Saturday, January 19, 2013


You guys. I try to stick to a whole foods, unprocessed diet. I think Michael Pollan's In Defense of Food should be mandatory reading for all Americans. I make our bread and cereal and granola bars because I would rather not put unpronounceable, likely-carcinogenic chemicals into our bodies in the form of "food".

But lately I've had a hankering for Pasta Roni. 

Yup, the boxed pasta with that delicious little packet of magical seasoning. The garlic and herb Pasta Roni is sooooooo good. I used to make it all the time in college for J and I. But it's most likely (I haven't read the ingredients list, but I think it's a fair educated guess) laden with chemicals and preservatives and neurotoxins that trick my brain into craving more, neurotoxins that are nicknamed "Natural Flavors" on the ingredients list so they sound harmless and like they're found in nature. I've never seen a Natural Flavor flower, have you? Anyway, point is: no Pasta Roni for me.


I saw this Pin on Pinterest the other day, and I just made it for dinner and LOOK!

(As you can tell from this photo, I have yet to delve into the world of food photography)

Best. Pin. Ever.

Here's the link to the recipe:

That is all.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Don We Now Our Gay Apparel

Don we now our gay apparel
Fa La La, La La La, La La La
Running out the door to Auntie Seen's for Christmas dinner

I employed my Thanksgiving strategy of Get-The-Group-Picture-Done-First-Thing-So-It's-Out-Of-The-Way-And-People-Are-Still-Fresh-And-Thus-Less-Grumbly, and people, this is the way to do it. I made an (obnoxious) announcement forewarning everyone that there will be a group photo before dinner, and everyone quickly corralled together, snippity snap and we were done, and everyone was genuinely happy in this photo (or at least, not 100% annoyed). Christmas Win!

Nacky and Papa brought Santa hats for the kiddos

This picture makes me giggle

Here's where I should stop and mention the extra layer of significance spread over this Christmas Day.
B home. Here with us. After enduring months of radiation treatment.

No one said anything too specific about it on Christmas Day - I think we all just reveled in the together-again-ness of the day. Reveled in B's strength and endurance, in life set right by being reunited, in the normalcy after months of abnormal. Abnormal that we had all accepted in words and day-to-day but that, in the few scattered moments of reflection we are afforded from time to time, still left us shocked and bewildered, left us wondering what just happened? B went through radiation treatment? For a tumor? Whaaaaat? 
I can't say that much has changed in that regard yet.
But it was a warm and merry Christmas day "awl togethah", as BB would say.

Christmas magic

After dinner, we all settled in the living room for our family Secret Santa gift exchange. Uncle Matt chooses not to participate in the gift exchange, so this year Auntie Seen decided to play a joke on him. Once we were all comfortable, I started off the gift exchange, and I announced, "This year for Secret Santa, I had.....Matt!" Matt snapped to attention, and, shocked, protested, "But I didn't do it!" 
And I, slightly confused, said "Well, I had you!"
Matt looked confused and worried, and then Serene said, "Well, wait, I had Matt!" and then each family member chimed in "No, I had Matt!", "No, I had him!" and then we all threw gift-wrapped, silly socks at him that Serene had bought for him. It was fun to surprise him and force him to participate in the gift exchange against his will - mwah ha ha. Merry Christmas :) 

After our little scheme was completed, we had our actual gift exchange.

Auntie Seen got shark adult-sized footie jammas. That she wears every night.

And BB got a a new pair of cowboy boots from Auntie Shawna and Jeff! Being that BB asks to wear his old cowboy boots that he has outgrown nearly every day, there was no more perfect gift for him. Shawna also gave him her cowboy hat, which he had worn when he was Woody for Halloween. 

We got the girls these matching hats, one of my favorite gift finds of the season.

And a science book for B and a drawing and painting book for Tada.

BB opening his magnet block set from Auntie Seen (wearing his rescue pack from Auntie Jen, which he didn't want to take off for days and days).

Relaxing by the fire with pie

It was a lovely, full Christmas day. And it ended on a perfect note, when, as we pulled into the driveway that night I spotted a glittery something dangling down the center of our front door wreath.

