Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Yummy Christmas Gifts


If you're in need of a great teacher gift, something small for your neighbors, or just want to make your house smell good and indugle some delicious bread--this is your recipe!

Seriously, it's devine.

I got the recipe from Jean, a friend in Houston.  She raved about it, so I had to give it a shot.  It did NOT disappoint.  Can't wait to gift my sweet neighbors and friends with this little gem.

Happy Holidays!

Lemon Poppyseed Zucchini Bread


Ingredients

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/3 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup sour cream (or greek yogurt)
1 cup shredded zucchini
1 tablespoon lemon zest
2 teaspoons poppy seeds

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 325°. Beat butter at medium speed with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer until creamy. Gradually add sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition.
2. Stir together flour, salt, and baking soda. Add to butter mixture alternately with sour cream, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition. Stir in zucchini and next 2 ingredients. Spoon batter into 3 greased and floured 5- x 3-inch disposable aluminum foil loaf pans (about 1 1/3 cups batter per pan).
3. Bake at 325° for 40 to 45 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks, and cool completely (about 30 minutes).
    **I just cooled them completely in their foil pans, and they turned out fine!

*This recipe will make 12 muffins. If you make muffins, I would bake them 23-25 minutes. 

Southern Living
AUGUST 2012

Monday, December 17, 2012

Northpark Trains

If you know Knox well, you know he likes anything manly that moves: construction equipment, cars, planes, trains, buses, etc.  We took him to the train exhibit at Northpark last year, right when he was starting to enjoy moving parts (see that post here).  He enjoyed it, but most of his time was spent "taking it all in."   I think at one point or another, each of us commented on how much he would love it the next year.

Boy were we wrong.  He was OBSESSED.  He still asks if we can go back and see the trains.

Once he realized what we were in for, he was off running.




Among all of the cool set-ups and realistic cityscapes, they have buttons for the kids to push that activate parts of the exhibits.  This button turned on the light in that raised station house.







We had so much fun with him this year, experiencing it all through his eyes.  Not only did he enjoy the trains, he loved spotting the construction equipment, helicopters, race cars and trucks present as well.  He's all boy.

Before we left, we snapped an awesome family pic (too bad the Christmas cards already went out) and watched the puppet show.


I'm excited to make this another Christmas tradition with our family.  Go before it closes, it doesn't disappoint!

Click here for more info!

Friday, December 14, 2012

{HomeSchool}: Weekly Wrap-Up

 In continuing with the "Jesus is Born" theme, we focused on the story behind the nativity scene.  It's been really nice, since they are focusing on the story of Jesus' birth in Sunday School and his preschool.  He loves to tell me that Jesus was born in a barn, and gets excited when you ask him what the "best gift of the season" is.  Daily I find him pulling a chair up to our nativity scene to play with baby Jesus and the animals.

It's really amazing seeing this through his eyes...all the more magical.  

As far as school went this week, I was a bit of a slacker.  We did all of our projects on Thursday night.  (hand slaps)

We first made a Christmas tree out of popsicle sticks in graduated lengths.  He painted them, and then once dry we glued them together and added cotton pom decorations.  He got to add it to the tree, and loves looking at it and touching it with "one finger."  That's our rule with ornaments.



We then made a bell angel.  Her body and wings were made out of bells, and then she had a little boy on her neck.  He did such a good job of gluing them in place, though her bow might be choking her a bit.




This was a fun way to incorporate the ABC's--A is for Angel, B is for Bell, and C is for CHRISTmas!


Our Christmas crafts turned out cute!


And his tree now on the big tree!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Lanterns and Photo Booths

This past week/weekend was really busy!  We had something every night...but one of our favorites was the Chinese Lantern exhibit at Fair Park.  Mimi (Stephen's mom) was in town and had purchased a Groupon for the exhibit, so after dinner we headed over to see what the fuss was about.

These things were awesome.  It was constructed solely for this location, so all of the work was done on site. Each piece was hand made...pretty spectacular.  Knox loved the pandas, butterflies and ants.  But he was OBSESSED with T-Rex.




It moved it's head and hands and growled.  He wasn't afraid at all.  In fact, he would have stayed there all night had we let him!



It was all pretty amazing.  Definitely something to go see before they are dismantled.

Friday night we headed to Austin for my companies Christmas party.  I work for my dad's company, so it's really a family reunion of sorts.  The party was at the Lakeway resort this year, and my mom did a great job organizing.  The hit, in my opinion, was the photo booth.  So fun to do with a toddler.


You can click to enlarge...pretty precious.  The cousins one sends me over the edge.

We had a great time, but headed home the next day to attend a fun Tacky Christmas Sweater party.  Thankfully I don't have pictures of that...good times.


Friday, December 7, 2012

{HomeSchool}: Weekly Wrap-Up

 Since we are gearing up for Christmas, our lesson this week was "Happy Birthday, Jesus:  Baby Jesus Born."  We focused on the story of Jesus' birth, and the nativity scene.

In case we aren't friends on Facebook, or you missed this one...he loves him some baby Jesus.

video

How cute is that?  I know I'm biased, but come on.

Anyway, we focused the first part of the week on the nativity scene.  (Sidenote:  the color for the week is brown, and the shape is star.  These were both incorporated!) 

