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Mysteries, polka dots, California Rolls, TJ Maxx, cozy blankets, rainy days and getting the first spoonful of peanut butter out of the jar make me smile. Spiders, rude people, cold fingers and toes, baby leashes, people that don't wrap their packages before going to the Post Office, poison ivy and Math (pretty much all of it) make me want to scream. My perfect day would be spent with my wonderful husband and sweet girls- watching movies in our jammies! Of course, having the movie theater to ourselves would be great, too. Please pass the popcorn and M&M's.:) I am saved by the grace of God. He is my constant companion and hears my every prayer. What a blessing! I'd love to hear from you! Lori at toosillysisters@cox.net

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Pretty Ladies

The girls and I have a Christmas tradition of buying a new "pretty lady" ornament every year. It's so much fun! We find these gorgeous girls each year at TJ Maxx. I just hope they keep carrying them... Can you guess which ones are mine?

(Mine are the first set, Mandy's are the 2nd set and Katie's are the 3rd set.)

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Decking the Halls

Here's a peek at how we "decked our halls" this year. It's the first time we have had two Christmas trees. We decided to have a traditional tree and a tree with a "girly" theme. The "girly" tree was decorated with sparkles and fluffy things, and even dolls! Plus, Mom and Dad sent us some gorgeous roses in a Waterford vase which I incorporated into our dining room centerpiece.

NOT Made in China

Years ago my grandfather complained, quite often, about everything being "Made in China." Being younger, I just thought he was being "old." You know how that goes... Anyway, now that I am older I find that he was right! It started as kind of a joke when Mandy picked up an item and said, "Wow! This was made in CHINA!" I told her that that was very common, but I had no idea how common it was! The girls look at everything now and tell me, "AH! It's made in China!", in hushed tones. So, over the holidays, during my shopping, I started really looking for things to buy that were NOT made in China. It's close to impossible. I was lucky enough to find some darling dolls for the girls made by a lady in New Hampshire. Everything she used to make them was purchased locally, plus the dolls are absolutely precious! My friend, Lisa, introduced me to Waldorf toys and this would be considered a Waldorf doll. They have the sweetest little dresses, petticoats, shoes, gloves and hats that come off and their bodies stay warm for a bit after they are held. I couldn't wait to give them to the girls!

Rainforest Cafe

It's become sort of a tradition for us to have lunch at the Rainforest Cafe during the Christmas holidays. It's such a fun restaurant with surprisingly good food. This year there was no wait for a table and we were able to sit near the gorilla "family" and were also surrounded by gorgeous birds. Many of the animals were decked out in Santa hats and we dined underneath the stars and amidst the thunderstorms. Wow! Jeff and I shared the crab cakes and we all indulged in the Bananas Foster for dessert. We can't wait to go again next Christmas!

Over the River and Through the Woods...

We took a trip, through the snow, up to Kansas City to see Jeff's family. What an adventure! We stopped in to see Grandpa John and Grandma Patty at their store and ended up staying the night in Ottawa because of all the snow and ice. It turned out to be quite fun once we got settled. The girls took a hot shower and then we got to watch the end of "The Empire Strikes Back" (while eating Grandma Patty's cookies!), when Luke defeats Darth Vader. It was great! I was a bit worried about all the snow as people were getting stuck everywhere. Jeff helped an older couple whose car was stuck in the parking lot. We were so proud of him! The next morning we got up to go see Aunt Angie and the Lucky Grandma in Lawrence. We visited with them and met Angie's new cat, Sophie (what a cutie!). I love the picture of the girls and Angie as you can tell they are having a great time together.:-)

St. Lucia's Day

We celebrated St. Lucia's Day on December 13th. Mandy wore her "crown of lights" and served us cinnamon rolls and eggnog and Katie walked behind her and carried a candle. This is a traditional celebration in Sweden that signals the beginning of the Christmas season. Since we are part Swedish we decided to take part in the fun! The oldest daughter traditionally has the honor of dressing up as St. Lucia and coffee is normally served, but we dislike coffee and eggnog is much yummier!

Merry Christmas!

Merry CHRISTmas Everyone! The holidays have flown by! I have tons of pictures to post and plan to do that later this evening. So much to say and for you to see.:-) I hope you have all received your Christmas card from us (some are still on the way) and that you are home enjoying this special time with all your favorite people. I know some of you are involved in some "mandatory fun", but hopefully most of you are where you want to be... I am at home, my most favorite place on earth, with Jeff and the girls and there is no place on earth that would make me happier. The beach is lovely, but not truly Christmas for me. Drink some eggnog and have a few smoked oysters (love them!) and perhaps a nap, but don't forget that the real reason for this day is Jesus Christ.:-)

Saturday, December 15, 2007


We went to see the movie Enchanted and I left humming and dancing (at least I had a spring in my step)! It was absolutely charming and perfect for all ages. It's a great escape from all the holiday chaos. Treat yourself! And as we walked out of the theater we saw that it was snowing outside! What a magical day. It's beginning to look and feel a lot like Christmas...

