Monday, December 30, 2013

Meanwhile, Back Home

Riley is enjoying some quality time with his doggy-sitter, Laura.

Mountain Memories

 Katherine and Josh heading out to snowboard.

 Peter ready to hit the slopes.

 That's my man. He loves to ski!

Since Lilli doesn't ski or snowboard, Daniel took her up the chairlift for lunch and a scenic ride.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Day One on the Mountain

Peter took this awesome self-portrait out on the mountain today.

And he also took this one of  Daniel getting ready to go over the next ridge.

I headed out to take pictures around 3:40. I was hoping to catch these two just coming off the mountain. Instead, I caught them getting off the elevator. Maybe tomorrow!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas Gifts

I loved all the gifts I got for Christmas this year, but my most favorite was the tiniest of all. It came in the form of a Christmas ornament, handmade by Peter. In order to understand why this ornament is so special to me, you have to read "An Empty Closet".

Peter took the little LEGO left in Daniel's closet, and he super-glued it to a piece of wood that he lovingly painted green. He drilled a small hole in the top to slide a red ribbon through and tied a bow for hanging on the tree.

When I opened the gift, I said, "Awwwww that's so sweet." But when I turned it over and saw that he had written the words "A piece of my heart" on the back, I broke down. I embarrassed myself with sobbing. I'm such a sentimental mush.

I will treasure it always.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Happy Birthday, Riley!

Riley is five years old today! He's getting older, but he's not growing up. He still gets into wastebaskets.

Monday, December 23, 2013

The Wild Blue Yonder

On June 27, 2007 I realized something. My children were going to take risks that I wouldn't take. They were going to go on adventures without me. They were going to let go of my hand and grow up.

I stood on a dock at Lake Tahoe while Daniel suited up for a jet ski ride. He had no fear. He took off like a bullet. Before I could scream, "wait, don't go," he was off in the wild blue yonder, his body the size of a pea.

What did I do? I cried big heaving sobs.

It was an irrational thing to do. I kind of knew he would be back. But he was out so far I couldn't reach him if I tried. I was afraid.

I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed.

Eventually I saw his little boat skipping waves closer and closer. My heart began to calm down. I can't remember if he asked me why I was crying.

I don't know why. It was a mom moment. A letting go moment. One of many moments like this that were to come.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Cookie Baking Day 2013

Today was our big cookie baking day of the year.  I woke up bright and early to get the house ready. I pulled all the basic cookie ingredients out of the cupboards, put measuring cups and spoons within easy reach, and got some munchies ready for the kids.

Peter and Kendall worked together to make some awesome cookies. They both won prizes!

Katherine and Pam did a little goofing around in between scoops of dough and photographs.

Liz and Carolyn made their cookies ahead of time, so they were available to assist with dish washing, counter wiping and whatever else needed to be done.

Riley was the sous chef.

Grandma was pretty tired today, so she mostly napped. However, she did get up to have a glass of wine and some cheese and crackers along with a few cookies.

Daniel and Lilli arrived a little late, but they still managed to get their Bailey's chocolate chip cookies finished in time to win the yummy cookie award.

Don was chief cookie taster and judge.

That's me and my sister!

Peter worked extremely hard to get his cookies just right. And he won the Most Creative Cookie award.

These are Peter's cookies! He could open his own bakery.

Peter, Katherine and Daniel with their cookies and awards. Kendall won the Best Decorated Cookie (shown in Peter's right hand), but she had to leave early. Katherine won Best Overall Cookie for her Monster Cookies.

A plate of all the cookies we made.

The whole gang! 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Reese's Peanut Butter Fudge

I made some fudge today, and it is marvelous! Usually my fudge is less than desirable. I tried a new recipe, and this one works. You only need four ingredients. It's easy.

Reese's Peanut Butter Fudge

1 bag regular size Reese's Cups
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Grease a 9" or 8" square pan with shortening. Set aside.

Coarsely chop 12 Reese's cups.

Using a medium saucepan, combine chopped Reese's and peanut butter. Cook on medium heat until the Reese's are completely melted (stir continuously).

Add chocolate chips to the mixture and let them melt as well (keep stirring).

Turn off the heat and stir in sweetened condensed milk. Hint: you have to do this fast because the fudge starts setting, so open the can with a can opener and scoop it out rather than letting it drizzle through a smaller hole.

