Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas with the JAKS

This past Sunday we hosted Christmas dinner. After it was all done, I turned to the Hubs and commented, "It's stressful and crazy but I know why my Mom does it." You see, my Mom hosts pretty much every major holiday at my parents house and it's not just for nine people like ours was, it's more like 30 or so. I don't know how she manages to pull off such amazing meals and wonderful opportunities for everyone to get together but some how she does, every single time. So, thanks Mom!

For our dinner I decided to go with the ever traditional Christmas feast of Chicken Parmigiana, broccoli, rolls, Texas sheet cake, Hubby's famous kolacky's (sounds like kolatchkies), and melted snowman cookies. All in all I'd say everything turned out pretty darn yummy. I think next year, to save ourselves a bit of time and headache, we'll make something that cooks in the oven instead of on the stove top but the chicken parm turn out so yummy that I really can't complain and considering we started out with only 6 chicken breasts and still ended up with leftovers (since we pounded them thin and then cut them in half) it was a good budget-conscious meal as well.

Here are a few picture from our day:

Chef Hubs cooking the chicken

My melted snowmen cookies. I was pretty proud of how they turned out.
You have to have a twisted sense of humor to think they are funny but I love them.
I'm not the best at decorating but that's the cool thing about these, you don't have to be!

I used Fruit Roll-Ups for the scarves and Mini M&M's
for the buttons. The rest is Wilton's decorating gel.

The Bear got a Toy Story Mr. Potato Head set. It comes with two "heads" and all the
pieces to make Spud Lightyear, Jessie, and Woody. She loves it. Thanks Grandpa!

This was another huge hit from Grandpa. After she
opened it she carried the comforter up to her room,
made me put it on her bed and then told me to turn
out the lights and close the door. She wanted to go
to sleep with it right that second!

This beautiful pink blanket was made by K's amazing cousin.
Isn't it awesome? I can't believe she made it! It's very soft and snuggly :)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Snow much fun!

Last night when we got back from picking up Daddy from work, K decided she wanted to play in the "deep snow" (as she calls it). Daddy was all too happy to oblige her. There was a LOT of running:

Kisses for Daddy


I couldn't help myself

Nom nom nom

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

This lovely guy was one of 5 cardinals right out our back door.

Here are two more. They are just such a
beautiful contrast to the bare branches and snow.

Our pretty outdoor permanent Christmas tree.

Our indoor Christmas tree looking out onto
our backyard. Yeah, we don't have many
ornaments on the tree.

A Christmas tree made out of an old magazine.
I saw this idea at:Just Like Martha

I decided to use it to store our Christmas cards.

Christmas lighthouse.
I don't know why there's a pig and goat with the set.

The Pooh train

Ornament display

The reindeer, mini tree and adorable handmade reindeer from Sis

The stockings are hung by the chimney with care.

And the kloche's are delicious!

K really likes her new Christmas present =D

While she doesn't look happy, she's actually giving a "big smile"

She was so excited to see Santa. She ran right up to him, told
him she wanted Buzz Lightyear and gave him a kiss.
We were very proud of her!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

A quick plug for some very talented people

In case you are still looking for that certain perfect Christmas (or Hanukkah) may I please make the following suggestions:

One Crafty Broad - beautiful handmade crocheted gifts

Perfectly Paper - gorgeous handmade paper roses

Skahfee Studios - amazing typography art prints

Scentsy - Yummy smelling candles, etc.

Good luck and definitely check out these sites. They all make wonderful gifts for yourself or someone you love.

Portrait of a toddler

This morning we had K's Two Year pictures and a family Christmas picture taken at the JCPenney Portrait Studio. Even though K smashed her face twice yesterday we decided to go through with the pictures anyway. I had scheduled the portrait session for the morning since she is usually at her happiest after waking up (mornings and after naps). She was fine while we waited for our turn, although she did want me to hold her and was resting her head on my shoulder but she was happily watching Lilo and Stitch and another baby getting her pictures taken in the glass-enclosed studio. However, as soon as it was our turn she didn't want to cooperate for anything! She saw a Mickey Mouse stuffed animal that they use to try and get the kids to smile but she wouldn't let go of him and refused to stand or lay down and barely wanted to let go of me. Thankfully between Daddy impersonating Mickey Mouse, me threatening to tickle her and the photographer playing peek-a-boo with the Mickey behind his back, we were able to squeak out about 4 or 5 smiles out of her. Here are the ones we're purchasing:

Lol! I'm not sure what she was doing to Mickey's nose.

Not exactly looking at the camera and not perfectly centered but she was smiling.

That crooked smile and dimple kill me =D

This 2-Year picture was a total fluke.
She did NOT want to hold that number and didn't want to sit on her own so
I don't even know how he got this picture but thank goodness he did.

Not the best picture of K but she was quite done at this point.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Christmas Tree 2010

After a delicious breakfast made by our wonderful friends, getting a chance to actually chat without major kiddo interruptions, and kiddos playing happily, the JAK family went to Young's Dairy Farm to cut down our Christmas tree. The folks at Young's seriously have their act together. That was the smoothest tree cutting experience I've had. (Considering it's only my third live tree ever, I guess I don't have that much to compare it to but every trip has been an experience. Year one, we got our tree in Barrington and then drove it back downtown during an ICE STORM. The entire tree was completely encased in ice and we had to wheel it into our high rise apartment on a luggage cart, lol! Year two was out here in OH and it was K's and my parents first time so that was fun. Little Bunny couldn't even walk on her own last year. How funny!) Anyway, I digress. We arrive at Young's, pick up our handy tree sled and saw and head over to the White Pines. The needles are long and soft (which can be difficult for heavy ornaments) but they are full, lush and beautiful. After we picked the perfect tree and hauled it back to the barn on our sled, they tagged the tree and shook and bagged it for us while we went into the barn to pay. They put the tree on what I can only compare it to a paint shaker from a home goods store and shake all of the dead needles off. That was awesome although unfortunately it shook the sweet little birds nest out of our tree that I was hoping to keep. Oh well. Then they put it in a machine that puts a mesh bag around it and they have it all ready and waiting when you come back out to your car. Inside the barn they had complimentary hot chocolate and popcorn and a train that went on a track attached to the ceiling that K just loved! They also gave us a tree disposal bag to use when hauling it out of the house after the season is over. It was really a top notch operation and I'd definitely go there again. Lots of fun and another year of happy memories!

It was the perfect winter day for tree cutting. Not too cold but lots of
beautiful snow to really make it feel like Christmas. K wanted to help pull the sled.

A close up of the Bunny helping pull the sled with Daddy.

After a short while she finally got the idea that
it would be way more fun to ride in the sled than to pull it.

We picked out our tree fairly quickly this year. The longest part was
walking out to the White Pines area.  K wanted to help Daddy cut down the tree.

She was having a lot of fun picking up handfuls
of snow and jumping / throwing it in the air.

Another picture of her playing with the handfuls of snow.

Cutting down trees is hard work!