Saturday, December 31, 2011

on 2011 in review...


My favorite events this year: 

Blonde hair. For the wedding!! 

Traveling home to become a wife. Read all about our Seattle adventures here

Bridal shower at Julee's house. Full of fun, tears and pretty things. 

A beautiful wedding at Salish Lodge in Snoqualmie Falls. All wedding goodness click here

Our first accomplishment as married couple. On top of Rattlesnake Ledge

 Jersey Sea Shore fun in August. Sand between or toes and other places just soaking up the sun. 

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Our five years of being together ♥

In case you didn't already know, I love to cook and bake. Here are some of my  
favorite recipes of the year. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5

Loads of fun things have happened in 2011 and those were just a few but in the end am boasting with pride at what my little family and I have accomplished this year. 2011 has been full of blessed moments, fun events and lots of hard work. I'm especially smitten about how wonderfully Sebastian has flourished this year. His speech has come so far and has been learning so much, doing so much which amazes me each and everyday. 
We will be bring in the New Year with arms wide open and looking forward for what it shall bring. Celebrating at home with a warm fancy cooked meal with my boys and movies on the couch is how the we'll be greeting 2012! Yay baby. With love and peace. Nothing more :) Happy New Years Eve.

on bits + pieces:Christmas

 Bits + pieces of our Christmas weekend.

1. Our Christmas dinner-- Stuff Cabbage.
2. All of Sebastian's gifts under the tree.
3. Getting right to opening all his goodies.
4. A gift from Etsy.
5. Baby Lilly on Christmas morning.
6. A gift from his grandparents.
7. Dress in his Christmas shirt :)
8. Aunt Cheryl's new kitty, who Sebastian adores.
9. Center piece.
10. Family.


Saturday, December 24, 2011

on gingerbread boys...

Last night I start our first year of Gingerbread Boy baking. Sebastian loves to make things, which is such a delight. This year I knew he would be excited to put together some ginger boys. I used an old recipe that has been pasted down in my god-mothers family and the same recipe that she used for my sister and I when we did ginger boys at her house. The best fun about these gingerbread boys is that we constructed with by hand. Handmade! NO cookie cutters. They turned out fabulous and the boys had fun. 

Gingerbread Boy Recipe:

2 3/4 cup flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/3 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2/3 cup molasses
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/3 cup shortening

Preheat oven to 350. Sift together the flour, baking powder, ginger & salt. Cream together the molasses, brown sugar, egg, shortening. It will create a soft dough. Then just start rolling together your gingerbread boy. Get creative! We made four big gingerbread boys along with 4 smaller cookie cutter gingerbread boys. Bake them for about 10-15 minutes.
Make some frosting and decorate. Kids will love this! Guaranteed.

While the cookies were in the oven I snapped this photos of my in law Christmas tree.

That's an ordament that Bobby made when he was Sebastian's age for his parents. Isn't it cute! Can't wait until Sebastian is older and get to look back on all his crafts he's made for our Christmas tree :)


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

on link love...

I adore this photo of Sebastian having some fun in the tub. 


Here is what this family's little Elf on the Shelf has been up to. So cute! Can not until next year to get creative with Sebastian's elf. Another tradition to start :)

This recipe of No Knead Challah. Must make this, I need some challah in my life!

Jimmy Kimmel's Holiday trick on kids. Quite funny and cruel at the same time!

This Peppermint Brownie Trifle. Feel my butt becoming large just by looking at it! 

Must have one of these vintage quilts. Aren't they just darling!

Do you believe in home remedies? Well, I've found 10 tried-and-true home remedies. Quite interesting. Totally going to try the Headache remedy. Cayenne pepper & peppermint? Who would of thought.

An owl purse that is oh so sweet. 

Loving these word's from Julee. 

Saturday, December 17, 2011

on our Christmas tradition...

Our little family Christmas tradition is different from most. First let me start out with how Christmas was for me growing up. The most important thing is that my family celebrated Christmas on Christmas Eve night, so December 24th. Being European that is a very common way. For us it wasn't Santa who brought our presents but it was Jesus. Now, you can imagine me growing up thinking I was hot stuff when my parents were telling me Jesus was giving us all our presents not some fat white bearded guy who rides on a sleigh. Don't get me wrong Santa is a great guy but I knew he was just not the one putting the gifts under the Christmas tree. 

