Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Best New Year's Videos Ever

I simply can't decide which of these is better, so I'll leave it up to you. In either case, Happy New Years from our house to yours!

Thursday, December 29, 2011


Bennington siblings checking recipes on the iPad by the open fire. Sounds like a Christmas song no?

But the big surprise of this picture is the open fire. A WOOD fire in OUR fireplace for the first time ever. Not because we are too lazy to light fires, but because up until a few days ago we had a gas fireplace that was sealed closed and hadn't been used in 5 years.

We sealed it when the cold breezes blowing in became too much to handle in the living room. Then last week Jeremy had someone come and do some repair to the chimney and install a new lock-tight damper. No cool blast of blustery air is coming in here baby!

While he was at it, my handy man husband took it upon himself to convert our fireplace from gas to wood. Why? Because using gas at our house is just too expensive, and it didn't provide much heat. Plus wood just smells so dang good.

The conversion only took like two hours and we are now ablaze! The other nice thing is that the kids are old enough to stay out of it and we don't have to worry about any babies crawling into the fire.

I love love love it! It's so dang warm and toasty in our living room and the smell makes me feel warm and fuzzy. We are getting a load of wood delivered tomorrow because we've already burned through the stack Jeremy chopped up at the farm on Christmas Eve.

Mamaw Creech bought Charley this getup for Christmas. How did she know we would need a fire safety inspector?

Monday, December 26, 2011

Those Creative G's

This cracked us up so I had to Grammie and Grampie tagged the kid's presents. 

Our Gingerbread Mansion

I've never made a gingerbread anything in my life.I asked Jessie if when she was here she would guide us in making and gingerbread house. Then I asked if I should buy some graham crackers and candy. Then she laughed.

See much like her brother, Jessie doesn't prefer take shortcuts and used prepared foods. So we made a REAL gingerbread house using in real gingerbread and frosting. It took 3 days total for everything to dry and set properly

We started with a paper template...

Fellow bloggers help! Since blogger switched to the new format I haven't figured out how to rotate pictures. Even though I hand rotate them and save before uploading....all pictures originally taken vertically stay that way. Ideas on how to fix that?

Anyway, turn your head to see Charley cutting out the template.

Our front and back walls.

The windows were filled with crushed up clear hard candies (like Jolly Rancher). The candies melted and made stained glass windows!

After the wall dried overnight, Jessie made a super stiff frosting to be our concrete.

Then it was time to decorate and that's when things started to get crazy 
(Turn  your head again to see our sweet decor).

Our chocolate shingles kept sliding off.

See the stained glass effect? Cool huh?

I made the mail box out of Andes candies and a red fish

Jeremy made an impressive chimney. 

Our finished product!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Instant Reaction

Tessa- I don't want to leave the 'seum. We didn't see the Barbies today. I'm super sad with an overly dramatic pouty face. I know Mommy is immune to my pouty face but Aunt Jessie isn't.

Me- Oh Tessa, sorry but we're done for the day. You've been such a good obedient girl today. There are some Christmas presents hiding in the back of the car (cause Mommy was too lazy to bring them inside and wrap them). Do you want a small present right now?

Tessa-  YESSSS! I'm not sad anymore! Is it it my cow?

Oh Yes We Did

...Buy our Christmas houseguest a pair of pink penguin footie pajamas and left them on her bed as a welcome present. Who wouldn't?

Monday, December 19, 2011

Red and Green

Are both my hair and our salt dough hand print ornaments.

Thanks Kelly!

My cousin Kelly is one of those super creative scrapbooking cardmaking type people. She makes the pages to add to our annual family cookbook every year.

When we were down in NV around Thanksgiving time, Kelly told me to bring some old choir pictures because she had made a frame for me. I don't really have that many old choir pictures. I think most of them are in a dusty box at Mom's house.

But I did have the top one from 1998 when Jeremy and I were both in University Choir at Purdue. That's about the time that we started dating and he robbed the cradle. The bottom picture is us singing at our wedding. It was the cheesiest song ever made, and a nice memory.

These days we sing in our worship band at church and most loudly in our kitchen and car, but there are no pictures of that. Thanks again Kelly for your beautiful work!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

My Cookie Project- Pink Zebras

These are the kinds of cookies that look really cool and interesting but in reality are the easiest thing ever. Exactly the kind I like.

This is the original recipe found on Pinterest, but since it called for peanut butter cookies on the bottom and we are taking them to a Christmas party where there's a peanut allergy....I simply swapped in sugar cookies. It worked just as well!

I made a simple sugar cookie dough and then added this stuff, which is crazy lethal. Seriously 1/2 tsp was almost too much for 30 cookies. A little goes a long way!

Hershey hugs are the secret beautifying ingredient.

I had my sous chef of course. She was very good at rolling the cookie balls in red sugar.

