Sunday, December 27, 2009

Merry Christmas from Pennsylvania



After our bags were packed & the cars were stuffed to the roof with presents, Brad, Damon, & I made the four and a half hour drive to Pennsylvania to spend Christmas with the Muthersbaugh's.  We were very excited to spend the holiday with my family for the first time in four years!!!  We arrived around 10p.m. on Christmas Eve & to our surprise, Santa still hadn't arrived!!!  So, while the kids made their way to bed, Brad and I headed to Midnight Mass (it was beautiful and we were so happy to have been able to make it on time)!!!



These faces were my favorite part of the holiday!!!



We have so much to be grateful for this holiday & are so thankful to my family for opening their doors to us!  It's going to be an exciting close to the year!




Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!!!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

First Attempt...

...at a cookie cutter wreath. 



Such a cute idea!!!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

I have a sweet tooth...

We're heading to a Christmas party tonight at Amanda & Jeremy's house.  When Amanda asked us to bring a dessert, we jumped at the opportunity (and any reason to use my Kitchen-Aid is good enough for me)!!  Amanda is my gym buddy and after indulging in these goodies tonight, I will need her motivation to wake up early tomorrow for step class.

We made Peppermint Bark:





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Brad made pumpkin pie:




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And finally, my super moist, red velvet cupcakes:




I cannot WAIT to indulge in these sweets!!!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Happy Birthday, Heber

Yesterday was the 27th birthday of our dear friend, Heber.  Celebrations were in order for a fun filled night of friends and food.  Brad and I showed up early to Buca di Beppo's (one of his favorite restaraunts) for a wonderful surprise (or so we thought). 

Let's rewind...

At 'Girls Night' a few weeks ago, I had forgotten my jacket at Tara's house, so since she was the one putting on last night's celebration, I asked that she bring it with her... While Brad and I were shopping for a present for Heber, I texted his husband to make sure Heber didn't already have Martha Stewart's cupcake cookbook... he didn't, but little did I know, Heber was the one who answered the text... and before they entered the restaraunt, Tara yelled back for somebody to grab my coat... well, as they say, the cat was out of the bag.  Heber knew we were waiting with a big "Surprise!!!"  But, we didn't let that ruin the fun!


The Birthday Boy!!!



Great people to celebrate a wonderful day with!!!






It seems people like to bring a little snow with their birthdays. :-(

Happy Birthday, Heber!!!

The Story of Saint Nicholas

Traditions (and keeping up with them) are near and dear to my heart.  My family has traditions for almost every holiday.  At Thanksgiving we eat the same meal every year, along with the tradition of baking blueberry muffins for breakfast.  For Christmas I received the same gifts (in different variations) every year: a nutcracker, an angel, a porcelain doll, a snow baby, etc., etc., etc.  My mom hung the same old, ratty angel on the tree every year no matter how much I begged we got a new one (but it wasn't until the year before she passed that I learned that my uncle had made it for her when he was in kindergarten).  But, one thing my family has done since I can remember, that I plan to continue on for our children, is the tradition of placing our wooden shoes out every year on December 5th in hopes that Saint Nicholas will arrive that night.



The story of Saint Nicholas, throughout Germany, goes something like this:
http://www.stnicholascenter.org/Brix?pageID=87

In Roman Catholic areas of southern Germany, such as Bavaria, Sankt Nikolaus still comes as a bishop with flowing beard and a bishop's miter and staff. Houses are thoroughly cleaned and children clean and polish their shoes or boots in preparation for the saint's visit. On the evening before St. Nicholas Day, children put letters to the good saint along with carrots or other food for his white horse or donkey on a plate or in their shoes. These are left outside, under the bed, beside a radiator, or on a windowsill in hopes of finding goodies from St. Nicholas the next morning. During the night Sankt Nikolaus goes from house to house carrying a book in which all the children's deeds are written. If they have been good, he fills their plate, shoe or boot with delicious fruits, nuts and candies. If not, they may find potatoes, coal, or twigs.

