Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Christmas Traditions

Happy Wednesday, friends!  Can you believe that Christmas Eve is a week away?  Today I realized that this Christmas will be the first one since Matt and I have been married that we will not be traveling.  We will actually be in our own home all day on Christmas and I am a little unsure of what to do!  I decided it's time to start some fun family traditions to carry on throughout the years with Sommer (and any other babies we might possibly have someday).  Do you have any yearly traditions for the holidays?  
The only thing we currently have in place is attending church on Christmas Eve and letting Sommer open up new PJ's and a new Christmas book before bed.  I hope we add a few more this year though.
Christmas Eve a couple years ago at my parents house.
 My first thought for Christmas day was just to spend the day relaxing and believe me, I'm sure we will do plenty of that but I also want to make the day special after we open presents and enjoy what will surely be a magical morning.
So here's what I hope for:
Sommer is sure to be up early because, well, that's just what she does.  She also can not be around a wrapped present without needing to open it ASAP.  So, my thought is that we will be done opening gifts in no time with this girl around. :o)
Our girls first Christmas.
 I think we'll have cinnamon rolls and hot chocolate and coffee but I think we'll also have a nice breakfast later in the morning - something like this.

I hope we will spend lots of time reading books, listening to Christmas music and playing with new toys.  And maybe even catch a classic Christmas movie.

And then, I want to make lots of Christmas cookies.  We haven't baked anything yet this season and although I would love to add that to my to-do list for this week, I know it's not happening.  I think it will be fun to make and decorate them when we all have time to do it together. 
making cookies last year.
Here are a couple recipes that I think are worth a try!
Oreo Peppermint Crunch Cookies - these sound just perfect!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Gingerbread Cookies

Hello my friends! Hope you had a wonderful weekend! WeThree had a little "meeting of the minds" the other day and wanted to let you know that we will continue writing here in our little corner of the virtual universe, but on a slightly different schedule. I'll still write on Monday, Dani will move to Wednesday, and if Carrie has a manageable week, she'll post on Friday. If things are busy for her and she can't do Friday, we'll post our usual "Photo Friday." Sound good? Great! Thanks for going with our flow...and for letting me have an imaginary conversation with you in my head :)

Can you believe there's only 10 more days until Christmas? We finally finished all of our shopping, are almost done wrapping, and I'm about halfway through our cards, so I'm feeling pretty good about being able to RELAX and enjoy these last days leading up to Christmas. We've been watching Christmas movies, drinking hot chocolate, and the other day I finally got up the nerve to make some cookies. I've always wanted to try gingerbread cookies, but since I generally do NOT like making cookies (or any other baked good for that matter), I hadn't given it a try yet. But I decided that this was the year and immediately went to the land of the Internets for a recipe. I found one on that proclaimed itself, "The Most Wonderful Gingerbread Cookies."

Well, alright. Let's do this.

So I invited my nephew over to play with the kids and while they were pretending to be Batman and Iron Man and a (self-proclaimed) Evil Princess (I totally tried to talk her out of it but she insisted on being the bad guy), I mixed up the cookies and got them ready for decorating. Be aware that these do have to sit on the counter for two hours before you can roll them out, so if you're in a hurry, this is not "The Most Wonderful Gingerbread Cookie" recipe for you. But if you have all day, I would have to agree that they are indeed, "The Most Wonderful Gingerbread Cookies!" Nevermind the fact that I have nothing to compare them with having never made gingerbread cookies before...ahem. But they are pretty great. Here's the recipe:

The Most Wonderful Gingerbread Cookies
recipe from

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp ground ginger
1 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
6 Tbsp unsalted butter
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup molasses
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest (optional)

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves until well blended. In a large bowl (or stand mixer), beat butter, brown sugar, and egg until well blended. Add molasses, vanilla, and lemon zest (if using) and continue to mix. Gradually stir in dry ingredients until the mixture is blended and smooth. Divide dough in half and wrap each in plastic and let stand at room temperature for at least 2 hours or up to 8. (Dough can also be stored in refrigerator for up to four days.)

Preheat oven to 375. Grease or line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Place one portion of the dough on a lightly floured surface and sprinkle flour over dough and rolling pin. Roll dough to a scant 1/4 inch thick. Cut out cookies with desired cutter.Place on baking sheet and bake one sheet at a time for 7-10 minutes (shorter for soft cookies, longer for crisp cookies). When cookies are set, let cool on a wire rack. Decorate and enjoy!

Notes:  I used gluten-free flour with surprisingly great results, salted butter because that's all I had, and no lemon zest. Instead of dusting my pretty brown cookies with white flour, I lightly sprayed a couple pieces of parchment paper and rolled the cookies out between them. They ended up being a little thicker than 1/4 inch but when baked for 9 minutes, they ended up soft and really good.

The kids LOVED decorating and eating the cookies, and although they're delicious with icing, they're also really good plain with a hot cup of tea. Happy December baking!

Can you tell which one I decorated?! :)

Friday, December 12, 2014

Photo Friday!

Tomorrow, my sweet babe turns 3 years old!  She has brought so much fun and joy to our lives over the past 3 years and I can't wait to squeeze her and snuggle her and celebrate her this weekend. 
xo Dana

 Happiness is laying in a big pile of leaves. Hope you've had a good week! We're looking forward to seeing a big Christmas light display tonight, making gingerbread cookies tomorrow, and a Christmas party on Sunday. 'Tis the season! 

