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December 31, 2010

A Year in Review:

The big thing in blog-land is to re-cap the past year, highlighting favorite posts from our personal blogs. I have a feeling this will be most interesting to family, but here goes anyway...

:: January:  No posts.  Hmmm.  Guess I was still getting this blog going and had no ideas of what to focus on in the Recke household.  Sad.  I'd put a little blurb about what I *remember*, but the trouble is, I don't.  Moving on...

:: February:  Same as January.  C did turn 6 years old, so there's that!

:: MarchOne Post.  Improvement! :)

:: April:  A month of ups and downs.  A funny post about the death of "Ollie the Otter 1.0".  And then there were Easter pics of the kids.

:: May:  Again, one post.  As I reflect now, we were so naive (more about that later).

:: JuneE's 2nd Birthday and a new swing-set and visit from Grandpa Al

:: Julywhen our camping naivete was explored (aka, possibly the worst camping trip EVER).

:: August:  C's first day of Kindergarten (one down, one to go). ;)

:: SeptemberOur family trip to South Dakota.  That was a lot of fun!

:: OctoberA Family Hike and Halloween pictures.

:: NovemberRaking up playing in the leaves.

:: Decembertorture a visit with Santa and of course, Christmas!

Hard to believe another year is over.  Crazy how fast it all goes.  And lucky me, I'm ending it with a killer head cold.   Yay!

Have a very Happy New Year!!

December 25, 2010

We pray this holiday finds you happy, joyful and blessed! 
Thank you to all of our dear friends and family who make each year so memorable, 
it's an honor to have you in our lives.

Love and Blessings,
The Recke Family

December 16, 2010

'Tis the Season...

A Crafty Soiree 
for crafts and treats...and tutorials!
I've had a couple events over the past week that allowed me to use *some* creative energy.  I'm pretty happy with how things turned out so I thought I'd share the tutorials on my blog.

Felt Rose Bouquet

For a Ladies' Christmas Dessert function at my church, I made a centerpiece to go on our table, along with a pin as a take-home gift. The centerpiece was essentially a knock-off of the one found at "Creative Jewish Mom", but with my own touches (like adding leaves).   The roses are the same as the ones I used for my yarn wreath a couple of months back...
 I used a 6" foam ball for the bouquet (size isn't clear in the tutorial) and would not recommend going any larger...unless you want to go insane and wipe out the felt in every Michael's store withing a 25 mile radius.  Making these flowers is a tedious (albeit not hard ) process!  I also chose not to glue the roses to the ball, and instead used long straight pins with a pearl end so that I could re-arrange as necessary (and it was necessary).

 Here is a picture of the pins I made as gifts for the eight ladies at the table
(they matched the bouquet even though they look like different colors in the photographs):

Melty Snowman Rice Krispy Treats

For my son's school Christmas party I put these treats together.  I have seen something similar on other blogs where the snowman was on top of a sugar cookie, but I thought this version would be better for the kids who had gluten allergies (disclaimer: not sure how gluten-free these truly were since I didn't take the time to research the chocolate I used.  You CAN do it though!) 
Melty Snowman Treats Recipe
Make single batch rice krispy treats according to package instructions, and let cool before adding snowmen (yield: 12 treats).

Snow man ingredients:
   White Candy Melts (one 14oz package makes 16 snowmen)
   Mini Chocolate Chips
   Light Cocoa Candy Melts
   Rolos Candy
   Candy Corn

For each snowman, you’ll need 6 mini chocolate chips, a light cocoa candy melt, and a Rolo. To make the nose, cut the orange section from a candy corn, then slice it in half lengthwise.  Roll the piece between your fingers to form a carrot shape.

To assemble your snowman, melt the white candy in a bowl according to the package instructions, then scoop a rounded tablespoon onto the *cut* rice krispy treat. With the back of a spoon, smear the candy into a puddle. Working quickly, stick on the light cocoa candy melt, add a dot of white melted candy, then place the Rolo on top (side-note: if you assemble the hats beforehand, it makes for faster assembly). Finally, add the candy corn nose and mini chocolate chip eyes and mouth (I used tweezers for accuracy in placement).  Let treats set and enjoy!

What crafts and special treats are you making this holiday season?

This post has been linked to:
MakingThe Girl CreativeSumo Sweet Stuff

Fun version of "12 Days of Christmas"

I love this take on "12 Days if Christmas" by Straight no Chaser. This is a talented group (not to mention I like just about anything a cappella).  Enjoy!

December 11, 2010

A visit with Santa

Today we took the kids to a Realtor office where Tom has clients for a visit with Santa Claus. We got the kids all dressed up, drove 40 minutes to the office, and hoped for great pictures...this being E's first time seeing Santa and C's second time since 2007. It didn't go quite as expected. I'll let the pictures speak for themselves (by the way, these are not the professional shots that will come to us later):
As you can see, E is a bit upset about the whole thing.  I asked her later why she was scared of Santa and she informed me that he looks like a bear.  Okey-dokey.  I do know that all of the hair on this Santa was 100% his own though, so perhaps I see her point.  A little.
C, on the other hand, looks a bit devious and conniving.  Perhaps he feels this is his chance to bypass mom & dad for whatever toy he has his eye on these days.  Not sure but it freaks me out a bit.

