December 29, 2014

First Snow of the Year

Technically this wasn't the first snow fall of the year.
We did get a skiff about two weeks ago.
But it rained within an hour and shortly after was gone.

This last Saturday however, was the first significant snow fall of the year.
The girls had a BLAST!

And so did Ziva dog.

Especially Zoie.

Eating Snow

Making Snow Angels

Making footprints in the snow

She gets it from her dad...
who loves to drive doughnuts in the snow.
We are a snow loving family.

How do you feel about snow?

December 24, 2014

Christmas Eve

It's Christmas Eve.

The presents are wrapped.

The fridge is stocked.

We're tracking Santa on Norad.

The cookies are baked (read: purchased) and ready for Santa.

The Hot Buttered Rum is calling my name.

Santa has been visited, and our wishes told in secret.

Tonight we'll open our annual Christmas Eve gift of pajamas.

We'll eat our annual Christmas Eve dinner of 
Steak and Baked Potatoes.

We'll snuggle up with something warm to drink and watch White Christmas.

We're hoping for even a skiff of snow tonight.

Our Family is ready for Christmas 2014.

Merry Christmas from our big happy family to yours.

December 22, 2014

Christmas Eve Memories

When I was a kid, every year on Christmas Eve we would go to the North Pole and visit Santa.
We always waited until Christmas Eve.
Waiting was important to my parents and we learned to love the anticipation.

So on Christmas Eve we would all pile into the car and drive to Deer Park. There in the woods, on Antler Road was a beautiful set up of Santa's Village. Entering the driveway was like driving through the North Pole; lights everywhere. We'd all pile out of the car in our Sunday best and walk up the lighted pathway to Santa's Workshop.

Once inside we were greeted by Santa's Elves and led to Santa. It smelled like fresh cut wood and roaring fire with just a hint of chocolate and magic. It was wonderful. I don't remember there ever being a line. We'd all walk up and take our turn to sit on Santa's lap and excitedly tell him of our Christmas Wishes. 

Once the pictures were taken the candy canes taken we we'd be shuffled off to choose a toy. Every child that went to see Santa got a toy when they left. The hand carved wooden toys were stacked on what seemed like shelf after shelf. Choosing was always easy for the boys; rubberband pistols and rifles were their go-to gift every year. For us girls, it was always a little harder to choose. Wooden dolls, doll house accessories, trinkets, and ornaments... I do remember choosing a rubberband rifle once or twice.

After saying our goodbyes and choosing our toys, we would head back home and get ready for bed. Too excited to sleep, I would usually stay up late reading or playing in my room. I remember watching out the window to see if Santa woud fly by. Grasping at my last bit of belief that he might show himself. 

Sadly, Santa's workshop in Deer Park is no longer operating; though I have driven by there every year just to check. I will always have those precious memories to hold tight to when Christmas rolls around every year. 

I am working towards making these types of memories for my kids.
For this year, Zoie is waiting until Christmas Eve to visit Santa and the anticiation is killing her.

I love it!

December 19, 2014

Instagram: Snapshot of 2014

Do you all use Instagram?

I do! And if you want, you can follow me at ChasingZoie!!

I love posting to Instagram, I don't know why, but it seems so much more personal than Facebook. Although, most of my Instagram photos end up on my Facebook anyway.

Here are some of my pics from the last few weeks.

(Numbered Left to Right)
1. Zoie, Maci, and Ryleigh on the way to Nana's for Thanksgiving.
2. Zoie and Daddy.
3. Jocelyn doing Uncle JC's hair at Thanksgiving.
4. My handsome hubby showing off his No Shave November growth.
5. Ryleigh showing Zoie a "Silent Night"
6. Zoie making tracks in the snow with her bike... in her jammies.
7. Getting my hairs done.
8. Celebrating Ryleigh turning 15!
9. Driving back from Montana.

Have you heard of Iconosquare?
Have you gotten their email about your Snapshot?
Its amaze-balls!! 
They will create for you a video of your most liked photos from the year.
It's a beautiful way to look back.

This is my video for 2014

I encourage you to check out your 2014 video.
You won't regret it!

Have a great weekend.
I think we'll make some cookies :)
Christmas is just around the corner!

December 18, 2014

Quick Taco Soup

I was Cah-Raving Tacos last night!
But alas...
I didn't have any taco shells or tortillas. 

That never happens!
We are a bulk buying family.

Chicken Torilla Soup?
Nope! No thawed chicken.


Taco Seaoning?

