Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Books Read in 2008

As part of the '08 resolutions, I had hoped to read just one book a month. I did it; here's my list:

Change of Heart

The Art of Mending

The Year of Pleasures

Roseflower Creek

Cold Rock River

A Three Dog Life

Light on Snow

The Year of Fog

Everyday Sacred

Water for Elephants


My Sister's Keeper

Life Artist

The Friendship Test

Remember Today 12.31.08

{remember} the traditional Chinese Food takeout dinner with the boys, and me going to bed at 9:30 and seeing zippo of the New Year's celebrations on TV. Just physically and emotionally drained this year. . .

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Remember Today 12.30.08

{remember} bowling with friends (forgot my camera). Maddox's excitement at knocking pins down and his animation about the game in general was priceless.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Remember Today 12.29.08

{remember} playdates for L & C--Logan's friend stayed straight through dinner--L was psyched.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Remember Today 12.27.08

{remember} another day of nothingness that I so need and deserve (and a little nap).

Friday, December 26, 2008

Remember Today 12.26.08

{remember} a day of playing with the boys, nothing but playing: Rock Band, Wii Sports, Cadoo, hockey, skateboarding. This is my favorite day of the holiday season.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Remember Today 12.25.08

{remember} a wonderful Christmas: the boys' excitement at what Santa brought, spending the day with my family: giving, receiving, eating, laughing, crying, talking, oh and more eating; and crawling into bed exhausted and relieved that it's over and looking forward to a day of playing tomorrow. Merry Chritmas to all, and to all a good night.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Remember Today 12.24.08

{remember} a leisurely Christmas Eve day, delicious Christmas Eve dinner with Perry's family, and a teary-eyed Christmas Eve church service.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Cookies for Santa

This year I am incredibly late baking the Christmas cookies, which isn't necessarily a bad thing--they'll be fresher for Santa. This year we made 4 kinds:

Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Thumbprint (these were Perry's faves)

taken from

1 1/2 c flour

1/3 c baking cocoa (or grind baking chocolate pieces in the blender like I did to get 1/3 c of powder cause I didn't check my ingredients list before I began--I digress)

1 1/2 t baking powder

1/4 t salt

Combine the above in a small bowl.

Melt 1 c. semi-sweet morsels in saucepan, stirring constantly until smooth.

Beat 1 c. granuated sugar, 1/3 c. peanut butter, 1/3 c. softened butter, and 1 1/2 t vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy.

Beat in melted chocolate.

Add 2 eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in remaining package of semi-sweet morsels.

Cover and refrigerate until firm.

Shape dough into 1 1/2" balls; press thumb into tops and fill with 1/2 t peanut butter.

Bake on an ungreased baking sheet for 10-15 minutes at 350--until sides are set but centers are slightly soft.

Cool on wire racks.

Sugar Cookie Cut-outs (the kids' faves)

my Godmother's mother's recipe

3/4 c. butter softened (can be part shortening, but I never have this on hand)

1 c. sugar

2 eggs

1 t lemon extract

Beat above until creamy.

In separate bowl combine 2 1/2 c flour, 1 t baking powder, 1 t salt. Blend into the butter/sugar mixture.

Chill dough overnight.

Roll dough to 1/8" thick and cut with cookie cutters and decorate with sprinkles (hence the boys' favorite cookies). Bake on ungreased cookie sheet in 400 degree oven for 6-8 minutes until golden but not browned.

Raspberry Almond Thumbprints

from Land-O-Lakes Holiday cookbook

2/3 c sugar

2 sticks butter softened (1 c)

1/2 t almond extract

Beat above in large mixer bowl.

Gradually add 2 cups flour. Blend until mixed well.

Shape dough into 1" balls. Press thumb into top and fill wth 1/4 t raspberry jam.

Bake at 350 for 14-18 minutes until golden.

Mint Spritz with Mint Kisses

In large mixer bowl combine 2/3 c sugar, 2 sticks softened butter, 1 egg, 1/2 t salt, and 1/4 t mint extract until creamy.

