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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Annual Y Breakfast with Santa

This past Saturday was our annual breakfast with Santa at the gym. We always look forward to this because we love our gym (we've been there over 4 years now!) and it's fun seeing our friends out of our normal gym clothes. 

The littles were antsy because the breakfast wasn't until 9 am and they had been up since 7:30 and I hadn't feed them 2nd breakfast yet (you'd never believe how often Micah wants to eat based off his size!) We got there and saw Santa but no photo because apparently the caffeine hadn't hit my brain yet and I left my wallet at home after online shopping. Seriously Christmas is making me lose my brain! At least I didn't forget any of the littles at home right? 

Then we got some breakfast and sat down to eat. 
 Beau and I always joke that the breakfast with Santa always has the sugariest breakfast - powdered sugar donuts, cinnamon rolls and cookies this year. Along with breakfast tacos and bananas.

Lexie refused to stay still so I nibbled while trying to convince her to sit in the chair so she wouldn't fall out and to not run around on the stage where I was afraid of her falling off the edge.
 Hmm... bite sized cinnamon roll anyone?
 After the sugar-high breakfast, we decorated cookies. (As if we needed more sugar!) The littles loved this activity and I can't wait to decorate cookies with them at home later this week/next for Santa.
 Lexie wanted to eat all the sprinkles off her gingerbread man and all the extras as well.
 Micah did a great job decorating his gingerbread man all by himself!
 As did Abby.
 Then I lost my fight to keep them off the group ex stage and that's where Lexie was determined to eat her cookie.
All in all they had a great time... and mommy made it out with her sanity mostly in tact. Usually Beau is with me for this but he was at home with strep throat. Yuck. 

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Monday, December 16, 2013

Christmas at Sea World

Over the chilly chilly Thanksgiving break, as soon as it started warming up enough to not freeze outside, we headed to Sea World. We traded our swimsuits and towels for hats and blankets but kept our trusty popcorn bucket to tag along with us.

Christmas at Sea World is almost as good as summer. While Abby was sad we weren't swimming (she wanted to test out her new camera underwater!) She was excited to be out at Sea World.

Summer or winter - the Clyde and Seamore show is always a favorite. It's hilarious!
I love that they keep the reason for the season present! This year they even added a giant nativity! In the Shamu show they also mention the wise men. It's not often you see places like this taking a stand for what they believe in - especially at the holidays (I mean Sofia has Wassailia instead of Christmas, and Jake and the Neverland Pirates has Winter Treasure Day) 
New this year is Snow World - complete with 'real' snow and a couple giant coca-cola polar bears. 
Abby and especially Micah, loved snow world. I was worried about Micah getting the tube up the hill to slide but the nice ladies at the top helped him. He went at least twice as many times as Abby, he loved it so much. Lexie didn't know what to think. 
Of course after leaving they told me they didn't want to do it again because it was too cold. Abby got snow in her boots and the bottom of Micah's pants were wet. 

So we headed to the reptile house/animal education center to warm up after having a snack of hot chocolate and sopapillas. 
We finished off our afternoon with a ride on the Sea World train looking at the Texas Themed snowmen and then the Christmas Shamu show. 
We sat in a splash zone that doesn't get too wet... the littles loved having a great view! (Well except for the sun that ended up in our eyes as it set .... next time we'll try the other side) 

So if you've finished your Christmas shopping or need a place to run off some steam over Christmas break - you don't want to miss the Sea World Christmas celebration. 

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Thursday, December 12, 2013

4 ingredient, 10 minute Brie Bites

To say last weekend was a busy one for us would be an understatement. We had 4 different parties to attend and two of them were potlucks that meant I needed to prepare something to bring. Sure I guess I could have stopped and picked up something at the pastry dept in HEB or something of the sort but I prefer to make something if I can. The party Friday night was easy to whip up some mashed potatoes (I do make a mean mashed potato - Lexie can attest to that as she'll eat her weight in them)

For our Bibleland team leader party Sunday evening, the theme for the food was finger foods. This was going to be tricky since if I wanted something warm I had about 15 minutes to whip it up after coming back home from a birthday party. I made some egg nog macarons earlier that day but I wanted something a little savory as well. In chatting with my mom she reminded me of the fillo cups and who can resist something in a cute little fillo cup? 
One of my favorite party food or appetizers to make is brie in puff pastry. I love a yummy baked brie (yes coming from the girl who mostly only likes cheese on pizza.) I usually make it similar to Sarah at Frankly Entertaining  only I add some brown sugar in with the cheese and use craisins instead of cranberry sauce. However I didn't have the 20-30 minutes to bake the puff pastry for this party. 

