Books We're Currently Reading

Shelfari: Book reviews on your book blog

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Fridley Tree Lighting Ceremony

We put up our tree last night. It is so fun to see Karalee get excited about Christmas this year.  She loved helping hang the lights and was even more excited when I pulled out our collection of Christmas books. I put them away last year so they would seem new and special this year. Worked like a charm! I think that will be the beginning of a tradition for us. We also put out our "little people nativity" from last year. So fun to decorate for Christmas, celebrate the birth of Jesus, all the while making it kid friendly and exciting.  I just love being a mom.

Speaking of traditions, here are a few of ours, so far.


Favorite Ornaments...
Starbucks Coffee Cup

Nolan's Favorite from our first Christmas married 2003!

Memorial Ornament in memory of my Dad.

Nolan's: Remembering when he biked from Spokane to Virginia Beach with his two friends

Friday, November 27, 2009

I love Christmas...

Per tradition, we went to get our tree today. We always go the day after Thanksgiving to begin our Christmas Season.  This year we went right at dusk, so most of the pictures did not turn out.  I did set the timer and try to get a few family shots. Not the best, but we had fun and found a nice tree. Of course, it was the first one Nolan spotted, AGAIN. He is no longer allowed to open his eyes until we are a few rows in. I try to tell him the "hunt" is part of the fun. Apparently, he is a good hunter. =)

Fun @ Riverfront Park

Today was beautiful and sunny so we bundled up and headed down to Riverfront Park.  It was more crowded than I had anticipated, but we soon figured out why.  SANTA was coming!  He was due to arrive very shortly on the train right in front of the carousel.  Needless to say, we got more than we bargained for during our park visit. We stood in the distance and watched "Santy" arrive and greet the children.  Karalee still wanted nothing to do with him, but also didn't want to leave.  Someday, much to Nolan's delight, she might just buy into this whole santa story. For now, she couldn't care less. The free hot chocolate, that is a different story!

Hot Chocolate Break....

And she's off....

Audree's just taking it all in...

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Fall Soups

A few of you asked for the recipes to the soups I had at Bunco the other night.  I almost took some pictures as I made them, (with the blog in mind, of course) but I didn't have time in the crazy day of non-napping girls.

Fiesta Chicken Corn Chowder

2 cans of Cream of Chicken Soup
3 cans of milk
One packet of taco seasonings
One can of corn
Chicken (I use a rotisserie)
A large handful of fresh Cilantro

Mix soup, milk, taco seasoning and cilantro in a crock pot or on the stove. Add corn and chicken and let simmer to blend the flavors.  Serve with sour cream, cheese and tortilla chips as a garnish.

Chicken Tortilla Soup
4 chicken breast halves
1 garlic clove, minced  (I have used granulated garlic in a pinch. About 1/2 Tbs.)
2 Tbsp. margarine
2 (14 ½ oz) cans chicken broth
2 (14 ½ oz) cans chopped stewed tomatoes
1 cup salsa
½ cup chopped cilantro
1 Tbsp. ground cumin
8 oz Monterey Jack cheese
Sour cream
Tortilla chips

Cook the chicken and shred or cut up. Add minced garlic to the margarine in the slow cooker and sauté. Combine all ingredients except cheese, sour cream & chips. Cook on low for 8-10 hours. When you’re ready to eat add the cheese to the bowl and pour the soup over and then add your garnishes (sour cream & chips).

*I Have used diced tomatoes with green chiles and just added a can of tomato sauce. Works great!

Great Grandma Butler's Split Pea Soup
1lb dried split peas

5 Cups chicken broth
2 1/2 Cups water
1 medium onion stuffed with 12 cloves
2 celery ribs, diced
2 carrots, peeled and sliced ( I use 2-4 foot-long)
2 garlic cloves, cut in half

1 meaty ham hock
2 bay leaves

1/2 tsp salt

Soak peas in chicken broth and water overnight. Place peas and liquid, ham hock, onion, celery, carrot, garlic, bay leaves and salt in slow cooker. Cook on low for 8 to 9 hours. Remove onion with cloves and bay leaves, discard. Remove ham hock and dice meat. (if you have it, I put in extra ham) Put vegetables and peas through blender until smooth. Return soup and diced ham to slow cooker and heat to serving temperature.

*This is a great way to use the leftover ham bone after Christmas or Easter dinner.  Just leave whatever meat on it and throw it in the freezer to use at a later time. Or, make up the soup the next day.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Big Girl

Audree is learning to sit up already. Although Karalee was about this age too, Audree seems so much younger to me.  Here is a picture of her practicing. She wobbles a lot but can stay put for a stretch here and there.  Too cute.

Karalee is proud of her sister and gets excited about the thought of playing next to her as she sits. She was a bit nervous though, as I stepped away to take pictures of Audree, leaving her sitting all by herself. This picture captured her uncertainty today.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Happy Birthday Dad!

Happy Memories of my dad today.  This was taken April 24th, 2004.  3 years and 6 days before he passed away.  This makes me laugh becuase he was SO excited and proud of his new scooter.  He was giddy in fact, that my mom finally let him have a bike.  My brothers have shared fun memories of my dad riding this with a helmet, chemistry lab goggles and a scarf before Pete bought him the proper attire for Christmas.

