Top Ten Tuesdays: Holiday Food

Family, friends, decorations, peace on earth, blah , blah, BLAH!

We all know that from Thanksgiving through New Year’s it’s really all about FOOD!  I really don’t want to know how much sugar, butter, chocolate, and cream cheese I got through in that month’s time.  It’s pretty obscene.  And it makes it VERY clear why most people throw their diet out the window this time of the year.  I mean, who can say no to these yummies?

That is why this week Sluiter Nation is counting down our Top Ten favorite holiday foods.

#10 Homemade Caramel Corn

Oh my…YUM!  This is the most buttery, yummy caramel corn I have ever had in my life!  Each year my mom would make at LEAST two batches of this treat for us.  And now that I have my own little house and family, I make it too…and boy is it a hit!

And just because I love you all so much, here is the recipe:

2 cups (or a little less) of popcorn (not microwave)

pop the popcorn and set aside in large bowls for later.

In a saucepan on the stove bring the following ingredients to a boil:

2 cups of brown sugar

1 cup of butter (or margarine)

1/2 cup of light corn syrup

1 teaspoon of salt

boil for 5 minutes while continuously stirring.

After five minutes remove from heat and add 1 teaspoon of vanilla and 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda

mix until fluffy

pour mixture over popcorn and mix

spread mixed popcorn on REALLY greased pans and bake for one hour at 250 degrees.  Stir every 15 minutes

cool on waxed paper and then enjoy!

#9 Christmas Cookies

I already told you guys about our Christmas cookie making extravaganza here.  It’s a great tradition we have.

#8 Banket

First of all?  I don’t like almond-flavored things, but Cort LOVES it.  Banket is a Dutch treat that my Grandmas both used to make.  In fact, I have to use my Dutch cookbook.   Mine never turns out very pretty, but Cort always says it’s yum.

#7 Peanut Butter Balls

This one is another fan favorite at our house.  Every year I hand roll the peanut butter balls and then hand dip them in chocolate and then hand shove them into my mouth.  Nom nom nom.

#6 Puppy Chow

I make about three batches of this every holiday season.  People LOVE it.  My sister-in-law could live on it, and I have seen my friend Trisha eat it until she felt sick.  It’s that delicious.  For anyone who has never had this?  I feel VERY sorry for you.  It’s yum.

#5 Tortilla Roll-ups

This one isn’t a sweet treat and I don’t have a picture since I am making them Friday for a holiday party, but they make a yummy little appetizer plus?  they are the easiest thing EVER to make.  All you do is spread a mixture of veggie cream cheese and relish on a tortilla, add dry beef, roll it up, slice it so they look like little pinwheels and stick a tooth pick in for easy eat-ability.  Yum on a stick.

#4 Buffalo Chicken Dip

Again, I don’t have a picture of this, but it’s such a great dip to bring along to your holiday parties this year.  Not only is it addictive (which means you won’t have to take leftovers home), but it makes people want to drink…um…refreshments (which means the party will be super fun and entertaining).  And yes, it has cream cheese in it.  Duh.

#3 Cream Puffs

This one was my father-in-law’s favorite treat.  I used to make them for our holiday get together with him every year upon his request.  After he passed, I didn’t make them for a couple year because I just couldn’t bring myself too.  But last year, my sis-in-law and bro-in-law requested I bring back the tradition.  So again, I busted out the Dutch cookbook and made some yummy cream puffs.

#2 Crab Dip

This one is hot demand whenever we are invited to a holiday party too.  I got this recipe from my almost-sister-in-law’s mom about six years ago.  It melts faces it’s so good.  Seriously.  It’s a warm dip (and does NOT have cream cheese in it…ok, yes it does.)  It is served with crackers and usually I don’t get any of it because it goes so fast.  Yum.

#1 My dad’s fudge

my confession here is that I have never made this correctly (clearly, by the picture of fudge poo you can tell this fact).  I have tried EVERY. SINGLE. YEAR to make this, but I always rush it and it either turns out like a nasty syrup, or it is all crumbly and crystallized and disgusting.  But my dad?  mmmm.  he makes the BEST fudge.  It is the messiest process I have ever seen, but it’s so tasty.  It just melts in your mouth.  So yes, I will be trying again this year.  Stay tuned.  I might vlog it…if you’re lucky.

Want any of the recipes I talked about here?  Let me know in the comments and maybe I will put them up on the blog if there is enough interest.