So, my little sister and I would take showers and take refuge in our shared bedroom to get all dressed fancy in our best dress we could find and play games. We weren't allowed to come out of our rooms until we heard the chime of the bells (that were always hung up in the living room doorway) which meant that Christmas has arrived to our house and it was time to run out and start shredding the wrapping paper. Most of you as kids and even now put up your tree right after Thanksgiving or in the start of December. Right? Well not us growing up. Our tree was a gift too. The tree was surprise and something that we didn't get to see set up with all the shinny ornaments and lights until Christmas Eve when that ring of the bell is heard. It was always so nice running out of our rooms and seeing that, what at that time, colossal tree with gifts all different shapes underneath. And what a sight it was. We would get right to unwrapping gifts and then straight after sit down at the dinner table for a nice meal. Stay up late playing with all our new things and get up early to do it some more. 

Since becoming a parent Holiday traditions have become beloved to me. It's so much fun making your own traditions! For us we mixed my Hungarian Christmas with the all-American Christmas and it goes like this....
We still celebrate Christmas Eve night, I just couldn't give that up, wayyyy to sacred. However that being said we're doing the Santa thing. I've never been in any way religious and Santa just fits better for me. Growing up we weren't either but I think since that was how my parents were taught it's what they past down to us. That's right Sebastian Santa brings all your presents, yup, that big fat guy with the white beard. 
Our tree goes up after Thanksgiving :) I always envied all my friends who had their tree up way before me, who helped their parents pick the tree out and decorate it. I always want my kids to help pick the tree out and help their father load it up on the car and help decorate. I still hold the custom of putting the gifts under the tree right before it's time to open presents. Naturally no seeing gifts until Santa brings them. There's something about that I'm super adamant about! I feel like seeing the gifts is cheating and not as exciting. Right?

Ahh traditions. So refreshing and yet always adding more! Speaking of, I'm starting Gingerbread Boy baking with all the family (well, the ones that aren't too cool for us coughbrittanycough). I'll be using a recipe that my godmother used to make when I was just a wee one every Christmas. The best part is we don't use any cookie cutters! We create little ginger boys with our HANDS. It will be fun and messy. 

I just love the thought of Sebastian having a family one day and changing around our traditions into something that suits his family :D Bliss I tell you, BLISS. 
We're almost there people! Are you ready? I sure am. 


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

on lately...

Lately I've been working, like a lot! Work is busy and I usually come home and turn into zombie mom. Mom who doesn't want to get off the couch and mom who is a little irritable. This too shall pass and none the less I have a happy heart. 
You will be thrilled to hear that I'm done all my Christmas shopping. I was done last weekend. Everything is bought and hidden away in the small nooks and crannies of our house until I get some time to wrap. This wrapping business is, for me, the hardest part. First, the time obviously is a big issue and also when am I ever alone to be able to wrap presents that these two devils aren't suppose to see. That is a mystery!

We also put up our Christmas tree last weekend. It's always fun. We go to the same place every year to get our tree and this year Sebastian helped pick it out! It's a chore bringing it up three flights of stairs (thanks hubby!) and also finding a place to put it in our closet like apartment since every year we acquire more things... I tried a new location this year and like it a lot! Even though when you sit in the love seat you can barely see the TV with a big green thing in front of you. By the way, those of you who have fake trees have committed a mortal sin. It's wrong. 

Best of all I sent out Christmas cards for the first time ever :) I know a lot people who quit sending Christmas cards with it getting to be too much but I always like cards. I like sending them and receiving them. I always display all the cards we get on our shelf in the kitchen. One of these days I'll have a fire place and mantle and can put them there. I can dream. 

Lastly, Sebastian has his first Christmas show tomorrow at preschool :D My heart swells just thinking about it. He has to dress up in a green shirt and khakis. After trying to pick his teachers brain on what the show was about she refused to tell me. I can imagine just really cute stuff. Naturally I'll have my camera and will show you pictures no doubt. So exciting. I just hope he participates with us being there!

That's my little Christmas update. Hoping to get some Christmas baking in next week. Also are any of you happy Christmas falls on a weekend?! I sure am. I will be enjoying a four day weekend :) Mostly because Sebastian is off of school both Monday and Tuesday. Fun. It will be here before we know it!! 

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

on our favorite books...

We have a pretty decent assortment of children books. The past couple weeks even more have entered our home since a couple weeks ago work acquired a used books store (my coffee shop is in a mall so by that I meant the mall acquired a used book store). Sebastian loves to read! I always find him on the floor with tons of his books scattered around him with his head in a book, pretend reading. It's fun being a parent because you get to incorporate books that you grew up with into their lives and have fun reading them books that as a child you loved. Things like that warm my heart, knowing that Sebastian likes things that I liked as a kid :) 

1\\ Mercer Mayer's Little Critter books were one of my faves when I was a kid. Cute, funny and yet always has a lesson for Sebastian to learn. 

