Find Good In Every Day

One mom's attempt at finding good in every day of this chaotic world.

Christmas Craziness Part 1 December 30, 2010

Filed under: Daily Blog — Robin @ findgoodineveryday @ 2:36 pm

Christmas with little kids becomes a whole different craziness.  Of course, I remember the Christmases of my past.  I’m pretty positive my sister and I made them crazy in their own right.  But now as a parent with young children, I have such a greater admiration for my parents and how they dealt with trying to make such wonderful memories for their kids.

For us, it all starts the weekend after Thanksgiving.  We have to get our Christmas decorations out and tree up then so we have time to enjoy it before it comes down right after Christmas.  Since Cooper’s birthday is so soon after the new year, we try to make it its own event by putting Christmas behind us and moving on to celebrate him.  So by putting up our decor right after Thanksgiving, we get a full month of the fun before stuffing it back in the attic for a year.  And let me tell you…  we LOVE Christmas around here.

Soon after Thanksgiving, we start the Advent Calendar.  Currently this is the highlight of Mason’s mornings.  For the first week, she had put each ornament on the tree herself before anyone else had woken up.  We had to have a little talk about it being a special moment and that the whole family would like to participate if possible.

Once the countdown to Christmas starts, we get a visit by one of Santa’s reindeer, Chestnut.  Chestnut’s job is to watch over us and report back to Santa at the North Pole each night on whether we have been naughty or nice.  (I think he is friends with the Elf on the Shelf.)  Each morning that he returns, Chestnut picks a different spot from which to watch.  It is a game for the kids to find where he is when they wake up.

Of course, mixed into the family’s Christmas traditions is my own little tradition of the Annual Cookie Swap.  Next year will be the fifth year, and I’m already counting down the days.  It is truly one of my favorite traditions.

We also try to make it down to Raleigh every December to visit with my dad’s brothers and their families.  If we do make it down, we have a gingerbread house contest and white elephant gift exchange.  The hilarity that ensues is always worth the drive!  And craziness abounds since there are now 4 young children!

Mason, Hayes, and Cooper - cousins!

When it does finally become Christmas Eve and Christmas, even more traditions come out.  Because of my family tradition of a big Christmas Eve dinner and Jeremy’s family tradition of a Christmas Day dinner, we’ve kept it that way.  That is to say we spend Christmas Eve with my side of the family and then do Christmas Day with the in-laws.  This year was a bit different because of Aunt Kristin’s plans, but we made it work, and everyone was happy.

Our traditional Christmas Eve meal is usually turkey and other “Thanksgiving” type stuff.  (In other years, we’ve done Christmas fajitas, which is pretty yummy too – seasonally appropriate with green and red peppers, of course!)  This year we were at my mom’s, and it was wonderful.

Hayes was already in bed and Scott was taking the picture, hence the abbreviated family pic.

After dinner, we get to each open one present.  It’s always fun to see what each person picks.  Then we fill our plate of cookies for Santa, pour him a glass of milk, and put some carrots out for the reindeer.  Then, as is probably tradition with many families, we read “The Night Before Christmas.”  I am lucky to still have the book from my childhood that my dad read to us every Christmas.  I now use that book to read to my own kids.

Finally off to bed.  Then early to rise the next morning to see what Santa brought!  Did Chestnut give us a glowing review?  Did Santa think we were naughty or nice?  So many questions…

It looks like we were nice!


Back In Time December 29, 2010

Filed under: Daily Blog — Robin @ findgoodineveryday @ 1:49 pm

I’m working on a huge project…  Jeremy and I want to memorialize all of our past photo albums in hardcover bound books so that we have them forever.  Since we’re not going to use our online photo provider to create these books, we need to catalog all of the photos we’ve used along with all the captions for those photos.  It is quite a task, let me tell you!

The best part, though, is that I have been able to go back in time and look through pictures starting from Mason’s birth in 2005 all the way up to this past summer.  Umm…  Where does the time go?  Looking at these pictures, I have seen all the adventures we have enjoyed, all the people we have laughed with, and all the memories we have created.  On one hand, it seems like just yesterday that we were bringing Mason home from the hospital or announcing my second pregnancy, but on the other hand, it seems like forever ago.  Does that make sense?

Another bonus of this project is that I realized all of the links to our albums on my Pictures page of this blog were bad.  Either they linked to nothing or linked to the wrong album.  I have since fixed that, so if you too are looking for a trip back in time, check out my Pictures page.

You just might catch a glimpse of something as sweet as this.



Staying Put December 22, 2010

Filed under: Daily Blog — Robin @ findgoodineveryday @ 9:47 am

In a past post, I referenced us making a decision about our living situation that I said I would fill you all in on later.  Well, it is later, and I feel comfortable sharing the news at this point.

We’re staying put!

I think anyone that knows us or has consistently read this blog would know that Jeremy and I are often looking for “the next thing.”  We have felt unsettled – in jobs, home, community, etc.  Yes, despite living in our house for almost 7 years, we felt unsettled.  Not that we have boxes still to unpack or anything because trust me – our house is lived in!  But more in the sense that we just weren’t sure if we were happy where we were and if we wanted to be here for much longer.  Our house has its limitations.  Our neighborhood has its issues.  Our bank account has its weaknesses.

After meeting with a realtor and visiting other cities, we determined that we have a lot right where we are.  The pros definitely outweigh the cons.  And we’d be hard pressed to find a bigger old charming house in a great neighborhood with great schools for $100k less than what our house is worth now.  (I know, we’re dreamers!)  So, we’re staying put!

