Friday, December 30, 2011

Our first official Fordham Family Christmas!

Happy Friday everyone! Seems like forever since I've tended to my little lovey I call "Lovin' Life As Mommy And Wife" but we have been busy little beavers with all of the holiday hustle and bustle! I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas; I know we did!
We started out on Christmas Eve with our tradition of sweet rolls...there's nothing better than the smell of cinnamon spreading throughout our tiny little house while we anxiously awaited for them to be done so that we could enjoy the deliciousness :) mmm mmm...GOOD! Me and the hubs and our little buggy boo just relaxed all day until we had to get to the Swenson's for Christmas; it's always been at Chris' grandma and grandpa's house but as they get older, it's just getting to be too much so this year, it was hosted at a hotel in Rochester so all the kiddos could splash and play in the pool...they LOVED it...including miss Rylee!
Rylee swimming with auntie Amy (my SIL.)
 Then Santa came!!!!!! All the kids were SO EXCITED...except for mine :) I was so shocked at her reaction as she literally is little miss social butterfly! But NOT with Mr. Claus...she took one look at him and just started screaming! So that is why my lovely husband is sitting on his lap....hahahahaha! I couldn't as you can see below I was busy getting the whole thing on never know when a little black-mail may come in handy (totally kidding hun bun!)
Group pic of all the little cousins filled with so much joy and excited to see Santa...ohhhhh to have that Christmas magic again! I can't wait for it to come alive again in Rylee and all our future little Fordham buggies...or as Chris would say, the Fordham Hockey Team! (Ugghh...can you imagine?! Sorry but this gal is taking it one baby at a time!)
Family pic with Santa...again, Rylee was less than thrilled about this!

So, after we had spent a few hours swimming, being traumatized by Santa, enjoying our time with Santa and celebrating family, we were off to celebrate more family with my dad, my awesome bonus mom, Shannon, my siblings and my adorable nephews! Every year, it is tradition to have scalloped potatoes with ham and then we open presents (one person, one gift at a time so that everyone sees what everyone gets!) and then.....are you ready for it....drum roll..............................we watch TBS 24 hours of A Christmas Story!!!! My absolute favorite Christmas movie of all times...I don't really know why...maybe it's the part where Randy gets stuck in his snow suit or when Ralphy gets his tongue stuck to the light pole or when the dad gets the leg lamp and the mom is mortified....or then again, maybe it's the ending when the family is forced to go to a restaurant for dinner as the damn neighbor dogs got in and ate their turkey dinner and while at the restaurant, the Chinese people can't sing the the Christmas carols right! Haha! I'm laughing out loud right now just thinking about it. My whole family dreads watching it every year...everyone says "it's so dumb Manda, do we have to?!" But they do and they pretend to enjoy it because I love it and it's become tradition!
 Rylee with Grandma Shannon and her little reindeer antlers!
 Rylee just waking up...time to open presents!
 So excited about all her new toys!
 My nephew, Collin lovin' life after he opened his mega nerf gun!
 My nephew, Wyatt, LOVING his new tools and tool bench...present from his daddy was definitely the hit of the night. He even told us that he was going to change his name to Bob so he could be "Bob the Builder" too! So darn cute!
 The newest addition, my nephew, Waylonn, getting excited about all the wrapping paper he gets to crumple up and put in his mouth :)
 Uncle Cody helping Collin put together his lego set and little miss sugarplum patiently watching them!
 Wyatt taking a break from building me a "red house" to pose for a picture!
And last but not and my lovely new COACH purse...LOVE!
So then after we all snuggled in to watch the Christmas Story, we headed home to wait for Santa to come. We got up Christmas morning and went to church and then went to my grandma's house! It was such a great feeling to be back out on the farm for Christmas day as that has been our tradition for as long as I can remember...but ever since my brother's accident, we haven't been able to go to grandma's but Zach keeps working really hard in his therapies and was able to walk inside the farm this year versus years past, we were unable to get him inside. He had to have lots of help but it was the best feeling ever to see him walk into the dream come true! Okay, whew, getting all teary-eyed here...back to business :) Christmas at grandma's was nice to have everyone together back out at the farm...the way Christmas should be.
 Rylee in her little Christmas dress.
 Rylee and uncle Zach.
 Rylee and mama :) She was not too pleased with the dress and was getting grumpy at this one last picture with nana and then it was time to get in her comfies!
 Rylee and her nana (my mama!)
 Good Lord, she got a play kitchen folks...ugghhh, she LOVES it and I love that she loves it (thank you mom, love you mom, thank you mom!!) but seriously, it just does not fit in our little house and if you can remember from a previous post...the basement is NOT finished yet! *sigh* I guess I will just have to let my OCD regarding cleanliness and clutter go for awhile but now the hubs really needs to get his booty in gear with that basement of ours! Love ya babe ;)

