Monday, December 12, 2011

The adventures of Nokie the Elf... including Nokie's night off

The adventures of Nokie the elf continue!

So we were beginning to think Nokie had calmed down a bit, we've found him doing puzzles and coloring...

One morning he was hanging upside down from the curtain rod.

And then Little Man went to stay with my parents for the night while I hosted a Mommies Night In party. It so happens Nokie enjoys his nights off...

Needless to say, after his wild night he tucked himself into a stocking for the day.

But the next day he was back to work. Nokie spotted CJ doing something he wasn't supposed to be doing from that stocking, and left Little Man a little note about it.

Quick treats for Holiday parties!

This past Friday evening I held a Mommies Night In for a local group of moms. I found some inspiring menu ideas on Pinterest and got to work. 

These hummus filled cucumber cups were so easy. I purchased a couple of English cucumbers and randomly peeled the skin off in places. Then I used a decorative slicer I've had for years to cut the cucumber (as you can see, they are not uniformed sizes). I then used a small melon baller to scoop out the middle, leaving a small amount in the bottom of the cucumber. I put some roasted red pepper hummus into a zip-lock bag, snipped off one of the ends and squeezed out the hummus into the cucumber cups. These cups would also be good with chicken salad, spinach dip or even cream cheese- the possibilities are endless!

Pinterest also inspired these easy holiday desserts. 

These marshmallow snowmen were super easy to make. I just skewered 3 marshmallows onto a cake pop stick and stuck a rollo candy on top to make a hat. Using cake decorating gels I embellished the snowmen with eyes, noses,  buttons, mouths and arms. One had a scarf. This would be a great no bake dessert the kids could help with as well. 

The reindeer were easy too. I just skewered 1 marshmallow onto a stick and dipped in melted chocolate candy melts and (attempted) to tap off the excess. I let them harden in the fridge for a while then pulled them out to decorate the faces with the gel. I used pretzels for antlers (this was tricky, some of them fell out of the marshmallow- I should have put the pretzels on before the chocolate hardened). 

To display the yummy goodies I used some floral foam blocks from the dollar store, wrapped them in wrapping paper and then stuck the sticks into the blocks. Really cute display, and really cheap too!

Some of the reindeer's eyes became a little droopy after a while, I would suggest putting the decorated deer back in the fridge for a while before serving!

I love cooking, baking and spending time in the kitchen this time of year. All the parties and planning mean I'm going to spend time with family and friends! So if you are hosting a party soon do some research on quick and easy dishes and desserts to save yourself some time, or look for kid friendly recipes you and your Little One's can do together. 
This is what Christmas is to me. Being with the ones I care about most!

Monday, December 5, 2011

The adventures of Nokie the Elf, continued

The adventures of Nokie the Elf continue in our home. I knew this little Elf had a bit of a mischief up his sleeve. He's been up to a lot over the last few days... 

One morning he was chillin' out with Woody and Buzz in front of the fire. 

When Little Man gets up every morning we ask him "Where is Nokie?" and he takes off looking for him. Same thing each time he spots him, he stops dead in his tracks and stares- then laughs and removes all other toys from the scene. 

Then we found him zip-lining with a candy cane through our kitchen!

He also went joyriding on a train in our living room... along with a few friends.

He's been reading Christmas books to all CJ's buddies.

And was also seen plowing snow for Little Man's car and little people! What a helpful little Elf!

Oh my! It's snowing in my living room!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The adventures of Nokie the Elf

We recently received a visitor from the North Pole. An Elf, named Nokie (pronounced No-key). He was sent by Santa to keep an eye on Little Man to make sure he's on his best behavior in the days leading up to Christmas. Every night he will fly back to North Pole to give his report and reappear the next morning.  

So far he's just been hanging around our fireplace with the snowmen and penguins, and today he was hanging above the dinning room table from our light. I get the slight feeling that this little Elf has a mischievous side... I can't wait to see what kind of trouble he gets into around here! 

I'm going to update every few days on Nokie's antics, so check back often!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Count your blessings

Times are difficult for so many people in the world right now. It's hard to peek towards the future to see the clouds break up for a hope of some sun and the struggles to end. Right now, more than any I ask you to take a moment... or a few and think really hard about all of the things you have to be grateful for. While it may not be easy to do, they are there. Maybe they are blessings in disguise, and you are just not realizing the plan. Or maybe everything is going wonderfully and there are too many blessings to count!

After the tough year my family has had I search for blessings. Once you begin to open your eyes to them, you will see them pile up. I decided to take on the challenge of a friend's and come up with a blessings list. 100 things I am grateful for, blessed with right now. Anything counts, anything goes, no order needed. 

So here is my blessings list today:

1. Little Man
2. Hubby
3. all of my family
4. all of my in-laws
5. friends
6. my house
7. my car
8. food
9. sweet tea
10. great neighbors
11. laptop
12. DVR
13. health
14. a busy calendar
15. nap time
16. cell phone
17. to be able to open my windows on beautiful days
18. comfy couch
19. internet
20. books
21. my boots
22. my camera
23. coffee
24. blogging
25. having great friends to meet up with for drinks every now and then
26. making new friends
27. my faith
28. strength of my family, especially when I feel like my own strength may be failing me
29. music
30. cheese fries
31. memories
32. laughter
33. warm socks
34. comfy jeans
35. fireplace
36. old pictures
37. sun shine
38. rainy days
39. being a Mom
40. special moments between Little Man and me
41. pie
42. diet dr. pepper
43. hopes
44. writing
45. park days
46. Japanese cherry blossom lotion
47. chapstick
48. lip gloss
49. over sized old navy sweatshirts
50. my hooded jacket
51. humility
52. humor
53. day dreams
54. Target
55. crock pot
56. leaked black friday ads :)
57. on-line shopping
58. home made cookies
59. Christmas music
60. You Tube
61. FB
62. CM
63. hobbies
64. gift cards
65. pjs
66. Little Man's closet full of clothes
67. purple nail polish
68. cheap wine :)
69. electricity
70. water
71. heating
72. a/c
73. moon roof in the car
74. stars
75. the moon
76. candy
77. feeling loved
78. hearing CJ say "i love you momma"
79. fans
80. warm towels
81. tooth paste
82. creativity
83. art
84. warm showers
85. soap
86. washing machine
87. dish washer
88. frozen pizza
89. fresh fruit
90. our Christmas fund
91. leaves
92. movies
93. medicine
94. pillows
95. comforter
96. lottery tickets
97. sunglasses
98. dinner rolls
99. clocks
100. ability to feel blessed

