11.24.2009

Monkey Bread

This Monkey Bread recipe is one that my Grammy used to make for us when we were visiting her. Growing up, we spent Thanksgiving with her & she would always make us this monkey bread for breakfast.

It is SO good and SO easy!

I started making it for Kevin & I a few years ago & now Kate likes to help me make it. I make a yummy breakfast every Saturday & this monkey bread makes the rotation at least once a month! It is also great for Thanksgiving Day breakfast, Christmas morning or a shower/brunch!
Here is what you need:
The ingredients:4 packages of Pillsbury Buttermilk Biscuits
1/3 cup sugar2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon, divided1 cup brown sugar1 stick butter1 T of Karo Syrup(*if you don't have Karo Syrup you can leave it out*)

In a saucepan, melt 1 cup brown sugar, 1 stick of butter, 1 t of cinnamon & 1 T of Karo syrup on low, stirring every minute or so.While your sauce heating, cut your biscuits in half with kitchen scissors
(I love kitchen scissors!)
Place the cut up biscuits into the ziplock, add 1/3 cup white sugar & 1 t of cinnamon into a large ziplock bag.
Shake the bag & make sure your biscuit pieces are nice & coated!

Keep stirring your brown sugar mixture until it is all melted:
Put the coated biscuits into a Bundt pan (I spray mine with Pam) & drizzle butter/brown sugar mixture over the top of biscuits.Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes until nice & golden.
Let cool in bundt pan for 10 minutes. Then, flip it onto a plate!
Mmmmm....look at the yummy-ness!To eat, just pull apart pieces of the monkey bread & enjoy the gooey-goodness!
Now, go to the store so you can make some of your own monkey bread!
Your family will thank me!

11.20.2009

Welcome to our Crib{s}

Would you like a little tour of the girl's bedrooms?
Because this weekend, Kate's room is going through a big change.

Kate is getting finally getting a big girl bed!

Yes, that's right. She is STILL in a crib.
And, yes, she will be 3 years old in 2 months.

Kevin and I had every intention on moving her to a big girl bed LAST fall after Claire was born. Right before Claire was born we even bought Kate a new bedroom set complete with a twin bed. Our thought was to switch her into a big girl bed last Christmas & give Claire her old crib. We knew that Claire would be sleeping in a bassinet in our room, so we thought Christmas would be a good time to put Kate in a big girl bed & move Claire to the crib.

Well, my wonderful mom knocked some sense into me a few weeks after Claire was born & I was stressing about moving Kate into a bed & giving her "freedom". At that time, Kate was napping 2 hours a day & slept 12 hours a night. She didn't climb out of the crib & loved her crib. My mom told me that I should keep Kate in her crib AS LONG AS POSSIBLE. She offered to buy us another crib for Claire so that Kate could stay in hers. Of course I said yes!

So, we kept Kate's big girl bed in the box & have been storing it in my parent's garage. Our current plan was to either give Kate the big girl bed THIS Christmas OR for her 3rd birthday in January.

Those plans ALL changed this week because:
1. Kate climbed (and then) fell out of her crib during nap time because she doesn't want to nap anymore.
2. Kate cried for 1 hour on Monday night at bedtime because she didn't want to sleep in her crib & kept saying she wants "A big girl bed"
3.
She wakes up in the morning screaming at the top of her lungs,
"Get me out of this crib, I want a big girl bed!!!!"
4. Kate won't stop talking about wanting a big girl bed.

Kevin and I agreed that we can't wait another month for to give it to her for Christmas & that this weekend we will set up her new bed. I will be off all next week for Thanksgiving Break, so it is a good time to transition her since I am ASSUMING we will have some sleepless nights as Kate gains freedom!

So, here is what Kate's room looks like now:

These ceilings were SUCH a pain to paint! When we first bought the house, we knew this room would eventually be a nursery, so we painted the walls a buttery yellow color so that they would work for a boy or a girl. We didn't find out what we were having with either pregnancy, but I didn't want a neutral nursery. So, we bought white furniture & then I bought a boy crib set & a girl crib set. I knew if I had a girl I wanted the room to have pink accessories. (Pink is my favorite color).
So, after Kate was born, the room became girly & pink!


