Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Peace Out 2014

I think my least favorite week of the year is the week between Christmas and New Years.  All those super cute Christmas decorations have now overstayed their welcome and beg to be put back in their tubs.  Every time I open a cabinet or drawer, I am reminded that I need to clean it out.   The kids are on technology overload and finding new ways to pester one another. I'm going to be making all kinds of lists, cleaning all kinds of things out and making all kinds of New Years Resolutions.  My family is super excited. (sarcasm font).

I don't know how many people make New Years Resolutions.  I haven't asked any of my friends if they do. Some might find it on the hokey side. I used to be one of those people.  But if there is one thing I have learned in 2014, its this.  To do things you want to do, you have to be intentional about it.  That goes for all areas of your life.  In your marriage, your finances, your family life, your work, everywhere.  Its so easy to be unintentional.  The day can get away from me by noon if I'm still in my pajamas and looking to have one more cup of coffee before I start anything.  And there's nothing wrong with those days.  I'm having one right now.  But if you want to accomplish anything of significance, you have to make your mind up to do it, and put everything else aside to make it happen.  And if you don't do that, you can't complain that it didn't happen.  You can't get upset that your marriage isn't amazing when you haven't done anything to make it amazing.  You can't get upset that your family hasn't had any quality time together when you don't insist that it happen. At the risk of sounding like Tony Robbins, its your life, if you want to do something, make it happen!

I'm looking forward to 2015.  There are a few things on the horizon that are scary.  But the thought of a new year, an entirely crisp, new, clean, calendar, it makes me excited.

One exciting thing 2015 is bringing, is me blogging over at the City Moms Blog!  I have officially joined their team of contributors and am looking forward to new friends, new content, and learning more about the city I call home.  I hope you'll join me here to check it out!

I dare you to be intentional about this new year.  Make some resolutions in a few areas of your life.  Write them down.  And look back on them often, making sure your taking steps to make them happen.  And in a year, lets meet back here and share all the things that happened in 2015 that made the year a great year!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas is over

Christmas 2014 has come and gone...sniff, sniff.  I'm sad to tell it goodbye, however, its time.  Our real Christmas tree is officially dead.  I look forward to vacuuming up all the fallen needles and then my vacuum smelling of pine for the next month when I use it.  That's an added bonus of a real tree people don't know about!  If your allergic, I'm so sorry.  I truly am.  Best thing about Christmas.  Team Real Tree!!

I'm pretty sure I could spend an entire post on all the sugary deliciousness I have indulged on.  What I don't understand is that I'm completely 100% over sugar.  Yet every time I walk past that stocking shaped candy tray I grab another thing to eat.  So I took care of that today.  I put that stocking shaped tray away, and hid all that candy in the pantry.  Then I had this brilliant idea!  Andy's cousin's kids were over playing, and I knew they'd be getting hungry.  So I pulled out all that candy and left it on the table, along with a veggie tray, for good measure.  And thankfully, those kids helped clean up half of that candy.  AND THEN, I sent them home.  I'm terrible.  I know.  But I had to deal with the wrath of my own sugar overloaded kids so I didn't really do anything beneficial except move some of that candy.

My next few days will be much like yours, I'm sure.  Taking down all those Christmas decorations we were so excited to put up.  Then looking at my empty living room and deciding I need something from TJMaxx to spruce it up.  I'll be weaning myself and my children off sugar, which is never a pleasant task.  Pray for us all.  And then I'll be looking towards the New Year, hoping I can do all those things I didn't get to last year.  I think we finished strong this year.  This picture is proof.  And proof that I should have been a model and not an accountant.






Sunday, December 21, 2014

Have I mentioned how much I love Christmas?

I'm trying not to think about the fact that this week is the last week to enjoy the Christmas season.  Its always good things come to a close, so that you want them to happen again.  But it still makes me a little sad.  Party on though.

The Texas crew was in town this weekend and good times were had.  We did a little ice skating.

Cousins...love.



                                                 We did some downtown strolling


                                    

And I drug myself out of bed to do an early morning Christmas light run with friends that ended with good conversation and a Starbucks latte.



Best. Time. Of the year.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Nutcracker and some dress shoes

We had a weekend full of holiday cheer.  Two of the highlights were Neely's piano recital and the Nutcracker.

