Friday, December 30, 2011

First Annual All New New Year's Eve Party!

Last year, our answer to not having any luck finding a sitter for the biggest night of the year was to host our very own shindig. The invitation read: 

"Since every hour for us parents seems like midnight anyway and it gets dark now at...oh, afternoon time, we are hosting the All New New Year's bash starting at 3:30 and the apple drops at 6 pm so, grab your favorite bottle of wine and appetizer, throw the sitter's number in the garbage, and saddle-up to throw down with kids at the Menonis at the 1st annual New New Year's bash!"

And, throw down we did!

The easy, DIY decor:
 (Silver Christmas balls, our kitchen clock, and Hershey's kisses. 
NYE template courtesy of Custom Printables)
The favors made from gift bags from Walgreens, construction paper, a circle template and a Sharpie. 
 The champagne glasses were dipped in Agave Nectar and rolled in sprinkles.
The stems of the glasses were decorated with sparkly pipe cleaners I had leftover from crafts projects with the kids. I wrapped the ends around a pencil and voila!
 Great friends are what make the party!
All guests were asked to bring their favorite appetizer and bottle of wine. This made it easy-going on myself as hostess.
 I think our girls bonded this night....they've been fast friends ever since.
 Look at how much younger my little guy looks only a short year ago.
 Festive head wear is a must (pacis are optional).
(My son. Synonymous with sippy cups and sight words.)
 After distributing the confetti (small squares cut from construction paper), Dave announces that the countdown is about to begin....
 10, 9, 8, 7, 6....
Happy New Year!
 Dave and the kids do a few repeat performances.
 Late night snacks...
 A quick clean-up...
 All guest have left, we've cleaned up, tucked the kids in bed and it's only 9:30. 
Dave and I crawled into bed tired ourselves from what we agreed was one of the best New Years Eve nights we'd ever had. 

We were greeted with a beautiful rainbow of fireworks that we watched from our very own bed. Who knew the best seating the house for the beach fireworks show was from our very own bedroom window? 

Looking forward to sharing photos from our 2nd annual this weekend. Until then, enjoy those last few days of the season.

"Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right."  ~Oprah Winfrey

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Never Too Late for Pecan Pie & Elf Donuts

(Note: To hear music to accompany your read, press play at the bottom of this post. You won't regret it!)

We managed to squeeze in lots of fun activities while Grammy was in town for Christmas--a trip into the city, train rides, crafting and lots of cooking. 
Our first item on the docket was pecan pie because it's a pan full of yummy-deliciousness that's certainly not just for Turkey Day.
The recipe is from my dad's old company's cookbook. You know the cookbooks--the ones where everyone submits their best kept secrets and you know every last recipe is going to be good. Not to mention that this particular cookbook was created in the deep South and it doesn't get any buttery-better than that.
Cooking is the perfect venue to teach the kids math (measuring, counting) and cause and effect and they have fun doing it.
Unfortunately, I didn't capture any photographs of the finished product; however, I did catch this cute moment of Mr. Potato play (thank you Robin!) and can also assure you that, after eating four pieces, I KNOW the pie was delish. (Recipe can be found at the end of this post.)
I saw this fun idea on my BFF's blog and on The Unconfidential Cook and had to do it. The kids weren't quite old enough to understand The Elf Book so we decided that this year we would just introduce them to what an elf is and then next year we can let them experience the magic. Until then, a little magic of our own....
 Elves appreciate good toppings on their donuts so we brought out the sprinkles, cinnamon, sugar and confectioners sugar.
 Some of us preferred to do all of the taste testing.
While others of us preferred to eat leftover Christmas cookies.
 Our elf, appropriately named Elf, watched as we made him some special donuts.
 Kathleen melted the chocolate and then our little helpers assisted in the stirring...
 ....and tasting.
 We then decorated our donuts and put them in a special box just for Elf (a.k.a. one of Mommy's sparkly jewelry boxes.)
 Elf looked pretty darn happy.
 So happy, in fact, that he let the kids eat the rest of his donuts.
 Um, Um Good!
 As we closed the lid on that day, we went to bed bellies full of all kinds of Christmas goodness.
Southern Pecan Pie
Recipe by Pat Nicholson

3 beaten eggs
1 cup Karo syrup
2/3 cup sugar
1-9 inch Pie shell (we like to use graham cracker crust)
1 cup of chopped pecans (we typically use around 1 1/2 cups)
Optional ingredients: 1 tsp vanilla and 3 tbsp melted butter 

Beat eggs thoroughly with sugar and corn syrup. Pour into the pie shell. If using a frozen pie shell, bake 5 minutes prior to adding mixture. Bake pie 325 degrees for 45 minutes. Enjoy!

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones