Wednesday, December 30, 2009


As you know, my baby turns 2 on Saturday.  I've been busy making his scrapbook page/card.  See, I discovered a long time ago that boys don't care about cards in any way, shape or form!  So, I make a scrapbook page in the theme of their birthday, leave space to put a couple of photos, and then we all sign the page like we would a card.  That way, I am one up on the scrapbooking thing, and I don't feel badly that I spent time making a card they did not read!

Noah is very into dinosaurs - especially T-Rex!  I put "Have a T-rexic Birthday" on it - get it ----- terrific birthday.  Corny, I know, but just go with it!

I also decided to send more birthday cards this year.  I've been making a few here and there and got a couple mailed out already for those New Year's birthdays!  Here are a few I made:


Well, Christmas is over and the decorations have all been put away for another year.  It is rather depressing to me.  I mean, we spend so much time decorating, planning, baking, shopping, and wrapping.  Then, in a heartbeat - it is over!  I like the colorful decorations, and the house looks rather bland when they are all put away.  Winter is so long with nothing to look forward to, so what's a girl to do?

One of my BFF, Dawnie, likes to decorate for Valentine's Day.  So several years ago, I decided to start decorating for it too.  I know it is not a big holiday, and if you are single, it can be downright depressing (I'm thinking back to my jr. high years when no one sent me a carnation in school-sniff sniff).   Having a special occasion to plan for and to decorate for makes it a little brighter.  We don't spend much money, but I do get all my boys something little, and I try to make cut out sugar cookies and have a special meal that day.  Dan and I may go out if we get a sitter, but otherwise, that's about it.  

I put up some decorations the last couple of days and the house looks happy.   I brought this skinny pencil tree up from the basement.  Dan does not like this tree, but he's gracious enough to tolerate it for my sake :-).   I put some clear lights on it and it looks so nice and makes me so happy when I look at it.

I made this wreath this afternoon with some dollar tree stuff.  I thought it turned out okay.  And here are some more hearts and LOVE hanging from the pine garland (which I keep up all year) in the doorways.  I cut these out on my Cricut machine and made hooks using floral wire.  The window clings I made on the Cricut too with some scrap vinyl.

Monday, December 28, 2009


There was once a little boy who loved tractors and farms.  For his 3rd Christmas, he got a farm set.  For several birthdays and Christmases, he got John Deere tractors.  He had A WHOLE COLLECTION!   His mother thought he would outgrow it.  "Surely, he will not want to be a farmer when he grows up. . . "  Well, 15 years later, the boy is still playing farm, only this time, he's getting paid a little money!  He gets up very early, works very hard, is very stinky. . . . but he's happy with it, so that makes a mama proud!

We took the little guys over for a visit last night.  They loved it.  At least Levi did - Noah was a bit afraid, but has not stopped talking about it since, so he must have liked it too! 



Just had to share this mouthwatering salad with you!  Please note:  if you are trying to lose weight, do not make this!  I literally could eat this whole bowl myself.  If you do not care about weight gain, then double the recipe - you'll be glad you did! :-)

SNICKERS SALAD (Rhonda's way)
8 oz. pack cream cheese softened
1 cup powdered sugar
12 oz. cool whip

Beat cream cheese and sugar together, then fold in cool whip.

4-5 Granny Smith apples (or other tart apple)
2-3 packages of "fun size" snickers bars-that's about 12 bars

slice apples into small pieces, chunk up candy bars and mix into cream cheese mixture.

This cannot be made too far in advance - it will get watery.  I make up the cream cheese mixture and chill it, then cut the apples and snickers up about an hour before I serve it, then chill.


My baby, Noah, will be 2 on Saturday.  When I was pregnant, I was really hoping for a New Year's Baby, but, unfortunately, he did not arrive on the 1st, and I had to be induced on January 2.  I won't bore you all with the terrible labor stories, etc., but after 2 hours of contractions and wondering why on earth I was doing this AGAIN, I was rewarded with a 9 lb. 14 oz. bundle of pure sweetness.

