Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Gran's German Chocolate Cake.

All the years I have known Jerome, even our dating years, every year at Christmas his Gran would make a cake that he loves....German chocolate cake.

It is a holiday tradition that he looks forward to every year.

I can't say I blame him, this cake is delicious!

german chocolate cake

The past two years I have made this cake for our family dinner. Even though it is a good bit more complicated than making a Betty Crocker cake,it is worth it when you take that first bite of yummy goodness.

The recipe can be found here and here

104. family Christmas dinners
105. my girls in the kitchen learning how to bake
106. smell of chocolate cake baking in the oven
107. excitement Christmas morning
108. going to the movies
109. no more holiday shopping!
110. watching Spencer with his three year old and two year old cousins, Bradley and Caleb at our family dinner

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Breakfast.

Reindeer Pancakes 01 blog

Today is the first day of Christmas break for our kids. We stayed up late last night and all slept in this morning.

Jerome started the coffee while I started making the reindeer pancakes I promised the girls I'd make.

We didn't have bacon (for the antlers) so I improvised and used Hershey's chocolate syrup, a maraschino cherry for the red nose, whip cream and chocolate chips for the eyes. I found the idea for it here

Buddy the elf would be loving the sweet sugary breakfast we had this morning....but he was in Katie's room on her little Christmas tree.....he covered her tree with toilet paper last night.

Katie was excited to see Buddy somewhere else besides the freezer this morning. He was in the freezer when she woke up yesterday morning. She kept getting upset because she was afraid he would freeze and lose his magic powers. I had to remind her that he lives at the North Pole and the freezer reminds him of home.

Natalie took the next picture with my camera.....

Reindeer Pancakes 02 blog

98. making reindeer pancakes with our kids
99. sleeping in on the first day of Christmas break
100. baking for the family get togethers
101. kids helping in the kitchen
102. wrapping presents
103. watching favorite Christmas movies with my family

Monday, December 19, 2011

Buddy the Elf.

Buddy The Elf 1 blog

Several weeks ago Katie was so happy to find an Elf On The Shelf waiting for her.

She came home from school telling me how her friend Emma has an elf, how you read the book and then his magic starts and the next morning you wake up and get to find him hiding in the house somewhere.

We carefully unpacked him, making sure not to touch him....because if you touch the elf he loses his magic.

Katie named him Buddy....Buddy the Elf.

She went to sleep that night anxious to wake up in the morning to find out where Buddy had found to stay for the night.

Since then Buddy has been a lot of places in our home, hanging from the clock, playing with marshmallows, eating cereal, hanging out with Barbie and her friends and many more places.

Katie loves Buddy and loves that he is "magic".

Buddy The Elf 2 blog

This past weekend all three of our kids had friends over or went to a friends house to stay. We had a house full. Natalie had Hailey and Casey over, Spencer had Adam over and Katie went to the movies with Emma and stayed the night with Sydney.

I had just gotten out of the shower and gotten dressed when I heard Katie banging on our door and crying.

I opened our door to a little girl crying her heart out.

Our conversation went a little like this:

Me: "Katie! Why are you crying? Whats wrong?" (thinking she was physically hurt)

Katie: "Mom!! (sniff, sniff) Mom!!"

Me: "WHAT?"

Katie: "Adam touched Buddy and now Buddy has lost his magic!!"

(Adam standing shocked and surprised and unknowing of Buddy's magic powers, which Spencer let him know of when Katie freaked out on him)

Adam: "I didn't know! I just picked him up, spun him around Katie! I didn't know!"

(I was trying to hold a laugh in, Spencer and Adam were too)

Katie: "Mom, can we get another elf...PLEASE?? Buddy isn't magic anymore!"

Me: (thinking fast what to say because I did not want to buy another elf)"Katie, Buddy is still magic. Adam doesn't believe in Santa or Buddy the Elf so it doesn't count if he picked him up, he didn't make Buddy lose his magic. Only the little kids that believe in Buddy the Elf and Santa make Buddy lose his magic if they touch him."

Katie: (calmed down a little, sniffing and wiping her tears) "You promise Buddy didn't lose his magic?"

Me: "I promise, you will still be able to find him in new places tomorrow morning"

The next morning Katie was excited to see Buddy the Elf holding on to her Daddy's coffee pot......Jerome told her that Buddy was needing some caffeine.

And now for one of our favorite parts of the movie....it makes Katie laugh hysterically every time.....

Looks fun doesn't it?

Katie's Buddy the Elf is named after that crazy elf.

