See you in 2011!

I'm not doing a "Best of..." post here.  Apparently that is THE thing to do at the end of the year, but I'm not that hip and with the times.  Instead I'll just be wishing everyone a safe and happy New Years Eve!  Since I can't have anything alcoholic this New Year's, I thought I'd share a mojito recipe I found at La Fuji Mama!

Someone call BPS...

That's "Blog Protective Services" for y'all that didn't know.  I've been a horrible blog parent to this here blog lately.  I'd like to say that it's because Pop is here visiting from Florida, or that we've just been so very busy doing family stuff, but then I'd be lying to you fine people.  I mean it does have something to do with my Pop being here, but mostly it's because we've just been sitting around watching the boob tube in our pj's and being rather lazy.  There just isn't any blog fodder there.

I thought I'd give you guys some good ol' Christmas images to finish out the year with.  It was our first "white" Christmas here in 17 years!  I'm going to be taking a pause here on the old bloggeroo until the new year has graced us with it's presence.  Except maybe tomorrow I'll post about the great birthday I plan on having today!  I'm hoping for some awesomely awesome changes to the blog in the next month or so as well... until next year then!

Kaia Papaya on Christmas Eve trying to wear every clothing gift she'd received.

Definitely a "Kodak" moment.

"It's full of candy, right?"

My daughter and her mini-me.

Haven't been able to pry that DSi out of Neil's hands yet.

Here Mom, you can take the ol' broken down and busted one.

Our first official white Christmas in 17 years!

Little snow flowers.

See you in the new year!
P.S.  It's muh birffday!  I'm 21 again...  *wink*

Eleven Weeks

Merry Christmas!
I am: 11 weeks, 3 days

Total Weight gain:  Nope... weight loss of 2 pounds.

Belly button status: In

Cravings/Aversions:  Not too many new ones this week.

Miscellanea:  Having some joint pain in my knees, may have something to do with the cold temps and snow.

Baby's size:  About 1.6 inches.

Development:  Fingers and toes are no longer webbed.  Hair follicles, tooth buds, and nail beds are forming.  Baby is now the size of a lime!

 BabyFruit Ticker

Ten Weeks

10 weeks

I am: 10 weeks, 1 day

Weight gain:  Maybe a pound or two.

Belly button status: In

Cravings/Aversions:  Still lovin' me some cheeseburgers, no real aversions.

Miscellanea:  Pants are starting to get a little snug.

Baby's size:  We're in INCHES now!  1.25 -1.68 inches from "crown to rump".

Development:  Baby has a brain!  Well, a small one that is getting bigger everyday.  Vocal cords will develop this week too!  Baby is now the size of a prune!

 BabyFruit Ticker

This Budget Sucks

I'm having a difficult time reconciling with the fact that now both of the kids know about jolly Ol' St. Nicholas.  The truth, as it were.  It has advantages (like explaining that no, they can not get every single item on their list) and disadvantages (like explaining that no, we don't have the money for every single item on their list).

We've always made it work, year after year.  This year is different though.  We just can't move things around to make it work.  Not helping matters is the fact that between the two of them (and only one present a piece) they are asking for about $300+ worth of stuff.  We decided, my husband and I, that we would get them these two items.  It's what they really want.  

Kaia has been asking for an American Girl doll for more than a year.  I've put it off and put it off because they are downright expensive little dolls.  The clothing and outfits are relatively inexpensive themselves, but you've got to have that doll first.  She was having a hard time deciding if she wanted Miss Julie Albright or a "Just Like Me" doll.  While I love her choice of the hippie chick, Julie, I opted to get her the doll that looks like her.  Now I was all excited when I went to order it last week.  Yes, I know I procrastinated.  That's just what I do.  I get to the "cart" for checkout and guess what?  Kaia's mini-me was on backorder!!  I ended up having to pay a whopping $25.95 for shipping just to ensure it was going to get here.  The grand total (without any extras) was $120.95!  FOR ONE FREAKIN' DOLL!!!

