Saturday, December 31, 2011

Leaving behind 2011...Heading into 2012

2011 is about to go, but what a great year it was...
JBody and I celebrated our 10 year anniversary
Lil' E grew up fast in my eyes after becoming an official grade schooler (1st Grade)
The kids kept us busy with sports...wrestling, tball, baseball, soccer, flag football, basketball.
Razy started her first year of preschool without Doble and Doble moved into the big kid class.
Doble learned to ride a 2 wheel bike.
After trying for exactly a year JBody and I are pregnant!
5 Camping trips, Lil' E polar dipping in the ocean, Birthday parties and big cakes.
My little sister returned from her mission in the Philippines
2 new members born into the family (1 nephew and 1 neice)
The list could go on and on!!!

What is to come in 2012
We get to find out what our little bean is in Jan.
Baby #4 arrives in May
Lil' E is turning 8 and GETTING BAPTIZED!
Doble starts Kindergarten, Lil' E 2nd grade (oh my I am feeling old).
More camping trips this time with 6 of us instead of 5

Have a Fun and Safe New Year!!  I am looking forward to a wonderful 2012.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Homemade Frozen Hasbrowns

I was down in our basement yesterday and noticed the buckets of potatoes we had harvest earlier this fall.  I have a tendency to forget about what is down there and decided I needed to something with the potatoes before they went bad.  I know that they can last pretty long, but I didn't want to take my chances.  Besides we have cans and cans of potatoe flakes in our pantry so I wanted to to something with them other than use them for mashed potatoes.  HASHBROWNS!  I figured there had to be a way to make your own frozen ones since you can find them in the stores.  And of course google came to the rescue. 

To make your own hashbrowns you will need:
Potatoes!!! Yep that is it.  Well you will need some equipment and water, but no preservatives.

You can buy your potatoes or harvest your own.  These are ones from our own garden, but in the past I have gotten those big bags of potatoes and then wasted them because we didn't know what to do with all of them.  Now I know!

Wash and peel your potatoes.

Cut them into large chunks.  Place them into cold water and bring to a boil.  Boil for 10 mins.  This will keep them from browning in the freezer.

I forgot to take a picture, but after they have boiled. Drain them and place in cold water to stop the cooking process.  Keep them in water and place in the refridgerator overnight.

Using a food processor grate or shred your potatoes. You will notice how dry they come out.  This is a good thing.  Dry potatoes are what make your crispy yummy hashbrowns.

Place in gallon ziploc freezer bags.  I put 2 pounds in each bag.  This way if I have a recipe that calls for hashbrowns they are in the same size bags you would buy from the store.  Lay them flat and get all the air out of them.  Lastly place them in your freezer.  Easy Peasy.  And Cheap too!

The "Minivan" Express

Wow it seems like forever since I have blogged.  I am starting to feel better and really wanted to share this new Tradition we started this year.

I have mentioned it many times before, but I love Pinterest.  I love that many of my friends use it too.  Thanks to my friend Crystal I was able to do this fun and memorable event with my kids.  It is called The "Minivan" express.  Yep just like the Polar Express.  Of course we don't own a train so our van became the polar express.  Here is what you will need to start this wonderful family tradition with your children next Christmas.

First you will need to print your tickets off.  I found mine over at Memories are the Scraps of Life. The actual link to the tickets can be found on her page or you can just go HERE.  I found some great gold paper at our local scrapbooking store.  You could print it off anywhere but the gold really gave it that special touch. 

While the kids were getting ready for bed with Daddy I made Hot Chocolate and Popcorn.  The kids could smell the popcorn so I had to tell them we were going to make popcorn balls the next day.  I hid their tickets under their covers for them to find when they climbed in.  Daddy saw and heard all the excitement of discovering the tickets, because I was outside in the car ready to great the kids. 

"All Aboard!"  Before entering the car they each had to show me their ticket to get it punched (just like in the movie).  Daddy came out and we were ready for the ride.  A little bit down the road the Hot Chocolate song came on and the kids discovered their Hot Cocoa and Popcorn bags.  Razy thought the ticket meant that we were going to go ride the real Polar Express.  After some explaining we told her she was in the Minivan Express and we were on our way to go see some pretty Christmas Lights.  Razy is NOT a fan of Santa.  So we had to assure her that we would not be stopping to see the big man in red.   We found some beautiful lights.  Here are a couple of our favorites. 
This was just a little house, but it had hundreds or lights. 

This next house was the whole reason we traveled 30 mins to the next town to see.  It was amazing.  I wish pictures did it justice.  We were first greeted by this giant snowman.  Then a sign that said "Drive Thru".  The owners let you drive their u shaped driveway to see the whole yard.
This is the entry to the driveway.  On the left is a carousel that spun and trees and bushes that were covered in lights.

The Nativity

Here was the landing dock for Santa and his sleigh.  You can even see Santa taking off in the distance.

And last but not least Santa in his big delivery truck.

After seeing the lights we headed home.  Of course we had to stop for an icecream treat.  When we got home we sent the kids upstairs to rebrush their teeth and get into bed.  This is where they found their last surprise.  On each of their pillows was a bell, that was left by Santa while we were gone.  They were so excited.  It was the perfect touch to the end of a wonderful night.  Just what I needed to help me get into the Christmas spirit.  

What are some of your family Chirstmas traditions?  New or Old?