Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas 2010

Our weekend was filled with Christmas activities. Both Patrick and I had Friday off, so we spent Christmas Eve Day cleaning and getting ready for our Christmas parties. On Christmas Eve we went to our church for the Christmas Eve service. After the service we came home and made Chicken Parmesan for dinner and opened our gifts to each other.

Caprese Salad

Chicken Parmesan

Christmas Eve Presents

On Christmas Day we headed to my parents' house to celebrate Christmas with my mom's family. I brought this Mac and Cheese to go with the pork loin and oyster stew.

Mac and Cheese

Christmas Day at Mom & Dad's

We left my parents' house pretty early since we were hosting two events the next day. On our way home we went and checked out this amazing light display off Hwy 77 and Old Shakopee Road in Bloomington .

Christmas Lights

The next day we hosted two events. My immediate family Christmas for brunch and a gift exchange. And then at 2pm we were hosted my dad's entire family for the extended family Christmas. For brunch I made a Ham and Cheese Egg Strata that I have made a few times before and my mom brought cinnamon rolls.

Christmas Brunch

Ben eating - seven months

After brunch and the gift opening the extended family appeared. I did a count afterward and we ended up having 38 people over. With the large number of people it ended up going much smoother than I expected. We served cheesy chicken and barbeque chicken sandwiches. Everyone else brought plenty of other appetizers and desserts, so we did not go hungry.


Peppermint Bark

Beanner & Joe


Moriah, Ben & Jacob


Sami, Charlie, Shannon & Jake

Luke and Jacob

Ben - seven months

Ben - seven months

Monday, December 20, 2010

Esmae - 9 Months Old

Yesterday, I met up with Esmae and her mom again for Esmae's nine month pictures. At her six month pictures she was just sitting up and now she is crawling everywhere. It was hard to enterain her for more than a few seconds at a time, but I ended up getting some really fun photos even though she refused to wear my santa hat.

Esmae - 9 months

Esmae - 9 months

Esmae - 9 months

Esmae - 9 months

Esmae - 9 months

Esmae - 9 months

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Updates to Pear Tree Photography Website

I spent some time tonight updating my photography website. I have added some pictures from recent sessions and updated the logo. Here is the web address: Send the website on to anyone in need of newborn, children or family photos.

New Logo

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christmas Cookie Baking

This morning we shoveled out of our 16 inches of snow. After that Heather, Le & Maran braved the roads and came over for some Christmas baking while the guys watched football.

We made Rolo Pretzel Turtles with Dove Caramels since Heather couldn't find the rolos.

Rolo Pretzel Turtles

We also made Peanut Butter Blossoms where Maran made them a little heathier by using egg whites instead of an egg, almond milk instead of milk, low fat peanut butter and dark chocolate kisses.

Peanut Butter Blossoms

We also decorated Sugar Cookies with Buttercream Frosting, sprinkles and M&M's.

Sugar Cookies

Snickerdoodles were also on our list of cookies to bake.


And then we made Peanut Butter Patties by making peanut butter sandwiches with Ritz Crackers and then dipping them in white and chocolate almond bark.

Peanut Butter Patties

Peppermint Bark was a new recipe we tried out.

Peppermint Bark

And to end the day we made these Chocolate Espresso Snowcaps.

Chocolate Espresso Snowcaps

Saturday, December 11, 2010

December Blizzard

Today, we woke up to yet another snow storm, actually a blizzard. They have advised no travel and actually taken most of the snow plows off the road until later tonight. I did venture out to shovel some snow, until the neighbor rescued me with the snow blower. Patrick was busy working, so I took advantage of the day and baked sugar cookies and labeled our Christmas cards.

December Blizzard

December Blizzard

Sugar Cookies

Christmas Cards

Friday, December 10, 2010

Cupcake Pops

For my work bake sale last week I decided I wanted to make something fun. Bakerella is pretty popular nowdays, so I decided to make her cupcake pops in holiday colors. Mine are not nearly as pretty as her's so check out her instructions on how to make them here.

Cupcake Pops

Cupcake Pops

Cupcake Bites

Cupcake Pops

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Turkey Noodle Soup

We still had quite a bit of turkey left over, so Turkey Noodle Soup it was. This soup is pretty basic, but I have a feeling it will be an after Thanksgiving staple for us so I wanted to document it. With the rest of our turkey leftovers we have made the Chicken Tortilla Casserole, quite a few turkey sandwiches and we have plans for Turkey Tacos this week.

Turkey Noodle Soup

Turkey Noodle Soup

2 Tbsp. butter
1 large onion, diced
1.5 cups carrots, sliced
1.5 cups celery, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
12 cups homemade or good quality chicken broth or stock
1 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
4 cups shredded turkey or chicken
5 oz. (about 1.5 cups) uncooked egg noodles
fresh ground pepper, to taste

In a large stockpot or dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat. Add onions and cook for about 3 minutes before adding the celery and carrots. Continue cooking a few more minutes before adding the garlic. Stir until fragrant.

Add the turkey/chicken, broth, Italian seasoning and ground pepper to taste. Bring to a boil and then reduce. Simmer lightly for 30 minutes.

Cook the noodles in a separate pan. Add the noodles to the soup just as you are about to eat.

Source: Elly Says Opa

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Furniture Shopping & Christmas Decorating

The rest of our long weekend consisted of a lot of cooking, cleaning, furniture shopping & Christmas decorating.

On Friday I made a turkey for dinner. This year we bought an all natural fresh turkey from Trader Joe's. We used the same recipe as last year, but I didn't brine it before hand. That makes a huge difference, the turkey wasn't as good as last year. We will have to see how it goes next year as far as buying a fresh turkey, but we will definitely take the time to brine our turkey.


After our turkey dinner, we went furniture shopping for a TV stand. We ended up buying one. The next morning went to get our Christmas tree and we ended up bring two trees home. One regular sized tree for upstairs and a small tree for downstairs.

Christmas Tree

Here are our new ornaments for the year. We got these on our road trip this summer when we were at the Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. I think these ornament are a good symbol of our year since we went to 2 Vikings games, 2 Packer games, the Football Hall of Fame and the Packer Hall of Fame.

Packer Viking Ornaments

Here are the reindeer that my Grandpa Traxler made for my parents.

Grandpa's Reindeer

And our little tree in the basement with all snowmen ornaments.

Snowman Tree

Before all of this Christmas decorating we decided to cancel our TV stand order and get a different one at HOM furniture. And while we were there we bought two recliners for our basement. It was buy one, get one free, so we went for it.

We lucked out and the furniture was available for pickup Sunday afternoon. The store is only a few blocks from our house, so we went to pick it up with both our cars because we were unsure which car would fit the most. By some small miracle we were able to get it all in both our cars. Good thing we didn't have to go far because the TV stand didn't fit so well in the trunk.

Moving Furniture

New TV Stand

New Pillows & Recliner

Here is the new furniture arrangement upstairs. Apparently, once a year we need to rearrange our furniture. Here is our old set up.

Upstairs Living Room

And the downstairs.

Downstairs Living Room