Now Neil is wanting the newest and shiniest Nintendo gadget.  A DSi XL.  There is good news to go with this wish item.  Good ol' Wally World has a DSi XL value bundle available online.  You get the DSi XL plus 2 games for $189 + tax.  Or for another $10 you can get the anniversary edition that comes with Mario Kart.  I haven't purchased this yet, but plan to tomorrow.  I think I'm going to go with the special edition one because I love Mario Kart myself.  Two to 3 day shipping (arrival 12/21 thru 12/23) on this is $22.91, standard shipping (12/22 thru 12/24) is $9.91.  For the price difference, I think I'll take my chances, but no gift options are available for this so I'm stuck with just wrapping the Wal-Mart box as soon as it arrives.  Grand total on this one...  $208.91.

This leaves me with the dilemma of a small budget pretty much gone and only two presents.  I did happen to have snatched up a couple of shirts a few weeks back that were on clearance for Kaia.  The only other items that I know for certain I will be buying will be pajamas.  Both kids need some new pajamas.  Plus they have given me specifics on what they want in their stockings. Mentos for sure.

Other than that... I'm at a loss!  And I need your help!  What are some last minute gift ideas for a 9 and 11 year old?

Snow Day #3 = Movie Day!

This is the supposed to be the last week of school before the Christmas break.  Today is officially snow day #3.  They might as well go ahead and declare it the Christmas break.  Snow days in Kentucky happen when there is only 2 inches of snow on the ground.  Sounds pretty lame to those who only get snow days when there is 2 feet of snow on the ground.  I can only guess that today was declared a snow day because we are expecting "inclement weather" later this afternoon.  The National Weather Service has put us under a scary sounding "Winter Storm Warning".  All the details can be found here.

We've decided to make today an all day movie day!  I told the kids that we'd all pick a movie to watch.

Kaia goes first because she's the youngest.  Her choice...

Who doesn't enjoy a good laugh with Wayne and Garth?  Schaaaa-wing!

Neil's choice...

I'll admit that I did enjoy watching Star Trek: The Next Generation when I was younger.  You could also occasionally find me watching the original Star Trek.  I haven't been such a fan of the other versions though or many of the movies either.  However, this movie was enjoyable and I was pleasantly surprised.

My choice...

Gary Oldman is so good looking as the young Dracula.  The whole movie is pretty much populated with good looking people so you can't really go wrong.  Even Sir Anthony Hopkins is quite handsome.

So now I'm off to watch some movies with the kids!  Nothing better than being snuggled up on the couch with them watching movies all day!

Reasons for the Season

This time of year I feel inundated with Facebook status' and Twitter updates telling me that I have to remember that "Jesus is the reason for the season".  I feel the need to refer to a post I made last year about the origins of Christmas/Winter traditions.  Many of these festivals and traditions pre-date the birth of Jesus.  So in our house.... family, love, friendship are our reasons for the season.

