Monday, December 31, 2012

366/366: Complete!

Honestly, I can't believe I accomplished this post a day for an entire year.

I'm not sure if I 'need' to attempt it again. I will, however, post more frequently than I had in 2011.

On the New Years Eve, we are hanging out, watching the Twilight Zone Marathon, eating pizza and being together. I love my boys and I am so blessed to spend my life with them,

Cheers to you, may 2013 bring health and a bit of wealth!

I'm pressing snooze on the blog for a couple safe tonight!

Love you all...

Sunday, December 30, 2012

365/366: Looking Back

It's hard not to get a tinge of nostalgia of this year.  It's been a huge change for our family.

Six years of college for my husband ended, searching, hoping for a job and a permanent position that came true.

New health issues burdened upon our little family surfaced and are currently being conquered.

The ability for me to quit my full time job and concentrate not only on the kids, but on my love of all things creative.  I was able to do an art show for the first time in several years.

And through it all, all the years, the months, the days when i thought it would never end, all I had to do was look to our friends and family (blood or not).

The constant encouragement was much needed and appreciated, even if I rolled my eyes at you when YOU said, "It will be worth it in the end."


YOU were right.

And all through

Saturday, December 29, 2012

364/366: Lazy Day

The snow is falling, the coffee is hot and the Snuggie is snugly.

It's one of those days.

It's one of those days that I love.

No where to be, nothing that must be done.

Boys are happy.

It's all good.


It's great.

Friday, December 28, 2012

363/366: {this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week.

A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

I'm breaking the rules!  This is the eagle that has adorned a bar that we have in our living room.  This was made by my Dad a long long time ago.  I don't remember a house without this bar.  I can remember where it was in most of our homes.  I've never asked my Dad where he found this eagle or why he used it.  But can't imagine the bar without it.

This photo was taken from across the room with my new super cool telephoto lens.  I think I've gotten all the lenses I need for this camera.  I'm good for a while.

At least I think so...wink.

(Three more posts...until my blog break.)

Thursday, December 27, 2012

362/366: Christmas Wrap Up

The boys have been playing Skylanders all day.

We have already spent gift cards and turned all our change in for more Skylander figures.

That Santa certainly knew what the boys wanted.

I've eaten all my favorite lemon cookies.  They were so good.  Gluten and artifical dye free.

This Christmas has been the most relaxing for me in a long time.  After I finished my gift making for others, the preparation for Christmas were fun.  Without having to work, I have really been lucky.

I am so fortunate.  I was talking with an Aunt on Christmas and she said, "See, good people sometimes do win."

It was a long haul, but we are at a good place. 

And I guess she is right.  Sometimes the good guy does win, but never without hardship.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

361/366: Angry Birds in Real Life

"Mom, you should set up the rest for your amusement."

The electronic version is much nicer, you needn't set it all back once you knock it down.

I do however, appreciate the time spent in real life...

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

360/366: New Toy

This was the year for toys. Big Boy has a nice neat stack of Legos and Origami. Little Man has games and Legos. Tom has Kan Jam and a guitar pic punch.

And this girl got a new toy, too!

Merry Christmas everyone. I'm counting my blessings this season. Ever so grateful for the life I have and opportunities that exist. The future looks amazing!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

358/366: Pre-Christmas Movie Night

"Can you pull over, I have to pee?"
"Argh, you just peed five minutes ago!"

Funniest preview clip of an old Hulk cartoon, David Banner turns into Hulk as his girlfriend makes him stop the car again.

Anyway, chilling out with cousins watching the Avengers and eating Boy Scout popcorn.

I made my second cheesecake today. This one, as far as I can tell, didn't crack. I guess they were right when the the recipes says to not open the oven for hours while its cooking and cooling.

This morning,I made the decision that if given the choice, cheesecake trumps cookies any day.

And so, move over Christmas cookies (except the cutouts with dye free frosting and sprinkles), here is a gluten free cheesecake with ginger snap crust.

Happy eating.

357/366: Candlelight Dinner

With two of my favorite guys...

356/366: GF Cookie Exchange

Last week, I held the first annual Gluten Free Cookie Exchange.

It was fun.  Nothing like a table full of safe cookies!  And truffles.

It's really nice to have such a great selection of cookies. 

Unfortunately, I've eaten most of them and they may not make it to the Christmas table.

So I made more...two more refrigerated doughs in the fridge for today.  Another round of cut outs.  Only white icing for my boy and an all natural candy sprinkle made with beet juice and berries.  Healthy, too!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

354/366: Happiness is...

Finishing all commissions on time.

These eyeballs to be delivered today and one more bag for weekend delivery that is still drying, but completed.

So happy.

Now, on to projects to be gifted.

I love Elving.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

353/366: Santa Drives a Minivan

And you thought over decorating was just for houses...

