Thursday, December 30, 2010

Glam girl...


E got glasses today!
She looks so stinkin' cute...
and so very much older!
A bittersweet moment for this momma!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christ the Savior is Born!


Away in a manger, no crib for a bed,
The little Lord Jesus laid down his sweet head.
The stars in the sky looked down where he lay,
The little Lord Jesus asleep in the hay.

The cattle are lowing, the baby awakes,
But little Lord Jesus no crying he makes.
I love Thee, Lord Jesus, look down from the sky
And stay by my cradle til morning is nigh.

Be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask Thee to stay
Close by me forever, and love me, I pray.
Bless all the dear children in thy tender care,
And take us to heaven, to live with Thee there

Friday, December 24, 2010

Crawford Christmas letter - 2010 edition!

Every year, we seem to get busier and busier! The days go faster and faster, the to-do list is never ending, the calendar is always full...but through it all, we give thanks to God for His grace and for sending His Son Jesus Christ to die on the cross to take away our sins. What an amazing gift!

E is now four and continues to fill our lives with light and joy! She started a new pre-Kindergarten class at our church this fall and adores her teacher and classmates. She is reading (yes, already!) and loves the going to the library, reading all kind of books, drawing, crafts, playing outside, cooking and doing jobs with Mommy and all kinds of dramatic play. She also discovered board games this year and often sits down with one of her stuffed animals or dolls so they can "play" together (yes, she spins and moves for everyone....so cute!) She also loves church and singing and can often be found paging through our hymnal, reciting the liturgy or picking out and singing her favorite songs or parts of the service.

In June, we traveled with my parents to Perdido Key, Florida - it was E's first trip to the beach! We stayed in a beautiful condo right on the water. Despite the looming threat of this summer's Gulf oil spill, we enjoyed a fantastic vacation that yielded many wonderful family memories. E developed a passion for building sand castles and playing miniature golf, and we all enjoyed relaxation and family time together.

Three days after returning from our Florida trip, we again packed our bags and headed to Austin for the wedding of a dear family friend, then traveled on to San Antonio for hubby's annual family reunion. It was a whirlwind trip full of good friends, dear family, great food and all kinds of fun....but after that, we were ready to get home and stay home for a while! The rest of the summer we laid low - we needed to rest and recover!

In October, we enjoyed a bed-and-breakfast getaway in nearby Grapevine to celebrate our 10th anniversary. Our fun weekend included touring and tastings at several wineries, shopping in the city's old downtown area, shopping at a local outlet mall and quiet times together. During our excursion, E enjoyed her first sleepover at Gramma and Grampa's - she totally loved it and can't wait to do it again soon!

Hubby continues to work in a physical therapist position for a contract therapy company - an opportunity that places him in different assignments across the Metroplex. We are thankful for his steady employment and opportunities that this position provides. He also continues to serve in a variety of positions at our church, something that allows him to fellowship with amazing mentors and to provide service to our congregation.

I continue to enjoy the opportunity to do freelance public relations and writing work from home, while also focusing on being a stay-at-home Mom. It's a constant balancing act full of challenges and struggles, but the flexibility is a blessing! I also enjoy being involved with E's class at school, and am always trying something new...whether testing new recipes, exploring new crafts, blogging or reading.

We said goodbye this week to our almost-20-year-old kitty Victoria, who gave in to kidney failure on Monday. She had been the picture of kitty health since her "near death" scare late last year. We will miss our sweet fur baby. But, E has already asked when we can get a new kitty - I have a feeling that will be happening in the near future!

We have so much to be thankful for! We look forward to 2011 with grateful hearts.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Annual tradition: Grandmome's cheese log

Hubby's mom always used to make this tasty snack for us when we'd go to visit. Holidays, summertime, anytime - this stuff is so good. It's a little different than the normal, standard "cheese ball" - the pecans are mixed in, instead of the cheese ball/log being rolled in the nuts. But it all works. The original recipe called for this to be served with strawberry preserves on the side (as an additional dip or spread?) but all of us always think that is weird, so we never do it. Let me know if you try it that way!

