In case anyone out there is searching for the perfect Christmas morning treat! I have taste-tested this and definitely approve.
Christmas Breakfast Casserole
1 lb hot sausage
2 c bread cubes
1 c grated sharp cheddar cheese
2 c milk
2 t dry mustard
1 t salt
dash of pepper
Brown, drain and crumble sausage. Grease a 9x13 inch baking dish. Spread the bread cubes on the bottom and sprinkle sausage over the bread. Add cheese. Mix eggs, milk, mustard, salt and pepper together. Pour over top. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.
Tip: Prepare the night before, cover and refrigerate. Bake the next morning.
It's a busy time of year for everyone. We are all rushing around, caught up in the hustle and bustle of jobs, kids, preschool/daycare, buying gifts, wrapping, decorating, addressing holiday cards, attending holiday parties, making and double-checking lists, etc., etc. I know I'm not the only one who feels like I'm being pulled in a thousand different directions right now.
As I've been driving around, trying to accomplish tasks and mark things off my ever-growing to-do list, of course I've had my radio on. A lot of times that radio ends up being tuned to XM station 11. The channel that is home to Ryan Seacrest's morning show. During the month of December (like many other local and national radio shows), Ryan takes nominations for people who need some assistance this holiday season. Not necessarily just for Christmas, but maybe a little extra help with bills, etc., in general. I have heard him pay heating bills, connect cable, offer mall gift certificates so these people can provide a Christmas for their children. When I have been listening, the recipients of these gifts have all been people with jobs. In fact, all of the ones I have heard were called at work. So, these are not lazy people. Just people that have fallen on hard times.
I have teared up and cried several times upon hearing these stories. It really helps me keep things in perspective and always makes me realize how incredibly blessed I am. My life may not be perfect; no one's is. But, having a roof over your head, a warm house, food in the pantry, a healthy family, and even having shoes that fit are things to be thankful for. God bless these people and Ryan Seacrest for helping them. And, thank you, Ryan, for helping me remember this at a time of year that can be so busy it's easy to forget.
The big second birthday is right around the corner! Branner is thisclose to turning two, and I really cannot believe it. It seems like only yesterday, we were driving him home from the hospital. Time travels too quickly when you have children!!!
Likes: Trains, tractors, cars, trucks, owls, dogs, cats, puzzles, blocks, building things out of household items, Curious George, Yo Gabba Gabba, Sesame Street (especially EL-do), school, his teachers, talking/babbling up a storm, opening gifts (we have had a time keeping him away from the ones under the tree), giving hugs and kisses, his little stuffed Christmas bulldog, coloring, Christmas lights, playing outside, trips to the park, spending time with family, baths, swimming (we had an indoor pool at our hotel last weekend) and reading Christmas books with us.
Dislikes: Cutting molars, pics with Santa Claus, sitting still.
Just in from taking Branner to meet Santa. He was very good at the mall, just a little scared of the big guy. I bribed him with miniature candy canes long enough to get this picture. HAHAHAHA! This was the best of three, mind you. B does not look too happy, but I think Santa will still visit him this year since he's been a good boy!
You see, I was basically up all night last night. Barry was injured pretty badly at his softball game. I will spare you the gory details, but he ended up in the CMC ER. He had to have minor emergency surgery. Luckily my dad was in town and able to swoop in and be with him while I stayed here with Branner.
Branner woke up screaming at 2:30, when I had yet to go to sleep because Barry had just come out of the surgery for which I was waiting on the results. B was inconsolable. Distraught. This has never happened before. I let him lay down with me in the bed while we both tried to get some sleep. That has never happened before, either. We slept for a couple of hours before Barry called me to let me know he was finally awake and everything was OK (or as OK as they could be). He finally got home around 1:00 this afternoon. I am so glad.
This accident could have hindered our plan for another baby, but it didn't. That's a pretty hard pill to swallow in the middle of the night. I spent a few hours not knowing what to expect. It was so upsetting and very scary. I hate not being in control. All I know is I am thankful and so grateful that my husband is OK (in a lot of pain, but OK) and that we are still able to hope to have a second child. And we will never, ever take that for granted again.
We have ordered our Christmas tree from our church for the past two years. I mean, why not? It helps us raise money, and the prices are amazing! There are two set-backs, however, I faced by doing this.
