Saturday, December 27, 2008

Santa's Helpers

Santa's helpers went straight to work at 9pm and were done before midnight.
JM & Jason are efficient at putting trampolines together!

next on our list is to move the trampoline so it's NOT the first thing you see

as you pull into our driveway.

1 thing at a time! :)
and this is how she helped!
she's so peaceful & laid back . . .
most of the time.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Skammers in their Jammers

We've had a nice & relaxing day with family.
The four of us are still in our jammers.
We've celebrated, prayed, eaten, opened packages, reflected, eaten, jumped, napped, played, laughed . . . loved!
Merry Christmas . . .

and HOPPY New Year!

Monday, December 22, 2008

my new best friends

Meet my New Best Friends

and I'm feeling better!

early Christmas present

JM & I received our Christmas Present to each other a little early. After all we need to get used to it some before Thursday! So here are the first pictures taken with our new camera. Everyone advised us we couldn't go wrong with a Rebel. Be forgiving ... I am not a photographer! I was just "getting to know" our gift! so i used it to capture some ... just a few of my favorite things. (mainly ornaments)

Roxie, Rox, Roxinator

Have you tasted these? WOW! Wish I could make a quick trip to get some more! These were a gift and what a YUMMY gift!

jacob spent hours yesterday working with his new legos. i LOVE legos! i LOVE jacob!

my all time favorite ornament! seriously i LOVE this one and am so thrilled pat was willing to part with it!! do you now see how ben ben got so cute?! the boys love this ornament as well!

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas Brunch Menu

since i am home today (i feel close to fine but don't have much of a voice), i thought i would finalize our christmas brunch menu. it's one of my favorite meals to prepare! i also thought i'd share 2 of the recipes.

Mini Sausage & Cheese Biscuits
1 lb sausage cooked & drained
2 oz bricks cream cheese softened
1 cup (or more ;) ) finely grated cheddar cheese (i use sharp)
1 4pk 10 each biscuits
Mix sausages & cheeses together. Cut each biscuit in half. Put mixture in middle.
Pinch biscuit dough together to form ball. You can do the whole biscuit as well.
I made them mini to be bite size. Bake according to the biscuit directions. YUMMY!

Baked Oatmeal
1 cup coconut or canola oil
2 cups sugar (or maple syrup, or agave)
4 eggs
6 cups regular oatmeal
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp salt
2 cups milk
2 tsp vanilla
6 cups fresh diced or sliced (or 2 big cans) peaches, plums, pears, cherries or combo
ours will be cranberries and granny smith apples
combine oil, sugar, & eggs.
add oatmeal, baking powder, salt, milk, & vanilla
add fruit & mix gently
pour into prepared greased pan and bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes.
JM's Amazing Omlets
Lemon Puffs
(these aren't Christmasy at all but were requested)
Cranberry Scones
Gingerbread Coffee from TRADER JOES!
Grandparents get your taste buds ready!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

On My Mind

this has been a crazy week filled with many ups & downs!
and i'm glad for the weekend!

monday we started christmas shopping ~ we are only lacking jammer bottoms for the boys

tuesday was a wonderful day for the boys and i'm extremely thankful! ~ it was the day jacob came home & said "today, ben & i are going to play without any fighting or arguing." i was skeptical but pleasantly surprised!

wednesday jacob lost his second tooth, ben had his christmas program at preschool

thursday jacob had a field trip to the new art museum

friday we went to downtown roanoke with friends

friday we also heard the sad news about papaw & memaw's nestley. ~ their sweet 15 year old
chocolate lab died yesterday morning. we will be telling the boys today and would love your prayers for the grandchildren as well as for memaw & papaw. we decided last night was not the time to tell them as they were already drained & tired from the week and from the evening.

look at the pure joy in little 2 year old jacob's face!

i'm also thankful that in the last year ben too has warmed up to her & loves nestley.
earlier this week i heard jacob tell our roxie that she is his 2nd favorite dog.
nestley ranks high with jacob!
ben's teacher's 17 year old son is in the hospital for dehydration & elevated enzymes
little connor man is also in the hospital for breathing issues
so there's a glimpse of the variety of things i have on my mind! i am thrilled for the weekend and in jacob's words "all the family movie nights we can have because we're on break"!
popcorn, pizza, jammers, movies, cuddles, family
here we come!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Polka Dot Personal Presents

if you know me, even just a little, you know how much i LOVE polka dots & letters! i put them both together to create a yummy, Christmas treat for friends & teachers too. these are great because you can mass produce them yet still make them personal.

I love the Classic Sugar Cookie recipe from Southern Living at Home's Incredible Cookies.
1 cup butter or margerine softened
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt

Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer 2 minutes or until creamy. Gradually add sugar, beating well. Add egg & vanilla, beating well. Gradually add flour & salt, beating well until blended. Divide dough in half. Cover and chill 1 hour.

