Saturday, December 29, 2012

Old Man Winter

Old man winter struck again last night.  As Diana and I sat at Olive Garden catching up with our long-lost best friend the sleet and rain began.  By 5pm an accumulation had built on the parked cars in the driveway and as my brother inched his way home from Columbia the snow continued to fall. 
This morning we woke to a winter wonderland.  I see the snow plows have made their way down the roads, but it may still kill our plans for Ste. Genevieve wineries and new Crown Valley brewery.  Ah...the best laid plans...I blame it on Alex.  He was lamenting over his white Christmas' up north earlier this week. 

We are nearing the end of our little trip here.  I cannot believe we have been here this long.  It feels like we just arrived.  Today we may venture out to visit mom, and tomorrow is our usual.  Church and football.  Then 3am Monday morning we will be hitting the road.  Have a beautiful and safe weekend friends!  And if I don't catch up with you before Tuesday...Happy New Year!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Still Christmas

On Wednesday morning we awoke to a beautiful layer of thick white snow.  Of course it didn't nearly reach the 12 inches that were predicted, but we were so happy with our White Christmas.  And of course it wasn't really Christmas, but it still felt like it to me.  We celebrated with my dad on Wednesday since we could all be there...except for my brother that is.  He was missed so very much!
While Opa watched Eleanor, Alex and I got outside for a little playtime with Taylor.
In all these photos it sure looks like Taylor has the upper hand.  Alex is a very good sport!
We attempted to get a family photo for Eleanor's very first snow.  Clearly she wasn't happy with the cold wind on her face.
Lots of cooking and baking went on all day and I popped in and out of the house to make sure everything was going well.  Dad and I became a team, with Alex subbing in when I needed to nurse.
 Soon the feast was prepared, everyone had arrived and we were ready to eat!
I feel so grateful this year to spend so much time with my family.  I know Alex and I planned this Christmas with my family, but I am so very thankful to him for sacrificing so we could be here in Missouri.  Of course I miss his family too, but I know it must be hard on him.  It really registered while he talked with his family on the phone on Christmas.  Other than my brother I didn't have anyone to call on this holiday.  I got to spend nearly 4 whole days at my mom's and now 4 days at my dad's and so much time with both my sisters and my nephew and new baby niece.  And this weekend I will get all the brother-sister time I can get!  Again, I am just so grateful!
Dinner included turkey, and fake turkey (Quorn Turkey Roast) and all the fixings: a delicious roasted sweet potato dish I whipped up, mashed potatoes, green beans, stuffing, cranberry sauce and an arugula salad with pistachios and pomegranate arils.
And of course there were plenty of desserts to go around.
This plate was shared with Alex.  We had Empire Cookies, pumpkin pie, pecan pie and chocolate fudge.  One bite of each was enough for me.  I think I am truly ready to cut out sugar!  I may be in a coma until New Year's!

It was another beautiful celebration with my wonderful family.  I am so sad Will couldn't be here and I just can't wait for him to arrive this weekend! 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Cousin Photo Shoot

It is hard to get a good photo of three kiddos.
It is even hard to get a good photo of just two kiddos.
But I kept trying!
Eventually I settled for pictures of just each kiddo on their own.
And they turned out pretty good.  Of course, I have some really beautiful subjects to photograph!
I love them so much!
And because we missed it with all the excitement on Christmas Day, happy Seven Week Birthday to Eleanor!
Don't look so concerned baby girl, you're still momma's favorite!  Even with all these other amazing kiddos around!
I think she was a little confused why the camera wasn't completely on her.  I may be creating a little monster!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

WIAW: A very merry Christmas indeed

Welcome to the Christmas edition of What I Ate Wednesday. 

We had an amazing, yet unconventional Christmas day.  My parents and my brother worked, my little sister was with her in-laws, and that left Alex and me and Stephanie.  
We woke up slowly.  Eleanor gave us a wonderful sleep-in.  Then I convinced Alex to go for a run with me while Steph babysat.  We managed a full 5k for my first official post-pregnancy run.  Our pace was good, a little under 10 minute miles.  I think the brisk winter air helped push us along.  We relished in the warmth of mom's house when we returned.  After a hot shower I enjoyed this breakfast:
Plain old oatmeal garnished with half a slice of pumpkin pie, raisins and soy milk.  Yum!
I realized it was 11am as I finished my bowl of oats.  How did that happen?  Lunch came quickly after.
 I made a simple salad of romaine, grapes, celery, and granola.  Yup, granola.  Drizzled in honey mustard dressing.  Not bad.  I also had a sampling off the cookie tray.  I enjoyed a homemade chocolate covered cherry and a handful of puppy chow.  

Before we left mom's we made a plan to meet Stephanie at the new casino later for Christmas dinner.  And then we were off to dad's for the rest of our visit.  

We are planning our official Christmas dinner at my dad's on Wednesday evening, so when we got to his house, we started baking and preparing.
Alex worked on the fudge while I made Empire Cookies, a Kummerow family favorite.