Yes, we were gnomed again on Christmas Night. 

Oh, Holy Night!

It wasn't until the next morning that we realized that we had not only adopted a gnome ornament, but our tree was also sprinkled with sparkling mushrooms and snails and gnomes.

It was a Christmas miracle of gnomic proportions.

And we are this close to installing video surveillance.

Tis the Morning to be Jolly

Christmas Morning

J telling the story of Jesus' birth in a manger using our tiny nativity

Our family's traditional Christmas breakfast of blueberry cream cheese rolls and egg casserole, plus some homemade eggnog (first time making eggnog! I need a strainer, and more patience :)  ).

SS's Blueberry face! And a cheeseball.

Playing before presents

SS was completely disinterested in opening gifts. I loved it. 
There are jingle bells to be played with people! Who cares about that random colorful box?


 SS perched atop his gift from his auntie Jen and family - the gifts was nearly bigger than him!


And finally ripping

See - almost as big as him!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Fa la la la la

Here we are on Christmas Eve, which we spent at our church service, and then in a cooking and wrapping (and dish-doing) frenzy.

(Note SS's adorable curls about his ears - I can't get over the curls)

I love me some red tights

After we stacked the gifts under the Christmas tree, I snapped a few photos of our Christmas decorations - Christmas lights just make everything so much more festive.

And a few days before Christmas, our friends invited us over to join them in a family tradition - decorating gingerbread houses.

Here's their warm and festive living room decked with boughs of holly, complete with a cozy fire.

And here we are decorating the gingerbread houses that Kir made from scratch!

We also enjoyed some Wii Just Dance, but J has forbidden me from posting those photos. Bah Humbug.

Merry merry!!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Da Bears

Today marks J and my's 8th wedding anniversary, and to honor the relationshippyness of today, I'm telling you about a recent date we had.  J's big Christmas gift from last year was tickets to a professional Bears football game, his first pro football game ever - except I didn't actually buy the tickets because I didn't really know where or when or how to do that, instead I stuck to what I know and cut out little scrapbooky orange and blue cardstock bears for him to redeem for tickets at a later date, by his own devices. Well that later date turned out to be this Christmas - the Bears played the Arizona Cardinals on December 23rd, and J and I were there cheering them on! 

I thought it might be stressful going to the game so close to Christmas, but we ended up having all of our shopping and holiday prep done a few days before, so the game turned out to be an all-day just-the-two-of-us date to look forward to. Plus, J and I both decided that if we were going to do it, we were going to do it right, so we splurged a little and got great seats, and called it last year AND this year's Christmas gift. Totally worth it once the actual Chicago Bears ran out on the field and we could, like, actually see them. 

The Chicago Bears, warming up, RIGHT THERE!

Us in our awesome seats!

(Side note: I know the stands look super empty in most of these photos - it's because we got there over an hour before the game actually started, and that's when I was taking pictures, and then a lot of Cardinals fans left early because the Bears beat them by a lot (when I took the pic of J at the end of this post, rejoicing in the Bears' victory - but for most of the game, the stadium was pretty dang full!)

We weren't sure if we would be lonely cheering for the Bears in the Cardinals stadium, but J's cousin had told him where in the stadium the visitors fans usually sit, and when we got to the game, one third of the spectators there were Bears fans. Because Bears fans are crazy dedicated. So we were in good company rooting the Bears on to victory, even in Cardinals territory, which made the game all the more fun for us.

Like I said, I had really been looking forward to our all-day date, and to the game itself. A few years ago I decided to finally learn the rules of football, since J's passion for the sport didn't seem to be decreasing, and now I genuinely enjoy it too.  J was a little tense getting to the game, just because we didn't know exactly where we were parking and we'd never been to the stadium, and I took the opportunity to tease him - hook, line, and sinker, man. After eight years of marriage, I gotta keep him on his toes! We have fun.

Outside the stadium in a mall area

There's the stadium!

In line

The Bears lined up all footbally

For The Win!!