Sunday, January 11, 2015

Easy Cherry Pie

Let's see-I've had this recipe sitting in queue since July and still haven't posted about it. No better time than today right?!

We love taking the kids out to pick fruit in the summer....strawberries, raspberries and cherries. The problem?  You have so much fruit that you don't know what to do with! Yes, my kids eat a ton, but when you pick numerous pounds of stuff, they only last for so long before going bad.  So when we went cherry picking over the summer, I knew I had to figure out something to do with some of it.

I decided to make my first ever cherry pie.  And it turned out pretty darn good! I'm sure I'll be making it again next year when we go cherry picking!

Cherry Pie
 5 cups cherries, pitted
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
pie crusts (either homemade or store bought)

1. Add cherries, sugar, and cornstarch to a pan and stir to combine. 
2. Heat mixture until sauce thickens (I honestly don't remember how long it took since it was 6mos ago!)
3. Pour into pie crusts and bake at 350 until crusts start to brown (again I have no clue how long!).
(Notes: I "cheated" and used store bought crusts. I've never made one from scratch and I think the store bought ones are just as good. The only issue I came across is that my cherry pitter left a ton of seeds in the filling. Luckily just our family ate the pie so it wasn't so bad that we were spitting out pits, but it's not something you want in your pie either!)

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Xmas Recap

Here we are...the last night of winter break. Tomorrow we get back into our routine of being up early every day and Avery heading back to school.

It's been 2 full weeks of family, friends, parties, and just soaking up our time together. That's what it's all about right?!

So, here's a recap of our holiday break!

Of course there was cookie making! I made 3 kinds this year. The kids love doing the cut out cookies. Both girls helped me roll and cut them and Avery helped me frost and decorate one day while Cassie napped.
A quick shot of our mantle:
I took vacation days on Dec. 23rd and 24th (I'm amazed we were even open on Christmas Eve). The girls went to daycare on the 23rd and I had a day to get things done. I went to the gym in the morning, ran a few errands and did all of the wrapping we had-took me a good 3 hours to finish it all!

The weather here was very atypical for this time of year. Christmas Eve day it was in the upper 50s! It's very strange having a Christmas without snow! It's the one day a year I don't mind it and we didn't have any this year!

On Christmas Eve we were all up and ready to hit the road. We always spend Christmas Eve at my Mom's in Buffalo. Before we hit the road, the girls had to put out their cookies for Santa and the reindeer food since we usually get home very late.



Then we drove to my Mom's!
Mom's tree
We took a few photos before people started coming over.....

Mom and the girls
....and we ended up doing gifts with each other right away. We had family coming for dinner and we had no idea who else was stopping by, so we decided to get it out of the way. The girls were all about the gifts!
First present!!
My friend Renee and her little one, Sabrina stopped over to visit!
Sabrina
The girls just love her and can't get enough of her!
Cassie, Sabrina, Avery
My Aunt and Uncle also stopped by for a short visit. Then our cousins came over for dinner.
Cassie and Eddie
After dinner (while we digested), it was more presents with the cousins!
Taylor and Avery

Cassie and Eddie
And a few more photos before they left!
Taylor, Eddie, Rachel, Eddie

Cassie, Rachel, Me, Mom, Aunt Pat, Avery, Taylor
We left my Mom's around 8 or so to drive home. The kids were so wound up that they didn't fall asleep. We finally got them to bed and went to bed shortly after.

Then, it was Christmas Day!
Santa came!!
Avery let us sleep until around 8:30 and we waited upstairs for Cassie to get up around 9. Then of course we had to open presents right away! They went for their stockings first!
Avery

Cassie-no idea what that face is!

My little cuties
After opening, we had breakfast and then just relaxed and played with all of their new stuff. After Cassie's nap, it was time to head to the in-laws' house for dinner!
Ready to eat!
We had to wake Cassie from her nap and she was downright miserable. She refused to get into her dress and was quite a pill for awhile. She finally warmed up a bit.
Avery and Cassie
We had a very good dinner and then opened presents.
Cassie with her Anna hat

Bianca and Owen

Cassie
Friday was a pretty lazy day. We all had off and just hung out at home playing with all of the new toys!

On Saturday, my Dad and Colleen came out for our Christmas dinner. We had a really nice visit with them!
Dad, Colleen and the girls
Sunday was another family party for the extended family at Gabe's parents' house. Then Monday was Gabe's birthday!  Gabe and I worked pretty much a normal week so we had a little bit of a routine last week. I'm ready for us to be back on a schedule though. We all enjoyed staying up late and sleeping in late, but we're ready to get back to normal too. It definitely was a nice break and a very nice holiday. It's amazing how fast it goes though. I think the anticipation is almost better than the day itself!  Avery was pretty bummed that it was all over too. We took down the tree and decorations on New Years Day so it feels a lot less cluttered in here. Now I just need a food detox! Hahaha! Hope you all had a wonderful holiday! Here's to a great 2015!! 

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Calm Before the Storm

Here we are.....Christmas Eve Eve. Or as the book is called, "The Night Before The Night Before Christmas".

The shopping is done.

The baking is done.

The wrapping was done today.