What are your favorite foods during the holiday season?  Have a Top Ten?  Link up!

ps.  all pictures were taken last year…when we could put presents and decorations on a lower level.  This can’t happen anymore.  you know, because of the toddler.

pssst.  I have also linked MY link up with my girl, Lish over at A Beautiful Mess.  Since today IS Tasty Tuesday and these treats are all quite tasty.  Click over to see more food!!!

It’s the Simple Things…

It’s not a secret that I am a teacher.

I teach high school.  I teach in an “urban” school district.

I see issues and problems that i never could have imagined when I was that age.  My students have to deal with things I thought only existed in movies like Dangerous Minds back when I was in high school.

And my students?  They are LUCKY compared to many students who are in inner-city schools.

While my students have many hardships, they are not that far from beaches and parks and places they can go to get away from the “urban” area that might be bringing them down.  Many of them get to go on a summer vacation.

This is why, when Sara from The Fresh Air Fund (FAF) contacted me, I jumped on the chance to promote it.

What the FAF does is raise money to help inner-city kids in New York City experience places outside the city…to get some fresh air and some fun. To actually have a summer vacation that they otherwise wouldn’t have.

They do all sorts of things.  There are FAF host families, swimming lessons, farm visits, career awareness classes, and FAF camp.  All of these things help build confidence, self-esteem, and experiences that show inner-city youth that the ways of the street are not the only way.  That they CAN move out of that life.

The camps and retreats prepare kids to be leaders in their communities.

As an educator (and a mom), I know that what we experience is what shapes us.

If we are never read to, never taken anywhere, just dumped in a sub-par school with no funding?  We probably won’t be busting through any barriers to become great.

But if someone out there gives us opportunities and chances, there is no end to the greatness we can do.

This holiday season, won’t you join me in helping give opportunity and chances to a child who might not otherwise get it?

According to FAF’s site…

  • Just $10 will send one child on a bus ride to his or her Friendly Town host family.

  • $24 provides a child with a week of swimming lessons.

  • $42 provides a day of Career Awareness classes.

  • A gift of $50 can fund a camp counselor for a day.

  • If you can give as much as $91, you provide a child at camp with meals for a week.

We are a not-for-profit agency and depend on tax-deductible donations from people like you to keep our vital programs flourishing.

I know it’s cliche to say, but honestly?  Every little bit helps.

I look at Eddie and see that he has already had more opportunity than many of inner-city children have and he is only a year and a half!

Please help give the simple things in life to those for whom it is not so simple.

Please consider giving to the Fresh Air Fund.

For more information, you can visit the Fresh Air Fun site here, “like” them on facebook, and follow them on twitter.

and this is why I can’t do mcfatty until after the holidays

Yesterday I posted about the tradition of putting up our Christmas tree filled with ornaments that mean something to us.

Today I have another tradition to share with you.

When my brothers and cousins were little, we used to have Sunday after church dinner at my Grandma Jo’s house every single week.

One special Sunday in December was when she hauled out all of her Christmas ornaments and let us decorate her tree while she and the aunts baked Christmas cookies for us to decorate.

Decorating Grandma’s tree was so special because she kept each ornament (no matter how ridiculous) wrapped up in a piece of paper towel tucked in one of many boxes.  Even though we were all bound to unwrap some syrofoam cup made into a bell, we all handled each paper toweled package as if we were unwrapping an irreplaceable treasure.

And really we were.

My grandma has been gone for almost a decade.  I don’t know what happened to many of those treasures, probably thrown away with everything else that wasn’t deemed worth auctioning off or that none of us had “claimed” when we quickly went through her disheveled rooms looking for something to remember her by.

When she no longer lived at her house or decorated a tree or celebrated Christmas in this world with us, my brothers and I were still unwilling to give up the tradition of tree and cookie decorating.

So for the past few years…at least since I can remember…we have been gathering at my mom and dad’s house to have our kids decorate their tree.  This is the first year that Eddie could sort of help.  Jack will be six this year and has been helping grandma for as long as he can remember.

My mom doesn’t wrap everything in paper towel (despite our pleadings), but she does keep everything.  If we made it in grade school?  She still has it.  So when she takes the old boxes down, it’s fun to remember what sorts of treasures grandma has in there.

She has some really, really old ornaments that I am sure are not really worth much, but are most definitely….old.