2\\ The Berenstain Bears by Stan and Jen Berenstain are another favorite of mine. Just another great book full of wisdom and humor that help children and parents conquer their firsts! The two that Sebastian and I have been reading currently are "Too much TV" and "And too much Junk Food". Fits the current stage we're at. 

3\\ Eric Carle books are beautiful. Colorful in pictures and in words. By far the most beloved around here is "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" and "Brown Bear Brown Bear, What Do You See?". Classics none the less and such a great way to get kids to interact. Sebastian loves singing the Brown Bear song with me and we get to see different animals and make animal sounds. At times it can get a little loud in here!

4\\ Laura Numeroff books are new to me and we only have a few of them so far but their ones that I find Sebastian pulling out and wanting me to read often. "If You Take A Mouse To School" and "If You Give A Pig A Party". I don't know about you but I always wondered what if you take a mouse to school? 

5\\ No doubt Dr. Seuss books are on our list. Every single one of them are childhood must haves. Green Eggs and Ham, naturally is our number one.

6\\ Look and Find books are brilliant. Something that Sebastian has yet to become bored with. These books are his go-to in times when we're lounging around. There are so many to choose from, so far we have Toy Story, Elmo's Potty and Spider-Man. Sort of like a I Spy book for toddlers. Each page has a scene and then a box on the side of things that they have to find. Makes them think and it's always fun having to find Buzz Lightyear hiding behind a spaceship!

That's our favorite books. Always adding on and always reading. Other than the ones that I've shared, my most cherished childhood book is No Milk, No Moon!  Have you heard of it? What are your favorite childhood books?


Saturday, December 03, 2011

on spectacular pumpkin pie...

I have to share this recipe with you all. It is by far my most favorite pumpkin pie recipe, one that I used for Thanksgiving pumpkin pie. Every single person was in love with it and I will most likely be making another one very soon :) 

1/2 package refrigerated pie crust or homemade pie crust (I used this recipe)
2 cups crushed gingersnaps (about 40), I used Anna's Ginger thins. 
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup melted butter
1 (15-oz) can pumpkin 
1 (14-oz) can sweetened condensed milk 
2 large eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
(recipe adapted from southern living)

Once you've made your crust or if your using Pillsbury just lay it in your pie dish. I like to poke some holes in bottom of the crust so it doesn't bubble. Put just the crust into an oven that has been preheated to 350 and bake crust for about 5-6 minutes. 
Meanwhile, crush ginger thins. Easiest way is to put them in a zip lock bag and crush them on the counter top. 
Once crushed add powdered sugar & melted butter to the ginger thins. When your crust is down in the oven let it cool completely. Then press the ginger thin mixture on top of the pie crust. 
 Lastly stir together the pumpkin, sour cream, condensed milk, egg, cinnamon & vanilla. Pour it into the completed pie crust, ginger thins and all! Bake pie at 350 for about 40-45 minutes. After about 30 minutes I always cover the edges of the crust with foil to prevent them from getting baked too much.
 A very spectacular pumpkin pie. This has become my default pumpkin recipe. It's that good!

Friday, December 02, 2011

on book club review: The Butterfly Cabinet...

(remember spoilers people!!)

This books starts out about a women Anne who pays a visit to her childhood nanny, Maggie. With her visit Maggie tells a tale of secrets and behind the scenes of her Mistress Harriet (Anne's mother). Maggie was part of the staff at old castle like Irish estate where a four-year-old girl dies an unimaginable death that Harriet her mother was accused & put in prison. As Maggie tells her story we learn Harriet's deep dark secrets & thoughts through-out the book as she writes in her journal. 

Overall, and I'm not going to lie, totally had to force myself to finish this book! Very slow read. Although I can't say that I disliked the book. It was written well, almost poetically in a way. I enjoyed that through-out the whole book it was like two different stories were being told, two very different lives. One by Maggie and the other by Harriet. We got to see both points of view of the sad event that happened to little Charlotte. 

When I read this book it was easy to hate Harriet. She is a crude, grim and a bitter women to not only the staff of the house but also to her two boys & daughter. Not to forget that she really should not have had those three kids because of her total lack of being a nurturing mother. For the most part the only thing that I noticed her ever caring for was her butterfly cabinet with her collection of butterflies-- dead, lifeless, pinned to a board and tucked away inside a cabinet. 

Charlotte was found to have hung herself inside a wardrobe where her mother frequently put her to be punished. Harriet was accused of killing her and sent to prison. Charlotte's blood was on Harriet's hands. No doubt and for the prison time and every thought she had in her head when sitting in that cell was deserved. I can see how some people might have felt sympathy towards her. Not me. Unforgivable. 

Not an outstanding book for me but if you are into literary fiction then it's for you!