91. how a little "magic" brings laughter in our home
92. seeing the excitement and anticipation of Christmas in our kids
93. date night with my husband
94. running into old friends at dinner
95. warmth of a new winter coat
96. a kiss from my husband in the cold night air
97. knowing that even though it will be our last date for a long time, we enjoyed every second of it

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Our Advent Calendar.

Advent Calendar 04 Blog

For years now I have been wanting to make an advent calendar for our kids to enjoy counting down the days to Christmas. This year I decided to make one and I was right, our kids love it.

Each morning they pull the card out of the little brown bag, read it and know that that evening we will be doing something fun together as a family.

This evening we are watching The Christmas Story.

Advent Calendar 02 Blog

I put the calendar in our entry so it is one of the first things that is seen. I love it and am glad I finally took time out of our busy schedule to make a Christmas craft (especially one we will be able to use every year from now on).

I even managed to get a date night for Jerome and I tucked inside one of these little brown bags.

Advent Calendar Blog 01

If you would like to use this idea you can find the numbers and daily cards here , here
and here .

I found the little brown bags at Michael's craft store. I printed the sheet of numbers out and used a Martha Stewart scalloped punch that I already had and then glued the numbers onto the bags (I need to buy another set of bags still). Then I pinned the little brown bags to the ribbon with tiny clothespins. I cut out the daily cards and tucked them inside each little brown bag. I like that I can change this out every year, add new cards to the bags as our kids grow older.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


We woke up early Sunday morning to travel to my parent's church. They were having their Christmas musical program. Our girls had spent the weekend at my parents and enjoyed getting to spend time with their cousins.

The music started and the program began. They had a man in a military uniform, performing, questioning God why his friend was killed in action. He was in the desert, deployed, looking up at the same night sky that the three wise men would have years ago. At first I wanted to leave, so did Spencer who was sitting beside me. But something told me to stay right there in my seat.

Through the music performance there were a few things that were said that really hit home.

Keep having faith, because God knows what your future holds....even if you don't. Trust in Him that everything will be alright.

After the program was over we all went to IHOP for breakfast. Then I took the kids to the ice rink to meet my sister Jolena, and go ice skating. Jerome had drill this weekend so I had plenty of time with just me and our kids.

The girls love to skate. If I hadn't already finished up Christmas shopping I think I would have bought them some ice skates and lessons this year for Christmas.

Iceskating 01 blog

Iceskating blog 01

Iceskating 02 blog

Iceskating 03 blog

Iceskating 04 blog

Spencer was on the ice just a few minutes and his foot started hurting again. He has a pulled Achilles tendon that he did last week. So while the girls skated Spencer and I went and played a few games in the arcade. I still think it's pretty funny that I beat him at the shooting game we played four times.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Letters To Santa.

letters to santa 02 blog

We decorated the Christmas tree last night.

Each year the tree fills with ornaments hung a little bit higher.

This particular ornament, the letters to Santa ornament, we have had for years now.

Every year the letters are different.

One Christmas a letter was tucked inside asking Santa if he was real, and to sign on the line because he will really know if it is Santa's signature or not.

That letter was written by Spencer years and years ago.

Another Christmas there were letters asking for a new baby doll, or a barbie car.

letters to santa 01 blog

This year, after tucking our kids in bed, I took a peek at the letters to Santa.

They didn't ask for a new baby doll.

This year the letters were different.

Katie's letters to santa 03

Natalie's letters to santa

I think Katie is still at the point of hoping that her Daddy doesn't have to go.

I think Natalie is at the same place I am. She knows that he has to go, and there is no amount of wishing or hoping that can change it. She has accepted it.

I did get a good laugh out of Natalie's "a non crappy phone", it is her year to get a cell phone for Christmas (the Christmas before starting middle school). Spencer has insisted that she has to start out with a crappy cell phone like he had to. Natalie insists that she is more responsible than Spencer and she has been asking us for a "non crappy cell phone".

Jerome and I have had this little sailor in his cracker jacks ornament since our third year of marriage.

It has always been a favorite ornament.

This year Spencer handed it to Jerome to hang up on the tree, Jerome turned with the ornament, looked at me and said, "You know, we need to find a new ornament like this now....one in a Chief's uniform".

letters to santa 05

Dear Santa,
Please keep my husband safe while he is deployed. Please let the time apart go by quickly. Please help him return home soon.
a proud wife of a wonderful husband who is getting ready to serve his country, again

81. the Christmas tree ornaments being hung only on the top half of the tree by our kids.
82. looking at our Christmas album full of pictures from years past with my family
83. hearing the stories our kids remember from each Christmas
84. watching Jerome and our kids give Molly an early Christmas present, a bone that is almost as big as she is
85. watching Spencer put the star on our tree, standing flat footed and reaching the top just fine
86. Katie reminding me that we need to put the snow on our tree still
87. our girls asking to sleep in the floor near the Christmas tree
88. putting pictures with Santa in frames on our mantel
89. reading our girls letters to Santa
90. tucking our kids in bed

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


I wanted to make this Christmas special since Jerome won't be here next Christmas. But I am having a hard time with knowing the closer Christmas gets the closer his deployment day is as well.