Many of the ornaments on my parents’ tree are handmade…not just by us kids, but by my mom.  When she and my dad were first married, she made all sorts of decorations.

Chris found the traditional Christmas turtle (yeah, we don’t know.  but you better bet it went on the tree).

Chris and my mom grandma show Jack and Eddie how it’s done.

oh look!  something I made!  Put it on the tree!

Oh yeah, and don’t forget…part 2 of the tradition is decorating Christmas cookies.

my mom bakes somewhere around a million cookies the day before.

We all have our jobs.  Cort and my mom are in charge of frosting all those naked cookies.

Jack is our master decorator.

but we all do pretty well.

And since Eddie is to young to understand decorating?  He just eats.

I watched as we were all able to come out despite busy schedules and sniffling colds and other lazy Sunday plans.  Grandma Jo was definitely there too…smiling on us and telling us not to lick our fingers.

Oh and ps…this cookie extravaganza?  This is just the tip of the iceberg of why I cannot do McFatty during the holidays.  Stay tuned in January when I decide to kick my butt in gear…just like the rest of America.

It’s the hap happiest season of all…

Before you read this post?  Check out our new sponsor over there on the right ——->  It’s Peggy Ann Design!  She is awesome!  Think awesome as in “OMG!  BEST PRESENT EVER” kind of awesome.  If you get my hint.

Christmas is a time of some pretty major traditions for our family.  While we have been learning to let go or change some Thanksgiving traditions, we have worked very hard to foster and cling to our Christmas traditions.

I love Christmas.  All of it.  I really do. The family traditions are always my favorite part.  I think I just love the feeling of happiness and security that doing the same things and seeing the same things over and over each year create.

Yesterday we got Eddie all bundled up to go pick out our Christmas tree.  Every year of my childhood, my parents took us out to get a tree.  To be honest, I hated it.  I hated having to trudge through the muddy, cold fields arguing over which tree would be best in our house.  Then standing their while dad cut it down.  And of course then?  We had to drag it back to the truck, get it secured in the trailer, and get home.

And none of that meant that dad was going to hurry up and get the tree in the stand.  And even if he did?  It usually had to sit there and “dry” before mom would allow it in the house.

All of this was excruciatingly slow to us, and after awhile, my dad just went out and got one on a Saturday morning by himself.  One that was already cut.

But…we NEVER had a fake tree.  Ever.

And we still don’t.

Saturday morning we bundled Eddie up and took him with us to Bosch’s in Holland to pick a lovely pre-cut, REAL Christmas tree. It took us maybe 5 minutes to pick out this colorfur (I think that is how it’s spelled).  By the way, this place smelled WONDERFUL!  I wish you could scratch and sniff your computer screen because each time they sawed off the end of someone’s stump it smelled like pine heaven.

Anyway, after getting our stump trimmed, and some ooo-ing and ahhh-ing by Eddie at the giant inflatable snowman, we loaded our treasure up.

psst.  by the way?  that super duper cute hat Eddie is wearing?  Is from Baby Butterfly Boutique. Super awesomely cute baby stuff and ridiculously awesome customer service!

Ahem.  Anyway…

We took our tree home.

I am pretty sure this is our best-fitting tree we have ever gotten.  And the needles are so soft i could almost cuddle them.

Eddie did a pretty good job helping with the lights.  Until he found our ‘step’ button for turning them on and off.  Then we had to remove him from the situation.

(also, please ignore my dumpy-looking socks in this picture.  they are too big and out of control).

I don’t go with the themed-tree or the color-coded tree or anything that elegant.  The ornaments on our tree don’t cost much money.  We don’t get the little white lights that twinkling in the pretty dark room.

Nope.  Our tree is what we call a “family tree” or as my actual family calls it a “tacky tree”.

When we were kids, my mom and my grandma put the huge colorful lights on the tree and filled it with ornaments that were handmade and told a story.  That is what I always wanted my tree to be too.  It tells the story of our family.

newlywed ornaments

first ornament made in daycare by our firstborn

first Christmas as a married couple

ornaments that reflect hobbies

ornaments that reflect careers

personalized ornaments (a new one each year!)

good luck ornaments

and those to remind us that some of those we love are celebrating in heaven

all put together to make the perfect Sluiter Family Christmas tree.

