Thursday, December 30, 2010

Christmas Cookies...and more!

I didn't take many pictures during Christmas. Sometimes you want to enjoy the moment rather than take pictures of it I guess. One thing I did take pictures of is the decorating of Christmas cookies. We had made a lot of cookies in the past couple of weeks, but these were the last ones. The ones we made especially for Santa. I used the recipe for Susie's Super Cut Out Cookies that I have posted on my Monthly Challenge blog. Here are the boys cutting out their shapes:

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Aunt K doing the icing. She did a great job!

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Here are the kids decorating. This year we used M&Ms, chocolate chips, gum drops, and crushed up candy canes. Next year I would lose the gum drops and do mini chocolate chips and M&Ms.

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What you can't tell from that last picture is that Andy isn't wearing any pants. Guess who potty trained himself over the holiday? Merry Christmas to mommy!

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That Aunt K, she talks tough, but then authorized that the kids could eat one of their cookies. I was going to wait until after lunch.

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Here is a look into the future. The boys and their video games:

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We had a great Christmas! Just a few pics of the presents. Mainly, look at that size of that ATAT! James loves it!

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And Andy got a scooter:

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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Star Wars Party

So, James loves Star Wars. He has talked often about having a Star Wars party for his birthday. Unfortuately, he has a LONG time until his next birthday. Turns out you don't need a birthday, you can just have a party! So we did. The kids were out of school so I threw a Star Wars party for something to do on a cold winter's morning. I even made it a "drop off" party to give the other moms a break. I really didn't do much.

Here is everyone gathering. There were costumes, there were props. For this party I just put on "one" as in "episode I: the phantom menace" and let them play.

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There was also snacks, as in popcorn, juice boxes, and star wars fruit snacks from publix's!

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Against my better judgement, there were also girls. Who played quietly with toys why the boys were star warsing it up:

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Even the baby was into Star Wars!

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The big thing of Star Wars is the pod race. All the kids had pods and watched much of the movie in them:

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There was also light saber battles!


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It was a great party! But I don't know if I would do it again!

Basketball game

Clemson had a "black friday" sale on men's basketball tickets. We decided to take advantage since when else are we going to get to go to a game as a family. I had taken the kids to a women's game, sure, but not a men's game. We even let Andy skip his nap. (I was thinking he might be ready to drop it. I thought wrong) One difference between the men's and women's game is the stuff. You get good stuff at the women's games. Men's - ehh, it was ok. Here is Andy with his poster:

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And James with his 3 pt sign.

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Everybody in their seats...this was not a well attended game...just like we like it!

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The view from our seats.

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We even saw some friends nearby:

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Andy had a great time! As soon as we sat down he shouted "go, go, go!" I mean, it was only warm ups but still. He loved it when they dimmed the lights and put on the "show". Then there was James. He did well, but still asked to leave with 5 minutes left in the first half. We walked around a bit, saw santa and the tigers at half time and scored a tootsie roll:

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I did tell James that if he cheered and danced, he could get onto the tv. Here is one of his attempts:

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And the result when he didn't get onto the tv:

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We almost made it to the end of the game. Hopefully the team will continue to not be good so we can go again!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Coldest Night of the YEAR!

I cannot begin to explain how much I hate the cold. The winter here, although mild to some, hovers at about 35 degrees with rain. Even those from the north admidt this is a very unplesant way to spend 4 months. Usually, this cold starts in January, but this year, we have already had our first really cold snap. Another one is headed here now. (the high tomorrow - 29) All on his own, James asked about the Christmas parade. Like fools, we told him and of course, that ended up being The Coldest Night of the YEAR. Here is how I prepared the kids for the weather:

Layer of jammies (this proved to be brillant because when we came home, we took their outer layers off and off to bed!):
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Their clothes:
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Their heavy jackets:
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Hats and gloves, and no, these did not stay on for long:
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And finally Santa hats!
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The parade was fine. Andy true to form refused to wear hats and gloves and got really cranky and cold. He actually asked for his hat and gloves, which at this time helped, but really he was too far gone. Thank goodness for the hot chocolate!
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James had a great time. The cold never seemed to bother him, but the second it was over, he broke down. He took a long time to warm back up:
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I didn't take many pictures of the actual parade, but here is the grand finale - Santa on the fire engine.
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Thursday, December 9, 2010

My book club

Last year I joined a book club that was affiliated with the local Mom's club. Love my book club. We read a book a month, meet, discuss the book and other things. Oh, and there is wine. ;) Love, love my book club. We are meeting tonight and are bringing suggestions for books to read next year. We are suppose to bring our favorite books as suggestions. The moment that someone said this, I scoffed. I read a lot and don't even remember what I have read. But they insisted, so I have prepared a list. I have been giving this a lot of thought over the past month, but these are the books that came to mind. Most of these are not "book club" books, but good reads none the less.

1. Time Travelers Wife. When someone ask me what my favorite book is, this is what I say. This is a book club book. I like it because is jumps all over in time, but does so in a way that makes sense. It is one of those books that you don't really know what is happening until the end and you knew all along.

2. Pat Conroy. Oh, some of these are authors, not books. If I had to pick one, I would pick Lords of Disapline, but Prince of Tides is good too. Most of his books are set in the low country and he does it in a great way. Oh, and my aunt totally knows him!

3. The Shaaras (father and son). Dad wrote The Killer Angels and had a certain style that covered the battle of Gettysburg. After the died, son wrote books before and after that battle, and then covered other battles as well. I finally understand what started WWI! Of course, I can't remember now...

4. Saints at the River. This was written by Ron Rash, a local author. My mom used to work with him. But this was a very great novel. He also writes short stories, but I prefer the novels.

