Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Annual Christmas Tree Hunt

The hunt was on to find the perfect Christmas tree this weekend! Due to deployment, I got to spend extra time with my in-laws last year and enjoy their tree, but this year we're all together again and a tree in the house is definitely in order.

Here's a throwback to finding our first tree, two short years ago.

Unlike my growing up years and our first year of marriage, this year in Nevada we did some research and found out that we could purchase a permit and cut down an evergreen in the forest rather than going to a Christmas Tree farm - which I'm not sure exist here in the desert.

And so, after a little bit of trial and error (purchasing the wrong permit at the wrong office and my terrible directions) we found where we needed to be, crossed the CA state line in Tahoe, picked up a $10 permit and headed to the woods.

And boy was it B.E.A.U.T.I.F.U.L.

After much walking in circles and pointing out bald spots, measuring a few trunk widths, eyeballing the height, and admiring the same trees (hehe) we settled on this beautiful 11ft white fir.

Braden cut and wrestled it uphill, over fallen logs, and finally into the truck and we were off to set it up in our living room.  More pictures to follow soon!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

We had a great first Thanksgiving in Fallon. It was SO nice to have Braden home this year - believe it or not, this is our first Thanksgiving together at home since being married!

The day began with a family oriented football game with a lot of friends from church. Ryder and I cheered while drinking homemade mochas from the sidelines.

Representing Daddy's Team
Excited to find a new 'hat.'

After a quick game of Monopoly, we barely had time to make a big batch of stuffing (I highly recommend this recipe from Food Network - minus the mushrooms :) before heading out the door to enjoy a delicious feast with friends in town. I don't think I've ever seen so many delicious and beautiful homemade pies in one place at the same time.

But all of this was just icing on the cake. Braden and I could not begin to count our many blessings. God has and continues to provide for us in ways that meet out needs and exceed our expectations. Our greatest blessing is that 'inexpressible gift' provided to meet our greatest need - a Savior. If you haven't yet received this gift, it's not yet too late. As we move into the Christmas season, take a moment to read the Christmas story found in Luke 2. Set the business of this time of year aside and focus on the truths behind your celebration - let it bring you joy and hope in the coming days.

And of course, Stingy had to tag along on our outing as well.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

26 Weeks & Counting!

It's been a few days since I stopped by. Mostly because my new little Etsy adventure has been busier than I anticipated.

But that's a great thing!
I've enjoyed making and selling the same magnetic letters that I made for Ryder a few weeks ago.

I had a great 26 week checkup with my doctor. Here's my latest Little Dipper selfie...

Still keeping up with a steady dose of Christmas baking - this time gingerbread men. A big healthy batch of homemade granola is in order now!

Next up on my to do list is to make a Christmas stocking for Little Dipper while I have the time and energy still.  Don't worry, we won't hang it up until next Christmas. :)

And while this all happens, a little someone is growing up WAY TO FAST!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Let The Christmas Baking Begin!

After a quick trip to the gym this morning (Ryder played on his own cheerfully for 40 whole minutes!!!) and a few other errands on base, we made headed home to make some holiday treats!

Ryder leaves the gym with me.
30 seconds later, 2 jets screamed by and he excited waved at Daddy. <3
After all, every airplane in the sky is 'Daddy.'
We'll get to taste the Apperson treats when we head out that direction next month. And, while there are a few traditional Enns and Mennonite recipes that I grew up with, I decided this year to try out some new ones and make our own family traditions. Special thanks to my sisters for motivating me. :)

So far, everything's been a great success, so I figured I'd share my first few experiments (thanks Pinterest) with you, in case you're looking for some new ideas as well. 

We began with Jam Filled Snowball Cookies...

Then for a bit of variety, Double Chocolate Biscotti.  Here I got creative and melted a handful of Andes mints in the oven and drizzled that hint of chocolate minty goodness over the warm biscotti. This is what I'm dunking in my current cup of holiday blend coffee. :)

 And I just pulled these Cinnamon Roll Sugar Cookies out of the oven. The recipe calls for icing drizzled over but I think that they're sweet enough as is, plus this will make them easier to stack and store. 