Gradually add 2 1/4 c flour until well mixed. Use a cookie press (I got mine for like $6 at CTS years ago and it works like a charm. Look at these perfect little flowers:

Bake at 400 for 6-8 minutes. Immediately after removing cookies from the oven place one mint filled chocolate kiss in the center of each flower. Cool completely before storing.


Remember Today 12.23.08

{remember} a day of cookie baking with M.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Remember Today 12.22.08

{remember} being able to join in Logan's classroom holiday celebration and being witness to this class group hug--love this woman:

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Remember Today 12.21.08

{remember} making the gingerbread house with the boys and being lucky we had enough candy after their "samplings" to decorate it.

Guess where Camden was? Yup, watching the Bruins on tv.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Remember Today 12.20.08

{remember} our annual family Christmas party at our home: lots of good food, seeing and catching up with family we don't often see, a Yankee Swap with lots of laughs--good Christmas cheer!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Remember Today 12.19.08

{remember} an early release day for the boys due to snow, and them building snowforts with friends in the neighbor's front yard.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Simple Act of Kindness

Today I dragged Camden and Maddox around on several last-minute holiday errands after picking C up from school. He absolutely despises having to go anywhere after school, but with Christmas next week, I had no choice. He moaned, groaned, complained and whined every step through every store: "I just want to go home and play Webkinz" over and over and over again. We finally pull onto our street and as we drove along I noticed a little old man struggling to clear the ice off his driveway before the next batch of snow was due to hit. I thought of how "Hallmark" it would be to help him, but my mind quickly raced through all of its censoring that adults just seem to have: what if he doesn't want our help, what if he's too proud to accept help, what if he's particular about what type of shovel scrapes across his driveway. "Camden, wouldn't it be nice to walk up and help that man shovel his driveway?" I called to the backseat, expecting him to cry out, "No, I'm playing Webkinz." He replied very simply, "Let's do it." Ahh, to think with the simple mind of a child, and none of the complicatedness of an adult.

Remember Today 12.18.08

{remember today} shoveling out an elderly neighbor's driveway with C & M.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Snowy Day

The view from our backyard this morning:

Today marked the first real snow of the season. After the boys got off to school, Maddox asked if he could go out to play in the snow, something he never did last year. Despite the cleaning I had to do to get ready for a family party this weekend, there was no way I could turn down his precious request. So geared in snowpants, boots, mittens, hats, and coats we trudged out into the one inch of snow. He had a ball and I got some great shots:

Note the snotty nose in this one. Guess it's time to go inside.

Remember Today 12.17.08

{remember} the neighborhood kids (and then some) having a blast sledding down the hill in our backyard. It didn't matter that the snow was only an inch thick (if that), or that it was getting dark, or that they'd been at it for an hour and 45 minutes. Does anything compare to the first real snow of the season?

The shutter stayed open way too long for this shot, but I love the rainbow of color from everyone's jackets.


A few days ago I sent a layout to Donna Downey's inbox based on a sketch she had posted on her blog from her book. I hadn't scrapbooked in months, and it felt so good to drop everything at this crazy time of the year and scrapbook. Well, I just checked out a new posting on her blog, and guess what? She picked my layout as one of her favorites! I am beyond excited. Go check it out here.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

