Thursday, November 29, 2012

here comes december!

This post contains so much that it might explode.
I just want to make sure you are ready for December.... I am about to burst with happiness I am so excited that this month is almost here! Here are some of my favorite December posts from the past 
(no surprise that they are almost ALL treats)....

First up..... 
The easiest advent calendar you will ever make....just a little string of envelopes counting down the days until Christmas. All you need is festive paper, mini clothespins, string, and a brain full of Christmasy ideas. Each day your Littles choose a note from inside the envelope to see what they will do today to count down to Christmas. We do simple things like read a Christmas book, sing Christmas songs, have a Christmas treat, watch a Christmas movie......or bigger things like go on our annual Christmas date, decorate cookies, or make our annual gingerbread house.
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Full calendar instructions HERE

Brussels Sprouts-one of our favorites! 
If you wrinkle up your nose when you think about brussels then you are making them wrong.
Lots of ways to eat them, including sauteed with bacon, avocado and lime, HERE.
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Pomegranates are pretty and festive, and we love them in everything. 
How to prepare and eat them HERE.
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Let's move on to the treats....I need to go run 30 miles up a mountain just looking at these.

Homemade Toffee! 
I was always so intimidated when it came to candy making.....and then we tried toffee and it will now be a yearly tradition for Robby and I to make. Recipe HERE.
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Black and White Popcorn. 
Easy and quick and perfect for gift giving. Recipe HERE.
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My very favorite Christmas cookie everrrrrr. Snowballs. Recipe HERE. 
Don't hesitate to make them....right NOW.
Candy Cane Ice Cream. 
Ice cream isn't just for summer--this serves up nicely with warm brownies. 
Recipe HERE.
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We had this cake last year with our Christmas feast. 
Chocolate and Orange Layer Cake--recipe HERE.
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December Desktop Calendars
Snow in Wyoming

Big Sky

Sugar Cookies

Happy Weekend....and Happy December!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

all mine

What a good and happy thankful month we've had.
I have to end it with being completely cliche' and saying how thankful I am for my little family. 
We have so much fun together, and this silly little picture makes me so happy inside. 
I wanted a quick snap of us together in Montana--proof that we are actually a family, and capable of taking a photo together. 
The wind was blowing exactly 1007 miles per hour. I'm surprised we are all standing upright.
My hair was blowing everywhere, whipping my entire family in the face. 
My son looks like a sheepdog. 
But......we are all together!
So thankful for us.

Thanks to everyone who played along on your blogs and instagram this month!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

we wondered as we wandered

On our drive home through Montana, we took a quick detour through Bannack. 
Bannack was a bustling gold town from the late 1860s-1930s and many of the structures still remain today. It's a state park, so it's been preserved more than other ghost towns, and many of the buildings are open to explore--some with furniture still in place. We didn't have a lot of time to spend--it was a quick stop--but I can't wait to stop again on our next time through and spend some more time there. We bundled up--the temperature was hanging around 20°, and made our way down the snow packed street admiring the buildings.

The outsides of the buildings are in such good shape, considering how old they are. I felt like I was on the set of a western movie. We peeked in windows, and tried to guess what each building was. 
Robby and I wondered what we would have done in the town? Would he have been a miner? A banker? A store owner? A doctor?! What would I have liked to do? Would I have had a camera? Would I spend time out on the trails in my prairie dress? 
We laughed and laughed and tried to imagine.
And then you go inside. 
The mood changes. 
The rooms are quiet and still. 
Mostly empty, yet somehow inviting as light pours though the uncovered windows. 
We walk, reverently, room through room, wondering what the past held in every corner, every hall. 
Stairs creek and floorboards grumble and groan, telling their own stories of the past.
Just like the last time I was in a Montana ghost town, I begin to wonder about those that lived here long long ago. And with tattered wallpaper, and scattered furniture in some of the rooms, my mind gets to dreaming up all kinds of stories. 
Kids filled this schoolroom--little kids just like mine. 
Laughing and talking and learning--and what were they learning?
Little tables and little chairs in the houses. Books were surely read, letters written. 
To whom? Where were they writing to?
A hotel. Room after tiny room. Who had come to visit? What did they wear as they descended the grand staircase?
It absolutely fascinates me, I could think about it all day....and maybe sometimes I do.
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these were all wallpapers from one house. the house was newer than a lot of the other buildings, and almost the entire inside was wallpapered. 
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the end
(for now.....I vow to visit again!)

Monday, November 26, 2012

big big sky

Many of you may have heard it called "Big Sky Country". 
Maybe you have wondered why......
I am about to show you.

Let me just tell you first how thankful I am 
for this wonderful state. 
When I was little, I lived in a small mountain valley in the west. 
We were close to mountains for picnics and camping and playing in creeks.
We spent summers at rivers, lakes, and the county fair.
We would hunt for our Christmas trees, and spend time sledding and drinking hot cocoa in the snow.

When I was eleven, we packed up and headed to the country--the middle of the state--in the middle of....well....nowhere. 
Miles and miles of plains to the east, and the Rocky Mountains to the West. 
We could roam forever, and even had horses to help us do so.

But come 18....I was ready to flee (I'm sure if you grew up in a small town you can relate to this "need to get outta here" feeling. )
It's been more than eleven years now since I've been gone, and some days I just miss it so much. 
When we drive to Montana we honk and cheer as we cross over the border. 
It's always so hard to leave--the mountains, the plains, the old barns, the haystacks, 
and that outrageously giant, enormous blue sky.
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seriously though, have you seen a bigger sky?

We were able to hike up on to Crown Butte while we were there. 
Just my little family and my sister's family, on top of a giant flat topped mountain. 
The hike is short and easy, and the views are spectacular. 
The wind on top was, blowing my kids away, crazy. 
We weren't able to spend as much time on top as we would have liked, but I'm so happy I got to do this with my family. This butte sits right outside my parent's house and I've starred up at it so many times in my life, and haven't been on top since high school. 
I can't wait to get back and explore much Montana to see!

Did you move away from where you grew up?
Do you miss it?