Not anymore.  Take your deco's on the road with you.

I love that he added a trailer just to carry Santa.

I can only hope and pray that Santa glows at night.

And if you think it stops there...nope.

Check out Chris Kringle, putting on his red coat with white trim.

Yup, the real thing shops at Wegmans.

And this girl stopped traffic to take a poor quality picture on my ancient cell phone.

This is what I do for my readers!

Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

352/366: Yes, it Does

My life has changed.  Drastically.

And I LOVE it.  I am so happy.

I get to say yes to so many things.  I had a very successful art show a couple weeks ago and have been basking in the confidence I gained every time someone smiled as they walked past my table and squeezed the nose of a monster. 

Art should make everyone happy.

351/366: Milk Glasses

Have you seen these?
Silly little straws.
And they really are silly.  St. Nick brought these for the kids.  He has such a sense of humor, that big guy.
The more colorful the drink, the more fun.

 But you know what isn't fun?

Cleaning them.  It's tough!  There was a lot of curse words.

The boys haven't asked to use them since.  Oh, and there was a freak out when they boys tried to use the same glass of milk and yes, there was crying over spilt milk.

And they weren't my tears.

One thumb up if you use them as a disposable straw...or leave them at Grandma's house for her to clean!

350/366: Shopping

I am officially done shopping. 

It feels really good.

Unfortunately, it isn't party time over here.  I have five commissioned purses to finish.

Three for trimming and zippers, one for the washer, and one to make.  Yup.  One to make.

And when that is complete, hopefully by Thursday, I can start on a quilt for a Christmas gift. 

Yup, last minute Lucy.

Except that I never sat around idle. 

Is that Last Minute Larry?

I send my "gift completion" vibes to you...

349/366: Gluten Free Baking

Tonight, I hosted the first annual Gluten Free Cookie Exchange.

It was fun. In another, I'll show you some pictures of our table.

But first, the prep.

Gluten free baking is tough. I have cried many times over cookies that didn't work. I distinctly remember one year, my third batch of cut out cookies (and third failure), throwing all the cookies in the trash along with the cookie sheet.

It's tough. The Christmas cookie without gluten is a whole other beast. They often require more flour, but how much? They require more chilling, but how long? They require Xanthan gum, or is it Guar Gum that is more effective?

And if that isn't enough to create a massive headache, spilling half of the largest jar of sprinkles all over the kitchen, is enough to grab a cocktail.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

348/366: Hang Your Stockings

(Second stocking from left)

Does anything look familiar?

Anything peek your interest?

On Monday, I received a call for the Life and Style editor of the Buffalo News, asking if she could include a stocking of mine in the Sunday edition of the Buffalo News.

I think it looks super cool. I love color newsprint.

This makes me happy.

And proud.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

347/366: Ding Dong Ditch

I believe my boys may be 'ding dong ditch(ing)' the neighbor boy.  They say they aren't, but the neighbor boy is doing it right back to us.  Three times. I can see him run away...he isn't that svelte.

After the third time I asked him to come near so that I could kindly ask him to stop ringing my bell.

He denied it.  That's fine.

But he was hiding behind trees and being all commando.

As he walked away, I got a horrible pit in my stomach.

He was dressed in dark colors.  He carried a long wooden branch that had a built in handle. 

And in his shirt back...a plastic sword.

I've seen this boy in similar 'dress up' and it always bothered me. 

Today, it terrifies me.

A "toy gun" search today, on just the first page, show 90% of the results not looking like any toy I've seen. 

Maybe we could start here.

346/366: Hijacked

My iPad was hijacked. This is how I know:

Friday, December 14, 2012

345/366: Today

I'm sitting with my elementary aged boys.

Holding them tightly.

Grateful they are in my life and praying quietly for all those families that have lost the loves of their lives today.

We need to help these young adults find a different path, not one splattered in innocent blood.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

344/366: Our Tree

As these boys get older, the token Christmas photo gets more challenging (see Monday post!).

This was another 'not-quite-right' shot.  I guess you can never repeat the shot of years past and get the same feeling in your gut.  This is cute, but doesn't really tell a story, except that I'm behind the camera shouting commands and rules.  They don't follow my directions very much.  I think they are tired of my camera.

Today I'll dine with the ladies of Tom's family.  It's a nice bunch of women and I'm enjoying all the different places we eat.  Been lucky this year, I've found gluten free options every place we've been.

I hope you are able to take an afternoon to connect with family and friends.  It truly is special.

Monday, December 10, 2012

343/366: Token Christmas Picture

Tom and I decided to make the Christmas Tree hunt a family fun event.  We were all together, doing something fun.  Picking out and cutting down our very own tree.  We did this one other time with better results than yesterday, but still not favorable reactions from the boys.