My pantry always has a costco box of diced tomotoes, black beans, and every kind of stock or broth you can think of.

Taco Soup ... just improvise a little.

Here is my tutorial on a super quick Taco Soup.

I started by browning about a pound of hamburger with a diced yellow onion.

Then drained a can of corn and a can of black beans.

Once the hamburger is fully cooked; drain the fat then add in the corn and beans.
Followed by two cans of diced tomatos and can of Diced Green Chilis.

(I didn't have any diced green chilis on hand so I substituted a can of Rotel for one of the cans of diced tomotoes and a can of Chilis.)

Let that cook down for a few minutes.
Then throw in a packet of Ranch Seasoning
and a 1/4 cup of Taco Seasoning.

a box of Vegetable Stock.
(You can also use Beef Stock)

Let it cook for 30 minutes or so.
Mine looked like this.

Enjoy with a dollop of Sour Cream and/or some Shredded Cheddar.
You can also crumble and top with Tortilla Chips.

So Good.

Next time you need a quick 30 minute meal,
this is definitely one you can turn to.

Taco Soup
1 Pound Hamburger
1 Diced Yellow Onion
1 14 oz Can Corn
1 14oz Can Black Beans
2 14 oz Can Diced Tomatoes
1 6 oz Can Diced Green Chilis
1 Packet Ranch Seasoning
1 Packet Taco Seasoning
32 oz Box Beef or Vegetable Stock

Brown hamburger and onion in a soup pot. Drain fat. Drain corn and black beans in a strainer, then add to the cooked beef and onion. 
Stir in tomatoes, green chilis, and stock.
Stir in Ranch Seasoning and Taco Seasoning.
Add more to taste if necessary.
Let cook for 30 minutes.
Serve with topping of choice.

December 17, 2014

Looking Back to Christmas 2004

Oh my aching heart.

Our second Christmas as a family.
Way back in 2004.
The kids were so young.
We were so young. 

I still remember it as though it was just last year.

But it wasn't, it was SO long ago!

Twelve Christmas's celebrated as a family.
The thirteenth one will be celebrated this year.

I love my family.

Awe... I love looking back.


December 15, 2014

On The Road Again - Weekend in Review

We just had another weekend of traveling.
It's a wonder our home remembers who we are.
Sometimes I feel like we are away far more often than we are home. 

Good thing I like to travel.
Or that would make me sad.

This weekend we drove to Montana to spend some time with my step-daughter, Ryleigh and celebrate her 15th birthday. You can read about why we are visiting her in Montana here.

How can she be 15 already?
I honestly have no earthly idea where the time has gone. 
We celebrated by opening gifts at the hotel 
during continental breakfast.
Then had a delicious birthday dinner at
It was delicious and we stuffed ourselves.

We spend most of Saturday shopping some local shops in Kalispell while braving the unfortunate rain we encountered. It would have been lovely to have had some snow for our Northern Montana visit, but it just didn't work out. 

On Saturday, we also took the girls to see Penguins of Madagascar.
The girls really enjoyed it.

If you decide to see it this winter, all of you adults will enjoy hearing the hilarious way they use famous names in regular sentences. 
We laughed out loud! 

Sunday we made a short stop in Whitefish, Montana to walk through all of the beautiful small town shops. The view of the ski hill was absolutely gorgeous. 

Then we enjoyed a beautiful drive home.
Actually taking some time to stop and enjoy some of the view,

throw rocks in the river,

and listen to our echos off the resevoir walls by the Libby Damn.

A great weekend spent on the road with family.
I think we're well rested and ready for what Monday brings.


December 4, 2014

Throwback Thursday - December 4

It's another throwback kind of Thursday!
#ThrowbackThursday #TBT

Cathey is my Mama's best friend.
That's her handsome husband, Brian, looking on.
And my sweet Zoie, who loves Cathey as much as I do.

Cathey has been a big part of my life since I was 12.

I used to babysit her kids.
Her kids are like my younger siblings.

I LOVE LOVE LOVE her and her family!

She lives in California so we don't get to see her as much as we want.
In fact, I haven't seen her since 2012.

I need a visit!
I miss her!
I need a hug from her!

I also need a sandwich from her. 
Cathey makes THE BEST sandwiches.

I think I need to plan another road trip.
Let the planning begin.

Cathey and Brian we are coming to see you!
Hopefully sooner rather than later!


December 3, 2014

Wordless Wednesday

(Semi) Wordless Wednesday

This is my Grandma, Kay
She is Zoie's great grandma

And Zoie LOVES her!