Grandmome's Cheese Log

2 (8 oz.) pkgs. sharp cheddar cheese
1 sm. onion, peeled
1 c. pecans, chopped
2/3 c. mayonnaise
1 tsp. red pepper

Grate cheese (if not already shredded) and onion. Add pecans, mayonnaise and seasoning until blended. Shape mixture into a ring, log or ball on a serving platter. (Or, if you're the lazy owner of this blog, pack it into a bowl and just tell you guests to scoop it out with a knife later. It still tastes good, promise!) Chill several hours. Fill center of ring with strawberry preserves, if desired. Serve with crackers.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

New holiday recipe: sopapilla cheesecake bars


I made these for our Bible study Christmas party a few weeks ago. These are SO good and so addictive! And they were easy to pull together with items I already had on hand!

Sopapilla Cheesecake Bars

3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese
3 (8 ounce) packages refrigerated crescent dinner rolls (may need more to cover)
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup cinnamon sugar (I used a bit more, to ensure coverage)

Using a 9 x 13 baking pan, unroll one package of refrigerated crescent rolls and line the bottom of the pan. Flatten to cover.
Mix together the cream cheese, sugar and extract. Spread over the crescent rolls.
Unroll the other can of crescent rolls and place on top of cream cheese mixture.
Pour one stick of melted butter or margarine over the top and sprinkle with about 1/2 cup of the cinnamon sugar mixture.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Monday, December 20, 2010

The "ding ding thing"...


Growing up, my parents used one of these as our Advent wreath when we did our nightly devotions (We lovingly refer to it as the "ding ding thing"). My mom still has the same piece, although it's tarnished with age and use and much more rickety than it used to be. When we were at her house recently, she pulled it out to show E. E was just as enthralled with the spinning angels, ringing bells and candlelight as I was at her age. Love this!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Pretty paper, pretty ribbons...


Earlier this year, when a local card shop closed, they clearanced out everything in the store, including Christmas items. Imagine my thrill when I found tiny snowman ornaments featuring the names of many of my friends -- for only pennies each! What a cute way to tag a gift! I've had fun adding these little guys to gifts this Christmas season. Too fun!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

I had such fun...


...introducing E to "the Little House books" tonight with this wonderful book! Such gorgeous illustrations...and now she wants to know more about Laura and Mary. Love it!

New holiday recipe: Festive Pumpkin Butter Appetizer


I made this for our church ladies' group Christmas party earlier this month. Such a hit! It's delicious. I made my own pumpkin butter in the crock pot, but I understand you can also buy it seasonally here.

Festive Pumpkin Butter Appetizer

1-2 cups pumpkin butter
8 oz. cream cheese
4 slices cooked bacon, crumbled (optional)
1/4 c. toasted pecans, chopped
3 green onions, chopped

Cover cream cheese with pumpkin butter. Top with remaining ingredients.

Serve with Wheat Thins or other crackers of your choice.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Annual tradition: crockpot peanut clusters



Two words: make these.
You'll be glad you did!
(Also very giftable...if you have any left to give!)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Annual tradition: decorating cookies with Gramma








E finally has developed a penchant for sweets and loves to
decorate cut-out cookies with Gramma.
So fun to frost, decorate, sprinkle, slather and taste!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Extra special stuff...


After hubby's mom passed away, we found ourselves sorting through tons of "memories" packed away in boxes. Baby clothes. Report cards. Notes. Old homework assignments. And a few Christmas ornaments. This summer, we obtained a small bag of Christmas ornaments, some that hubby made when he was young, and some that hubby's mom made when hubby was a baby. What a treasure to add those to our tree this year....and what a joy to see E discovering them. (I love the little popsicle stick sled that E is pointing to. So cute!)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

A tree of her own...


