Wednesday, December 19, 2012

What's in the Box Wednesday?

It's almost Christmas!  Is anyone else feeling the pressure?  I'm so behind this year.  I finally got my Christmas cards mailed this morning.  Today's lunch has half a bagel with cream cheese and red and green sprinkles, cheese stars, strawberries, and a cute gingerbread boy I cut from some delicious whole wheat pumpkin bread a sweet neighbor brought over.  While the kids are on break, I'm hoping to feature some grown-up lunchboxes.  That is...if I can get my act together! On a totally different note, I won a necklace from!  If you're not already reading her blog, check it out! You can find the necklace at her sister's etsy shop here.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Scenes from the Weekend

Due to recent events, our family time this weekend seemed even more special to me.  And we had quite a bit of it!  Friday evening, Mike and James went to see The Hobbit, so I took the girls to Rise of the Guardians.  The BIG theater was crazy busy, so we went to the GHOST theater.  There were a total of 7 people watching the movie.  It was a good flick.  Saturday, we dropped the girls off for Christmas Play dress rehearsal, then Mike and I did a little shopping then headed over to a Holiday get-together thrown by my friends Beverly and Robert.  We enjoyed some wonderful southern cookin'!  Saturday evening we watched How the Grinch Stole Christmas and I actually made something I pinned from Pinterest!  The Grinch Drink.

I made mine a little different than the one on Pinterest which called for Jones Green Apple soda and vanilla ice cream.  I wet the rim of the glass and dipped in green sugar crystals.  Then I just added lime sherbet and sprite and that was it! The girls seemed to love it!  After they went to bed we watched Christmas Vacation and the guys pulled out the Moose glasses and enjoyed some Egg Nog.

Sunday morning, Mike made Rudolph pancakes.

Then we headed to church for the Christmas Play.  The title was Fear Not Factor and it was about angels getting their assignments during the time of the birth of Jesus.  Our Pastor said he learned that Heaven was in Arkansas because where else would angels wear camouflage and cowboy boots.

Sunday afternoon, we all went to the Girl Scout meeting for the family gingerbread house making event.  So much candy!

I ended the evening helping Addie learn to Cast On a knitting needle and making these Cream Cheese Cookie Jewels for the teachers and staff at her school.  It is one of the winning recipes in the newspaper cookie contest. You can find the recipe here.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

What's in the Box Wednesday?

 Ho Ho Ho!  Santa is visiting the lunchboxes today.  Santa is made from Naan bread, provolone cheese, fruit roll-ups, and raisins for eyes.  On the side is a homemade pumpkin muffin and red and green grapes.  The girls had 5 pm dental appointments and I had a meeting after that last night, so I asked Addie to make the pumpkin muffins while I was gone.  It's so nice when your child is old enough to start helping in the kitchen!  I added the snowflakes this morning.  I sampled one for breakfast and it was delicious.  Speaking of Addie, it seems I have more pictures of Caroline than her on the blog.  She has reached the eye-rolling stage when I pull out the camera, so I thought I'd sneak in another blast from the past.  Here's my little cutie several Christmases ago when she actually wanted her picture taken.  Have a great day!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Cookie Exchange

Last night I hosted my Book Club, The Literary Mamas, for a cookie exchange.  Everyone brought cookies to share and we ate and had coffee while we talked about our book selection, 11/22/63 by Stephen King.  The book was about time travel and the JFK assassination.  While looking for discussion questions, I found this link with ideas for a 60's themed discussion.  Something to keep in mind for all you book clubbers out there.  I gave out prizes for the top 3 cookies at the end of the evening.  We all voted and these Lime Shortbread cookies came out on top.  They had a wonderful citrus flavor.  Linzi said she got the recipe from the December issue of Southern Living magazine.