5. Gone With The Wind. When I was in 8th grade, I remember reading this until 10pm and telling my dad I couldn't talk anymore, the Yankees were in Atlanta! One of thos great big thick books!

6. Into Thin Air. It was between this and Into The Wild by the same author. Both are non fiction. Really good non fiction is one of my favorite things to read and both of these are great.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Branching Out

Hey everyone. I am trying some guest blogging. Check it out at Screamin John's - Big Night Out!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A little family reading (part 2)

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If anyone has any tips for potty training Andy in the next month, let me know! We are desperate! We had some success today. Yay!


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Saturday, November 20, 2010

Hagood Mill

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A friend of ours has been telling us about Hagood Mill for awhile now. Every third Saturday of the month they have a little festival. Inasmuch as today was the third Saturday, the weather was great, and we didn't have anything else to do, we decided to go. I took my camera and honestly said, "mommy needs a blog post!"

Here is the actually mill:
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Today they had the following fresh grains for sale: white grits, yellow grits, white cornmeal, yellow cornmeal, whole wheat flour. I bought a bag of whole wheat flour. I would have bought grits, but I still have a bag from timm's mill in my freezer.
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James liked to dance to the milling:
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They had lots of arts and crafts vendors, including HONEY with honeysticks!
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Also demonstrations such as WEAPONS:
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Andy just liked playing with the rocks:
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The boys climbed over the old mill rocks:
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We bought hot dogs there. Not exactly a "real food". We will bring a picnic lunch next time. Man, I wish I had a cool picnic basket!
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They had some animals including horses. James and Andy met all three they had there:
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The green and red smudges are from my kids:
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James did a native american "candy dance".
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Finished up with a little 3/4 mile hike around a little trail there. Not all that well marked, but fine.
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We had a great time. Can't wait to go back!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

My new thing

I have told many of my friends (and also readers of this blog) about my new thing...which is real foods. Real foods mean foods in their natural state. The inspiration for this was surprisingly Mark. He told me about a blog that some Clemson alumni had started and thought I would like it. This is a family that decided to eat only real foods for 100 days and blog about it. Here is the link to their blog:

http://www.100daysofrealfood.com/

This blog is based on the book "In Defense of Food" by Michael Polland. They completed their 100 day goal and have to admit that eating all these "real foods" is expensive. Now they are trying "100 days of real food on a budget" and giving themselves $125 week to spend.

This really hit home with me. I used to be really good about not eating process foods before kids. Lately we have gotten out of the habit, I let the kids eat sugary cereals and I LOVE me some white cheddar cheeze-its! Mark did suggest trying the 100 days, which seems extreme. The rules that they followed are very strict: no white flour, no white sugar, only organic dairy and produce, only local meats. They do have a 10 day challenge which I have seriously considered. I have the following concerns:

1. It is pretty close to the holidays...maybe I should wait until January.
2. I really like my coffee, and can't imagine using honey or maple syrup instead of my beloved hazelnut creamer.
3. If the boys stay in bed until their light is green (their alarm clock) they get chocolate milk. They won't like giving that up.
4. I wouldn't be able to have my kids eat snack or meals outside of the home because the food won't be real (sorry mom!)
5. It will be really hard to eat out. This is really Mark's concern. He cannot fathom not going out to lunch for 10 days.

I have tried to implement the following changes:
1. Taking the whole wheat or at least the wheat option where possible.
2. Using honey and maple syrup in place of white sugar where possible. Reducing the amount of sugar we eat.
3. Stopped buying and providing processed snacks. We have been eating more tricuits, cheese, smoothies, fruit, homemade baked goods, granola, and popcorn.
4. Feeling guilty when cooking processed convenience foods, but they have been from Trader Joe's...that is ok, right?
5. Feeling smug and superior when I provide a real foods meal. Again, for dinners, I do this a lot, but it makes me happy.

I wouldn't want to do this long term. I have the following issues with this diet:
1. Really? No white flour or sugar?
2. Organic dairy. I love organic milk, but we go through 2 gallons a week.
3. Organic produce. I understand the issue here, and I love my CSA and my farmers markets, but in the winter it is just tough. I am not really sure I buy the organic produce movement.
4. Local meats. Again, I do get it. We live in a small town, and there are local meats available, they really are not convenient, and I really don't have a problem with store bought meats.
5. The idea behind this way of eating is that we should go back to how people where eating before processed foods. It is great in theory, but in this time of growth of our population (I am totally sounding like my dad here) many of these changes have been made in order to feed more people in different areas. There are many bad things that have come out of current food era, but many good as well. It is hard to pick and choose which are ok and which are not.

This purpose of this post was really just to share the link with everyone I have told about that blog. This ended up being way more than I intended, but I haven't posted in awhile.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Fall Tour - Stop 2

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This will probably be our final stop on this year's tour. We were to busy and missed the peak. Oh well, we had a great time on this stop. For this trip we went to Cashiers, NC. We have family in Highlands and have never been to Cashiers. From our house it took right around an hour. We actually stopped on the way in for a little hike to Silver Run Falls. The hike was about 1/4 mile. Perfect for our age group.

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There was a little bridge on the way.

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The waterfall itself was super cool. It would be a great swimming hole in the summer.

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The kids were way impressed:

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Next, we made it all the way to Cashiers and went to the Village Green where they had a great little park.

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It was good that the kids had some free play time:

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Around the park they had some art to enjoy. I love art!

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Perhaps the inspiration to this trip was not the waterfall, or the leaves, or the park, but the Carolina Smokehouse BBQ that Mark just happened to come across.

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We had a great time. Looking forward to the spring tour!