Friday, December 27, 2013

Christmas memories and hockey puff recipe

Wow. Does anyone else feel like Christmas blew in and out with a mighty force? I can't believe it is over, maybe it's because I have a sweet little boy who still asks to open presents as soon as he wakes up. Although I have to admit it was pretty cute listening to him try to grasp the meaning of Christmas.

I did a lot of reading stories of the birth of Jesus, and I tried to make sure we read something before we opened up each of the boy's advent calendars. After one reading session (some of you may remember my posting this on FB) I wanted to try and quiz Cole to see if any of it was sinking in.

Me: Hey Cole, what did God put in the sky to help the Shepherds find baby Jesus?
Cole: BEES!!!!

.....thinking I needed to ask maybe something a bit simpler

Me: Um, ok..... what did the Wisemen ride on when they went to find baby Jesus?
Cole: A BIKE!

.......He said both with such passion, and sounded so sure of his answers that I had a hard time correcting him, and just told him we would be doing more reading in the following days.... years...however long it takes so that he doesn't get confused as to why no one mentions bees or bikes when telling the birth of Christ.

We will get there, someday.

However, he did somehow manage to cling onto the fact that Christmas wasn't just about presents (although he quite enjoyed opening them)....but about "Desus Birfday"! We were constantly counting down the days, and he would always get excited to see that we were getting close to celebrating the birthday of Jesus. On Christmas Eve he announced to me that he wanted a cake for Desus and that it must have candles, and that he would be blowing them out. So I tossed some candles in my purse (and decided that they would be used for Jesus and my sister, who just so happens to share her birthday with Jesus).

I feel bad, I actually didn't take a whole lot of pictures this Christmas, don't really know why. I think because most of the time it was kind of chaotic (in a good way). Christmas morning I was taking video, as i wanted to get their reactions when they saw what was under the tree. And then it just seemed to go downhill from there in the picture taking department.

But all in all we had a very wonderful Christmas season, it seemed like we celebrated all month long...which we kind of did between both families. Cole got to decorate his first gingerbread house with Bramma and Brampa, and by decorate I mean, he piled candies all around his house, some wrapped and some unwrapped...didn't really make much difference to him.

This was just the beginning of the candy piling.....

We decided we will have to document the improvement of such decorating in the following years. I'm sure both boys will gladly oblige and I'm sure there will many more piles of candy (I mean, isn't that the goal when your young, cram as much candy on the house as possible....more candy on, means more candy in the tummy later on....) Too bad, we didn't let that candy get into their bellies.....

And as many of you remember a huge part of my family's Christmas are these guys..... we celebrated a bit early with my side and ate our traditional hockey puffs. Turns out I could have shared the recipe back when I first talked about them, but in all honesty didn't realize I had the recipe on hand. So here you go for all who requested it. :)

Hockey Puffs ( Or Runza Rolls)
Source: Our Family Recipe Book

1 pkg active dry yeast
1 1/2 C warm water
2/3 C sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
2/3 C shortening
2 eggs
1 C lukewarm mashed potatoes
7 to 7 1/2 C flour

Dissolve yeast in warm in large bowl. Stir in sugar, salt, shortening, eggs, potatoes, and 4 cups flour. Beat until smooth, mix in enough remaining flour to make dough easy to handle. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Place in greased bowl; turn greased side up, cover bowl tightly. Refrigerate at least 8 hours but no longer than 5 days.

Punch dough down. Roll dough into oblong shape and cut into squares.

Place 1-2 tbls of filling (recipe following) into the center of squares. Pull all the side up around filling and pinch together. Place on greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until lightly browned.

Serve with mustard and ketchup. We always drank hot apple cider whenever we had them :)

For the Filling:

3 C shredded cabbage
1 1/2 lbs ground beef (or turkey)
1/2 C chopped onion
1/2 C water
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Brown meat and onion; drain off excess grease. Add cabbage, seasonings and water. Simmer 15-20 minutes. Make sure all liquid has been absorbed. Then continue with the directions above.

I hope you all enjoy these as much as we do. I seriously can't get enough of them.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Last Minute Christmas Treat

Thanks for all of the helpful comments in regards to Cole and his night terrors. He is doing better, but apparently sleep just isn't his strong point....Bennett's either.

