Saturday, December 16, 2017

Festival of Lights

Tonight our family celebrated the Christmas season by going to the Festival of Lights at Hill Ridge Farms (the pumpkin farm where we get our pumpkins every fall). We went with our friends Steve, Tammy, and their son Caleb. It was a cold evening with temps around 40 degrees. We waited in line for an hour in order to take a 30-minute hay ride through the Festival of Lights. 

Our family enjoyed seeing the lights with our friends, but we were cold, tired, and hungry after being outside for 2.5 hours. When we got home, we were ready to get warm and eat some fried bologna sandwiches and grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner!

Savannah (8) and Hadley (3)

Tammy and Caleb

Savannah stayed warm by drinking hot chocolate:

Friday, December 15, 2017

Everyday Moments

These random iPhone photos are dark, blurry, and untouched,
but they capture everyday moments from the last couple weeks.

Savannah and her neighborhood friends Sky and Liza had fun playing the game Four Square in our entry:

We're so proud of Savannah for finishing chapter book #4!

Savannah was excited when she received this post card from her teacher in the mail:

Every couple months, I get a $10 Kohl's coupon in the mail. I let Savannah and Hadley "spend" $5 each. They always enjoy hunting for a bargain at Kohl's. When we used the coupon this week, Savannah got a make-up bag, and Hadley got an assortment of chapstick...for a total of $10.85. 

Over the last two years, Tal and I have been decluttering our house. This week we purged our coat closet and linen closet and then took four bags of donations to Goodwill. Our closets feel so much lighter, and we have no desire to fill them up with more stuff. We are determined to keep our closets clutter-free!

Below is a "before" picture of our coat closet. Honestly, I don't think Tal and I have cleaned it out since we moved into our house 7 years ago. It was a dirty and disgusting job, but it felt so good to clean out, sanitize, and organize the closet: 

Coat Closet

Coat Closet

When we decluttered our linen closet, Tal and I kept a few towels for guests, as well as an extra blanket and an extra set of sheets for each of the three bedrooms upstairs. We donated everything else.

Upstairs Linen Closet

Upstairs Linen Closet

Today Tal and I both took the day off from work, so we could have a "daytime date." It was our first date in three months. We spent the day getting new tires on the Expedition, running errands, and walking around the mall. At the mall, we ate lunch at The Cheesecake Factory (thanks to a $25 gift card from Tal's employer). I got the chicken carbonara, and Tal ate shepherd's pie. After lunch, Tal and I even had time to take a nap before we picked up our girls. It was a wonderful day. We loved having some alone time, peace and quiet, relaxation, a leisurely meal, and adult conversation.

Tal ran over one of our candy canes in our front yard.
All I can say is that I'm glad it wasn't me this time. Haha:

Tonight our family went to Jingle Jam at church:

We sang Christmas songs and played games:

We even won a $50 restaurant gift card!
We are looking forward to eating some tiramisu (our favorite!) at Olive Garden!

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Everyday Moments

These random iPhone photos are dark, blurry, and untouched,
but they capture everyday moments from the last couple weeks.

Hadley: "Mommy, take my picture:"

Tal and Hadley took an afternoon nap:

Savannah finished her second chapter book!
It took her 8 days to read 119 pages:

A couple weeks ago, I finished our Christmas shopping. Last Monday, I took the day off from school and spent 3.5 hours wrapping all of our presents. Tal and I prefer to have a simple and meaningful Christmas that is clutter-free and budget-friendly. Generally, we enjoy giving the following kinds of gifts:
  • gifts that are consumable
  • gifts that can be worn, read, or listened to
  • gifts that encourage creativity or imaginative play
  • gifts that are personalized or homemade
We'll be giving the gifts below to our family in Salter Path:

Tal and I spent $125 each on the girls. They each will get 8-9 presents from us. I wrapped Savannah's presents in mermaid paper and Hadley's presents in princess paper. The girls love seeing their presents under our Christmas tree!

Hadley hugged Tal when he got home from work:

On Thursday night, Uncle Benny spent the night at our house. We enjoyed eating dinner with him at a pizza place in our neighborhood:

Hadley and Savannah liked dancing on the stage at the pizza place:

This weekend Tal and Benny traveled to Asheville, NC to see the Christmas Jam concert...

...and Biltmore Estate:

They ended up in a Winter Wonderland:

On Friday, I took Hadley to the pediatrician to get an antibiotic for her infection. Once Hadley figured out how to climb on the exam table, she practiced climbing on and off the table repeatedly:

While Tal was in Asheville, the girls and I went to Chick-fil-a for dinner...

...and ice cream for dessert:

On Friday night, we turned on our fireplace for the first time this season. I loved watching "A Chef's Life" with the fire and Christmas lights:

The girls sat on the kitchen floor and painted:

This weekend, I cooked our meals for the week, including smothered chicken and rice:

Ritz Casserole
(Recipe here)


On Saturday afternoon, the girls and I had a lunch playdate at McDonald's with our friends Amanda and Tyson:

We used a coupon from Grandma Judy to get free ice cream at McDonald's:
(For Halloween, Grandma Judy gave the girls 12 coupons for free ice cream, apples, hamburgers, and chocolate milk from McDonald's.)

On Friday and Saturday, we had some wintry weather. We had steady rain, sleet, and snow for two days, but thankfully no accumulation on the ground:

After Hadley woke up from her nap on Saturday afternoon, the girls and I went to a grocery store in our neighborhood:

We picked up the ingredients for three treats to make at home that evening. Hadley wanted brownies. Savannah wanted chocolate chip cookies. I wanted pretzel hugs.

When the girls and I got home from the grocery store, we made the pretzel hugs first. The girls spread square pretzels on a cookie sheet. Then, they put a Hershey's chocolate hug on top of each pretzel: 

After putting the pretzel hugs in the oven for five minutes, the girls pressed a plain M&M on top of each chocolate hug:

When the pretzel hugs were done, we made a pan of brownies. Savannah did a great job reading and following the recipe:

Eating the brownie batter

While the brownies were baking in the oven, Savannah read the directions for the cookies and put the dough on the cookie sheet: 

Savannah finished reading her third chapter book.
It took her 7 days to read the book!

Every year, Tal is excited when he gets a $100 bill as a Christmas gift from his employer:

After eating a popsicle, Hadley thought it was hilarious when she put her cold hands on my feet. I pretended to be annoyed, which made Hadley giggle even more!