Friday, December 14, 2007

Holly Hobbie and Friends

When I was little I had a Holly Hobbie doll and Holly Hobbie wallpaper in my bedroom. I remember sleeping with Holly every night and I even remember the way she smelled. Thank goodness for memories. There is now a new line of Holly Hobbie toys and I have to say that I am impressed. The new Holly is the old Holly's great grand daughter, I believe, and she is made to look like today's girls. Blonde and freckled, she is kind and spunky and shares some great adventures with friends in her 3 movies. I love the movies and values plus LeAnn Rhines sings her theme song! You can't beat that! So, if you are looking for a new "role model" for your daughter that is still "cool" (without the Bratz trashiness) check out Holly Hobbie and Friends. I enjoy her as much as my girls! Now if they could just create a Nancy Drew doll...

Crock Pots

We received a crock pot as a wedding gift many years ago and I remembering thinking "What am I supposed to do with THIS?" I was not impressed in the least, but the years have taught me that a crock pot can be one of your best friends. I only know a few recipes to use in our new crock pot (we gave the other one away!) but I use them quite a lot. Live and learn. Hey, if you have a crock pot recipe that you would like to share, please do! Anyway, this recipe for Triple Chocolate Mess is fabulous!

Triple Chocolate Mess

1 package chocolate cake mix
1 pint sour cream
1 small package instant chocolate pudding
1 small bag chocolate chips
3/4 cup oil
4 eggs
1 cup water

Spray crock pot with non-stick spray. Mix all ingredients. Pour into crock pot. Cook on low for 4-5 hours. Serve in a bowl with ice cream, if you like. Personally I like it just the way it is!

I have this going in our crock pot right now. It's raining outside (and we have a leak in our roof- but that is another story) and the weather forecast is 3-4 inches of snow, so I couldn't be happier! Jeff is making a fire in the fireplace and we will spend the rest of the night eating toasted tuna and cheese sandwiches and watching Ratatouille (great movie!). Poor Jeff will monitor the roof, but I know we are in good hands.:-)

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Our trip to Germany and Sweden

Tonight we dined in Germany, well, at least we ate some German food! It was another successful meal from the book, Passport on a Plate. I love this book! We ate Apple Cinnamon Pancakes along with Sausage and Apples. Everyone loved the meal!

Tomorrow is St. Lucia Day! The girls (and I) will wake up early to prepare breakfast and then I will crawl back in bed. Then Mandy will put on her crown of candles (made of paper) and Katie will put on her little crown and carry a candle and they will proceed to our bedroom. Mandy will then serve Jeff and me breakfast in bed. I wish I could skip the food preparation, but there is always next year.:-)

Sunday, December 9, 2007


We went to see Santa at the new mall last night. He was in great shape and high spirits! I love the fact that the girls still believe in him. Time is running out for Mandy, I fear. The fact that we homeschool has helped her keep the faith, and I am so glad. We went shopping the other day and the lady that waited on us told us that she was in her 20s and she was determined to believe in him forever! I still believe, too. I feel so sad for those Scrooges that doubt the magic of Santa! Every Christmas Eve I still listen to hear reindeer paws on the roof.:-)

Christmas Caroling

Our homeschool group went Christmas caroling last week. We are certainly not professionals by any means and our singing has much to be desired, but the ladies and gentlemen didn't seem to mind. They really enjoyed seeing the children and it was a nice experience for everyone. Mandy and Katie passed out Hershey's Kisses while wishing everyone a "Merry Christmas."

Snookie and Me

It's 4:00 am and Snookie and I are still up. He sits in front of the computer with his eyes closed, but he is still awake. I would like to think that he wants to be with me, but I really believe that he likes the warmth of the computer. He is such a good boy. He only needs food and water and a little bit of love. A little is all he desires as he really likes to be left alone to nap (unless he sneaks outside for kitty adventures). My friend, Lisa, asked me if he was a Maine Coon (a very expensive show cat she told me) but I told her we just got him at the Animal Shelter. We are so happy that we were able to save him. We visit the shelter every so often to visit the animals. We like to bring them treats so they see that not all people are bad.

