December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!!

Here's hoping all my friends and family members have the best and the happiest of New Years! Thanks so much for all of your support in 2009 - I can't wait to see what 2010 brings.

Do you remember our blessings jar that we started to countdown Christmas? Tonight, we'll be reading our blessings. We kept them secret from one another (minus Josie who needed a little help with the writing part).

I can't wait to hear what each of us wrote down that we were thankful for. It's so easy to get caught up on Nana's health issues and Chris's job change, but we are truly blessed and it's been an amazing year of growth for our family.

We'll also be spending our New Year's eve tucked inside our house playing board games. Josie is currently addicted to Candyland and Hi Ho Cherry-O. Harry Potter Clue is also pretty fun.

Chris and and I also have a tradition of making a few of our favorite tapas from our favorite grown-up restaurant (Spanish tortellini, potato empandas, baked goat cheese in tomato sauce, and chicken skewers with cumin mayonnaise). The girls will be dining on pizza rolls, pretzels with cheese, turkey/cream cheese roll-ups, veggies and dip, and left over Christmas cookies.

Because I'm in LOVE with my fan-shaped plates, I think this year's table might take on a Chinese flare.

I wish you all the best for a fantastic New Year.

December 30, 2009

Almost Wordless Wednesday...

This was the week for dentist appointments. Look who had her first cleaning and without a single TEAR!!

December 28, 2009

Kim's Favorite Cheese Dip & New Year's Eve Party Favors

I haven't forgotten my promise for the drop noodle soup recipe, but in the mean time, here's my favorite jalapeno cheddar dip just in case any of you need something for New Year's eve. The recipe is featured at one of our favorite local restaurants and comes with warmed pretzels. It's great with crackers too.

The recipe makes quite a bit, so feel free to do the math and cut it in half.

3 LB Cheddar (shredded)
3 LB Cream Cheese (I used the lite version and it's fine)
2 Tbs Garlic powder
2 Tbs Onion powder
2 Tbs White pepper
1/2 cup Jalapenos
2 cups Jalapeno Juice
2 Tbs Parsley flakes

Combine all ingredients in a chopper until smooth. Keep in refrigerator. Serve with pretzels or crackers. Yummy!!

Although our New Year's eve is quite tame (board games, our favorite appetizers, and maybe a DVD), I love to bust out the party hats and horns. I went to our local Dollar Tree store in search of discounted Christmas garland and party supplies.

For our festive party hats, I took discounted Christmas garland, measured it to the length of the headband and secured it with scotch tape and staples to give it a bit more glam.

For our party horns, I took star wire garland (found in the birthday aisle), secured one end with tape, wound it around the horn, taped and cut it to length. I then took the same gold Christmas garland that we used on our party hats and taped it around the inside of the horn.

Josie then helped me scoop 3-hole paper punch confetti into clear bags. I know. It's going to be messy, but it's only New Year's eve one night a year!!

Happy soon-to-be 2010!!

Soup's On!

As a follow-up to Monday morning's post, I had a glorious morning of shopping all by MYSELF. I used my gift certificate (and coupon) and found a new wool coat (including, scarf, gloves and a new purse). Who would have thought fuchsia would end up being the color of choice? Ignore the glasses. I need to order more contacts and I'm feeling self-conscious.

I also found all kinds of things at Dollar Tree to recycle into New Year's Eve crafts (stay tuned for more on this).

Best of all, my favorite little chef's prepared a delightful drop noodle chicken soup.

I need to get Chris to help me compose an "actual" 'recipe of his grandmother's drop noodle soup. I promise to try.

It was an all around perfect kind of Monday. Did I mention I'm on Christmas break from work? That certainly helps...hee hee.

Monday Anticipations!!!

I've got an early dentist appointment and then I'm treating myself to a little shopping for a new wool winter coat. I have a gift card burning a hole in my wallet and a 20% coupon. Shopping for myself without the girls...PRICELESS!! After that, I'm heading to Dollar Tree to see what New Year Eve's items they have that I can repurpose into crafts for the girls. To top it off, Chris has promised to make his grandmother's drop noodle soup this afternoon.

It's going to be a good Monday!! I love Christmas break and being off from work...sigh...

December 27, 2009

Sunday Snapshot

We're heading to church for a wrestling match with Miss Josie. The snow is just beautiful this morning.

December 25, 2009

Just thought you should know...

If you collect Asian-themed Christmas ornaments, World Market had a wonderful assortment marked down to 50% prior to Christmas.

I can only imagine the markdowns now that Christmas is over. I scooped up all I could find earlier this week (a Christmas present to myself) for our Asian tree.

I'll be leaving up our Asian tree through Chinese New Year in our sunroom.

I still can't believe Christmas is over. It was lovely.