I do hope to make gingerbread men and prettily iced cut-out sugar cookies, but this as far as I am right now and either way, we'll have baking until Spring.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Increased Awareness

Tuesday began just like any other morning, except that Braden didn't have to leave before the sun. To celebrate a more relaxed departure (0800) we enjoyed a sit-down breakfast of coffee, pumpkin waffles, and pumpkin yogurt. I've included the link to our new favourite Fall waffle recipe, because it's definitely a keeper (and VERY simple) and the yogurt was just a homemade concoction of plain yogurt, pumpkin puree, almond butter, honey, and pumpkin pie spice.  Mmmm....

Ryder enjoys licking the yogurt spatula!

What began as a lack of motivation (it just seemed like a lot of work to get myself and Ryder dressed, drive to the gym, work out, drive home, shower, etc.) instead inspired a great morning road run. They've been a little more difficult to fit in because of dropping temperatures, but Ryder bundled up and we were both happy to get some fresh air and save the time it would have taken to get out the door and to the gym on base.

Here's my little bundled boy. <3
While I was showering and getting ready for the day (story time at the library this morning), Ryder decided he would help himself to a snack from the pantry. As you can see, we're huge Annie's fans!

"Dixie Did It!" Isn't going to work this time...
Learning to clean up after his messes.

But none of those routine events could eclipse the highlight of our morning. Ryder was standing by the front door just waiting for me to lace up my running shoes, when he noticed a picture of Braden with his 3 siblings - taken probably at least 5 years ago - and said, "Daddy."  It happened again at lunch time while I was buckling him into his highchair. "Daddy" he said as he pointed to a small 4x6 of he and Braden taken the day Braden deployed last year. Then once more at nap time as I was tucking him into bed and arranging all his little creatures - "DADDY" he exclaimed and pointed to a canvas family photo I had made for the nursery while Braden was deployed.  <3

Ryder sees, "Daddy!"
It's obvious who the favourite is!  ;)  But even greater than that, it's so exciting to see Ryder making sense of the world around him and developing increased awareness of his surroundings.

The excitement of my child noticing evidence of his Daddy located all around the house made me stop and think (this is the time of year to be thankful, after all) about how well I take the time to notice evidences of my Heavenly Father all around me. God has blessed me and our little family in countless ways and I need to be looking for them and expressing praise and gratitude to Him for them.

Enjoying a reflective day of thankfulness,
Jayne :)

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Wreath Making and Ball Throwing

Well, Christmas wreaths happened, albeit not as originally anticipated. After driving all over town, unable to find a second wire frame for wreath-making, I gave up and decided to make do with what I could come up with at home.  Bending my own wire turned out to be hopeless, so last resort was bunching and hot gluing burlap to a ring of cardboard I cut out of a Costco box with a pocket knife. 

Here are the finished products.

My cardboard creation has a home on our front table.

Now that that's complete, Ryder and I were looking for creative ways to wear out Dixie. Today that meant bundling up and throwing the ball for that rascally dog. 

So fun to watch this little guy walk!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Happy Monday!

Happy Monday!

I'm not quite sure how to top this last weekend. It began on Friday night, with Braden making dough from scratch for monkey bread.  *Yep, that's not the stuff from a can - and I'm not sorry I've done that to him* You see, Saturday morning I had a girls day out planned for a friend's baby shower. It was a spa kind of day for me, while Daddy spent Saturday with Ryder-boy.

Saturday morning, he even got up at 5:30 to cut and roll the dough in butter and sugar before letting it rise a little more and baking it in time for all 3 of us to enjoy before I headed out the door - with NO diaper bag in tow, just me, keys, phone, and a wallet.  Ahhh....
Here's a throwback to that last visit,
since I didn't take any photos this weekend.