E's always had a little tree with "her" ornaments on it each year at Christmastime. A dear friend gave me a felt nativity ornaments set when I was pregnant with E, and I've decorated a little tree with colored lights and these ornaments since E was a baby (I think the tiny tree was from either my dorm room or hubby's apartment back in the day - hey, way to reuse and recycle!)

Never did I dream that kids having their own little tree was such a big deal. Have you been to the craft stores and other retailers lately? You'll find every kind of "little tree of my own" merchandise you can imagine....sports themes, princess themes, popular characters and the like! Some of E's friends at school have trees in pink or blue, and some trees even sport feathers, glitter and more!

While I'm certainly not going to go out of my way to spend a ton of money on this idea, it is fun for us to let E have her own tree to decorate and enjoy. This year, hers is in her bedroom, and she enjoys having it on during the day while she plays, has quiet time or even naps. In addition to the felt nativity ornaments, we've added a few other character ornaments (thanks Gramma!) and some small glittery ball ornaments from the dollar store.

Even though the idea of "a little tree of my own" seems to be becoming the norm, I'm still going to do it on the cheap. Here's to being frugal!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Keeping it all together...


E recently received this great toy for Christmas from a dear family friend. (This is exceptionally fitting because E loves to watch PBS cooking shows with Mommy and Daddy).

A cute toy, but alas, as E gets older, her toys (and their parts!) get smaller! What to do to corral those pesky parts? I happened upon an idea that served us well with E's "preschool activities in a bag" set -- a huge cookie sheet!

I told E that whenever she plays with the preschool bag activities or the new lots-of-little-pieces set, she needs to play it on the cookie sheet. Whether on the floor or on the coffee table, it keeps the pieces contained. So far, it's working great!

Mommies, what other creative ideas do you use to manage your toys? I'd love to hear them!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Sunday School Christmas program...


...all dolled up and ready to go!

...singing Away in A Manger with her class.

...with best bud Hailey
(see how much they've grown since last year!)


...singing E's very favorite song!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Getting crafty...


...we're crafting around here....and no, we won't show you more. That would ruin the surprise for our gift recipients. But I can tell you this....we sure are having fun! And one of us may be sporting paint in her hair! (The short, cute one, not me!)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Beer bread...


I made this bread for Thanksgiving Day (with not-so-good-results....I think my four-year-old kitchen helper added a bit too much baking soda ... we were making our own self rising flour ... note to self, keep a close eye on the short little baker who wields measuring spoons!)

But after the Thanksgiving flop, we tried again....and oh my gracious, this bread is divine! (And if you don't have self rising flour, just add a teaspoon of baking soda to the amount of flour called for in this recipe, as well as a pinch of salt....it'll turn out perfect!)

So get thyself over to R's blog ... and make this recipe for beer bread. SO good with winter's soups and stews....or any meal where you want a big hunk of bread to go along with...(wouldn't that be just about ANY meal? Hmmmm.....)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Preparing for Christmas...


Dear friend Kim has a wonderful post talking about the many ways we can observe the time of Advent with our children. In our home, we count down to Christmas in many ways with E, including an Advent calendar, paper chain and more, but we also enjoy using our Advent wreath and reading daily devotions out of this book.

What do you do to prepare for Christmas? (and I don't mean the shopping, wrapping and baking....but you already knew that, didn't you?) :-)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Mom, it's awfully early...


...this photo was snapped on the day after Thanksgiving, when we were eating an early breakfast before heading out to shop with the throngs! Despite E's sassy face, she did great shopping and actually loved it quite a bit!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

December Daily...



Yes, it's that time of year again -- time for the December Daily! Blog posting each day in December...can I do it? Do I have time? Do I have enough to blog about? I have loved blogging the last three years about our family traditions, favorite recipes and family fun...so I'm going to give it a shot again! (And, let's just say, thank heavens for Blogger's ability to pre-schedule posts! :-) A busy girl's best friend!)

Friends, do you want to join me? (Hey, who cares if you're reading this a few days after December 1, or even if you can't join in each day...take a gander at blogging about your own Christmas traditions and fun....join us!)