Some may say our tree is tacky or gaudy or just weird.  People might laugh at our choices of ornaments or decorations.  But to us, this tree is the story of our family.  And we will put new ornaments on it each year to reflect what new parts of our lives.

Decorating the tree is one of my most favorite traditions of the season.  what is one of yours?

Stay tuned for Top Ten Tuesdays:  Things I would like to Do/Change about our House.  Join me, won’t you?

Our Halls are Decked

Today is the first day of December…so the halls around here?  Oh they are decked.

I might like snowmen.

Also?  If you are looking for more about yours truly?  I am the featured blogger today on The Red Dress Club.  I almost fell over in shock and honor when Cheryl asked me.  So please don’t leave me alone over there. Don’t let them regret their choice.  Because I am all sorts of giggly and nervous over here.


Have a lovely Wednesday.

Top Ten Tuesdays: Eddie’s Christmas List

And just like that…it’s Tuesday again!  Time for another Top Ten!

Last week I dazzled everyone with all the things I have found on the internet that I am drooling over hoping to get for Christmas.  This week, I thought I would put the focus on my wee little man.

This week’s Top Ten is…Things on my Wee One’s Christmas List (in no particular order, of course):

10. Cricket Stepper

Clearly with “Eddie” on it instead of “Ernie”.  And I actually already bought this cute piece for Eddie already!  I got it from Baby Butterfly Boutique…my new favorite shop for all things toddler/baby.  This little stool will be perfect for lots of things in his life…getting into a big boy bed someday, standing by the sink to brush his teeth, standing by the toilet to go potty.  I can’t WAIT to get this!  (Oh, and I also bought him this hat as a stocking stuffer).

9. An Activity Table

It doesn’t have to be this one exactly, but I would like one that has chairs and a bin or bins for storage (since storage is scarce ’round these parts).  My idea would be that this table (or one similar) would start out in our basement in the family room and find it’s way to Eddie’s big boy room…once it exists.

8. A play tool bench

Eddie really likes to “help” around the house right now, and he is big into putting things where they go, or copying Cort when he wipes something down or adjusts furniture.  It’s really cute.  I would love if he had his own place to “fix” things.

7. Baby Dino Bib

This little lovely from Bird E Studios would be a great stocking stuffer for the little guy!  I always love for him to look cute when we are out somewhere for a meal, and this little Dino bib would be perfect for when his guitar bib is dirty.

6. Rocking Chair

I searched Etsy and found this lovely little vintage shop and fell in love with this little rocking chair. It would be perfect in our living room and even more perfect for Eddie’s little booty cakes as he watches his morning cartoons.

5. Clothes

Rock on with yo' bad self

Eddie always needs new clothes because I like him to be the most stylish toddler ever presentable when he is in public.  There are tons of clothes he would look quite handsome in from here or here, but he really does need a new Pearl Jam Tshirt.  His baby onsies just don’t fit him anymore.

4. Toy Food/Grocery Cart

For as much as Eddie loves to load up the laundry basket and push it around the house, I know he would fall over and love this cart.  He also really likes to imitate me when I am in the kitchen.  His new thing is to take every. single. baking tool I have, load it into the laundry basket, and movie it around the room.  It’s like his very own food trailer.  A very ghetto food trailer.

3.Sesame Street

Ok, I realize we can’t give the boy ALL things Sesame street, but he REALLY likes it. He doesn’t need stuffed animals or that sort of thing…instead he loves the music.  He LOVES the music on Sesame Street.  I think he would love some of the old seasons of the show or some CDs of the music.

2. Boots/Winterwear

This is Eddie’s second winter and the first that he will be able to go out and enjoy.  The thing is, to do that?  He needs proper outerwear.  His cousin Jack has passed down a couple winter jackets, but he needs snow pants and boots if he is going to use the sled Santa brought him last year!

1. Anything cute and handmade

I found this ridiculously cute little handmade toolbox on etsy in a little shop called Zoogits.  If Eddie doesn’t get a full sized tool bench, getting a set of tools and this little “box” would be almost better.  It’s so cute…and it’s handmade!  I love to support the handmade goods!

There you have it!  The Top Ten Things on Eddie’s Christmas List!  So what items are on your child(ren)’s list?

Top Ten Tuesdays: Top Ten Things on my Christmas List: Internet Edition

This is the time of year when everyone is making their Wish Lists for the holidays.  Well, it’s the time of year when my whole family (both sides) demand lists from each other so we can find just the perfect thing to make each other smile.

