Cookie Recipes!

Good Afternoon everyone! Good Grief, the week before Christmas is insane busy, am I right? That 4 hours I had to myself on Wednesday was glorious and I don’t think I did it full justice! This week of course Joseph had his parade! Then we also had:

Joseph's Holiday Concert

Joseph’s Holiday Concert

Joseph did a great job along with all of the other middle schoolers! It’s amazing to hear how much different and more skilled they are from last year!

Then yesterday Riley had his holiday lunch at school. Joseph really wanted to go so since he was done with finals we had a Joseph and Mom day where we did a little shopping and then went to eat with Riley:

Cute brotherly selfie!

Cute brotherly selfie!

Then today I have been at Riley’s school busy making cinnamon rolls in several waffle makers (thank you Pinterest!) as well as hot chocolate! It was pajama day at his school so his class happily ate their treats while watching the Polar Express! This is Riley’s favorite movie ever! I’m on a break at home right now while I whip up some more goodies. Then I’m going back in a bit to help the teacher make Latkes for the class. I think all I want for Christmas is a nap at this point!

I would be a terrible food blogger with my normal pictures! But you get the idea! Clockwise: Butter Cookies, Fudge, Pretzel Rolo's, Toffee, Chocolate Cheesecake Cookies

I would be a terrible food blogger with my normal pictures! But you get the idea! Clockwise: Butter Cookies, Fudge, Pretzel Rolo’s, Toffee, Chocolate Cheesecake Cookies

So I usually am a die hard traditionalist when it comes to Holiday Baking. I only make my treats from scratch. But let’s be realistic, this year it just isn’t going to happen. So I decide to cut myself a break and find some cookies I could make that were easy and delicious. I love the internet! I found several bloggers websites that have fantastic recipes! I posted a picture of my Butter Cookies on Facebook and had several people want the recipe! So I decided to give you all the recipes of what I found this year! Seriously, these Butter Cookies are amazing and soft! My husband thinks they’re the best thing I’ve ever baked! I’m adding the links to the fellow bloggers recipes because it’s only fair to give credit where credit is due! These ladies are geniuses!

Recipe for Butter Cookies These are the to die for cookies! Kristen at Lilluna.com came up with this!

Cream Cheese Brownie Cookies Man, these are decadent! So easy too! These are from Shelly at Cookiesandcups.com!

Easy English Toffee This was so easy to make! I made some with Almonds too, but they didn’t turn out as pretty. This recipe is from livingonadime.com where there are 24 other easy candies you can make!

As for my fudge, it’s a huge secret family recipe from my Mother-in-law…from the back of the Jetpuffed container! From all of the fudge I’ve ever had, this is by far my favorite!

And the pretzel rolo things are super easy too! Just line a bunch of little pretzels on a cookie sheet, place an unwrapped Rolo on each one. Then I put them in the oven at 350 degrees for 4 minutes then take them out. Then I put half of a pecan on top. So easy but yum! I love salty and sweet things together!

Now, the one recipe I am keeping traditional is my Grandmothers White Christmas cookies. I haven’t made them yet, but I will and I will be happy to post the recipe for you all. I make them every year for my dad. His mom, my grandmother died on Christmas day several years ago but she would make these for the holidays every year. She even made them right before she died. So, for my Daddy, who doesn’t ask for much, he gets his cookies!

I hope you guys are almost ready for the holidays! I will probably not post much before Christmas because there is just too much to do and I want to be able to spend time with my family. My kiddos seem to be growing up in the blink of an eye and I miss those little buddies!  Is there a recipe you make every year for the holidays? If you would be willing to share it I would love for you to tell me!

Snow!!!

Well I don’t know if we’ll have a White Christmas, but we have a White 8 Days Before Christmas! Joseph woke us up pretty early so excited! He had the news on right away hoping for at least a school delay. No dice, the bus was a bit late but off to school they went! I’m hoping it stays pretty and white, but in a few hours I have a feeling it will turn slushy and muddy. You never know how the weather will go here in the Land of Enchantment! The extended forecast didn’t have us getting any snow at all! Here’s a few pictures that I took this morning on my balcony:

More than a dusting, but not enough to close schools!