 Had to throw this one in there because little Waylonn is just so stickin' CUTE. I sure do love my boys...poor Rylee is totally outnumbered!
 Lovin' up on her new monkey friend...she fricken LOVES this thing! We haven't named her/him yet...any suggestions?! The monks is like three times her size and she is obsessed with her/ fact, this morning, I went to get her out of her crib and she kept pointing and fussing because we were leaving her room without her friend...yes, he is now sitting next to her on the couch watching Baby Einstein as I type this! Haha, Rylee's first best friend, well...that is, aside from her mommy and daddy.
So then, after we spent the better half of the day at grandma's, we ventured back into town to go to Chris's grandma Jane's...oh how I love her! That is where Rylee's middle name comes from...sweet, little grandma Jane; she's just someone everyone admires. Such a hard-working gal even in her old age...she's not going to let anything or anyone slow her down! She always fixes a gourmet meal, which was the LAST thing that we needed after eating pretty much non-stop the last two days but to appease everyone, we ate yet again! Good Lord Jillian Michael's, mama's really gonna need your help to start my 2012 out the right way ;) Then...finally it was time to go home and snuggle in so that Rylee could open her gifts from mom and dad and Santa of course. She was really cranky at this point but we made due with the little window of time we had left before she was ready for bed....this my friends, is why we will be doing things a little different next year because once again, there was no time left for our little family to enjoy Christmas just us!
 Proof that my little buggy boo had a case of the Mondays (haha, sorry, couldn't resist...gotta love the movie Office Space!) but she was seriously so over Christmas :(
 Daddy and Rylee...Baby Einstein got her attention and then she was in a better mood! them to the heavens and back!

 Her sweet new doggy's awesome and she loves it! Nice work Santa!
 Chris getting ready to open his gifts from Rylee and me...we agreed that we would do something very small this year as all extra $$$ is going towards our basement and other upgrades. He was more than pleased with his new jammies from my all time fav, The GAP and.......................
His new robe :) He'd die if he knew this was on here...good thing he doesn't check it very often, whew! I just couldn't resist...he just looked so cute in his new jammies and new robe, which by the way, he asked for as he was getting sick of running from our newly finished bathroom downstairs in his skivies to our bedroom upstairs, especially since our windows are almost always open and our little, old neighbors are almost always home! Haha! So for my present, Chris made me the most adorable, special, thoughtful was just perfect. I would take a homemade card over a store bought one ANY DAY! Then included in my lovely card was a coupon book for lots of wonderful coupons like date night, love slave for a day, massage...and others that I won't mention...wink, wink, nudge, nudge :) What a guy, such a sweetie! So that's it in a nutshell...our first, official Fordham Family was great and we're already looking forward to next year! The holidays are just such a special time...absolutely love this time of year. Have a great day!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Wishes & Decorating!

Good morning everyone! I can hardly believe that there are only TWO more days until Christmas...every year seems to go by faster and faster, especially with a little one now! I just wanted to say Merry Christmas to you and yours...this is such a special time of the year to be with family and friends and to celebrate one another! I wanted to post some pictures of our holiday decorating this year...I felt a bit more festive this year...I love coming home to all of our little twinkling lights inside and outside!

This is the DIY pine cone wreath that I made after Thanksgiving; it is cinnamon scented pine cones that make our home smell delicious! I just bought a super cheap "twine-like" wreath from Michael's with a coupon of course and the wreath ended up costing me around $4. I bought two bags of the pine cones from JoAnn's with a coupon and used the extras on our shelf in clear vases. I simply hot-glued the pine cones to the wreath and added the fun, Christmas-like embellishments...isn't it pretty?!

Since we do not have a fireplace, I like to use the floating shelf above our TV for our make-shift mantle for holiday decorations.

Our tiny tree...this is the last year for this little beauty as next Christmas, our basement will be finished and we will have a big, normal sized tree! I might still use it somewhere around the house though as I just think she's so cute :)

The bigger picture!
Again, with no mantle, we have to improvise for hanging our stockings which are looking pretty empty and pathetic this year...we are putting all extra $$ into saving for the basement...CAN'T WAIT till that baby is done...whoop whoop!!

