time stands still best in moments that look suspiciously like ordinary life - brian andreas

Thursday, December 30, 2010

my big fat greek christmas

Growing up in the Conklin household, we always had a HUGE spread Christmas Eve.  Friends and family gathered around smoked turkey, various cracker/dip combinations, vegetable and fruit trays, little smokies (with individual toothpicks), and a slew of delicious desserts.  Although I try, I am not nearly as talented in the kitchen as Betty Crocker my mother, Jill.  So in an effort to save myself the humiliation and disappointment of not measuring up to her skills, I decided to go a totally different direction with our Eve festivities.  I made Greek inspired chicken(olives, red onion, pine nuts, red pepper, and feta), kabobs, and an heirloom tomato salad with a balsamic reduction.  I also tried my hand at hummus, which turned out about as I'd expected...not wonderful, but edible(I added too much tahini, which gave it a biting sesame flavor).  Topping it with the marinated red onions and feta helped mask the flavor, and made for a tasty side dish.

We SO enjoyed the company of these two at our house this Christmas Eve:

(note: isn't my mom the cutest thing you've seen in a long time!??)

And I think they liked the excitement and chaos that always follows these cute little ones:

opening jammies on Christmas Eve

And there was lots to do to get ready for Santa's big visit: cookies to bake(Snickerdoodles, they're Santa's favorite you know?!), pick carrots for Rudolph, and get Santa's snack ready. 


Soon enough it was time for bed(my favorite time of day) and the children were all nestled snug in their
beds, while visions of sugarplums danced in their heads...



Monday, December 20, 2010

a whole lot of nothing

I really have nothing to say, but I'm fearful that if I go too long without blogging I'll never do it again.  So instead, I'll bore you (by you, I mean the 6 of you reading this) with the details of what we've been doing and what we have planned for the Christmas weekend.
Both Dawson and Harper had their Christmas programs at preschool. They sung songs, recited parts, and Santa paid a visit afterwards.  They were so excited to share the songs they've been practicing with us. 

Last week was finals week for Dylan.  We barely survived.  The kids and I felt abandoned, and bored.  It rained a lot.  There were lots of trips to Target, lots of popcorn consumed, and lots of whining by all of us.  It really was torture.  It was a long week, but we're 1 semester closer to being done.  And during my week alone I realized that Dylan and I will be celebrating our 5 year anniversary this month...and he's been in school the entire time....thus the whining.  Enough said.
We are staying in Forest Grove for Christmas this year.  The Conklins are coming for a visit and we're excited about hosting this year.  We don't know what we'll do, but there's been discussion of take-out and movies.  It all sounds great to me, I'm just grateful to have family.
In just a few short weeks I'll be on my way to Utah to visit Betsy...alone.  I can hardly wait.  We (Betsy and I) are so excited.  I don't know that Dylan shares our excitement since he'll be home alone for 4 days with all the kids.  He'll survive.
The kids have been pretty good this year, and are anxiously awaiting Santa's visit.  Dawson asked for Legos and a superhero.  Harper wants a Barbie and Mike & Ikes (she is my daughter, what do you expect?).  Beckham wants a pillow pet, so he can fit in with the other kids :)  I think they'll probably all get what they asked for...how could they not?!  Look at those eyes...

I went thrifting a few weeks ago (one of my favorite ways to spend any free time I have) and this was my find.  It was $7...it's just perfect for a cut out between my entry way and my living room.  It must weigh at least 5 lbs, and is made out of cast iron.  The shape is charming but simple, and I love love love the vintage yellow color.  It's the perfect addition to the space.  Cute right?!

Oh, and one last thing.  I'm new to blogging, but the longer you read this the more you'll notice that the majority of my life(blogs, texts, fb posts, conversations, emails, etc) revolves around food.  So I wanted to just say how excited I am that Costco is carrying their macadamia caramel nut clusters.  If you've had them, you probably quit reading and ran to get some.  If you haven't tried them, spare yourself the 10 lbs.  They are little bits of heaven...


