Monday, December 15, 2014

Homemade Christmas Ornaments

Our Christmas tree growing up was full of handmade ornaments from my brothers and myself as well as the assorted collection of ornaments we received each year in our stocking. The tree in our home now holds my collection of ornaments, Nate's ornaments and ornaments that we have collected together.  BG gets a new ornament every year in his stocking that Nate picks out and BG and I make one together as well.  I've made it a tradition to give our parents and backdoor neighbors the handmade ornament from BG as part of our gift to them.

For his first Christmas in 2012 he was just a few weeks old so I decided to make salt dough ornaments.  The dough was a simple mixture of salt, flour and water that I cut out with my biscuit cutters, pressed his hands and feet into (he was so tiny!) and then poked the edges all the way around with a toothpick for a little extra flair.  After baking for hours at a very low temp I was able to write his name and the date on the back before giving them to our parents/neighbors.


Last year we made cinnamon applesauce ornaments.  These not only look cute but they smell divine for years on our Christmas trees!  The recipe that I used is the same one that we used when I was in fourth grade. I can still remember mixing bowl after bowl with Mr. S and then smelling them as they laid to dry all around our classroom.  I continued that tradition each year with my own students and I always looked forward to the natural seasonal scent that it gave our classroom for the month of December!  When I made these with BG I was able to bake them slowly since there were just a few versus an entire classes worth. Once they cooled I just traced it with red puffy paint for a little extra pizazz! The back has his name and the date as well.
This year I was torn between two designs - I guess I know what we'll do next year! I already had clear ornaments and I knew that it may be the last year that he would let me be in charge of the painting.  While my mom was here I had her help by painting his entire hand white and then printed each of the clear bulbs.  I had seen the idea before several times but always on a colored bulb so I worried these may not turn out as boldly in the end.  Thankfully, once I added the colorful scarves, faces and hats I realized the clear bulbs worked just fine!  His little hand is just so precious to me and I love that we have commemorated it again this year.  I added his initials and the date on the palm of his handprint as well.  I hope the recipients love them as much as I do!
Now to get some more bulbs at the end of the season so we're ready for 2015's ornament!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Saint Nick

When Nate was young his family celebrated Saint Nicholas' Day which is December 6th.  BG was born on Saint Nick's day so it's already overload for presents but Nate really wanted to celebrate in this way as well. 
It's boy boy boy around here these trucks trucks and more trucks from good ol' Saint Nick!

BG running for his shoes in the morning sporting jammies that Faith made for him.
It was such a simple treat and nothing makes us happier than seeing our sweet boy happy!!!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

THE Cake

This year for BG's birthday I knew that I wanted to make a very special cake for him.  Last year he wouldn't touch his cake but this year I knew his sweet tooth would take over no matter what it looked like.  Nate and I talked about many many designs that we thought fit BG's likes these days and ultimately ended up choosing a construction site theme. 
I made a classic double layered chocolate cake because our boy loves him some chocolate! I carved out one side of it to create a ravine then frosted the whole cake.  After the frosting set I took the excess carved cake and pulsed it in the food processor to create "dirt" crumbs for the hill.  My mom found chocolate rocks at a grocery store in Cincinnati and they were the perfect addition to the cake. 
Just before the party Nate helped me place the construction site trucks perfectly around the cake and created the perfect little rock pile for the bulldozer to push.

Sunday, December 7, 2014


We had a wonderful time celebrating BG's second birthday this weekend.  I'm not quite sure where the time has gone but POOF just like that he turned two.  We kept things simple just like last year and had our neighbors over for dinner and dessert on his actual birthday.  We were "this" close to having a big party with all of his friends from playgroup, etc. but in the end we just thought BG might love a quiet dinner with his neighbor buddies just as much.  He thinks the two boys that live on either side of us hung the moon, so whenever they're around he's thrilled!  Nate's parents and my mom were here to celebrate as well so we had a looooong packed table full o' love for our sweet boy.

We had dinner catered from BG's favorite BBQ place just like last year.  It's so nice to not have to cook and really focus on celebrating this sweet boy with our neighbors.  Plus, he eats it like a champ so no need to worry about him filling his tummy with all of the distractions! He ate off of his red plate that our neighbors gave him for his first birthday.  I had never heard of this plate before but I can already tell it's going to be a special piece in our house!
A little playtime before dessert did all three boys some good!
We're so lucky to be his parents...

Monday, December 1, 2014

Ho! Ho! Ho!

We took BG to see the man in red today. He wore an outfit that Nate bought for him. He was so excited and kept saying "Santa!" over and over.

When it came time for his turn he immediately blushed and fell silent as Santa asked for a hug. He then sat on his lap and didn't stop blabbing about "ki-kiss-mas tees" and "no-crackers" except to smile for a picture.
We just love our sweet baby boy...even if he is getting older against our best attempts to freeze time!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

O Christmas Tree

Did you know that the state of North Carolina produces the majority of Fraser Fir trees in the US? I just found that out last year!

