End Piece of Bread

Cat Bread Ends

You know those end pieces of bread flanking the good, soft stuff in the middle of the loaf? Do you eat those? I always feel sorry for them. Sometimes I feed them to Smalls because he doesn’t notice, save for a few extra chews. I feel like the last day of the year is sort of like those extra little pieces of bread. It’s easy to forget, but the last day of the year counts, just like you can make something amazing from those sad little end pieces (French toast, bread pudding, bread crumbs, etc.).

ROMRO (right on, man, right on – we say that a lot in my house for some reason).

Today could be a day to finish out your resolutions from the past year, if you so desire, or think about what’s important to you in the next year. Like I’ve said, I always think about how I can do things differently, up coming. And I get all nostalgic about how much my sons have grown. It doesn’t take much for me to get all mushy about them.

It’s also a day to celebrate and close a chapter.

Or to party.

Or to set an alarm for 11:55p, like I do. Whatevs.

Bear End Breads

Okay, so I don’t LIKE them, but I don’t MIND them. I wouldn’t seek to eat them over the soft, yeasty bread slices, but I won’t turn those end pieces down if they were slathered liberally with any sort of peanut (or other nut) butter. I’ll eat just about anything as a vehicle for that. Or a jelly. Or most any type of spread. I’m a spread and condiment sort of gal. Staaahp Kris.

I [sort of] digress.

I can’t seem to stop likening stuff in life to food. It just comes naturally to me.

Sorrrry!

Anyways, I always try to make something special of the last day of the year. Nothing big or expensive or fancy. Just something slightly out of the ordinary so we can remember it. And it always includes a dinner at Perkin’s. And that might be the only special thing we do that day. And I’m okay with that.

It always takes some extra gumption to go out to eat alone with them. But since it was NYE, we did it.

I took lots of backup.

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I stocked my purse with books, airplanes, cars and small child-friendly electronic thingies. There might even be a dino or two in there from a previous outing.

We played tic tac toe (Bigs ALWAYS won, clever boy!), and drew with our crayons and played with our cars and planes. We talked about New Years.

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And we ate until we were content. Bigs ALWAYS gets sprinkle pancakes there. Smalls also had pancakes and breakfast potatoes. I got steak tips, salad and veggies. And I ate whatever my kids didn’t.

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I ordered a piece of double chocolate fudge cake to go. I’ve already had one bite, but I had to eat it in hiding, hence the crummy quality pictures. I know I’m on a diet, but still. Special occasion, and all.

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And at least 8 elderly people (that’s the typical demographic of this restaurant and I love it) came by to say hello to my boys and say how lovely Bigs’ blue eyes and Smalls’ golden curls were.

And I took pictures of Smalls’ hands. Don’t you love little baby hands?

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And earlier, I made a chicken soup chock full of veggies. It’s been very rainy and gray and blustery here and it just called for a big stock pot full of soup.

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I put in a carton of no-salt chicken stock and the same carton full of water. I cut up and added a package each of carrots and celery and about 1/4 cup of onion. Once those were soft enough, I added all the chicken (that I cut off and sort of cubed from a rotisserie) and let it simmer until whenever.

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I added salt to mine. I leave it out for my husband. I think it needs it. It was good, hearty and almost as importantly, easy. And it would be good with rice or noodles. Or toasted end pieces of bread.

Oh and also, I learned that baby gates mean nothing to Smalls. He can pull them off, undo them and unlock them.

Just an aside.

I hope next year is more organized than this post is.

Be safe tonight – lots of crazies out there!

Happy New Year’s Eve!!

Kristin

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Rearview Mirror

Be Happy Next Year

That’s a great goal, isn’t it? Just to be happy.

The stockings are put away, the gifts organized in their rightful spots (which they all have, obvi), the tree and its ornaments are all put away, the tinsel has been swept up. Christmas is over. As lovely as it was, I just love a fresh start. There is something so wonderful, so renewing about a New Year. I always get introspective around this time of year. I think back to how things have turned out, what I could have done differently, how I’ve grown as a person, how I can grow more.

