Saturday, December 31, 2011

Goodbye 2011!

Here’s a quick summary of our top 5 Family Happenings during 2011 -

  • Our son, Anthony, started Kindergarten! He has quickly become such a great reader – we are so proud!

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  • Hubby started running and has kept at it. He has been running an average of 5 miles, 4-5 days per week! He has ran several 5K’s, is signed up for a 10K, and is even considering running a 1/2 marathon!

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I love this picture – it was taken by our son in Chicago!

  • Hubby also had his first official patent granted! He’s a smart one!
  • This was our year of Planes, Trains and Automobiles – we considered taking a BIG vacation (like an Alaskan cruise) and decided to take 3 smaller trips instead while enjoying having some $$$ left over! In March we flew to Seattle to visit hubby’s sister and her family, June we drove to Duluth, MN (one of our FAVORITE places to visit) and in July we took the train to Chicago. We enjoyed 3 great trips!

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Split Rock Lighthouse – north of Duluth, MN

  • I worked too much in 2011… But, I still managed to squeeze in some projects at home – our biggest projects were a pretty major landscaping project, hubby built a shed, and we gave the laundry room and the master bedroom an overhaul. Plus, I started this blog!

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Goodbye 2011, bring on 2012!

Happy New Year!!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Making Lefse!

Each December it is a family tradition at our house to make lefse. We both grew up making lefse with our grandmothers, and it’s a tradition we have continued. It’s a TON of work and makes the kitchen look like a flour bomb has exploded, but it is oh so good!
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Transferring a piece to the lefse grill
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While some people make super big pieces of lefse, we like to make them smaller. It makes them easier to work with when eating!
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Our Assistant even stepped in to help a little bit!
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The end result was 80+ pieces of lefse!
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Doesn’t this look delicious?!?
We are lucky that our Grandma’s gave us everything we need to make lefse (grill, Bethany board, rollers, and sticks) as wedding gifts so that we can continue this tradition.
Our families will be happy to see that we have lefse to share at our family Christmas celebrations!

Merry Christmas!

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Our home all set for Christmas
Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Christmas Q & A

Here’s a little Christmas Q & A - I saw this questionnaire at Primitive and Proper and thought it looked like fun!

1. egg nog or hot chocolate? BOTH!! Hot chocolate with peppermint or egg nog with a little rum…. YUM!
2. does santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? Santa is busy, busy, busy and wraps EVERY present!
3. colored lights on tree/house or white? I definitely love the crisp look of white lights.
4. do you hang mistletoe? I haven’t yet, but I would if I had some!
5. when do you put your decorations up? Depends. I used to decorate the day after Thanksgiving. This year I started the weekend before Thanksgiving!
6. what is your favorite holiday dish? Ooh… This is TOUGH! I am definitely a fan of appetizers and desserts – I could skip the regular holiday meal! I think I would have to say the pineapple cheese ball we have always had on Christmas Eve. My Mom used to make it every year and now I make sure that we always have it. Another favorite that we always have for the holidays – lefse! I will be making some this weekend!
7. favorite holiday memory as a child? We always used to go to my Grandparents on Christmas Eve and my parents always made an excuse to run home to play Santa. It was fun to come home and open up Santa gifts late on Christmas Eve.
8. when and how did you learn the truth about santa? I honestly don’t remember, but I’m pretty sure it had to do with my parents excuses to run home on Christmas Eve.
9. do you open a gift on christmas eve? The last couple of years we have opened our family gifts on Christmas Eve and then just had Santa gifts for Christmas morning. This works for us!
10. how do you decorate your christmas tree? Which one?!? Our downstairs tree is all Santa ornaments by Inge-Glas this year and our upstairs tree is a random mix of ornaments, mostly by Inge-Glas. Our son has a little tree in his room and it’s full of his ornaments, mostly given to him by his birthfamily.
11. snow! love it or dread it? Both! I love looking at the snow, but I am not a fan of the cold anymore. The older I get, the bigger the wimp I have become… I do enjoy watching the snow fall from indoors with a fire going!
12. can you ice skate? It’s been years, but I think I could do it!
13. do you remember your favorite gift? I’m pretty sure my favorite gift is under the tree this year! :)
14. what's the most important thing about the holidays for you? Finding time to spend with friends and family – given that our family and closest friends do not live near us, this is really tricky.
15. what is your favorite holiday dessert? Ooh, there are so many it’s hard to pick! Probably Grandma’s Refrigerator Dessert – this is another task I have taken over making – it wouldn’t be the holidays without it!
16. what is your favorite holiday tradition? Getting hot chocolate and driving around town to look at Christmas lights.
17. what tops your tree? At the moment, 2 trees have nothing (gasp!) and the small tree has a lime green glittered star.
18. which do you prefer: giving or receiving? My favorite is to give, especially when I have ideas that I know the recipient will love!
19. candy canes: yuck or yum? A little of both. I’m not a fan of how sticky candy canes are, but I do like the peppermint flavor.
20. favorite christmas show? Definitely Charlie Brown!
21. saddest christmas song? Ummm….. I don’t know?
22. what is your favorite christmas song? Probably Jingle Bells.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A White Elephant

