If there is one holiday I do, it is Christmas! I become completely consumed by it. I dream about their faces, I worry about their disappointment, I plan, I decorate, I buy and then I buy some more and I give thanks for the gift. I LOVE Christmas!
I love surprising Max. It is a problem really. I never stick to our agreed amount to spend on each other and I search and search until I feel I found a gift that will knock his socks off! This year it was pretty clear what the gift would be. He has wanted, more lusted after an iphone since they came out. But Max is very pragmatic. iphones are expensive and we have not completed our contract with T-mobile. Enter Katie. The not so pragmatic, loves a surprise and wants nothing more than to make Max smile. So he got an iphone and Hailey will have his old cell phone for emergencies. He couldn't be happier. I on the other hand am having a bit of buyer remorse. Yesterday I had to ground him from his phone. I put my foot down and said, "there will be no iphones at the table."

He is in love. I am sure in time his infatuation with her will diminish but currently it is an all out affair. She just has things I can't offer. She has endless applications. Her glass like face is so enticing to caress. She is so tiny and easy to hold. She can take him anywhere. She keeps him connected and empowers him. She is not just pretty, she is smart. He can dictate to her and she listens to his every word. The iphone is truly a life changing device. Hopefully not a marriage changing device! :0)
Ah, but she can't give him kids, the true key to his heart.

It was a good Christmas at our house.
Karlie's big present was a set of golf clubs. She loves to play Wii golf with Max and really wants to go with him golfing. Santa took a swing. We will see this spring if it was a hole in one or a bogey.
Kaitlin's big present was a new bike. The hand-me down from Hailey to Karlie and then to Kaitlin had lost it's training wheels. Kaitlin is very into her Bitty Baby so Santa was kind enough to find a bike with a spot for Bitty to ride along. Kaitlin was thrilled and rode her bike around and around in the house.
Hank thought Christmas was pretty cool.
He got lots of trucks and tools.
Hailey wanted more matching outfits for her and her twin doll, Abbey. She also asked for a puppy and a bike. She got the bike and the clothes but Santa brought a stuffed Weimaraner. She was a tad disappointed but understood Santa couldn't deliver live animals.

Karlie also got a hair salon set so she can get started on her cosmetology license. She loves doing hair and make-up.
This was the most romantic gift I gave Max. Ours has been broken for months so what a good opportunity for a new one.
This is a typical fashion for disposing of toasters in Max's family.
I was a little sad on Christmas night when it was all over. I know most normal people are relieved, but I was a little blue. All the festivities, all the cheery faces, all the Merry Christmas', all the parties, all the eating, and joy of the season is done for another year.
We hope you will join us for another round of MKHKKH in 2010 and that it is a happy and healthy year for all.

It's Beginning To Look A LOT like Christmas...

It has been a busy time getting ready for the big day! Cookies to be made for Santa.

Snowball fights and Snowmen to be made.

Four thousand calories to eat... Prime Rib, crab, artichokes and pasta. All served with a healthy dose of butter. Don't forget the Yorkshire pudding! Oh, man. Do I really have to make creamed eggs for breakfast?
Every Christmas Eve I give the kids matching PJs and this year Max and I got a pair too!
Now all the kids are tucked in bed and it is time for Santa's elves to get to work. We hope you all have a very Merry Christmas!

Boys and Their Toys

Boys are just hard wired differently than girls. I am fairly certain Hank has never seen me groan and nearly lose my breath at the sight of a large truck or digger. Well, maybe if I am trying to pass one on the freeway. But if he sees any type of truck or large machinery he is instantly enthralled and begins squealing with delight. This big "digger" as we call it, is near our house and he flips out every time we pass by it. Over the weekend Max decided to take him for a closer look. Hank (I think Max too) was beside himself. As Max parked, he started screaming "shoes! shoes"! He wanted to get his shoes on so he could get out and inspect it. I think from the look on his face, his expectations were met.

Pheasant Nuggets

Recently Max had an opportunity to go hunting for pheasant with our neighbor. Of the 11 birds they flushed, they brought home 9! So we ended up with 5 pheasant in our freezer.

I had never eaten pheasant and was a little worried it would be "gamy". However our neighbor passed along this recipe to make them like chicken nuggets and they were delicious! You can eat almost anything if it is deep fried. I just hope his success doesn't transfer over to Bambi one day. I can do pheasant nuggets, but I am not sure I could swallow Bambi nuggets! :0)
Pheasant Nuggets

1cup flour
2 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp parsley
1 cup ice water
1 egg yolk, beaten
2 egg whites, stiffly beaten
1/2 tsp salt

Make herb batter by stirring together flour, cornstarch, cheese, parsley and salt. Make a well in center of dry ingredients.

Beat ice water, egg yolk and egg whites together add add all at once to dry ingredients.

Cut one pheasant breast into 1 inch chunks and dip into batter and deep fry until done.

We mixed ranch and wing sauce 6:1 parts for dipping.

