Thursday, December 31, 2009

goodbye december

We certainly enjoyed you!!

I have one last recipe to share this year. I had been looking for a new sugar cookie recipe that tasted like a sugar cookie that we made all the time growing up called "Mary's Sugar Cookies" but that held its shape better for cutouts. I think I finally found it on Tasty Kitchen of course:) You can find it here.
And her icing is dynamite too. Found here. (Thanks Amanda!)

Monday, December 28, 2009

a glimpse of Christmas

for those of you who could not be here with us due to the many miles that separate. This picture is after Santa had come, filled stockings, left gifts, eaten his cookies, chugged the milk, fed the reindeer and left glass fireplace doors open as a tell-tale sign he had visited our house:)


Xavier awoke at 2:00 and realized that it was Christmas morning after he rushed downstairs and saw that Santa had been here. He really wanted to see what was in his stocking and was less than thrilled when we told him he would have to wait until morning and that it was still the middle of the night! He woke up everyone in the house (except Dax...thankfully) by stomping up the stairs complaining loudly that this was the "worst Christmas ever!!" If that doesn't make you want to call up Santa and have him come back and take everything away, I don't know what does. Xavier did go back to sleep though and woke up all smiles....apparently it was no longer such a horrible experience after all.

Dax's face was so funny as he opened the gifts and exclaimed "It's just what I always wanted!!" to almost every gift.

Xavier enjoyed watching Dax open gifts almost as much as opening them himself.

Here's that face again!

Opening a special gift from Grandpa Lein. This one was a joint gift and they were so cute taking turns and each tearing a little part of the paper...

It's a recordable book! How cool.

Here they are opening "Grandma from MN" gifts.

It's a hit! They love their special quilts that Grandma made them. Batman for Xavier and Spiderman for Dax. The details on these are incredible!!

Time to spread them out so they can really see them.

And lay on them...

and eventually under them.

Since Steve was on call and we had plans with the rest of his family on the Sunday after Christmas, his parents came here to celebrate with us. They came Christmas Eve and stayed til after dinner on Christmas. It was so nice to have them here with us.

Thank you everyone! What a very blessed Christmas we had this year.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

my big boy turns 5!!!

Xavier turning 5 was a big deal to both he AND I! For him, it means really being a big boy and closer to loosing his teeth (which he is pretty much obsessed with but has zero loose teeth). For me, it means that he is no longer my baby and that he is closer to growing into too big of a boy. The fact that I can still lift him and cuddle him are 2 things that I will sadly miss when they are gone!!! BUT that won't be for a very long time so I am not going to worry about that today:) Xavier is a joy and a blessing and I am so happy that he made me a MOM. It is and was the best Christmas gift I have ever been given.

We celebrated his b-day earlier in the month with some friends and family. For that he requested cupcakes AND cake. I made him choose between the two and he decide on this....


For his actual birthday he requested a Batman cake. Great, I thought. Frost the cake, stick an action figure in it and call it a day!! When I ran my idea by the b-day boy, it was not what he envisioned. "I thought you could draw a Batman on the cake Mom!" Sure ...why not??? Of course that is what you want. So I drew Batman for the 698th time this month on the cake. We did a sketch on a piece of paper beforehand; deciding what colors were going where. The spikes on his glove must be blue and so is the cape. Don't forget the yellow for his belt.... "Can I give him a smile?" I asked. No...just do a line for the mouth, I was told. Here he is!


Instead of cake, I made an eclair cake which has been in the Noe family for a long time.


1 (1 lb.) box graham crackers
2 sm. pkg. instant French vanilla pudding
4 c. milk
1 (8 oz.) container Cool Whip

Butter bottom of 9 x 13 inch pan, line with graham crackers. Mix pudding with the milk. Beat at medium speed for 2 minutes. Blend in Cool Whip. Pour half the mixture over graham crackers, then place second layer of crackers over pudding. Pour remaining pudding mixture over, and cover with more crackers. Refrigerate for 2 hours, then frost.


2 1 oz. pkg. pre-melted unsweetened chocolate
2 T. white Karo corn syrup
2 tsp. vanilla
3 T. softened butter
1 1/2 c. powdered sugar
3 T. milk

Beat all ingredients until smooth; spread over cake. Refrigerate 24 hours.We used chocolate pudding per Xavier's request:)

THANK YOU family for all of the wonderful gifts you sent for Xavier. Each was very much appreciated by the birthday boy. Here are some opening pics.


A funny comment when Xavier opened his card from MN Aunt Mary. "Oh!!!! Dollars!!! Will these spend at Wendy's????"

Legos from Grandpa and Grandma Lein

Cool space projector from Aunt Aimee

Scooter from "Grandma from MN"

We also carried on the tradition of letting the birthday person choose dinner. We made chicken nuggets and fries AND green beans.

Happy Birthday to Xavier!



