Thursday, December 20, 2007

Is It a Tradition Yet?

Last year we went to the Indianapolis Zoo during Christmastime and then we came home and had cookies and hot chocolate with yummy homemade marshmallows. It was so festive and fun—and the light displays at the zoo were out-of-this-world beautiful—that we decided to do it again this year. We’re going tonight! Yay!

I, for one, would love to do this every year!!

Does that make it a tradition? How long do you have to do something before it becomes a tradition? Or, it is simply your intent?

Here is Meredith enjoying the batter from the marshmallows I made this morning!

This is so typical of Clara—she smiles so big it looks like her face is going to get stuck that way. My mom got her this Santa outfit.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Tidings of Joy

The Koons family continues to enjoy the Christmas season. Today I bought a Christmas CD I found in the Target dollar aisle. I was skeptical that I would like it but thought it was worth the risk for a dollar. Turns out that I love it! It features all the traditional songs sung by a choir. Yes, songs like “Santa, Baby” are cute and fun but, if you’re like me, you get tired of them after hearing them ten times in a day. I don’t think I could ever get tired of hearing “The First Noel” and “Good Christian Men Rejoice.”

This year is the first year I bought a substantial amount of gifts online. I must say that I’m now a convert. I plan on doing this for all future Christmases. It was SO great to just click, click, click, and then have all these packages show up on my doorstep. Not only did it save me loads of time shopping (with two kids) but I also enjoyed being “surprised” by packages arriving. Fun!

Today I finished a baking project (Chocolate Anise Biscotti and Gingerbread Biscotti):

And here is something else we’re enjoying, a special advent calendar Megan made for our family. It’s beautiful, as you can see for yourself:

More Snow!

On Sunday we enjoyed a fun afternoon playing in the snow! It was so beautiful because the tree branches were also covered in a layer of ice. Here are some photos I took:

Birthday Surprise!

Kevin was indeed surprised by the birthday bash I threw on Friday night. It seems like everyone had a good time. I’m glad it’s over, though, because I got sick of lying to Kevin, trying to keep him from figuring out I was throwing a party for him. I’m a really, really bad liar.

Anyway, a bunch of people asked for recipes, so here they are!

Sidecar Cocktails
Roquefort Pear Salad
Aussie Chicken
Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Roasted Vegetables

I did frost the glasses for the cocktails, which was fun. And, the mashed potatoes recipe is enough to feed an army--I made one-fifth of the amount indicated. You can automatically change the amount of servings using the tool on the All Recipes site. Also, for the roasted vegetables, I added carrots and zucchini.

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Big 3-0

My man is 30 today. Although we think of the one having the birthday as the one who gets the presents, I can’t help but think that it’s me who gets the best gift. I got it when Kevin entered my life. Aside from Christ, he is the best thing that could have happened to me on this earth. Every day I know how lucky I am. Someday our daughters will know it better too.

If a person’s success is determined by how much his wife and children love him, then I think Kevin is the most successful man I know.

Words cannot express how much we love you, Kev.

Here’s to another happy decade!

All our love,
Amy and the girls

Friday, December 07, 2007

Gingerbread Project and the Snow Man

Well, it certainly wouldn’t win a contest. It made a total mess all over the kitchen table and floor. And, Meredith probably ate more candy than ended up being put on the gingerbread house. But good times were had by all!

I did the frosting and she put about 90% of the candy on it. It was a nice mommy-daughter bonding time. I think we’ll plan on doing this every year. Maybe by the time she’s a teenager, we can start entering contests.

And, it's kinda nice Kevin is not a crammer. As I type, he’s taking two final exams back to back. But since he’s not a crammer, he took a break this morning and made a snow man with Meredith before heading off to take the exams. Two more next week and then he’s done (until January)! Yay!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Let it snow!

Here is why I don’t mind the cold Indiana winters: Snow! I love waking up and being surprised by snow.

It’s the times when you’re caught off guard—it wasn’t here yesterday and suddenly the world is covered in a blanket of white—that snow becomes magical.

Yesterday we woke up to this winter’s first snow. We were lying in bed, looking out the window, waiting for Meredith to wake up so we could show her. Then, suddenly, we heard a squeal coming from her room across the hall, “Daddy, the snow is falling outside!” Then there was a big belly laugh that lasted for a good 10 seconds. It was one of the cutest things I’ve ever heard.

Meredith has been reading lots of picture books about snow and has been fascinated with the topic. This year’s first snow did not disappoint.

When I moved to Virginia to work for a national non-profit organization, I remember being amused by many of the young people fondly reminiscing over childhood snow experiences. The things they talked about were foreign to me. For instance, ice skating in the front yard after a thin layer of water froze on the lawn. Going “group sledding” at a party—one big tarp, one hill, and thirty kids. I couldn’t really relate to these experiences, but it sounded like lots of fun.

Watching Meredith enjoy the snow this morning made me glad that she’ll have fond memories of playing in the snow too. Kevin remarked how happy he is that she is able to enjoy snow.

So, let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Behold the Tree

After five years of marriage I was really tired of the same way my tree looked year after year. I have this gold ribbon that I’ve used and I wasn’t looking forward to dragging it out again. At the same time, I didn’t want to financially invest in all new stuff this year. So I was glad to get an idea from Megan—stringing cranberries and popcorn. But I hear that hers has dried oranges in it, so it probably looks even cooler. Maybe she’ll post pictures. (Hint, hint.)

Anyway, I love the look of the tree this year! Very classy. I will admit, however, that it was time consuming—it took watching about six episodes of Alias before I finally finished. And my fingers were stained red for about a day.

One more comment on the tree—there is no way we will be able to ever get an artificial tree as long as our kids our young. Meredith was so excited to go tree shopping that she was literally bouncing the entire time. Kevin was the one designated to pull the various trees out for inspection. And Meredith and I were the dutiful judges. She kept saying, “How ‘bout this one daddy?!” It was so cute. I would not miss out on this yearly tradition for anything. Next year, though, I do have romantic notions of going to cut down a fresh tree.

The picture of the tree is kind of blurry. Just think of it as impressionist photography. :)