This afternoon, as is our daily ritual every school day at 3:45, C & M & I walked out of our house to go down to the bus stop to greet Logan. Except, today, unlike any other day, there was a large, full-color box in the driveway with a highly-detailed picture of a drum set on it. Did I mention this box was large and full-color? The two boys squealed with delight and ran to the box, saying "Drums! Is that ours? I want that!" I followed quickly behind and did my best to cover up the shipping label with items I had in my hand. But, of course, even with the shipping label covered, Camden spots the address hand-scrawled in large Sharpie letters, with, what? our street and house number! "It is ours, see," he exclaimed leaving me clamoring for the right words. "Uhhh, I think UPS messed up. This can't be ours. I don't know. I'll have to check with your Dad {to consult on the lie that we will concoct to cover up this huge blunder of gift giving}. I have one question, at this time of year what is BJ's thinking sending a box in it's original packaging?
So now we are left with a few lies options: tell the boys that Daddy ordered this for a friend at work to give to his child {might raise the question of how sneaky parents can be to hide presents from their children}; tell L & C that Santa couldn't fit this in his sleigh so he shipped it early and it's for M {starts them wondering exactly how does Santa fit all those gifts in his sleigh, and they probably wouldn't keep the surprise secret from M}, tell the boys that Santa has started some trial runs in preparation for his big trip next week, and this box must have fallen out of his sleigh {ok, really far-fetched, and the laws of physics would come into play here, even for a 5- and 7-year-old}. So here's the one we settled on, thought up by my brilliant husband: we'll tell them that UPS messed up in the delivery, but Mommy saw how excited you were when you saw the box that Daddy made a trip to the mall after work to ask Santa if he could possibly bring drums for you. Whew, problem solved. Now let's just hope they BELIEVE. And if this starts them questioning the reality of Santa, we'll just bring out the movie Miracle on 34th Street.

Remember Today 12.16.08

{remember} Waking up to Logan telling me that he read for 42 minutes this morning in bed--love, love, love that he is a reader!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Remember Today 12.15.08

{remember} watching Maddox slide into the pool, jump off the block, and ring-around-the-rosey in his last swim class of the session without a single tear. He ended the class by swimming back the length of the pool saying, "Mommy, watch this," and then dunking his whole face into the water--so happy and proud--both of us!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Remember Today 12.14.08

{remember} knowing that I have such good people in my life and how very blessed I am.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

A page

When's the last time I created a layout? I really have no idea--it has to be more than a month ago. Here's one I did tonight after seeing Donna Downey's blog post from Wednesday. Couldn't pass up a chance to whip up a page by scraplifting her layout design. And whip I did, in under 45 minutes from photos to finish. I used a flower from a SU! kit that I was saving for a new scrapbooking club that I'm starting in January--hope I don't regret that!

Remember Today 12.13.08

{remember} Camden going to his first Bruin's game with Perry and returning like this
while Logan, Maddox, and I went to the movies (Maddox's first time--loved watching him riveted to the enormous screen) to see Bolt--very cute.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Self Portrait

I can't believe I'm posting a picture of my self wearing my glasses. It's all in good fun, and I'm modeling the button headband I made in less than an hour inspired by the Elsie class. I guess I am actually putting some of her projects to use. . .

Remember Today 12.12.08

{remember} the wreck my town is in after a terrible ice storm last night: tree limbs all over yards and roads and cars, power lines draped across roadways, clumps of ice falling from trees, clumps of branches falling from trees, power outages. Here are pics of my friend's new car just bought this week:

Yikes! My parents are still without power nearly 24 hours later. My sister purchased a pricey generator to replace their lost power.

I can't help but think, "it could be worse." What else can you say at times like these.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Visit with Santa

Today was the annual visit with Santa. I prepped Maddox ahead of time with my very sympathetic pep talk: "You're only allowed to cry once with Santa, and you used up your cry last year. So there will be no crying when you sit on Santa's lap, got it?" Well, I guessed it worked, but I don't think his big brothers had the faith in him that I did. They were more interested in watching Maddox's reaction than seeing the big man himself:

We actually got a picture with everyone smiling:

And after the photo shoot, Maddox allowed Santa to actually talk to him and he even looked him in the eyes and smiled. I'm thinking after seeing what Santa brings him this Christmas, his whole outlook on the bearded man in the red suit is going to change completely.

