Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Last Day of 2011

Today I spent most of the day playing with Hunter.  It was nice having all day to just be a stay-at-home mom.  I put him in his block toy container and piled the blocks around him.  A bonafide block party!
Daddy made a shake and Hunter drank straight from the blender.
We found Hunter like this in the living room.  The lawnmower became a riding one and a place to catch up on his toy smartphone.

His shirt says "Play Date?  Text me." Hahaha which is perfect to go with his phone.

The Omni Hotel Dallas

The Maurtizen's blessed us with an awesome Christmas present for me and Korey to share.  They gave us a night at the new Omni Hotel in downtown Dallas and they booked us a room for the night after Christmas!  The hotel was offering room specials since they had just opened in November.

We packed up Hunter and dropped him off at Grandma's house and then drove to the hotel.  When we walked in our TV was on and had a welcome message on it with my name on it.  A nice touch!

Then I walked into the bathroom and found this...a TV built into the bathroom mirror.  I'd never seen that before anywhere.  We never stay in hotels this nice!
 This was our view from the room.

 And our view at night.  The building to the left with the green is the Bank of America building.  The building to the right with the x's on them is Renaissance Tower where I used to work.
 This was part of our present so we busted out the bubbly after dinner.  We ate dinner in the hotel at Texas Spice at which I had the most awesome appetizer salad.  Yum!
 The next morning we had breakfast sent via room service and I had to capture the cute array of mini condiments.

 This was the fireplace in the lobby.

 These gigantic Christmas ornaments were out in front of the hotel so we went and took pics in front of them.

 As modest and shy as he can be, he sure looks like he's trying to strike a model pose!

 Another awesome view from the front of the hotel.
 And finally, some of the awesome decorations in the lobby!  We had a fabulous 24 hours thanks to the Mauritzen's!


Christmas morning came early for us.  We had to wake up at 6:30am so we could have our Christmas before we left for my mom's house to have our family Christmas there.  Hunter wasn't quite awake yet and was sporting some awesome bedhead.

 He and Daddy are peeking over the edge of the couch to see what awaits.

 He got a new toy phone and was busy calling his grandma.

After we opened our presents Hunter was off to get ready.  This year we had an awesome Christmas morning.  Last year Hunter needed a nap in the middle of the morning but this year he persevered!  We ate homemade cinnamon rolls, made by yours truly, after we opened gifts and read about Jesus's birth from the book we read to Hunter every night.  We didn't get to read it to him the night before so we read at the breakfast table.
Then we were off to my mom's where I got distracted from picture taking but not long enough to capture this beautiful ham!

Merry Christmas!

Christmas Eve

Our Christmas Eve tradition includes snacks, church, sub sandwiches, and a gift from "Santa."  This year my sister hosted Christmas Eve so we went to her house for snacks and then we ventured off to her church, The Village, for the service.

My sister found these kid size Solo cups at the store so Hunter enjoyed playing with his.
Dad do I have to look at the camera?

 Dad, really, I'm trying to eat my snack.
 And finally, there's both of them!
 Before we left for the service we took some family photos.  Here are the Mauritzen's.

Here's our first failed shot.
After our photos, we went to the service and at the last minute we decided not to put Hunter in childcare.  We knew he would be fine during the music it was just the quiet moments we were worried about.  We weren't prepared for there to be a thirty minute sermon though!  But we had plenty of Cheerios that kept Hunter entertained.  And every now and then we would let him play with the unlit candles.  I only heard half the message but what I did hear was great.  And praise the Lord Hunter made it the whole hour.  Yes, one hour!

We went back to the house after the service for sub sandwiches.  It may be weird to some but our mentality is that we always eat light the day before our big feast.

Apparently Baby Mauritzen requested our mom's famous Italian Cream Cake.  Famous in our family, of course.  And you can't argue with Baby Mauritzen!  It was delicious!

Hunter's First Haircut

A couple of days before Christmas we took Hunter to get his first haircut.  We had just taken him to see Santa earlier that day which didn't go well so we knew we were in for it by attempting to have his hair cut, too.  However, this went much better than Santa!

I had to put his cape on and tell him it was a bib but halfway through the haircut he started pulling it off.

Thank goodness he was in the racing car seat because that was a good distraction.  Dora was playing on the TV but he isn't a TV watcher.

We're almost done!

I think he was looking up at his dad at the time.  Such a cute face.  There were no tears for his haircut just some fussing and squirming.
Don't forget my sides!
The finished product.  While I think we paid way too much it was great for his first time.  I love the new look!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Saltine Cracker Toffee

I simply call this Toffee in my book because I haven't yet attempted to make real toffee with a candy thermometer.  The surprising ingredient is saltine crackers.  Really?  Yes, crackers.  It's the perfect combination of sweet and salty.  It also makes the perfect gift for neighbors for Christmas or an easy dessert that everyone will love.

I've seen this floating around the internet for awhile but I like to think that my sister and I discovered it first.  This is my go-to recipe every Christmas.

This recipe is not complicated but it does require you to babysit it while it's in the oven lest it burn.  And burnt toffee is not good.  Bleh. 

I first lined a baking sheet with foil that overlaps the edges and laid out saltine crackers on it.  If there's an inch of space left in your pan that won't hold a whole cracker you can cut a cracker in half with a serrated knife and finish lining your pan.
I then microwaved one cup of butter and brown sugar until they melted.

Then stir, stir, stir it all up until it's one color.  I used a whisk for this.  Stir, stir, stir, I tell you!

Then you pour your butter/sugar mixture over the top of the crackers and spread it thin with a knife so that every cracker is covered.  No cracker left behind!
Then you place it in the oven for FIVE MINUTES at 350.  It will start to bubble and turn light golden brown.  Don't walk away and let your oven keep beeping.  Take them out at the buzzer!  This is what they look like after they came out of the oven.  I used a knife to push the crackers back into line.
Then I dumped a bag of peanut butter and chocolate chips (the combo one) over the top.  Since the pan is super hot the chips started to melt so I spread them out with a knife.  I could have used an offset spatula for this but I forgot to tell Santa I needed one.  Once the chocolate was spread out I sprinkled crushed pecans on top and pressed them down with a piece of foil.  This is less messy than using your hands.  Trust me on this one.

Freeze or refrigerate until the chocolate is firm, maybe an hour.  Then peel the foil off FIRST before you break the sheet into pieces.  And voila!  You have toffee!

I like to keep mine in the freezer and pull it out when I need something sweet to munch on.

Bag it up and hand it to your neighbors!

(click for printable)

1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 sleeve of saltine crackers
1 bag of peanut butter/chocolate chips
1 cup finely chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350. Line a large baking sheet with foil that overlaps the edges. Line the foil with saltine crackers. Melt butter and brown sugar together in the microwave for 30 second increments until both are melted. Using a whisk, stir the two together until it is all one color. Pour over the saltine crackers. Bake for 5 minutes until light golden brown and bubbly. Remove from oven and sprinkle chocolate chips on top and spread with a knife. Sprinkles with pecans, pushing them down with a piece of foil on top. Remove the foil and refrigerate the whole pan until firm. Once chilled, peel off the foil from the back and break into pieces.