Sunday, December 23, 2007

They say it's your birthday...

Cake #2 in our "4 weeks of Birthday cake" celebration appeared today as it is my birthday, the big 3-8! In our immediate family, we are "lucky" to have, count them 5!!! birthdays between Dec 12th & Jan 4th, which means a constant parade of cake to accompany the mountains of other Christmas goodies & sweets that are an ever-present part of this season. Needless to say, the scale & I are not on good terms right now :-)

For the most part, I've have a great birthday, except for the Green Bay Packers' less-than-stellar performance against the Chicago Bears :-( Oh well, it's not like the game really mattered that much. It's just that, it's the Bears (see my previous post) and a loss to them really, really hurts. Okay, I'm over it.

People have asked me over the years, "How do you like your birthday so close to Christmas?" Well, for one thing, I didn't have much choice in the matter :-) I guess I could celebrate it in the summer, on my 1/2 birthday, but even then, school was out for the summer, so as far as my Mom bringing cupcakes to school, that didn't happen. Sometimes it worked to my advantage like on my 16th birthday, when my parents combined my birthday & Christmas present and bought me a car :-) And also my parents always made sure to wrap my presents in birthday wrap, so as to further separate the day.

Speaking of my Mom, she likes to tell the story of when I was about 3, and we were visiting our extended family at Christmastime. We celebrated my birthday on the 23rd as usual. The following day, Christmas Eve, we went to my one Grandma's house and did Christmas with her. Then Christmas Day we went to the other Grandma's house, and did yet another Christmas, with more presents. The next day, the 26th dawns, and little me says, "Where are my presents for today?", like this was a really cool new trend. It's so hard being little, and reality hits!

Kyra is getting a small taste of this, as we celebrated Christmas yesterday (Sat 22nd) with my sister & niece who were in town for the weekend. Then today was my birthday. Tomorrow we'll do Christmas Eve with my parents. Then the next day we're off to David's folks' for another Christmas. And then Saturday the 29th is Kyra's birthday, with even more presents in store...Yikes! Can you say overload? So far she seems to be doing pretty well, but every once in awhile, our friend the Grump pa pum pum shows up for a little visit...Then we know it's time for a little snooze, something we all can benefit from :-)

And speaking of snoozing, I'd better head that way myself. Happy Holidays to all & Many Blessings to you & your family in the New Year!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Grump pa pum pum

A very wise woman once told me all kids go through behavior cycles--3 weeks of being angels, 3 weeks of you-know-whats :-) In other words, if your child is testing your patience, just give them a little time, and they should work it out...

I don't know if it's our current stormy, gray weather--I think Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) can affect kids too, or if it's getting ready to turn 2, or the hustle/bustle of this crazy season--probably all of the above. But at our house, a certain someone under 4 ft tall is really trying her hardest to make the Naughty side of Santa's list.

I'm sure you seasoned Moms out there are nodding your heads, and saying, "Welcome to parenting a 2-yr-old, dear. And if you think these days are fun, wait until she's 3!"

I know it also doesn't help that there are a 100 more things now around the house that are "No touch. Just look with your eyes."

And how could we forget my personal favorite stressor: How to make everyone happy by spending the maximum amount of time together, with the least amount of drama/chaos getting to & from there", all in the span of a couple weeks. It also doesn't help that this Mama must have been taking a nap when the Gift of Hospitality was being handed out, so the idea of "having everyone over to our house"--my dear husband's solution--just further complicates things.

So how do we Enjoy this Christmas season, not just Survive it? And no, consuming lots and lots of Christmas Cheer (think rum or Bailey's), is not the answer I was looking for :-)

Any suggestions?

Friday, December 14, 2007

Color my World

What do you get when you add Christmas Lights + the Zoo + a train ride and then add a whole lot of childhood delight?? A fabulous fun-filled visit to the Oregon Zoo Christmas Lights display!