I couldn't resist...I'm usually not a big fan of "Christmas pillows" but rather, a sweater pillow or something with a "warm color and texture" to represent the winter season but I saw this cutie at Target and I had to bring it home with, it was 25% off so it ended up costing me $12.

My table center pieces...I bought plain, white pillar candles from the dollar store and these clear glass vases from Michael's (again, with my coupons!) and then I found the fillers at Micheal's as well...this time without a coupon but I bought four bags the day after Thanksgiving and it only set me back around $8. I think they look so pretty and fresh against the green table runner (Target...also 25% off!) They are also cinnamon scented and smell delish!

Rylee's gingerbread house that she made at daycare...isn't it THE CUTEST thing you've ever seen?!! I had to find the perfect "display case" for her work of art and I stumbled upon this mini-cake stand at Hobby Lobby...they were having a 50% off glass sale so I think it ended up costing me around $12 but to me, it was worth it as I knew it'd be perfect to showcase her little holiday cheer!
 And we can't forget about Miss Bella and her cute little Christmas handkerchief!! She went to the beauty parlor the other day and she always holds her head high like she seriously feels pretty and fresh just like we ladies do when we get our hair and nails done...haha!!! She's so funny :)

And last but not least, the little buggy boo cuddled in watching mama take pictures of all the holiday decorations...yes, she looks tired because someone thought it'd be so much fun to get up at 6am; it is now almost noon and she is still going strong...I have never known a kiddo with SO MUCH energy!!! Oh well, she keeps me going too!! The snow just started to fall and it really feels like Christmas...such a warm and cozy feeling. Merry Christmas to everyone...I hope you have a beautiful holiday.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Fast, Easy & DELISH!

Good morning everyone! So last night I was on a time crunch to get something made for dinner as I had some baking to do for my work's Holiday potluck that's happening today...ohhh the potlucks at work...such a love/hate relationship as there are always so many goodies and everyone, including me, over indulges...oh well, I guess that's part of the Holidays!
Anyways, back to my "throw it together, really fast" recipe that I like to call...Stove Top Goodness :) I mixed and matched a few different recipes out of an old book that my grandma had and this is what I came up with...It was a huge sucess with my fam so I wanted to share it with you!

1 lb hamburger or ground turkey (whichever you prefer)
1 package egg noodles (cooked and strained)
1 can tomato soup
1/2 can water (using the empty tomato soup can)
1/4 cup brown sugar
salt and pepper to taste
Any veggies or additional add-in's that you love (for example, my hubby LOVES mushrooms, like we are talking could eat a whole jar kind of love! so I added them for him cuz I love him so much!)


Boil noodles and strain...set aside. (okay, so the picture shows the wooden spoon resting on top of the pan as to ensure your water does not boil over...a trick I learned from my true love, Pinterest, and it really does cool?!!

Brown your meat and season to your liking.

Then add in tomato soup, water, brown sugar, salt and pepper...(this is where I added the mushrooms and you could add really any veggies...corn would be good too!) Let this concoction simmer for about 10-15 minutes, or until you see it thickening. Then fold in your already cooked noodles and let simmer an additional 5 minutes...and then serve to your wonderful family!

(Chris, my wanna-be photographer, couldn't resist getting a picture of me hard at work in the kitchen because you know, folding in the noodles is hard work, hehe! Thanks honey, for the fabulous picture...NOT!!)

***Now when I cooked this last night, I used the "no yolks" egg noodles as my attempt to stay somewhat healthy during the holidays but I felt like when I got it all mixed up, there wasn't enough sauce covering the noodles so I actually ended up adding another can of tomato soup, 1/2 can water and I just added another spoon full of brown sugar...and again, salt and pepper to taste and with the extra additions, it was MUCH BETTER :)

Chris and Rylee LOVED it...and I hope you will too...ENJOY!

And Just one more Rylee Pic...
 (Rylee and her messy self...this learning to feed yourself is no joke...she gets down to business at meal time and will not let you help her anymore with her silverware! My baby is getting so big!!!)

So there you have it folks, a relatively healthy dinner for very low cost that took, from start to finish, about 20minutes at the most! Let me know if you try it and how you and yours liked it!! to get ready for my real job...have a fabulous day everyone :)

Monday, December 19, 2011

We're members!

