Monday, December 21, 2009

Early Christmas

As Jace has told many in passing, "my mom and dad made a deal with Santa...our house is the first house in the whole world he will visit this year because,we are going to Utah." I will say it definitely made traveling easier this year. Although, we did find out as we were checking in last night that we are able to check 10 bags for free because B is a Gold Member...oh well, Christmas at home is better:)
Our friends the Boyer's gave us this sweet nativity set this year. Jace claimed it was precious and sooo cute and Kai said it was sooo beautiful. Scarlet screamed but, would have probably reacted even more had she known who it was from (she really loves Lance "the dad" in this family and goes to him any chance she gets). B and I used it in our Christmas Eve message to the kids. We discussed Jesus's life in great detail from birth to death. I am truly grateful for the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ and have a special place in my heart for Mary and Joseph as I think of what they endured so joyfully many years ago.

(Man, look at their hair...good thing they have an appt. today with NeeNee (their hairstylist)...right on our Christmas Day:-)
Merry Christmas!!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Why I "GIVE" Peanut Butter Balls at Christmas!!

Year after year my kids, neighbors, friends, fellow ward members, and B especially; ask why I go to the trouble of making Peanut Butter Balls each year (roughly 1000). My response as cheesy as it sounds is that I love to GIVE and to make people HAPPY.
My poor dad will get a kick out of reading this but, as a child each year between August and October I would have him buy me one of those yellow lined paper notebooks that we never really see anymore. I would make a list of each extended family member (including extended family members dogs) and draw a Christmas card for them.



Aunt Tracy: Bell

Cousin Skyler: Stocking

Dodo(my grandpa): Christmas Tree

Breck (my brother): Snowman

Nana's Dog: a dog with a Santa Hat on

Everyone acted happy when I gave it to them. Now, whether they really cared or not it wasn't something that ever crossed my mind.
My kids thankfully have picked up the desire to give to others as well. Now Brandon on the other hand, it's not that he doesn't enjoy giving; it's the work that goes into the Peanut Butter Balls that he doesn't like. So this year for Christmas I got up at the wee hours in the morning and worked really hard on them until the kids got up and as soon as Scarlet went down for her naps I would get back to work again. This year was my record without help I made 663 Peanut Butter Balls in one day (although, even with that I'm not done.)

Here are the comments I have heard from others on the receiving end this year so far:

1.) "So, did you make low-fat ones this year?"

2.)"Do we get a double batch since we are your friends and you home teach us?" (You bet they did)

3.)"Remember our youngest turned one this year so we get an extra three for him"
(I give three Peanut Butter Balls per person in a household unless you have a baby that doesn't eat solids yet...with that said I guess a few people remembered this rule from previous years)
4.) One family that wasn't on my list but, I sure don't mind giving to: "Remember we do live in the same neighborhood."

5.) "Will you please sell some to me?"

6.) "Is it possible that we were the last house on your delivery tonight, you live five minutes away, you are still not home, and all twelve of our Peanut Butter Balls are gone?"

7.) My sweet visiting teacher was sincere when she offered to help me each year in making these treats and told me that if I ever skipped out on making these one year that surely everyone would understand. She moved here recently and had heard about the treats but, didn't think she knew me well enough to be on the recieving list (that made me sad..New Year's resolution: work harder on reaching out to others and making them feel special)

Now, by all means I'm not claiming to be a great cook at all. In fact when B and I first got married I had never made eggs and our first Christmas married I was asked to bring a pan of brownies. Easy, right? Well the box called for an 8x8 pan and I didn't have one so I simply dripped the batter into one end of a 13x9 and hoped the mix wouldn't run down to the other end of the pan. Needless to say my brownies were literally rock hard.

As the years went on I occasionally got tips from my Gourmet Cook Sister-in-law who has an art when it comes to cooking. I also took three or four cooking classes in AZ when B was in grad. school. Since then, I have tried to cook five nights a week and I make sure I cook for every event I'm invited to. I also always try to make sure it's a new recipe. For me the secret is is not being afraid to try new recipes, holding onto the good ones you find, and over the years tweaking them to your liking.

That is what happened with these Peanut Butter Balls. When I was in AZ my advisor in YW invited me to her home to make Christmas goodies. Peanut Butter Balls were on the list. Since then each year I have made little changes to the recipe so much that I now claim it as my own.

Things I have learned for this recipe: margarine is better than unsalted butter (only recipe I have ever created has this been the case)

Jiffy creamy is better than Skippy and you can buy it in bulk at Sam's Club.

Semi-sweet chocolate chips not milk chocolate


they last for three weeks even when they aren't refrigerated!!

Because I have spent hours on creating this new recipe it's not one I give out but, I will make them for anyone anytime. In fact I do know that when I move to Utah I will ship these treats to my cooking friends the Griffeth's. This family is soo fun to cook for and they love to cook.

P.S. If you live in Katy, and have not received a batch. No worries I have to do these in shifts and am still not done delivering.

And on a side-note as I was packaging Peanut Butter Balls this little love took it upon herself to discover chocolate for the very first time...

mErRy ChRiStMaS!!

Ward Party and visit with Santa

Jace pulled a list out of nowhere and told Santa to memorize it. Santa said, "In case I don't memorize real well stick the list under the tree"(in my handbag a week ago would've really helped)...

Kai just being sweet Kai told Santa the only thing he wants for Christmas is K-nex.

Typical baby response but, for us we were just happy to see that she still knows how to cry. I really don't remember the last time she cried...maybe when she got her vaccines a month ago.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Winter Wonderland Houston Style

This past Friday Houston shut down due to possible snow flurries. To our dismay it snowed much more than we anticipated (in case your aren't aware of the climate in Houston, it doesn't SNOW here.) Brandon's office shut down and Jace's school dismissed early. I am sooo happy we were all able to enjoy the SNOW day together.

As soon as Jace stepped off the bus these two brothers broke out in their first snowball fight ever

Jace was so excited to make snow angels even if there was a little dirt involved:)

Excitement in the air...

The park near our bus stop was a happening place for kids of all ages...

Our little snow bunny...

Making sure the trampoline still works...

A little wet
All in a days work!!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


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