Thursday, December 31, 2009

Christmas Day

This year our Christmas was once again just the three of us and we had a pretty quiet day of relaxing as a family. We started off the day with Benjamin coming into bed with us and reading the Christmas story out of his Bible. Then we played with his "baby Jesus" set and cuddled. I loved that part because it's so rare that he actually cuddles. It didn't last long, so we got ready and headed downstairs to open presents. Benjamin was so excited when he saw all the presents. He'd been asking to go to Christmas for so long that I don't think he knew what to do with it finally being here. He went right to town on his stocking. Normally we don't let him have a lot of sugar because it makes him super hyper, and well, it's just not good for him, but we decided that for Christmas day we would indulge him. After a day of that, we may never do it again, but he sure enjoyed the candy from his stocking and had to have a little over everything as he opened it. Nothing like candy to make a breakfast of champions. When we finally got to the presents, Benjamin wanted to open them all. It was hard for him to understand that a few of them were actually not for him. He got blocks, trucks, books, a bike, and a few other things as well. He was certainly one happy kid! I love watching him throw his all into things like that. He just gets so excited!

One funny thing...I got a pair of slippers and some fun soft and cozy socks from Matt for Christmas. Benjamin helped daddy shop for me and was pretty excited about the socks. So when he got home from shopping he told me about them. So, I was pretty sure I was getting some socks. When I opened them, the first thing Benjamin said was "my socks." He loves anything soft, and really wanted my socks and slippers. I now have to hide them if I want to know where they are. Silly boy!

The first thing he said when he got to a new treat was "please open it."
yum!!! Gummies on a stick
Tons of trucks!

Showing off the new monster trucks he got from Grandma and Grandpa Anderson
Playing with it all after the presents were opened
Building with the blocks he got from his birth great grandma Dolores and birth grandma Laura

Little Dancer

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Goodies

Christmas baking has been a tradition in my family since I can remember. I have fond memories of taking an extra week off school over the Christmas season just to have time to bake dozens of cookies and candies to give away to neighbors, friends, family, and of course to eat. Since getting married, I have never done quite the variety of baking that we used to do, but I usually do three or four different types of goodies. This year however, I decided I wasn't going to bake anything at all. I have pretty much gone without normal dessert type foods for the past several months and just didn't feel like coming up with low/no sugar cookies for Christmas. But then I went to a mom's night out for my mops group and saw the pretty cookies. The next day I talked to my sister on the phone and she was mixing up a batch of fun traditional Christmas goodies and I got the baking itch bad. So, I will not go so far as to say that my collection of goodies for this year was healthy, but they were (yes were) certainly delicious. Unfortunately I think I may have to make another batch of chocolate covered nut cookies to have on hand this weekend. So, for our goodies, we had chocolate covered coconut macaroons, almond shortbread cookies, and my all time favorite, chocolate covered nut cookies. I wasn't super thrilled with the macaroons. They were a bit to chewy for my taste. But the shortbread and the cookies are definitely going to become traditional Christmas cookies for this little family.

My little chocolate lover had to make sure that none of the chocolate dip got wasted

I found the recipe for the shortbread cookies online and I didn't tweak it much at all, so I won't share the recipe on here, but you can find it here. It's the sugar free spicy star recipe. I did use almond extract instead of allspice though and it was delicious.
But as for the nut cookies, please let me share this yummy and I must say addictive recipe with you.

Chocolate Covered Nut Cookies - adapted from Joy of Cooking's flourless nut balls
1 c. almonds, chopped super fine in a food processor
1/2 c pecans, also chopped super fine. You can do both nuts at the same time.
2 egg whites beaten well
1 1/2 t. butter, melted
2 T palm sugar, or you can just use regular brown sugar if you like.

Mix all ingredients together and stir over medium heat just until warm. Use a teaspoon to measure out the dough into balls. A level teaspoon is just the right size as you don't want them to be too big. Place the balls on a well greased cookie sheet and flatten slightly. Bake at 325 for about 25 minutes or until browned on the tops and sides. Cool completely. Makes about 40 cookies

For the dip:
Combine 1/2 T butter, 1/2 T coconut oil, 1 1/2 squares unsweetened bakers chocolate, and 1/2 to 1 T honey in a glass dish and melt it all together. We like a very dark chocolate flavor, so 1/2 T was enough for us, but taste it and see what you need. Dip one half of each cookie in your chocolate dip and place it on wax paper. Place cookie sheet in the freezer to harden the chocolate and the store cookies in a cool place. I love them straight out of the freezer. Happy Christmas baking!!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Do What I Say, Not What I Do...

Benjamin at the table with his mouth stuffed with bread: "I want a banana. I want somethin' else. I want a banana. I want a banana. I want somethin' else."

Mommy, whose had a crazy stressful* afternoon and just wants some silence: "Don't talk with your mouth full."

Mommy starts laughing and nearly chokes on the huge mouthful of salad she put into her mouth right before she told Benjamin not to talk with his mouth full. Daddy realizes what Mommy has done and laughs too, causing Benjamin to think he's done something amazing, so he laughs hysterically.