Children practice poems and songs for Sankt Nikolaus and make little presents for him.  Friends and neighbors come to share in the fun. Candles on the Advent wreath and the big Christmas pyramid with a nativity scene in the center are lit. Stories are read or songs sung as everyone waits for a knock on the door. When it comes, they all know it is Sankt Nikolaus, who comes in with his big book, golden crozier, and a big heavy sack. One of the children gets to hold the golden staff. Each child (and sometimes adults, too) stand in front of the saint. Nikolaus asks each child, "Have you behaved yourself?" "Do you do your homework?" "Do you keep your room tidy?" "Do you help your parents?" Then he opens his big sack and gives presents and candies and treats for all to share. And they give him the little surprises. Nikolaus leaves quickly as he has many places to visit. He travels with a white horse or a donkey and sometimes Ruprecht, his most common German companion, is with him. 

Some areas have local customs. In Stuttgart, for example, kids dress up as Nikolaus and go door-to-door asking for sweets—much like trick-or-treating in the United States

In some parts of Germany Nikolaus has come to look more like Santa and Father Christmas and comes at Christmas, not St. Nicholas Day. The influence of other countries, television, and large department stores makes it more difficult to find holy Bishop Nicholas. Even when he comes on December 5th, his appearance sometimes shows that Germany's long-standing gift-givers, Sankt Nikolaus and the Christkindl, are being transformed.






Our shoes are out & Saint Nicholas has arrived, but we're off to dream sweet dreams and look forward to seeing what Saint Nicholas has brought us in the morning!

Happy Saint Nicholas Day!!!

Monday, November 30, 2009

So Thankful...

We had one eventful weekend at the DeRoo household!  I had forgotten what it was like to be so busy, yet have so much fun, all in one weekend!!!


Brad made beer...


We tried it!!!


Brad made pie...


We ate it!!!


Brad found a tree...


We cut it!!!

And best of all, we had some very important people visit us from Pennsylvania to celebrate the holiday!!!



Bryn mastered her boxing skills on the Wii...



Dylan and Damon became great friends...



Pam and I caught up on life...



...while Bryn & Brad hung out...



...and Jason took a nap (or two).

We were very grateful to have them in Vermont & can't wait for Christmas to see them again!  The countdown begins!!!





We Love You and miss you already!!! 
Please come back to visit soon!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Boston



I love Boston & am so happy that we had the opportunity to spend a day there on Tuesday.  Our hotel was right across the street from the Hard Rock Cafe & Fanueil Hall.  When we arrived, we went for a walk and grabbed a bite to eat.  I love going to historic locations during Christmas time to take in the sites and decorations!  Boston was beautiful (even with the rain) & I wish we had more time to spend there.  Who knows, we may be back in the next couple of months.


Brad told me to take this picture... He has a great eye for nice shots.  I love the way it turned out!


The only thing that could have made this picture better was if that couple was holding hands. :-)



I took the "T" across the city to the Prudential Center to have sushi with one of my best friends from college.  It was so nice to catch up and see him again!  I think we've seen him more in the last 6 months than we have in the last 5 years.  We may find ourselves back in Boston before the end of the year & hope to be able to make a longer trip out of it and visit with friends again! 

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Girls Night...

Last night a good friend of mine hosted girls night. :-)  It was a lot of fun & I must add that I have an amazing husband.  While us girls indulged in great food and wine, my sweet husband wandered around the mall and attempted to occupy his time so Amanda and I could get home safely (the party was an hour away in Troy, NY & Amanda and I are the only ones from the Bennington,VT area).  He's so good to me! :-)

Our friends Tara & Carmen adopted this adorable puppy, Sal!  He kept falling asleep & believe it or not, he's sleeping in this picture:


And then he woke up:


He was full of kisses for Heber:


But, we finally got him to sit still and smile:


And then he fell asleep again:


Cheers to the girls... and Heber:


A busy busy world...