Place on the hugs while the cookies are still hot out of the oven and they will melt right into place. Voila. Beautiful right? We are taking them to a Christmas party tomorrow morning, but I also think they would be nice for Valentine's Day or a breast cancer event.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Tessa's Dramatic Interpretive Dance

As always, forgive my horrible camera operation. Maybe one of these days I will give you a video that doesn't make you carsick.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Mistaken Bottle Identity

When your husband sits next to you in church and notices that you must have a new perfume, which smells exactly like citronella....

...You may want to evaluate the two products you have with EXACTLY identical packaging.
And really WHO would store the insect repellant with toiletries anyway. Jeremy. Oh well, my armpits didn't get any bug bites today. So there.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Christmastime in the City

Earlier this week, I told Jeremy that I didn't care what we did this weekend as long as it was out of the house. Take me somewhere, anywhere that there are people and no iPad.

So this morning we headed to Trader's Point Creamery for their 'Christmas on the Farm' celebration. We often order milk or yogurt from them through our produce distributor, but had never been to the facility.

They had their farm store open, hay rides running, and a barn full of local vendors selling everything imaginable from felt pot holders to coffee and local grassfed bacon. We are pretty well stocked with alot of our food already coming from these places, so we didn't buy much. But it was nice to see and sample so much locally made stuff.

The kids got to see some cows and pigs which is not all that unusual of a sight in Indiana, but hey it was still fun. Next time they want to see cows up close, maybe I should send them down to my brother's farm so he can get some free child labor out of them.

There were reindeer! Okay, truth be told they were actually elk. But the kids didn't know that.

Next we stopped at Shapiro's which is an old school Jewish delicatessan downtown, where we all ordered too much food. It was a great place but given that I'm not really a fan of meats like corned beef, pastrami and brisket...I was a little out of my element. Um, baked chicken please?

By the way, Tessa hardly touched that corn dog and instead wolfed down two pieces of my complimentary rye bread. Go figure. But I can't say I wouldn't have made the same choice.

Last we went to the Eitlejorg Museum to see the annual "Jingle Rails" train exhibit. It's like a giant model train display on crack. Jeremy was in heaven.

My camera battery was dying so I took a bunch of pictures of the train exhibit as well as the stage coach and stuff downstairs, using Jeremy's phone. They are all pretty blurry so if you are wondering what the Jingle Rails display is really like, refer to this:

The kids are standing in front of a mini version of the place where you will see the Super Bowl this year, Lucas Oil Stadium. Yup, we are a world-class city baby. If only I could convince Jessie to move here.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Christmas Pageant 2011

This year we had not one but two stars in the preschool Christmas pageant. Tessa sang so loud that we could hear her voice in the middle of the big auditorium, and Charley was a super cute sheep.

His teacher said they were bribing them onstage with M&M's which I didn't notice, but that they were also telling them to look out for their Moms and Dads. That would explain why half the time he looked like someone from the movie Dazed and Confused.

See that blonde sheep right in the middle?

The big kids told the Christmas story and Tessa had a line on the mic. She did great!

There's that blonde sheep right in the middle of the pic. Note the dazed and confused face.

Tessa singing at the top of her lungs.

I like this pic because you can see both of them. Find the cute blonde sheep in front and then look about four rows back. It sure was nice of the teachers to stage our picture for us so well. It was intentional, right?

Tessa loves her teacher, Miss Angel.

Mamaw even drove up for the show and we all went out for lunch and a little Christmas shopping. What a great morning!

One Thousand and Five

I noticed the other day that my blog had hit 1,000 posts so I thought I should honor that.

I started this blog in 2006 when I found out I was pregnant with Tessa. In the days before Facebook, it started as a way to reach far-away family and friends with our pictures, stories and general updates.

Over time I began to play with my writing style and approached it more like a column or article. I mean I do have a college degree in writing and address the public right? So I figured it would be nice to make it sound smart...ish.

But most often I have blogged in order to capture memories, for us and the kids. In times of heavy sleep deprivation or being overwhelmed, I took pictures anyway knowing that the memories would pass by quickly if I didn't get them. I like looking back on old posts of course, but sometimes I just look back to the month or week before to remind myself that the kids were having fun or learning something. When somebody is puking all day or you can't walk, these things tend to brighten your day.

This blog has housed our first baby pictures, birth stories for both Charley and Tessa, remembrance of loved ones lost, gross moments and silly babyhood anecdotes that might have otherwise been lost in the ether of foggy memory.

Recently the blogger dashboard asked me if I wanted to display the top 10 most viewed posts on the left hand side of the main page. See them there? The most viewed post ever was about my friend Shannon who lost her daughter to SIDS last year. That doesn't surprise me because I know that post was passed around quite a bit. But I loved seeing the other popular ones as well, and how many people had visited to read something seemingly when Jeremy tried to kill us with hot pepper powder.

Those stories brought me joy, but by the tally of popular posts I can see that they brought you joy as well.

I can't even BEGIN to say how I have changed over the past five year. Emotionally, spiritually and physically (hello!) but I just kept writing anyway. Like that fish in Nemo tells us to just keep swimming and never stop. I will keep swimming and writing, as long as the current takes me.

Family Resemblance?