Dec 27, 2008

Christmas 2008

We had a marvelous Christmas this year. It is so much fun as the kids get older. We also were lucky to get to have my brother Andy and his wife Melissa back for the second year in a row. We did so much, as most families do, and we created so many wonderful memories. Here is a photographic trip down our Christmas 2008 memory lane...I know it was SO long ago!
Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve morning we have a tradition of finding a Christmas book for that year. The boys woke up to find a maze of string, which they had to follow to find our Christmas book this year. Jack lost interest quickly, but Cole
remembered doing it from the year before and very meticulously followed and rolled up the string. Our book this year was I Spy Christmas. Cole has poured over it since.

Christmas Eve Day Melissa and I baked cookies like mad women. Yum. They boys went out and bought the Stockhoff mandatory Cheese ball. The boys sure loved that thing. I normally don't mind a Christmas Cheese ball, but this one was weirdly flavored like bacon. Oh well they liked it.

Christmas Eve night (after the Pizza of course), we had our program. We listened to reverent Christmas music and read the story of the birth of Jesus from the scriptures. Cole put together his nativity as it followed the story.

Both boys wrote letters to Santa that night, to go with the cookies that "momy" made. Cole did a great job of sounding out and writing his letter. Jack did a great job at being cute.

Christmas Day

I totally woke up before either of the kids. I always do, I am such a nerd. Jack even slept in that morning, which he never does. Cole woke up first and came peeking down the stairs. He very nicely just starred at the tree and waited patiently for Jack to get up. Once both boys were up, we did stockings and then led right into presents. Jack was just happy to be there, and once he opened his Sarge from the movie cars, not else much mattered. Cole would have ripped through all the presents if allowed, BUT I am a huge believer in making Christmas morning last, so we slowly took turns around the room.

Jack being a builder

Cole opening his "pirate ship like Tanner's"

Jack hugging one of the presents

Andy and Cole playing video games (happened more than once)

The boys playing swords, one of the more loved and violent presents

Again, we had a marvelous Christmas. I loved every minute of it and there wasn't a moment where I didn't feel gratitude for this time of year. I felt blessed to provide a Christmas. I felt blessed to have family here with us. I felt blessed to have healthy and happy kids. I felt blessed to be in a wonderful marriage. I felt blessed to know and teach my kids the real meaning of Christmas. I hope everyone had a joyous Christmas too.

Dec 18, 2008

Christmas Cookies

Cookie/goody plates do not always make it on my Holiday to-do list. One, I am not sure I am great baker. Two, who has the time to bake that many plates? Three, where is the money going to come from to bake all those different kinds of goodies (heaven forbid I just whip up one batch of plain old choco chip cookies)?

This year, I wasn't so much feeling the pressure to do cookies, I just had the domestic desire to do them. So I did. I thought I would share with you the recipes for the Zitzman Family Cookies this year. From top of picture to bottom-- Black Forest Cookies, courtesy of Everyday Baking, All American Chocolate Chip Cookies, courtesy of some cookbook I can't remember, and Ghiradelli Ultimate Double Chocolate Cookies, courtesy of, well duh!

Black Forest Cookies

1 cup all-purpose flour
2 table spoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup packed dark-brown sugar
2 larges eggs
1 package semi sweet chocolate chunks
1 ½ cups dried cherries

Preheat over to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder; and salt; set aside. Place chopped chocolate and butter in a large heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water; stir until melted and smooth. Remove from heat; whisk in sugars, then eggs, until smooth. Whisk in dry ingredients just until combined (do not over mix). Fold in chocolate chunks and dried cherries; press plastic wrap directly onto surface of dough, and refrigerate until firm, 30 to 45 minutes. Drop mounds of dough (equal to 2 level tablespoons) about 2 inches apart onto cookie sheets. Bake just until edges are firm (but not darkening), 11 to 13 minutes. Cool on baking sheets 1 to 2 minutes; transfer to a wire rick to cool completely.

All American Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup shortening
½ cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar, packed
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 ½ cup flour
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
½ pkg of chocolate chips

Cream butter & shortening together. Add sugars, beat until light and fluffy. Mix in egg & vanilla. Combine dry ingredients and add to creamed mixture. Stir in chips. Bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes. Cool on rack.

Ghiradelli Ultimate Double Chocolate Cookie

12 ounce(s) Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
11 1/2 ounce(s) 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Chips
6 tablespoon(s) unsalted butter
3 eggs
1 cup(s) sugar
1/3 cup(s) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon(s) baking powder
1 cup(s) chopped walnuts

In double boiler over hot water, melt bittersweet chocolate chips and butter. In large bowl with electric mixer or whisk, beat eggs and sugar until thick; stir into chocolate mixture. In small bowl, stir together flour and baking powder; stir into chocolate mixture. Gently mix in semi-sweet chocolate chips and walnuts. Using a sheet of plastic wrap, form dough into two logs, each 2 inches in diameter and about 12 inches long. As dough will be quite soft, use plastic wrap to hold dough in log shape. Wrap tightly; refrigerate at least 1 hour or until firm. (Dough may be frozen; thaw in refrigerator before proceeding with recipe.) Heat oven to 375°F. Unwrap dough; with sharp knife, cut into 3/4-inch slices. Place slices 1 1/2 inches apart on greased or parchment-lined cookie sheet. Bake 12 to 14 minutes or until shiny crust forms on top but interior is still soft.

