thankful thursday

so many things to be thankful for this time of year--this week i am truly thankful for:

**the anonymous benefactors that left a package on our door thanking us for our christmas lights! we were shocked and stunned. and completely DELIGHTED.

we just wish we would have known we were in the running, cuz then we would have gone for ALL STATE. (next year!)

**the fact that depeche mode would liken themselves unto the three wise men.

**for a stellar, star-making performance by abbey in the 3rd grade christmas program.

**this poster that made me smile~

**the preschool program complete with songs, dance, and cookies--mia was SO excited to have us in attendance--

**miss brandi, who makes mia's world turn!

**and finally, for you.

although i am not a very "social blogger" anymore, i do read each and every comment that i get.

and i love them.

so thanks for validating me in 2009--i'm OUT until 2010. have a very merry!!

feliz navidad

{loni, mindi, & derrill in front of san jose house, 1972}

i always envied the fact that my older sister loni was born in mexico city, mexico.

it just always seemed so glamorous and hip, being born somewhere other than the united states of america. too bad i didn't realize early on that mexico city is a flipping DUMP with a capital D. it might have also been the fact that i was just plain jealous that the nurses in the hospital wanted my mom to pierce her ears at less than a day old--SCANDALOUS!!! (my mom held her ground, fyi--no mexi-earrings for baby loni.)

my parents were living there while my dad attended school on some kind of ultra-great scholarship. between living there for a few years and my dad's 2 1/2 year mission in mexico prior, both of my parents were fluent in spanish.

i remember seeing a few birthday cards that had been saved through out those years--they would write them entirely in spanish, always ending with 'te amo'. i thought it was so romantic!

so when it came time for me to sign up for a foreign language in 7th grade, there wasn't any question--german and french were for wussies. the ONLY foreign language i was interested in learning was espanol.

but it was for one very particular reason: each year as christmas time rolled around, my parents would have entire conversations in front of us about our gifts in spanish. it drove us CRAZY.

my goal: fluent spanish interpretation.

sadly, my last cat-themed posting of 2009

you knew this was coming, didn't you?

i know. there ARE no words.

but guess what's greater than cats in santa hats?

a blogging bff who enables your cat-dysfunction:

and, fyi? tabby treats is a hallmark keepsake collectible ornament--"add a picture of your mischievous cat to this ornament to make it tuna-licious." HELLO?!

the only thing that could make this post a little better is the fact that you realized the santa you've put on your kitchen table for the past 3 years is holding a cat. and YOUR cat to boot:

i could never have told you what this santa was holding in a million years--i just never noticed it. who woulda thunk it was "maaaahhhhhhtiiiin"?

we were obviously meant to be.


in a house with 5 women, these ultra-cute, coordinating blow dryers and straightening irons would make us happy. while keeping us HIP.

(PLUS, i'm a sucker for cute packaging--what's not to love?)

(too bad mindi's in a committed relationship with her chi.)

christmas lights in the STG

if you live in the santa jorge area, then you need to drive past our two favorite christmas light displays:

the most spectacular lights by sheer volume is in bloomington hills--turn onto ft. pierce drive from river road and drive past the the l.d.s. chapel and turn onto vermillion--from there, take the third right onto harmony place and there you will see it in all of it's christmas glory. the thing we like best about this is that an abundance of christmas lights usually = TACKY, but these guys have kept it classy. (almost rhymes! i'm a lyrical gangsta~)

but, by far, our new favorite house this year if off of washington fields road-- turn onto riveredge road (which soon turns into apache drive) and you'll see it at 735 apache drive. tune your radio to 101.5 fm and enjoy the choreographed lights and music--

i tell you what: this is right up my alley. i literally could have sat there for a good hour. unfortunately for me, russ and the girls were done after about 5 minutes.

i hated leaving because i wanted to see what was coming up next--so i have a feeling we might be stalking them a time or two more during this season.....

or it could be just a lone, nearly-40 year old woman in an acura. sitting for long periods of time in her car with the radio blaring. (creepy much?)

christmas morning.

true story:

as children, we never went into see what santa left for us under the tree until our parents came in and gave us the OK. we would sit in our bed, yelling for them to wake up and "COME GET US!"-- not getting a sneak peek at the goods was a small price to pay for the delicious anticipation we'd experience snuggled together in bed in matching homemade pj's. it's a tradition that i carry on to this day with my own children. seeing their faces as they run into the living room for the first glimpse is always my favorite part of christmas morning.

