Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Christmas 2014

I learned a little Christmas lesson this year. When we asked Grant what he was going to ask Santa to bring him, he said "The Planes Fire & Rescue movie and the Darth Vader car. That's all I want. Just two presents. I have enough." And it didn't change, he kept saying that's all he wanted. When we went shopping he wanted to look at the toys, like he always does but he didn't ask for anything and didn't say "I wish Santa would bring me this..." So I took the opportunity to down-size the Christmas "stuff" this year. I won't deny that I've gone overboard in years past but I didn't want to this year. Grant got more than the two things he asked for...of course but when deciding what to get him, in addition to those two things, I thought more about it. Does he need it? No (of course not). Is he going to play with it a lot? Eh, maybe. Is it going to end up shoved in the toy box in two months? Yes. Then don't get it. And you know what? We had a fantastic Christmas. Grant loved and appreciated everything. He paid attention to it all and wanted to play with it all rather than tearing through one present after another ending with a pile of stuff. 

On Christmas Eve we sprinkled the reindeer food that Grant made at Pullen Park on the front lawn.

Then we left cookies & milk for Santa. I had done a lot of holiday cooking this month so Santa doesn't get homemade cookies in this house. Santa got some yummy store bought cookies and he really enjoyed them!

And everyone was up and at 'em bright and early the next morning! Grant was beside himself when he saw that Santa had left him some presents. Santa wraps the presents he leaves in our house with special paper so Grant knew which ones were from Santa. 

But first...stockings! (Stuffing stockings is one of my favorite parts of Christmas!)

He must have been good this year, that stocking had some good stuff!
On to presents. The very first thing he wanted to open happened to be one of things he asked Santa for...

Planes Fire & Rescue! I love that excited face!
And a few more:
The Darth Vader car he asked for (and the Luke Skywalker one as a bonus)
Always books!
Ninja Turtles Raphael "combat gear"
A marble maze! We've had a lot of fun with this!
Grant had so much fun Christmas morning! He played while I cooked breakfast and then we got ready to go to my in-law's for Christmas lunch. Grant knew there were presents from Gramma & Grandpa to open but we have lunch before we do that. Like last year, I told him he couldn't open presents unless he eats a good lunch. Thankfully, he ate a good lunch...what will I do if that stops working?

Grant always helps pass out the presents and then he had a ball opening the ones for him.
(That big box in the second frame is a
soft new blanket that Gramma made him!)
It was such a fun and exciting Christmas! We had such a great day. I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas too!

He was out by the time we reached the end of Gramma's driveway!

Happy New Year, too!

Friday, December 26, 2014

New Recipe: Make-Ahead Muffin Melts

The day after Christmas already? I can't believe it. I actually started my Christmas shopping in September this year. It's the first year I've ever started really early and it was great! Except that I'm the kind of person who can't wait to give a gift so hanging on to all those presents for so long was murder. We had a wonderful Christmas - and I hope you all did too! I'm still going through all our Christmas pictures, so I thought I'd post about Christmas breakfast.

Christmas breakfast in this house is always a bit challenging for me. As a kid my mom made us a big breakfast after we opened presents because we'd go over to my Aunt & Uncle's house later in the afternoon for Christmas dinner. For us, we go to my in-laws for Christmas lunch and no one wants to eat a big breakfast if you're going to have a big lunch in just a few hours. A couple years in a row I tried different casseroles. One in particular I remember was just gross (my sister and husband didn't think it was but I vowed to never make it again...I'm pretty sure it made me gag). But this year I found a good one! An all-in-one easy, quick breakfast that wasn't too big and didn't ruin lunch (or make me gag). These Make-Ahead Muffin Melts are from a Pioneer Woman cookbook my friend Janis gave me for my birthday. I haven't tried a PW recipe yet that I didn't love!

Make-Ahead Muffin Melts

  • 12 slices of bacon
  • 12 hard-boiled eggs, peeled & chopped
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup mayonnaise (real stuff, not light or fat free)
  • 1 heaping tablespoon Dijon mustard (or more to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 5 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
  • 6 English muffins, split
  1. Fry the bacon (I like mine crispy but you do what you like). Chop up the bacon and set it aside. 
  2. Peel the hard-boiled eggs and "rough chop" them. 
  3. In a bowl add your chopped eggs, cheese, chopped bacon, mayo, Dijon mustard, garlic powder, and Worcestershire sauce. Mix it all up. Taste it and see if it needs anything else. If not, lets move on.
  4. Preheat your oven's boiler (PW says preheat to "low", my oven has only one boiler setting "hot as hell". But if your oven has a "low" then do what she says.)
  5. Spread the egg mixture evenly on top of all your English muffin halves and put them on a baking sheet.
  6. Broil them for 3-4 minutes (ovens vary so it make take longer for some, it did in mine). Keep an eye on them so they don't burn.
  7. Enjoy!
Recipe Source: Pioneer Woman

  • I halved the above recipe, we are only 3 people and do not need 12 English muffins sitting around (I'm not sure these would reheat very well). The recipe halved great.
  • If you're making these ahead of time (I made mine the night before), skip #4 in the directions. Make up your mixture, spread them on the muffin halves, arrange them on a baking sheet (they could also be layered with wax paper in a container to save room), then wrap them and stick them in the fridge. To make sure they would be hot, I baked mine at 350 for 8-10 minutes (that may have been a bit too long) and then broiled them.
  • Grant isn't a fan of crunchy things and didn't like them. He picked the topping off and ate that but was totally turned off by the whole thing. But in my opinion, it's a kid friendly recipe. Just not my kid.
  • Chopped up ham or sausage would be a tasty substitute for bacon.
  • This would be good for dinner too! You could serve it with a bunch of different sides.

Friday, December 19, 2014

2014 Pullen Park Holiday Express

I'm a big fan of large Christmas light displays. I get that from my Dad. Grant does too, he can't get enough Christmas lights! So he always has fun at the Pullen Park holiday thing. I almost skipped the tickets this year because no Saturday times were available when I decided to reserve tickets but it's such a fun family thing that I decided a Sunday was just fine :)

Usually you just reserve your stuff and show up. This year you had to pick a specific "boarding time" for your train ride. Fantastic idea because it was SO much better organized this year (and less crowded). I didn't pick up our stuff ahead of time this year, I had so much going on that I just decided to get it when we got there. Except we almost didn't make it. Husband's family had a get-together that day and it ran long. Our train time was 5:45, I looked at the time as the lady was handing me my envelope it was 5:30 - whew! So we headed there immediately. But after the ride we just wandered around the park enjoying everything before heading home.

So happy and excited!
Waving to the passengers on the later train ride!
They had a sledding station set up that I was so excited about! I knew Grant would love it and I figured we'd ride together. Nope. He told me at the top that he wanted to ride alone and since I was stuck up there without a sledding for Mama. But he had a blast. We met him at the bottom and he said "That. Was. AWESOME!" I think the sledding was his favorite, even more than the train.

They had a little station set up where you make "Reindeer Food" to sprinkle in your yard on Christmas Eve. I thought that was so cute!

Making his reindeer food.
We walked around a bit checking out the lights before hitting the carousel (which is the fastest carousel I've ever been on - I can't believe no one was thrown off!)

Going so fast!
Since it was Sunday night (and Grant had missed almost the whole previous week being sick), we didn't stay a long time. But it's kind of become a tradition for us so I'm glad we got to go. On the way out we stopped so Grant could play in the snow machine they had going at the entrance/exit.

It definitely got me feeling a little more festive and it was a great way to end our weekend!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...