After a super long week I am very excited to see the weekend! Thanks to the girls yesterday for explaining my conundrum! I don't think that we're ready to leave this space quite yet, but you may see a decrease in the amount of posts each week. That said, we love sharing our lives with all of you readers and appreciate you coming back every day to check in. I'll leave you with this gorgeous image of the Boiling Springs Lake all lit up for the holidays.
See you next week! xo Carrie

Thursday, December 11, 2014

an update

Friends, the youngest WeThree has gone and gotten herself a big fat promotion. Her announcement a few weeks ago of, "I got the job!" came as no surprise to the rest of us who knew that with her incredible dedication and hard work that she was a total shoe-in for the position (although she, as usual, was her always-humble self and declared that she couldn't believe she had gotten it). So things around here will probably be a little different as she not only trains for her very intense, high responsibility new job, but also trains someone else to do her old job. WeThree are currently in the process of deciding whether to continue with this here blog or to put things on hold for awhile or maybe to call it quits. No decision has been made thus far and so we continue posting when we can. But if things are light from Carrie for awhile, now you'll know why. Three cheers for my baby sister and her new digs!  Hip Hip Hooray! Hip Hip Hooray! Hip Hip Hooray!  :)  Love you, Care!

Posting here never really seems complete to me without a photo or two, so here are a few from the last couple of weeks.

We took the kids to see the REAL Santa last week and got this sweet picture that, as Carrie noted to me, looks like it was taken in about 1985. It's true, and fitting, because this is actually the exact same Santa who's lap my husband and his brothers and sister sat on when they were kids (and his oldest sibling just turned 40 this year)! I'll admit to thinking at first that this tradition was a colossal waste of time (I know, bahumbug!), but now it's something I look forward to every single year.

 I love Christmas lights and spent some time the other morning Christmas-ifying our kitchen/family room area. This makes me happy, and I'm thinking of leaving them up LONG after Christmas is over. Who doesn't love good twinkle lights?! 

I call this one, "In which the baby Jesus, being carted by a donkey, gets pulled over for speeding. Slow down, Son."

Last night, Will and I got started on our wrapping with The Griswold Family Christmas as a backdrop to our festivities. We got a TON of stuff done and I'm feeling much better about being able to enjoy the last days before Christmas instead of being completely rushed. It was definitely RELAXing and fun to look at all the gifts we've bought and wrap them up nicely with pretty paper while chuckling at the silliness and stupidity of Clark and the rest of his Griswold gang. Also, that shot was taken in the "bonus room" upstairs which is still a work in progress, but at least there's a pretty Christmas tree!

And finally, we had this family photo taken the same night as the Santa picture. The realtor who sold our house and helped us buy our new one throws a big party each December for all her clients. There's an "exclusive visit with Legendary Santa," lots of food, and a professional photographer who snaps a family photo that they email to you a week later. Our photo this year turned out especially sweet, if I do say so myself!

So that's a little blog update and look at what's going on with our family! Hope you're having a great week - this one is moving a little slowly for me, but the weekend is in sight.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

birthday birthday!!

Quick shout-out to my man on his birthday!  I love you, Matt and can't to celebrate YOU today!!

Can, I just start out by saying that we will be eating way too much cake this week in our house.  We celebrated Sommer's birthday this past weekend, Matt's today and then Sommer's actual birthday is this Saturday!  It is crazy and fun and we love it.  

We celebrated our girl on Saturday at my parents house with a Frozen themed party that was so much fun!   Here are a few of the details that made it extra special!
First cake sighting...she struggled to stay away from it after this.

Carrie helped me with the cake and the set up and I couldn't have done it without her!
In addition to the cake we made vanilla muddy buddies.  They are super sweet but oh so good.
  ::Recipe for the muddy buddies is on the back of the Vanilla Chex box and we added snowflake, blue and white sprinkles to make them "Frozen" themed.::
Sommer fell in love with a little lamby beanie baby that we saw at Old Navy a few months ago.  It was one of the only things she had asked for for her birthday since we saw it so long ago.  It was so sweet to watch her open it and give it a big, sweet hug!

She received so many great gifts that will help her stay busy at home!
We decorated the house with homemade snowflakes.
Delicious cake!
The ice cream that we made didn't quite freeze up so we used it as a sauce instead and it was perfect!
Doc McSommer in full gear...thanks Bear & uncle Robert!
We planned to have hot cocoa at her party but skipped it until the next morning.
I made special snowflake marshmallows using this recipe.  They turned out okay but not without a sticky mess.  At least they looked cute in the hot cocoa ;)

We love celebrating our girl and can't wait to celebrate a little more this weekend!  Have a great week!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Bristol Weekend

Last Thursday, after Tommy got home from school and Will got home from work, we packed up the car and headed to my aunt and uncle's house down in southwestern Virginia for a weekend chock full of fun Christmas activities! I always love spending time at their house and this time was no exception. We played at the playground, went to Bristol Motor Speedway for Speedway in Lights, made and decorated Rice Krispie treat Christmas trees, took the kids to see the Nutcracker for the first time, ate ice cream in a cute little shop downtown, and Will and I even got to go out to dinner and Christmas shopping while the kids stayed home with Aunt T and Uncle Ralph to make Christmas crafts and play a little music. It was a great way to kick off our weekends in December! Thanks Gatty and Uncle Ralph!

Do you have any fun plans for December? We're looking forward to more Christmas lights, holiday meals with family, making gingerbread cookies, and a party or two. Hope your December is off to a RELAXing start!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Photo Friday!

Despite having a very busy week, Robert and I managed to get and decorate our tree! The Christmas season is by far my favorite time of the year. Thanks for reading! Have a good one. xoCarrie

We had an incredible unseasonably warm day this week - 71 degrees! So after school we stayed outside until dark throwing a Frisbee and enjoying the day. Hope you've had a great week!  Happy Weekend!

 These little milk chocolate stars are some of my favorite little treats during the holidays!  Hope you enjoy a few treats this weekend.
xo Dana