Wednesday, December 31, 2008

I Got My Hero For Christmas!

The Prairie Kid got one of the coolest, most unique gifts for Christmas from his hero, (aka. cousin Jeremy). Jeremy wasn't with us on Christmas Eve to see the present being opened so I dedicate this post to you, Jeremy, my kiddo's hero.
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And now you have a special place on the shelf next to The Prairie Kid's beloved games.

A Massive Mommy Confession

Some might think I am a terrible mom. I think I am a smart mom. Ever since I became pregnant with The Prairie Kid I knew that I would be off the hook for a long, long time on buying him presents. I remember receiving baby gifts from over 100 people when he was born. We were well supplied and I did not need to buy barely a thing for our little man. And as our first Christmas and birthday came around I realized, "He doesn't know who he gets this stuff from! It won't matter that Mom and Dad didn't give him anything." And as his second Christmas and birthday, and then his third Christmas, came and went I continued to let everyone else buy him things.


Now for his third birthday I did find a steal on something that I thought he would love. I went ahead and put up a whole 20 bucks for the guitar that we got him. But as we approached Christmas I wasn't planning on buying him anything.


While with Abuelita in Denver The Prairie Kid visited Santa at the mall. He reported to his grandma, who then reported to me, that he was getting a dinosaur for Christmas. "What?" I thought, "but he has a whole BOX of them at home that he doesn't play with!"


And this is where the controversial "terrible" vs. "smart" mom debate really gets heated.


I took all of the dinosaurs of The Prairie Kid's, wrapped them up and put them under the tree for Christmas. You want a dinosaur for Christmas? You're getting dinosaurs for Christmas!


Now this was a huge risk because The Prairie Kid is 3 now. And smart. Smarter than every one's own good some days. How would he react? Would he know that they were the ones he already has? Would he try to go find the ones "like mine, Mom!" and find out that they were no longer in their proper place...the box?


I am a risk taker.

The Prairie Kid opened up the first dinosaur. He was partially excited, "A dinosaur!" And then he turned around and put it right in the box that I had gotten it out of. Funny, he put all of his new presents in a very particular pile...not this one. Then he moved on to the next dinosaur. Same thing. And so on.

My mom did get him a brand new soft dinosaur that he can sleep with "like Caillou!" Thank you, Mom, and all of you other awesome people who buy my child real presents so that I don't have to (yet).

By the way, he hasn't touched the "new" box of dinosaurs...just like he hadn't touched them before. He is playing with the one my mom got him.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Crook In The Neck Or Preschool Posing?

We've had an interesting phenomenon invade our child. It seems that whenever you pull out the camera and say "cheese" or "smile" there is an instant reaction of the head jerking to the right (or the left if you see it that way). I decided this would be fun to put together a post to see the "preschool posing" in sequence. Here we go:

Watch out Auntie! Whew, you just about got head-butted!



Look Mom! I can tie a scarf AND pose at the same time!





Cheese!

I sure hope that we don't overlap this posing phase with the "fake goofy smile" phase that invades little boys at some point. I think one photo-taking-issue at a time is enough.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Celebrating The Greatest Gift

Christmas for us is all about celebrating the birth of Jesus. We're thankful for the family and friends that we got to celebrate with this year.

After church on Christmas Eve we went over to The Prairie Daddy's parents' house. It is tradition to have oyster stew and chili. I grew up on oyster stew on Christmas Eve too. And history says the Irish started that and neither of our backgrounds are Irish! Funny, eh?

On Christmas Eve everyone took turns taking pictures with The Prairie Kid like kids getting to sit with Santa and get their picture taken. Here are the beloved local aunties:


And the beloved local grandparents:

And my folks:

And The Prairie Family:

Christmas morning on a ranch is not like Christmas morning off a ranch. Many think of Christmas morning starting off with kiddos waking up and going straight to their parents' room to wake them up too early and together make their way in their warm pajamas to the Christmas tree to begin the gift-opening festivities.
Not on a ranch. On a ranch the kiddo and the mommy wake up just like any other morning, and hang around waiting to hear from the daddy aboutg when he might be done working. This year we had the company of Abuelita and Abuelito to wait with. So, we really didn't get started on the whole gift thing until 10:30 or 11am. By then The Prairie Kid was dressed "just like Daddy."


