Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Merry Christmas, Y'all

Christmas in our family lasts several days and involves some travel and lots of family. We spent time in Aledo with the Walkers, having a traditional Christmas dinner before opening gifts with Grandma Noi, the cousins, aunts, and uncles.

We came home and opened a couple of gifts from mommy and daddy before we all headed to bed. Santa visited and left way too much but the kids enjoyed it all.

Sophie's big gift was a tricycle.

Logan's big gift was a camera, charged and all ready to go.

When Logan came into the great room and saw all the gifts set out, his first thought (and accusation) was that I had opened a bunch of presents that had been under the tree. When I pointed out that they were still there unopened under the tree, he lit up and said "Santa!"

The family gift from Santa...a Wii system and games for everyone.

Santa just doesn't know when to stop!

Sisters in their new PJ's!

Uncle Paul helping Kalyn with her manicure.

The cousins dancing with the Wii.

Liz and Levi joined us the day after Christmas for brunch. We had more fun with the Wii and playing with all the new toys.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Meal Plan December 26

I haven't posted my menus in about a month but I've been keeping up (although no pictures). Here's some of the meals we've had in the past 3 weeks:

  1. Baked fish and veggies

  2. Baked chicken, rice, and veggies

  3. Tacos

  4. Spinach Lasagna Rolls

  5. Sausage with mac & cheese

  6. Crockpot lasagna

We've also had a few parties, some family dinners, dinner out, plus pizza delivery. We also had this but unfortunately, I can't find the menu paper so I don't know what it was.

This week's plan is much the same as the last few weeks because I'm trying to clear out the pantry and I'm just not ready to have to think about recipes too much. We're also have plans to go out a couple of nights. I'll start working on the menus and recipes with the new year.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

East Texas Tree Farm

One of our Advent Activities was to visit a tree farm. We don't use live trees in our home but I still wanted the kids to get the experience. Of course, there's not a tree farm close so we found one near my sister. The place was amazing. The owner didn't charge us for any of the activities since we bought a couple of wreaths. She had a play area with huge tires to climb and swings. There were 2 different scavenger hunts set up. One where you found letters or numbers that she'd place or various trees and buildings on the property. The other was a little more complex. There was a starting point with a clue that lead to the next location. Each clue led you farther into the woods and over a small stream. Logan and Matthew loved doing the scavenger hunt (and got a candy cane at the end).

There was tractor drawn train that took you into the tree area. We let the kids run all through the trees finding the really big ones.

Logan noticed right away that the trees smelled good.

Maw Susan and the grands.

Me and my kiddos under the tree!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Mini Holiday Vacation

We set aside part of our vacation budget so that we could spend a night at a local hotel during the holidays. We've taken Sophie to the Gaylord Texan before but this is the first time we have gone during Christmas. We found it fitting that a year ago we were also spending time in hotels.

Enjoying a meal in the restaurant by the river. We had lunch here the first day and breakfast the next morning. We tried dinner too but the wait was way too long. We ended up getting sandwiches from the hotel deli and eating in our room. It actually turned out to be a great idea. The kids were tired from all the activities anyway so having to behave themselves at the restaurant would have just frustrated all of us. We got several different things and just shared (with Sophie eating most of my chicken salad).

We only stayed one night but we were able to check in early. We had lunch, did some activities, put the kids down for a nap, then back up for more exploring. Sophie had her nap in a crib, but wanted to sleep in the big bed that night. All was well until just before we got up. I heard both kids starting to stir, then I hear a loud thud and knew Sophie had rolled herself right off the bed. She had a red mark where she hit the nightstand on the way down.

Hanging out on the balcony watching all the people and lights.

Trying to decide if the longhorn was real or pretend.

A real gingerbread house.

Trying to get 2 kids to look at the camera at the same time...

The hotel was all about Shrek this year. Logan had gotten all the movies for his birthday the week before and we had watched them all in anticipation of the trip. They were so excited when Shrek came out.

The hotel flies in 40 ice sculptors from China each year to create these amazing displays. They even had an ice slide. Sophie claims this as her favorite thing from the vacation.

Getting to sit in Shrek's ice outhouse.

It was very crowded in the display area and Sophie doesn't really like crowds so she was held through most of it.

Being silly waiting to go in.

As part of the fun, they had snow tubing. Sophie was too little but Logan was able to go with one of us. He enjoyed every second!

Posing with Po, Kung Fu Panda.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Happy 65th Birthday Paw Briggs

We celebrated Paw Paw Briggs birthday over Thanksgiving. My sister Liz had suggested we each come up with 65 things to give him, eg. 65 cotton balls because he's going soft. Throughout dinner we would give him our wrapped birthday presents and let him open them. We each had something for him, plus something from each of the other daughters.