More than a dusting, but not enough to close schools!

She's excited! I can just imagine in her head she's thinking "What is this?"

She’s excited! I can just imagine in her head she’s thinking “What is this?” See her collar? She has a habit of chewing on it! Guess we know what Santa will be bringing her!

So. I have 4 glorious hours of being home by myself! The kids are off to school, Riley has a short day and gets out early. I’m going to relax a bit before the hustle and bustle of the holidays continues. I plan on baking up a storm and sipping on my coffee…in my jammies! Moments like this are few and far between these days!

A little off subject but I wanted to share a few pictures with you all from this weekend! Joseph is in band at school, he plays the trumpet. We had a parade in our city that Joseph was apart of! He worked very hard for several weeks with his band to learn how to march and play together. The parade was at night so all of the kids wore Christmas lights while they marched in the parade! It was his first time ever and he had a blast! I walked along by the band so I could help pick up drum sticks or anything else that the kids would drop along the way. I was just so darn proud of them, they did a great job! They even won FIRST PLACE for the bands in the parade! This even included the High School bands!

This was while they were waiting for the parade to start. They were getting some last minute practice in.

This was while they were waiting for the parade to start. They were getting some last minute practice in.

Here they are marching!

Here they are marching!

Thank you for indulging me for a minute so I could be a proud mom! Are your kids doing any fun activities at school or in extra curriculars? I would love to hear you brag about them! We work so hard as moms and darn it, we’ve earned the right to talk about the great things our children do!

In Memory of Sandy Hook

 

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How can two years already have passed? In one way it feels like such a long time ago. But it’s never far from my mind. As a mother, I cannot even fathom the loss of my child in such a way. Unfortunately as parents we may have to say goodbye to our little angels due to disease or unforeseen circumstance. But never due to the hand of a fellow human being. That thought does not even cross our minds. Especially so young and fragile.

Riley is the same age as those that lost their life that tragic day. I remember we had plans that day for my husbands birthday, but then I saw the news. I was at work and it took everything I had in me to not go and get my kids from school. I wanted to go and take them home and barricade out the rest of the world. How could someone hurt 6 and 7 year old children? Little tiny 1st graders with little tiny hands but big hopes and dreams. I had to suppress the urge and instinct to run as fast as I could to my children and shield them of the dangers of life that now exists.

I remember I watched the clock at work like a hawk and couldn’t wait to get home and physically hold and touch my living breathing children. I walked in the door, and broke down in tears to my husband. He and I both could not hold it together. We felt so blessed that our children were safe in their beds. Then we felt guilty that we were blessed to have our children alive when many other parents couldn’t. So many emotions rushed through us wave after wave. We would still be able to hug our kids and tuck them in. We could still get aggravated when they left the toothpaste out. We could remind them to be kind to their brother. The parents of the children that died would never be able to do that again with the children they had lost.

I picked up my sleeping Riley from his bed that night, so warm and heavy. I wiped his sweaty hair from his face and kissed his sweet baby cheeks a million times. I thanked God for giving me this gift and prayed to Him for those who lost their precious gifts that day. I promised to never take it for granted. Brandon and I both couldn’t stand to not have Riley sleep with us that night. I woke a few times just to check and make sure he was still there. Every time I would kiss him or hug him the next few days I felt so incredibly blessed, mixed with a pang of sympathy for those mothers who couldn’t touch and kiss their children that died.

Even 2 years later not a day goes by that I don’t think of those we lost that day. I see Riley growing up and learning new things and I think of how tragic we lost the potential of greatness in the children of Sandy Hook. We lost future Doctors, Policemen, Firemen, Scientists, Mothers, Fathers and any other great thing they were going to do with their lives. The families that lost loved ones lost out on future memories to be made. Or inside family jokes and stories.