Originally posted on December 17th, 2009:
The middle of winter has long been a time of celebration around the world. Centuries before the arrival of the man called Jesus, early Europeans celebrated light and birth in the darkest days of winter. Many peoples rejoiced during the winter solstice, when the worst of the winter was behind them and they could look forward to longer days and extended hours of sunlight.
In Scandinavia, the Norse celebrated Yule from December 21, the winter solstice, through January. In recognition of the return of the sun, fathers and sons would bring home large logs, which they would set on fire. The people would feast until the log burned out, which could take as many as 12 days. The Norse believed that each spark from the fire represented a new pig or calf that would be born during the coming year.
In Germany, people honored the pagan god Odin during the mid-winter holiday. Germans were terrified of Odin, as they believed he made nocturnal flights through the sky to observe his people, and then decide who would prosper or perish. Because of his presence, many people chose to stay inside.
In Rome, where winters were not as harsh as those in the far north, Saturnalia—a holiday in honor of Saturn, the god of agriculture—was celebrated. Also around the time of the winter solstice, Romans observed Juvenalia, a feast honoring the children of Rome. In addition, members of the upper classes often celebrated the birthday of Mithra, the god of the unconquerable sun, on December 25. It was believed that Mithra, an infant god, was born of a rock. For some Romans, Mithra's birthday was the most sacred day of the year.
Santa Claus
The origin of Santa Claus begins in the 4th century with Saint Nicholas, Bishop of Myra, an area in present day Turkey. By all accounts St. Nicholas was a generous man, particularly devoted to children. After his death around 340 A.D. he was buried in Myra, but in 1087 Italian sailors purportedly stole his remains and removed them to Bari, Italy, greatly increasing St. Nicholas' popularity throughout Europe.
His kindness and reputation for generosity gave rise to claims he that he could perform miracles and devotion to him increased. St. Nicholas became the patron saint of Russia, where he was known by his red cape, flowing white beard, and bishop's mitre.
After the Reformation, European followers of St. Nicholas dwindled, but the legend was kept alive in Holland where the Dutch spelling of his name Sint Nikolaas was eventually transformed to Sinterklaas. Dutch children would leave their wooden shoes by the fireplace, and Sinterklaas would reward good children by placing treats in their shoes. Dutch colonists brought brought this tradition with them to America in the 17th century and here the Anglican name of Santa Claus emerged.
Christmas Trees
Germany is credited with starting the Christmas tree tradition as we now know it in the 16th century when devout Christians brought decorated trees into their homes. Some built Christmas pyramids of wood and decorated them with evergreens and candles if wood was scarce. It is a widely held belief that Martin Luther, the 16th-century Protestant reformer, first added lighted candles to a tree. Walking toward his home one winter evening, composing a sermon, he was awed by the brilliance of stars twinkling amidst evergreens. To recapture the scene for his family, he erected a tree in the main room and wired its branches with lighted candles.
In the Northern hemisphere, the shortest day and longest night of the year falls on December 21 or December 22 and is called the winter solstice. Many ancient people believed that the sun was a god and that winter came every year because the sun god had become sick and weak. They celebrated the solstice because it meant that at last the sun god would begin to get well. Evergreen boughs reminded them of all the green plants that would grow again when the sun god was strong and summer would return.
The ancient Egyptians worshiped a god called Ra, who had the head of a hawk and wore the sun as a blazing disk in his crown. At the solstice, when Ra began to recover from the illness, the Egyptians filled their homes with green palm rushes which symbolized for them the triumph of life over death.
Early Romans marked the solstice with a feast called the Saturnalia in honor of Saturn, the god of agriculture. The Romans knew that the solstice meant that soon farms and orchards would be green and fruitful. To mark the occasion, they decorated their homes and temples with evergreen boughs. In Northern Europe the mysterious Druids, the priests of the ancient Celts, also decorated their temples with evergreen boughs as a symbol of everlasting life. The fierce Vikings in Scandinavia thought that evergreens were the special plant of the sun god, Balder.
Mistletoe, Holly, and Poinsettias
Mistletoe was used by Druid priests 200 years before the birth of Christ in their winter celebrations. They revered the plant since it had no roots yet remained green during the cold months of winter.
The ancient Celtics believed mistletoe to have magical healing powers and used it as an antidote for poison, infertility, and to ward of evil spirits. The plant was also seen as a symbol of peace, and it is said that among Romans, enemies who met under mistletoe would lay down their weapons and embrace.
Scandinavians associated the plant with Frigga, their goddess of love, and it may be from this that we derive the custom of kissing under the mistletoe. Those who kissed under the mistletoe had the promise of happiness and good luck in the following year.
In Northern Europe Christmas occurred during the middle of winter, when ghosts and demons could be heard howling in the winter winds. Boughs of holly, believed to have magical powers since they remained green through the harsh winter, were often placed over the doors of homes to drive evil away. Greenery was also brought indoors to freshen the air and brighten the mood during the long, dreary winter.
A native Mexican plant, poinsettias were named after Joel R. Poinsett, U.S. ambassador to Mexico who brought the plant to America in 1828. Poinsettias were likely used by Mexican Franciscans in their 17th century Christmas celebrations. One legend has it that a young Mexican boy, on his way to visit the village Nativity scene, realized he had no gift for the Christ child. He gathered pretty green branches from along the road and brought them to the church. Though the other children mocked him, when the leaves were laid at the manger, a beautiful star-shaped flower appeared on each branch. The bright red petals, often mistaken for flowers, are actually the upper leaves of the plant.
Candy Canes
It was not long after Europeans began using Christmas trees that special decorations were used to adorn them. Food items, such as candies and cookies, were used predominately and straight white candy sticks were one of the confections used as ornamentation. Legend has it that during the 17th century, craftsmen created the white sticks of candy in the shape of shepherds' crooks at the suggestion of the choirmaster at the Cologne Cathedral in Germany.
The candy treats were given to children to keep them quiet during ceremonies at the living creche, or Nativity scene, and the custom of passing out the candy crooks at such ceremonies soon spread throughout Europe.
According to the National Confectioner's Association, in 1847 German immigrant August Imgard used the candy cane to decorate a Christmas tree in Wooster, Ohio. More than 50 years later, Bob McCormack of Albany, Georgia supposedly made candy canes as treats for family, friends and local shopkeepers. McCormack's brother-in-law, Catholic priest Gregory Keller, invented a machine in the 1950s that automated the production of candy canes, thus eliminating the usual laborious process of creating the treats and the popularity of the candy cane grew.
More recent explanations of the candy cane's symbolism hold that the color white represents Christ's purity, the red the blood he shed, and the presence of three red stripes the Holy Trinity. While factual evidence for these notions does not exist, they have become increasingly common and at times are even represented as fact. Regardless, the candy cane remains a favorite holiday treat and decoration.