Josie was so excited to open gifts this year with her big sister. Even better, she got to open MORE gifts later in the day at my parents new house. Where on earth am I going to put all these toys?

I'm looking forward to staying HOME the rest of the weekend. After all our traveling this last week, I'm ready to get cozy in our own house. Bring on the toys! Bring on the Christmas cookies and hot chocolate (thanks Aunt Marion & Aunt Jean). Bring on the movies and popcorn!! Heck, bring on another snow storm!!

December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

May all of your Christmas dreams come true.
Peace, Love and Joy to you and your family!

Merry Christmas from the Kenward Family.

December 22, 2009

Home Sweet Home...

We’re back home from visiting Nana in the nursing home the last few days across the state. She’s aged so much. I don’t want to sound pessimistic, but she doesn’t resemble the strong lady we all knew and it breaks my heart to see her this way. She's made progress, but she has quite a bit of PT/OT therapy ahead of her before she can have her heart surgery. We all look forward to the day that she can return to her home again.

On Thursday, Chris is taking the girls to the Princess and the Frog movie so that I can have a power wrapping session.

Being pressed for time (I've never been this so behind with wrapping and it's driving me crazy), I’m going to use different wrapping paper for Emma and another style of wrapping paper for Josie, so that I don’t have to worry about tags too. Sounds lazy, but it should also cut down on confusion when Josie opens up gifts this year. Last year, she only had one hand and we had to help her open all her gifts. This year should be much different and I can't wait!!

I hope that everyone has a blessed and safe holiday. Here are a few pictures of the girls modeling their Christmas dresses. These were taken a few weeks ago prior to Emma's new bang-styled haircut.

We'll be attending the 5pm Children's mass Christmas eve. Don't they look cute? I promise they will wear cardigan sweaters, tights and appropriate footwear. Josie was going for the bare look on the night I took these pictures.

I'm also ignoring how grown-up Emma looks in her dress.

I'm soooooooo looking forward to hearing giggles and squeals Christmas morning.

December 21, 2009

Boredom Busters

Chris's mom is now in a rehabilitation center in Ann Arbor and we'll be spending the next few days across the state visiting. I have a feeling our kitty is nesting in her favorite spot while we're gone...the Christmas tree skirt.

Here are a couple of suggestions for Christmas break boredom buster ideas. I'm recycling the handprint Christmas tree from last year.

Last year before Josie underwent her corrective hand surgery, I wanted to find a way to preserve her extra thumb in a picture and remembered a craft that we used to do in elementary school. This cute little Christmas tree is crafted out of handprints. You'll need green construction paper, scissors, glue, a pen for tracing, sequins, markers or buttons for decorating the tree. I also used brown construction for the tree trunk and yellow construction paper for the star on top of the tree.

Step 1. First, I traced the girl's hands. I even included my hands and Chris's hands in this project. You will need ten hands for this handprint Christmas tree.

Step 2. After I traced the hands, Emma and I then cut out the hands. Notice Josie's extra thumb in this tracing.
Step 3. We began assembling the tree. We glued together four hands for the bottom of the tree. On top of that we glued three more and continued working our way up to the top of the tree.

Step 4. I then added a trunk to the bottom of the tree and a star on the top.

Step 5. You can decorate your tree with all sorts of items (buttons, sequins, paper hole punches, stickers..etc).

This project is such a fun an easy craft, you could actually make several different trees to share with friends and family.

Another fun idea are these reindeer cookies that I saw online. Aren't they cute? I thought it would be fun to put these together with the girls when we get home.

Reality tells me we won't have time to do this because I haven't wrapped a SINGLE gift. It's going to be quite a bit of last minute preparations upon our return home. Anyone else feel alittle bit behind with Christmas preparations this year?

December 18, 2009

Last minute gift idea...layered hot cocoa

Emma gave these layered homemade hot cocoa mixes to her girlfriends as Christmas gifts.

They turned out very cute and were simple to put together. They'd make great gifts to include with a plate of Christmas cookies or chocolate covered pretzels.

1/2 cup cocoa mix
2 (6- by 12-inch) cone-shaped cellophane bags (I picked up my bags at Hobby Lobby)
Scotch tape
Ribbon & gift tags
1/4 cup chocolate chips
3/4 cup mini marshmallows or white chocolate chips
Crushed candy cane chunks

1. Pour cocoa mix into one of the bags. Trim the bag so that there is roughly two inches, fold and tape.

2. Place the cocoa-filled bag into the second bag and flatten its top so the end doesn’t stick up. This will prevent the cocoa from mixing with the other layers.

3. Layer the chocolate chips and/or marshmallows, then top with crushed peppermint candy canes. Secure the bag with a holiday ribbon and tag.

Joyful holiday spirits to you ALL!