I am attempting to take his 2 year picture here at the house, however, it is proving a bit more difficult that I thought.  The lighting is not just right, and I don't have any studio lights or backgrounds yet, so I'm just using what I have here - natural light.  They are a little dark, so I do some magic in Photoshop, but they look "grainy" to me, so I put some in b&w and sepia.  However, I'm still working on getting a great portrait in the natural light with very little post-processing.  Pray for me :-)   Here are a few I took yesterday, but I'm still planning on doing more this week.  Just wanted to share.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY:   I am so happy I'm not pregnant!

Thursday, December 24, 2009


As you all know, I'm no fan of the white stuff.  It's okay on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day - hey, I'll even tolerate it until New Year's Day, but after that, I want green grass and warm sunshine.  Oh well, it's all wishful thinking when you live in Wisconsin - or even Pennsylvania!   

I had the opportunity to take some pictures for my friend, Michelle yesterday.  She asked me to take some of her girls in the snow for the grandparents.  I'm not real experienced photographing yet, and the snow does create some additional problems, but I'm all for a challenge.   I think they turned out pretty cute, and I hope she is happy with them too.  Thought I'd share a couple with you and wish you a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year.  May 2010 be a wonderful year for everyone.   

This one totally cracks me up - we were trying to get their dog, Trigger in the pic, but he's just a pup and was too excited to play in the snow.  It looks like he's a little wild and crazy here.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY:  Family and friends become more precious with the passing years. 

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Eve Menu

I have to say how much I miss not having to cook anything for the holidays!  I guess I'm lazy :-).  When I lived in Pennsylvania, we were invited so many places for the holidays, that I usually ended up only making an appetizer or dessert - sometimes just some cookies!   I figured when my kids grew up and left home, that would be my time to do all the cooking and invite everyone to my home.  My how times have changed!  I now do A LOT of cooking - sometimes most of it!  I guess that's okay - just different from what I was used to.

We invited Dan's parents over for Christmas Eve again this year.  I am making lasagna.  Does that sound dull and boring?  I figure we had turkey for Thanksgiving, and my sister in law is making a ham for Christmas (yeah I don't have to cook on Christmas).  Dull or not, lasagna it is!  I will make some homemade bread, green beans with bacon and onion, and a peanut butter cup pie for dessert.  I am making some appetizers as well - Tanner requested a shrimp cocktail ring, and I think I'll wrap some water chestnuts with bacon.  Oh, and I made slush to drink.

I'll share my slush recipe with you if you share your holiday menus with me!  I need inspiration!  

1 thawed can orange juice concentrate

1 thawed can lemonade concentrate (tried limeade this year)

1 cup strong tea
3 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup sugar
mix it all together.  Put it in a large bowl with a lid.
Place in freezer.   Several times in the first 12 hours,
stir and scrap sides.  It looks like "slush".
After it has frozen, it is ready to serve.
Take 1-2 ice cream scoops of slush and place in a glass.
Pour 7 up, Sprite, Ginger Ale, etc., over the top of it.
It is quite tasty and won't get you arrested if you need to drive
home after your party!

I put a sign on my microwave to remind myself I need to stir my slush!

Please share those menus!

For Christmas day, my sister in law invited us down.  She is having ham and asked me to make Snickers Salad.  How deceiving is that - anything with salad in the title should be low cal and WW friendly, right?  Well, not with this one!  But it is seriously worth the extra calories - yum!

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and New Year's.  Maybe, just maybe, I'll get to see some of you soon - if the weather cooperates.


