Tuesday, November 30, 2010

That's a lot of Scotch tape!

The other night I told you that John Wayne was busy wrapping Christmas presents.

Fifty-one to be exact!

He has all of them wrapped that I have bought. I just have a few more to buy.

We have a system...we pop in the Christmas movies, I get the presents boxed up, he wraps away and then I put the ribbons and name tags on. This present-wrapathon always takes place the day or two following Black Friday.

Two years ago John Wayne and I determined that we are wrapping paper snobs. Yes, wrapping paper snobs. After spending a Saturday night driving all across the big city going from store to store (this is when we lived in the big city, didn't have the Little Lady and had nothing better to do with our time) evaluating the wrapping paper selections and none of them making the cut (haha, making the cut, get it...) we came to this conclusion. But we're OK with it, because our presents always look the best. : )

While of course it does have to look good, the main quality John Wayne looks for in wrapping paper is the quality. Hobby Lobby wins...best quality and best prints...makes us both happy!

Bet you never imagined John Wayne sitting cross legged on the living room floor watching Christmas with the Kranks, meticulously wrapping Christmas presents!

P.S. Our Christmas tree is up, but you'll notice that all of the presents are stacked up on my craft table...and that's exactly where they're going to stay.
Two words....Little. Lady.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Girls

Today we went to Great Grandma Kinkade's house for a great time celebrating Thanksgiving with Daddy's family.

We got to meet 3-month-old, second cousin Kensie for the first time.
Isn't she a doll baby?!?

Here I am hanging out with Morgan.
Me, Morgan and Kensie are going to be great friends!

I loved giving Kensie kisses.

Watch out boy cousins...here in a few years, you're going to have to deal with us! Girl Power!

We survived!

Not only did we survive. We came out unbeaten, unbruised and triumphant!

The alarm went off at 3AM.

I tried to get the ladies to just fore go sleep, keep playing games and head out to Kohls when it opened at 3AM. I had perks: "You won't have to get up and do your hair...If you don't go to bed, it won't get messed up." But I still couldn't convince them, so we went to bed...for a few hours anyway!

The Little Lady went with us and I am not exaggerating one bit...complete shopping rock star!!! Ate a bottle at 3AM, was back asleep before we even pulled out of the driveway and slept solid 'til nearly 9AM! When she woke up, happy as a lark for the rest of the day!

Our first stop was Best Buy. Line wrapped around the store, but I was on a mission. My Mom and Grandma stayed in the Suburban with the Little Lady, while I went and braved the line. This crowd was a little different than the Black Friday crowd I usually find myself with. We usually hit up Kohls first: moms after Christmas presents for their kids, husbands after mixers for their wives...a pretty boring crowd really. Best Buy crowd: I felt as if I was outside a concert venue where groupies had been tailgating all day...camp chairs, energy drink cans littering the sidewalks, coffee spilled all over. The crowd after the biggest TV and latest gaming craze is a little different (and maybe a little more exciting) than your stay-at-home moms at Kohls.

I make it to the door, after not too long of a wait, where I am greeted by not only several security officers, but a Colorado Springs policeman. I mean this guy was ready to shoot you if you got out of line. Well, got unruly, I mean if you want to get out of the line after you've been standing in subfreezing temperatures waiting for the doors to open, that's your beef.

Made it back to the cameras, stood in a painless line and within 20 minutes I was the proud new owner of a Nikon D3000, two lenses, a bag, a tripod and a memory card...for drum roll please...a savings of $275 bucks! You'd get up at 3AM for $275 bucks wouldn't you!

After Best Buy, we hit Target, Mardels and Old Navy.

Breakfast break at Panera. This is part of our tradition. There we met up with my Grandpa who had hit Big R that morning for the best deals on things like coveralls and my Uncle who had snagged two TVs at Wal-Mart.

Don't judge my hair. At 3AM I thought it looked quite nice.

