Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Merry Adventures of Peppermint

December has been such a busy time for us. Our month has been filled with friends, family, field trips, outings and so much fun. Which of course, means, that I have been a terrible blogger!  So, I thought I'd catch you up on the adventures of our little elf, Peppermint.  Here is a recap of the month's adventures...
(Some are repeats, but I thought I'd just show all the pics in one post)...

Day One - we received Peppermint in the mail, and placed him on the fireplace.

Day Two - found him in the train, taking a joy ride back from the North Pole.

Day Three - caught with his whole body in the candy bowl.

Day Four - made a mess of the crayons and markers, but drew a really cute pic for the kids!

Day Five - Hanging from the chandelier.

Day Six - Stuck, way up high, on the Christmas tree.

Day Seven - Flirting with the girls, while playing a game upstairs. (Lily insisted he was kissing some girls! Heehee)

Day Eight - We found this note on the wall and found him hiding in the plant...

Day Nine - He was playing with marshmallows and created a cute marshmallow snowman, but somebody ate it before I could take a pic!

Day Ten - Cruising in a bug, under the Christmas tree.

Day Eleven - He decided to TP the bathroom and got his tushy stuck in a candle. Hope he didn't burn his bum!

Day Twelve - He was caught in a Pointsettia, listening to Matt's Mp3 player. I think I heard some Green Day coming out of it. LOL

Day Thirteen - Hanging in the shower with a towel around him. Hmmm...He must have been feeling dirty.

On Day Fourteen the elf didn't move. That means that either he didn't have anything good to report to Santa or he forgot. Hmmm....Either way, the kids were really disappointed!

Day Fifteen - He reminded the kids that they were going to the dentist on that day! Thanks, Peppermint!

Day Sixteen - How embarrassing! Glad he didn't hang any of my underwear up there!

Day Seventeen - Snowball fight. I think the bunny lost! ;)

Day Eighteen - Reading a book to the cats and guinea pigs! How sweet!

Day Nineteen - Hmmm. Someboday was hungry!

Day Twenty - Santa asked him to check out the fireplace! ;)

Day Twenty One - Little Peppermint was trying to get buff. He likes the barbell Lily made for him!

Day Twenty Two - Either he is channeling Leo in Titantic and pretending to be "King of the World," or maybe he wants to be like Buzz Lightyear and go to "Infinity and Beyond!"

Day Twenty Three - Somebody wanted to play in the snow!

Day Twenty Four - Guess Peppermint was thirsty. He left a note saying that Santa gave the kids permission to give Peppermint and hug and kiss good-bye since it is his last night with us! We will certainly miss his silly antics!

I wish all of my blog readers a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from my family to yours! God Bless you in 2012 and always! :) xoxo - Michelle

Saturday, December 10, 2011

That Sneaky Elf

A few nights ago, we awoke to that sneaky elf up in the tree. He is quite the climber!

When I woke up the next morning, Lily told me, "The elf has been kissing girls." She took me by the hand and brought me upstairs to show me this scene...

 I don't think he was kissing anyone, just playing a card game. Or maybe he was making the dolls hold up numbers to rate the tricks he can do? Who knows?

 Today we found this note spelled out in post-it notes. It says, "Peppermint was here."

And he was under the sign, hiding in my plant.

Where do you suppose he'll be next?

Friday, December 9, 2011

Holiday Train Station

 Our village puts on a really nice holiday party every year.  They hold the celebration at the local train station and the kids enjoy meeting characters (like the gingerbread couple above)...

and we take a carraige ride like the one below...

We had hot cocoa, and the kids ate chocolate bars, bought some ornaments...

Went on a few rides...

And had enough smiles to share...

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Potato Latkes

Potato Latkes

2 pounds potatoes, peeled
1 medium sweet onion, trimmed
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
½ cup vegetable oil
Sour cream or applesauce for topping

  1. Coarsely shred potatoes and onion on a box grater or in a food processer. (I have a cool shredding tool that looks like a potato peeler). Combine in a colander or strainer and press out as much liquid as possible. Toss with lemon juice. Stir in garlic.
  2. Transfer to a bowl. Add flour, eggs, salt and pepper. Stir to combine.  Heat ¼ cup oil in skillet over medium heat.
  3. Scoop a 1/3 cup of the mixture into the hot oil and flatten to ½ inch thick. Repeat, not crowding the pan.  Cook 2-3 minutes per side, until brown. Transfer to a paper towel-lined baking sheet. Repeat until all mixture is used up.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Holiday Lights at the Zoo

The other night we headed over to the Holiday Lights at the zoo.  Greeting us at the entrance were lots of furry friends that wanted pictures with us!  We didn't see a whole lot of real animals that night, but we did see some real reindeer. (They are quite hornery animals. We saw them getting into tangled antler fights quit a bit.  One reindeer only had one antler because he lost the other in a fight the previous night.  It looked painful.)  We also saw some raccoons and owls, bats and wombats, donkey, cows, ducks and chicks.  It was so beautiful with all of the lights at night.

