the third candle in the Advent Wreath this past Sunday, excitement has been at an all time high.
Exclamations of "Only one week until Christmas!" everywhere.
Truly, "Rejoice" is resonating over here and hopefully, is as well with you!

December 10, 2012

First week of Advent in review.

 We started the first Sunday in Advent with going and picking out our Christmas tree at our favorite tree farm.
The hayride is part of the thrill! (And the free hot chocolate and popcorn!) 
Jacob had first crack at the tree.  He did most of it himself.
The weather was a little rainy but a moderate temperature which made it a lot of fun to just be out tromping around in the fields.
Of course, one of the highlights of putting up the tree is getting the train going around it.
This was definately Peter's favorite part! 

Celebrating St. Nicholas day.
Traditionally, the kids get a book, matchbox car, candy and an ornament.
This year, I splurged and bought flannel sheets (we've never owned any!).
I found them for a great price and I'm hoping they will bring lots of cozy sleeping.  
The excitement of stockings bright and early in the morning.
Fuzzy eyed is pretty much how I felt after only 4 hours of sleep that morning!
But that doesn't dim the joy! :)
There has been a lot of book reading and block building and crafting this week.
A novena for the Immaculate Conception has added to our devotions during the day.
Of course, the Advent wreath and Jesse Tree have been helping to guide our devotions in the evening.
I love the sight of everyone gathered around the light of the Advent wreath listening to the readings and singing O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.
It is a wonderful time in the liturgical year and it goes way too fast!

Fall Wall.

A collection of art and poetry, all fall related.  I meant to post this right after Thanksgiving but alas, I didn't.  The kids enjoyed displaying some of their favorite pieces from their schoolwork.