Cut out sugar cookies are my kids favorite Christmas cookies.  And I must confess that they are my favorite to make. 


Because, the mess and the silliness, and the giggles, I love it!




I typically have them cut out the cookies one day and we decorate them another.  This year we decorated them with our cousins.


More kids, more mess, more fun!



My family came for a visit this week.  My brother wanted to take his kids to the beach, so we spent two days playing in the sand and waves of the Chesapeake Bay.


The weather was perfect.  Low humidity, blue skies, and temps in the 80’s.  It was perfection!

cousins on the bay

I can’t really even put into words what a joy it was to watch the kids play with their cousins.  There is something special about watching your children develop relationships with your siblings kids.  It’s something my heart longed for for years and to watch it unfold is something I am so grateful for.


These two are only 10 months apart and are such good buddies!  They just spent hours out on the water talking and floating.


But truthfully, all of them are close in age and they all have unique and individual bonds with each other.  It’s not like they only spend time with one cousin.  All week they kept flip flopping back and forth.  With 8 kids there was never a shortage of someone to play with.   FullSizeRender

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We topped off our day on the bay with a special crab feast in our backyard that evening.   I am not a fan of seafood and so we’ve never really cooked or served crabs here before.   It was a wonderfully memorable way to end the day. Even the kids that didn’t like the taste of them, enjoyed the experience.





There was enough crabs for everyone to eat their fill and then some… The guys picked into the night and then my Mom made them crab cakes the next day with the leftovers.

We also celebrated two birthdays while we were together. 


Other than some sunburn from spending hours bobbing on the bay, it was an enjoyable memory filled visit for all!

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The kids and I escaped down to VA for just shy of 24 hours to spend some time with my SIL and her family.  I adore Scott’s sister so a visit to her house was a bright spot in our week.  

We arrived in the early afternoon with time for me to take the 4 boys to the park while Aunt Karen took the girls to run a few errands.





Then after dinner we built and decorated gingerbread houses. 


Now, I must say we did not have luck with building a sturdy construction of said houses… the nifty little trick on Pinterest turned out to be a bust, to say the least, however not a single kid seemed to mind as they still were able to consume gobs and gobs of sugar throughout the endeavor.  IMG_7407

I love this picture of my nephew… arm out on the bench, mouth full of graham cracker and icing… he was one very happy little boy.  Pretty sure his face says, “man this is the best after dinner activity ever”IMG_7402

Then there’s my youngest… roof falls off mid decorating, no problem, just eat the roof.



While Karen and I struggled to find a way to make the houses stand, we called in for back up with Jim… and as is often the case, he once again proved that dad/uncles rock… “What having problem with your gingerbread houses ladies, here let me take a stab at it”


And he builds a TRAIN…

making this little guy the happiest 5 year old ever.


My oldest son wanted to take a stab at constructing his on his own, he tried using reeses cups to serve as part of the construction…and when it didn’t exactly hold up, he laughed it off. 


My 8 year old’s house reminded me of Dr Seuss, couldn’t you totally see this house in Whoville?


And when my youngest daughter’s house collapsed, she embraced it and instead made what looked like a plate of cookies.


Because after all, what are gingerbread houses for anyway?  Just an excuse to have fun and eat sugar.

As usual, we had a blast with them and made many wonderful memories!


Last week was spring break at the circus.  It was an action packed week full of family fun.  We played lots and lots of games, rode bikes, and the trampoline was pretty much in use non stop. 

We had Aunt Karen and the boys here from Sun night till Tuesday. 


Wednesday we went to Philly and Thursday night my parents and my nieces and nephew came to town till Easter.  My brother joined us on Sat and Scott’s parents came for lunch on Sat and again on Easter for lunch and egg hunt.


It was a blast!  Every time my 3 year old prayed he thanked God that we were all together.  I was thankful too.  Warms my heart to see the cousins playing together. 


Nothing like a back seat driver. 

Especially a 3 year old back seat driver.

At 1 am.  On a Snow covered back country road.


As we slip slided around the roads approaching my parents the other night, I seriously thought we might end up in a ditch and all the while my 3 year old was WIDE awake and chattering non stop about all the snow.  He kept saying, “Dad, don’t get in an accident.  We wouldn’t want to get in an accident and die dad.” 

Over and over. 

Truthfully, it provided a little comic relief to Scott and I as the conditions were less than ideal.

Thankfully, we made it safely.  And my dad greeted us with his plow and tractor.  At 2 am.  He was out plowing the driveway.  My three old thought he was out to give him a tractor ride.  We figured, “Why not.  It wasn’t like he was asleep.”  Besides, how often do you get the opportunity for a 2 am tractor ride in the snow. 


The snow was gorgeous and we had a wonderful day on Wednesday.  My poor mom had to work, so I offered to bake the pies.  I baked while my Dad and Scott played in the snow with the kids.  All day. 

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Then, the only thing that could make playing in 8 inches of snow at your grandparents EVEN MORE FUN, was the addition of 4 cousins and an uncle.  IMG_8300

Thanksgiving was a low key relaxing day.  We did a photo opp for Grandma’s Christmas card.  They went sledding again.  They did crafts and my grandparents came for a visit.   Then we ate our feast, enjoyed those pies and ended it all with watching the Steelers/Ravens game.  It was an ALMOST perfect day.  (darn that painful loss to our rival)


It was a wonderful visit.  Full of family and fun and snuggles, beautiful snow and yummy food.  I am grateful, so very grateful for my family and the opportunity to spend a few days with them.


A Fall Tradition

September 16, 2013

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Almost every fall, I enjoy taking the kids to the county fair.  We’ve been going since my oldest was under a year old.  This year my youngest was so super excited.  He talked about it for months.  “When are we going to go to the fair and see the animals?”  We went on Friday morning for the preschool preview day.   Then my parents and I returned on Saturday for the girls to perform a gymnastics demo.  Saturday we brought our cousins back.   IMG_6450

It was so cute to watch all of the kids interacting with the animals. 


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My niece is quite the animal lover.  I loved, LOVED watching her interact with the animals.


The pig and duck races were a favorite event for everyone.


My heart was full as I watched my kids interact with their cousins.. making memories and building relationships… precious, precious times!