First Official SNOW Day!

Today is the first official snow day of the year!  We haven't received much snow, but the temperatures are well below freezing.  Overnight temps (with the wind chill) were below zero.  This causes the salt and brine to not work on the roadways.  

The snow is definitely pretty to look at, but I'd rather view it on the internet from a sunny beachside cabin...

Nine Weeks

I am: 9 weeks, 1 day

Weight gain:  More like weight loss, I've lost a couple of pounds.

Belly button status: In

Cravings/Aversions:  Cheeseburgers, not supposed to be eating red meat, but I love me some big ol' greasy cheeseburgers.

Miscellanea:   Woo hoo... no morning sickness!

Baby's size:  25 - 29 mm

Development:  Not too much has changed since last week.  Just growing, growing, growing!   Baby is now the size of an olive!  I love olives....

 BabyFruit Ticker

*No photo this week.  I've got a sick little girl today and photos just aren't on the agenda.

Ninth Day of Christmas

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Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmastime. 
*Laura Ingalls Wilder*

Eighth Day of Christmas

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I wish we could put up some of the Christmas spirit in jars and open a jar of it every month.
*Harlan Miller*

Seventh Day of Christmas

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At Christmas, all roads lead home.
*Marjorie Holmes*

Happy Birthday Tuesday Tunes!

It's Cam's birthday!  Be sure to stop by and tell her to have a great day!  Or leave her some limes...

All I Want for Christmas is...

Peace on Earth.

No, not really.  I mean it would be great, but let's face it, it's never going to happen.  People have been fighting for the right to own someone else's land basically since time began.  No need to worry about that changing any time soon.

Instead, I'd like to have the following please...

The Pioneer Woman's cookbook
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse
A decent Point and Shoot camera
Bonus items would include:
Ghirardelli anything really...
Pickled Okra.... yum.
Life is Good - Good Karma sleep pants OR any nice comfy pj's will do.
What's on your "want" list?

Sixth Day of Christmas

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Never worry about the size of your Christmas tree.  In the eyes of children, they are all 30 ft. tall.
*Larry Wilde - The Merry Book of Christmas*

Fifth Day of Christmas

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One of the most glorious messes in the world is the mess created in the living room on Christmas day. Don't clean it up too quickly.
*Andy Rooney*

Fourth Day of Christmas

Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful. 
*Norman Vincent Peale*

8 Weeks

8 weeks

I am: 8 weeks, 1 day

Weight gain: Not much since last week...maybe 1 lb.

Belly button status: In

Cravings/Aversions:  I wanted some cheese ravioli with alfredo sauce so badly the other day, I almost went to the store in my pajamas.

Miscellanea:  I'm still crazy tired.  Still haven't really had any "morning sickness", just a couple of days of not really feeling like myself.  Plus I received my first baby purchase!  A free sling from Seven Slings. (OK, so I had to pay the S&H.)  I've never used a sling before, not sure that I'll get the hang of using this one either.
Black Magic sling - $39.00

Baby's size:  23 - 26 mm

Development:  The head is now round!  He/she now has external ears, taste buds, and non-webbed fingers and toes!

 BabyFruit Ticker
First snow on Nov. 26th, 2010

Happy December!  We had our first snow of the season the day after Thanksgiving.  It was literally 70+ degrees on Thanksgiving day, then we wake up to about an inch of snow on Friday morning.  We Kentuckians always say if you don't like the weather... just wait 10 minutes.

P.S. For some reason this layout does not appear correctly in Internet Explorer.  No clue as to why, it just doesn't.