*Crazy afternoon includes finding Benjamin, who I thought was playing so well outside, sitting on the back patio with the contents of my purse spread out around him. Pink lipstick smears covered the contents of my purse, mixed in with hand sanitizer and lotion. Lovely!

Benjamin Funnies

Matt decided to give me one of my Christmas gifts early this year since he couldn't figure out how to explain having a gallon of apple cider in the fridge. He gave me a tin of mulling spices from Williams-Sonoma. Mmmmmm. So Matt and Benjamin were at the store getting the cider and Benjamin heard Matt asking where the cider was. For the rest of the day he requested apple spider. And last night when he finally got his first taste, he would not be corrected. He was drinking some good apple spider.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Time to Decorate the Tree

This was the first year that Benjamin was old enough to help with the tree set-up and decoration. I love watching his excitement over things that are new to him. It was getting late by the time we got the tree put together and the lights on, so he ended up having to go to bed before it was all done. But when he came downstairs the next morning he was super excited about all the decorations.

He decided that the tree needed just a little something more and that a bright red shirt was just that something
Admiring the decor

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Benjamin Funnies

The other night we were brushing Benjamin's teeth and getting a little silly. I recently bought him some new toothbrushes that had suction cups on the bottom, so Matt decided to stick it to his forehead. Benjamin thought that was hilarious and wanted it on his forehead. Crazy boys!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

To Grandmother's House We Go

After spending a couple of days in Ohio, we packed up again and headed back to Indiana to stay with Matt's parents for a couple of days. Benjamin did really well with all the travel despite the crazy schedule and long car rides. He rode in the back of my in-law's vehicle and was insistent that we include him in all the conversation. If we were having a conversation that he didn't feel included in, he would yell up "do you hear me?" He also made sure to point out every McDonalds that he saw and let us know that he wanted french fries. Grandpa decided he wanted to get Benjamin some french fries on the way home, so we stopped and when we got inside McD's, Benjamin decided his craving had changed to hamburgers and ice cream. Silly kid. Once he got the french fries though, he was perfectly happy not to have the burgers and ice cream.
Grandma taught him the silent yell on the way home from Ohio. He did it for about a minute, then decided it didn't get the desired sound he wanted, so he went back to regular yelling.
Hanging out with Grandma

Trying on a silly hat found in Grandpa and Grandma's basement

Friday, December 18, 2009

My New Little Nieces

While we were in Ohio visiting Matt's sister, we also got to meet my new nieces Emma and Addison as well as attend their baptism. They are such sweeties and have cheeks that I could just munch right up. It was so fun to finally meet them!

Worn out and sleeping peacefully

Thursday, December 17, 2009

An Early Christmas for Benjamin

For the past three weeks or so Benjamin has been asking to "go to Christmas." He still doesn't quite understand the concept of Christmas being a day of the year, but thinks it's a special place to go, kind of like the water park, or grandpa and grandma's house. Perhaps that's because his first gifts this year came while we were at a hotel in Ohio visiting Matt's sister Christa. Since we were away at a hotel and kind of "went" to his presents, perhaps he's a little confused. But boy did she pick some good stuff! He is in love with anything that moves on wheels, tracks, or in the air, so a garage with ramps and lifts and cars was just his thing. He's spent many hours playing with them since we got home. Thanks Christa!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Water Fun!

While we were gone for Thanksgiving, we went to Ohio to see Matt's sister Christa and meet her twin girls who were born over the summer. We stayed in a great hotel that had a mini water park in their pool area. Benjamin loved it!!
Checking out the big slide!

Giving the big slide a try and loving it!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Bowling Fun

What should one do when the belly is full of turkey, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, rolls, and pie? Why, go bowling of course!!! Well, at least, this is what the majority of us Anderson (Davis and Agapie) kids did on Thanksgiving night. We loaded up in the big red van and headed to a nearly empty bowling alley and had so much fun!
Believe it or not, Benjamin was actually thrilled to get to go
Look at all those balls!
A little bored, poor guy!

Monday, December 14, 2009

A Family Thanksgiving

What a blessing it was to be home for Thanksgiving this year and to have my sister and her husband and their son, as well as my grandma there as well. I've always kind of taken for granted having all of my family together around some holiday, but I think as we all sat around the table together, it hit me that my siblings are getting older and it won't be many years before some of them may be married or have jobs that take them to other parts of the country, so I was reminded to be thankful for this year of having us all together.

Pretty happy about the pie!
You're supposed to eat pie with a fork???

Sunday, December 13, 2009

What Else Could He Want?

I believe this is Benjamin's favorite part about Grandpa and Grandma Anderson's house. He and my brother John have such a good time with all the cars.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

More Stephen

Just can't get enough of this little guy!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Family Additions Take Center Stage

Two years ago when we went home for Christmas, Benjamin was in just about every picture. He was the newest and the littlest, and, well, the cutest. This year his position as youngest was usurped by my sweet little nephew Stephen. Benjamin didn't seem to mind at all and loves his little cousin. I just think Stephen is cute enough to eat right up!
Love this face!
The best family picture we've had in years!

Benjamin loving on "his Stephen"