Friday, December 25, 2009

Snowed In for Christmas!!!

On our way up to Seth's parents' house Tuesday night there was freezing rain/wintry mix/sleet or whatever you want to call it.Wednesday morning there was 1/4 - 1/2 inch of ice coating everything outside.Thursday afternoon the snow started.

We went to church at 1pm, then went to visit Seth's grandmother at the care center and made a stop at Walmart. By the time we were on our way back to the house (about 4:30pm) there were several inches on the ground and the wind was kicking up some serious drifts. At the top of every hill we drove over the snow was blowing so badly that visibility dropped to zero. We got back to the house to find that the power had gone out. It came back on at about 5pm and my mother-in-law was able to finish the turkey that had been in the oven since before we left for church. We had a hot dinner and opened some gifts.

The "kids" (my husband, his two brothers, my future sister-in-law, and myself) hung out in the basement playing Kelli's wii and a pretty awesome board game called Encore. Just after we finished the game, the power went out again (about 1:00am). We figured that was a good sign we should all go to bed.

This morning we opened presents, enjoyed a Christmas cookie breakfast, and then a cheese-and-cracker-with-summer-sausage-left-over turkey-sandwich lunch. We all took naps and awoke around 3:30pm to find the POWER HAD COME BACK ON!!!

So now that I can get online, here are some lovely photos of the snow here in western Iowa:

The ice and snow covered tree in the back yard:

The driveway:Check out the cows! And I thought I was cold!

a not-so-smart person who tried to drive their car up the big hill:
It's still snowing and we're going on 18" (not counting the drifts!)
The good news is that Seth and his dad drove in to town and Seth feels pretty confident that we will be able to make it back home tomorrow.

In the mean time, I'm definitely enjoying the whitest Christmas I've ever had!

to you and your families! I'm praying that you are enjoying a blessed and joyous celebration of our Savior's birth!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Some overdue photos of the snow

About two weeks ago Iowa got hit with a ton of snow. You may recall my post about the three snow days in a row that I had that week. In that post I included some photos of our driveway and cars under 10-20 inches of snow (depending on the drifts). I also promised to post some pictures from our drive around town that day. Well... two weeks later, here they are!

Our street:

The hills of Glenwood, Iowa:
Downtown Glenwood:

We're up at Seth's parents' place right now for Christmas and they're forecasting 12"-18" of snow by Saturday morning (on top of the 1/4" - 1/2" of ice that's already coating everything.)

It should be an interesting drive back to Glenwood on Saturday morning... at least it's only 90 miles!


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

My Family's Christmas Cookies

One of my favorite parts of preparing for Christmas when I was growing up was helping Mom make the Christmas cookies. There were several different types that we always had: French lace roll-ups, Swedish heirlooms, white chocolate covered pretzels (I know, technically these aren't cookies), and... my favorite... Lebkuchen! Lebkuchen is a traditional German molasses cookie that looks kind of like gingerbread. They include pecans, walnuts, and dates along with a whole lot of yummy spices!

The first year I lived on my own, I got way too excited about recreating the wonderful Christmas coziness that I always enjoyed at home with my parents. I did have to make a few sacrifices. I got a fake tree instead of a live one, thinking the lesser fire risk would be a good idea since I was living alone. I did buy a few pine scented candles to try and make up for it though.

One thing I knew I couldn't scrimp on was lebkuchen. I went out and got a new mixing bowl that was big enough to handle the huge recipe as well as a heavy duty wooden spoon as I had heard my mother's stories about all of the spoons she had broken over the years trying to stir her lebkuchen dough.

I remember calling my mom from every aisle of the grocery store confirming that I was getting the right ingredients. "What kind of molasses do I need?" "Whole dates or chopped?" The calls continued when I got home and started mixing. Unfortunately I tried to add one cup of flour at a time... which worked great for the first four cups. By the time I got to the fifth or sixth cup I was calling my mother once again asking her how in the world I was supposed to finish adding all eight cups when my arm already felt like it was on fire. She laughed and told me that I should have only added the first two or three cups one at a time and wished me luck on the remainder of my stirring.
When Seth and I got married, my parents gave us a kitchen aid standing mixer and even at the end of June I was thinking about lebkuchen and how much easier it would be to use the dough hook to mix in those 8 cups of flour!

This year was my third year making lebkuchen with the mixer and it was every bit as wonderful as I remembered! I invited two middle school girls from our church to come over and help me since I didn't have much time and needed some extra hands. We had a lot of fun and the girls loved the cookies.
After a few hours of work (and having to put a few dozen back through the oven a second time) we ended up with about 8 dozen cookies. More than enough for the church bazaar, sending some home with the girls, taking some to work, bringing some home to my family for Christmas, and still having some left over for Seth and I to enjoy in 2010! Now if only I could find a use for that gigantic wooden spoon...

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


When I was a kid I loved snow days. A snow day meant bundling up in my warmest winter gear and playing outside with my sisters in the fresh white snow. We would build snow men, make snow angels, create snow forts, and run around until our ears, noses, and cheeks were pink and our gloves and mittens soaked through. Then we'd come inside, strip off our wet clothes and change back into our warm pajamas, and sip mugs of hot chocolate while watching one of our many favorite Christmas movies. Good times.

As a teacher, I also love snow days... but for much different reasons. Now when I get a free day to spend at home, I look forward to doing dishes, laundry, and other household chores. I still look forward to the hot chocolate (but perhaps with a little something extra mixed in ;-)

Yesterday I enjoyed the snow day by getting some chores done around the house. Today I have gotten a little farther with our Christmas decorations. I got the ornaments on the tree and put up a few of our nativity sets. I haven't found the tree topper yet, though, and may need to go hunting for more Christmas boxes in the basement.

It's a beautiful day outside and Seth and I are going to drive around a bit and get some pictures of our snow-covered town. For now, here are some pictures from our yard. We got about 12-14 inches of snow yesterday and overnight, and now the wind is blowing at 25-35 mph and making some lovely drifts. This one was peeking out our front door. That's Seth standing at the bottom of our driveway... with half of it left to shovel.Looking back up the driveway at the trailblazer

More to come later :-)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

After five looooong months...

I finally got to see my grandma, sisters, brothers-in-law, and my niece!!!
While I was very excited to see all of them, I must admit I was probably most excited to spend some time with my niece. The last time I saw her was over the 4th of July and I'm sure you all know how much a little girl changes between 15 and 20 months of age. After hearing all sorts of wonderful stories from my sisters and parents about all the fun things she's been doing over the last 5 months, I was dying to see her for myself! I even had a dream the week before Thanksgiving that I yelled at my mother and younger sister, telling them that they were to leave Addie and I alone, that it was our day to spend together, and to stay away. Yeah. I'm officially the crazy possessive aunt. I'm not proud.

But I was overjoyed to see my darling girl! I got hugs and kisses, I got led around the house by one finger, and I got lots and lots of giggles!

My favorite moment with Miss Addie was when she was bent over Memere's (grandma's) toy basket handing me toys behind her back without turning around. Each time I took a toy from her hand she would burst into a fresh round of giggles. A few times she almost fell into the basket she was laughing so hard! My dad (Pepere) caught some of it on video... I will be doing my best to get my hands on that footage!

These pictures are the only ones I took all weekend. Most of the time I was too busy playing with Addie or talking with my mom and sisters to take pictures. This is me trying to take a picture of us... might have turned out better if I'd just asked one of the other 9 adults in the house to do it for me! Oh well!Addie sure does make the cutest faces! Only four more weeks til I get to see her again... oh yeah, and the rest of my family too ;-)