This by far is the best picture of the day :
I love the look on Santa's face.  And perhaps this better explains C's devious expressions, as he is clearly keeping it a big secret!
E improved quickly and accepted a candy cane from Santa.  Amazing what candy from a bear can do.

December 4, 2010

Holiday Recipe Cards

One of my favorite online digital scrapbook stores is Little Dreamer Designs. I absolutely go nuts over many of their kits, and have amassed quite the library on my computer...with the hope of someday assembling the scrapbooks I want need to make!

But that is a blog post for another day.

In the spirit of Christmas giving, LDD is offering *free goodies* for each of the 25 days of Christmas (you can sign up here to start getting them daily via e-mail).  Today I received these adorable recipe cards that can be printed and written on with favorite holiday recipes for friends and family: 
Fun and festive!  Unfortunately I am not able to redistribute these for downloading (I pleaded asked).  BUT if you sign up now, there will be more in the future...along with other fun items you might like. 
Oh, and for the record, none of this shameless promotion benefits me.  I just like to share the things I get excited about! :)

Happy Holidays!

December 1, 2010

Totally Random Christmas Questionnaire

I found this little ditty at one of my favorite blogs.  Seemed like something fun to do, and it helped distract me from dealing with my crazy, running-a-muck kids...

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate?   Egg nog, yuck!  Hot Chocolate is a year-round beverage in my opinion (a MUST for camping), so neither of these fall into a holiday beverage of choice for me.  I will say that Starbuck’s pumpkin spice latte is a fall fave in our household.
2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?  Wrap…unless it’s a huge heavy boxed item or a really weird shape…then forget it b/c Santa has better things to do than struggle with uncooperative wrapping paper.
3. Colored or white lights for tree/house? White all around.  The tree is already pre-lit with hundreds of tiny lights.  As far as lights on the house, the anal part of me says, “it will be too bright shining into the kids' bedroom windows at night.”  Thus, we end up with nothing at all.
4. Do you hang mistletoe? My husband needs no more incentive. 'Nuf said.
5. When do you put your decorations up? Black Friday, or there about.  I need an excuse not to shop with all the other crazies.
6. What is your favorite holiday dish? Sweet potato casserole (is it considered a casserole?  You know the one:  where we take perfectly healthy sweet potatoes and add sugar, sugar, and more sugar so that it becomes an excuse to eat dessert in the main course).
7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child? Reading the *true* Christmas story as a family around the tree on Christmas Eve.
8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? When I saw two santas in the mall…and one was having a cigarette break. (jk, I don’t think I ever believed since my folks didn’t care for that particular part of Christmas).
9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? Yeah, but just one.  It makes the 12 hours until Christmas morning much more bearable.
10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree?  "I take an ornament, put a little hook on it, and hang it on the tree."  Is there any other way?  I’m still waiting for the tree that you remove from the box already decorated…the pre-lit fake trees are only halfway there.
11. Snow! Love it or Dread it? Love it…for the first couple of hours and then I wonder when we’ll roshambo to see who shovels the driveway.
12. Can you ice skate? Just waiting for the phone call to participate in “Stars on Ice”!  (NOT)
13. Do you remember your favorite gift?  Back in the day when employers had money, my Dad’s company gave the employee’s kids age-appropriate toys.  I got a huge Tippy dog that I loved. 
14. What's the most important thing about the Holidays for you? Family togetherness (within reason) and baby Jesus!!
15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert? It’s a toss up between pecan pie and the aforementioned sweet potato casserole.
16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? I would like it to be decorating the tree as a family with soft Christmas music playing in the background.  But considering my fear of the kids breaking the fragile ornaments and my husband not feeling the love, it’s usually a one-woman job (i.e., me).  This would explain my answer in question #10…
17. What tops your tree? A big bow
18. Which do you prefer giving or Receiving? Do you want the PC answer??
19. What is your favorite Christmas Song?  I readily admit I looooove Christmas music.  I am the annoying one who is so excited when the local easy-listening radio station starts playing them ad nauseam from Thanksgiving to Christmas.  That said, my faves are usually by Christian artists…who truly celebrate the reason for the season.
20. Candy Canes: Yuck or Yum?  Mostly yuck.  But the fruity ones can err on the side of yummy once in awhile.
21 Favorite Christmas Show?  Purely from a nostalgic standpoint, "Rudolph the Rednose Reindeer".  Who did not watch this classic as a kid?!  I am still shocked that it is only a ½ hour show though…it seemed so much longer back in the day.
22. Saddest Christmas Song?  Is "Same Old Lang Syne" (by Dan Fogelberg) a Christmas song?  I seem to hear a lot at this time of year, at any rate.  That is a sad song for some reason. 

In the Christmas spirit of giving, feel free to copy this post and fill it out on your blog! :)

I also can't resist putting this in here...I heart her!
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