Questions From Karlie

Karlie asked, "Mom, can Hank eat chicken?" "Yes,"I replied. "How come he can eat chicken but not eggs?" Err, that took some explaining but only after I had time to really think about it. :)

There have been many questions concerning Santa. Karlie is critically thinking more about Santa at 5 than Hailey is at 8.

"Mom, does Santa cross the state border?" Karlie asked as we drove to school. "Yes, he flies all around the world," I answered. "Wow, he must get tired of sitting for so long."

"Why doesn't Santa want you to see him?" "What do you mean?" I evaded. Why does he send helper Santas to the mall instead of coming himself and why doesn't he want you to see him? Why do you have to be sleeping?"

I was able to answer the mall one easily, but she stumped me on the later. I am not sure how long we are going to be able to continue the magic with this one!

Girls Getaway

This last weekend I was fortunate enough to have a girls getaway with some "old friends." :) Courtney flew in from Montana, Lacey from Texas, and Jessica from Kentucky. We stayed at the Omni resort and acted like a bunch of teenage girls on a sleepover. We gabbed until the wee hours of the morning. We spent time catching up and talking about our kids and our sweet husbands that took on the kids for the entire weekend. We were able to do nearly every girly thing a mom would want to do.

On Friday we shopped leisurely and enjoyed getting to sit and eat as long as we wanted instead of rushing. We had great conversations and we learned even more about each other. We spent Saturday at the spa and got to be pampered with a massage and lounge by the pool and hot tub. Then we headed downtown for dinner and Girls Only comedy. After playing some pool at the hotel, we continued to laugh and talk until late in the night. I fell asleep laughing. It was a really fun day. My only regret is that it went by so fast.

Sunday everyone departed back to reality. It was amazing how good friends can pick up right where they left off. These girls have seen me through good and bad times, have had open hearts and and an ear to listen when ever I needed. They are amazing moms and wives and are the ones I know I can truly call a friend. I can't wait until our next trip when I can see them again! Love you girls and thank you for coming.

Welcome Baby Corrin!

My sister Melanie and her husband Colin welcomed their first child into the world last night at 11:55 p.m. Baby Corrin weighed 8lbs and was 20 inches long. Both mom and baby are doing great (not sure on Dad's status:)! We are thrilled to add #9 to my side of the family!


What a busy and wonderful Thanksgiving break we had. I am still trying to recover and fit into my jeans from it! Max's parents were visiting and they seem to just inspire a spirit of celebration. Every time we visit with them, the word moderation ceases to exist. There is always feasts that encourage over eating, there are ample glasses of wine, (and headaches the next morning) and we always try to pack in as much fun as possible.

For Thanksgiving we had a 13 adults and 8 kids. Snork was sick at home and dearly missed and little Miss Corrin decided she was not yet ready to have Thanksgiving and would just keep cooking in mommy's belly. So with all my sisters and their families, Max's parents and Max's boss and his wife, I wasn't feeling any pressure. Especially since the last large Thanksgiving I hosted was when Hailey was a new baby and Jeanette had bought me a fancy roaster. I didn't know that you were not suppose to use the lid and ended up sort of parboiling the turkey in its own juices. While it was one of the juiciest turkeys I have had, its grey anemic color left me bright red. Not to mention I had it upside down and when we realized it and tired to turn it over, I flung meat half way across the room. Food Network here I come. Maybe that is why I haven't hosted one in 8 years! But, really no pressure or worries at all. :)
I had a lot of fun creating the center pieces and setting the table. I told Max it was just like playing house! The tea candles in the miniature pumpkins turned out beautiful. They emitted a soft glow and felt festive.
I found many napkin rings I liked but decided on these from Cost Plus because I figured I could use them more often. I bought some leaves from Micheal's and twisted them around. For Christmas I think I will use some Holly berries and do the same.
The kids got baby food jars filled with fall jelly beans and little Indians and pilgrims.
We ended up almost eating one 24lb and one 17lb turkey! Thank goodness for moms. My mom thought better to cook a whole other turkey and brought it. I guess she has done this just a few times in her life or maybe she was worried I would parboil the turkey again. :0)

Since a whole Thanksgiving feast wasn't enough of a painful lessons on gluttony, Monty and Max were adamant that we have Paella on Friday night. Jeanette and I were trying to persuade them to do left overs but they wouldn't have it. So round two of indulgence came! I must admit, it was terrific.
Then the nightly post dinner rumble began to try and help us make room for dessert.
These two are really such a bad influence. I mean naked babies on the table, that never happens at my house!
On Saturday we went up to the mountains for our annual tree cutting. We encountered the volunteer horse unit. That was a delightful surprise for all of us to get to pet the three horses.
The kids love climbing on the rocks and playing with the snow.
Hank started to get the hang of the incline terrain after about an hour, but we ended up carrying him most of the time. We forgot the backpack carrier. I got to work off some of that Paella.
This was the first tree Karlie picked out, but of course we had to romp around the forest for a while and then go back and get the original tree. Karlie helped Max carry it back to the truck.
Mountain men.

The kids sure love their "Pops and Grandma Nette" and we had a wonderful break with them. Hopefully I can fit in my jeans before their next visit.