Monday, December 21, 2009

first school program

Xavier had his first program at school on the 16th and he was so excited about it. We were all invited back to the classroom afterwards for donuts and milk. The class had been practicing for weeks and it showed! I managed to hold Dax on my lap, take pictures and some video too. I did them all, but none of them well! I got a little motion sickness watching the video but I am glad that I tried.

Here is a picture of the 3-4 year old and the 4-5 year old preschool classes. I blurred out the other kids for obvious reasons but can you see that Xavier is clearly the tallest one in all of the classes?? So funny! Technically, he is still 4 in this picture too.

Xavier has just finished his program and is heading back to the classroom.

My mom got the boys matching suits for Christmas but I didn't want to send X to school in his good suit for fear of ruining it so I whipped up a tie for him the night before. It certainly was a hit- people kept talking about it. Actually no one would have known but Xavier volunteered that I made it. I told Steve that the tie was a hit and that I couldn't believe the reaction when people found out I made it and Steve said "Um, normal people don't make ties Melanie." Yeah, I know but anyone who knows me already knows that I am not "normal" so no real surprise there!

Here is Xavier with his teachers, Mrs. Pridemore and Mrs. Jacob. He loves them both!

In addition to donuts and milk, each of them got a goodie bag to bring home with them. Here was our contribution to the goodie bag.


When we got home, I took a couple of pictures of the boys by the tree. When they were not wrestling with one another, they managed to sit still for a few seconds.



The songs they sang in the program were so cute. Xavier was singing this one in particular that starts "The virgin Mary had a baby boy...." Well of course Dax had to sing that one too. His version started like this..."The mergin Nary had a baby boy!" It is soo funny.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

CHRISTmas nativity

To try to help make sense of the whole meaning of Christmas, we took the boys to a live nativity held at a Lutheran Church near our house.

We toured the city of Bethlehem

and had our own tour guide who was the local fishmonger.


We met the local baker...the boys tasted the unleavened bread.

Then we entered the stable after it was announced that baby Jesus had been born.


It was sooo very cold that night but they had plenty of fires to help keep us warm. Cookies and hot cocoa were at the inn too. When you entered Bethlehem you received a bag of "coins" that you could use to barter for fruit and trinkets in the market. It was unfortunate that it wasn't very crowded as you could tell that a lot of work went into putting this on. I would like to do this again next year.

Xavier said his favorite part was learning about King David. Dax thought the hot cocoa was his favorite part...pretty age appropriate answers I think:)

Friday, December 18, 2009

santa past and present...

Last week we went to see Santa as we have every year. The boys could not wait!

Watching the boys grow up with Santa. WOW!



2007- there was NO WAY Xavier was even getting close to Santa this year! Dax wasn't exactly overjoyed to see him either.



Xavier asked for a puzzle and Dax asked for batman "stuff". After the boys finished up with Santa and were walking away Dax said "He forgot to give me my present!". This year should be fun!!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

christmas spirit...

We have had a lot of fun decorating this year. The boys want to help with everything!!! They had a ton of fun pulling out their ornaments from past years and trying to find the PERFECT spot for them on the tree. This year, Grandma Noe again found perfect ornaments for them- a Batman for Xavier and a Superman for Dax! They were so excited!!!

Here they are putting the new ornaments on the tree.



The mantle.


Did mention all the re-arranging of the ornaments??



At night.

The boys have been just giddy with excitement and love all the Christmas music. Xavier loves Little Drummer Boy and Dax loves Away in the Manger and Santa Baby. More Christmas posts coming!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

much to be thankful for...

Where to start??? Thanksgiving was very special this year for our family. We were able to celebrate with Steve's family the weekend before Thanksgiving in Cincinnati. My SIL Mary came up with a great idea of expressing thanks for one another. She made the cutest votive candles covered with fall paper. Each person chose the name of an adult family member and wrote why they were thankful for that person and set it at their place at dinner. It was touching and so thoughtful. Thanks Mary!! As if the weekend were not full enough, we girls also went to the play White Christmas on Sunday while our hubbies stayed at home with the kids. Thanks again Mom Noe. It was a wonderful show!! I still have the tunes in my head!

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Monday, my parents and some family friends came all the way from MN to stay the week!! We really enjoyed having them visit us. My dad took down a couple of trees dead/pesky) in our back yard while he was here, we did some antique shopping, toured Woodford Reserve which is a bourbon distillery here in KY, prepared a feast for Thanksgiving and even got a little Christmas shopping in. Of course we sewed a couple of things too!