We both grew up cutting down our trees each year and we even did it when we lived in Ann Arbor. So naturally Nate has been wanting to go up to the mountains for a fresh cut tree since we moved here and we just never made the time for it. Well, we finally got to do it this year! 

We left once BG woke up armed with lots of treats and books for our little guy and coffee treats and my Christmas cd collection. It takes about two hours - easy and quick day trip!

We arrived to a snow covered Blowing Rock and it was simply perfect. There are so many different farms to choose from but we got the inside scoop ahead of time from our friend Allie on where to go. Appalachian Evergreens was quaint and just what we'd hoped it would be! 

(He had fun, I swear!)

We found the tree!

BG loved walking through the snowy fields - minus a few snow-eating face plants! Ha!

The views were spectacular! Can't wait to go back again next year!

Our next stop was another recommendation from Allie. Woodman's BBQ is a staple in the Blowing Rock area but apparently it's also known for long wait times on busy days. We only had to wait about a half an hour thankfully! 

Come to mama!!! Chopped pork, coleslaw, baked beans, fried okra and BGs beloved hush puppies! Everything was delicious!

BG barely spoke to us during lunch. He was either shoveling food in his mouth or flirting with the little girls behind us. I'd call that a success!!!

We hit the road right after lunch and were back home before sunset. Now to adorn our beautiful tree (it's drying off in its stand from the snow right now!) and the rest of the house before we start entertaining for the holidays!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014

Our Thanksgiving was wonderful this year. Although we had an oven malfunction causing an undercooked bird (thankfully we only needed the drippings for gravy and not to actually serve guests for turkey day!) we saved it by finally just grilling it (at 2 in the morning!!! Can you say patient husband??)

We have spent the actual day of Thanksgiving with family friends like we have now for years. They all fawn over BG and we just love the feeling of "home" that instantly happens when we arrive even though it's only a 30 minute drive versus 8 hours!! This year they got out all of the toys that our friends (now in their forties) once played with and BG basically didn't want to leave. Ha!

 I hope that you had a delicious and relaxing day with those you hold dear!

Monday, November 24, 2014

A Weekend Away

Friday morning at 4:30 AM we left on the first flight out of town for Ann Arbor. BG is a seasoned traveler so as long as we have plenty of snacks he's usually a happy camper. 
Our layover was in O'Hare and boy do I love that place now. I used to dread flying through there but now that we've found their indoor playground it's probably my favorite place to have a layover! BG had so much fun flying planes, helicopters and running up and down the ramps throughout the place. 

Once we got to A2 (as the locals refer to it since AA would have a different meaning to most) we went straight to the hotel for naptime. We had dinner plans that night at Zingerman's Roadhouse with one of my very favorite people in the world!! BG waited patiently for his beloved, Cora Rose, to arrive. 

Laura and I went to high school together and bonded quickly over theatre and mission trips. We only see each other once or twice a year but we all fall right into place with each other. 

Trying to take a picture with two wild children is always an adventure...

Saturday morning was SO cold and the rental car was covered in ice so BG got to "drive" while the car heated up and Nate could get some of the ice to break up on it's own.  

We took BG to Washtenaw Dairy for donuts and milk. Definitely worth the trek in the icy cold air. 

Next on the list was visiting our old home-away-from-home, the Ross School of Business. BG ran all over the place and had a blast. We stopped by my old office and then he got to use the classroom whiteboards for awhile. We both miss the days of grad was stressful for Nate and I still can't believe the Dean's listened to a word I said, but we have some of the dearest friendships and sweetest memories because of it. 

Nate was putting change in our parking meter and BG was spent. Here he is laying down with a fabulous horse exhibit in the B-school. 

After lunch and a nap BG rallied in his gameday gear for the football game. 

The score wasn't in our favor but we still had a blast at the last home game. BG loved looking out our level at all of the buses and emergency vehicles that surround The Big House on gameday. 

Since we are season ticket holders/donors we were invited (with a million other people - ha!) to come on the field after the game. Just as we were wrapping up a crazy cold rainstorm opened up on all of us...

We were crazy people and decided to join Nate's bff's dad for the hockey game right after the football game. He has amazing rink-side seats and we knew BG would be captivated. The band was right above us so we spent quite a bit of time walking because between his exhaustion and the loud noises (and the hockey players ramming the glass in front of us!!!) he was a bit antsy. 

It was already late so we thought why not get chocolate malts! Crazy! BG sat on a bar stool and chatted away with the college kids while we waited. I'm sure they all thought we were old-weirdo's but they couldn't get enough of mister "less-go-boo!"

This is how he looked the whole way home Sunday. Dizzhausted!!!!

We had such a blast...Ann Arbor is for lovers!!!! 😍