I love Chinese food!  We used to joke about it being "cat on a stick" and all, but, whatever it is, it is good.  I noticed that the local Chinese buffet here is opened on Christmas day from 10-8 or something like that and wondered why.  Then, I realized they probably do not celebrate Christmas as they are Buddist, more than likely.  That reminded me of The Christmas Story movie - you know, the one with Ralphie and the Red Rider BB Gun.  I don't see all the humor in it like everyone else in my family, but we've watched it so many times and there are so many references to it, I figure it must be a classic.  I did like the scene where they had to go to the Chinese restaurant on Christmas day and the waiters were trying to sing "Deck the Halls"  - fra la la la la. . .  funny!

Here is my Chinese meal for the week and I made it myself!
Sorry the dish itself is blurry-I was focusing on the packet!

  I buy the seasoning packet from Walmart in the Asian aisle.  It's not really a recipe - it is just what I throw together and then follow some of the directions on the packet.  I cook my chicken, vegetables and rice all separately.  Then I saute onions in a bit of olive oil, add the rice, then the chicken.  I make a place in the middle and scramble an egg, then mix it in with all the rice, add the seasoning packet, soy sauce and then the veggies.  Toss it all and serve.  I add more soy sauce then it calls for - love the soy!   It is a huge hit here - Dan commented on it several times and even had seconds!  Ty gave a huge "yes" when he walked in and saw what was on the table.  Tanner ate what he could (he had a braces adjustment yesterday), and Levi and Noah turned up their noses - can you believe that?!

Anyway, hope you like it!

Friday, December 18, 2009


I made this soup as a side dish for dinner tonight.  It is a Weight Watcher's recipe.  It is really good, but ended up being a bit on the spicy side (for my taste).  

It is so easy to make!  It takes:
2 bags frozen broccoli, cauliflower and carrots
1-32 oz. box of chicken broth
1-10 oz. can Rotel
10 oz. lt. Velveeta Cheese

Dump the veggies, broth and Rotel in your slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours.  Add the Velveeta, cubed, the last hour.

It was really good, but next time, I will only add 1/2 can of the Rotel-it sure made it spicy; but if you like spicy - go for it!

Everyone liked it, but most comments were about how spicy it was.
Correction-everyone but Levi liked it.


Holly, my bff from way back in high school (who is also 42 btw) asked on her blog to give ideas of Christmas ideas that were home made.  I posted a couple of days ago the candle holders I made using my cricut and glass etching cream.   Here are some other items I made this year.

This is a Woodland Santa creation.  It is made using scraps of material and cutting them out (from a pattern) and piecing them together with wonder under.  I stitched around each piece, then framed it.

These are just large candy bars I purchased and then, using paper, made them look like a Santa body.  Presentation is everything!

Here are some items I ordered from Arts Cow with photos I've taken all year.   There is a hard back book, and a photo calendar.  The scrapbook (which I purchased separately), then made some very simple pages with scrapbook materials for pictures of the boys.

These items I did not make, but put together for a themed gift basket.  I love giving and receiving these.  This is for the ultimate popcorn lover!  It has 3 kinds of popcorn salt, popcorn (of course), special popcorn oil from Sam's Club, a couple of big bowls, and just for kicks, I threw in a cute dishtowel and pot holder that looks like a gingerbread man.  I put them all in a big bucket that would be great for icing down drinks for a party.

Please share your great gift ideas!  I'm always on the look out for creative gifts to give and fun ways to give them!

Thursday, December 17, 2009


In loving memory of Kevin Hoffman who passed from this life 6 years ago this week (Dec. 20).  He was a wonderful Christian, husband, friend, and father.  He is sadly missed by many and we look forward to our reunion someday in heaven.

It's weird, how all the pictures above have dead animals in them.  Guess you know what Kevin liked to do!

I had Rev. 14:13 engraved in his tombstone.  "Blessed are they who die in the Lord. . .".


I enjoy making gifts.  I'm not very good at it, but sometimes I get a cute idea off the internet and it turns out just right.  I made these cute candle holders for some people.  They were pretty plain when I got them:

Then, I cut snowflakes out on my Cricut machine and used the negative part to create a stencil.