This all started when I asked the boys to get their boots, protecting their new sneakers from mud.

Well, Big Boy's boots no longer fit.  Not surprisingly, either.  He was upset and wouldn't wear his old sneakers.  I didn't want to reward him for complaining, but I knew that he did need bigger and in my mind, new boots, new attitude.

All four of us clogged into Target to the boot section.  It was not good.  Big Boy is very picky, just like his mom.  There were only three styles to choose from.  One didn't have a size we needed.  The second were too big around the leg.  The third were too hard to put on.  Yup.  Good times.  Eventually, with assistance and reassurance that the boots will become easier to close, we found a pair of boots.  He walked to the register in them and into the car. 

Deep breath.  Kid is coming back.  He was still upset, but we were both trying to make it better.

I'm not sure if this is an ADHD thing, or just my boy's thing.  I'd like to blame it on ADHD, but it doesn't really fit that cookie cutter.  So, we talk, we reassure, we repeat and then repeat again.

Other than having fun and getting a tree, I really wanted to capture the Christmas card photo.  When we first arrived, Santa was there.  There was a cute bench-super easy and quick. 

And then, this happened:

Little Man found Santa to be "creepy".  I kind of don't blame him.  However, it kind of sucked.  Two seconds on the bench.  Nope.  He wouldn't have it.  He would, however, take a candy cane from Creepy Santa.  Little Man's not too creeped out for candy.

Moving on...
We looked.  We were chilly.  The boys were cold.  You'd think they were hiking through the tundra in minus 10 degrees with no boots on.

And then Big Boy got blisters from the new boots.  Good stuff, right?

We found a tree.  Notice I didn't say THE tree.  It was just a tree.  It's a perfectly nice tree, but after all the drama, we just picked one that was upright and not dead in the center.

While Tom cut it down, I attempted the Token Christmas Photo.

 "Big Boy, look up.  No, not you Little Man.  Look at me, not in the sky."

"You told me to look up, I'm looking up."

"Fine, we won't open our eyes."

Yup.  It was a bust.

Making family memories, one day at a time.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

342/366: Cheesecake

I made my first real cheesecake yesterday.

And since I made it, it's perfectly acceptable as a Sunday morning breakfast.

Friday, December 7, 2012

341/366: Not So Sorbet

I've been Pinteresting.

My favorite pin was for a Margarita, using lime sorbet, with tequila poured atop.

Have you noticed the size of containers that are filled with lime sorbet? They are tiny. So opposite of sherbet containers.

So, I decided to make my own. Sugar, water, lime juice and lime zest. Super easy.

Until the blending part.

Nothing is happening. Just spinning round and round.


Maybe taking half portion out and spinning faster...if you see me at the grocery store tonight, you'll know it didn't work.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

340/366: Happy St. Nicholas Day

Hope you all find something sweet by your door today. Maybe even a candy cane or twelve.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

339/366: St. Nick

See these sweet looking boys? This was taken on a day other than today.

Today, they acted more like Chuckie.

That was unfortunate, as tonight is the night in which St. Nicholas visits our home. Apparently, he doesn't come when boys are misbehaving.

The activities happening right now are quite comical. They are doing as much as they can to ensure a visit from the Saint.

Apology letter, pictures, a quarter, an eraser and now, paper airplanes.

This should be interesting to hear if St. Nick has any words for these boys.

Oh, the opportunity.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

338/366: Lights

Nothing says Christmas like tiny white lights.

We kept these trees in their box last year. It makes them so much better this year. So, as you can see, we decorated this afternoon. Once homework was done, the boxes came out. I left the huge monster box in the basement an te boys were absolutely fine running up and down the stairs. Each time they summited the stairs, "Mom, where does this go?"

After the fourth time, from each boy, I said what I didn't really mean. "You don't have to put them in the same place every year." Although I stand by that statement, what I didn't foresee was the 'tree section', the 'Santa section', the 'snowman section'. It's cute, I know. I'm glad they had fun. But all the trees together? They don't GO together.

I've been warned, too: "mom, we worked really hard with the sections, please don't change a thing."


337/366: The Clean Before the Festival

I spent part of the day cleaning the living room. I'm halfway through the dining room.

The boys are itching to decorate for Christmas, now, we can.

Rudolf is on tonight, I think it will be Perfect.

Monday, December 3, 2012

336/366: Happy Ugly Sweater Day

It's nothing official, just made it up. Mostly so that I could show you this:

Sunday, December 2, 2012

335/366: Looking Up

As I sit here trying to hold in a yawn, my eyes are drawn upwards to the magnificent ceiling above. We are in the library at the Clement House. The ceiling is as beautiful as the goods for sale here.

It's been a great weekend. Three more hours till pack up.

Thanks to the American Red Cross for hosting us all. It was wonderful.