Dec 14, 2008

24 wks, Happy Bday, Strep, and the ER

Here is a fun run down of this past weekends events. Enjoy, we sure did!

FIRST: I am officially 6 months pregos now. Similar to another post, I have been trying to take a picture for several days but it wasn't working out. So this morning in all our post weekend trauma, I decided to heck with it, who cares if I am in my jammies for this one AND who cares if the picture causes a few "oh geez now you can totally tell she is pregnant!", let's just take this thing. If you will notice, I smiled in this picture, as was requested. Also I promise a friend that I would not lead into this picture with any disparaging remarks about as hard as that is here ya'all go (all I ask is that there aren't any posts that remark to the like "it's about time you start showing" etc.

SECOND: Happy late bday hubby of mine.

Can you believe you are so wise at the ripe old age of 32 (don't worry I thought it was 31 until he had to help me with my math!). He is not at all daunted by another year in age. In fact, he thinks that being older makes him more credible as a therapist. We had a good night away thanks to his parents. The only bummer was that Spencer started getting sick. Which leads to...

THIRD: Strep! I got a call Friday morning from Spencer's parents asking me if the boys had been sick. Well, not really, but obviously they were now. So I now had three sick boys to worry about. We figured it was just colds all around but when we got to Gram and Papa's Jack was doing horrible. Cole was fine to this point. So we took him to a Walgreen's Minute Clinic (PS LOVE THESE THINGS). Sure enough he had strep. We then tested Spencer, sure enough he had strep. That night was a holy night of misery! I slept with Jack and Spencer ended up sleeping with Cole, who got increasingly worse. In fact, he had a really hard time breathing. But thanks to a tidbit of info from the NP at the clinic, we were able to calm the breathing down by having Cole breath in the really cold night air. Well, that only worked one night. Which leads to...

FOURTH: ER. Last night we hunkered both boys in Jacks room since we only have one humidifier. Cole was so excited. He said it was practice for when they share rooms when the baby comes. All was well until 2 am. Cole woke up horribly upset and completely unable to catch his breath. We tried the cold again. We tried steam from a shower and nothing absolutely nothing help him able to breath. SO at 2:30 we bundled up a hysteric little boy, not breathing really well, and I hauled him to the ER. Spencer needed to stay with Jack so I was off by myself. Not really a big deal except that the Children's Hospital is in a sketchy part of town (and that is not just my version of sketchy, that is really sketchy). Thank heavens all Cole has is croup. We were there for almost three hours, but well worth it to get him a dose of steroids and on the road to breathing well again. He did so well and was so brave. He came right home and slept for 4 hours.

All the boys are doing well. We know we may have a rough night ahead still. The ER doc said that the steroids may not fully work for up to 36 hours (yikes!). BUT I am grateful it isn't serious AND that we have the power of prayer to help give health and comfort. AND, knock on whatever, I don't feel the slightest bit sick!

Dec 9, 2008

New Favorite Obsession

This is going to be a quick, probably short lived post, but I just wanted to share one old blog and one new blog that add to a new obsession. I have always dreamed of what I would do to this room or that room. Sometimes before going to bed at night I fantasize about how I could assemble my dream house. During frivolous day dream, there is no price to my imaginary house. On more practical poor days I imagine my house with frugality in mind.
I will admit that with a shortage of funds, and more things on my priority list, my "imagination redecorating" had gone on away. BUT my friend Vanessa and her awesomeness rekindled a little creative spark within. Her blog V & CO is really something to behold. She is amazing and has the best eye. What makes her amazing is that she can redo anything and make it look classic beautiful. PLUS, she is so willing to share how she does things. There are even really easy tutorials to show you how. OH and she sews too! I have not attempted any big project yet, but with a little more self-pep talk, and yes still need some funds, I am hoping to accomplish some great things. SO STAND BY.

Through blog stalking Vanessa, I was led to another site, which led to another site, etc. CK Interiors might be a new point of envy for me. While not everything she does in in my style, lets just say that 95 percent is. If you have some time to sit on your fanny and dream of what could be, take a look. The only bummer with this site is that because she is an actual interior designer, she doesn't give how to's. She gives great ideas and shows great pictures. BUT the rest is up to you being able to figure it out.

I am sure my decorating prowess is going to still be predominately imaginary, but I am hoping to take some inspiration from these sites and make some magic happen with the talent and dough that I have. ENJOY!

Dec 8, 2008

Flu shots

Oh tis the season for flu shots. Nothing like taking your kids to the Dr's with the sole purpose of jabbing them with a needle. So that whole explaining it to your kids before hand, well let's just say that didn't so much work out for me. Let's just look at the explained to (Cole) vs the ignorant one (Jack).

COLE- We very nicely explained the whole thing.

