You know how everyone (especially in the south) DREAMS of a white Christmas? Well, everyone but me… We were SO close to having one this year! Instead, we got a white day-after-Christmas! Ha ha. Then we got more snow again in January. We actually got a lot!
So, Jason and the kids went out for snow angels and snow ball fights. They had a blast!
My family really enjoyed this day. I stayed inside where it was nice and warm. 🙂 But I am SO glad they had so much fun! It’s not often we get enough snow to play with down here in Eastern NC!
I personally think the kids had a pretty fantastic Christmas. 🙂 They seemed genuinely surprise and excited about every gift. That just makes my heart HAPPY!
So then… we laid the big gift on them. We’ve never done a big family gift before, but I’ve always wanted to get the kids one of these. It’s such great exercise, and for kids, it’s like super fun, man! Ha ha.
Jason told the kids now that they’re done opening gifts, they had to go outside and pick up the yard because it was dirty. Here is what they found:
Later that day, we trekked on over to my dad’s house for a few more gifts and a DELICIOUS prime rib dinner. Yum.
You know, my dad thinks of the coolest gifts for the boys. He went out and purchased their very first….
Kylie really made out, also. She received from both her Aunt Jamie and her Grandma Kate, lots of crafty things… friendship bracelet kits using beads and threads… Grandma Kate also got her a few clothes:
And to end our Christmas posting… Jason’s parents came this past week from 1/2 to 1/6. They brought the kiddos gifts down with them … so basically, the kids had 3 Christmases! 🙂
Here are my personal favorites:
I really do hope all of you had a very blessed Christmas in 2010! ❤ Tawna.
I just love Christmas with my family. It really gives me such great joy to give my children joy with gifts. We don’t try to make gifts the emphasis of Christmas, but I still do enjoy giving my kids things. 🙂
Before they came downstairs, I took some pictures of our decor and gifts.
Some floor shots of the stockings… b/c I was trying to be all cool w/ the camera (hahaha):
When I was finally done pretending to be a photographer, I decided to go ahead and let the kiddos come downstairs:
And I’m going to end this part with the kids beginning to dig into their stockings:
YUM! Doesn’t that sound delicious? Oh believe you me, it WAS!
A few months ago, I purchased a Williams and Sonoma cook book. I’ve been dying to try it out but just haven’t really looked through it. Well, I finally took the plunge! This chicken with mustard sauce was DIVINE! But let’s start w/ the potatoes.
So once you’ve chopped the potatoes, go to town on some fresh parsley. I cannot reiterate enough how you HAVE to use fresh parsley. It’s imperative. The taste is WAY different from dried parsley. And honestly? Parsley is so accessible these days! I think I spent 50 cents on one bunch! That’ll last me at least 2-3 meals!
So, chop chop chop!
See this mixture? It doesn’t look too beautiful does it? Maybe not, but it TASTED delicious! SO in this bowl is: extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, parsley, garlic, salt and pepper. That’s it! Voila!
Once you have that nice and mixed together, pour over the potatoes. And here’s where you get your hands dirty. Jump in and mix w/ your hands. In all honesty, I can never seem to stir big items like this very well with a spoon. I like to FEEL that everything’s covered in its mixture. You know what I mean?
Once you’re done mixing this all together, pop into your oven for about 30 minutes. I would start checking around 20-25 minutes to see if they’re fork tender. You can even have them go longer than 30 minutes if you want them to start to brown and get crispy, which I do but didn’t do for this particular batch.
Anyway, you’ll see the end result at the end of this post!
For our family, 4 big boneless, skinless chicken breasts work out just fine. Then we have heavy whipping cream, a bottle of white wine, a shallot and whole grain mustard. There’s salt and pepper too, but I figure that’s implied and I don’t have to take a picture of that. 😉
The first thing you want to do is chop the shallot. I chopped it pretty small. I don’t like big chunks of onion in my sauces.
Next you want to clean up the chicken. Cut any excess fat off, cut out the blood vessel, maybe pound it out a bit for more evenness among the breast…
The next thing you want to do is put a casserole dish in the oven to heat up while you cook the chicken. That way hot chicken isn’t going into a cold pan. So stick a casserole into the oven underneath the potatoes.
Then we’ll heat up about 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of butter on about medium high heat. Once the butter is hot and bubbly, put the liberally salted and peppered chicken breasts in the pan and brown off on each side. When each side is browned, throw it in the casserole dish to finish off and stay warm whilst you make the sauce.
Oh man I can just smell it right now…
You’ll want to simmer this for a couple of minutes until it reduces down to about 2-3 tablespoons. Then you’ll get this delicious concentrated wine flavor. Oh man, I’m salivating!
Once the cream is thickened, add in three tablespoons of the whole grain mustard and mix well.
Simmer for just another minute or so and voila! You’re done! See how easy that was?
There were very few ingredients, all whole foods – so good for you, and BONUS! It’s pretty dang good!
And here we have our whole meal! SO delicious!
If you try this out, please please let me know! I’d like to know if you found it easy and/or tasty!
What blesses me the most about this is that Zachary was not a huge reader originally. He wasn’t into it. He would much rather play with his toys or what-have-you than sit down with a good book. But you know, we never forced him to read. He’d have to read to me occasionally so I could see that his reading level was increasing, but other than that, I didn’t force it. It’d be like forcing Jason to cook. He doesn’t enjoy it, so why make him do it (especially when he has a fantastic wife to do it for him! ;-))? But you know, I’ll never regret that decision to not make him to read. His love for reading has drastically increased in the last two years. It just makes my heart happy. When I see that huge blond-headed boy sitting on the couch reading, I just smile as big as I can. We did SOMEthing right!
And Kylie? Woah. I thought we’d never get her to read. She just. wasn’t. getting it. I struggled a lot at that time, wondering if it was truly my place to homeschool my children. It was really hard. All of the sudden, one day, she could read. It just happened. It was miraculous! It was AMAZING! It was wonderful! My baby girl can FINALLY read!
Mind you, it was right around the time that most kids were learning to read… but because Zachary learned to read at 4.5, I expected Kylie to do the same. I know, I know. Not all kids are the same. She LEARNED to read right around 5 1/2. That’s still pretty good! And once she picked up a book, that girl was gone. I can’t even believe some of the books she picks up to read. It’s really amazing. My little ol’ 7 year old just asked me yesterday, “Mom? May I please read Anne of Green Gables?” ABSOLUTELY! I can’t wait to hear what she thinks of the book. She is definitely WELL above her 2nd grade reading level. Most assuredly.
Then we have Connor. He was an okay reader when we started homeschooling. I had to fix a lot with him because his kindergarten teacher encouraged them to guess the words and look at the pictures. She would also encourage the parents to allow the children to keep their words misspelled and not correct them. Grr. So for his entire first grade year, we had to REALLY work with him on sounding words out and using phonics rules to read. Our hard work paid off. That kid. I tell you what. He is a READER. My goodness. My dad bought him Lord of the Rings for his 11th birthday. In about 4 months, he shut the book and said, “I’M FINISHED!”
So anyway. I just wanted to share with you the joy I get out of watching my children read. It just makes my heart happy and puts a huge smile on my face. I love getting to see the fruits of our labor. I just love homeschooling those kiddos!
Now go read something! Maybe I will too! 😉