one year when i was 7 and loni was 10, my parents finally came in and told us to get ready to line up (always youngest to oldest, which worked just FINE for me until my younger brother ryan was born. FUNSUCKER.)

i was trying to be adult-nonchalant-cool about the whole christmas thing: i didn't want loni to smell my desperation and sense my pathetic, shameless desire for STUFF. so while putting on our robes and slippers, i casually threw out, "i wonder if santa ate our cookies and drank our milk? do you think he enjoyed them?"

i was pleased. this sounded very appropriate and had just the right amount of concern for santa's well-being without sounding overly-caring about the presents underneath the tree.

she looked at me, rolled her eyes and said, "like i CARE. i just want to see how much money he spent on my toys. DUH!"

and that, my friends, is how it should be done.

gingerbread whoopie pies with lemon creme

i found this recipe for gingerbread whoopie pies in the spectrum (our local newspaper) the other day and i actually tore it out. then i looked around for signs of the apocalypse, because i don't do that.


i don't read food blogs, exchange recipes, or plan any meals with anticipation. UNLESS it involves going to a great restaurant.

but for some reason this recipe called to me--the gingerbread part for myself, the lemon part for my man. he's a sucker for that stuff.

so i tried it the other day. and they were really, willywillywilly good.

i will admit to a weak moment whilst making the dough & doubting the lemon and peppermint combo--i started to think it might just be too weird. but kudos to megan for, once again, talking me off the baking ledge and talking me INTO the ingredients. it was spectacular.

so, two thumbs up to these bad boys--you should get on this train.

gingerbread cookie dough recipe:

3 cups flour
3 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1 egg

1. mix flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg, & salt in large bowl.

2. beat butter and brown sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. add molasses and egg; beat well. gradually beat in flour mixture on low speed until well mixed. press dough into a thick flat disk. wrap in plastic wrap.

3. refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.

gingerbread whoopie pies with lemon creme:

1 recipe gingerbread cookie dough
1 jar (7 ounces) marshmallow cream
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened
4 ounces (1/2 package) cream cheese, softened
1 tsp pure lemon extract
1 cup crushed peppermint candies

1. prepare 1 recipe gingerbread cookie dough as directed.

2. shape dough into 1-inch balls. roll in granulated sugar. place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.

3. bake in preheated 350 degrees F oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until edges of cookies just begin to brown. remove to wire racks; cool completely.

4. mix marshmallow cream, butter, cream cheese and extract in medium bowl until well blended.

to assemble whoopie pies, place about 1 tablespoon filling on the flat side of 1 cookie. top with a second cookie, pressing gently to spread the filling. roll sides of whoopie pies in crushed candy. repeat with remaining cookies. refrigerate whoopie pies between layers of wax paper in airtight container up to five days.

thankful thursday

things that i am thankful for this week:

**the chance to make gingerbread cookies with my children.

normally, this isn't a thing i'd be really that thankful for--it's too much effort and mess multiplied by children fighting and sticky fingerprints EVERYWHERE. but i decided to cave to my sentimental side and give it a whirl.

thank goodness we had megan over to supervise and talk me off the ledge. i think, all in all, it was a success.

we used kami's recipe and the cookies were freaking FANTASTIC! i'm not normally a fan of any type of gingerbread, but i think these were over-achievers. unfortunately, our decorating skillz were a little ghetto--i would consider these to be the red-headed stepchildren of gingerbread cookies.

my favorite part of it all was the frosting--any time you incorporate a whole can of sweetened condensed milk into a project, it's gonna be a winner~

**the chance to have our annual christmas s'mores roast with our beloved friends & family.

i've realized that i've officially become OLD, because my worst fear is being cold. in my opinion, it ranks up there with the worst kind of torture. so, even though we live in the desert and it's practically a balmy spring day compared to other climates, i had us dressed a la winter storm watch.

we sang and ate and burned things and poked sticks in hot coals. what more could we ask for?

