Arkansas Christmas

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Christmas came early!!!

Lance and I hadn’t really planned on getting each other anything for Christmas.  If there is something we want, we talk about it together, evaluate the “need” for it, and then make a plan for paying for it.  I much prefer that we get little things here and there as opposed to a big, unneccesary purchase at Christmas. 

Lance told me a month or two ago, that he got a small surprise for me to open at Christmas.  Since we’re leaving on Sunday, and I’m working overnight tonight and all day Saturday, he let me open it last night.  I was speechless and teary.  He got me a new binder to put all my recipes in and The Pioneer Woman Cooks!!!

I love the little miniature plate and utensils on the front of the recipe book!

The inside has cute little detailed cards with sheet protectors.

And then there’s my new favorite book:

I LOVE all the pretty pictures on the inside.  All the recipes are so easy to follow because there’s visual aid for every step!

Now, some of you might be thinking, “Why did this silly girl get teary-eyed over some books?”  I got teary-eyed because Lance bought this present a month or two ago and just last week I mentioned that I really wanted a better way to organize my favorite recipes.  My mom-in-law gave me a really cute recipe box last year, but I’ve worn it out.  It’s literally breaking at the corners, and we tried tape, but it hasn’t held up.  Lance knew what type of present would be perfect, without me even saying anything, and the thoughtfullness touched my heart. 

The cookbook he just picked up last night because he saw me lusting after it on my computer screen, and thought it would go great with the recipe organizer! Haha! He was so right! I squealed when I saw it!

If you don’t read the Pioneer Woman’s blog, you are MISSING OUT! She is witty, loves her family, is a great photographer, and is an inspiration in ways beyond her good cooking.

Anyway, I spent the next, *ahem*, six hours hour or two reading over every single page of my new cookbook and copying all my own scribbled recipes in my new book.

Of course, then I REALLY wanted to cook something of Pioneer Woman’s.  I had already planned to try out her Monkey Bread Muffins this week and just hadn’t gotten around to it yet.  This recipe is not in her cookbook but it’s what I had ingredients for.  It’s so easy too!

Basically you just put some butter, cinnamon, and sugar into muffin cups,

roll thirded, canned biscuits into balls and stick 3 into each cup,

and then top with more butter, cinnamon, and sugar!

What’s so special; that’s just a normal monkey bread recipe right? Wrong! Pioneer Woman suggests one more key ingredient:

Yum!

After they came out of the oven they looked like this:

Then I poured on the sweetened condensed milk and let it soak up!

Oh my goodness, they are so good! Perfect size as well!

But don’t just take my word for it! Check out her photos of them here.

I’m so thankful for my husband and his thoughtfullness.  He picked the perfect gifts!

Busy Week

I’ve gotten too used to Lance being home until around lunchtime.  This week his schedule changed and he is working daytime hours because all the students are on Christmas break.  I’ve enjoyed him being home in the evenings with me so much (as opposed to him getting home at 11:30p), but I miss the help with the girls.  It’s so easy to have him watch them for a few minutes while I make lunch, or load the dishwasher, or switch a load of laundry to the dryer. Of course, sometimes I walk back in the room and one of the kids looks like this:

Speaking of the kiddos…  Maybe once every couple of weeks or so, especially if I’m feeling sick or something and just need a small break, we will have a movie and popcorn time.  They love it and think it’s a special treat! I love it too because I don’t feel bad playing an educational Baby Einstein movie.  Anyway, last week I made some homemade cinnamon sugar popcorn and they loved it!  You just put a few tablespoons of popping corn, a dash of oil, and cinnamon and sugar to taste all in a paper lunch sack and microwave it until the pops are 2 seconds apart.  It’s so simple and costs pennies per serving!  As an added bonus, it’s much healthier!

In other news, I’ve really been wanting a hair cut lately.  Everytime I go to a salon I never like it and have to fix it myself.  Waste of money, I say.  I’m getting a lot better and cutting Lance and I’s hair.  It’s hard for me to cut the bottom of my hair in the back straight though.  My arms just don’t bend that way! So, on Tuesday night, I employed my husband to cut the back for me.  He’s done it once before and did just fine! After he trimmed up the back, I was able to do everything else! This is probably the best haircut I’ve ever given myself.  I’m really happy with it!

Tucker and Jaci wanted their pictures taken with the tree too:

Lance has a Christmas potluck at work today so I made cupcakes for that.  They are green, red, and white.  I think they turned out a little funky looking with the white on top but the icing and sprinkles help the look.  They will taste good anyway!

I have a couple more Christmas presents to wrap before we leave on Sunday.  We’re gonna be gone a whole week.  Our car is going to be full of presents! I also have to do laundry and pack for a whole week, which is a challenge cause I never know what I’ll need.  Layers would be the smart way to go I guess.

I can’t believe Christmas is next week!

“I like yor Chi-chi-tree”

This is what Kelly (the 2.5 year old I keep) said today about my Christmas decorations.  Gotta love the kiddo. 

She also tries to be a little mother to the other two girls.  She tells Jaci to be quiet when she gets to wound up, pats Violet’s back when she lays on the floor, and even tells me to be quiet when Jaci’s taking a nap: “Shhh Jaci’s seepin”, she says, in a whisper that sounds like a yell.  Haha. Too cute.