We then headed to Joanne's, Hobby Lobby, Home Depot, Wal-Mart, Boot Barn and Dollar Tree (no things were not on sale for 50 cents!).
Olive Garden for a lunch break.
JC Penney's, Home Depot (again) and Target (again)!

On the road, headed home at 3PM.

John Wayne is busy wrapping presents as we speak.
Yep, John Wayne is an amazing present wrapper!

My First Thanksgiving

My first turkey day was really exciting!

We went to Great Grandpa and Grandma Chisman's in Hanover.

I got a Little People nativity scene and it helped keep me entertained while lunch preparations were finished up.

Here's Great Grandpa getting ready to carve the turkey.

After some turkey and sweet potatoes, I got some of Great Grandma's fabulous mashed potatoes!

And why are you guys taking a picture of me with such a messy face?!? I really don't want this on my blog for the whole world to see!

Hamming it up for the camera.

Grandpa trying to take a nap after lunch, me trying to keep him from it!

Daddy and Aunt Sheryl breaking the wish bone. Daddy won, yay!

We got some of Great Grandma's quilts out to look at. Here's Grandma and Aunt Sheryl holding up one of our favorites, an adorable snowman quilt!

Then it was game time. All of our family get togethers always include some friendly (uh hmm, competitive) games!

Wardrobe change...yes "Everyone Is Thankful For Me!"

And to end the day...planning our strategy for Black Friday! Check Mom's Blog for a Black Friday update!

a la Starbucks in Wild Horse

I have been enjoying Starbucks all Thanksgiving break.
No, a franchise did not just move to town.
I made Cranberry Bliss Bars Wednesday evening, and while they're not quite as good as the real thing, they're pretty darn tasty!

I used this recipe I found online, with the exception of candied ginger, no candied ginger to be found in Limon. However, I'm not a big ginger fan anyway and I think next time I'll leave the ground ginger out too. I'll also increase the amount of cranberries and white chocolate in the crust. The only other moderation I made is I used the whole 8 ounce package of cream cheese for the frosting...this was a good thing.

All in all, not bad, not bad at all. And when you figure $2 per bar at Starbucks, this pan equals $32 bucks! John Wayne really likes them!

(Thanks to Jenni and Aunt Fran for passing on the recipe too!)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Ranch Wives Cooking Club - Caramel Pecan Pie

If you want the easiest, yummiest pie ever, here it is! You still have time to throw it together for tomorrow and I promise it will wow your guests.

I started with the Pioneer Woman's pie crust recipe. My Mom gave it a try a few weeks ago and it was flaky goodness!

As for the pie, I wish I could take credit for the fabulous idea of dumping a jar of caramel ice cream topping into a pecan pie, but I have to give credit to Smuckers for this one. I found this recipe probably atleast five years ago and it's now my signature item at family Thanksgiving and Christmas gatherings. John Wayne also asks for it throughout the year and it's so easy, I'll make it for him anytime.

Start by beating 3 large eggs, add 2/3 cup sugar, stir well until sugar dissolves. Stir in a jar of caramel ice cream topping and 1/4 cup melted better. Dump in 1 1/2 cups pecan halves, mix 'er up, pop 'er in a 350 degree oven for an hour and you have a masterpiece!

*This is a pretty big pie plate, so I one and a halved the recipe and it was perfect.

Now, where to hide this so John Wayne doesn't have a midnight snack!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Handprint Turkeys

We had craft night at our house tonight!

Mama was able to find the paint we needed at Alco, but she was a little disappointed that they didn't have wiggly eyes. Oh well, next year. Mama plans to help me make a handprint turkey each Thanksgiving, so we can see how I grow over the years.

Here's the only picture of me during our craft night...before the project got started. Once our project was under way it took both of Mama and Daddy's hands to accomplish this project!

We made cards for all of my Grandparents with this cute little poem that Mama found...