Last night I went to a Holiday Party with some of the ladies from work. Everyone brought a White Elephant gift (random items from their home, or things they have received as gifts and wanted to re-gift) and we played the Dirty Gift Game to exchange them – it was fun! If you are not familiar with the Dirty Gift Game, everyone draws a number and whoever has #1 picks and opens a gift. Number 2 can choose to steal the gift from #1, or open a new gift. Each person can choose to steal a gift or open a new one until the gifts are gone. Once the last gift is opened, #1 gets to choose to steal from anyone in the room. There are definitely perks to drawing #1 in the Dirty Gift Game!
Lucky me – I drew #1! To start us out, I selected the most beautifully wrapped gift – glittery gold paper with a shiny metallic red bow – it had to be good, right?!? WRONG!! I opened my beautiful gift to find a hot pink ceramic pig piggy bank with a red Santa hat. WOW… The funniest thing is that the person who brought it had actually BOUGHT it to bring for her White Elephant gift! Since I had #1, I was able to sit back and watch the fun of everyone opening and stealing crazy items from each other and then choose the best gift to bring home.
One of the gifts had this funky light-up water fountain thingy and then a small little treasure – a glass Christmas ornament. When the gift was opened, I tried to check out the ornament, because I had a feeling it was something special. The card with the gift noted that the ornament was from the lady’s mother in law’s estate. Lots of jokes were cracked by others about her MIL – what kind of MIL did she have if she was willing to give away her Christmas ornament collection??
This was the gift I selected, especially once I saw the star crown cap on top of the ornament. I knew this was an ornament from the Inge-Glas of Germany collection and would perfectly join all of the Inge-Glas ornaments already on my Christmas tree at home. My husband’s aunt has run the Inge-Glas of Germany company in the US for years and we have been given (and purchased!) many Inge-Glas ornaments over the years.
If you are not familiar with Inge-Glas, the ornaments are all mouth-blown glass and hand-painted in Germany. They use many antique molds for their ornaments and they have a traditional look. We sure like them at our house!
I’m not so sure the lady I stole this gift from was too thrilled to have a hot pink piggy bank to take home to her twin boys though…
Inge-Glas of Germany ornament – the best White Elephant gift I could have hoped for!
Sorry for the iPhone photo…
This is definitely not the cutest Inge-Glas ornament (which may be why she chose this one for White Elephant gift), but I still feel like I came home with a treasure!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

A Change in Plans…

We are supposed to be spending the evening celebrating at a Christmas party with friends and thanks to the weather, we ended up staying home. While bummed that we are not with our friends that we celebrate with each December, we are definitely making the most of the day. Instead of traveling nearly two hours to see them we decided to head downtown to see Santa in the snow!

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After waiting for what felt like forever, Anthony had his moment with Santa!

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Heading out to check out the winter market (there were some neat copper ornaments there, I think I should have brought one home with me!)

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On the way home we had to drive by this house...

We drive by this house many times each December just for giggles. We call this “The house where Santa threw up”. We are all about having Christmas lights, but this house always has such a mix of every type of lights that it’s definitely over the top for us. The man that lives there dresses up as Santa and hands out candy to strangers like us who drive by. The sign on the driveway says when Santa will be available, but we couldn’t read the sign because of the snow. (He was off-duty tonight). Even Anthony recognized this as “the house where the fake Santa lives”!

So, tonight instead of spending time with our friends, we were able to see Santa arrive on the roof of the old City Hall, sit on Santa’s lap, go out for pizza and then home for treats in front of the fireplace while watching the Big Ten Championship Game (Let’s go BADGERS!!!).

Sorry friends, we are enjoying the eggnog and rum, dried beef dip and chocolate cake that we had planned to share with all of you. Miss you guys!