So... I ask that you take the challenge. Write down 100 things you are thankful for, blessed with right now at this very moment. Even if you are having the worst day ever, whatever you are going through you can and will find blessings. 

I hope that you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

"Pick your battles"

I cannot tell you how many times I've heard the term "pick your battles" since I've become a Mother. Each day I go over the phrase in my head when Little Man is up to no good. Then I have to repeat it with every situation... evaluate, and ask myself "is this worth the fight?". 

For example, Little Man climbing onto a laundry basket and opening the screen door... yes it's worth the battle because I don't want him to fly off the basket, out the door and hit his head on the cement. Little Man pulling out the pots and pans right after I've washed and put them away... eh- not worth the battle. Little Man poking the dogs in the eyes... yeah, that's worth the battle- I would rather my dogs not go blind. Little Man pulling the lint filter out of the dryer getting lint everywhere... not worth the battle- he's just trying to help and I can easily just pick the lint off everything as annoying as it may be. 

I try to stay consistent. I still struggle with situations, some days certain things annoy more than they would on another day. I try to stay sensitive to him because sometimes he's just trying to help as much as in the long run he's doing more harm than good. There is a balance that has to be learned in letting them explore and keeping them from accidentally harming themselves or someone else. Every day brings a new challenges when you are a parent, it's very rare that you get two days exactly alike. As our children learn everyday so do we. We learn our breaking points, we learn to let go, we learn what cleaner is best at taking out nasty stains in the carpet and we also discover what lengths we go to to keep our children safe. 

I try not to give advice to other parents, I remember sometimes how badly that got under my skin. But I will say pick your battles. It can lead to less nerves being rattled and a happier you and child!

Monday, November 7, 2011

A Little Pumpkin Baby Shower

When I was given an opportunity to plan my cousin's baby shower, I was thrilled. This time of year opens up endless creative doors to create a special day. So what better theme for fall than "Little Pumpkin"?

I created a Little Pumpkin banner with hemp string and hung little shirts from clothes pins over the food table.

I got the idea for the baby pumpkin from Pinterest. This website was great in finding ideas.

One of the games... guess how many little pumpkins!

Another Pinterest idea, "Wishes for Baby". Each guest filled out a card and they were given to the Mommy to be for her baby book.

Since the baby boy's name will be Mason, we used Mason jars as drinking glasses- they also doubled as favors.

Each guest's name adorned a tag and hung from a ribbon around the glass.

The lids for the jars were wrapped up with candy to finish off the party favors.

Another Pinterest idea, a pumpkin shaped cheese ball.

The Mommy to be request cake pops, ask and you shall receive!

Fabric leaves scattered around the food table added to the fall ambiance.

The cutlery was wrapped in a napkin and tied with an orange ribbon.

The beautiful Mommy-to-Be!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

We love this time of year...

This is my favorite time of year. The chill in the air, the beautiful colors of the trees and activities to keep us busy until the real cold hits. 

We've been spending a lot of time outside enjoying the the sunny cool days. Little Man spends time digging through leaves trying to find the best to add to his pile. 

He has been loving his remote control cars he received as gifts for his birthday. He likes to the jeep off-roading through the grass and over the little bumps in the yard. It gets stuck in mud sometimes though... 

We pull out the red wagon and CJ will ride while we go for walks. Or Little Man will put things in the wagon, like his Buzz Lightyear or all the pumpkins from our porch and take them for a walk.

We didn't make it out to the Pumpkin patch this year, but the hardware store had lots of pumpkins to choose from. I think Little Man had as much fun looking at all the Fall decorations and the Christmas decorations they already had out as he would have at a pumpkin patch. We let Little Man hand paint 2 pumpkins, then he decided to paint himself as well!

He also enjoyed helping his Daddy prep another pumpkin for carving. We thought he'd be excited to reach in and pull out the "guts" of the pumpkins- but he wouldn't touch it without a spoon!

We  have been making home made decorations, like pumpkins to go in the windows, witches and spooky spiders hanging from the arches in our kitchen. 

Little Man also enjoyed decorating the house with some things we've had on hand since before he arrived.

CJ received a Buzz Lightyear costume as a present and we have been working with him on saying 
"Trick or Treat". 

We also went to see Yo Gabba Gabba! Live, and wow... what a show! Little Man had such a good time, he loved the confetti flying through the air and dancing around to some of his favorite songs. We made him a shirt to wear to the show since I had a hard time finding toddler sized YGG apparel online. 

We are heading out to a Halloween carnival this afternoon and visiting with some family in from out of town tonight. Then it will be trick or treating on Monday. Busy time of year, but it's all fun... making decorations with your children, going on leaf hunts, baking treats, and just spending time with family. I think this is why this is my favorite time of the year!