The staff at Sandy Hook that protected the students are heroes. Some of them protected with their life. The others protected by picking up the broken pieces of that school and began to mend the hearts and minds of those students and their families who lived. None of them will ever be the same. The adults and children will always have this scar on their hearts. This nation as a whole will never ever forget the 26 souls we lost.

Please, this holiday season and throughout the year don’t forget to do something to make this world a better place. In memory of them please do 26 acts of kindness. It may seem small but if we all do it, then it will become something great. We will show that their lives were not lost in vain. That they did matter, each and every one of them. God Bless all of you. Please remember to give your kids an extra hug and kiss tonight and send up a prayer to those who can’t.

sandy hook names

 

Sportsmanship In Kids

Happy Friday everyone! Do you have kids in sports? Joseph plays basketball currently but all of the boys have played soccer before. As well as James played basketball in the past. I can tell you it can be difficult to help your kids when they lose the game. Or if the referee made a call you don’t agree with. It’s in our nature to protect our babies! Even if they’re big highschooler babies! And when they win the game you are so proud of them and can’t help but to shout in pride!

But, some parents sometimes really get involved! You know who I’m talking about. The ones who “coach” from the stands. Or say unkind things about the other team. I know, you want your kids to have the best opportunities and win every game. But so do the parents of the other team! We all want our children to win! But there’s a lesson in losing too. That’s life. You win some, you lose some. Sometimes life isn’t fair and maybe the ref did make a bad call. No one is perfect, we are all human.

I know at least with my kids they are still pretty young and I encourage them to learn the game and not worry so much about winning. If they learn bad habits now, it won’t do them any favors later on in life. When Joseph and James were on the same basketball team I’ll be honest, they lost. A lot! Maybe a combination of new coaches, new players and just not knowing about the game was a combination that maybe wasn’t the greatest. I can recall many times sitting in the stands next to the other teams parents. One actually said to me her son was so good that he was going to be in the NBA. While of course all of us as parents dream of our childrens’ success let’s be realistic! The kids were 8 years old! And I know sometimes that the other team was fouling a lot just to make those shots. Is that really what we want to teach our kids? To win no matter the cost and if it’s not honest oh well? That what matters most is the score on the board?

I always told the boys to not look at the score. I asked them if they learned something, did they have fun? That’s what matters at this point. I told them the more they learned then their skills would improve. Don’t expect to be Michael Jordan in 3rd grade. Heck even Michael Jordan himself wasn’t the greatest player in the beginning! I also told them to remember how it feels to lose and to hold on to that feeling when they win. Put themselves in the other teams shoes and behave in a matter that shows the gentlemen that they are. Yes they can be excited to win the game! They worked their butts off in practice and tried their hardest! But so did the other team! So show good sportsmanship and tell the other team “great game!” Or “Good Job!”

Our High School Football State Championship games were last weekend and I do want to show a case of excellent sportsmanship! I am very proud to be apart of a city that teaches this to our players! Our city’s team the Rio Rancho Rams played against the Las Cruces Mayfield Trojans. Mayfield has a long history of winning State and being a great team! However the Rams are still a newer team in comparison and have never won State.  Both teams practiced long and hard to be their best. In the end, the Rams won State, 33-31. Obviously a very close game! One of the players for the RamsIkaika Waters #44 noticed the disappointment in a Mayfield player. Instead of going with his fellow teammates to celebrate he went over to the Mayfield player and leaned down to him, held out his hand and picked him up. He told him that they are still champions and they played a great game! I am so proud of him! And proud of his parents for raising such a respectful and caring young man. That is a characteristic of a true champion. If we all taught our children how to win with class, and even lose with class then they would be able to take that with them in all parts of their life. If you’d like to read the story about it then you can go here. Also, there is a video showing his sportsmanship. Congratulations Rio Rancho Rams!

rams

 

 

 

 

Top 5 Holiday Gifts For A Runner!

This post is sponsored by FlipBelt and Fit Approach. I may also receive commission on affiliated links.

