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Archive for December, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Thoughtfully penned on December 22nd, 2007 and generally concerning Christmas Time, Sidetrack'd
From the Sidetrack’d house to your house:
We wish you Merry Christmas and a very happy and blessed New Year!

I will probably be pretty scarce the next week or so as we celebrate the holidays and enjoy Matt’s week off of work.

Welcome little nephew

Thoughtfully penned on December 20th, 2007 and generally concerning Family

I’m pleased to announce that I am once again proud aunt to an adorable nephew. My sweet sister-in-law Lu and new baby Grayson are both doing well. She will probably be out of the blogging loop for a bit, but I’m sure she would appreciate any well wishes and congratulations you might like to leave at her place.

Little is the only girl grandchild on either side of the family and then with Boo coming in a few months she will really be outnumbered. I don’t know if this is a good thing or not. Hopefully, one day we will add a few more girls (either in our immediate family or nieces), but right now we are happy surrounded by the boys.

So today the Sidetrack’d family celebrates our new nephew and cousin and praises God that he and his Mommy are healthy and happy! Thanks for allowing me to brag a bit. :-)

Checking in on Boo

Thoughtfully penned on December 18th, 2007 and generally concerning J, Pregnancy

Yesterday I went for my 22 week doctor visit and a second ultrasound. The first ultrasound (4 weeks ago) didn’t reveal any problems, but due to the way our stubborn boy was laying the technician couldn’t get a couple of readings/measurements that they needed.

This time around she was able to get the readings she needed on the heart and cord, but the boy had his hands over his face the entire time which was giving the technician trouble because she needed to get the measurement they do of the nasal bone (or nasal opening or whatever with the nose). His sister was like this as well – hands up by her face during the ultrasound, never in the position they expected for finding the heartbeat, moving around as they looked for her heartbeat – so I’m wondering if they will both be strong-willed outside of the womb or if my children are just the type who like to suck their thumbs and be left alone.

Anyway, once again everything was good. The little guy weighs in at a 15 ounces and has a nice strong heart rate. We were able to get a couple of pictures from the ultrasound this time and he has his hand on his head like “argh, it’s been a rough day”. It is so neat to have this type of technology available so we can “see” them before we actually get to meet them.

I am feeling good but tired at this point. Everything seems to be going along happy and healthy with this pregnancy; a blessing indeed. It seems like these weeks have flown by, and we have some things we really need to get started on after Christmas – buying boy things, creating a boy room, painting, etc.

I would love to share an ultrasound pic with you, but, alas, we don’t yet have a scanner (I know, I know, my hubby is an IT guy, what are we thinking?! :-)); so, I will leave you with a picture of Mommy and Boo at 22.5 weeks.


Oh my, these are yummy!

Thoughtfully penned on December 17th, 2007 and generally concerning Christmas Time, Good Eats, In the kitchen

I’ve spent most of the last few days up to my eyeballs in flour, sugar, and various other things associated with cooking. My kitchen spent the weekend covered in a fine layer of flour, cinnamon, and powdered sugar. I honestly believe that between Thursday and Sunday I used every single baking utensil (mixing bowls, measuring cups and spoons, etc) in my kitchen at least once and many of them multiple times. My Kitchenaid stand mixer is probably very grateful that it has been able to hang out in its cabinet all day long today.

On Thursday I embarked on a new kitchen adventure when I decided to try making homemade cinnamon rolls. I found a recipe at The Pioneer Woman Cooks a while back and have been planning to make them as part of the Christmas cooking. My original intention was to make enough to give as gifts but thought I should make enough to for us to try them out before I inflicted them on our unsuspecting friends. Let me just tell you, these things were amazing!

It took about three hours total (work and rise time) and made a huge mess, but when Matt, my cinnamon-roll-critic in residence, said how good they were I knew it was worth it. Unfortunately, due to time constraints, my unsuspecting friends will have to wait until another time to try them. The original recipe yields about 70 cinnamon rolls; I made 1/4 of the recipe and had 18 rolls, a pan-full perfect for weekend breakfasts.

These rolls are melt-in-your-mouth, slap-your-momma (figuratively, of course) good! They are not, by any means, low in calories, but, come on, it is Christmas time.

Chex Mix – beware

Thoughtfully penned on December 13th, 2007 and generally concerning Christmas Time, Good Eats, In the kitchen, Sidetrack'd

Here we are on batch number 5 – or is it 6…I’ve already lost count – of Chex mix. In the event that you are planning to make this at any point in your life, let me give you a couple of things to keep in mind:

1. There are directions on the box (usually) for cooking in the microwave. They fail to address the fact that if you cook it in a plastic bowl you will probably be eating plastic in addition to the Chex. Lesson learned last year when it burned a hole in the bottom of my Tupperware bowl.

2. Honey roasted peanuts sound like a great addition – just be sure you add them after the mix is removed from the oven. Baking honey roasted peanuts for an hour (even at low heat) causes the sugar to burn. Burnt honey roasted peanuts are not the flavor you’re going for.

3. This stuff is addictive. Thus the 4 (or 5) batches consumed over the last week or so by three people (one of whom is under three feet tall). Also the reason I can only make it during the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Years.

Hope your enjoying your Christmas goodies as much as we are!

Tree trimming party

Thoughtfully penned on December 10th, 2007 and generally concerning Christmas Time, E, Of games and good things

I’m not sure it is accurate to refer to it as a party when only two people were involved, but we did get our Christmas tree up and decorated on Saturday. Friday night Matt, Little, and I ventured into the wilds of Target and purchased a new tree (yay! I wasn’t expecting a new tree this year). On Saturday, after I returned from my cookie swap and Little went down for a nap, Matt retrieved the Christmas decor boxes from the attic and we set to work.

