Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas Morning

My children tell me I have a cruel streak. While this is probably true I hope one day they will realize the things I do are for a reason.

My mother started a tradition with us kids, or at least tried to get it going for several years. Each Christmas we were not allowed to wake our parents before a certain time and we had to sing happy birthday to Jesus to remind us of the real reason for Christmas.

In my home the children are not allowed to wake me before 7:30 am (although this year they actually slept in a little). I always make breakfast and we eat as a family while discussing the birth of Christ and why we give gifts on Christmas. When they were younger I also had them sing happy birthday to Christ but this year decided they have now outgrown that part of it.

As I have done in several of the past years I made pecan praline baked french toast. I prepare it the night before and bake it in the morning.

The children feel that having to wait, eat and discuss the real meaning of Christmas is just my way of torturing them, but have learned to live with it.

My children where very generous as usual. They gave me a digital picture frame and also gave each other very thoughtful gifts. I, of course, decided to try a new virus for Christmas. It seems as if my body has decided to try every virus that comes within a block of me and see which one it one it likes best.

My friends and family were also very generous. I am thankful for everything I received and the time I was able to spend with my family.

As for my Christmas baking, it was limited this year. I made Oreo balls, pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, toffee square cookies and white chocolate popcorn. Although it was not what I usually make everyone seemed to enjoy their basket of goodies.

Here are a few pictures of the kids opening gifts Christmas morning.

Christmas

It is traditional for our family to get together at Grandma and Grandpa Webster's house on Christmas Eve. Each year we gather, turn down the heat when Grandma is not looking (open the front door and and window or two) and have a light dinner together. This year we had a nice variety of sandwiches, fruit and cookies.

Jared, Coralee, Anthony and Samuel drove down from Utah. It was so nice to see them all and meet little Sam. The boys are so cute and well behaved, in fact so well behaved it is like they aren't even related! We enjoyed our time visiting with them and hope to be able to see them again soon.

Tara's friend Jacky joined us and Grandma told everyone he has been adopted by the family :)

After dinner we opened a few small gifts and said our goodbyes. My kids went to see their father for a few hours and got home a little after midnight.

As you can see below the kids are getting bigger and we all had a good time.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Our Ward Christmas Party

Each year our ward has a Christmas party. There are performances by the primary children and a lot of wonderful food. Santa and Mrs. Clause always attend, and they always look very nice. Luis and Alma joined us this year and we had a good time visiting and enjoying the festivities.

Although my children are getting older, they still enjoy having their picture taken with Santa. As you can see they really have a good time with it.

The kids bake

In my home Christmas always involves a lot of baking. In fact as far as I am concerned it is not Christmas until the house smells like a bakery. I enjoy baking and am glad to see that my children are continuing the tradition. Last week Tara made cookies and put them in clear bags with tags for some of her friends at school, and Nathan made a batch of brownies for a few of his friends at school also. As you can see here they both did a wonderful job. Merry Christmas!


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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Look Mom We Made Dinner!

Granted, I never get enough sleep. It is a fact of life I have come to accept, but yesterday was one of those days I could have fallen asleep standing up. As I drove home I wasn't sure what I was going to do for dinner. All I wanted to do when I got home was rest for a while so that I could have enough energy to get something done.

Cut to me and Nathan walking in the kitchen door: Tara is chopping vegetables and Jackie (Tara's good friend and sidekick) is doing dishes.

As I come in the door Tara looks at me and get a big smile on her face as she announces "We're making dinner!" I think to myself 'Yeah! perfect!' and proceeded to get out of the way. A short semi-nap and an hour later this is what was produced for dinner (maybe not a combination I would have come up with but very good and heck beggars can't be choosers):

Chicken Tortilla Soup
From Goodies

Ground Beef and Potatoes
From Goodies

Paninis with Turkey,cheese, asparagus and mushrooms
From Goodies
As you can see Jackie was really enjoying his food :)

I told them that if the kitchen was cleaned up quickly enough I would make Berry muffins. At that point Ryan turned to Tara and said "You better hurry and get the kitchen clean." I guess he likes muffins.

Needless to say I did make the muffins. I decided to add sliced almonds to the muffin batter and topped them with additional almonds before baking. Here is the basic recipe. I like a muffin with a lot of berries so I add more and I always add different things (like cinnamon, vanilla, etc) and change it a little. Try playing with it a little and see what you get.

Three Berry Muffins
2 C. Flour
3/4 C. Sugar
2-1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
1/4 tsp. Baking Soda
1/4 tsp. Salt
1 C. Milk
1/2 C. Vegetable Oil
2 Eggs
1-1/3 C. Berries (I like Blueberries, blackberries and raspberries)

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Make a well in the center of dry ingredients. In separate bowl whisk together milk, oil and eggs. Pour milk mixture into well in the center of the dry ingredients and stir until combined. Carefully fold in the berries. Bake for 15-20 minutes until pick inserted comes out clean.
From Goodies

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Thanksgiving

In the past years, for most of my children's lives, we have spent Thanksgiving at my parents home. This year we decided to try something different and stayed home.

I prepared the traditional turkey, mashed potatoes, yams, and stuffing as well as asparagus, rolls and a vegetable tray. Tara helped me make a chocolate pecan pie, the yams, stuffing, asparagus and the turkey. She has decided that preparing the turkey is "gross." But, in the end she was very proud of the results.

Monte joined us and everyone enjoyed dinner.

We had a quiet day and enjoyed relaxing and spending time together. We missed seeing the rest of the family but also appreciated being able to work together, relax, watch movies and talk.

I am thankful for my wonderful children. They each have a caring heart and although they try to hide it most of the time, would do anything for each other. I am blessed with a supportive family and I appreciate their understanding our need to stay home this year.

Saturday we went to see "A Christmas Carol" at the Glendale Centre Theater. As usual it was very well done and we all enjoyed it.