It's the calm before the storm that hits tomorrow morning.  48 hours of mass chaos.

And I can't wait!

Tomorrow we hit the ground running spending the day at my Mom's. Then we're back home for Santa's visit and over to my in-laws' after.

The kids are stoked.  I am stoked.

I love reliving Christmas through their eyes. It's a feeling you can't describe until you experience it yourself.

I'll be soaking up the next 48 hours.....family, friends, food, gifts. It's all good.

Enjoy your holiday magic everyone!  See you after the chaos!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Gearing Up

We've been busy these days gearing up for the holidays. Our weekends are filled with parties, family and friends.

This might be the last post for a few weeks for me here. We have our annual holiday party at our house next weekend and I have nothing really ready for it yet. I also picked up a shift at work this week so my "free" time is quite limited. Whatever time I have it'll be spent baking, cooking, and cleaning for the party.  After the party, we have about 5 days until Christmas. Wrapping presents hasn't begun yet so that'll be a big chore after next weekend. And I would like to take the kids to see some lights in the area at some point before then too. The list this time of year just never ends. Throw into the mix the fact that all of us have been sick with some sort of cold or something for the past 10 days as well. I just want it out of here very soon!

Anyways, in preparation, we've done a few things....

Garden Factory

We go every year for Christmas time. We do the rides, buy poinsettias and see Santa. The latter of the 3 didn't happen this year because my kids have zero interest in seeing the big man. ZERO.
Ready to shop

Daddy and Avery on the slide!

Mommy and Avery on the slide
This is my favorite picture we've taken recently. I have no idea what Avery is doing-is she protecting her little sister or trying to beat the crap out of her? Hmmmm

Avery and Cassie on the train

Ferris wheel!
Cassie has these cute holiday outfits that my Dad bought her but she refuses to wear them for some reason. Probably because all she wears lately are dresses-that's it! But somehow I convinced her to wear it and it's so stinkin' cute!
The girls and I went into the light show there. It was Cassandra's first time joining us. As soon as it was over, she screamed "AGAIN!" I think she liked it!

Houses

My Dad and Colleen brought the girls some gingerbread houses last week and they were chomping at the bit to do them. We assembled them on Friday night and let them dry overnight. Then last Saturday they decorated! They really enjoyed it this year! Of course they ate more candy than you can imagine, but I guess that's part of it right?! So you're missing a few jewels on your roof! It's all good!


Avery's house

Cassie's house
Tree

We had everyone and anyone with us to get our tree this year. Typically Gabe's Dad takes us so that we can use their van to haul it home. My Mom had slept over Saturday night, so she came with us. And Gabe's Mom came along too. So we had quite the party there to pick out our tree. And again, I think this tree was the first one we looked at, which tends to happen almost every year. We always have to take it to the candy cane to make sure it's big enough!
Typically I take a lot more photos at the tree place. They have a living nativity, etc. But things got cut short this year when a donkey decided to bite the living hell chomp on Cassandra's hand. The biting happened as soon as she went up to the animals so we didn't stay long at all.

After Cassandra's nap, we did the lights on the tree and started hanging ornaments. The kids really enjoyed it!

Voila!
If I don't make it back on here, I wish you all a very happy holiday! Enjoy the time spent with family and friends, as that's what really matters. And take a step back and enjoy the magic of it all. It's the most wonderful time of year!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Thanksgiving-finally!

Life around here has been crazy. It's December 10th-yes, only 2 weeks from Christmas. This time of year is just so hectic with Thanksgiving and then Christmas and all of the preparation in between.

I honestly haven't had time to look at my blog at all so I'll probably do a few quick catch up posts and who knows when I'll check in again. We have our holiday party next weekend and I'm feeling the pressure of having nothing ready for it.  Well, besides being decorated!!

Anyways, we had a great Thanksgiving.

We started our day with our tradition of cinnamon rolls and fruit followed by watching the Macy's parade. Although this year we didn't watch much due to some poor behavior by the little ones.

After Cassie's nap, we headed to my in-laws' house for Thanksgiving dinner. 
Avery

The best pic we could manage

Avery and Owen
We had the usual crew-us, my in-laws', my sister-in-law and her family, my Mom and Aunt. We also had another Aunt and cousin join us this year and my SIL's in-laws also came. The food was great, the company was great (as always). We had a really wonderful evening!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Happy 7th Birthday Bianca!

Our niece's birthday was recently and we've had a few parties to celebrate!

On her birthday (the 14th), Gabe's whole family (parents, sister, etc) went with us to a spaghetti dinner that our girls' daycare was holding. We met at our house, drove there and had dinner and then came back to our house for the celebration.

Of course there were presents:
and a yummy ice cream cake:



The kids had a great time playing awhile after too!

Then this past weekend was Bianca's friend party at one of those indoor bounce places. They had a lot of free time to run around and play and then they did a few organized games....hide and seek, tug of war, and the huge parachute!


Then we went to the party room for pizza, cake and presents!
Cassie and Avery

We stayed for awhile longer and let the kids play some more and it was quite the chore getting them to leave! They were having too much fun!

Happy 7th Birthday Bianca! We hope you enjoyed your special days!!