I'm not really one to spend a lot pampering myself. My last visit to the spa was a quick mani & pedi before our wedding two and a half years ago. So, I just enjoyed myself and soaked in the luxury of our morning. Relaxing to a wonderful 50 minute pregnancy massage, sitting at the edge of the hot tub, and chatting with the girls.

I didn't have to worry about the boys for a minute. Daddy and Ryder spent over 4 hours working in the shop on Ryder's new bed. When I came home, Ryder's Tonka trucks had been played with, rocks thrown, blocks stacked and crashed, stories read, etc.  He had a few more 'owies' but I'm sure it was worth it for all of the fun they had together!

And now it's Monday. Braden was up before 5 to get ready and get out the door.


It looks like a good morning to hit the gym (much to cold to run outside - we returned home from a walk last night to Ryder looking like Rudolph :/) and then work on some more Christmas preparations, like this ornament I made based on a Pinterest idea last week. I have a friend coming to make burlaps wreaths with me this afternoon and I'll keep you posted on how that goes....

Here's Ryder dressed for the elements
- with a mountain of clean laundry that I've put off folding.

Enjoy your Monday!

Friday, November 14, 2014

My Little Helper

Ryder has been fascinated with the dishwasher ever since I said, "Don't Touch!"

While the buttons on the outside are still off limits, we're working on him being Mama's Big Helper.  Though it usually sounds more like, "Hep. Hep!"

So far, all that he's been entrusted with are the utensils. He can reach them out of their basket and then walk across the kitchen and drop them in the drawer. Since he's a one fork at a time kind of guy, I can usually finish the whole rest of the clean load by the time he's through with the cutlery. 

We'll have to work on sorting next. :)

High fives for this big helper!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like....


I don't know if I'll ever get used to American Thanksgiving being so late in the year. What I do know though, is that Remembrance Day (in Canada) is now over and that means it's time to bring out the Christmas decorations and put them up to the sound of the season. 

Spotify is one of my best friends these days. Ryder and I enjoy the variety of music (children's, piano,  soundtracks, Christmas, etc.) as we spend time around the house. 

After a fun morning at MOPS, Ryder spent some time 'reading' his Bible. He flips through the pages and says 'Bible' and 'Jesus' very sweetly. He's also been enthralled with a little plastic propeller Daddy picked up (with his own fond childhood memories) at Big R, our local farm store. 

In the afternoon we opened the Christmas decoration bin with great excitement!  I still need to figure out why the indoor lights aren't working...

The day ended with one last reminder that I married into the military. Homemade calzones, a favourite treat of ours, were ready by 6:30 with no husband in sight. Since Wednesday also happens to be the night our church small group meets, I left them to cool with a message for Braden to enjoy and we'd see him once we were home.  We ended up beating him back (surprise, surprise) and so perfectly crisp and delicious calzones will be reheated for our dinner tonight.  Hopefully we're all here to enjoy them this time!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Family Hiking Adventure to Marlette Lake

Yesterday happened to be a rare weekday off for Braden. At his suggestion, we made plans to head out to Lake Tahoe for a hike. And what a day it turned out to be!

Leaving Lake Tahoe
We found the perfect trail on a hike website - 5M round trip, moderately steep, and ending at Marlette Lake. So, off we went. It was a little challenging to find the trail, especially without wifi up in the mountains, but we finally found a parking lot and what looked (from the vague directions) to be trailhead. 

The air was crisp and the sun was out. We were all set with Ryder in the ergo, Dixie running about excitedly, and of course lots of layers, water, and snacks packed along. And it's a good thing we were prepared because Marlette Lake ended up being a 5+ hour and almost 10 mile round trip. 

Ryder fell asleep after an hour of riding.

Our first glimpse of Marlette Lake.

We made it!

This little cutie was excited to get out of the confines of the ergo and explore the beach for himself.

Before we were ready, we had to turn back to beat the sun.

 Today, as I count my blessings, I'm thankful for the freedom we have to enjoy God's beautiful creation. For men, women, and their families - past and present - who have and do sacrifice. I'm thankful for our family and the ability we have as parents to foster a love of nature in Ryder.

Happy Tuesday!