Create in Me

We’ve been so busy since Christmas ended (us? busy? not us!!!). Bigs has been doing great on his “Woody Buzz” bike from Santa. It’s his first experience with a bike bike and he can ride it in a straight line with no deviation that doesn’t involve any steering or turning around all by himself (lol). Seriously though, I am very proud. It’s terribly cute!

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It’s made even more cute with his Toy Story accessories and ever-present “Woody Buzz” boots.

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And Smalls has been enjoying Bigs’ hand-me-down trike, riding it like a boss.

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And I followed him around, “collecting” pictures of his glorious, golden, flouncy curls. I know those will be gone someday (probably the second I cut them, any chance of curl regrowth will be zero), so I am savoring and documenting those sweet, little, twirly coils.

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Obsessed? Sure.

So….

We know what’s coming next. Those dreadful resolutions. I’ve mostly not stuck with the ones I’ve set out for myself. Like ever. Except MOSTLY I’ve made my bed every day. I think it makes the room look more put together. But sometimes I don’t even have time for that. As for other resolutions, I’ve even changed my tactic and changed the goals so that I don’t keep breaking the ones I know I’ll break. It seemed like that would work. But I’ve learned I’m just not cut out for resolution-keeping. At least I know myself.

With that said, here are my 2014 Resolutions (LOL):

1. To eat less of my own product and to share more. They must go hand in hand.

2. To be less stressed (Philippians 4:6-7).

3. To focus on the positive.

If it Keeps you from God

4. To get back to working out. <— I’ve seen that before!

5. To push myself to try new things (a new recipe [but, see #1], go somewhere new, take my kids to new experiences, thereby taking me out of my comfort zone, etc.)

6. To grow in my relationship with God and to continue to help foster that same relationship in my kids’ walk with Him.

7. To continue with my Daily Devotionals and referring to the Bible, which will be much easier with this adorbs Bible my husband got me for Christmas…Sprinkles on my Bible!

Sprinkles on my Bible

8. To always trust in God. For He alone has my path set out.

My Hope is Built on Nothing Less

So. Good luck to me. And you. If you’re doing resolutions, of course. And if you aren’t, may you find great success with your old ways. That must mean they are working.

New Years Subway Art

Do you have any New Year’s Eve or Day traditions?

As a kid growing up, my Mom would always make black eyed peas and greens (with ham hock) on New Year’s Day. She still does! It’s good luck, you know. Maybe this year, she’ll make extra and I can have some…Mom? Yes? 😉

Before kids, my husband and I were up until well past midnight. And after kids we were up until 12:00:01. And in recent years, I’ve had to be woken up to see the ball dropping. That will probably happen this year. I just can’t rally that late. And on NYE, Hubs and I always had a tradition to go to Perkin’s for dinner (I know I know… but don’t knock it until you try it though!!), but my husband’s job has required him to work until after our kids are in bed on NYE these past few years. So, now just me and the boys go to Perkin’s. And I love it. It’s a great way to end the year.

Maybe I’ll indulge in some Asti once they boys are sleeping. It’s my right.

Champs

Here’s to a very blessed, wonderful New Year!

Happy New Year 2

Blessings,

Kristin

Tinsel’s in a Tangle

Happy Christmas and Merry Food Coma

My body is in a coma…the food sort. My fridge looks like it’s in a coma too. Not an inch to spare (it IS a rather small fridge, though) with all the leftovers.

Let’s rewind a few days. We took our boys to visit Santa. We stood in line for over an hour to see a really wonderful looking Santa.

Boys in line for Santa

Smalls was delightful the whole time waiting (as was Bigs), but the second he was plopped on Ol’ St. Nick’s lap, he screamed like he was being pinched. Poor thing. Not a fan. So Bigs was smiling really sweetly (and told Santa he wanted a bouncy carrot) and Smalls was screaming with tears pouring out of his eyes…50%, not bad. We also went to Christmas Eve service at church, which was beautiful.