If you have a runner in your family it can seem overwhelming over what to get them! If you’re not familiar with running gear you don’t want to get the wrong thing! Here is a list of 5 awesome things you can get for the runner in your life. If you’re a runner then maybe there’s something on this list you didn’t know about as well!

5. Gels or Chews

This is a great stocking stuffer for a runner! When you’re training for a race these babies help give you energy to get through the miles! It might be helpful to know which brand and flavor they prefer however. Once a runner finds one they like and their tummy likes they tend to stick with it! It’s awful trying a new brand in the middle of a run and your stomach revolts and you’re no where near a potty! You can find gels or chews usually at a fitness store or even online.

GU energy

4. Running Shoes

You would not believe how fast runners go through shoes! Did you know runners need to replace their shoes about every 500 miles? That may sound like a long time but if you’re training for a marathon which is 26.2 miles then that is a lot of wear and tear on shoes! Running shoes are probably the most important investment runners have for their sport. Which can also mean a lot of expense! Unless you know for sure the type of shoe they need to wear then I would suggest a gift card to either the store they purchase shoes or online. Runners take their foot gear very seriously! A proper fitting shoe can make a difference of avoiding injury!

mizuno3. Compression

Another item of gear that runners need to avoid injury is compression! As you all know I rave about BioSkin Calf Skin Sleeves. These sleeves help avoid shinsplints and muscle strains. Heck these sleeves are even great for those who work on their feet all day (ie, nurses!) They really help your legs and are made out of a material that is breathable and won’t sweat. This means you don’t have to constantly pull them up because once you put them on they stay in place! Another added benefit to wearing these sleeves is in the colder months it’s an extra layer from the wind and weather!

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2. Garmin Forerunner 15

Runners need a way to keep track of the miles that they run. With this watch from Garmin it can track them through GPS and calculate their distance and time. It also tells them when they set a new record or longest run. This watch can also count their steps that they take throughout the day. As well as track inactivity and remind them to get moving! If they’re in training mode with their diet it also counts calories! It’s also compatible with a foot pod so if you’re a treadmill runner it can track those miles too! There’s also a heart monitor you can buy that it works with! This baby is awesome and every runner would be thrilled to have this! (*ahem Santa if you’re reading, I do mean me!) The Garmin Forerunner 15 is the perfect way for a runner to stay organized and on track with their training! You can find these at a sporting goods store or online.

garmin 15

1. FlipBelt

So here is my #1 pick for the Runners Gift Guide! When going out for a run you can’t have your hands full with keys, phone, ear buds, gels and anything else you bring with you! This belt is such a simple but amazing idea! The material is moisture-wicking, spandex lycra blend so it is able to stretch to get in place but then it stays! It’s doesn’t cause chaffing or ride up! You can jump, hop, run, do cart wheels and your items won’t fall out! The belt is a singular tubular waist band that has little pockets that you can slide your items in then flip it over so they stay. There’s even a little clip for you to attach your keys! I was sent one of these to try and I am impressed! Before, I would just put my phone in my sports bra, which isn’t the greatest idea with sweat! Now I can just put my phone in there with my house key, lip balm, and anything else I may need! Heck, I may even use this when I’m not running! Maybe even at Disney!

If you’re interested in trying this out for yourself or as a gift I was given 15 33% of coupons! They each have a unique code so if you’d like one please comment or email me at enchanteddesertminnie@gmail.com! If I run out and you’re not able to get one of these coupons there is a 10% discount code you can use and share! It’s SWEAT10. They come in a variety of colors that are great for the man or woman runner that needs a place to hold their belongings! Here is also a video from the FlipBelt website to show you it in action.

FlipB colorsFlipBFlipB2

I hope I have helped you find the perfect gift for the runner on your list! Have you tried any of these products? Which one can you not live without?

Currently

I hope you all are gearing up for Christmas! I can’t believe this month has just flown by! I’m about half way done but I always seem to find more things to do! I’m working on an awesome gift guide for the runner in your life and hope to have it done by tomorrow! So be sure to check in tomorrow for a few hints for gift giving for either yourself or someone you know! Until then, I thought I’d do a “Currently” post. It’s fun sometimes to just check in with you all and let you know what’s going on around here!