I wonder, am I the only one who thinks November is taking it's sweet old time?  Well, maybe not, but for as busy as we have been, I feel like it should be flying by much faster.  I guess I shouldn't be wishing it away, though... before we know it, the snow will be here & I'll be wishing for this beautiful weather all over again.

This week I started my photography class.  I wish I could say it was going great, but I'm learning a few things and that's what is important.  The first thing the instructor said to us was, "read your manual." 

**Groan**

The reason I took the class was because when I read my manual, I feel like I'm reading latin.  There has to be an easier way!!!  My goal is to not always use the automatic settings on the camera (although, I probably should... the pictures come out so much better when I do).  However, all in all, I'm having fun playing with my new toy.

The instructor had us go around the school and find some inspiration.  This was a painting on the wall.  I didn't capture the entire picture, but I thought the details in the eye were amazing.



Lockers in the hallway...



I love the detail in the floor leading up to the lockers



At the end of class our instructor asked us to choose a subject we wanted to photograph over the weekend.  The class agreed on covered bridges which made me so happy.  Brad informed me that the smallest covered bridge in the world was located in Wilmington, however it was on private property with a sign that read "No Trespassing."  Since Brad has a polygraph coming up, I figured it would be in my best interest (and his) to stay out of trouble. :-)  But there is another very beautiful bridge in Wilmington that we decided to take pictures of:








I <3 it!!!

We leave for Boston tomorrow, so I will have plenty of time to take pictures on Tuesday! :-)

In the meantime, my Damon had to go to the doggy hotel for a few days & it always breaks my heart to send him there.  He was such a good boy about it today, but I know how anxious he gets.  Maybe he's finally catching on that we'll actually pick him up and he will be able to come home!


I <3 HIM!!! :-)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

White Christmas


Last night, Brad & I went to Walmart where I decided it would be a good idea to pick up White Christmas on DVD (since I have two VHS copies and the VCR is about ready to head out the door).  For $14.99, I figured it wasn't a bad investment.  As a little girl, my mom always told me I would watch this movie MULTIPLE times throughout the year (including the summer).  Who needs it to be Christmas time to enjoy this classic film?  Poor Brad is going to get sick of it, I'm sure, by the end of the season, though.  :-)

Brad is working this morning and I thought it would be fun to be reminded of my childhood while I'm trying so hard to fight the holidays off for a few more weeks (although I love Christmas and love decorating for it, that I'm in such a hurry for the day after Thanksgiving so I can decorate).  I've decided that if we weren't having guests for Thanksgiving, we would be decorated for Christmas by now.  I don't know what has gotten into me this year (maybe the fact that we never got a tree last year since we didn't spend the holiday at home), so now I want to go overboard in a hurry!!  Anyway, I thought I would share some of my favorite scenes from my favorite movie with everyone! :-)




I love when Bing Crosby & Danny Kaye play out the "Sisters" Act!!! It may easily be the funniest part of the movie! :-)



At the age of 5 I aspired to be Vera Ellen!!! I was going to take years of dance classes and become a famous tap dancer. Unfortunately, those dance classes ended when I was 8. So much for that dream. ;-)



I love the section where the outfits come up. :-)



And who doesn't love the finale?!?

I'm hoping Brad's able to get that weekend off in December so I can plan a weekend to Rockefeller Center & go see this on Broadway (http://www.whitechristmasbroadway.com/)! :-)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

This needed a title & I managed to forget to give it one...

Brad and I had date day on Saturday & since it takes me twice as long to get ready than he does, he decided to pass time by playing photographer.  I must say, there must be something in the DeRoo blood because between him and his sister, they just have a knack for this! 








He took a few of the river!




The next two are my favorite!!!




 And to think, he figured this camera out on his own... I need a class for it!  xoxo