And to make shopping a little easier for them, I have compiled this lovely list of the Top Ten things I have been drooling over have added to my Christmas list this year thanks to the lovely internets.

This list could also help YOU get ideas for YOUR list…or find something perfect for someone ON your list.  Pay attention…some of these little shops?  Have discounts just for your holiday shopping!!

10. “you are my sunshine” necklace – The Vintage Pearl

I have wanted this adorable little necklace since the first moment I ever landed on The Vintage Pearl’s site.  I know I am not the only momma who sings this song regularly to her little guy or gal. I “like” them on facebook, so I am always reminded of how cute this jewelry would look around my neck.

The extra bonus is that Eddie’s birthstone is a pearl, so how perfect would this be with his little name on it?

9. Holiday Body Butter Trio – Pink Bow Bath Boutique

A few months ago I won a tiny tub of Pear Vanilla body butter from Pink Bow Bath Boutique in a blog giveaway.  I fell in love…hard.  I went ahead and “liked” them on facebook, and have been drooling over all the updates on new scents ever since.

This body butter is not overly thick like some I have come across in the past, but it is rich and soft and leaves me with a faint (not over-powering) yummy smell all day…and soft skin!  And my little tub?  Is almost empty!  I need more!

8. Jewelry Hangers – The j.a.r. collection

I have been looking for a good way to hang up all my necklaces that are too long for my jewelry box for some time.  Right now they are a jumbled mess on a candle sconce on the wall.  Not very attractive.  Or functional. So I searched etsy for a million hours short time and found the j.a.r. collection.  I think they are fairly new since I am the third person to like them on facebook, but the cute stuff in their shop?  AWESOME.

These beautiful art pieced that also have hooks for jewelry?  PERFECTION!  We have dark blue walls with white trim in our bedroom and we have accented with primary colors.  These would not only LOOK great, but my jewelry wouldn’t be a clumped mess.  I need want them.

7. Hostess Apron – Phase Three

We don’t do a ton of entertaining, but when we do, I like to look cute.  I remember my Grandma Riemersma always had a hostess apron that she would wear on Thanksgiving and Christmas…one that was a little prettier and more special than her every day ones.   I have plenty of the traditional aprons to help me stay clean while cooking and baking, but I want something cute to put on when people are here.

So I poked around the old etsy and found Phase Three. Oh my word.  It was so hard to choose which apron I loved best. I decided to put the chicken print on my list because it sort of matches our kitchen/dining area colors and I like the the kitschy-ness of it having chickens on it.  Reminds me of my grandma.

6. Hand Knit Hat – Pixiebell

I am in need of a new hat for winter.  But I am sort of particular.  I already have a fig colored scarf with matching fingerless gloves (with a mitten flap) that I love, but no matching hat.  So again, I turned to etsy and asked around on twitter and lo and behold, I was sent to pixiebell.

I fell in love with this knit hat with the visor.  It is slouchy enough not to mess up my hair, but it’s big enough to keep my ears warm.  I love it.  I need it.

5. Rossette Frame – Peggy Ann Design

I am so freaking in love with Peggy Ann Design!  She makes the cutest frames EVER!  I “like” her on facebook just so I can get updates on new frames in her store.

I can ALWAYS use more frames…ALWAYS!  We are forever getting more photographs to put up, and I can’t bring myself to take many of the old ones down, so I just keep filling our space.

My favorite frames are unique ones that I know no one else has.  Unfortunately, I don’t have many of those.  But Peggy Ann Design has the cutest, most unique frames!  The red one above would be REALLY cute in either our living room or our downstairs family room.

And guess what?  Hannah (of Peggy Ann Designs) is so awesome (you can follow her on twitter, by the way), that she is offering YOU a discount for your holiday shopping!  Just enter SLUITER10 at checkout and receive 10% off! Frames are perfect for just about anyone…especially if you put a picture of your little one or your family in it!

4. Pretty Much Anything – Twenty Five Design

Torie of Twenty Five Design happens to be a fun friend AND a sponsor here in Sluiter Nation.  And I happen to love every single darn things she makes.

I own a couple of her headbands (although I always love more), but my recent obsession is this necklace which I WANT!

I would also REALLY like one of these little rosette rings in my stocking.  So cute!  Black is so versatile, but she also has other colors.  I’m not picky…I love them all!