CURRENTLY WATCHING: Christmas movies galore! We’ve watched everything from Disney movies to The Christmas Story last night. I have a tradition of watching White Christmas on Christmas Eve while I finish up wrapping the presents. So I’m looking forward to that!

bing crosby

CURRENTLY LISTENING TO: What else? Christmas Music! A few of my favorites are “Carol of the Bells”, “Breath of Heaven”, “Oh Night Divine”, and “Pachelbel Christmas Canon”. I know I’m missing quite a few but I will stick with those for now!

CURRENTLY THINKING ABOUT: How am I going to get everything done in time? Shopping, baking, knitting, decorating, etc.. Plus Joseph has practices and games as well as a band concert and a parade! I also plan on helping out Riley’s teacher and going on a field trip with James next week too! Definitely a very  busy time of year!

CURRENTLY TRYING TO FIGURE OUT: Well, I’ve been knitting and crocheting more lately. I’m certainly not a pro and get frustrated when I know in my head what I want to do but can’t figure out how to make it happen! Thank goodness for YouTube so I can watch tutorials!

CURRENTLY LOOKING FORWARD TO: Being able to spend time with my family in a few weeks! As well as hoping to take a rest after the holiday festivities! Haha!

CURRENTLY READING: I haven’t had a chance to really pick up a good book these days. Any recommendations?

CURRENTLY MAKING ME HAPPY: Just seeing the excitement of the boys around this time of year. With the twins being 11 and Riley being 8 I know that the pre teen attitude is coming soon enough. At least with Christmas it’s really sweet to see the boys still light up when talking about the holiday.

What are you all up do currently? Are you busy making Christmas goodies and treats?

Fröhlicher Nikolaustag! And Happy Birthday Walt!

happy-st-nicholas-day-4

Good Morning! Did I throw you off with my title today? It says “Happy Saint Nicholas Day” in German! It’s actually tomorrow, December 6th but he comes tonight to leave treats in our shoes! Ever since the boys were born he has come to our house and left them little German candies and a little toy or ornament. When my Dad lived in Austria he was visited many times! As well as when I lived in Germany I was blessed with a few visits. So I am so glad that the tradition of our roots is still going strong with my children!

If you’re not familiar with what this is, the tradition varies from country to country and even region to region! But the basics remain very similar. Saint Nicholas comes to your house to check and see if the children have been good during the year. If so then he leaves fruit, nuts and little toys in their shoes. However, if the children have been naughty then Krampus (called different things in different countries), the “bad Santa” comes and leaves the children coal! (The real tradition was Krampus would kidnap the bad children and take them to his lair!) I remember when I lived in Germany it was a big deal and the bakeries would make these delicious St. Nicholas treats! They celebrate on December 5th or 6th depending on the country because they are celebrating Saint Nicholas’ birthday.

My boys love that he comes and visits us! We have told them that the reason he comes to visit them and not the other children at their school is because they have German and Austrian roots and family from those countries so Saint Nicholas includes them. So far it has worked out well! One funny thing from last year is the tv show Grimm had a show dedicated to Krampus. Of course we watched it and the boys soaked it up! So now every time one of them isn’t having the best behavior we tell them “You’ve been naughty!”  It seems to make them laugh and straighten up! If you haven’t seen that episode I highly recommend it!

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One other person who’s having a birthday today is my main man, Mr. Walter Elias Disney! He would be 113 years old today! Obviously he holds a very special place in my family’s hearts and we love him very much! He had a wonderful vision and stubbornness to never give up. We’ve all heard the saying that “it all started with a mouse”. But some don’t know it really started with Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. When Walt was somewhat betrayed by his business partner and lost the rights to Oswald he didn’t give up. He decided to get back up, dust himself off and try again. He did just that and it paid off. Everyone around the world knows who Walt is and his beloved characters. He has built a company that is so solid it still continues to be successful even after his death. So, wherever you are Mr. Disney, have a very Happy Birthday!

bday walt

My Featured Post on Fit Approach

As you all know I’m a Sweat Pink Ambassador with Fit Approach. I am so proud and honored to be apart of a wonderful group of ladies! They are so encouraging of each other and lift everybody up around them! When you become a new ambassador they ask you why you got into fitness and a little introduction about yourself. I am excited to report that my post is on their website today! So please enjoy the blog post I wrote for them today!