We set out some cookies (some GF and LF) and almond milk for Santa (to accommodate Mr. Claus’ Crohn’s diet!). We also left a carrot for the reindeer.

Santa Cookies and Milk

We actually had to wake the boys up on Christmas morning. They NEVER sleep in. Ever. They are usually up way before 7:00a. They were very excited about everything and Bigs was shocked Santa brought him a bouncy carrot.

Bouncy Carrot

Since they slept in so late, I was able to finish prep on their special breakfast. I reheated the gluten and lactose free pancakes I’d made earlier in the week. I cut up some fruit and finished the Grinch kebabs, and put together the pancake toppings bar (bananas, strawberries, Christmas sprinkles, chocolate chips, and marshmallows). We sang Happy Birthday to Jesus and began eating.

Christmas Morning Breakfast

Bigs gobbled it all up. Smalls ate next to nothing, which is typical. I also made hot chocolate (my Mom made the mix from scratch) with whipped cream Christmas trees (that I made with a silicon mold the day before). I wasn’t sure the molds would work, but they did! They were so fun. I gave Bigs another hot chocolate today with another whipped cream tree…all of which he accidentally knocked on the floor. Sigh.

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While they were basking in the glow of new toys, I put together two casseroles.

Bread Pud and Hash

A Cranberry White Chocolate Bread Pudding and a Cracker Barrel-inspired Cheesy Hash Brown Casserole. They were both DELICIOUS.

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While cheesy potatoes are always a good dish to me, the bread pud was TO DIE FOR. Geesh, that’s morbid. Let’s say it was a must try. It was divine. Seriously. I will be making this again and again and again.

Hash Brown recipe:

http://choosingsimplicity.wordpress.com/2010/03/27/easy-1-bowl-cheesy-hash-brown-casserole/

Bread Pudding recipe:

http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2013/11/cranberry-white-chocolate-bread-pudding-recipe.html

We ate those two dishes with some others that came with my Husband’s side of the family (some vegan and GF dishes, bagels with cream cheese and lox, fruit salad).

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And then after naps, we went to my parents’ house, where we enjoyed another meal! We had roast beef with au jus and horseradish sauce, roasted vegetables, rolls, fruit salad, and a lovely cheese platter.

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And my Mom made a fruitcake…a FRUITCAKE! I love fruitcake. I might be one of two people (My Dad and I) that eat it. My husband jokes that there is only one fruitcake in the whole world. I think that’s the only fruitcake joke. Whatever. More for me (and Dad).

I hope that you had a lovely holiday.

As for me, I’m ready to cleanse my home, take down the decorations, prepare for the new year, and make my resolutions. And eat less (maybe).

Kristin

*Sorry for all the collages versus whole pictures – it was just much easier and less time-consuming with so many!

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas…

Twas the night before Christmas

It’s here, it’s finally here! The night to start or finish wrapping gifts, the night to put together all the toys and bikes, the night to play Santa, the night to set out milk and cookies for yourself to enjoy later. It’s here!

My husband and I have so many plans!

Buddy the Elf

Then…

Buddy

I just don’t know if we’ll have enough time!

We’ll OBVIOUSLY be turning on A Christmas Story just as soon as it starts tonight. It’s a family tradition that I grew up with that I am imposing upon my own family. Best movie ever.

And so is Elf. But they haven’t played it on the channels we have, yet.

We really do have so much to do today. I’ll be making some casseroles for tomorrow’s brunch (Cracker Barrel inspired cheesy hash brown, and a white chocolate and cranberry bread pudding – all of which you’ll see here soon!). We’ll be cleaning the house for guests, we’ll be doing special traditions with our sons and we’ll be going to Christmas service. It’s going to be lovely.

Our elf Duncan was here again. And today is his last day with us.

Yesterday, he set out a birthday party for Jesus!

Elf on a Shelf Day 23

And today he packed his bags up and left a good-bye note for the boys. We’ll miss you, Duncan!