Monday, December 13, 2010


This is going to be a quick post...as I type this, I have 3 naked little ones running around my house pretend 'camping' and tugging on my legs.  I also have to prepare a delicious Mexican meal for my studious husband, who not only endured a truly disgusting dinner last night, but finals today(and all week for that matter...the finals, not the disgusting meals). 
However, I didn't want to miss this chance to express how proud I am of my little sister, Betsy.  Today she finished her LAST class of her college career, a true accomplishment for many, but especially the Conklins.  She is the first(and arguably the last) of the Conklin girls to complete college, and did so with a 4.0 many semesters.  She managed to do this while playing basketball, getting married, working(2 jobs at one point), playing bunko, and a slew of decorating/crafting endeavors.  I am so proud of her for working hard, enduring to the VERY end, and making it all look effortless.  She is off to a much deserved vaca to Hawaii, where I'm hoping she'll leave her worries behind, work on her tan, and soak up some sun with her in-laws(especially soak some up for the pasty residence of Forest Grove, Oregon...the place where the sun never shines).  Congratulations to the college graduate...now the real fun begins. :)


Friday, December 10, 2010

A few exciting things...

We've had a couple exciting and WONDERFUL things happen lately to our family...and hold the comments/questions/concerns about pregnancy:  I AM NOT. 
That said, about a year ago Dylan starting talking about applying for a scholarship that the Air Force offers to graduate students.  It's called the Health Professions Scholarship.  In exchange for 3 years of commitment to the Air Force after graduation from optometry school, they pay for 2 years of school, books and equipment.  Additionally, they pay a monthly stipend and guaranteed a job after graduation.  After months of waiting anxiously, Dylan received a call that he had been chosen to receive the scholarship. For so many reasons we are excited about this opportunity and for so many reasons I am proud of Dylan.  He has worked hard to maintain good grades, has established sound relationships with professors who were happy to recommend him for this, and passed the physical part of the application as well(not in any part due to my constant baking of cookies, candy, and sweets).  In a few days he will sign his name on the dotted line, and by May will be sworn in as an Air Force Lieutenant.  Upon graduation, he will be an officer.  It's all very exciting, and sounds fancy to me... :)

The second exciting thing I have to share is that Trader Joes is once again carrying their dried pineapple.  It is a favorite treat of mine and I was CRUSHED when they stopped selling it last year.  On Tuesday I dropped in to pick up a few things(their boxed gingerbread mix is divine) and low and behold...there it was.  It was an exciting day....yes, I am easily pleased and my life is that simple.

Lastly, Dylan and I have a secret scoreboard of who is right most often....not about anything in particularly, just different (and important) things that come up in life...ie: who sang certain songs, who ate more of the salt and vinegar kettle chips, and which of us slept in later on Saturday.  See what I mean?!  Important things.
So tonight we had a debate going about whether Reeces pieces had chocolate between the peanut butter and shell, or not.  He said they did, I said they did not.  So we broke one open and guess what...they don't.  Yessss.  Tally one up for me(don't worry, the score is not even close to being even...I'm leading by a long shot), which really makes my night. 

So, what's your vote??


Wednesday, December 8, 2010


So I had to recruit my (incredibly patient and talented) little sister Betsy to decorate my blog for me.  I'd given up.  After trying(with no success) to set up my own in April and again in October, I finally have a blog*...you're reading it!  Betsy did a great job and I have her to thank for the cute background and not-so-cute family picture, above.  Thanks Bets!
Instead of trying to catch up on the last 4.5 years I should have been blogging, I am going to start fresh with NOW. 
Today the rain was here, so after wandering Target we came home, ate, bathed, and were jammied by 5:00pm.  It was a fun day filled with puddles, rain boots, popcorn(at Target of course), and help doing Christmas cards.  I love my little helpers.

A few months back I was at the Goodwill bins(AKA: glorified dumpster diving) and found this advent wall hanging. 

It's a bear and you move it by day to a new spot in it's 'home.'  My kids have taken turns moving him from the ice skating rink, to the grandfather clock, up the stairs, and soon enough he'll end up in the living room opening gifts on Christmas morning.  The best part(other than that it cost me a whopping $.88, that's right, you pay in bulk at the bins so can get a lot for your buck...are you disgusted yet?!) is that my mom had the EXACT same one when we were growing up.  I remember each night sitting on the floor with my 3 sisters, moving the bear from the mailbox, to the closet under the stairs, and eventually to the living room opening gifts on Christmas morning.  It's a tradition I'm thrilled to pass on.  A big thanks to my mom for thinking of it, my sisters for the memories, and the bins for a steal!


*this is in no way a commitment to blog consistently, but I WILL try