And guess what!  Torie is offering my readers a discount for holiday shopping!!!  Yup, type in SLUITER10 at checkout and receive 10% off!

You can follow Torie on twitter and like Twenty Five Design on facebook, by the way!

3. Spiral Earring – Silversmyth

I met Julie on twitter and immediately fell in love with all the pictures she posted from her shop, Silversmyth.

She and I chatted about her beautiful work and before you knew it, I was ordering a custom-made ring with both mine and Cortney’s birthstones in it.  I love it.

Isn't this beautiful? Julie is so talented!

I always have a hard time finding earrings that I can wear because I have such sensitive earring holes.  I think I own three pairs that I can wear.  So this year, I would like these beautiful spiral lovlies!

And just so you can buy pretties for those on your list (or yourself!), Julie is offering readers a 10% discount!  Just type in SLUITER at checkout! So exciting!

2. Laptop Bag – Gussy

Not only is Maggie of Gussy Sews a fantastic designer/sewer, but she is a good friend! I found her shop via other bloggers, and quickly started following her on twitter, and “liked” her on facebook. After all that?  I found out she graduated from the high school where I teach!  She graduated the year before I started there!  What a small world!

Regardless of how I know her?  The girl’s got talent!  And I want in!  I have this laptop bag on my list–with a red ruffle–because my laptop, my mouse, and my ipod are all red.  It’s a matching thing.  Plus?  This bag?  I 100 times cuter than the boring leather thing I carry now.

And because Gussy is every shade of awesomesauce there is?  She is offering YOU a 15% discount on all YOUR Gussy needs (um…hello…she is offering STOCKINGS now!  Squee!!!!)  Just type in Sluiter15 at checkout for your discount! Everyone needs some Gussy for Christmas, don’t you think?

1. Small Hobo Camera Bag – Gypsy Rose Handbags

This is my love camera.  It is my most prized material possession.  Cortney and my parents chipped in and got it for me for my birthday this past March.  The only thing I don’t have?  A beautiful, safe way to carry it around.

Enter Gypsy Rose Handbags.  Everything in this shop is cute, but I think this small hobo bag is my favorite.  I actually like almost all the fabric choices, but this one would match my Gussy laptop bag (if I get it).  I found it incredibly hard to find a camera bag that I liked…until I found the Gypsy Rose Handbags shop!

This is definitely number one on my list because it’s what I actually need AND want the most this Christmas!

So what about it?  What are your top ten wishes from the internet?  Create a list and link up!  And don’t forget to go shopping with all your new discounts in hand!

Jack Extravaganza

On Sunday the 21st, Jack turned four! I can’t believe it’s been four whole years of Jack already! This year, because of bad weather, Jack couldn’t come over for his birthday, so my mom did a party for both birthday and Christmas this past Sunday. Man was he excited about all the fun gifts he got from everyone! We gave him a blue sword that lights up and makes sounds. It is just like his coveted red sword that has become infamous for how much he loves it. I wasn’t sure if he would also like the red sword’s blue cousin, but when he opened the paper and gasped, “OH MY GOSH,” I knew we had done well.

We also gave him a robot that walks, talks, lights up, and spins around. Man…he was excited!
Not unlike the red sword he got from my mom earlier that week for his birthday, the blue sword didn’t get too far out of his sight while he opened other gifts.
He had a great time playing and giggling with my mom that day! She is such a good grandma! She even tried out his new guns!
When it was time for cake, Jack was excited to get a Sponge Bob ice cream cake. “I love Sponge Bob,” he told me. Well good!
He blew those four candles out like a champ and we all shared cake. I think birthday number 4 went pretty well! Next Christmas there will be one more grandkid to spoil!

Christmas Continues….

Christmas continued this afternoon with lunch at my Grandpa and Grandma Riemersma’s house. After a delicious spread of tasty treats (hmmm…this “spread of tasty treats” is becoming quite the theme of our Christmas fun isn’t it?), we all settled into the living room for…you guessed it…more presents!

Cortney got a collection of Loony Tunes cartoons. He was surprised because it wasn’t on his list. He had forgotten that he wanted it, so it was pretty fun for him.