The Prairie Kid helped each of us open our presents. I got my traditional "cute socks" from The Prairie Daddy:

OH BOY! Abuelita got napkins!
A fishing lure for Abuelito!!!

Oh wow, Daddy! What's this? A cottage cheese carton? (We find funny things to house our presents...it was really a pair of work gloves.)


Here, Daddy, let me help you...


And Grammy got me Candy Land!
Look at me playing my new game...I am thinking really hard, see my tongue? Just like Daddy!


For Christmas Dinner (lunch) we had some home-grown prime rib, garlic mashed potatoes, asparagus, and salad. Mmmm.
And then, since cows don't get the whole holiday concept, my mom and I went down to help move a sick cow up to the barn. It was a bitter 20 degrees but we "cowgirled up" and got her in and The Prairie Daddy treated her.

What is Christmas without some healthy men against women games? Some friends of ours came over and we had lots of snacks and dessert while the WOMEN BEAT THE MEN! Woo-hoo! And our kiddos played so well together and even took a bath...check out these cutie-patuties!
Couldn't you just eat them up?
My folks got snowed in the day after Christmas and got to stay an extra day. We had more fun playing games and eating. Oh how we've eaten! Now we're all getting back to normal (but we're still eating all of the left over goodies!) It is comforting to know that almost everyone puts on the extra 5-10 over the holidays.

Me? Looking Forward To A Schedule?

Did you lose your sense of normal during the past few weeks like I did? It is such a nice break from the monotony of a schedule but then I appreciate that schedule and long to return to it. I usually am one to enjoy change, variety, spontaneity, etc. however I like that within somewhat of a framework of the known. For example, I think it is a thrill to have The Prairie Daddy call me, just like yesterday, and say "I need your help doctoring calves in the field." But when we're done I know I can expect to return to the usual: cook and eat lunch, put The Prairie Kid down for a nap, etc. From Thanksgiving until 2 days ago there were not 3 "normal" days in a row. That is a long time!
We've had fun though. Our trip to Denver and So Cal, prepping for the holidays, a fun party with friends, and enjoying the company of my mom and her hubby for Christmas. My mom was a doll and treated me to "spa day" where we both went and got massages together. After our massages our hubbies met up with us in town and we went out for sushi and to a movie. What a treat!
The Prairie Kid was able to understand the whole Christmas thing more so this year. And I tried to pull in as much meaning and purpose that I could as we celebrated. He was most excited about three things: candy canes, Christmas trees, and the baby Jesus in any nativity scene. We went hunting for a tree together the first day my folks were here. It was so cold out since we've had the longest cold stretch I can remember. It stayed under freezing (and most days WELL under freezing) for over 2 weeks! So, we ventured out all bundled up. We just had a little jaunt to get to our tree.

Here we are in front of the tree that will soon reside in our dining room
I just love this picture of my man
And it was snowing just enough to really make it all seem picture perfect

Here is Abuelita (what The Prairie Kid calls my mom) and her grandson before ornaments


And the grand finale


The Prairie Kid enjoyed checking out the ornaments at his other grandma's house too...

And remember I said he loved the baby Jesus in a nativity?
I will do a separate post to include the fun pictures from Christmas Eve and Christmas. Hope you all had a wonderful holiday.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Breaking News From The Prairie!

I interrupt your day to bring you breaking news from the prairie. Please, brace yourself for this earth shattering news. I know many of you will find this utterly shocking. This may change lives forever. This may alter your perception of the world from here on out. You might need to sit down for this (because I know most of us really stand up to work on our computers).


***You should double ALL of the ingredients in a recipe when doubling it,
INCLUDING the flour***


I know, I know. Your life will never be the same. I may have just made things so much more difficult for your future. I apologize. However, to make up for the trauma I have caused I will post a few pictures below of why it is recommended to double ALL of the ingredients in a recipe.
This is supposedly a pan of green butterball cookies (minus 2 cups of flour)



Now, these are what green butterball cookies are supposed to look like...when all of the ingredients are measured appropriately:
See the difference? Have I convinced you yet that doubling all ingredients is really important?
And for the ginger cookies, I actually doubled it right the first time. See, I don't believe in making mistakes, I believe in making LESSONS!











Is That Frost On The Couch Cushion?