I just finished putting Bennett down for a second time tonight. I got the bright idea that maybe it would help him sleep in past 5am if  I just let him come downstairs with us to hang out a bit.....

At first he was all sleepy snuggly and rested on my chest for a good 15 minutes. Then it was like a little whirlwind had its way with our living room. He was seriously on fire, living it up, and making us laugh uncontrollably. Multiple times I looked at Kyle and said, I think I may have just made a really, really bad mistake.....

Only to have that sweet little head bounce towards me with his index finger completely shoved down his throat, then popping it out while making a "ssssshhhhh" noise (his version of shushing us).

He was loving it! The attention, the fact that he weaseled his way out of bed time. So we just tried to soak up the newly energized little boy, and follow his lead. Which turned into a lot of "cookie" sharing at.

He is turning into such an imaginative little guy. He likes to pretend and is starting to listen and follow direction quite well. His favorite thing to do is make cookies....he will stick his fake cookies in cupboards, baskets, bowls...whatever is at hand and acts like he bakes them, then he runs from person to person giving bites, takes fake bites himself, smacks his lips, and runs around the house saying "Mmm, mmm, mmm, Mmm".

With all the cookie baking going on, I started to feel guilty for my lack of cookie baking this year. I had planned on making some cookies to bring to our neighbors...because after all, isn't that the neighborly thing to do? Then I a hit with mastitis, the boys...well, they keep me hopping around the clock Christmas or not, the lack of sleep, the night terrors....and the list goes on.

All you moms that have 4 kids and manage to bake, decorate, and deliver cookies before Christmas are nothing short of amazing. Seriously, I don't know how you do it.

For the rest of us who can't quite get our act together, get hit with life and all it's finest, I have the perfect solution.


Never fails. Never disappoints. Always tastes good. And turns out can make the perfect last minute Christmas goodie.

Cole was more than eager to help me make it, and helped by asking for his own bowl to go and munch on while watching football with daddy. Win-win.

I actually realized i never posted these recipes after Cole's train party and I talked them up. So here they are, a little late, but right on time for the holidays. Your neighbors, friends, family...yourself will not be able to turn down these sweet kernels. They are rich, they are the reason my pants aren;t fitting quite right anymore, and they are impossible to turn down.

Peanut Butter Popcorn and White Chocolate Popcorn with a little Christmas bonus!

We will start with White Chocolate Popcorn. It seriously, could not be any easier. I always use my air popper, but use whatever method you prefer to make your popcorn, butter and salt it....or don't, I just like the combo of a little bit of salty, otherwise it gets pretty sweet.

White Chocolate Popcorn


1/4 cup popcorn kernels - popped (I ended up doing two batches (1/2 c kernels) so I had a lighter chocolate coating and it still tasted fine)

1 bag of premium white chocolate chips (I always try and use Guittards, the best in my opinion...or make sure to look for white chips that have cocoa butter in the ingredients....tends to melt and taste better).


1. Pop up your popcorn in a very large bowl. Butter and salt if you choose.

2. Melt white chocolate chips either in a double boiler over low heat (if you heat it over heat that is too hot you risk the chocolate seizing) or you can melt it in a microwave safe bowl in 30 second intervals (that is the method I do, I have had too many bad experiences with the white chips on the stove).

3. Once chocolate is completely melted and a smooth consistency, drizzle over popcorn. Then quickly toss and stir to coat evenly.

4. Now comes for the holiday bonus, I tossed in some dark chocolate M&M's for kicks, and highly recommend it! 

5. Eat, and eat and eat.....or be good and give them away as gifts.


And now for my personal favorite. This is like popcorn crack. I can eat this stuff until I am so sick to my stomach, but can't help and go in for another handful. It can be made two ways, the first you can eat it in its ooey gooey state (super messy, but super good!). Or you can bake it like you do caramel corn, and it has the consistency of caramel corn, is easier to eat, and I personally recommend doing this if you plan on giving it away. Plus if you bake it, it can be made several days ahead of time. 