"Yes, a shot hurts a little, but it will help you be healthy."
"The hurt only last a little bit"

We even tried bribing and guilt

"We will go and get a happy meal afterwards."
"Mommy gets one too"
"All your friends will have to get one"
"Be a big boy and show Jack how brave you can be"

Here is how it played out- He held a death grip onto his pants in order for me not to get them down. When I did get them down, he immediately started screaming, "NOOOOOO!" (but imagine more O's). The nurse and I finally got him laying down, but only by force. I had to throw myself over his top half, while the nurse had to try to clasp his flailing legs. The whole time we are trying to calm him down, but alas she finally just had to jab him. I get him down, obviously now seriously traumatized, and unfortunately I non too compassionately look into his crocodile tear filled eyes and sigh.

GREAT now it was time for the actual little one.

JACK- I explained nothing. I did however promise him a happy meal in the hopes he would be too busy to think about his chicken nuggets to notice the needle coming his way.

Baffled he stared at his rather upset brother. Looked at me and let out a fake, "WAH". Then just smiled. He was slightly concerned when I laid him back on the table, but all I had to do was talk about nuggets and french fries, and the nurse could have been on another planet.

Then the shot came. His eyes went from excited to, "hey what the heck just happened!" He did cry a little bit, but all I had to do was sit him up, talk about McDonald's and a sticker and we were good to go. His tears might have cleared up before Cole's did.

So ignorance won. AND yes I realize that Jack is two and it is easier to keep him ignorant. On a positive note, on the way out of the Dr's office Cole looked at me and said, "That really wasn't that bad after all." Lets see if he remembers that come next flu season!

Dec 4, 2008

Minimal Decking of Our Halls

It is a tradition to put up the Christmas stuff the day after Thanksgiving. We might have fudged a little this year. Everything went up two days after Thanksgiving...oh no! I came back that day after a second day of shopping and Spencer had put up our tree, which then led me to do a little Christmas cheer. All I had to do now was decorate the tree in my special anal way!

After only a short time, everything was displayed in all it's holiday glory. Now it took only a short time because our supply of Christmas decor is in limited supply. I laughed when I realized that all of our decorations (for the most part) came from our very first Christmas when we had extra money.

Here is my holiday decor wish list:

Willow Tree Nativity Set (it only took my mom 25 years to get this)
Red Berry Christmas Wreath
Kids Christmas Tree (one just for their "special" homemade ornaments)
More Cute and Charming Decorations

So most of these things are completely unnecessary, and actually have nothing to do with the real meaning of Christmas...which is probably why I have talked myself out of them for the last several years. Still a girl can dream here and there!

On the plus side, we finally got a nativity set this year. Thanks mom and dad. It may be meant for the kids, but it is under the family tree for all to enjoy. It will be a nice stand in until I can get my willow tree one!

Yes, that is a Fisher Price Little People Nativity

Dec 1, 2008

Grateful for Thanksgiving

I had been looking forward to Thanksgiving for months. One, because it is a holiday and I love a good holiday. Two, I was getting to host again, we all know how I love hosting. BUT the most important reason was, three, I had some family coming! I was most excited about that. My brother Greg, his wife Allice and their new baby Gus were first to arrive Tuesday morning.

My boys were so excited to see them. They had never been to our house, so Cole was excited to show them around. Jack LOVED baby Gus. All he wanted to do was hold him. It really put us at ease about him and a new baby here. HOW CUTE is baby Gus???

My brother Andy drove up on Thanksgiving morning. He had been doing an Army training for about a month. He had gotten home at like 3 in the morning. SO we were so happy to see him. He walked in to a yummy smelling house, because we had been a cooking frenzy! Everything turned out great, especially the bird, which I still always worry about. The Bacon Herb Turkey was a hit. Andy said the best thing about it was that the drippings used for the gravy made the gravy taste like bacon too. Oh so good!
I also had a good time decorating the table. I have had the china for awhile, and had used it before, but this year I was able to get some cheap white ceramic serving stuff. I got like 7 pieces for $30. PS the pitcher was not part of the deal, that was acquired at Target (have I mentioned how much I love Target??). I think the main favorite of the meal was the Raspberry Jello Salad and the Spinach Salad (recipes will be on my recipe blogs).

Our Happy and Hungry Bunch

The desserts did not turn out as fabulous as last year, although they couldn't have been too bad because Greg drank down the pumpkin mousse with a straw.
Dessert came after a rousing two games of bowling. Some families from church all got together for some really cheap bowling. This was Cole's (and Jack, he couldn't be left out) first time bowling. The ball may have moved slowly, but it got there eventually. Spencer and I bowled with them on the bumper side, and all I have to say is that it is a good thing we had bumpers. The other adults did pretty well. Andy did smoke us all though.

We all went shopping the next day and got some great deals. Mostly it was just great to spend some time with family. Andy's wife Melissa flew in that night, which added even more fun to the group. We had a great weekend of hanging out, and I am so grateful that they came up to see me. I definitely love having family come to see me. The whole weekend may have tuckered me out (see picture below), but I feel boring and lonely the minute they all leave.


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