I am home. We enjoyed our time in Denver and I found some great shopping deals. I am not a huge shopper and I am super frugal...but I love to find a good deal! Saturday morning we woke up to our son crying and calling "I puked in my bed!" He proceeded to throw up several more times throughout the morning. I wasn't feeling so peachy myself. We debated on whether or not to try to load up and take the 8 hour drive home. There was a big storm moving in later in the day and The Prairie Daddy had responsibilities at church yesterday so we decided to go for it. It was a long day to say the least. The Prairie Kid did well and I didn't throw up (although I thought at times I might have felt better if I did). The wind was horrible almost the whole drive, then we ran into snow flurries, and watched the thermometer change from 48 degrees to - 7 degrees in the last 3 hours. We hit white outs on the last 30 minutes and had to really be careful to make sure we stayed on the road!

When we got home the house was a blistering 50 degrees. We had to bundle up, crank the heaters, pin up blankets over the windows and cuddle to keep warm. I was SO thankful I had just recently bought us an electric blanket for our bed!

I woke up still feeling yucky yesterday morning but my boys felt good and headed to church without me even though it was 22 below when The Prairie Daddy got up. The whole week is supposed to be frigid...and when I say frigid I mean not even getting close to 30 degrees. The highs are more like 3 degrees!

We took a little video during our trip in southern California and I thought I'd share a bit with you.

While in San Diego The Prairie Daddy was filling up our rental car with gas. I was just hanging out in the passenger seat and all of the sudden there was a huge noise coming straight over my head...a jet airliner! It was awesome and they continued every 2 minutes. I couldn't help but get a clip to share with you...


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And The Prairie Daddy managed to get a shot of me reuniting with The Prairie Kid. It was fun...what you don't see is that he ran for quite a while before reaching me.

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This week will be fun with getting ready for my mom and her hubby to come for Christmas. I am hoping to feel good enough to pull out the Christmas decorations in the next few days. I did manage to get lots of presents wrapped today and a few batches of cookies made. It is easy to know it is almost Christmas with the cold temps and a little snow on the ground!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Yes, I'd Like To Order Another Week, Please.

Oh how I wish us Americans could revamp our vacation time system. Every international traveler we met on our trip was on "holiday" (and you must say this with a British accent) for like five weeks! I am never ready for our vacation to end. Seven days just doesn't satisfy! Okay, okay, it isn't really fair for me to be complaining at all because I just had a wonderful time and we are blessed to get to go. And I also shouldn't complain because The Prairie Daddy decided today that we'll stay in Denver at my mom's for 2 extra days! We were supposed to leave tomorrow morning and just have spent one full day in Denver but now we're staying until Saturday! Yea!

We had a great trip. We had fun in the LA area and enjoyed touring the Queen Mary, having a seafood lunch over the water in Long Beach, eating at the famous and first Italian restaurant in Hollywood, Micheli's, and driving through Beverly Hills.

After the LA area we drove to my grandma's house. We spent some time with her and her daughter. This was bittersweet because my grandma has Alzheimer's. I took The Prairie Kid out to see her 3 years ago and she is much different. She didn't know who I was really. We had a nice time but it was hard to say goodbye.

From there we drove through the wine country of Temecula. We stopped at the first winery in the area and took a tour. And then we were off to San Diego.

So, I fell in love in San Diego. Well, I fell in love with San Diego. I haven't been there since I was a little girl so I didn't remember it. I love this city! It was convenient, friendly, and beautiful. It was full of history, military, museums, and several aspects of coastal life. I loved laying in our hotel bed and watching the commercial airliners fly into the airport near by. I loved the activity of boats, planes, and helicopters throughout the day. I loved the military presence, watching missile carriers cruise through the harbor,fighter jets take off from the naval base,sail boats sail by, eating seafood off the water, touring many vessels in the harbor, perusing the shops in Old Town, walking around Cabrillo lighthouse and watching the waves roll in at Point Loma.And everything was within 10-20 minutes drive from our downtown hotel. Wow.
The Prairie Kid was great for my mom, WAY better than he is for us! I am so glad that they can have these times together and her willingness to stick to how we do things makes it so easy for me to leave town and not worry. What a blessing!
The good thing is now I can start dreaming up ideas for next year's vacation!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Oh, And By The Way, I'm At The Beach

I never mentioned that The Prairie Daddy and I booked our annual vacation last month. We decided that this year we would hang out in southern California. We drove to my mom's on Tuesday and Wednesday morning we kissed The Prairie Kid goodbye (and my mom) and flew to Santa Ana. My mom's best friend from high school (whom I call Aunt Terry) lives right off Huntington Beach and was gracious enough to have us stay with her. We enjoyed supper on the pier our first night. Yesterday morning we got up really early and headed north to Burbank. We went to NBC studios and got tickets for that day's taping of Jay Leno. We enjoyed crepes at Universal City Walk, went on a drive through Griffith Park, did an NBC studio tour and then went to the taping of The Tonight Show. The guests were Brian Williams, Kirk Fox and Common. It was awesome.

