Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Champagne Dreams

Happy National Champagne Day!

(And with that - I'VE DONE IT!!!!!!)

I can't believe that I actually followed through aaaalllll year and finished this project.  And no, the irony of a recovering anorexic doing a year long project to celebrate food is not lost on me.  It's been pretty apparent from the get go, thank you very much :-p  Over the next few days I plan on doing some looking back and sharing my favorite and least favorite celebrations, but for now I'm must going to revel in the fact that I did it.

In the meantime, Happy New Year's Eve!  We've been celebrating here all day and will continue to do so tonight.  And I haven't handed out the actual prizes (so no pictures at this point) but we will be awarding the following 2013 Gatchel awards this evening:

Mama's Favorite Sidekick: Mikayla (because let's face it, this year she's been my shadow!)
Biggest Steps:  Noah (all the first my little man's accomplished this year - starting kindergarten, learning how to ride a bike, riding a bike, reading his first book all by himself (which he and I did together today.  And it was not an easy book, trust me))
Excellence in the Culinary Arts: Kristi (duh)
Advancements in Literary Awareness:  Grant (I don't know how many books he's read to the two of them this year, or how many books he tracked down for them at the library, but kudos to my hubby for instilling quite the love of books in our twosome)

I'm off now to enjoy our celebrations, hope that you all stay safe and enjoy your New Year however you chose to celebrate.  Here's to 2014!  Much love and wishes for peace and joy from all of us!

Finally put together Mikayla's Ariel puzzle

 We got a package

 Scorpion suckers!

 Wow, cool presents from Aunt Mary, Rebecca and Adam!  Thanks so much :)

 New Year's Eve, Gatchel style!

 (Mock) Champagne

 Which we of course enjoyed in our glasses we made yesterday

Monday, December 30, 2013

Bicarbonate Perfection

Well, it took the National Food people a whole year, but they finally came up with something you really can't eat.  At least not on its own.  I mean, I guess you could - but why?  And sure, it's great and super handy to have around when you're baking but I was blown away by the amount of non-food related uses for today's food - baking soda!

So Happy National Bicarbonate of Soda Day!  (Yep, baking soda to all of us common folk)  Don't believe me about other uses?  Check out these two sites and have at 'em!


Who knew??  So in addition to using some baking soda in baking I was doing today we had to try out a couple of the alternate uses.  The kids were in 7th Heaven!  Noah has said he wants to stay home forever.  May never get him to go back to school.  We used the baking soda to to give them both some pretty fabulous foot soaks.  And not to go half way, it was a like a mini spa treatment complete with Shirley Temples to relax with, my little mini massager on their shoulders, a foot rub and lotion by the Mama and even some fresh color on the Bean's toes.  Oh yeah, spoiled rotten.

We also had a ton of fun getting ready for tomorrow's celebration (Champagne!  Apparently not even the food people could overlook this obvious one) by creating our own customized glasses for tomorrow night.  Can't wait to try them out :)

Right now we're chilling with Lilo and Stitch and some food of the gods (chicken fingers and mozzarella sticks, a throw back to Grant's childhood) for the evening.  We're all still recovering on some level, though everyone definitely seems to be on the mend at this point.  Though I have to say that if I never blow my nose again it will be too soon.  Off to enjoy my night.  Can't believe our big celebratory year will officially be over tomorrow.  So surreal.  Until then...

I made egg nog donut muffins (they had baking soda in them!)

 Noah enjoying his foot soak

 The Bean works on her champagne glass for tomorrow night

 Soaking away

 The Bean's new color (might have to borrow this one myself!)

 Our finished glasses ready for baking

 Hmmmm, wonder who's responsible for this one...

Baked and ready for tomorrow

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Pots o' Pepper

My teams both lost.  Football season on both a college and professional level is officially at an end at the Gatchel's, which I have mixed feelings about.  OK, sure, we will be watching the Bowl Games over the next weeks and then the play-offs but it's not like I have a real vested interest in any of it.  I'm especially let down by the Lions who showed so much promise at the start of the season and then, it seems, pretty much gave up.  Guess as a Lions fan you come to expect that, but it doesn't make it any easier to swallow.

We've had another day of chilling and relaxing.  I made some major progress on the state project stuff and am starting to get really excited.  We don't officially kick off until next Monday (we start with Alabama!) but the bare bones of the project are up and ready for action.  The kids are quite taken with the map and keep asking when we're going to start.  I told them we've got a couple more food days first ;-)

Speaking of food days, Happy National Pepper Pot Day!  If you're like me, you have no idea what a pepper pot actually is.  Have no fear, wikipedia is here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philadelphia_Pepper_Pot.  And since I didn't have any beef tripe lying around, I stumbled across a recipe for a pepper pot casserole that seemed to suffice in a pinch.  Everyone here raved and I've been asked to save the recipe.  Well OK then, pepper pot celebrated.

