Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Audrey's Picks

Here are a few more of Audrey's wardrobe choices. As you can see, she's not always excited about being a part of her Mom's photo journal.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Christmas Tree Cutting

One of our new Thanksgiving traditions has been cutting down our Christmas tree on Thanksgiving weekend. Since we moved to Maryland, we have carried out this tradition with George and Stefanie. It hasn't always gone well...like the year we looked at four different Christmas tree lots including one in a sketchy backyard....or the year we decided to both take family pictures only to have the battery die on all three cameras we brought. This year however, though it was FREEZING when we cut down our trees, everything went off without a hitch.

Daddies carrying their big girls on their shoulders

Tree hugging

Sofia the skeptic

Daddy and daughter

The Hopkins' sizing up their tree

Eric cutting down our tree

Carrying the "victim" back to get shaken and bagged

Catching a breather

E Ry trying to stay warm

Posing with the kiddos

Trying to keep the tree off the freeway

Cutting the cold with peppermint

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Our Canning Day

Black Friday has become our canning instead of shopping day. I hate crowds of people and don't do the traditional Christmas shopping thing. A few years ago, I started canning to preserve some of the abundant amount of figs we had living on the farm in California. Since I moved to Maryland, I started canning apple butter and lemon curd (a family favorite). We have made it a tradition to spend the day after Thanksgiving canning while having a nice family day at home.

We (I say "we," but it's mostly my thing but I have A LOT of help from Eric with his peeling, zesting, squeezing, stirring, jar closing, and kid watching.)... Anyways, "we" usually cook the apples overnight for about 10 1/2 hours in a crock pot (this year we used three crock pots). Eric, who is a very helpful husband, will do anything that I ask especially if it can be done watching football. He peeled, cored and sliced (using the cool all-in-one tool that we have) about 20 pounds of apples while watching Thanksgiving football.

After the 10 1/2 hours, we cook it uncovered for
another 1 1/2 hours- it makes that whole house smell delicious!
While that is finishing up, we start on the lemon curd.

Avery and Elliott hanging out watching us work

Audrey helped Eric soften the lemons...

and squeeze lemons

She helped me stir the sugar and zest together

Lots of lemons and egg shells in the trash

Elliott needed to be relocated

Lots of jars waiting to be filled

This year, I sterilized them in the dishwasher-
it was so much easier than boiling them!

The apples done cooking- they cook down in
half and that is why I used three crock pots

I use the immersion blender to puree it

A whole lot of butter, eggs, lemon and sugar mixed together...

The lemon mixture needs to be stirred
constantly over a double boiler

Still stirring constantly

Eric helped me close the jars as I filled them.
He even got to watch football on his laptop during the process.

A happy boy up from his nap

Audrey came down after rest to help lick
the dirty dishes once we were done...

She loved that job!

Lots of dishes were done, this was the over flow pile.

We steamed up the whole house...
boiling the filled jars to steal them.

Canning day has become one of our favorite family traditions. We are thankful to not be traveling, shopping, or hosting during the holiday weekend so we had the energy for this marathon.

Audrey's Shots

Friday morning, Audrey got a hold of the camera and took a few shots of Eric, Elliott and Avery while mommy slept in.
She took some cool shots and improved as she practiced.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving '10

This Thanksgiving was interesting as Eric was in day 2 of a 48 hour stomach flu! He was pretty bummed since Thanksgiving is his favorite holiday.
The kids and I went to George and Stef's for Thanksgiving Dinner

We had a great time eating great food with George's family

Elliott spent some time playing when he wasn't attached to his mother.

We also celebrated Miss Shirley's (George's mom's) birthday

Stef and Shiloh