Elf on a Shelf Day 24

Also, I made a turkey dinner last night.

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I got this HUGE (almost 10 pounds) turkey from Publix for $7.80. I couldn’t believe it. It’s actually the first whole turkey I’ve made. I think it came out great. Was it a leeeetle bit dry? Sure. Whatevs. It’s my first. The prep was easy (olive oil, Kosher salt and poultry seasoning), but I don’t care how strong your stomach is, pulling out a half-thawed, leaking bag of innards will make you queasy. Well, me, anyways. Blech. And that neck. I am southern, but that neck. *Shudder!* I cooked it (the turkey, not the neck – dat nasty went right in the bin, although I am sure someone somewhere has a great recipe for it, lolz) according to directions and the whole time it was cooking, I was drooling. Whenever there is a cooked turkey around, I am like The Old Man Parker (the dad on A Christmas Story). I cannot resist sneaking (which…as an adult who made the turkey, do I really have to sneak bites? I guess I sort of do, with kids around, if I want peace while eating.) crispy skin or breast meat pieces. Oh just yum! I made a quick gravy from the drippings and corn starch and pepper. Gravy is one of those foods that, and my parents will back me up on this, I got really sick on after eating too much in one sitting as a child and came back for more AFTER…um…disposing of it. Know what I mean? I love gravy. I’m gross.

I love gravy

Anyways. Enough about my grossness.

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I served the turkey with steamed fresh green beans and sweet potato casserole (basically the same meal as the other night, but subbing turkey for ham). It was SO good. And yeah, I’ve served my family sweet potato casserole with marshmallows three weeks in a row.

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I tried to show my older son how to make a wish using the wishbone, but for some reason, it didn’t work. Neither of us got our wish. That dang thing was as slippery as an eel. We sure did try to break it. He even tried to break it with all his three year old might! It wouldn’t budge. Whatever. He still thought it was cool.

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Enjoy this last night before Christmas!

To all a good night

Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Kristin

Christmas Bible Study

Religious Manger

It’s so easy to get caught up in the baking, shopping, wrapping and unwrapping of gifts this time of year. But if we take a minute to really think about why this is all even happening, it changes things. Matthew 1:18 tells us of how the birth of Jesus came to be. It explains that Mary, a young woman, was pledged to be married to Joseph. She was found to be with child and since they had not been together, Joseph decided to discreetly send her away (because he was a righteous man). An angel appeared to him and told him not to be afraid of this and that the child born to them would be from the Holy Spirit and would save everyone from their sins. Joseph faithfully followed through with what God put on him.

Baby Boy Jesus

Mothers – can you imagine how Mary felt through all of this? A young virgin, given the task of carrying the Savior, the man who would wash away the world’s sins for the rest of time. Although scared, Mary was also faithful to God’s will. He sent angels with comforting words and guided her and Joseph to the place where Jesus would be born.

Linus Speech

Mary, heavy with child, rode on a donkey to Bethlehem. Can you feel how deep her ‘burden’ was? She gave birth to Jesus in a stable, surrounded by animals and her Joseph, a far cry from how most births happen now.

Away in a manger

What a humble beginning for the baby who grew into the man who would go through such pain for us.

Christmas is the celebration of Jesus’ birth, how He came into this world, how He has saved us. I am eternally grateful for what that couple went through on that night in Bethlehem. I am so grateful to know Jesus in my heart. He has changed my life.

Christmas begins with Christ

And all we have to do to be saved is to ask Jesus to live in our hearts and to live by His word. We can be free in Him. He can heal your pain, heal your heart.

Mighty God

If you want to know Jesus in your heart and are not sure how to start this, you can say a simple prayer with me. Or you can use your own words.

Dear Jesus,

I admit that I am a sinner. I have done many things that don’t please you. I have lived my life for myself. I am sorry and I repent I ask you to forgive me. I believe that you died on the cross for me, to save me. You did what I could not do for myself. I come to you now and ask you to take control of my life, I give it to you. Help me to live every day in a way that pleases you. I love you, Lord, and I thank you that I will spend all eternity with you.