Fillo shells means I only needed half the baking time. This appetizer was so simple to pull together. I literally threw it together while waiting for and talking the baby sitter through what to expect for the night. You only need 4 simple ingredients. 

Fillo Shells 
Brie (4 oz per pack of 15 shells) 
Brown Sugar
 You'll start by taking the fillo sheels out of the freezer and setting them on a baking tray. Then you'll cut into your brie and cut pieces to fit into each shell. It will melt beautifully down into the cup once you put it in the oven.
 Add a bit of brown sugar on top of the brie then bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes.
Pull them out when the brie is melted and immediately top with craisins. You can swap this out for something else of your choice if you prefer. Maybe some apricot or fig preserves? Or a warm cranberry sauce. 
Put them on a serving tray and enjoy all the compliments for this simple appetizer! I was shocked at how impressed my other team leaders were at the party over this little treat! Especially compared the the macarons, this took no time at all and looked so impressive! All thanks to it being in little fillo cups. 

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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Christmas traditions

I LOVE Christmas time. The sights, smells, the magic in the air. We don't have many Christmas traditions but we do have a few. Christmas pjs being one of them. Every year the littles get a new set of holiday jammies. I love the idea of giving them new pjs on Christmas Eve but I don't have the patience to wait that long and we like to wear them all through December. 
A new thing for us this year is wrapping up Christmas books to unwrap one a night until Christmas time. The littles are LOVING this and not only do they look forward to their night to unwrap but also to just seeing what the book is for the night. I love that they love our nightly reading time. 

Another tradition for us is Church on Christmas Eve. I usually work in the nursery during the services. I love the fellowship with my co-workers and the littles have a blast in the nursery, hearing the Christmas story, seeing friends. We try to also attend the last service if they aren't too worn out. This also helps run out some of their energy so they have an easy time heading to bed on Christmas Eve.

Last year we started the tradition of Starbucks hot chocolate (and a chai latte for mommy) while we drive around in our pjs and look at the Christmas lights. We'll be doing that one night next week.

I'd say one of my littles favorites is of course baking a decorating sugar cookies for Santa.

What are your favorite Christmas traditions? 

I'm linking up with Darci and her friends for the Holly Jolly PJ party - head on over and join in! 

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Friday, December 06, 2013

5 on Friday

Is it just me or does it feel like the end of this year is flying? How is it already almost a full week into December? I'm failed at blogging this week - eek. So I'm linking up with Darci and her friends to re-cap what we've been up to. 

- ONE - 
Elfie arrived on Sunday afternoon. He would have arrived Sunday morning but he might have stayed up too late the night before making sure all the Christmas countdown books were wrapped up. Whoops. He made up for it by bringing a yummy afternoon snack as well. Elfie so far hasn't been quite as creative this year - a few days the littles were lucky I remembered to move him at all. Luckily they love it as long as he moves :) Do ya'll do the Elf on the Shelf? Does he just move or do you go all out and have him do creative things around the house? 
 - TWO - 
I think unfortunately Elfie + an early Christmas with Grandma and Grandpa over Thanksgiving break has lead a certain *almost* two year old to think she can unwrap any present whenever she wants. Micah was downstairs with me getting a snack when I heard paper ripping from under the tree in the playroom. Yikes! Thankfully at least it was for Micah and he wasn't around to see it so I could quickly hid it until it was re-wrapped. Now to keep her from unwrapping anymore between now and Christmas. 

- THREE - 
I have an awesome brother. He's in school about an hour away but he brought back oranges from my grandpa's tree and a bike trailer my parents had bought for the littles from Thanksgiving with them all and brought it over to us. The littles - Abby and Micah especially were thrilled to see him. Lexie is even  quickly warming up to him and added "Jeremy" to her vocabulary by the end of the visit. 