My mom is a better shopper than me.  She asked me two weeks ago if I had a dress for Neely's recital.  I was just sure I saw a fancy dress in the last batch of clothes we got from a cousin who has grown quickly.  "Yeah, I'm pretty sure we have something".  Thursday night, 36 hours before the recital I'm digging in the girls closet…I don't know where I dreamed up that dress but we did not have one.  So Friday after school I was whisking Neely off to a plethora of stores to find just the right dress.  And when your a girl, and you get a new dress, you have to get new shoes.  After 6 stores, and I am not exaggerating, we were empty handed on the shoes.  My frustration was evident when we arrived home.  Andy, shopper extrodinaire stepped in to finish the task and attempt the mall with her, which I had not been willing to do.  He was successful and I was relieved.  The recital went off without a hitch.



What do you buy for your 95 almost 96 grandmother for Christmas?  A ticket to the Nutcraker.  Sunday morning as we are all donning our holiday best I have a nice realization.  Karly has no dress shoes.  WHAT??? Dress shoes were the bain of my existence this weekend.  A mom's gotta do what a mom's gotta do, so what did I do?  I skipped a portion of church in order to purchase some elegant shoes so Karly's attire would be up to par for the ballet.  Nevermind they were too small.  She looked fabulous.  While I caught a few times of nodding off by GeeGee, I think she enjoyed the ballet. I know I did.


So here is what I need you to learn from this.  The Nutcracker is a great gift for your Grandmother who has absolutely everything and needs nothing.  And as soon as those fall dress shoes come out on the shelves in the fall, you make a day of dress shoe shopping with your daughters.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Oh Santa...

We play the Santa game at my house.  I've only got 2 believers left.  And this year is a pivotal year for my 4th grader.  She's toeing the line.  I tried early on to get my two youngest to write their letter to Santa, because, you see I was going to get all my Christmas shopping done by December 1st so I could kick back with some coffee and gaze at my tree the rest of the season.  While I made a valiant effort, it didn't happen.  And the girls blew off the Santa letters so I was left to my own prying to figure out just what he was bringing this year.

And then there's last night.  When I walked into the kitchen to see them with letters and pens and glue and glitter…..writing their letters to Santa.

Me: OOOoohhh, your writing letters to Santa huh
Them: yes
Me: Well I don't know if you've given him enough time to get things now
Them: He's got 2 weeks mom, and he's Santa

I calmly walked back to the bedroom to promptly freak out saying to Andy "They're writing letters to SANTA!  What are we going to do???  What if they don't ask for what we are getting them????" He just looked at me.  I spun around with an "Ugh" and went back to the kitchen to see if I could sway their letters.  It didn't work.  So I'm left with a decision.  Do I try to make their little dreams come true, this one last year for Neely, before the magic of Santa is gone, or do I just say "well,  your letter to Santa was late you know…?" come Christmas morning.  I'm going to kick back and look at the Christmas tree and drink my coffee and then decide.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Murphy's law and a little home remedy.'

Right now, as I type this, behind me is a 7 year old and a 12 year old playing this game where one is videoing and the other runs, throws a squishy brain stress ball, catches it and lands on my bed.  They've been doing it for about 30 minutes.  Kids do not need electronics people.

So I say to Andy 2 days ago, you know, we have been so lucky.  We have not had sickness in this house for over a year.  We must be doing something right.  Fast forward 24 hours when my middle one is telling me she doesn't feel good.  I should have known...its because of what I said yesterday.  It happens every. single. time.  Murphy's law is real.

Now that corporate job I had for 5 years, it was a blessing in its own annoying way, but when I had a sick kid it was not.  I hated feeling obligated to be in the office when I had a little one at home who just wanted her mama.  My kids have an amazing dad who would always put on his nurse's scrubs when needed.  And I am so very thankful.  But I was more than happy to take them from him this time.  A day of waiting on her every little sick need, obliging her by snuggling on the couch, and watching TV all day sounded perfect to me.  I will admit though, once her fever was gone, and she was still bossing me around, I was over it.

Speaking of that fever - since she is my adventurous eater and will try anything, I talked her into a little concoction that I will put my money on speeds up the getting better process.  Its not tasty, by any means, but I don't find it terrible either.   And she took a tsp of it on the hour for about 4 hours.  Her fever was gone by morning...and who knows, maybe it was because of this. Mix some up, leave it in your refrigerator and make a smoothie out of it if you have an unadventurous family member.

2T apple cider vinegar
2 T honey
4 T water
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper.

Its got a kick, I won't lie, but it will also kick that virus, fever, or whatever is ailing you to the curb.

Murphy 1, me 0


Saturday, December 6, 2014

Brown Butter Crunch Cookies

When it comes to cookies, I stick with what I know.  My dad makes these amazing chocolate chip cookies.  I try to do it like he does, but it never happens, however its the most requested cookie at my house.  So its always chocolate chip cookies.

