December 27, 2008

....And to all a good night.

Christmas was two days ago. To me it is now officially over. The presents were all put away yesterday, and the ornaments came off the tree last night. A few more things to do around here and it will look like Christmas never even happened. Except, there's one person, with one toy here, that is going to make it very difficult to forget about Santa.

Part of who my little Alex is makes him have a new obsession every few weeks or months. He will get 'stuck' on a topic, and then eat, sleep, play, and dream it. Usually they last 4-6 weeks, so we always look ahead and know something different will come soon enough. BUT, in our house, it has been Christmas since mid-October. Somewhere along the way Alex saw something santa/reindeer related and he had his mind set one what he wanted to do for the next few months.

Me being the nice mom I am, and being happy that he chose something to actually play with, I scoured the internet for a great santa toy. I was sick of creating sleighs out of blocks, legos, shoes, and whatever else he could find. Thank goodness for Little People, they always make what I need. I stumbled upon this and waited patiently by the door for a week until Fed Ex came.

Alex was thrilled with this one foot long santa set up, and has played with this, and only this for over 2 months now. Of course it's coupled with watching any holiday special he can get me to pop in, but mostly it's about the toy.

So now the question of the day is, does this toy get put away with everything else Christmas? Do I let him continue to obsess? Can I stand listening to crappy Christmas songs this toy loudly plays? I guess it comes back to a phrase I used earlier, 'me being the nice mom I am', so I know very well this toy will live on my coffee table for as long as Alex is enjoying it. *sigh*

Merry Christmas to all.......

December 22, 2008

Me & My Crockpot

It's no secret, I love to bake. I mean, I REALLY love to bake. I dream about new recipes and making amazing things that I know people will be talking about days after they try it. But, I don't love to cook. All the ingredients, recipes, dishes to wash as you go, veggies to cut, all just way too time consuming if you ask me. I used to cook more elaborate meals when the kids were too small to eat with us, but now that they eat 'normal' food and don't enjoy grown up yummies, I have to cook 2 to 3 meals each night. No fun at all.

These days alot of the dishes I make include grilling or baking, but nothing is better than the almighty crock pot. I mastered the use of mine about 5 years ago and couldn't be happier with most of the results I've gotten over the years. Chicken Enchiladas, Stew, Soups, Dips, Roaster Chicken(yes, a whole chicken!), and so much more. It's amazing what little effort is needed for a delicious meal.

I want to share today my all-time favorite crock recipe. As I was making an elaborate meal tonight, cursing in my head about snapping all the beans when I had many better things to do, I thought how easy tonight would have been if I had made my specialty:
Allison's Awesome Pot Roast. Ready? Here goes, anyone can do it!

1 packet brown gravy mix
1 packet ranch dressing mix
1 packet italian dresing mix
1 bottom round roast

1. Spray crock with non-stick
2. Put roast in crock
3. In a bowl mix the 3 dry packets with about 1/2 cup water
4. Pour mixture over roast
5. Cover and cook for 7-8 hours
6. If you can turn the roast every few hours

! You've just made a delicious, warm winter meal. Serve with a nice veggie and potato. Be sure to have some dinner rolls on hand to dunk in the juices that the roast makes!

Please let me know if you get to try this:)

December 7, 2008

I've been a very good girl!

Dear Michael Kors,

Thank you for making the prettiest thing I could ask for this Christmas:)

December 2, 2008

Where has my Baby Jesus gone?

Many people look at the photo to the left and see absolutely nothing of importance. Just a half of a walnut with some cotton and thin rope. I look at the photo and see part of my childhood gone, part of who I am sadly missing.

My grandfather has been the most important person in my life. Of course I have a kind husband and great kids, but their importance is different. My grandpa taught me many things about life, love, and everything in between, even if I wasn't really paying attention at the time. Of course because of him I can fry the perfect egg and change my own spark plugs, but I also have a greater understanding of what true love between two people is really like, and how to give unselfishly to my family.

I'm digressing from my walnut. Grandpa loved working with his hands, a trait I undoubtedly received from him. He was a big, burly man, but could work on intricate things as if he had the hands of a thin woman. One thing he made that has brought a smile to my face every holiday season is the infamous walnut Baby Jesus ornaments. Half a walnut, broken just so, cotton bedding for the baby, thin silver rope to hang it from the tree, and a perfect little baby, some with and some without little diapers.

When I put up my first Christmas tree in my own home, a walnut baby was finally handed down to me. I took special care to hang it in the same spot every year, top center, for all to see. It was my favorite minute of the whole season to hang him up and think of grandpa. After the season he'd be put on a shelf in my craft room and relax until the following winter. But today after our tree was up, I went running up to the craft room to grab walnut baby, only to find him missing. I searched high and low and even called my husband crying. All I have left is an empty walnut.

Silly to some I'm sure, but unbearable to me. The symbol of a life of love and happiness with my grandpa, gone. Of course the walnut is hung on the tree, top center, in hopes of my Baby Jesus reappearing somewhere. If he doesn't turn up, I'm not so sure I'll ever be able to look at my Christmas tree the same way again.

December 1, 2008

4 books in 5 days

Of course working with 5th-8th graders every day, I was intrigued when I noticed almost all of the girls reading Twilight at one point or another. So skeptically I decided it was time to see what all the noise was about.

It started like any other Friday for me, I went to a few stores before picking up my son from school, and hit Borders last and grabbed the first book in the series, Twilight. As I waited in the school parking lot for him to come out, I scanned chapter one and thought to myself, 'eh, take it or leave it, same as any other gooey, girly, junior high book.' But then, then something wonderful happened...Edward Cullen and Bella Swan met. From that point on I could not put the book down. Dishes? Laundry? Dinner? Who cares. I had important reading to do, as if my life depended on it.

And that was the beginning of the end for me. Every free moment I could steal was spent pouring over the book. When it was done I felt a little empty, incomplete. I rushed out to Target and grabbed the rest of the series. That way I wouldn't have a lull in time from one book to the next. I didn't even realize that minutes were turning into hours, and my entire life was put on the sideline, as I feel deep into a world where vampires and wolves lived among humans.

I finished the four book series in 5 days. I'm now reading the partial manuscript for book five on Stephenie Meyer's website. I read on my iPhone in the middle of the night and before the sun comes up. I've read many books in my life, but no series has consumed me the way this one has. I'm almost done with the manuscript and am not sure where my life will be headed afterwards. How will I go on and not read more about the Cullen Family? What will I do instead of the piled laundry?

You're right. I'll just start with book one again and fall in love with the series all over again.