1. I would like to have my tree set up and to be decorated the day after Thanksgiving. I wasn't able to pick up our tree until today (December 8th). That's a whole week we have missed out on the wonderful smell of fresh evergreen and the enjoyment of admiring our tree daily. However, this is one less week I have to chase Branner away from it...
2. When I went to pick up the tree today (WELL within the listed times we were given), the only person there was a little old lady with back problems. And, there was no twine. What's a girl to do? Well, call her hubby, of course. Barry swooped in in between important meetings and saved the day. I brought the twine. I felt like I helped a little. Debaucle avoided.
I think next year would be a good year to start our "Buy/Cut Our Own Christmas Tree in the Mountains" tradition that I am carrying over from my childhood... Don't you?
This morning is the first morning since Branner started school that I had nothing scheduled or planned and came back to my house after dropping him off. So far, I have:
Cooked myself breakfast
Done a little work
Addressed more Christmas cards
Contacted people for addresses for said cards
Had two cups of hot tea
Thought about taking a nap
I really need to slow down more often. I need more quiet mornings at home by myself. It is such a rarity these days to ever be in my house alone; I really need to take advantage of this opportunity and clean...
Branner loves the alphabet. He loves the ABC song, he loves to see the letters and he loves the Elmo ABC iPad app we have. His favorite letter? Why, "B," of course! I'm not sure why, but he just loves "B"s. He points them out whenever he comes across one (be it on blocks, in writing, wherever!) and always exclaims "B!"to let us know.
I cannot believe it's December! Good thing I have most of Branner's Christmas shopping done and have picked up a few things here and there for a few of the people on my list. It's time to get serious. Especially about Barry since he has a birthday and Christmas to buy for this month!
To kick off the month of Christmas festivities, I read 'Twas the Night Before Christmas to B tonight. He loved it!
Our Christmas cards arrived yesterday, and I LOVE THEM!
Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later. After a flawless record at school (and the Y, for that matter) with only great feedback since September, Branner got his first not-so-good report when I picked him up today. He was put in time out a couple of times today by his teachers. Apparently he was throwing toys and not listening while in the library. Mommy is NOT HAPPY with that type of behavior. We talked about it on the way home from school. I sure hope he was listening! Fingers crossed for no more bad days or bad reports. Oy!
Branner is 22 months old! He is getting to be such a big boy...going to school 3 days a week, talking up a storm, entertaining crowds and (finally) being a good listener. The past few weeks, we have seen fewer tantrums and more sweetness. I get so many wonderful hugs and kisses throughout the day for no reason, and I LOVE IT!
Likes: Learning new words, tractors, cars, trucks, airplanes, animals and animal noises, Elmo, Curious George, playing outside, the park, going to school, playing with his cousins, blocks, riding his scooter and bike, painting pottery at Dish'n, visiting with Gigi, Big Papa, Mimi and his aunt and uncles, dancing (the child has mad rhythm, no clue where he gets it!), football, lunches with Shana and Carter, Bailey and Chloe (especially Chloe), learning new "tricks," bath time, boats, drawing and coloring.
Dislikes: Teething, being told no, leaving school and his friends, not being able to play outside as much since it gets dark so early.
Food Successes: Spaghetti (the sauce more than the noodles), mashed potatoes, pizza, fruit/veggie pouches, Greek yogurt, Golden Grahams, yogurt puffs.
We had a great time earlier today at Summer's 2nd Birthday party! It was at her house and involved lots of playing, swinging, sliding, pizza and cake. Branner ate pizza and cake, so we considered the party a huge success :) Happy Birthday, Summer!
Last night, I met up with some girlfriends at Painting with a Twist for some fun, food, wine and painting.
We had an absolute blast! Luckily, what we painted was very abstract. I'm giving mine to Barry to put in his office. Thanks to Stacey for setting up such a great night! Can't wait to see all of you girls again soon!
I got word this afternoon that Branner will be going to school on Wednesdays (in addition to his regular Tuesday/Thursday schedule) starting next week! Maybe I can use that extra 4 hours a week to get my house together...
After picking up a few pumpkins from a local church's pumpkin patch after our family date night last night, Barry and Branner carved his up today. B had so much fun "helping" his daddy! He loves pumpkins!