Passport on a Plate

I found the neatest book at the library and it is now on my Wish List! It's called Passport on a Plate and it is by Diane Simone Vezza. It is a children's cookbook that has recipes from countries all over the world. Mandy got to choose first and she wanted to visit India. We learned that you greet people in India by saying "Namaste" (nah-mus-tay) which means "hello" and you eat with the fingers of your right hand because the left hand is considered unclean. Mandy and I made Tandoori Chicken which was delicious and also Rice Pudding with Cardamom which was also very good. (Cardamom is pricey- $10 for a little bottle) We also enjoyed toasted pita bread which is similar to flat Indian bread and fruit salad. Katie wore her Princess Jasmine costume and Mandy wore many bangle bracelets and sandals. The girls did this on their own as they were very excited about our dining adventure! We ate on the floor while sitting on pillows. Our next stop is Italy!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Mandy's 10th Birthday Party

Mandy's celebrated her 10th birthday at the bowling alley. My favorite place- not. Well, it was her birthday and she and her friends had a great time. (Lori, you can do what you want on YOUR birthday) It turns out that all of Mandy's friends, except one, had never been bowling before and Mandy was happy to show them the ropes. It was really fun to watch her teach them how to hold the ball and how not to cross the line, etc. She is a very patient teacher.:-) Despite the "helpful" staff, insane music and crude decor (I am such a snob) I have to say the party was a success. The cake was yummy and everyone had fun!

Mandy earns her yellow belt!

On November 30th (Mandy's birthday) she tested for and earned her yellow belt in Tang Su Do! She worked so hard learning her 3rd form and practicing her sparring. Jeff and I were so proud of her! She had to break another board, which gave her pause, but she did it! I don't know what she was worried about, it looks simple enough to me. Right.

Log Cabin Christmas

We went on a field trip to our local museum in Springdale. The theme was Log Cabin Christmas. We learned the ways that people in the "old days" celebrated Christmas. The children listened to stories and helped decorate a tree with pinecones, paper, and such. We learned that a Christmas tree was not decorated until Christmas Eve when the children were sleeping as this was part of the magic of the holidays. Life was simpler then with an orange or a piece of candy being an extra special treat. Katie and her friend, Ella, dressed up in fancy hats and looked so cute.

St. Lucia Day

St. Lucia Day is celebrated in Sweden on December 13th. Since I am part Swedish, I have decided that we shall take part in this tradition this year. I am very excited! Mandy will play a special role in that she is the oldest daughter and she will have the honor of wearing the crown of lights and serving the family breakfast. Katie will also have a little crown and be able to carry a candle. The girls will dress in long white dresses with a red sash. I'm not sure how authentic we will be in the recipe department, but we will enjoy something delicious! I found the cutest St. Lucia doll craft on-line but the kits are sold out!:( I will have to get an earlier start next year. We will make crowns and learn about the history of St. Lucia this week. In researching the holiday I came across the art of Carl Larsson. HIs paintings (most done of his family) are absolutely precious and I immediately fell in love.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The Golden Compass

I feel that I should make a note about the new movie, "The Golden Compass." Mandy was recently invited to a birthday party where the girls were going to spend the afternoon watching this. The movie looks exciting and has some wonderful actors and actresses in it, but I am not fooled. Neither was Mandy. She told me that "she did not want to see a movie that had anything to do with hating God." I was really proud of her. She and I both love movies and I will use any reason to slip off for a few hours of entertainment and popcorn! We even had free passes given to us but we are not interested. Anyway, please research this movie if you do feel compelled to see it. The author of the books hates God and the final book in his trilogy is about children killing the Lord. Chilling, huh?

Thanksgiving in Tennessee

This year we spent Thanksgiving in Franklin, Tennessee with Grandma, Ba and Auntie Amy. We had a great time being silly together while we shopped, ate, geo-cached, swam, took pictures and celebrated Mandy and Katie's birthdays! Whenever we get together I end up laughing so hard that my sides ache!:-) We enjoyed a lovely Thanksgiving dinner at Mere Bulles. Grandma and Ba drove through the night and finally got to sleep around 7:30 am. They are amazing! I'm surprised they could keep a conversation going. Aunt Amy told us about the gas station where they stopped with the hanging doll and animal heads. Road travel is definitely an adventure. I could almost hear the scary music playing in the background...

We got to meet Amy's new boyfriend on the trip because he was spending time with his parents in Nashville. His name is Michael and he seems like a very nice guy. He seems to really care about Amy and that really impressed me. Only the best for my sister!

We celebrated the girls' birthdays at Lillie Belle's Tea House- our favorite! If you ever are in Franklin you MUST stop there! It is the sweetest old house with lots of history and charm. They serve tea and wonderful food with genuine hospitality. We stayed for quite a long time and did not want to leave. Mandy had blueberry tea that smelled heavenly and we also enjoyed Earl Grey and Darjeeling. It was raining and cold but it only added to the charm.

Where will our next adventure be!:-)