I’m glad it’s Friday and that this work-week is over.  I spent all week getting over my bad cold and now all that’s left of it is a slightly hoarse voice.  I can handle that.

I may or may not be babysitting overnight tonight, but if I don’t, we’re gonna go grocery shopping and to Walgreens for some deals.  The cashiers in Walgreens have been very sarcastic to me lately despite my nicest efforts, so I waited until tonight so Lance could go with me.  There’s something about a man’s presence that usually makes them act a little nicer to me.

Tomorrow we’re going to go to Cool Springs to do a little window shopping.  I also a $10/$10 coupon for JcPenny and that’s the closest one.  We hardly ever go to Cool Springs because I don’t like the traffic over there.  But it will be nice to visit some stores we don’t normally get to go to.  Lance normally works every other Saturday and this month he’s off every Saturday! I’m way excited about our day together tomorrow!

I really need to get my Christmas cards mailed out next week.  Christmas is coming so fast! I’m so ready to get rid of all the presents under my tree.  I’m tired of my cats jumping on them and smashing the bows! Haha!

Feature Friday

Today I’m featuring another Etsy store called Jewelry by Tara.  This store offers “unique handcrafted jewelry with a vintage twist”.  Everything is very cute and affordable!

Some of my favorite things are:

This Alice in Wonderland domino necklace.  I love the vintage story book look of it!

I also really like this Art Glass Pendant Necklace.  I love the ribbon necklace the pendant is on!

I think this Tea Party Cake Ring is so cute! I love miniature things and these rings are no exception! I love the details in the cake toppings! So adorable and fun!

Here is another one for you chocolate lovers!

Jewelry by Tara also offers custom graphic designs, banners, avatars and Blog/Website consultation.

Go check it out!

What a Great Weekend!!

NOT!!

One of the downsides of keeping kiddos is that I catch everything they have. This past week was no exception! Two of the three girls had really bad colds and by Friday I knew I had caught it too.  Fever, runny nose, sore throat, the whole nine yards. 

Lance thought he was gonna get lucky because he didn’t feel too bad.  No such luck.  By Saturday he was sick too, just a day behind me. 

We spent the whole weekend in bed.  Two jugs of orange juice, 2 1/2 boxes of tissues, and a few cans of soup later, we are finally feeling a lot better. 

I actually kind of enjoyed being sick though (in a small, small way).  Normally I can’t really relax on the weekends.  I spend it worrying about catching up on everything I missed during the busy week: laundry, grocery shopping, paying bills, and various other necessary things.  If I try to relax, my mind doesn’t usually stray far from what needs to be done.  But this weekend, I didn’t care.  I spent the whole weekend reading, watching movies, and looking at facebook.  And Lance was right there beside me, without me feeling like I was holding him back from a fun weekend, for he was sick too.  The only thing I wish I had more of: sleep.  That did not come so easily because I couldn’t breathe through my nose.

Today, I’m just making a mental game plan of everything I need to catch up on, and probably going grocery shopping tonight.  I’m not going to buy much though.  We have a lot of stuff in our cabinets we need to use up.  Lance had to throw away a can of soup last night because he discovered it was expired.  To me, that means we have too much food in the house.  I’m going to try to get creative this week and just buy maybe some bread, juice, and milk at the store.  Probably some eggs too.

Tomorrow I’ll start on all the laundry I was supposed to do on Saturday.  I accidently knocked over a glass of water in the bathroom on Friday night (it broke) so I have to wash the bathroom rugs too, to make sure there are no little pieces of glass still in them.

I also hope to make it to CVS and Walgreens tonight or tomorrow night for some good deals.  I have some ECBs and RRs from Black Friday that I need to use up!

Well that’s my weekend in a nutshell! How was yours?

Feature Friday

I’m going to start posting a feature most Fridays.  I might feature an Etsy store, a product I like to use, a book, etc. 

Today’s feature is The Frog Bag.  It is an Etsy store dedicated to raise money for Tapir in the rainforest.  I had never even heard of Tapir before I started writing this post!

The Frog Bag has a variety of things from jewelry, to cat toys, to recycled bottles.

One of my favorite items in the shop is this pretty little anklet.  I love the little beads and the tiny chain!

I also love this tiny little beaded bottle.  This would be so great so keep pills in for your purse, or earrings in for traveling. All the beads are glass, which are my favorite kind of bead!

I think my favorite item in the whole store are these leaf earrings.  I love anything glass, and the glass leaves are just so pretty!

Go check out The Frog Bag and tell her I sent you! You can even request free gift-wrapping!

Around the Blogosphere…

Do you write a blog?  Do you have a favorite blog?  Have you read a post lately that would benefit others to read it? 

Please give us an opportunity to check it out too!

Post a comment with a link, and check back later to see some interesting blogs!!

A few of my favorite blogs:

Jessica Hollis Photography

Cake Wrecks

The Macs

Whatever

If you just wanna leave a comment about what you ate for lunch or what you want for Christmas, that’s okay too 😉