This isn't just a turkey as you can plainly see.
I made it with my hand which is part of me.
It comes with lots of love especially to say,
I hope you have a very, Happy Thanksgiving Day!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

My things I’m thankful for list…

2010 has been a year full of blessings and things to be thankful for.

The Little Lady tops my 2010 list of things I’m thankful for. Tressie Laine was born March 1st at a healthy 6 pounds 2 ounces and 18¼ inches. In the past nine months, she has filled our lives with joy. John Wayne and I now have our own happy little family, and I am thankful for that every day.

Yes John Wayne, you can be #2 on my list! John Wayne is a wonderful husband to me, Daddy to the Little Lady and King of the Aristocracy!

OK, this whole ranking thing is too much pressure, so in no particular order…

My Mom and Dad – Not only do they take care of the Little Lady while John Wayne and I head off to our day jobs (and any of you that know the Little Lady and her rambunctious, no fear attitude, know that this is not an easy feat). They’ve done tons of other stuff for us this year helping us get moved back to the Ranch.

Moving back to the Ranch – Selling our house in the big city and moving back to Wild Horse has made us very happy. We always knew we wanted to get back to the Ranch, but I don’t think we ever imagined that God would provide us with the opportunity this soon. On that note, the trailerhood – yes, I am very thankful for the trailerhood!

All of our wonderful family – I think they love us a little bit more this year… I don’t know, but I think the Little Lady might have something to do with this?!?!

My girlfriends – This year I’ve been blessed to have two awesome experiences with my best girl friends. My bestie Katie got married to a wonderful man this summer and I got to be a part of the whole wedding event, and Jocelyn and I got to go through the whole pregnancy thing and enter motherhood a month apart.

"It doesn't matter where you go in life...what you do...or how much you have...It's who you have beside you!" And I sure am thankful I have these wonderful ladies beside me.

Lucy and Lacy – They continue to make me smile and feel loved every day. John Wayne might not agree with this at 6:59 every morning as he’s chasing them across the prairie (in his spiffy goin’ to town clothes) as he tries to get them into their pen for the day and they purse their nemesis’…the kitty cats! But Lucy and Lacy are thankful for the kitty cats and the prairie…and their baby of course!

OK, so I could go on and on listing silly things like Big Sexy hair products and cranberry bliss bars, which I really am thankful for, but I’ll stop there, with the people and things that matter most in life. And most of all, I give thanks to my Lord and Savior, who has showered me with all of these blessings.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart;
I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.
—Psalm 9:1

Monday, November 22, 2010

Sorry, I couldn't resist...

Some people put their Christmas decorations up before Thanksgiving...
Anxious bloggers change their background!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Black Friday Survival Kits

The day after Thanksgiving is one of my FAVORITE days of the year!
Black Friday Shopping!!!
I know, I know...all those crowds, all those lines...all those people...
Well, I love it!

Black Friday shopping is a long standing tradition in my family. Every year, my Mom, my Grandma, my Aunt, my cousins and I get up at an ungodly hour and head out into the madness.

*Note - In order to enjoy a day of Black Friday shopping, you need to put your patient pants on and start the day with a good attitude. You'll find that most people out there have this attitude. There are a few crazy lunatics, your token "Black Friday Crazies," and yes, you do want to grab the Kitchen Aid mixer out of their grubby arms and beat them with it, but you don't, at least that's what my Mom keeps telling me.

About five years ago, I decided that we needed "survival kits", so I've been putting them together for us annually. Today Mom and I assembled our survival kits for this Friday's outing.

We started with these great bags we found at Old Navy for $1.

Antibacterial gel from Bath and Body Works

Christmas M&Ms - Pretzel and Cherry Cordial

Holiday Fruit Snacks

Granola Bars

Peppermint Mochas

Notebooks for making your list and checking it twice.

Now we are prepared for another year of Black Friday shopping!
Well we think??? We do have an added factor this year...the Little Lady!