After the show we were invited to join the audience for the taping of two Carson Daly shows. That was fun also, but took a lot more time and wasn't as organized. It was interesting to contrast the two tapings. We headed back and ate dinner along the beach last night and crashed hard when we got back.

Today Aunt Terry is going to play "tour guide." We'll grab a nice lunch somewhere and tonight it is the country club Christmas party.

Tomorrow we will head east to Hemet to visit my grandma for a couple of days and then its off to San Diego to wrap up our trip.

We left home just in time to miss the temperatures dropping along with the snow. The low last night was 3 degrees! Sorry guys, its 70 here today!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I Am Also Thankful For Pie

I have had a thankful song in my heart for days now. I am strongly desiring the holidays to have true, deep, heartfelt meaning. In my opinion it is a tragedy to allow tradition to become so routine that we lose sight of the purpose. Why do we celebrate Thanksgiving? Christmas? Is it about eating turkey? Getting gifts? Decorating a tree? May it never be. However I see that for many in our society it is "just tradition." And what grieves me even further is the rise in stress and anxiety for so many that this Season brings. I have been carefully guarding my heart from this tragedy by meditating on the blessings in our lives. Every one of us that lives in the United States is blessed. Even the poorest of our society are rich compared to the impoverished in other countries. I had a half a day last week where I mourned and angered over the economy's affect on our mutual funds. And then I got over it because at the end of the day there are two major points to consider: #1 I cannot change it and #2 I am lavishly blessed.

LAVISHLY BLESSED.

So this year The Prairie Daddy and I are talking about how to teach The Prairie Kid the true meaning of the Season. And the best example to follow in how to live our lives is the example of The One who this is all about...Jesus. Jesus gave Himself. We have decided to find ways to give of ourselves this Season (more on that in other posts if I feel lead). I am hopeful that tomorrow we can share our lives and hearts with others in a way that breaks through the routine of tradition. I pray and hope that in addition to turkey we can really be thankful in the core of who we are for what we have been given.

Do I think we have to cast out tradition in order to accomplish this though? Nope! I think that the Lord is honored by thankful hearts accompanied by a feast. I think it comes down to our hearts and our motives! I am very much looking forward to turkey and stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans and rolls. AND PIE!!! I am a sucker for pie!

My family has a recipe for Cranberry Pie that I have shared with my in-laws. Every year now I make this pie to bring either Thanksgiving or Christmas. I actually don't even like it but I am not a big cranberry fan. However it is a hit with those who do like cranberries and I really enjoy making it.

I make a huge mess when I make pie crusts, so I have to "gear up" for the disaster. After lunch today I had prepared myself and bravely entered the kitchen. Once the crusts were assembled I could have fun with the fillings since they don't have the same "a
tornado tore through my kitchen" affect that the pie crusts have.

Here is a picture of the Cranberry Pie in progress (and the huge mess my crusts made. Like how I blamed the crusts and not myself?)


This is the filling before the topping was put onAnd then you smooth the topping over the berry mixture

And wah-lah, a beautiful pie every time

Here is the recipe:
Cranberry Pie

Mix together 2 C. whole fresh cranberries, 1/2 C. sugar, 1/2 C. pecans (cut once) and place in an ubaked pie shell.

Then blend 1/2 C. sugar, 1/4 C. melted margarine and 2 T. melted shortening, 1 egg and 1/2 C. flour. Spread over top of cranberry filling.

Bake at 325 for 45 mintues.

And then I made a new recipe...
Pumpkin Eggnog Pie


Can't wait to sink my teeth into this puppy...

Here is the link to this recipe:
http://www.tasteofhome.com/Recipes/Eggnog-Pumpkin-Pie


I wish you and yours a very meaningful Thanksgiving Day tomorrow.