This picture makes me smile because he asked me to come over and take a picture of him on his scooter.  (Oh how I wish I had a better camera back then!)  I walked in to find him in his recliner wearing this classic outfit. So like him, sweatpants and sweatshirt and his black sketchers.  I remember saying, way to dress up for a picture dad! He smirked, his "trying not to laugh" face was easily read!  "What, you don't like my outfit?" =)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Deda's Cookies

Well as I mentioned in my post before, tomorrow would have been my dad's 57th birthday.  Ironically, he has been coming up in conversations with Karalee all day.  This morning she got into a box with his old Bible study notes. She found a page of beautiful fish stickers and began to place them all over the carpet.  I explained that she may not get into that box again and that those stickers were "Deda's."  Deda is short for Grandfather in Russian. Like Grandpa, if I understand correctly. 

Later on, while we were getting ready to leave she asked where we were going. " To see daddy," I explained.   "Deda?"   No, not my daddy, we are going to see your daddy.  "Oh, because Deda is in Heaven right?"  Too cute....

Then tonight I decided to make some sugar cookies. It had been a crazy busy day and I wanted to spend some time with Karalee in the kitchen.  She loves to play with her playdoh so I thought she might like to use the rolling pin and cookie cutters to make real cookies. She overheard me tell Nolan, "These were my dad's favorite cookies."  Karalee chimed in, "These are Deda's cookies."  =) 

I'd like to think that her little 2 year old brain understands what she is saying.  For now, I am comforted by the fact that we speak often of my dad.  He was a wonderful Godly man and would be so smitten by this little girl who loves to talk about "Deda."

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Being Thankful in November...

As most of you know, Nolan's Dad (Joe) has been staying with us on and off for the last few weeks. Our business has been very blessed and Nolan had two houses scheduled to start on the same day. Joe came down two weeks ago, stayed about 9 days and then went home when the second house was delayed. He came back down on Sunday and will be hear for a 9 day stretch again.  As much as I truly love Joe, things are a little different around here.  One more person to cook for and "take care of." He insists I don't need to, however it is just my nature to "mother" things and people in my home. =) I took this picture last night and realized how truly thankful I am to have him here.  My dear friend Mindy lost her dad on Friday. Having lost my father only two and a half years ago, I find myself missing him often. Especially in November, as he would have turned 57 on this coming Thursday. I am thankful that Nolan has this opportunity to spend time with his dad and add to the countless memories.  This picture captures how alike they are. Their legs crossed the same way. They sit the same, speak the same, giggle at the same things..... This is the man that helped mold my husband into the man I love, and I am thankful!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Happy Birthday Mom!

We took my mom to a condo at the coast for her 50th birthday this weekend. We scrapbooked and watched chick flicks the entire time. We had a lot of fun and ate a lot of chocolate. Happy Birthday mom!

This is the AMAZING chocolate cake we had with all 50 candles. Below is a picture of a few of my mom's "must-have" staples for scrapbooking. All of her favorites............yes, that includes a tiara! =)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Our Crazy Day...

Well today was a little busy but a lot of fun. It started with 8:00 AM calls (on the dot mind you) to the Dr. to get Audree squeezed in for an appointment. This Bronchialitus is driving my bonkers. She has sounded worse the last few days so we needed to get her lungs checked. We had Stephanie and her little ladies over to play after that. It was a little bit of a zoo, but OH SO fun. I snapped this cute pic of Maddison as she stopped to play in the grass on the way to her car.

Then in the middle of all my list of things to do, I noticed that there was really good light coming in our kitchen door. Of course, my new camera just happened to be on the counter. I read an article about "catch lights" (reflections in your subjects eyes) a few days ago and that is what we got. FUN! Oh camera, you are so fun but so to take Nolan lunch then Audree to the Dr.

The last pic is of Audree's sad sweet face as she endures her nebulizer. BLAH! I am sorry sweet girl. After her appointment we headed to the store for some groceries where my car battery proceeded to die. It took an hour and two mechanics, (one on the phone) to help us get it started/home where it died upon entering the garage. My sweet husband just pulled in with my new battery (it is 10:40 PM). After cleaning both posts and such with baking soda and jumping it again, we realized it would not re-start once turned off. Crazy day, but full of fun and blessings. Praise the Lord for flexible nurses, good friends, hard-working husbands, wise doctors, gracious mechanics, money for groceries & car batteries, and...................the good nights sleep I am going to have. =) (gotta have faith!)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Little Girls Love to Twirl

Nolan bought me a new camera over the weekend and I have NO IDEA how to use it. I am a hands-on learner so practice, practice, practice. Karalee was my willing subject this morning and we had fun playing. As soon as I hung the sheet she wanted to dance. She put on her "ballerina kirt" and began to twirl. I have a LONG WAY to go before I am taking the pictures I want to take. For now, don't look at the shadows, or the wrinkles, or the poor lighting. Look at my sweet little girl who loves to twirl!


Tuesday, November 3, 2009


These two girls melt my heart with the way they already love each other. Nobody can get Audree laughing like her sister Karalee. It is hard not to laugh along with them as they chuckle. I LOVE my girls!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Photo Booth

So obviously I updated the blog a bit tonight. I realized I had no recent pictures of Nolan and I together so I asked him to come take some with me. Ridiculous. I thought I would post our attempts. It reminded me of a photo strip from a booth at the fair! =]


And the winner is..........