Roll each portion of dough to 1/4 inch thickness on a lightly floured surface. Cut with desired cookie cutters...I choose LETTERS! Place on lightly greased baking sheets.

Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes or until edges of cookies are lightly browned. Cool cookies 1 minute on baking sheets. Remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Now for the amazing glaze to spread on the tops of the polka dot initial cookies:

You need

1 16 oz package powdered sugar
6 T warm water
Stir together. Place in shallow bowls for dipping.

Red Hots & M&Ms make great polka dots for the initials!

Gather a stack of one letter, wrap in cellophane, & tie with ribbon. Your personalized gift is ready to give! Place them inside a glass jar for a festive presentation.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Christmas is...

Have you seen this book?! I love it and so do our boys. It takes many of the Christmas Symbols and explains how it ties in with the birth of Jesus. (tree, bell, star, wreath, candle, present, etc. I even read to my 3 year old preschoolers this week. It's a little long for them but it was easy to "shorten".
There are also a few children in my class that do not seem to have any type of Christian Influence at home. There is never any mention of church and all of our weekly Bible Stories seem very new to them. a Christmas Gift for the children to take home to their parents we are making our own abbreviated version of this cute book. Each day we are using one of the symbols mentioned and creating our art with that. For example, we covered a bell pattern with tissue paper, used painted peppers & carrots to create a wreath, sponge painted a present pattern, and used the children's finger prints to decorate a Christmas Tree pattern. Each page has simple scripture to tell how the symbols relate. We will bind them all together with ribbon and wrap for the children to give to their parents.
The children are so excited to make their own book and some of them may even be able to "read" it. (it's that simply done) Jesus will be honored through it too!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Christmas Munchies

This is another favorite recipe of the SkamFam's
Cranberry Salsa with "Tree Chips"
I got this recipe about 3 years ago from a magazine
and have been using it every Christmas since.
It is a yummy gift to share or works well to take to a gathering for an appetizer or snack.
It provides a pretty display at a party and presents itself well as a gift.

1 12oz bag fresh or frozen cranberries (no need to thaw)
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and cut into eighths
½ red pepper, cut into large chunks
½ medium red onion cut in large chunks
¾ cup sugar
1/3 cup apple juice
3 T chopped fresh cilantro
2 T chopped pickled jalapeno pepper
1 tsp grated lime zest

1 pkg spinach tortillas

Put cranberries, apple, red pepper, & onion in food processor. Pulse until chopped. Transfer to a large glass bowl. Stir in remaining ingredients until blended. Cover & refrigerate or spoon into jars for gift giving.
Heat oven to 375. Using a 3 inch tree shape cookie cutter cut trees from each tortilla. Place on ungreased baking sheet and bake 8 minutes or until crisp. Remove to a wire a rack to cool completely.
Serve or give with salsa.

(it looks especially cute in a glass jar with a ribbon tied around it.)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Christmas Scents

Here is idea #1 for making gifts for others all while spending time together.
For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ. 2 Corinthians 2:15

We actually recieved this gift from our sweet friends the hymans last year.
I've thought about it all year and couldn't wait to pass along to more friends this year.

All you need is:

1 orange & 1 lemon

4 cinnamon sticks

6 bay leaves

a handful of cloves

Place in a bag with these directions:

cut fruit into quarters, and place in a pan with water and spices.

We've made them for teachers, neighbors, & co-workers

in hopes that they too will enjoy the joy of the season.

It's also been fun getting the boys in on the making & giving action.

As most of you know, I'm all about homemade gifts and would absolutely LOVE more ideas!

So if you have some, please share them!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Advent Creativity!

Have you seen the Advent Conspiracy video this year? For me, it has taken significant meaning. Taking two of my favorite things: creating things and Christmas, and joining them together to give a little Christmas cheer is a great idea!

And (another one of my favorite things), through this blog, I'd like to offer some ideas for you to share or create for this Christmas season.

For the next couple weeks in this Advent season, I'll be posting some ideas for you to take part in an advent conspiracy of your own. Feel free to give more suggestions ... and if you'd like to get together to create some of these with me, let's enjoy each others "presence"!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

the newest skamfam addition

when we got home, Dadu had all of this waiting for us!
Ben decided to try it out for size.
at 3:30 we went to pick up our little girl
the boys quickly gave her a bath...she stunk!
we even had to roll the windows down in the 50 degree weather for the ride home
she cried herself to sleep
but is sleeping for now
oh and we're keeping the name "roxie"

Monday, December 1, 2008

...puppy dog tails?

meet Roxie
actually her name is Roxanne but the boys instantly called her Roxie
the family fell in love
even BEN!

those who know Ben know he is VERY timid around dogs
he QUICKLY warmed up to this little girl!
Jacob has wanted a dog since he could say "dog dog".

mommy needs a little girl!
but only if JM isn't allergic
so once we figure that out maybe we can bring a little more meaning to the phrase
"snips, snails, & puppy dog tails"!