This decision comes with a cost too, though.  While we did do the big backyard makeover to help our house feel more usable, we still feel there are a couple more things we want to do.  The basement is a big one.  We have water issues down there (as any 71-year-old house would), and we desperately want to fix it.  To permanently fix it (without a sump pump), we will have to jack hammer up the concrete floor in our basement.  And if we’re going to all that trouble, why not get a bathroom roughed in as well down there?  And then if it is roughed in, why not finish it?  And if we have a finished bathroom down there, why not finish off the rest of the basement so we have even more finished space?  And if we’re going to all that trouble, why not….???  Oh wait, it stops there.  Sort of.  So we’re in the process now of figuring out what exactly we’re doing down there.  The new year will hopefully bring us a new basement, but Jeremy will be doing most of the work, and we’ll have to compromise on a few things in order to save money.

All in all, though, we’re both really excited about our decision to stay put.  We have renewed excitement in our house.  What Jeremy and I love most is having a home project to discuss, research, and execute, so this is exactly what we need.  While we determine the basement plans, we’re doing a bit of rearranging too.  More room switches!  I’ll post more on that later.  But for now, we’re just feeling more “settled” in our house and our neighborhood.  I even bought myself a cool address stamp!  Yes, after 7 years of living at the same address, I have officially purchased an address stamp.  I consider it a “staying put” gift to myself.


Sickness Takes Over December 17, 2010

Filed under: Daily Blog — Robin @ findgoodineveryday @ 8:00 am

Our house has been riddled with sickness the past month.  From sore throats and colds to the stomach flu, we just can’t seem to be rid of the germs.  Cooper seems to keep starting it all off.  No blame to him of course.  Teachers at his school have been dropping like flies with illness too.  His school must be a germ haven right now, and he’s bringing them home with him.

The latest germ infestation took us all down in the span of a week.  Cooper on Saturday, me on Tuesday, Mason on Wednesday, and Jeremy on Thursday.  The downside of this is the upcoming weekend’s plans, and I’m hoping Jeremy can recover soon enough to partake in the fun.  (Of course add snowstorms onto this, and the plan becomes even more muddled, but it is what it is.)

The worst part of sickness is watching those you love in pain.  Especially my hubby.  He’s usually my rock and will fill in as needed when I am down.  But when he’s down?  Well, of course I fill in, but it’s just not the same.  He’s not his funny self.  He’s not his strong self.  He’s not there to make light of our tough days.  He’s sick, and it sucks!  Hopefully this time he’ll be through it as fast as the rest of us were.  I need him back.  I don’t want the sickness to take over anymore!

On the lighter side…  The best part of having the stomach flu twice in a 3 week span?  Losing the extra weight I put on after Thanksgiving and the cookie swap!  Woohoo!


The Choice and The Swap December 13, 2010

Filed under: Daily Blog — Robin @ findgoodineveryday @ 9:59 am

Cookie Swap 2010 was a success!  Gosh, I love that party.  I love getting such wonderful women all together in one place to hang out and catch up over hot apple cider and delicious cookies.

I decided to make the Chocolate Caramel Cookies with Sea Salt after every single reader who commented voted for those.  Of course I completely forgot to take pictures, so you’ll just have to believe me on this one.  They looked delicious.  And they tasted pretty darn good too.  Jeremy was the only one who got to sample them warm with the caramel center still gooey, but even at room temperature, they were good.  I think I added a bit too much salt on top, so I’ll have to cut back next time (and there will be a next time since I have tons of leftover caramels to use up!)

Besides my cookies, we had a lot of chocolate based cookies at the swap.  Chocolate Almond Cookies, Chocolate Mocha Cookies, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies, Chocolate Hazelnut Rugelach, Chocolate Drops, White Chocolate Orange Cookies, etc.  We also had Iced Sugar Cookies, Lemon Crisps, Apricot Rugelach, Toffee Crunch, Hard Candy, etc.  A sugar rush indeed!  But all so wonderful and all so delicious!

Now we’re in the purging stage.  Being the host of the swap, I always get the leftovers – more than my share of cookies.  Luckily Jeremy and I both have coworkers who love cookies.  And Jeremy is going to take some to a friend’s house tonight for Monday Night Football.  I think that will get rid of most of the extras so we can focus on our official share of cookies and not feel too guilty about eating them up!

Please help me remember to take more pictures next year.  Just the site of 20 dozen cookies on my dining room table is amazing (which is only the tasting amount – the swapping amount is more like 100 dozen!)


Decisions, Decisions December 2, 2010

Filed under: Daily Blog — Robin @ findgoodineveryday @ 2:55 pm

It’s holiday time, and that means it is Cookie Swap time!  I decided on the date of my cookie swap over a month ago, and now it is a week away, and I’m still deciding what recipe to use.

My first thought was peanut butter whoopie pies by Martha Stewart.

Peanut Butter Whoopie Pie Recipe

I actually made them around Thanksgiving for Mason’s school party and the chocolate dessert at Nana and Papa’s.  They were good – don’t get me wrong!  But they were quite big, and I got a little sick of them after snacking on them for several days.  It would be hard to get up to 5 dozen of these!

So now I have some decisions to make, and I’m looking for your feedback.  Let me know in the comments section which recipe you think I should make for the cookie swap next weekend.  I’ll tally the votes and reveal my choice the day of the swap.  Here are the options.

Two Tone Chocolate Peanut Butter Stars from Bakingsheet

Two Tone Chocolate Peanut Butter Stars Recipe

Chocolate and Peppermint Bark Cookies by Cookin' Canuck

Chocolate and Peppermint Bark Cookie Recipe

Chocolate Caramel Cookies with Sea Salt by Two Peas and Their Pod

Chocolate Caramel Cookies with Sea Salt Recipe

Thanks in advance for your vote and for helping me decide between these three delicious cookies!

Note – all photos were from the respective websites.