Peanut Butter Marshmallow Popcorn

(Adapted from: All Recipes)


2 3.5 oz bags of microwave popcorn or 1/4-1/2 popcorn kernels popped up and sprinkled with butter and salt. (I always use an air popper for popcorn, it's healthier and better tasting in my own personal opinion).

1/2 cup butter or margarine (I always, always use real butter!)

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup peanut butter (the original recipe calls for 1/4cup, but I like mine to actually taste like peanut butter.)

20 marshmallows with a few extra for good measure :) 


Pour popcorn into a large bowl. 

In a glass bowl, combine the margarine, brown sugar, and marshmallows. (NOT THE PEANUT BUTTER YET) Cook at 1 minute intervals in the microwave, stirring between each time, until the mixture is melted and smooth. Stir in the peanut butter now until well blended. Pour the melted mixture over the popcorn, and stir quickly to coat the corn before it cools.

Now you can stop here and eat it all gooey, or you can go to the next step.

Preheat oven to 250.

Spread popcorn on a lined and rimmed tray. Bake for 15-20 minutes depending on how crunchy you would like it. Watch it carefully that it doesn't burn. my oven is particularly hot, so I don't bake it quite as long. The peanut butter coating may start to kind of bubble up a bit, that is fine and totally normal. 

Let it cool (or not, I usually burn my finger and tongue as patience is not a strong virtue of mine). Then enjoy, try and eat just one won't be able to do it, I swear by that.

I hope this helps all you last-minuters. I just made mine yesterday and due to a bag conspiracy I have yet to package them up and hand them off...instead they are both getting me. 

Oh, and I have promised several people that I would post the recipe for the Hockey Puffs that I wrote about awhile ago. Turns out I DO have the recipe, and I would love to share one of our favorite Christmas traditions! :) 

Until then, hope you all enjoy some wonderful family time, and get a chance to celebrate the reason for the Christmas season, Jesus! 

Merry early Christmas!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Night Terrors

It amazes me how there is always something. Something to throw off a schedule, a good sleep routine, and chance to feel like we are finally getting a hold of this thing called parenting.

lately we have been sideswiped by night terrors. Only we didn't realize that was what we were dealing with. In my own peanut brain I thought night terrors consisted solely of a child screaming bloody murder, and while that may be what it looks like for some.....I have learned that it can also look very different for others.

We are in the "others" category.

For the past month or so, Cole has been waking up about 2 hours after falling asleep every night (sometimes multiple times). we go in to see him and he is inconsolable, if we try to cuddle, comfort or pick him up he gets worse. He thrashes about his bed, kicks if we attempt to hold him, and carries on and on anywhere from 15 to 40 minutes. Both Kyle and I were getting frustrated and were constantly trying to reason with him, even attempted to discipline, take away privileges for the following day, etc...but nothing seemed to work. We thought he was just being stubborn.

(Top it off with Mr B who has decided he wants to get up and nurse every hour again, and you have the recipe for two parents feeling like they are on the verge of insanity).

Then finally we started reading, researching and both came to the same realization--night terrors.

And would you believe the night that we went to bed armed with knowledge of how to properly handle them,....he didn't have one.

Can you say,  typical? It's as if they know....

I am so baffled sometimes at these little beings that we love so deeply. Just when we think we need to step to the left, they take 20 million steps to the right! While I love it, and feel completely at peace that this is what I was made to do....I also have moments of complete bewilderment. 

Will I ever be one step ahead, to where I can actually parent in the moment with what they really need? Or am i constantly going to have to be scraping by, no sleep, trying to figure out what exactly went down....and wondering whether or not I handled it correctly. Could I have done better? Something differently? Been more proactive? Anxiously searching the internet for answers, solutions, and the perfect equations.

I imagine I'm not the only one to have these questions burning a hole in my head. And I can pretty much bank on it that this will not be the last time.

I just want them to be happy, to not hurt, to find nothing but joy in this life. I want to protect them from everything and anything that might hinder that. Night terrors included. The most comforting thing that I have read is that they normally don't have any recollection of the terrors, and they aren't brought on by bad dreams but more things like being overly tired, too hot, change of schedule, being hungry.