I've been playing Christmas music, trying to enjoy the holiday but I am finding it hard to keep the holiday joy when inside I feel sad and anxious about him having to leave. I am excited about Christmas but I am trying to avoid thinking about the deployment.

I bought two books for myself that so far I am finding encouragement in reading them.

Deployment 01 blog

I need to for now find a different time to read these books though. I like to read at night before going to bed, it has always helped me sleep better. But reading this and having the deployment on my mind before drifting off to sleep doesn't work for me.

I went to the post office last week to ship some pictures from a few last orders I received. While I was there I picked up some flat rate shipping boxes and customs forms so that I will have them on hand at the house when I need them. They take a while to fill out so I plan on filling out a few whenever I can so that I will be able to put a package in the mail every week without the hassle of filling these forms out at the post office and holding up the line there.

Deployment 02 blog

Yesterday evening we went to Spencer's school to order JROTC pictures. Jerome met me there because he was just getting finished at the NOSC. There was a few parents in front of us and we were all instructed to just have a seat and wait until our name was called. We met Spencer's teacher, the Colonel, and Jerome talked with him a good while. He told him why Spencer wasn't at school (pulled Achilles tendon), they talked about how Spencer was in class, and then of course they talked a lot about military. After they finished talking and the Colonel went to greet some other parents who had just walked in the room, Jerome turned to me with this look on his face. A look that told me he had something to tell me that couldn't wait.

He said, "You know how I told you Noah is leaving earlier than me?", I shook my head yes and then he finished saying, "well, as it turns out we are both leaving at the same time." If he hadn't had that " haIve something to tell you that you aren't going to like" look on his face I would have thought that maybe Noah was leaving when Jerome was to leave. But instead Jerome will be leaving when Noah does.

I held my breath for a second because I didn't want to draw attention to our conversation. There were other parents and kids in the room and I had to hold my reaction inside. I know he wanted to tell me, but somewhere else would have been better. I looked over at Natalie as he told us and she dropped her chin down in disappointment, Katie crossed her arms across her chest and looked angry.

All of this counting down and getting ready, now we have less time than we had counted on. But, at least we have him for Christmas.

We have all been dealing with this deployment in different ways. Spencer struggles with it. I try to avoid thinking or talking about it. Natalie only seems to be upset when it comes up in conversation. But Katie, she comes home every day after school and watches soldiers returning home videos over and over. It really makes it hard to not think about it when I am standing in the kitchen fixing dinner and Katie is on the computer with the volume turned up watching the returning home videos. So many of them will make you smile and cry at the same time. This is one she watches ever, single, day.

Katie has asked me several times when her Daddy will be coming home and if they will be in school. She told me she wants him to surprise her at school (just like the kids in the videos she watches over and over).

76. sitting at the table together having dinner as a family
77. encouraging words written in a book
78. our kids being quiet while Jerome was on a military conference call
79. Katie's excitement about wanting Jerome to surprise her at school when he returns home
80. watching my family enjoy a new recipe I tried

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Our Christmas Chalkboard.

Blog 03

Vintage Christmas 04 46

Vintage Christmas 03 46

Sunday we went to the farmer's market from our hometown.

We looked at all the Christmas trees but ended up going home with a sprig of mistletoe and some fresh pine garland.

Jerome hung the mistletoe for me and the kids laugh when we stand under it because we always kiss. Unfortunately it being a fresh mistletoe and our house being warm and cozy, it is already wilting away. I still love having it there anyway.

I knew when I painted the chalkboard on the wall that I wanted to do something like this at Christmas. I had planned to put the "Twas the night before Christmas" story on there but I chose this scripture instead.

Each year we go over this scripture with our kids, they have all almost memorized it.

Blog 01

I love how the fresh pine makes our home smell like Christmas. I just hope the pine garland will last until Christmas!

68. hearing our girls read the chalkboard as they sit and eat their bowl of cereal in the morning
69. the wonderful smell of Christmas in our home
70. the way Christmas feels
71. listening to Christmas music
72. sipping a cup of coffee my husband made for me just right
73. kissing under the mistletoe
74. having Jerome home for Christmas this year
75. planning with our kids to send a Christmas package to someone deployed
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