So Chris and I have been attending Family of Christ Lutheran Church for almost a year now...the hunt for the perfect church family came around the first of the year (2011) when we knew we wanted to find a church that we could call "home." We also knew that we had to find a pastor to baptise Rylee and marry us as our wedding was in September so we eagerly started our hunt...neither one of us grew up with a real strong religious upbringing...we were both raised with good and honest values and morals but had no real sense or knowledge of religion so it was pretty much the blind leading the blind! We did some research online and we ended up starting with the non-denominational churches; we visited a couple of churches in Rochester and actually really fell in love with one that I shall not name as this is not intended to be a criticism towards any one church...long story short though, we were told that basically we were not welcome as we were not married and had a child out of wedlock!?!! Who knew?!!! I have always pegged the non-denominational churches to be the most laid-back, most accepting but I was very wrong! They had offered to provide us a "shot-gun" wedding with no one knowing about it so then we could be members of their church and being that no one would know that we were already married, they could then perform our wedding ceremony/vows in September and we said.........Thanks but NO THANKS! So off we went on our hunt find the perfect church home. We had met an amazing man when my little brother was in his car accident; he is a pastor and the Police Chaplain for the City of Rochester and so he knew my bonus dad, Chuck very well; long story short, he was up at the hospital almost daily praying with us and I always felt this sense of calmness when he was around but I couldn't remember his name so I talked with Chuck about finding out where his services were held and he got me the information almost right away. The services are held at the Gibbs Elementary School in the gym (I know, not the most ideal location but they really do make it feel like church!) After our first service, we knew immediately that we wanted this to be our church that we would belong to...we knew without a doubt that we wanted Pastor Henry Biar to marry us and we knew that we wanted to raise our children in this church family! Over the last 11months, we have gotten Rylee baptised with Pastor Henry, we have gone through the pre-marital counseling with him and we have just completed 10weeks of membership class...we were officially accepted into Family of Christ yesterday morning as members!! It's such a great feeling to be members of this church family and to know that Rylee and our future kids will be raised with Pastor Henry's worship...every Sunday, no matter how tired I am, I get excited to go and I always leave with a new lesson and a feeling of calmness and happiness...I feel rejuvenated and it is such a great way to start my week! Anyone who is looking for an awesome Sunday morning church service...check it won't be disappointed!
Happy Monday everyone!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Blog Slacking

Well let's's only been THREE WEEKS since my last and very first blog post, gosh...I'm such a slacker...I had such high hopes for myself to stay caught up with this but to be honest, it is some what intimidating to me as I am pretty much illiterate when it comes to electronics...uhh hmmm...yes, this means computers too! I mean, it's almost 2012 and you would think that I would finally be "getting with the program" but this mama is still a few years behind when it comes to knowing how to properly run all of our home electronics...thank God for my hubby or I would be majorly screwed! Anyways, thanks to my bestie, Bridget...over at teaching me a few tricks of the trade this afternoon (Thank you bestie!), I now feel a little more prepared to get back to my goal of blogging! Bridget and Tate were in town today to celebrate Christmas with Bridget's family and they stopped over to the Fordham casa on their way back to the cities so we could hang out for awhile and so that Rylee could open her presents from her God-mama and God-papa! She got some very adorable new clothes and a collection of Baby Einstein books that she LOVES! In fact, as I sit here and type this post, I can hear Chris in the living room reading to her and she is just did good Tate and Bridget, thanks again...for everything! We love you guys, xoxo!
 Bridget always does such a cute job wrapping the presents :)
 Rylee being ever so soft and tender with her special package!
 Baby Einstein...she LOVES!

So...this last week was pretty...UNeventful as our whole household got terribly we are talking projectile vomitting (sorry to any of you with weak stomachs but I promised to tell it like it is!) Anyways, honestly it was the worst flu bug of my life and my poor buggy boo was sick first and then I got it and then finally, daddy got it :( I am happy to be able to say that we are all finally feeling much, much better...right in time for Christmas!
Yesterday we had Christmas at my dad and Shannon's house for the McConnell family Christmas get-together (my dad's side) and then off to Chris' mom's house in Mantorville for Christmas with her and Chris' sisters. It's always so much fun getting together with family...I absolutely love this time of year but as our own little family continues to grow, Chris and I have made a promise to one another that we are not going to have memories of the holidays "on the road" with our little ones (no parents, this is not a hint that we are expecting...not yet anyways!!) but with so many different places to go, it leaves us with no time to make our own Christmas traditions so next year we plan to slow down a bit and make sure that we have time for just us too.
Alright, now I'm pretty much babbling so I'll end here for today...time to go and read a bedtime story to my most favorite, most special little girl in the whole wide world!
Sweet dreams to all.