I'm guessing the hungry and hot part might be part of the problem. He doesn't normally eat much for dinner, and our upstairs can get pretty stuffy at times. So we are going to keep trying different things to see what helps.


Thankfully I started writing this post a few days ago, and we started using a white noise machine, turned it on the lullaby's (per Cole's request for winkle winkle widdle dar) and last night, he didn't have a single terror! Praying that it wasn't a fluke, but progress.

Bennett on the other hand.....slept more with us than in his crib, and still ate his way through the night. I suppose I could try and wean him of this, but being that he isn't even on the charts for weight, I'm kind of reluctant to do so.

Does anyone else have experience with night terrors? What did you do, how long did it take them to grow out of them?

I hope we can figure out how to help, because let's face it....I yearn to see more of this and less of the sad, night time sadness stuff.

Monday, December 16, 2013


Just in case you were wondering, we have a very not-so-perfect-life over here.

Oh, but it gets better..... Can't you just hear the battle cry?

Notice the stinker in the back....just so happens to be the cause of such a catastrophic meltdown.....

Then just like that, the storm fizzling out.....and big brother making amends.

Just keepin' it real around here, happy Monday to you all! :)

P.S. We're looking at naps in the very, very near future....

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Annual Hockey Puff Day

It should be considered a national least it is within my family. Hockey puffs, little roll puffs of heaven. We still can't decide if they taste as good as they do because we have eaten them every year for forever, and it's tradition. Or because they truly are delicious! And the name, well the credit goes to my older sister, she named them about 30 years ago, and we have never called them anything else since. In fact, I don't know if anyone knows the real name any more.....

This past weekend was hockey puff day, and as usual, it did not disappoint. We got to open some presents, enjoy each others company, eat a lot, and the little ones were enamored by Papa's train that he set up around the tree. Something that I'm sure will be repeated in the coming was a big hit!

Believe it or not, there were no train casualties. Even with this train wrecker.

He was eying it though. And just for kicks, look at this pic of Cole around the same age....

Bennett now wears that same "Hello my name is Handsome" outfit, only he swims in it. He doesn't have the cheeks to fill it yet. :) I just want to reach into that picture and squeeze Cole's.... look at him all so little and baby-like. And those eyes....

And now here he is all grown-and-big-boyed-up.

Golly, Cole why you gotta go and steal your mama's heart with your big blues.....over and over again.

I caught him in that sweet look when I interrupted some more train gazing...

Then there were four....train gazers, that is.

Papa, your trains were a hit, as if I'm surprised.

And Nana, your hockey puffs were a hit, as always. 

Hockey puffs, check. Happy tummies, check. Little boys happy as clams being able to run around with their cousins, watching trains, ripping open presents, giggling with delight. Check, check, check, and check.

Little helpful hands....

Little hugs with big impact.

Little stories to be told, and many memories made.

Yep, Christmas is in full swing around here.

And someone is very, very happy about that...

Monday, December 9, 2013

My Joy.

I wish sometimes I could give people a glimpse of what unfolds before my sleepy eyes.

I wish they could sit and soak up the love of these two boys and let it flow freely through their veins like I get to do.

As they feed each other cheerios, sit head-to-head playing with their farm, laughing in each others faces, kissing cheeks, the laughter as one sits on the other, steam rolling, and sharing their most prized possessions.

The way Cole demonstrates constant patience as he meticulously builds his train tracks, while little brother trails behind ripping it up piece by piece. (Oh Bennett, when will you out grow this?) 

The joy that lights up Bennett's face when I tell him we get to go get big brother up from his nap. The smothering. The kisses. The shrieks of delight. (Ben ben, I hope you never out grow this!)

The way Cole watches out for his little brother, protecting him as big brothers do.

They fight, yes, very much so. But the sweetness that follows sugar coats any bickering and seems to make it fade into nothing.

And I sit in awe that God chose me, to watch these two boys grow together. To watch them as they meld hearts, as they learn how to care, to love, to share, to apologize, to forgive, and to walk alongside one another.

That, my friends, is JOY. Joy, represented in the strongest way possible. By two brothers.

And I get a front row seat.

Thank you Jesus for these gifts, I need nothing else this gave me my world.