A Christmas classic is the cookie exchange.  I'm headed to one tomorrow.  And while I love those chocolate chip cookies, they really aren't cookie exchange fare.  I'm on this "get out of my comfort zone" kick so I did just that with my cookie choice.  These were fun to make, totally different, and you can eat 5 and feel like you didn't really have any.  Get out of your Christmas cookie comfort zone and make


Brown Butter Crunch Cookies

1/2 C salted butter
1/2 C light corn syrup
2/3 C packed brown sugar
1 C old fashioned oats - not quick oats
3/4 C all purpose flour
1 tsp pure vanilla

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line a cookie sheets with parchment paper.  Or if your super fancy line them with your silpat liners. (Christmas list alert Andy).  In a medium sauce pan melt the butter, corn syrup and brown sugar over medium heat and stir constantly until the sugar dissolves.  Increase the heat to high and when the mixture boils remove it and stir in the oats, flour and vanilla.  Drop half teaspoonfuls 3 inches apart on the cookie sheets.  Make sure there is plenty of room as these spread out. Bake for 6-8 minutes (bubbling and golden brown).  Let the cookies cool completely.

Chocolate glaze
1/4 C heavy cream
1 C semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 tsp light corn syrup

Heat the cream in a small saucepan until scalded.  Remove from heat and stir in chocolate chips and corn syrup.  Cover and let stand 15 minutes.  Whisk until smooth.  Drizzle or spoon onto one end of the cookie.  Decorate with holiday sprinkles if your into that sort of thing.  Allow to set/dry.






Wednesday, December 3, 2014

City Moms Blog guest post!

I'm guest blogging over here today at the Oklahoma City mom's blog!

I've got a great dinner suggestion for you! Go check it out!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Mystery of blogging

I've been blogging for a long time.  Minus that 5 year break I took.  But my original days of blogging were done right here, at RegularWithHalfandHalfandRawSugar.blogspot.com.  The mere length of that blog name will tell you how blog savvy I was…not.  When I had 3 kids under the age of 4, it was my sanity.  My 2 readers made me feel like I had this line to the cyberworld that was super important.  There's a few funny reads there so if you have 20 spare minutes like we all do, head over for my mom-of-3-small-kids-commentary.

Insert 5 year working full time mom of 3.  No blogging.

Enter now, part time working mom who still has the itch to blog and we find me here at Just Finish Strong.  Now I read a lot of blogs too.  They just suck me in.  Its so weird!!!  These strangers who I'm pretty sure are my imaginary friends now.  Because I totally know them!  There are 2 or 3 blogs I read who have thousands of followers.  And now here is where the mystery of blogging comes in.  I am going to do a sample blog of what my blog would be like if I followed their format….that thousands of people read….and they get paid for….so here goes.

Hi everyone!

My morning started out with me dragging myself out of bed and throwing the cereal boxes on the table and making 3 kids lunches and then all of us heading into the van where we listened to Christmas Music all the way to school.  We listened to this CD.   

     Its our favorite.

I headed home where I did a quick you tube workout, ate some oatmeal with pecans and cranberries sweetened with agave and got ready for work. I'm so sorry I forgot the picture.  I got sucked into a Hallmark Christmas movie and then had to make myself turn it off so I could run some errands before work.

I worked all afternoon then went to pickup my kids from school.  Carson had a dentist appointment and I secretly planned on the way home to somehow talk Andy into taking him so I could call my sister, Traci who lives in Germany.  Hi Traci!

It was a quick and easy dinner tonight with hot ham and cheese rolls and sweet potato chips.  Have I told you how much I heart these chips?  

I heart them.

The girls and I made these cookies for our Angel Tree gift basket where they fought over exactly how many cookies they each got to cut out.  I sent them both to bed early since I let them stay up late and watch Elf last night.  

Now I'm going to sit on the couch and admire my Christmas tree and drink hot tea!  And probably watch a Hallmark Christmas movie I've seen 3 times. Till tomorrow….!

I don't know about you, but there isn't a whole lot of content there that is worth sharing with the Internet world, if you ask me.  Those girls get 30-50 comments on a post like that!!! (Insert a very blank look from me)  But EVERY DAY I go back to my imaginary bff's blogs to see what they did.  Along with thousands of other people.

It is a blogging mystery…..

Just so as to not alarm you, I will not be following that format, I just can't make myself do it.  It was painful to write. Even if I do want thousands of readers.  I need my mark on the world to have a little more content, even if I am self proclaimed shallow. Gotta stay true to Just Finish Strong style.