It seems that Kyra just can't get enough of Christmas Lights this year, so when last night's forecast called for no rain, we said, "Let's go see the Zoo lights!" Grandma & Grandpa A & Grandma H & our friend, Lena, also decided to go with us, so after wisely bundling up with layer upon layer to keep the cold at bay, we were off :-)

If you've never seen the Zoo Lights, I'd highly recommend it, even if your age is over 2 :-) And an added bonus: if you're Zoo members at the Plus level or higher, entrance to the Zoo lights is free! You do still have to pay for the train ride, but they do give you a small discount--$0.25 off, each. Some people might choose to skip the train, saying the metal seats are way too cold (I say bring a blanket!), or it's not worth it because it's not a very long ride. However, Kyra happens to love train rides, AND you get to see all the lights without all the walking--Bonus when you have a little one, or people that can't walk that far.

All in all, we had a great time, and I think this might become a new Christmas tradition for us. Below I've included some pictures we took to capture the night.

The girl & her Grandmas

Mommy & Kyra

The Zoo Lights gang

Daddy, Mommy & Kyra

Happy Friday friends!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Christmas Joy

This little gem was posted on my friend Kippy's blog, and I just had to have it for myself! Enjoy~k

Friday, December 7, 2007

Yummy Pretzel Salad

I apologize as this week's Culinary Delight post is a day late...However, I think you'll really enjoy this recipe, and there's actually a fun little story that goes along with it.

One of the things that the staff at Sunset Pres does every month, is have a Staff Luncheon. Most of these are Potlucks, and each person is asked to bring something--I'm sure the whole potluck concept is one that is familiar to many of you :-)

And so it also shouldn't surprise you that there's typically a gap between the number of "bringers" & the number of "eaters"--I'm not judging, I'm simply stating an observation I've made over the years. And to go one step further, the
women are more likely to bring something than the men--again, only my observation/opinion.

This particular Staff Luncheon potluck happened to be one of the first, if not THE first for our new Worship & Creative Arts Minister, Jay McKenney. To this day I don't know if he wanted to make sure he made a good impression, or if Allison takes really good care of him--it was probably a little of both :-) Anyway, he shows up with this amazing salad in hand, and when someone made a comment about a GUY bringing something besides chips or rolls, he just smiled with that now-famous Mac grin.

So without further adieu, here's the Infamous (which is MORE than famous!--a little Three Amigos humor) McKenney Pretzel Salad. Thanks for sharing the recipe, Jay~

1 cup coarsely crushed pretzels
3 Tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup melted butter or margarine
8 oz cream cheese
1 cup sugar
8 oz whipped topping
6 oz package strawberry or raspberry jello
2 cups boiling water
1/4 cup cold water
12-16 oz frozen strawberries (or raspberries)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine pretzels, 3 tablespoons sugar & butter, and press mixture into ungreased 9x13 pan. Bake for 10 minutes and set aside to cool.

Combine cream cheese, 1 cup sugar & whipped topping & mix until smooth. Spread over cooled pretzel mixture being sure to seal edges.

Dissolve jello in the boiling water & add the 1/4 cup cold water & strawberries (or raspberries). Refrigerate until thick. Pour over cream cheese mixture and chill until set.

There you have it--So it's not a very healthy salad, but come on, it makes a great dessert, and who doesn't like dessert? :-)

Happy Friday everyone!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Christmas is Coming! Bring on the tree...

Today we continued our annual tradition of Christmas Tree Hunting, and it was made even that much more fun with the first snow of the season! Like in previous years, we made our way out to the Reichen Tree farm, where, as an added bonus, we ran into several past & present Sunset Pres friends, also in search of the perfect tree :-)

Grandpa & Grandma Anderson came along as well, and we both found beautiful Noble firs to grace our homes. Below are some pictures from our day:

Kyra & Daddy on the front step.
Let's go!

Catching snowflakes with my tongue

Daddy & Kyra searching for a tree

Mommy & Me in our nice warm hats!

All right. Tree: Check. Now only 24 Shopping Days left until Christmas!--Yes, I said 24. My dear husband swears if you wait until the 24th, it makes your choices just that much easier :-)