Not only did he bring it over to us though but he put new tire tubes in my tires for me to they would hold air again, hooked up the bike trailer and then took all the littles and Abby's friends from across the street on rides up and down the street. Once they had all had rides, he ran up and down the street alongside Micah while Micah rode his bike. He definitely wins Uncle of the Year.
Lexie is a fan of the new bike trailer! (See also it was 82 degrees on Tuesday afternoon.... two days it's 31 degrees - talk about a big difference! As they say in Texas we have two seasons summer and winter and sometimes you get both in the same week.) 
- FOUR - 
It was Micah's week for snack at preschool. Monday and Wednesday I wasn't too creative and they got a basic snack. Friday I got inspired by pinterest and since the letter of the week was R we made reindeers. Bread cut into triangles, cookie butter, m&ms for the eyes and nose and pretzel ears. Then raspberries to go along with. I also made Micah's sandwich in his lunch into a reindeer as well while I was at it. I'm kinda in love with how cute these turned out! 

- FIVE - 
'Tis the weekend of parties. Oh my goodness our weekend is fully booked! It was our Bible class Christmas party tonight. If you are local to me and want to brave the freezing weather the Helotes Winterfest is tomorrow. Before the cold snap I had been thinking we'd go but now it will be 29 degrees out in the morning so I'm not so sure about it. 

If you are looking for something warmer Inflatable Wonderland is having their grand opening of the new location at The Wonderlands of Americas Mall. 

Then I have a friend having a Sole Hope party and our normal working of the Church nursery. Then as if we haven't had a busy day already I really want to take the littles through the drive-thru Nativity at Concordia Lutheran Church. (That is if the weather is holding out and hasn't caused them to cancel!) 

Sunday we have a birthday party (which of course reminds me that my little baby's second birthday is all too close and I should probably start planning it!) and a team leader party for our Bibleland group. 

Gosh I'm exhausted thinking about it all but I'm looking forward to each event. This means that after this the only other event we have between now and Christmas is Breakfast with Santa. Everything just happened to fall on this one weekend! If my littles fall asleep in school/after-school at naptime on Monday I wouldn't be surprised! 

Is your December as jam-packed as ours? Have a great weekend ya'll! 

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Sunday, December 01, 2013

the beginnings of pecan pie

Over our weekend visit to North Louisiana, we were hanging out at SIL's house and she happened to have a pecan tree. Perfect for this time of year. The kids were playing outside and discovered the pecans all on the ground - thinking they looked like bigger acorns like they collect around our Church. They went to town collecting them. Once someone mentioned they could make a pecan pie with them they were hooked on the idea and couldn't wait to make a pie with all the pecans they collected. 

Collecting pecans started out with just Abby and Micah and turned into a big family activity. They started with just a few they could fit in the water bottles and quickly ran out of room. Then they starting holding them in their shirts (Micah's favorite method of sneaking snacks into his room during quiet time.)
Soon we were headed inside to get several bags because they were quickly running out of shirt space! Especially once everyone joined in on the pecan picking up.

Two bags of full of pecans plus a third small bag of the ones Daddy had started shelling.

Until the bags were sufficiently full, Abby and Micah were policing anyone would would try to eat a pecan or two that they had collected. They wanted to be totally sure they had enough to make a pie. (Oh and by the way there was no need to worry - we had plenty!)
 Once the ground was mostly picked up of pecans - they tried to move onto the tree.

 Then it was tree climbing time - because they were just too inviting not to climb into.

Three little monkeys climbing in a tree..... one fell out and bumped his head. Oh wait - that didn't happen this time but I'm fearful this will be in my future. 
 Once we returned home it wasn't long before I was getting multiple daily questions about when we were going to make our pecan pie. So later that week after I had rounded up the missing ingredient, it was onto chopping up some pecans and making a pie. (I took the easy way out with a pre-made pie crust)
 Using The Pioneer Woman's Pie That Will Make You Cry recipe we made our first pecan pie that the littles and I have ever made. I'll have to say it turned out pretty tasty too. Even for someone like me who isn't a big fan of nuts.
Anyone have any other favorite pecan recipes? So far I'll make salads (for Beau) with some pecans in it, along with sugared pecans for all the teacher gifts this year. That might take care of all the pecans once I finish with teacher gifts but I'm not sure. After seeing the price they wanted for pecans at the Farmer's Market today I wished I had a pecan tree in my yard! Ha! 

Have you ever collected pecans? What's your favorite of the 'classic' Thanksgiving desserts - pecan or pumpkin pie? 

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