Then I filled it in with glass etching cream. 
I let it sit for about 15 minutes for good measure and rinsed it off.  I removed the vinyl, and voila - custom made candle holders.

Get a Cricut machine!  It is awesome!

Monday, December 14, 2009

O Christmas Tree

"O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree,
How crowded are your branches! 
At least the ones down by the floor;
the little boys kept adding more. 
O Christmas tree, O Christmas Tree,
how crowded are your branches."


Oh, the Christmas spirit is alive and well in the Anderson/Hoffman household.  Santa's helpers have decorated the tree and then the obsessive/compulsive Mrs. Clause had to move some of the decorations around - there was a huge cluster of ornaments at "elf" level.   

I hate to admit it, but our tree actually looks kinda nice this year.  Not a bad selection by Mr. Clause and his elf helpers yesterday.  Sorry, Mrs. Clause was shopping and did not get any photos of the annual hacking of the tree.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


I took these of the boys in their toy room (Levi's old bedroom).  It is a small room and has 2 fairly large windows, so during the day, has some nice natural light.  I was just playing around with it - not using the flash.  I just think they turned out pretty cute, but maybe it was the models I was using and not so much the natural light????  (Don't all mothers think their kids are adorable?)

Anyway, I've not messed with these in PS at all - these are SOOC (straight out of camera), so don't judge them too harshly.  I need so much work on my photography and wish I could learn it all RIGHT NOW.  I just love taking photos!


Here is the thumb sucking photo after I played in PS.  Much better.

Have a wonderful week!


Christmas lights, that is!  The town of Marshfield, which is about 7 miles from my home, has a Christmas light wonderland every year.  It is so beautiful, I even forget how much I hate winter.  It gets better and better every year as they add more and more scenes and lights.

They decorate the whole zoo area - wrap lights up the trees, light the walkways, have North Pole scenes up everywhere, and have Santa himself in a little cabin for the kids to visit

  You can drive thru it and also walk - we do both.  The cost is just a bag of canned goods, or a small monetary donation of your choice.  When you drive, you tune  your radio on and they have the lights synchronized with the music - way cool!   

This year was the best for Levi and Noah.  It was not as cold as in years past, the crowd tonight was minimal, and they were old enough to walk most of it on their own.  They loved it.  We took my Saturday son, Kaleb, with us also.  He loves to tag along every year.  We always hit McDonald's after wards too, so that was a big hit for the little guys also.

These pictures just don't do justice to the beauty of the lights.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY:  Follow the Light, Christ.


COOKIES-my sworn enemies.  At least when I'm trying to stick to the Weight Watcher's plan.  Oh, I've done so well the past 2 weeks.  Then, we do a cookie exchange at our congregation, and BOOM - I fall off the wagon.  The buttery texture, the chocolate, the powdered sugar, the Hershey kisses - oh, how can I help myself.  Someone needs to get these cookies out of my house - I swear I can hear them call my name! 

Here are the cookies I made for the exchange. 

  (After dipping and sprinkles)     
We had to make 10 dozen and wouldn't you know it - I was 2 COOKIES SHORT!  So, I cheated and gave 11 cookies to 2 people.  I am confessing this now so I don't have this little sin to my name :-).   I made White Chocolate dipped Maraschino cherry cookies. 

(Before dipping)

I think they were good- like I said, I was 2 short for the exchange, so I really did not get to taste mine, and I really don't feel like making anymore.  We'll just eat the ones that I got from the other participants.  Next year, I'll make some of these for my family.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY:  It is easy to be brave from a safe distance.

Friday, December 11, 2009


I love my life, I love my husband and I love my boys.  Yet, for some reason I cannot bring myself to love winter.  The shorter days, the cold, the snow, being inside all the time.  I am a summer-lover.  Here are some pictures from happier summer days.  
(For those of you who love winter, please come to Wisconsin and visit me; there is lots of snow - I miss you guys!)