**a cat who finds itself perfectly at home inside a christmas sack. and wiggled UNDERNEATH the handles that were tied together.

we think he might be gifted and talented. we'll be having him tested soon.


know what's worse than having to replace your hot water heater in december?

backing out of the garage and hitting the plumber's truck with your car.

all i can say is, i am just grateful that it was HIM and not ME. otherwise i would be in a whole lot more trouble and it would be a

puhlEEEAAAAZZE tell me that some of you ladies know what i'm talking about here? :)

dave & martin's christmas wish list

under the christmas tree: the newest favorite napping place.


so, if they are going to take control of our lives, we might as well post their christmas wish list--

first and foremost is catPaint:

it's an i phone app that lets you paste these adorable little (and not so little!) fellas on every photo. because, really, isn't that what the world needs? more cat-themed photos?
{courtesy of jimmy fallon blog}

next up would be a piece of furniture that would reflect their unique personality and fashion-forward sense of style--we found a few at the sophisticated cat--a luxury cat boutique:

the belleville lounge, elephant arms chaise lounge, candy sofa, and the joker sofa would all do. nicely.

last, but certainly not least, would be jingle cats--the ultimate christmas dvd for cats and cat lovers alike. what's not to love about kittens singing christmas classics? this here is what i lovingly refer to as "hours and hours of holiday entertainment. especially for megan and neal--

you're welcome, guys.

decking my halls

this year, putting out the christmas seemed to overwhelm me. i dare say that i even had a moment or two when i said, "i'm OVER this! SO not worth it. we are boycotting christmas and everything like unto it."

for any that know me, verbalizing this thought would be the nearest thing to blasphemy that my lips could utter. (ummmm, well.....there are a few other tiny things that come close. but are very, very un-bloggable.)

decorating for each season has always been my bag--i have a profane number of boxes of seasonals in my basement. putting out my christmas entails about 3 days of naughty words and extremely creative usage thereof, countless numbers of man-hours as well as an infinite amount of patience on my sainted-husband's part, and a hand-full of valiums washed down with an 8 ounce bottle of robitussin DM. (allegedly.)

but there's never been a question about whether decking our halls was something that i wanted to do--it's always brought me joy. it's also satisfied my decorating a.d.h.d. by giving me something to change, something new to re-arrange, something festive to display.

this year, i just wasn't sure i had it in me. what had, in the past, seemed like such a satisfying and fulfilling ritual only seemed like a colossal CHORE.

and for what? so that i had to repeat the whole process in reverse, less than 30 days later? it didn't seem like the outcome was worth the input.

but i did it anyway. because it's what i do. and what my children expect. and, quite frankly, i knew that by not putting it out, red flags would be flying all around me--close friends and family would be alarmed. my scarred psyche would most certainly be discussed, evaluated, dissected & fretted over. serious action would most strenuously be considered.

and now all the halls are decked. all of the trimmings and trappings, as well as the ribbons and the wrappings are out in force. and i remember why i do it:

we do many activities during the christmas season, and try as best we can to create fond memories--and i realize that it's the time we spend together that's most important.

but i do recall what my home looked like during my childhood christmases--

i'm so sentimental about it that i display some of the decorations, like one of the little stockings that my mom must have spent more than ONE homemaking night creating in bulk for our christmas tree:

and one of the four (old school) holly hobbie plaques that she "modge-podged" (ahhh, yet ANOTHER tribute to those homemaking nights! bless those mormon hearts!) and would hang on our wall:

just the mere fact that i am in possession of either one of these items is testament enough to my mother's efforts at creating a loving, family-inspired christmas atmosphere--i am sentimental about few things, and keep even less than that. but these items are so near & dear to my heart that i will cherish them always. hope, after schlepping box after box of christmas boxes up and down the stairs?

my hope is that the four little ladies pictured above will have the same fond memories of what our home looked like during the holidays. and how it felt to spend time playing a game or reading a book or just chillaxing by the tree, watching dave & martin play with the ornaments like naughty toddlers.

for this reason, and this reason alone, i put out the christmas decor this year.

{ p.s.--it was worth it.}

p.p.s.--i laughed out loud when i read the words of wisdom from my vanessa's comment:

"I guess it's not always all about me (WHAT?) and that the kids will have the memories that I make with them forever."
true, that.

true confession time

i, mindi, mother of four and wife to one, just ate a clementine for the first time in my whole 39 and 8/10ths years.

and it wasn't that bad......