Christmas Day seemed to just fly right by.  Before we knew it, it was already dinner time.  Since we didn't have any official plans for dinner, it just made sense to check out the new casino and indulge in the buffet.
It is large and full of lights (as expected)!  My dad gave us a quick tour before we sat down at the Farmer's Pick Buffet.  It isn't often we eat at buffet's, but when we do it is such a treat (think Wynn Buffet circa 2010).  I was excited for the crab legs and oodles of vegetable options!
And although I was super excited for the dessert bar, I was not very impressed.  Best things I ate all night: the herb encrusted roasted tomato (center of the top right photo) and the cookie bar (bottom right photo).  I ate the arms off of an over sized Gingerbread man, and had my fair share of of the crab legs and coconut cream pie.  It was all delicious. 
Eleanor was such a good baby the whole time.  Mostly she hung out in our arms as we played pass the baby and took turns at the buffet.  

As we left the casino we stopped for a quick family photo.  Eleanor was not having fun cooperating, however.
As we drove back home, snow and sleet started to pick up.  They are currently calling for 6-12 inches of snow overnight and blizzard-like conditions.  This would be a first for Southeast Missouri for as long as I have lived or visited here!  We are excited for a White Christmas! 

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas

Last night Eleanor gave us the best Christmas present of all!  She slept so well.  It's as if she knew today was special and we all slept in until 9am!  I hope your Christmas is off to a great start as well.  Merry Christmas to all of you, God bless!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Weekend

It's a special edition of my regular weekend posts! This week we are in Missouri celebrating with family.  We arrived on Thursday afternoon after a long but very enjoyable road trip.  Eleanor wasn't sure what to think about the many hours in the car but she was a trooper!
Our first stop in Missouri was my sister Diana's to meet her new baby girl.

I didn't realize how much Eleanor had grown until we put her side-by-side with Kolbie.  Look at that difference.
It is hard to remember Eleanor that tiny.  And she was even smaller at birth.

Kolbie is such a sweet little girl.  I fell in love with her instantly.  I am so thankful we have this time to spend with family.  This year seems extra special!
On Friday morning my dad finally got to see Eleanor and Kolbie together.  He was pretty amazed by how much Eleanor had grown in just a few short weeks.  We relaxed around the house for much of the morning before Alex and Eleanor and I headed into town to get some last minute Christmas shopping done.  By the way, Christmas shopping on the Friday before the big day is so much easier in Cape than it is in Mooresville.
Saturday started slow just like Friday.  We relaxed around the house for several hours before packing up our bags to head to mom's house.  After a little grocery shopping we enjoyed lunch out with our friends Andy and Brittany and their son Matthew.  They followed us back to my mom's to hang out.
They were so excited to meet Eleanor and stayed for several hours catching up on all that is new.
The entire afternoon was so much fun, playing with babies, talking with old friends, visiting with mom.
Saturday evening we had a family dinner at mom's.  Everyone made it except my brother William.  He is stuck working at the nursing home over Christmas.  We missed him dearly, but I really enjoyed this time with my family.
This year just feels so very special!
The babies bring so much joy into our lives. 
We made a delicious but simple holiday meal complete with a Honey Baked Ham, Waldorf salad, baked sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, rolls and some sort of cottage cheese-jello dish.
We also had this amazing spread of Christmas cookies for dessert that my mom collected from the cookie walk at her church.  Amazing!
After dinner we settled in the living room to watch the Odd Life of Timothy Green, and I proceeded to fall asleep on the floor, I was so exhausted.  It was such a wonderful evening!

Although we are in Missouri, our Sunday felt very much the same as any Sunday.  We went to church, had lunch and watched the Bears play football.  This weekend we attended my mom's church.  Then my mom and sister babysat Eleanor while Alex and I got out to watch the game together.
So much fun to be out on our own again, and I know Eleanor was well taken care of!
Taylor just loves his baby cousins!
We are once again relaxing on the couch and watching Christmas movies on TV.  We have had such a wonderful time in Missouri already and it is still just beginning.  It's not even Christmas Eve yet and we still have more Christmas celebrations with my dad to come!  I'm not sure there is a better time of year than Christmas! Merry Christmas to you!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Last Minute Planning

Have you planned your Christmas dinner yet? Many of you are probably celebrating tomorrow so let's hope so!  If not, here are a few ideas for you:

Vegan Cheese Ball

Almond Holiday Bread

Mushroom Wellington

Blueberry Cranberry Sauce

Sweet Potato Casserole

Green Bean Casserole

Empire Cookies

Gingerbread House and Men
I'm hoping our holiday meals this year will include some, if not all, of these recipes listed below that I have scrounged up on the internet:

Sweet Potato Casserole (a new to me recipe)
Waldorf Salad
Arugula with Pomegranate salad
Vegan Pecan Pie (I also made this for Thanksgiving and it was amazing!
Thumbprint Cookies-- a classic
Chocolate Fudge
Eggnog Scones

We will see if we get around to cooking and baking this much! What are you planning for your meals?