Amen.

Salvation Prayer from:

http://christianity.about.com/od/prayersforspecificneeds/a/salvationprayer.htm

   Santa Bowing to JesusIn Christ,

Kristin

‘Tis the Season!

Tis the Season

‘Tis also the season to be super busy! Which we have been. Non-stop. It’s been mostly good stuff too.

My sweet dog, who I am convinced has severe anxiety (and who also does not react well to anti-anxiety canine meds – story for another time!) had to go to her yearly allergy appointment. And the next day, she went under anesthesia to have her denties cleaned. She looks like a million bucks, but is still adjusting to the weird week she had (LAST week). She’s so weird.

puppy love

But isn’t she so cute (if not a little wide-eyed lol)?

Our elf Duncan came a few times since I last wrote.

Elf on a Shelf Day 20

He TP’d our tree. Bigs got a kick out of it. Actually, so did Smalls. He’s been super into finding the elf each morning.

Elf on a Shelf Day 21

He rode on a dinosaur (and took a dino friend!) to Bethlehem to see Baby Jesus.

Elf on a Shelf Day 22

And he got into some more sweets (a la Buddy the Elf). He was drinking real maple syrup through a straw, got out the Hershey’s syrup and some marshmallows. He’s going to need to go see Hermey the Dentist Elf if he keeps this up.

And my husband and I went on a date to a Christmas party with our friends. The food was out of this world.

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We had so much to eat! It was definitely a foodie type party (that turned into a dance party once my DJ husband started with the music and our host husband brought out the party lights!).

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There were all kinds of desserts (truffles, cake balls, cake dip, melted snow man mix) and savories for days. My absolute favorite thing bordered on dessert, but was with the savory foods – brie with walnuts and cranberries in phyllo cups. I probably ate my weight in them. As I typed that, I realized I also say that a lot. But I don’t have a problem. 😉

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No decorative or food stone was left unturned. We had a fabulous time!

Same time, next year??

We had a gift exchange (which is always a hoot) and there were these gourmet marshmallows as one of the gifts. I convinced my friend who won them to let me try them. I’ve been wanting to for forever. These particular ones were s’mores flavor. Um, you know how I feel about that particular flavor profile.

Wondermade Marshmallows

Look how cute they come in their adorable package!! And, boy, were they good! If you need a gift for anyone…or yourself (especially for yourself!!!)…get them. They have tons of other flavors and are made by hand in small batches. A must try!

Here’s the website:

http://wondermade.com/

I guess it is also a ’tis the season for desserts…look at this beauty I had some [most] of while dining out. Ice cream in a cinnamon-sugar dusted won ton, crème brûlée, and a whipped cream covered brownie a la mode. It was redonkulous.

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Starting then, I am now on a crème brûlée kick. I have never made it, but will very soon. And probably make it turn out like scrambled eggs. I’m sure you’ll see that here.

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And, also this happened. My sweet friend gave this to me for Christmas. I have been wanting to try this for AGES. We don’t have a Trader Joe’s around us (although one should be coming some day) and she traveled recently and picked up this little gem. GINGERBREAD cookie butter. One of my favorite things.

Food gifts are so great.

I hope this post finds you ready for Christmas, feeling peace and a full tummy.

I’ll leave you with two funny things Bigs said to me recently (which prove, as if his face isn’t already exactly like the little boy version of mine) that he is mine:

After our Publix grocery trip, I tell him it is time for lunch. He says, “I’m not hungry. I had a cookie and a tick tock [tic tac].”
-and-
“My body feels like it wants a dessert.”
Seriously, he is all me!
Kristin Sprinkles
(Listen, I realize this picture is a bit awkward. But that’s me. I was hunchy because as I was standing there, it occurred to me that I was pretty much as tall as the tree. # tall people problems)
Cheers!

Big blessings,

Kristin