Let It Snow!

 

 

This winter, we’ve had a number of false snow alarms. No fewer than a dozen times, the kids have gone to bed only to wake up disappointed that there wasn’t even a single snowflake on the ground. What I now realize – after living in the mountains for 5 years – it that the weather here operates on the rules of opposite day. In other words, if we have 10 inches predicted, we’ll get nothing; but on the day that there’s a 30% chance of a light dusting of snow, it dumps.

And so when I got the call from the kids’ schools that they were letting out an hour early, I rolled my eyes in annoyance. It is at least our fourth snow or ice disturbance of the semester and yet we’ve barely had any weather issues. Well, imagine my surprise when two hours after we got home, I looked outside and saw a solid sheet of white coming out of the sky.

You have never seen two children get outfitted in their jackets and boots as fast as my two got ready to fly out the door. That enthusiasm was a bit premature though because it was really coming down. They were both miserable in two minutes flat.

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And so we went back inside to wait for the wet flakes to subside a bit before venturing back out. About an hour later, the conditions were perfect for some snow fun.

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This is our driveway after I walked down to check the mail. 
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And this is our street…that the Irishman still had to drive home on in his tiny Acura! He made it home okay, but I was a nervous wreck waiting for him to come home.

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The dogs loved the snow! In all truth, Nona is not supposed to be running (with her suspected torn knee ligament), but she was having so much fun chasing her brother around that I let her carry on for a bit.

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Daisy, the silly girl, wanted to eat in her “spot” on the deck in spite of the fact that the deck was completely covered in snow.

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Parker paused in his snowball making to let me snap a picture.

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And then he hopped in on this photo of Lexi at the last second. I’m bummed that his face is cut out of frame, but alas, kids move so fast that it’s inevitable.

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Our snow princess.

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He looks like he’s up to something…

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I’m not sure if this was the only snow day of the year, but I’m so very glad that we at least had one good dumping. I mean, if we’re going to suffer through single digit temperatures, the least we can get it some snow, right?

 

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Rosemary Potato and White Bean Soup

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Last Saturday, it was a rainy, dreary day. The boys headed off to Asheville to run errands and Lexi and I just hung out at home all day in our PJs. It was a much needed day of rest. When it came time for dinner, I wanted something warm. With that said, I was too lazy to look up an actual recipe (chillin’ in your PJs will do that to you), so I decided to just throw something together. Sometimes, this method of cooking is a complete disaster and sometimes…it works! Thankfully, it definitely worked for us – good thing, too, because I did not feel like making an alternate meal in case it totally sucked.

Here is what you need for this very tasty and simple soup:

1/4 cup olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 ribs of celery, diced
1 carrot, diced
2 medium potatoes, diced
1 large tomato or 4 roma tomatoes, diced
1 can white beans (canellini is what I used)
3-4 cans of water
1 tsp. dried rosemary
salt and pepper to taste
green onions for garnish
parmesan cheese

Heat up your olive oil in a stock pot. Add in your onion, celery and carrot – saute those veggies for 10 minutes or until they are soft and translucent.

Add in your beans, tomatoes, potatoes, water and rosemary. Bring to a light boil, but immediately reduce heat to a simmer. Put a cover on it and cook for 15-20 minutes (or until potatoes are soft, but not falling apart). The smaller you cut your potato pieces, the faster it will cook.

Once it’s done, add in salt and pepper to your taste and let the soup sit for 10 minutes so that the flavors can meld. Serve with chopped green onions and parmesan cheese.

While this soup will never be served in a 5 star restaurant, it’s warm, tasty and it definitely hits the spot on those cold winter days. Enjoy!

 

Holiday Shenanigans

Hi folks! Whew, the holidays are over. Well, almost – the kids go back to school on Monday, so technically today is their last day of holiday break. We had my in-laws in town for three weeks and what a huge help that was. I got a little bit of work done on my book, a lot of work done on our house (more about that in a separate post), and Christmas was definitely merry and bright. Lexi is finally old enough to understand the concept of Santa, presents, and baby Jesus’ birthday, so we had a lot of fun with her this year. Here are some snapshots from Christmas morning.

First look at the presents!

christmas06Parker got a present that he had been hoping for. Victory!

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When life gives you two tutus…wear the second one on your head.

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Here’s Lexi trying to wear as many presents as she can manage at the same time.

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Parker is always happy with whatever he gets. Easiest kid on the planet!

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Stockings are the best part!

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Daisy Duke really enjoyed her first Christmas as one of the family.
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Here’s the closest thing we could get to a family picture (I made the mistake of putting Polar Express on the new TV and clearly, the movie was more interesting than the camera). family

 

And so here we find ourselves in 2014. I predict that it’s going to be a wonderful year. That’s partly because this coming year is going to be full of travel! The Irishman and I are going to Hawaii next month for our 10th wedding anniversary. Yippee! Then this summer, I’m taking another group of students to London, Paris, Amsterdam, and Munich. Woohoo! The children and my parents will meet me overseas and we will finally have another month-long vacation in Greece. Yahoo! To wrap things up, if we can get all of our ducks in a row, my mom and I are going on a much anticipated trip to Peru to visit Machu Picchu in October. We’ve have that trip on our bucket list for a loooong time and it looks like 2014 is the year it’s going to happen.

Of course, in between all of those trips, we have a lot going on. Parker is starting ski school next week (thanks, Papou!), I have to finish writing a book in the coming months, and of course, we have our regular dose of chaos that peppers our weekly lives. What you can expect to see here (on top of travel photos) are lots of budget-friendly recipes because every spare dime is going to go towards our trips. That means that we definitely need to save, save, save, and one of the easiest places to do that is through cutting back food costs.

I hope that everyone has a great 2014 with whatever you have planned!