I made Chewy Drizzled Cinnamon Chip Cookies from

3/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 egg
1 2/3 cup Hershey's Cinnamon Chips, divided
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup finely ground pecans or walnuts (I used my food processor to grind walnuts)
1 1/2 tsp shortening

Beat butter and brown sugar until fluffy.  Add corn syrup and egg and mix well.  Place 1 cup cinnamon chips in microwave safe bowl and microwave for 1 minute at 50%.  Stir and microwave in 15 second increments if necessary until chips are just melted when stirred.  Stir melted chips into butter mixture.  Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; add to cinnamon mixture, beating until just blended.  Cover and refrigerate about 1 hour.  Heat oven to 350.  Shape dough into 1 inch balls, roll in nuts and lightly press nuts into dough.  Place on ungreased or silpat lined cookie sheet and bake 8 to 10 minutes.  Cool slightly and remove to cooling rack.  Cool completely then drizzle with Cinnamon Chips Drizzle.

Cinnamon Chips Drizzle:  Place remaining 2/3 cup chips and 1 1/2 tsp shortening in small microwave safe bowl.  Microwave for 1 minute at 50%; stir until chips are melted and smooth.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Brown Paper Packages

For the past few years, we've wrapped the Christmas gifts in brown kraft paper and let the girls decorate them.  It's a fun tradition I learned from my sister who did it when her kids were younger.  The only bad thing is that it's so hard to throw it away after Christmas.  Here are some of Caroline's packages from yesterday.

And here is one of my favorites of Addie's from a Christmas past.

Other events from the weekend included Caroline's first school dance.  It was called a Snowflake Dance and they were supposed to wear their finest!

She and her friend Nora had a great time bopping around for 2 hours, even entering the dance competition.

The other big event this weekend was the annual Daddy/Daughter trip to the Nutcracker in Tulsa.  Mike has been taking Addie since she was five and this was Caroline's first year to attend.  They had a good time and added two new Nutcrackers to the collection. And I had a wonderful time taking my friend Robin out to Pei Wei's for her birthday.  That's another thing we need in NWA!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

What's in the Box Wednesday?

It's a Christmas themed bento today.  This was an eat school lunch day for Addie, so this is Caro's lunch.  I made her a Christmas Tree grilled ham and cheese sandwich, red and green grapes, Greek yogurt with red and green sprinkles and eggnog bread cut into star and stocking shapes.  We were at Mike's Grandma's (or White Mamaw, as the girls call her, she has white hair) a couple of weeks ago and she always has good magazines.  She let me take home a Taste of Home Christmas magazine which is where I found this festive looking eggnog bread.  The original recipe called for pecans, but I left those out.  Caroline is only allergic to peanuts, but she doesn't really like the taste of any nut.  There is not an over-powering taste of eggnog, just enough to give it a nice, rich flavor. 

Egg Nog Bread

2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup eggnog
1/2 cup chopped pecans, optional
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped red and green candied cherries

In a large bowl, beat the eggs, sugar and butter until well blended.  In another bowl, mix the flour, baking powder and salt; add to egg mixture alternatively with the eggnog, beating just until blended.  Fold in the pecans, raisins, and cherries.

Pour into a greased loaf pan and bake at 350 for 70 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.  Cool in pan 10 minutes before removing to a cooling rack.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Gingerbread House

I was out shopping yesterday looking for a gingerbread house kit to do with the kids.  You know, one of those pre-baked things where everything is included?  Then I chuckled because I remembered a gingerbread house Mike and I made once upon a time, back when we only had one child and she was still little and had no activities to be carted to.  Oh how things change.  Life gets so busy.  Mike sketched out this house to look just like the house we lived in at the time.  Then we made the gingerbread from scratch, rolled it out and cut it according to his measurements, and assembled and decorated it. Good times.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Scenes from the Weekend

As usual we had a busy weekend.  We tried out a new (for us) local Restaurant, Hawaiian Brian's, rode the Arkansas Missouri Railroad Christmas train, and I hosted Addie's Girl Scout troop so they could work on their Simple Meals Patch.  Fun, fun fun!  Here are the pictures to prove it. :)

The 4 of us shared this delicious plate at Hawaiian Brian's.
Caroline and her friend Macy happened to wear the same shirt on the train ride.

Addie got a little too comfortable.

I was really hoping waiters were going to burst through the doors with Hot Chocolate and start singing.

There was singing, but no hot chocolate.

This was after Santa told Addie "Little girls who don't want their picture with Santa get strung up by their suspenders". Those are red suspenders hanging from her pants.
The girls picked several things they wanted to make.

They did a great job and were interested in learning.

They washed LOTS of produce.

Pizza time!

Hard at work.