Here's Sophie giving him the Hershey's kisses from Matthew and Kalyn (who couldn't be at dinner).

Kelly gave hime marbles because he's losing his.

I took 65 cards from several decks and gave them to him, saying he's got 2 cards but still not playing with a full deck.

Sophie gave him a box with 65 diapers, because he's full of IT.

Here's 65 peanuts, because he's just nutty.

We also had 65 screws because he has a screw loose.

My sister Monica put together 65 memories of him. I think Liz had the best idea (although I don't think she could bring herself to actual do it). She thought about getting 65 pairs of panties because he's old and crotchety. That one makes me laugh everytime!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Meal Plan November 21

Things have been extremely busy here in the Walker house...so busy that I am behind on the meal plans. I have tried to plan ahead, but between visiting my sister and being sick, we've eaten out (or brought in) a lot. Here's what we've had the last couple of weeks.

Monday: Chicken Enchilada Casserole
This recipe wasn't great. First, it didn't specify exactly what to do with the tortillas. If I were to make it again, I'd cut the tortilla into bite size pieces. It ended up being very "juicy" so we used tortilla chips to scoop it up. I did make 2 of them so will be having it again. Who knows it might turn out a little differently after being frozen.

Tuesday: Pork Tenderloin
I made 2 of these and froze one for later. We all really liked this. The kids especially loved the bacon wrapped around the tenderloin. Paul was sad to find out there wasn't any leftovers.

Wednesday: Mexican Meatloaf and Fried Chicken
I went out-of-town so I left the meatloaf for Paul (it was frozen from a couple of weeks ago). I picked up fried chicken on the way to my sister's for us and the kids.

Thursday: Taco Bell

I didn't get home in time to fix anything so Paul picked up tacos and quesodillas for us.

Friday: Simple Salmon Supper
This was pretty good. It came from the Kraft magazine. Even the kids and I ate the veggies.

Saturday: Bean Soup with Sausage
This was a package my mom had gotten. You added the broth and fresh vegetables and let it cook in the slow cooker. I was surprised the kids didn't enjoy it more since they love soup. It did make enough leftovers so I have those frozen for later.

Sunday: Make Ahead Chicken and Green Bean Casserole
This also came from the Kraft magazine. It used fresh green beans, which I'd never done before, but we all liked it.

Monday: Hot Dogs
I didn't get to the store so I decided to just use what we had in the fridge.

Tuesday: Tacos
This is one of my fall-back meals...meaning I usually have the ingredients on hand to make it when I haven't planned something else.

Wednesday: Sessler Salads
Poor Paul, today is his birthday and he doesn't even get a special meal. But we all loved the Asian salad Julie made. And I did pick up his favorite fruit torte from Le Madeline.

Thursday: Chick-Fil-A
I wasn't feeling very well so I just picked up chicken nuggets and sandwhiches when I went to get more medicine.

Friday: Spring Creek Barbecue

Saturday: International House of Pancakes

The kids were at the grandma's so Paul and I went to IHOP for dinner.

I did try a new recipe for a flan cake from one of my co-workers. It was so good when she made it. Unfortunately, mine didn't turn at so well.

It wasn't pretty but that didn't stop us from eating it. It may have been messy, but it still tasted great!

This week looks to be busy again plus it's Thanksgiving. We will have family meals on both Thursday and Friday. Paul's mom always makes an extra turkey so we'll have leftovers for the weekend. For the first part of the week my plan is to have one of the frozen meals from earlier (pork tenerloin perhaps), pasta with chicken and sauce, and tortilla soup (from a Homemade Gourmet mix). You can check out more menus here at Organizing Junkie.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Happy Birthday Dad Paul

The kids picked out their own gifts for Paul's birthday. I had asked Logan what he wanted to give him. Paul had just taken him to Wal-mart to pick out a toy (Batman Car), so of course, Logan said he wanted to get Daddy a batman car too. Logan has a very limited understanding of birthdays and gifts so I think it's great that he understood not only what he and Paul had done but how it related to gift-giving.

At the store, Logan actually chose the Batman and Superman figures that would fit in the car he had gotten. Now they could all play together.

When we walked into the store I asked Sophie what she wanted to get Daddy. She did her thinking face (finger in the side of her face, saying "hmm") and then said "Snowman". I looked around, sure she had seen a snowman that prompted that response. All I saw was a huge blue snowflake hanging from the ceiling. As we walked through the store, we passed a singing snowman doing Jingle Bell Rock. That's what she wanted. I'm not sure how impressed Paul was, but I know it's a big deal that Sophie thought of something all on her own.

They have played that silly singing snowman way too much...Logan can already sing it and recognizes the song when he hears it on the radio. (Yes, Christmas music is on!)

In addition to Asian Salad for dinner, we also had Paul's favorite fruit tart from Le Madeline.