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Disney’s Memory Maker News!

So as you can see there is a new look to the blog! I stupidly updated the theme that I was using which meant I couldn’t use the image I had on top anymore! I love WordPress but I’m still learning new things everyday! Lessons learned, don’t update unless you know what you’re doing! So in the meantime while I fix it, I thought it might be fun to get in the holiday spirit and have a little fun! Please enjoy it for the month while I decide what I’m going to do next! Things they don’t tell you when you decide to start a blog…you need to be a little coding savvy and have a lot of patience!

memory maker

So a little Disney news for all of my fellow Disney Fans! Disney announced yesterday that the price is increasing on Memory Maker today. It was $149 and now it’s $169 if you advance purchase. You still save $30 pre purchasing versus buying while you’re on your trip. If you have used Memory Maker before (formerly known as PhotoPass) you may have appreciated the value and quality of the pictures. It really is nice to already have it paid for in advance and have the opportunity to have the Disney photographers take family photos so mom and dad aren’t left out! Here’s a little info for while it could be a great choice for your family:

-Unlimited pictures! Take as many as you want!

-You get digital copies of all of your pictures! You don’t have to have the difficult task of choosing which one!

-Once downloaded you can share your pictures with family and friends, they are yours to do with what you wish!

-This also includes the select attraction and dining photos! Just give the cast member your Memory Maker information after the ride or if you’re using the magic bands you can add that to your band and use that!

-If you’re traveling with a large party you can download all of their photos also! Great picture of Uncle Bill on Splash Mountain? Yep, you got it!

-Memory Maker photographers will really try to get some great shots of your family once they known you already purchased the package!

-Don’t forget about those awesome Magic Shots!

 

-As well as the new Animation Magic Shots!

Isn’t that just the coolest thing ever? So as you can see there are many benefits to utilizing the photographers in the parks! What a great way to capture the memories of your family vacation! You don’t have to worry about the photographer in your family always being left out! Or be like me and constantly forget to take pictures because you’re caught up in the moment.

Have you used Memory Maker before? How many fun Magic Shots have you been able to get?

 

Chance to win a $20 coupon for BioSkin!

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! I was busy baking and cooking on Wednesday! Then of course went to 2 different houses to eat! Then I did do a little shopping later in the evening. It wasn’t too bad, mostly because I was buying yarn and jammies! Aren’t I so exciting? I made Joseph a super cute Santa hat and I’m working on a cowl for my mom. The crafty bug has seemed to hit me!

Maybe not the clearest picture but you get the idea!

Maybe not the clearest picture but you get the idea!

Then of course this weekend I mostly hung out with my family and tried to recover from the holiday! Did you all go shopping? Get any good deals? Do you plan it all out or just go and see what you can find?

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If you’re still trying to find some deals and do some online shopping I have an opportunity for you! As you know I’m a BioSkin Ambassador and love being apart of a great company! They contacted me to give you a $20 coupon for their website as a gift. This is a great time to get those calf compression sleeves I rave about! Now it’s only one coupon so I thought maybe I’d have a fun little game for you to play to have a chance to win it! Comment what your favorite Christmas song is on Facebook! I will pick a winner at random and will announce it on Friday (12/5/14) When I announce the winner I will ask for your email address so I can send it to you. If you don’t respond within 48 hours then I’ll pick someone else. So keep your eyes peeled!

So, what is your favorite Christmas song? I have a few but one of my favorites is “Breath of Heaven”. It’s a beautiful way to see how maybe Mary was feeling before His birth.