Pour mixture into greased pan. Use a sheet of waxed paper to press the fudge down evenly in the pan.

Finely chop 6 more Reese's cups and sprinkle them on top of fudge. Lightly press waxed paper down on top of fudge to set sprinkles.

Cover pan with foil and let cool in the refrigerator at least 3 hours.

Use a sharp spatula to go around the edges of the fudge, then tip fudge out onto cutting board.

Using a sharp knife, cut fudge into small pieces. I got 60 pieces of fudge out of a 9-inch pan.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Jingle Bell 10K

Last year, Katherine ran a 5K in the Indianapolis Jingle Bell Run. This year, she, Josh and two other friends ran a 10K in the same race. I'm so impressed!! Not only did they finish the race, but they ran it in the snow when it was 18 degrees outside.

Left to right:
 a friend I do not know, Hope (Katherine's roommate), Katherine, Josh

Katherine and Josh

Love the hats!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Riley Loves Snow

Riley, come home

Did you say "squirrel?"

Not his better side

That's better


"I'll do anything for you...I mean a cookie."

"I'll even sit on this bench in the snow."

Friday, December 13, 2013

Most Wonderful Time of the Year

The wonder of the Christmas tree

Matching pajamas on Christmas morning

First Christmas with a baby

Better get to bed early tonight

Look what I got!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Why I Don't Drink Coffee

One night, 34 years ago, I attended the Firestone Tire & Rubber Co. Christmas party at Firestone Country Club. I was a 20 year-old secretary having a good time.

 At the end of the evening, everyone was having coffee and dessert, and since I had never had coffee, I tried some with my cookies.

I remember the moment like it was yesterday. Blah, Uggh, Yuck! It must have been from the bottom of the barrel. No one told me you could add sugar and cream. I just knew it was the most awful taste since the puff of cigarette I took when I was 13.

Just like with the cigarettes, it was enough to deter me forever.  Don says, once you are on my bad side, it's hard to recover.

So I've never had a cup of coffee. Just one sip. When I go to Starbucks to meet a friend, I have hot tea or iced tea or once in awhile hot chocolate.

 I'm embarrassed when people come over and want a cup of coffee because I've never really learned how to make a good cup.

I know I'm missing out on something wonderful because so many people can't open their eyes in the morning without their coffee.

I loooooove the smell of coffee grinds, but I just can't get myself to try another sip.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Consumable Gifts

If you don't want to add another piece of clutter to the lives of those on your gift list, buy or make them a gift that doesn't take up any space. I've purchased plenty of non-consumable gifts this year, but I have tried to come up with a few that will be used up before next Christmas.

1. Lessons cooking, photography, art, tennis, ski lessons.

2. Food cookies, fudge, chocolate, cheese, nuts, flavored popcorn.

3. eBook a classic, bestseller, or non-fiction book.

4. Recipes print out a stack of your favorite recipes and tie a ribbon around them.

5. House Cleaning offer your own services or hire someone to do it for you.

6. Getaway at a bed & breakfast in the woods.

7. Dinner and a Movie I heard The Book Thief is good.

8. Massage do it yourself or give a gift certificate to the local spa

9. Coffee or Tea or a date at Starbucks.

10. Note Cards don't forget the stamps.

11. Bottle of wine with a chunk of cheese and some crackers.

12. Soaps wrapped in pretty papers (Anthropologie)

Monday, December 9, 2013

The Apprentice

Don worked on replacing our dishwasher today, and Riley stood by his side almost the entire time. He studied what Don did with all the plumbing under the sink. He was fascinated with the hoses and connectors. Riley wants to be a dishwasher installation dog when he grows up.

Actually, what Riley was focused on the entire day was the flashlight Don set under the sink. Riley is fascinated with flashlights. Whenever one comes out of the cupboard, Riley won't let it out of his sight. He knows that sometimes a beam of light comes out of the flashlight, and he doesn't want to miss the action when it happens.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Ski Tree

In our family room, we have a very tall Christmas tree which is decorated with the ornaments I've collected over the years.

And in the living room, we have a smaller tree which is decorated with a theme. I call it the Ski Tree because all of the ornaments have to do with skiing or winter sports. Here are a few samples from the tree.

Santa on skis

Vail winter hat 

Beaver Creek beaver on skis

Another Santa ready to ski

S'more on skis


Double black diamond ornament

Ski sweater

Lift chair with skis