Poor Camden, when Santa asked him what he wanted for Christmas, the pressure was just too great and his mind went totally blank. He couldn't name a single thing on his list, even after several minutes of thought:

Before we left the mall we saw this adorable display set up in Macy's. The boys set right to work writing letters to Santa:Logan's Letter:

Camden's Letter:

Remember Today 12.11.08

{remember} an unexpected bit of freedom while my Mom took the boys: volunteering in C's class for an hour, grocery shopping with my own peaceful thoughts and purchasing only those items that we need (yes, I needed that Symphony toffee and almond chocolate bar--besides it was on sale!), excitedly picking up this from the library, and ending the day with a visit with Santa at the mall--and M didn't cry, even though he really, really wanted to!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Remember Today 12.10.08

{remember} Logan coming home from school every day this week and going directly upstairs to turn on his new Metallica CD from Santa (it had to come from Santa, because I would never buy him such brain rotting music!)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Remember Today 12.9.08

{remember} finally being able to go shopping and cross some items of my list, after all there are only 15 more shopping days 'til Christmas (in case you're counting!).

Monday, December 8, 2008

Remember Today 12.8.08

{remember} Sick Day #864: Just when I thought life around here would return to normal, and I could actually get a little Christmas shopping done with Logan finally feeling healthy enough for school, Camden is home with a bellyache--ugghh!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Remember Today 12.7.08

{remember} Perry's annual family holiday party: yummy food, the coin toss, a visit from Santa, and of course, the Chicken Dance with Nani:

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Remember Today 12.6.08

{remember} snapping some photos of Christmas decos this holiday season. And getting this one of my favorite wall in my home:

I scanned and printed these at the Kodak picture kiosk at Target after my Grandmother passed. They are photos of my dad, his brother, and my grandparents. Love the stories they tell.

Remember Today 12.5.08

{remember} making the big escape from the sick ward to attend Perry's firm's Christmas party--plans to leave by 10:30 turned into leaving close to 1 am--whoops! We didn't anticipate how fun it would be (and how much I would enjoy a night out after being cooped up all week).

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Remember Today 12.4.08

{remember} Sick Day #4: Saved yet again by my Mom who came to my house this morning so that I could run to the grocery store to pick up food to actually be able to feed my family something other than scrambled eggs and hot dogs (not that Logan is eating more than 2 bites of bagel a day anyway).

Breaking all the Rules

I seem to be breaking all the rules this holiday season. First the fake tree, and now I have just ordered our family Christmas card from Shutterfly. I had full intentions of hand-making my holiday cards this year (for the 7th year). I even had an adorable layout in mind based on a birthday invitation Camden had recieved. But Halloween came and went and I hadn't created a mock up of the card to be able to order my supplies. That's when I put Plan B into action: a digitally scrapped card that I could upload and have printed. Brilliant, and it buys me a bit more time since I don't have to individually craft each card on my ever-growing list. On comes Thanksgiving with full force (and lots of turkey and fixings), and still no digital card in the works. I hadn't even settled on a photo to use. . .or maybe I would take the boys on a photo shoot by trespassing on my neighbor's property to capture the New England-esque landscaping. Well, then Logan comes down with this bug and we are set back almost an entire week (and I, in no way mean this rambling to be a series of excuses for why you all are not receiving a handmade card from me this year--I fully admit that I am a slacker and a procrastinator in the worst way). So tonight I did it. I ordered our card and it was so easy it was scary--scaring me right into wondering if I'll ever do handmade again. A couple of clicks, a few swirls of the mouse to edit the photo (specifically edit Perry and I out of the photo), and voila 75 cards on their way to us for less than it costs me to make them.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Remember Today 12.3.08

{remember} Sick Day #3: getting out of the house for the first time in three days to return library materials (don't want any late fees on my record), and pick up L's work from school--left L & M in their jammies in the car.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Remember Today 12.2.08

{remember} Sick Day #2: Logan laying in my bed ALL day long (only getting up once to pee); the four of us taking a much needed afternoon nap; and finding Cloth, Paper, Scissors mag in my mailbox (a gift from my scraping friends--love those guys!).

Monday, December 1, 2008

Remember Today 12.1.08

{remember} Sick Day #1 for Logan: making him a Lost Boy Bear (from elsie's class) and hanging out in my bedroom all day long.