Sunday, December 14, 2014

Baking and a Christmas Musical

Saturday we baked kolacky's and made enough for this morning's breakfast, kept some in the freezer, and froze three more dozen to bring to the Grays in Arizona for Christmas.

Homemade sweet bread dough rising
Two bakers ready to go
Cutting and making the dough into squares
Adding the fillings - apricot, prune, and poppy seed
My mom, the expert kolacky baker helped - showing us how to fold them into neat, little packages 
One of four pans ready for the oven
Done! They are so good. The ones I left out for breakfast this morning were gone very quickly
Every Christmas season we see a show - it's one of the family traditions we started when Miles was little. This year we brought my Godson Daren to see Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer at Stages Children's Theater.
In our seats, eagerly anticipating the show. We're in the holiday spirit!
Meeting Rudolf and all of the characters. The kiddos all proclaimed the show "awesome!"
Dinner at Pizza Luce after
Three buddies eating sundaes on a Sunday

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Thanksgiving and Santa

We had a great Thanksgiving and have much to be thankful for this holiday season. We stayed in town and had both lunch and dinner at my aunt Nancy's house. The kids ran around all day playing with their cousins and extended family, we ate a lot of delicious food including kolacky's (the kids each ate 3!), and I even got a walk in although the weather was frigid. I was wistfully thinking about Thanksgivings in the past where we played football outside and went for long walks. Alas, winter came early and has been here to stay.
Thanksgiving day
Since the kids are a little older now I'm realizing that, although convenient and cost effective, our annual trip to the Costco parking lot to pick a tree (based on nothing really since they are all frozen and wrapped up) isn't very picturesque. One of these years we'll go to a farm and cut down our own so the kids know that Christmas trees come from somewhere other then a semi-truck in a parking lot. We took the requisite picture though and when we got home were again pleasantly surprised that we got another beautiful fraser fir.
Hanging out in a gigantic cart while dad ties down the tree
Hadley concentrated her decorating efforts on one very special part of the tree this year.
The Monday following Thanksgiving we visited my grandpa (the kids are so lucky to have 3 grandpas!) and had lunch and played cards.
This Saturday we went to the tree lighting ceremony in Chanhassen where the kids got to see one of Santa's reindeer (Hadley's not too sure about the elf), meet Santa who arrived on a fire truck, and do a countdown to light up the park with Christmas lights.
This morning we got ready to have breakfast with Santa.

At the Chanhassen Dinner Theater


The thought of meeting Santa in person is better in theory than in reality. Hadley doesn't look too sure and this is Miles' nervous but I'm being brave pose.
Miles is the star of the week at school and had to complete a school project all about himself. He had to draw or include a picture of himself and he wanted to be sure he included Ruby. Here are the answers he wrote on his poster:

  • Age: 5
  • Favorite animal: yellow labs
  • Favorite food: hot dogs
  • Favorite color: blue
  • Favorite place: a bakery (even though I pointed out he really hasn't ever been to a real bakery...)
  • When I grow up I want to be a..... jaguar.
  • My favorite thing to do is... pet Ruby.
  • If I had one wish, I would wish for... another dog.



Ruby gets love from Hadley too.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Today

Today we went to my Godson, Daren's, party. Happy birthday Daren!




Hadley has a kindred spirit in her cousin Sylvia - they both love to dress up.  Here's Hadley as a bride with pink lipstick on!
I haven't been taking a lot of pictures lately - but not to worry - we're coming into one of my favorite times of the year where a lot of photos will be snapped. Happy Thanksgiving everyone! May you take a few moments to reflect on everything you're thankful for. I've been focusing on having an attitude of gratitude everyday - life always seems better through this lens.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

This and That

Unexpectedly, I had a stay-cation this week and have been off of work since Wednesday so have spent a lot of time with the kiddos.  I got a lot of things done - like taking Christmas pictures of the kids, ordering Christmas cards, baking bread, cleaning out the playroom, etc. and had a lot of down time with Miles and Hadley - which felt very relaxed.

Besides projects around the house and kiddo time - Mike got out for some beer brewing (and drinking) with friends and I sailed high on a flying trapeze (for the 2nd time) with a friend at Twin Cities Trapeze.
This kid is tackling an At-At Walker lego set for ages 14+ - he's really good. Daddy is mostly helping him with this project but he and I completed 4 pages of instructions on Friday.
We went to Nickelodeon Universe and Rainforest Cafe for a fun mom and me outing.
Although these two are tall enough for the littlest rides, they wanted me to go with them on everything.

The kids are playing in the bath right now and I did a little bath time interviewing.

Miles
Favorite food: hotdogs
Favorite color: light blue, orange, red, lots of colors
Favorite thing to do: run
Favorite toy: husky pup

Hadley
Favorite food: macaroni and cheese
Favorite color: pink rainbows, red rainbows, blue rainbows, all colors rainbows
Favorite thing to do: stay awake and play with you guys (yes, we're going through a rather tough phase where this girl does not want to go or stay in bed!)
Favorite toy: Pepper, her stuffed kitty

Here are a few pictures that didn't make the Christmas card but sure are cute!





Sunday, November 2, 2014

Vacation pictures and Halloween

 Mike and I had a fabulous time in wine country and San Francisco.  We ate a lot of great food - everything from Indian to Korean to oysters, drank a lot of wine and beer (we toured 5 wineries, visited two breweries, and brought back souvenirs to drink and remember them by!), toured beautiful Napa and Sonoma Valleys, and walked everywhere in San Francisco.  The pictures below capture a few of the highlights of our vacation.


Hiking in Muir Woods. This was our first stop and you can tell by our faces that we're so happy to be on vacation!
Our first winery in Napa - David Fulton
Doing a tasting in a wine cave
We picked and ate grapes in several vineyards
Moving the grapes
So many beautiful vineyards and wineries

We stayed one night at the gorgeous Beltane Ranch in Glen Ellen in the Sonoma Valley.
A view of the house and gardens
Coffee in the morning before breakfast
Gorgeous views everywhere
and even an old truck!
Kunde Estate Winery
We did a mountaintop tasting at Kunde - 1400 feet above the winery overlooking 1800 acres of vineyards
Breakfast at Bouchon Bakery
A wine tasting dog!

Lunch at Girl and the Fig in Sonoma
Awwwwwwww...
Trying beer at Russian River Brewery in Santa Rosa
Mike doesn't joke around when beer tasting
We hiked the Marin Headlands and came across this gorgeous vista
One day in San Francisco we literally walked 10 miles all over the city - such a fun way to experience it!
After all of that hiking - someone needs a snack
Yes, we ate a lot of great food and drank a lot of great wine on this trip

Chinatown
Our last vacation lunch in Chinatown

How could you not miss these two?
 We had a fabulous trip but of course missed our kiddos! It's been a whirlwind since we've been home - just catching up on our day-to-day lives and celebrating Halloween!
Someone got a new (previously loved) doll and was so excited the first day that the doll came everywhere with us.
Halloween pancakes with mom
Opening a special card from Auntie Annette and heading for a haircut

Post-haircut we can see her sweet little face again
Handsome guy
Picking out pumpkins and the pumpkin patch


Miles really got into carving pumpkins this year and designed his own jack-o-lantern.
Hadley picked the smallest pumpkin to carve




We got all dressed up for a Halloween party at my work


Halloween night these two were serious and ready for some trick-or-treating!

Our neighbors are so spread out and the evening was chilly so they rode around in their Escalade all wrapped up in a blanket