We also got to see Mr. and Mrs. Claus.  They were really cute!  The kids loved it!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Veggie No-Noodle Lasagna

Veggie No-Noodle Lasagna

2 eggplants, cut into ½ inch rounds
2 zucchinis, cut into ½ inch rounds
2 yellow squash, cut into ½ inch rounds
1 tsp EVOO
½ large yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
24 oz cottage cheese
2 tsp dried oregano
cooking spray
6 oz shredded mozzarella
Fresh basil for garnish

  1. Preheat oven to 375*. Line a few baking sheets with parchment paper and spread eggplant, zucchini and squash out in a single layer. Bake 30 minutes, set aside.
  2. In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil on medium for 1 min. Add onion and cook, stirring often for 5 min. Add garlic and cook an additional 2 min.  Remove from heat. Stir in cottage cheese and oregano.
  3. Lightly coat an 11x17 inch baking dish with zucchini and squash, using all rounds and overlapping to cover the bottom of dish.  Top with half of cheese mixture.  Arrange eggplant over cheese in the same fashion.  Top with remaining cottage cheese mixture and mozzarella. Bake for 30 minutes. Garnish with basil.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Elf Update

Wondering what our little Peppermint has been up to the past few days?...

Well, one morning the kids found him under a table, making a mess of our markers and crayons.

But he did draw this really cute pic for the kids!

Another morning, they found him getting into the candy bowl...
(notice the wrapper on his head?) There was candy spilled all over the counter too!

He was holding this note to Lily in his hands. She really enjoyed it. She said that the reason that Peppermint's name appears 5 times is because Santa was trying to tell her that Peppermint is 5 years old.

Another this morning they found him...

Hanging from the kitchen chandelier...
Lily decorated a sugar cookie for Peppermint and left it in a tin with this note attached. In the morning, the cookie had been eaten and a little "thank you," was written at the bottom of the note. Guess he liked her cookie. All that was left were crumbs.

I'm wondering what else is in store...

Italian Steak

Italian Steak

1 lb round steak
salt and pepper
egg (lightly beaten)
sliced mozzarella cheese
1 large can of tomato sauce

  1. Cut steak into 4-5 pieces. Put onto cutting board and pound both sides with a tenderizer.
  2. Dip each piece into beaten egg and then dredge both side in flour.
  3. Place in frying pan with a little heated oil on bottom. Brown both sides for about a minute and drain.
  4. Place steaks in a foil lined glass casserole dish.  Sprinkle with oregano. Cover with tomato sauce. Cover pan with foil. Bake for 1 hour at 350*.
  5. After one hour, top each piece of meat with a slice of mozzarella cheese. Bake until melted.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Easy Maple Pumpkin Pie

Easy Maple Pumpkin Pie

Premade pie crust
2 large eggs
1 can (15oz) pumpkin puree
1 cup heavy cream
½ cup pure maple syrup
¾ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground cloves

  1. Set oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 350*. Place the pie plate on a foil lined baking sheet.
  2. Whisk together eggs, pumpkin, cream, syrup, cinnamon, ginger, salt and cloves.
  3. Poor mixture into crust and bake approx 70 minutes, or until center is set. Let cool to room temp before serving.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Steak and Bacon Crock Pot Roll Ups

Steak & Bacon Crock Pot Roll-ups

2 lbs round steak
dijon mustard
1 can beef broth
1/3 cup flour
½ cup water
2 tbsp worcestershire sauce
1 cup chopped onion

Spread each steak with mustard and lay a slice of bacon on top. Roll up with bacon on the inside. Place in crockpot.  Combine all other ingredients and poor over steaks. Cook on low 6-8 hours.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Introducing Our Newest Family Member...

On December 1st a mysterious package arrived on our front door with a note attached. The note said:
Dear Stankevicius Family, Please read the book inside when you are all together tonight.  This is a very important gift from someone at the North Pole.  When you are finished reading, remind the three children in your home that they are not allowed to touch anything in the box.  Your elf will be reporting back to Santa every night.  Make sure he always has good news to report.  Matt, remember to be kind to your sisters.  Do not start trouble and always do your homework.  Lily, remember to take your meds every morning and night without arguing and remember not to scream at your brother, sister, mother or father.  Zoey, listen to your parents and be helpful to your brother and sister.  And go to bed on time.  Please remember to NEVER touch your family's elf and look for him every morning to see what kind of silly adventure or trouble he has been in.  (Your elf tends to get into trouble a lot!)  Happy Holidays, from, your secret friend at the North Pole.

Well, our family had a great time reading the story together.  The book said the first thing we needed to do was name him.  We decided on Peppermint Snowflake Fruitcake Stankevicius. Sounds great, doesn't it?  And wouldn't you know it, the behavior in our house last night was impeccable!! Hmmm...they must really be trying to impress the Big Guy at the North Pole!

When we woke up this morning, we really had to look long and hard before we spotted this little sneakster.  He was hiding on one of the wooden train cars on the half-wall.

(Lily snapped this picture this morning!) At least he didn't get into too much trouble on his first night with us! Can't wait to see what else he has in store.

BTW...these will be my first two pics in my December Daily album.


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