I printed out this 3D nativity scene and glued it to cardstock, then cut out all the pieces for him to glue together.  He's not wearing pants because we're just finishing up potty training (HALLELUJAH, but a whole 'nother post).  Try and ignore that minor detail.




He glued all the major pieces of the scene, then glued together our Mary, Joseph and Baby J.



Then, he set it up to admire it.  And I'm sorry, you can't ignore that tiny hiney.  Presh!

It turned out really cute, and he now says "That's MY baby Jesus, mommy."  So cute!  Easy peasy craft, great time to talk about each piece and how they played an important role in the first minutes of our Lord's life.  Do it.

Then we moved on to more trivial holiday matters...filling up my rotating "knox art" frame.


Like he's meant to be there.

Can't wait to share the REASON for the season with Knox in the coming weeks.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Getting in the Spirit

We're trying to get in the Christmas spirit.  We've decked the halls (or mantle and tree), we've sang Jingle Bells at least once a day...it's just that it's still 80 degrees here.  And it's hard to get in the spirit when you're sweating.

One thing that helps is seeing Santa in a parade.  Yep, he came down just for the City of Richardson.  We're kind of a big deal.  Knox and his buddies had a great time watching all of the "floats," cars and emergency vehicles.  He had his hand to his ear half the time waiting to hear a siren:


Everytime we saw one I politely screamed for the officer to continue using his sirens for a bit longer.  All of the kids, Knox included, thanked me.

There were large groups (read: every boy scout troop in a 15 mile radius), small groups (The Richardson Comic book club.  Yes, there is one.  Yes, they were frightening), and of course the cheerleaders.  I was mean and made every group of girls do a cheer that went in front of us.  I mean, they are there for our entertainment, right?  Again, the kids thanked me.


Knox had three faves:

1) The police cars



2) the Drumline.  We joke that if he's in the band, he has to be in the drumline.  Isn't that guy in the left of the picture totally Knox?  What a little guy!


3) The firetrucks.


We had a great time, but he was pooped after it was over.  It lasted well over 1.5 hours.  Seriously.

After naps and a fun birthday party for Mr. Hamilton, we headed to meet the Wrights for our annual Santa Extravaganza.  We put our names on Santa's list and headed to Gloria's for drinks while we waited.  Genius.


Knox loves the girls.  They play with him and give him attention...his dream!  We finally met Santa, and Knox asked for a "HUGE" monster truck.  We'll see if Buddy the Elf (our elf on the shelf) clarifies exactly which one and helps to make it.


How cute is he?  

We headed back to Gloria's for some fuel, then headed to La Duni's dessert shack for some yummy cappuccino's and ice cream for the littles.  Delish.  

Afterwards, we took some pics around the giant Christmas tree and played hide and seek with the kids until we needed to get the little man to sleep.


The girls posed in all of their pics, so Knox joined in.

I'd say he got the hang of it.


We had so much fun, and can't wait for the rest of the crazy month.  I've said it so many times, but it's truly special seeing all of this from his perspective.  Blessed.

Friday, November 30, 2012

{HomeSchool}: Weekly Wrap-Up

I totally slacked last week, and this was a review week...so work with me here.  I'm still doing the homeschool thing around here for Preschool, but the past two weeks with Thanksgiving (and then this review week), and then working up to Christmas...it's just going to be hit or miss.  It's crazy around here.

The past two weeks were focusing on "God Made Me: I'm Special."  Honestly, we're those annoying parents that tell him he's special every third minute.  We're absolutely making him a monster to society, but we'll deal with that later.  

At school last week, his teacher gave me these cute hand prints.  I think they are meant to be Turkeys, but with 2-year olds, you take what you can get.  I just love his hand prints, so I don't care what the purpose is.  


He and I talked about his hand prints, and how they are specific to him.  Only he has these prints.  

That works loosely with the theme:

We did our Christmas family craft a few nights ago, and went with the hand prints again. 

Stephen's are the bottom row, mine are just above his and Knox got the top two rows.  

Pretty dang cute!


Knox is so special, and God made him perfectly.  Just for us!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Pallet Love!

Stephen and I have been on a DIY kick recently, moving from room to room updating things that we can easily and cost-effectively. 

When we moved into our house, we had to buy everything brand new (furniture, tv's, electronics, cars, etc) since we sold everything off for our move to Belgium.  In an effort to save some moolah, we purchased a sofa/chair set that included this faux-leather ottoman.


It wasn't bad, and honestly was a pretty nice addition with a crawling baby and wobbly toddler with it's soft edges.  But it needed to go.  

I've been eyeing some rustic pieces in catalogs and on the internet, but all were pretty pricey.  Enter Pinterest.  I'd pinned a picture almost a year ago of a pallet coffee table.  Of course I figured it was too difficult to do, but I casually mentioned it to Stephen and showed him the picture.

While sipping coffee Saturday morning, Stephen just as casually mentioned that there was a man giving away free pallets in Lewisville.  After a few emails and a thirty minute drive, we were the proud owners of 5 free pallets.

Now, what to do with them.

We found one picture we liked, and tried to mimic it.  It took a little more elbow grease and problem solving (they were all rusted and split), but we did it.


And I'm obsessed!



And Knox does, too!  He's already claimed the antlers.


Since we had five, I grabbed the smaller one and updated our dining room decor.


Don't try and be sneaky and see the family pics...just wait for our Christmas card :)