Now, I don’t know about you, but for me the actual trimming of the tree is not my favorite part of the holiday season. For some reason it stresses me out a bit – all of that branch fluffing, and stand leveling, and ornament placement – I love to look at the tree once it is decorated, but actually getting to that point, not my cup of tea. Those couple of hours each year are not the “hap-happiest season of all” in these parts, but we survive and move on. :-)

The best thing about decorating the tree and mantle this year was seeing Little’s reaction when she woke from her nap; she looked at the tree and stockings in wonder and amazement. We spent most of the remainder of the day telling her to “look don’t touch” the tree, but watching her discover this new thing and be amazed by the lights and “bah”s (anything round enough to resemble a ball) was just one more neat step in this parenting journey.

It feels like Christmas around here now. Just don’t tell the weather, I enjoying the warmer days.

Tis the season(ing)

Thoughtfully penned on December 8th, 2007 and generally concerning childhood, Christmas Time, Good Eats, Legacy

This time of year brings out the cook or baker in many of us. I enjoy cooking throughout the year (time permitting), but there is something about baking at Christmastime that is special. It is fun to pull out those special recipes that only see the light of day during the holiday season.

I have childhood (and teenage, and college age) memories of making Christmas goodies with my mom. We would drag out all the ingredients, and just about every mixing bowl and spoon in the kitchen, and set up shop at the kitchen table. When I was young we baked cookies and made candy, but as time progressed we moved away from baking and more into candy. There was always fudge for the fridge (2 pans – with pecans for dad & mom and without for my brother & me), and usually some combination of butterscotch haystacks, chocolate and peppermint “bark”, and white and milk chocolate covered pretzels. Other things came and went depending on the year, but these were the usual suspects. I continued to make chocolate chip cookies, and we made the occasional snickerdoodle or sugar cookie.

My own Christmas cooking focuses more on baked goods, although I might make some refrigerator fudge this year. During last week I’ve made two batches of chocolate chip cookies, two loaves of homemade bread (I make this year round), and two batches of Chex Mix. This weekend will see two recipes of homemade biscuits and, possibly, the first of the cranberry bread. The next couple of weeks should produce several batches of cranberry bread, a pound cake with caramel icing, and, hopefully, some homemade cinnamon rolls. Oh, and untold quantities of homemade Chex Mix. Add in the things I’ll make for the Christmas party we’re hosting next Sunday and our own Christmas meals (hmm…guess I better think about what we’ll eat since we’ll be home this year), and I have quite a bit of cooking to do!

There is just something about the holidays that brings out the most flavorful side of me! :-)

A Christmas meme

Thoughtfully penned on December 6th, 2007 and generally concerning Christmas Time, Meme, Sidetrack'd

I saw this meme at Lauren’s and thought it would be a fun one for the holidays.

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? most of the time wrapping paper, but sometimes I’ll use gift bags for oddly shaped gifts or if I’m being lazy
2. Real tree or artificial? artificial
3. When do you put up the tree? usually the weekend after Thanksgiving, this year, well, it remains to be seen
4. When do you take the tree down? New Year’s eve or day
5. Do you like eggnog? yes
6. Favorite gift received as a child? probably my Cabbage Patch Kids
7. Do you have a nativity scene? no
8. Hardest person to buy for? my dad or brother
9. Easiest person to buy for? Little
10. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? I really can’t think of one
11. Mail or email Christmas cards? mail (if I remember to send them)
12. Favorite Christmas Movie? I don’t really have one
13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? I start thinking about it in September, but usually don’t buy my first gift until late October or early November
14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? white elephant gifts, definitely
15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? I just enjoy eating, especially holiday foods
16. Clear lights or colored on the tree? clear, on all 3 or 4 trees
17. Favorite Christmas song? I can’t pick a single favorite song, so let’s go albums here – Sufjan Stevens’s Songs for Christmas
18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? this will be the first year we don’t travel until after Christmas day
19. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer? probably, although I haven’t tried recently
20. Angel on the tree top or a star? star
21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? often both – just whenever
22. Most annoying thing about this time of year? the focus on consumerism
23. What I love most about Christmas? time with family, decorations, music – I just love the Christmas season

If you decide to play along let me know so I can check out your answers.

The reason for this season

Thoughtfully penned on December 5th, 2007 and generally concerning Christmas Time, Learning for a lifetime, The Glory of God

Yesterday I was reading Steph’s post titled Thanks for Sharing and it reminded me of something I heard Sunday evening at our Life Group meeting.

At the beginning of our meeting time we include the children as we sing worship songs and ask a couple of questions. This week’s question was, “What is your favorite tradition this time of year?” One of the girls raised her hand and answered something to this effect (I really wish I could quote her exactly, but the phrasing has slipped my mind):

“My favorite thing is gifts and wrapping the gifts, but even if there are no gifts the most important thing to remember is the real gift, the reason we have Christmas, that baby Jesus came, and that is the most important gift.”

Advent perspective from the mouth of a 6 year old; a reminder we can all use this time of year.

Christmas attire

Thoughtfully penned on December 5th, 2007 and generally concerning Christmas Time, Sidetrack'd

If you visit Sidetrack’d to read posts you probably noticed my new Christmas attire this week.  A very big “Thank You” to my wonderful and gorgeous web-designer Matt for decking the Sidetrack’d halls.

If you usually read Sidetrack’d through a reader, stop by sometime and check out the new holiday look.