The tricky part is going to figure out where to put her bed.
Do we put it where the crib is?
Or, do we move around some furniture & put it against the other wall?
The room has a weird wall cut-out, so I am not sure what will look best.
Here is Claire's room. The layout & room dimensions are identical to Kate's, just flip-flopped.
It was the guest room before it became her room.
Before, as the guest room:
Photobucket
And, after as Claire's room!
Again, we didn't find out what we were having, so I waited until she was born to convert the guest room to her room.
I bought the bedding (brand new) on ebay from a woman who was told she was having a girl at 20 weeks, but then at 30 weeks they found out it was a boy! doh! Needless to say, she didn't have a need for pink & brown polka dot bedding.
I got the name letters at Babies R Us & they matched the bedding perfectly even though they are a totally different brand!
I love this canvas. It was originally for Kate's bedroom, but I never hung it up & it matched Claire's room perfectly!
We kept the wall color the same as it was when it was the guest room, it is a tan color & goes great with the pink, brown & tan bedding.
So, there is a sneak peak at the girls rooms.
I will post pictures of Kate's big girl room next week.
And, if anyone has any advice on transitioning a kid from the crib to a bed would be MUCH appreciated!

11.13.2009

Give Water.

Last December, I posted THIS a few weeks before Christmas.


Here is the video from last year:


Here is this year's video:



So, how can you change your Christmas traditions & be a part of the Advent Conspiracy?

Here are awesome organizations that we support :

Heifer Project (donate an animal to give a family a source of food for a year. A few years ago, one of my students donated a goat in my name.
Best Christmas present from a student. EVER.

Compassion International - sponsor a kid for $38 a month to give them food, shelter, education, health care and the opportunity to learn about Jesus in a neighborhood church program.

Adopt a Family,
Feed the homeless,
Donate cans to a Food Bank.
Do something.

There are so many things we can do this holiday season and beyond to help those who are less fortunate than ourselves.

Last year, Kevin and I learned about an organization called charity:water
This is a non profit organization bringing clean, safe drinking water to people in developing nations. It gives 100% of the money raised to direct project costs, funding sustainable clean water solutions in areas of greatest need.
One of the campaigns they started is called WATER FOR CHRISTMAS
$10 can give 1 person clean water for 10 years.
They encouraged people to give $10 every Friday in December.
Give water for Christmas. Save Lives.
This year, they are doing a campaign today, November 13th, called FIRST GIFT.
Clean water. One day. $10.
Asking everyone to let this be their first gift this Christmas season.
Let water, let life be YOUR first gift of the season.

What is $10 to you?
2 trips to Starbucks?
A lip gloss?
A pair of slippers?

$10 is nothing to some of us!
We don't even bat an eye at spending $10.

But, $10 to someone in Africa means CLEAN WATER for TEN YEARS.
4500 people die each day for lack of clean water.

This year, Kevin and I are giving each adult in our family a $10 donation of water in their name for Christmas.
We are giving them something that matters.
Something that will make difference.
Spend Less. Give More. Water for CHRISTmas.
You can change help change the world with the gift of water.
Click here to donate your FIRST GIFT.
Link
Edited on 11/16 to add:
In 24 hours, First Gift raised over $10,000.
That is clean water for 1,000 people for 10 years. Awesome.
And, yes you can still donate to Water for Christmas this holiday season!

11.10.2009

10 on 10 :: November 2009

Ten on Ten: Take a photo once an hour for ten consecutive hours on the tenth of each month. Document a snapshot of your life and find beauty among the ordinary things of your day!

Here is my 10 on 10 for November 2009!
Claire was a happy girl this morning, despite the 3 new teeth that are coming in (2 molars & another bottom tooth):
Kate wasn't quite ready to wake up:
Ready to go to school with my new {pink} Coffee Bean travel mug that I got this weekend:
Claire with her Bear at 14 months. I can't believe I forgot to take this yesterday on her actual 14th month birthday!
(To see Claire with her Bear from the past year, click HERE)
Kate has been refusing to nap all week (no!!!!!) so she had some quiet time on our bed watching Sesame Street (Michelle Obama was on today's episode!)
LOVE Kate's green eyes!
Kate picked out her own shoes & socks today.....
View from my parent's front yard, only one fall colored tree. I am waiting patiently for the colors to change!!!!
Want to know how to get an almost 3 year old to cooperate with you at Trader Joe's?
Get them a balloon & an apple juice!
We made pumpkin bread tonight! YUM!
And, here is my mom's vintage 1967 Singer sewing machine that I borrowed today. I am going to "attempt" to learn how to sew. Wish me luck. My first project is going to be THIS. I am scared!
Join in the 10 on 10 fun next month!