I got a sewing machine from Grams and Gramps. Now I will have to learn to hem pants and do fun crafts. It’s a little intimidating because I don’t really know how to use a sewing machine. I used my mom’s ancient one a zillion years ago, but it didn’t work out for me. She had said that if I tried a new one, I would probably get the hang of it, but I had been too chicken. I finally sucked it up and put it on my Christmas list this year deciding that because I am now going to be a mom, I should learn to hem things. So, Grams and Gramps have helped me start this new adventure!
It’s always fun to go to the Grandparents’s house on Christmas because we don’t really see this side of the family that often. It’s fun to see how everyone is doing and how big the kids are getting.
After The Riemersma side party, it was time to wrap Christmas up at my parents’s house. My dad recently turned a back patio into a four season room. Mom thinks the Christmas tree looks so nice in there, so that is where it moved from it’s traditional location of the living room. As you can see, Santa gets a little wild at the Riemersma house. Apparently we are just so dang good all year he can’t resist! There were so many gifts we couldn’t sit in the room with the tree! Mom figured out a pretty good strategy of round-robin gift opening, so it worked out just fine.
And so it began for the last time…Chris was excited to open the framed Pearl Jam poster from his siblings. He is just beginning his framed collection. The people in the framing department at Michael’s are starting to know Cort and me as “the Pearl Jam people” because we have so many posters framed there. To be fair, besides all the Pearl Jam posters, we have gotten two REM posters framed there too.
Dad got a meat grinder from all of us kids. I’m not sure what sort of meat he intends to grind with said meat grinder, but hey, he’ll have fun doing it. I am not sure I am so excited to sample it though.
Chris, Mike, and Ashley bought Cort and me Guitar Hero for Cort’s new wii along with a guitar. we are pretty excited to hook that sucker up and play! We have gotten pretty dang good at the Guitar Hero we have for our PS2, if I do say so myself, so we are super excited to crank this mother out too!
Mom and dad enjoyed their framed picture of Sluiter Nation. I mean, who wouldn’t? Best gift ever, if you ask me.
Oh and mom just loved her shoes from us. She even modeled them. Ooo La la!
One of the most exciting gifts of the night was Cortney’s. He opened a box of magazines that also included a note that led him downstairs to my dad’s workroom. And there it was….a brand new Schwinn! He was like a kid on Christmas morning with that thing! Mom even added a big red bow for effect. He admitted he never had a new Schwinn before, so he was pretty dang excited. Now if all the snow would just melt so he can take it for a spin….maybe he’ll have to wait til spring.
Christmas was so fun this year! We had oodles of fun with all of our family and we hope everyone enjoyed their gifts from us. We for sure are thankful for such a great family that can all get together and enjoy each other’s company as well as be financial stable enough in this scary economy to give gifts of love to each other. Gifts aren’t the reason for the season, but knowing we can give makes us so happy. We look forward to next weekend when we can share love and fellowship with the final part of our family, the Sluiter side. We also have some get togethers with friends coming up that we are excited for.
God Bless everyone this holiday season…now, go hug your mom! 🙂

Yes, Louis, There IS a Santa!

Nine o’clock came this morning with a husband and a cat in the bed telling me that Santa had come! We jumped out of bed, brushed our teeth, and settled down with our bursting stockings! What did Santa bring us this year?

Cort was super excited that Santa remembered that he has been talking about wanting to see Kung Fu Panda for about a hundred years! Ski-doosh!

And Santa also remembered my absolute love of all things REM! He brought me the Live CD/DVD! You better bet that was one of the first “toys” I busted out after all the paper was picked up!

The tree gifts matched the excitement of the stockings for sure! Cort got a Colts hat…now he can root for his favorite football team all year long.
And I got a new flurryville snowman for my collection. Cortney explained that he realized it wasn’t really our anniversary (this one is titled “Happy Anniversary” and has a cute couple on it), but that flurryville isn’t exactly available in June. I loved it!

A side-note here: notice the TV in the background. You better believe we had A Christmas Story on! It’s my favorite Christmas movie of all time! And yes, it’s still on as I type this, because really, can you see that movie too many times? Nope, didn’t think so!
Even Baby Sluiter was in the Christmas spirit and bought daddy a new T-shirt!
It was quite a haul this year in Sluiter Nation! Cortney enjoyed all of his many gifts…

…as did I! I got a some of all my favorite things this Christmas morning!

Cortney and I agree that even with all the fun family times, Christmas morning together as a little family is our favorite! We can’t wait to share it next year with our newest addition. Can you believe that next year at this time we will have a 6 month old opening gifts! What a crazy thought!

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