Sunday, December 22, 2013

Christmas Card Photos

     We are only two days into Christmas break and I have to admit, these kids are driving me nuts!!! Now, I'm trying to give them the benefit of the doubt and say that it's just the Christmas excitement that has them going ape shit but honestly I think they're just trying to see how "bad" they can be before Santa really decides to give them a lump of coal. And let me tell you, this Santa is close! 
      As a mother of three, I know that at any given moment of the day, there is always one kid crying or throwing a fit, another kid fighting with their sibling or being picked on, and always something getting spilled, ripped, or broken. So of course I thought it would be a great idea to have the kids pose for a photo for our Christmas cards. What was I thinking???

The photos started off innocently enough expect my poor oldest daughter suffers from the same issue her mom suffers from: Extreme Fake Smiling. No matter how hard we try, a real "natural" smile in a photo is hard to come by. 

Here I told her to open her eyes more.... so naturally she decides to open her mouth also... 

Because I felt the photo shoot was going too well, I decided to throw in some tree decorations to up the cuteness factor. 

And now my oldest and youngest are both suffering from Extreme Fake Smiling.

Here was a great picture and I felt like it was almost prefect but I wanted to take just one more photo to make sure I caught them at their maximum cuteness. 

And then the tinsel broke..... 

From then on the photo shoot was a complete wash. Each kid took turns making the photo look silly and driving their mother crazy. 

After reviewing this picture I said, "oh I give up. Just pose however you want!"

And so of course this is what I got...

And this...

Let's not forget this...

And in this photo when I asked my middle child what she was doing she of course said, "that's my smelling a toot face." That's what I get for asking. Notice my oldest missing? Yup, she fell behind the chair, this photo shoot is officially over!

Loading the photos onto the computer I thought, surely out of 35 pictures there had to be at least one photo that was good right??? Well, call it a Christmas miracle because yes, there was one photo that did turn out good. And only one photo. I present to you our 2013 Christmas Card photo...... thank goodness I don't have to do this again for year! Now to figure out how to crop the time stamp on the photo.


Yours Truly, 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Pina Colada Jam

Christmas will be here before you know it and while most of my shopping is done, (I know am as shocked as you!) I still need to think of something to give to teachers, neighbors, and those people that you weren't expecting a gift from but now they're on your doorstep with one so you need to come up with something quick to give them! Yeh, I think there are a few people that do that to me on purpose just to see me squirm and go, "oh shoot. I didn't know we were exchanging gifts today, I'll have to bring your gift tomorrow......." Not this year though. This year, "Christmas will be OURS!!" (Shouted in my best Jack Skeleton voice.) Because when you add up all the school teachers, AWANAS leaders, Sunday School teachers, piano, choir, etc. we end up with approximately a billion people who deserve gifts for putting up with my brats sweet angels I needed a gift that is not only something people would want but something that could be mass produced.... 

Bring on the Pina Colada Jam! I got this here: Pina Colada Jam and while unfortunately all the alcohol cooks out, the taste is amazing!! Like lick the spoon even though it's still molten hot good. 

What you'll need:

3 1/2 cups fresh or frozen pineapple, peeled, cored and pureed (Do not use canned pineapple!)
1 cup of Cream of Coconut (I used the Coco Lopez brand, do not use Coconut Milk!!!)

1/3 cup light or coconut rum (I used Pineapple Jack's pineapple-coconut rum, it's sooo good!!)
1/4 cup real lemon juice
6 1/2 cups sugar
2- 3oz pkg. liquid pectin
1 teaspoon butter or margarine
9 half-pint glass canning jars with lids

1. Start your water bath canner and sterilize your 9 half-pint jars, lids, and bands. 

2. Once your pineapple is pureed put in a heavy pot along with your cream of coconut, rum, lemon juice and margarine. Stir well. 
3. Stir in the sugar to the mix and bring to a rolling boil on high. (A rolling boil is one that cannot be stirred down.) Stir constantly and boil hard for 5 minutes. 
4. Stir in pectin and bring back to rolling boil and boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and if needed, skim the foam. 
5. Ladle the hot Pina Colada jam into hot jars leaving 1/4 inch head space. Put on lids and twist bands until finger tight. 
6. Process jars in boiling water bath for 15 minutes. Remove jars and let seal. (Nothing like hearing the *pop* to let you know your jars are sealed!) If any jars are unsealed; refrigerate and use within 3 weeks. Enjoy!

This stuff would be great on biscuits, toast, ice cream, or even warmed up as a dipping sauce for coconut shrimp. Add a homemade tag or in our case a hand-painted (by the kids) ornament and you have the prefect homespun gift that anyone will enjoy. Goodbye Christmas Gift Guilt! Take that you overly nice, thoughtful gift-givers, who I may have only talked to twice this year but you still thought about me enough to give me some nice hand lotion. :-) 

Oh and don't forget, since you do have all the ingredients to make a Pina Colada, go ahead and pour yourself one!! 
Yours Truly,