Mom and Dad raised a turkey especially for Thanksgiving and brought it with them. We had ham, turkey, cranberries, sweet and mashed potatoes, green beans and tomatoes, stuffing and pumpkin pie. All homemade...all delicious. The stuffing was a new recipe and we cooked it along side the turkey so I could have some too:) Here is the recipe. Sorry! No pictures of the food....what was I thinking?? But I did get some pictures of Dad helping with the dishes:)

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Fit & Flavorful Whole Grain Stuffing
recipe by Executive Chef Mark Beland

8 c. stale whole grain bread, cut in cubes
2 c. yellow onion, diced
1 c. carrot, diced
2 c. zucchini, diced
2 c. vegetable or chicken broth
1 T. fresh sage, minced
1 t. fresh thyme, minced
1 c. celery, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 T. olive oil
1 T. black pepper
2 egg whites

Saute vegetables in olive oil for 10 minutes, until translucent. Add broth, pepper and herbs. Pour over bread and toss evenly to distribute. Place in glass or ceramic baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.

**We substituted diced fresh mushrooms for the carrots (I was out), dried thyme for the fresh and dried bread cubes for the fresh cut. We used a little more zucchini and about 1/2 c more broth and whole eggs for the whites. We all thought that this was very good and moist.

We made the pies the night before and the boys had so much fun helping Grandma with the pie crust and making cinnamon sugar crisps with the extra dough.

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A funny note about the pies. Mom was going to bring me pumpkin from the garden but ran out of room in the car so she left it at home. While I was shopping on Monday afternoon, she called and told me that we needed pumpkin. I looked at Kroger and they were OUT saying there was a national pumpkin shortage!!!! Luckily, I had a big can at home and called a friend who was more than willing to share her canned pumpkin with me if I needed it(thanks Andrea!!). We all got a good laugh out of that one:) That would only happen to us!

We are so happy to have been able to spend Thanksgiving with both families this year. I hope we can make this a new tradition!

Monday, November 2, 2009

halloween fun

October was filled with fun Halloween activities! We had our playgroup Halloween party and made some fun crafts and these Nutter Butter ghosts.

Xavier made these and they should actually be dipped further down the cookie but you get the idea. We did graham crackers for Dax as he is allergic to peanuts:) I hosted and hardly took any pictures but the kids looked so cute in their costumes. One of the Moms even dressed up...something that I am totally going to do next year!

Aunt Aimee sent some fun Halloween surprises for the boys. Don't they look cute... I mean scary?

Thanks Aunt Aimee! They loved everything!

Xavier's class Halloween party was on Friday. He usually doesn't go to school on Fridays but they invited him to come and boy, was he excited about it. I thought maybe he wouldn't wear his whole costume...maybe just part of it to make it easier to manage to use the bathroom etc. Well, he thought that was a terrible idea and even asked his teacher if he could "please wear his costume"??? I relented and he wore the entire costume and didn't pee the entire time at school!

Here he striking a pose at school.

We also volunteered to bring cupcakes.

I saw some cute spiders on bakerella and improvised with what I could find easily at the store:) Very cute and just a little scary. I crushed up some oreos and dipped the cupcakes in oreos after I frosted them in chocolate buttercream icing.

On to the "big night". We carved pumpkins on Sat. afternoon. We planned on doing it on Friday night but then it got too late so we just saved it for an activity the next day. Dax wouldn't touch the pumpkin guts but Xavier dug right in.

Xavier and Daddy drew out their pumpkin face on paper like real pros before they drew it on the pumpkin and started carving. Dax abandoned me about 30 seconds after I cut the the top off our pumpkin.

Here are the pumpkins as they were all lit up on Halloween night!

Trick or Treat is usually 6-8 pm so we had plenty of time to get costumes on and take some pictures. At about 5:15 the doorbell started ringing and it didn't stop. Once Xavier saw that people were already trick or treating, we couldn't get out the door fast enough! So went the costumes and they flew out the door! I barely had the chance to take any pictures....and of course the boys (including Steve) wanted any part of picture taking!
Steve took the boys out for about a 1/2 hour and then we switched and I took them out. I later found out from a neighbor that trick or treat was 5-8 this year so that is why everyone was out so early. For the first time ever, we ran out of candy. We went through 10+ bags in 2 hours!!! At one point, Steve was digging through the cupboard looking for the candy. He saw it earlier when I showed it to him but couldn't for the life of him figure out what I had done with it! He then realized as he saw the empty bag on the dining room table, that we had already handed out a majority of the candy . We had to shut it down early much to Xavier's dismay. He was really enjoying his role handing out the candy. He would say, "Look! Here come some more visitors!" Much to mommy's dismay, the boys only got 2 tiny Snickers....not even the fun size but the mini half bite size! That is it!!!! I can't believe it!

The boys had a great time. Dax's highlights were announcing to me (from the doorway of each house) what candy he just got and also telling me "everybody knows me" when people would say "Look! It is Buzz Lightyear!" Xavier's highlight was getting candy from a "real Batman"! One of our neighbors was dressed up as Batman and was handing out candy. Once Xavier saw that, we immediately crossed the street to get a closer look!

What a super night with my superheros!