Kind of back to normal, but not really, tomorrow.  I mean, it's Monday, but I'm pretty sure Grant's not going in to work (he's still battling whatever it is we all have and there's nothing super pressing he needs to tackle, so we'll enjoy his company for a few more days) and I doubt we'll be headed out anywhere.  Both kiddos are still coughing with yucky noses so I'd rather just keep them in and recuperating for awhile yet.  Bicarbonate Soda tomorrow :-p  Until then...

Trying out the new play-doh (it's really cool, Mom.  Much softer than regular play-doh and no kinda funky smell)

 More progress on the state project

 The name of the state will obviously change weekly but the items in blue will stay and the answers will change

 Mikayla using her nail polish to decorate her cars

Pepper Pot Casserole

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Super Saturday

When thinking up a post for today's blog I had to stop and try to figure out what day it is.  Is anyone else out there as messed up as I am as to what day it actually is?  The fact that we've done a whole buncha nothing and gone a whole buncha nowhere has only added to the confusion.  Though let me tell ya - best Saturday in a looonnnngggg time at the Gatchel's :)

I think we've done a little bit of everything - Mikayla and I played spa, Noah and Grant built a car, I've played Princess Go Fish, Grant's played Angry Birds Go, the kiddos and Grant made a trip to the library, we all played the seek and find Disney game the kids got before Christmas (LOVE this game as it really encourages everyone to play as a TEAM.  To win ALL the players have to finish.  Super fun!), we made chocolates and jello and mini English muffin pizzas, we learned about the phases of the moon, I got the map on the wall for the state project, I had a genius idea for how to organize the Bean's head bands, we watched the Brave Little Toaster and are currently watching the Brave Little Toaster Goes to Mars.  Not sure we could have fit in anything else in if we tried but none of it has been rushed or forced or hurried.  We've all done what we wanted, when we wanted to do it and just enjoyed hanging.  I'm thinking we just need to shut down and have a stay-cation weekend at least once a month from now on.  Everyone but Grant seems to be on the mend and we're hoping he's doing better soon  I'm seeing more fun and relaxing tomorrow!

Happy National Chocolate Candy Day, by the way.  We did an impromptu Kid Kitchen this morning where my twosome helped me make some chocolate peanut butter marshmallow candy.

Like I said, more chilling tomorrow.  And pepper pots!  Until then...

We love these PJ's Aunt Sarah!

 Making Michigan jello jigglers

 Mikayla counted out 3 marshmallows for every candy

 I told them they could lick the spoons when we were finished - think Noah was excited?

 Mikayla gave me a pedicure

 The finished product

 She got a mani and a pedi

 Chocolate candies set and ready to try out

 mmmm, marshmallow!

 Maps up!

 All the kids wanted to get Grant for Christmas was a new car.  This is as far as my budget could stretch on that one...

 Re-purposing oatmeal containers to use for the Bean's headbands

 Noah making his pizza

 The Bean, too

 Trying out the moon light from Uncle Arthur, Aunt Kristina and Lillian

 Yum, pizza!

My very cool duck tea infuser going for a swim - Thanks Sar :)

Friday, December 27, 2013

Nuttier Than A Fruit Cake

I think that everyone being sick has been a blessing in disguise.  While we're missing a visit from Grammy Caren and Papa Tom it has been so nice to just enjoy each other and all our new toys today!  Right now as I type, my three faves are trying out the video game the kiddos got Grant for Christmas.  Not sure who is enjoying them self the most as they are cracking me up as I watch and there is a lot of giggling and mock challenging (Noah just told Grant - Take that, Dude!)  The kids love the fact that we've let them stay in pj's all day, drink tons of blue juice and eat popsicles.  I'm just hoping that it helps speed all four of us along the road to recovery.

In other news, Happy National Fruit Cake Day!  I am not a fruit cake fan nor did I want to have to buy the plethora of ingredients necessary to make an authentic fruit cake.  So instead I made a fruit cocktail cake :)  Pretty much as simple as it sounds - a cake loaded with fruit cocktail.  And any cake that has only 6 ingredients and only requires me getting one bowl dirty and no mixer is A-OK with me.  Everyone here liked it though I think it would be even better right out of the oven topped with ice cream.

More playing and hanging tomorrow.  Kayla's requesting a Tinkerbell tea party and both are begging for a few movies as well.  Sounds like a plan to me!  And they're both going to help me make up some fun chocolate candy as well.  So until then...

Christmas exploded in my living room

 Popsicles and light up legos - does it get much better than that?

 Fruit Cocktail Cake

 Spiderman PJ's!

 A shot of the inside of the cake

Hey Grandma and Papa - the seats are the perfect height for the coffee table!