{for the record, i've always seen people putting clementines in their shopping carts at costco, and i always thought that it looked like such a responsible, adult-like behavior to engage in.

but there wasn't enough room in my cart because the bulk candy, tissue paper, & ginormous cheesecake/apple pie/various seasonal dessert took up all the room.}

63 random thoughts

1. sting's fortress around your heart is one of the most under-appreciated love songs of the past 20 years. (listen to it one more time.)
2. dave likes to drink out of the toilet.
3. which bends me out of shape. ROYALLY.
4. it totally creeps me out when i see little dirty kitty paw-prints on my toilet seat.
5. i spend lots of time yelling, "GIRLS! DID YOU PUT THE TOILET SEAT DOWN??!!"
6. yeah, i know.
7. the hair on my legs grows in extremely soft. and quite slowly.
8. which is why i might go 6 weeks in the winter without shaving them.
9. allegedly.
10. i've always loved wham's 'last christmas'.
11. plus, HELLO? george michael at a eurotrash ski resort=GENIUS:

12. i remember watching that video when i was 15 and thinking i would DIE if i didn't have george.
13. too bad i didn't know he liked boys.
14. i also like ashley tisdale's cover
15. but my new favorite, of course, is the new glee cover.
16. i sweat a lot at the gym lately--my hair is soaked when i am through working out.
17. i am way too hot in my bed at night as well.
18. (that's what SHE said!)
19. i think it's a part of menopause. which i SO am not old enough to even type.
20. pretty soon i'll be at golden corral, ready to eat dinner at 4:30 p.m.
21. i'm a sucker for christmas cadburry eggs.
22. they just so happen to be a "trigger" food for me.
23. i bought 2 bags at target on monday. you know, to save for christmas.
24. they are both gone.
25. i like turtles.
26. i bought gold letters last year after christmas that said NOEL--they were 90 percent off!
27. i paid a whopping 97 cents for them.
28. i channeled my inner-crafter and put them in a shadow box.
29. i think it is kinda cool:

30. the only downside is that our friend jared can't rearrange the letters to spell LEON.
31. good thing there will still be plenty of reindeer for him to mess with.
32. we just rented a roller-rink for part of our new year's eve party.
33. which totally reminded me of couples skate (or "snowball" as i affectionately remember) when i was in 3rd grade.
34. adrian weiss asked me to skate to "baby come back"--but i remember he had to drop my hand mid-skate to wipe his hand on his pants.
35. they were a bit sweaty :)
36. i have a santa hat/beard combo costume for my catties.
37. which i know is SAD as well as PATHETIC.
38. i LOVED this polar bear for your yard at christmas time. (the LED lights are wicked cool.)
39. what i DON'T like for the yard for christmas time is THIS. or THIS. or THIS.
40. i'm bummed that my mom made fudge yesterday and ruined it all by putting nuts in it. :(
41. i forgive her, though.
42. i liked kami's idea of giving a "best lights" prize when we go christmas-light looking with the girls this year.
43. we are totally gonna do it.
44. so, people in the santa jorge area: you better step up your game!
45. every time i see she-pratt from 'the hills', i wonder what the H she is doing to get so skinny:

46. & then wonder if i'm the only one shallow enough to want some for myself?
47. i need a 32 gig i pod to hold all of my music. the 8 gig is just not cutting it.
48. after cleaning out my laundry room i feel like i'm a stage 5 hoarder.
49. which is what augustine was. (it's the worst, btw.)
50. we made a gingerbread train last night with the girls for the first day of our advent calendar.
51. i'd say it looked bit more like a TRAIN WRECK.
52. i think michael douglas was freaking badass in wall street.

53. if i had a boy, i would have considered naming him gordon gekko.
54. okay, maybe not.
55. i lost my phone the night we came home from disneyland.
56. it is the umpteenth phone i have misplaced in the past 5 years.
57. i don't TRY to lose them. i just seem to have a knack for it.
58. if i was writing a blog post about it, the title would be "irresponsible."
59. the only good thing that came of it was the fact that i got a blackberry curve for next to nothing.
60. which generally means that they are on their way OUT.
61. it's how i roll.
62. my favorite from this season of sytycd is jakob:

63. even if he spelled his name the lame, trendy way.