11.09.2009

Vegas!

20 years ago when I was 10 years old and in the 5th grade, a family moved next door & their realtor told my parents that they had 3 girls that were similar ages to me & my sisters. The weekend they moved in (September 1989) my sisters and I knocked on their door to introduce ourselves to our new neighbors. Lucky for me, the oldest girl was my age! We immediately became the best of friends & hung out everyday. And, I was especially happy to have someone to walk to & from school with!
(Me & AK at a summer camp in middle school. Aren't our fanny packs AWESOME?)
Over the years, Anna-Karin (also known as AK) and I were inseparable. We were BFF's. Best Friends Forever! You want proof? Here is a Best Friend Pact we made when we were in 7th grade.
(click to enlarge & read. It is pretty funny)

I was so lucky having my best friend live next door. I always had someone to hang out with after school. We had countless sleepovers, play cards & games all day and have competitions to see who could read books fastest. I liked sleeping over at her house because she they had crushed ice and tubs of Red Vines. She liked sleeping over at my house because my mom let us sleep in (her mom wouldn't let us sleep past 8am....brutal!)

Not only was I lucky to have AK live next door to me, but I was even luckier when we both decided on the same college! I got a soccer scholarship to the University of Colorado. AK went there also because she loved skiing & her dad lived in Colorado so she got in-state tuition! We decided not to be roommates our freshman year because we wanted to be able to meet new people. We chose to live in the same dorm & we were thrilled when the room assignments came out. My dorm room was directly below her dorm room & we had the same RA!

AK and I have been so lucky to share so many life events together. We both married people from our hometowns & we got married within 2 months of each other (and of course we were bridesmaids in eachother's weddings) We experienced miscarriages within weeks of eachother. We have gotten to be pregnant together, twice! She had her 1st son, Will 4 months before I had Kate. With our 2nd kids, we had the same due date! I had Claire on September 9th & she had Connor on September 12th! We have already decided that her boys will marry my girls so we can be in-laws. AK & her family live in Colorado (she never moved back after college), but I am grateful that we still get to see them several times a year when they visit family (and us!) in California.

Last week was AK's 30th birthday, and her husband organized a trip to Vegas for us to celebrate her birthday. We had a great time, here are some pictures of our trip:

Friday night, champagne toast in our hotel. AK & her husband Greg:
AK & I:
Kevin and I at the Bellagio water show:
This is the closest I have been to France.
(the eiffel tower at the Paris Paris Hotel)
In the limo that Johnny got us...he is over the top...ALWAYS!
On Saturday we walked around the strip & walked through some of the hotels. We stopped in the Veneitian Hotel for Coffee Bean, my favorite!!
Greg, AK, Kevin & I in front of the canal at the Venetian.
The closest I have been to Venice. *sigh*
View of Las Vegas Blvd during the day:
In the afternoon, the guys went to the roller coaster at the Stratosphere:
While they were on that, AK, Erika and I stayed on the strip & went shopping. As we were walking back to the hotel, guess who we ran into?

.
.
.
.
That's right people.
The one and only JERRY SPRINGER.
Of course, I love stars (even D List stars. haha!), and I told AK we HAD to get our picture with him, and he let us!
He was surprisingly very nice! He was in Vegas because he was taping America's Got Talent at the Planet Hollywood Hotel.
After our encounter with Jerry, we met the guys back at New York, New York to go on the roller coaster there! It was SO much fun. I LOVE roller coasters!
Here is a fun picture of the roller coaster that I took as we were crossing the street:
Then it was time to get ready for dinner & then go to a Cirque de Solie show!
It was fun getting all dressed up!
Me & Kev:
Really Blurry picture that a stranger took of us. oh well!
Johnny had some of the cast members from the show take a picture with AK & I since it was her birthday!
We had a fun time in Vegas, and were there for less than 48 hours! It was a whirlwind trip, but we had a great time!
Happy 30th Birthday AK! I am so glad we got to help you celebrate. Thank you for being such an amazing friend to me for the past 20 years. I am blessed to have you in my life! Just move back to California, please!

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