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  1. Sunday, December 30

    Week 310 Menu

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    I know this is a food blog and you’re here for food, but Owen was eating his yogurt this morning (he insists on doing it himself these days), and, well, the camera couldn’t resist taking a few shots. When he pulls the yogurt cup close to peer inside to see if there is more yogurt? Makes-a-mom’s-heart-melt material indeed.

    I seriously, honestly have no menu this week! We still have grandparents in town and, on Tuesday, we are driving to San Diego to show the kids where they will be living and to take Nate to his new job! (The kids and I are moving down in a couple of weeks.) It’s going to be another week full of fun, fun, fun!

    MONDAY:
    - New Year’s Eve with the grandmas (Dad and grandpas are heading to the Rose Bowl. Go Stanford!) – Snacky food is the plan for that night!

    TUESDAY:
    - On the road!

    WEDNESDAY – FRIDAY:
    - In San Diego…my mom will be with us, which means we’ll need to have at least one meal at Daphne’s. Hello, yummy Greek takeout.

    SATURDAY:
    - On the road!

    SUNDAY:
    - Make dinner with food in the freezer…I need to start using it all up before we move!

    Your turn, bring on the menus! For those of you menu-planning stalwarts who have been posting faithfully through these holiday weeks, THANK YOU! Keep it coming! Next week I imagine we’ll all be back in the swing of things!

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  2. Thursday, December 27

    Hot Chocolate Pot

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    Hey everybody! Hope you’re having a good week! I’ve sort of disappeared from the blog. We’ve been very busy. You know, eating meatballs and bulle, playing with toys, sleeping in, watching movies. I love that kind of busy. It has felt so great to take a little break, before the big move, before real life gets all crazy-like again.

    My sister Anne gave me a fun foodie gift for Christmas, so I thought I would share it with you! It’s the Chef’n Froth & Pour Hot Chocolate Pot from Williams-Sonoma. As with many items at Williams-Sonoma, you certainly do not NEED a hot chocolate pot, but now that I have it in my hot little hands, I am so glad we have it! (Speaking of not needing stuff at Williams-Sonoma, this Hater’s Guide is pretty darn funny. If swearing bothers you, I recommend not clicking through!)

    The pot does a great job mixing and frothing up your hot chocolate. Come on, who doesn’t like a little froth? But my favorite part is the pouring spout. The one thing I hate about making hot chocolate is pouring it from the pan to the cups…it’s always such a mess! The hot chocolate pot allows for an easy, tidy pour into the mugs. It’s awesome! I’m sold!

    In fact, I think I’ll go froth up some hot chocolate right now.

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  3. Sunday, December 23

    Week 309 Menu

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    After a beyond-insane December, this weekend I could finally breathe a bit and start to just enjoy the season. It makes me feel, quite simply, happy.

    We celebrate Christmas in our home, so we have a Christmasy week ahead of us!

    MONDAY:
    - Chinese take-out (a Maynard family Christmas Eve tradition that I greatly appreciate!)

    TUESDAY:
    - Swedish Meatballs
    - Red potatoes
    - Green beans

    WEDNESDAY:
    - Leftovers

    THURSDAY:
    - Taking the girls to the Nutcracker that afternoon in San Francisco, so we’ll probably grab a bite out somewhere

    FRIDAY – SUNDAY:
    - Both sets of parents are in town, so I’m going to just play it by ear

    In addition to Swedish meatballs, we will of course be having bulle (Swedish cardamom bread). Oh, I can’t WAIT for that to come out of the oven!

    I a excited to see what food traditions your family has this week! And, if you’re not celebrating Christmas, please still post as I will need your menus next week when we get back into a normal routine.

    Happy Holidays!

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  4. Thursday, December 20

    Dipping Biscotti in Chocolate

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    I finally made a ton of cinnamon sugar and chocolate candy cane biscotti for our teacher and friend gifts, thanks to help from my sister Anne. They turned out very cute and, more importantly, very delicious!

    The day before I made the biscotti I was at Cafe Borrone and I noticed that their chocolate-dipped biscotti was dipped lengthwise. When I dipped biscotti with my friends a few weeks ago, we dipped the ends into the chocolate, which looked totally cute. But lengthwise is also cute and, more importantly, more delicious! You get chocolate in every bite. Boo-yah.

    Anna was with me for all the dipping. We kept chanting, “Dip and drip!” It was super cute.

    Happy dipping and dripping!

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  5. Wednesday, December 19

    Gratitude

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    Yesterday was a rough day, thanks to work and myriad other things going on. When dinnertime rolled around, we decided to just hit California Pizza Kitchen with the kids. When we first got there, Owen was being all grumpy-like and the girls were kind of hyper. I was feeling overwhelmed.

    Then Cate said, “Let’s play I Spy!” Honestly, my brain couldn’t handle it. I kept thinking about my to-do list, I wasn’t feeling well, I just didn’t have the energy. But Nate jumped in and proceeded to play a guessing game with the girls all throughout dinner. I sat there, watching their excitement with the game, listening to their sweet comments, gazing at their innocent, beautiful faces. It was like a healing balm. I felt grateful…grateful for Nate, grateful for those cute kids.

    Gratitude. That is what I’m focusing on this week.

    Gratitude for a 5-year-old daughter who wanted a crown birthday cake. Gratitude that I had the chance to make it for her.

    Gratitude for the work that provides us a place to live, even if it gets stressful sometimes.

    Gratitude for each moment I get to spend with my loved ones.

    I’ll survive the week. I may or may not get everything done that I’m supposed to, but that’s okay. I am grateful.

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  6. Sunday, December 16

    Week 308 Menu…Honoring…

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    Today, no menu. I don’t know, it just doesn’t feel right. I know all of us were affected deeply by what happened in Connecticut on Friday. It was all I could do not to burst into tears at any given moment on Friday, especially as I sat in my car at school pick-up watching my daughter’s classmates stream out of the school in anticipation of the weekend, blissfully unaware of the dangers in the world.

    I talked with Cate just a bit about what happened. No details, just broad strokes.  I wanted her to know a little of what happened, in case she heard talk of the event at school or in other places, which I am sure she will. I wanted her to feel safe. I wanted her to know that, despite the bad in the world, there is good.

    A quote going around Facebook this weekend really struck me. It’s from Fred Rogers, one of my all-time favorite people. “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,’ I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.” I shared this quote with Cate. She got it. And we both agreed, the world is full of helpers.

    My weekly menu post is normally up Sunday morning. It was on my to-do list this morning, as it is every week. Only today was also one of our daughter’s birthday.  So there were other items on the list that aren’t normally there. Blowing up balloons. Wrapping presents. Decorating birthday cake. Surviving {barely} dinner at Chuck E Cheese. The blog post kept moving down the list. Because those other items, those were more important. Those were the moments that needed to be savored and the blog post could wait.

    Instead of menus this week, let’s focus our comments on honoring the families of Newtown, Connecticut. One of my online friends Victoria, aka VDog, lost her nephew Noah on Friday. Her tweet was one of the first I read on Friday and it broke my heart. Please comment and share words of comfort, love and support for sweet little Noah’s family and all the families affected by this tragedy. (You can click here for more info on how to support Victoria.)

    Much love to all…

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  7. Friday, December 14

    Virtual ‘Favorite Things’ Gift Exchange / Holiday Gift Guide

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    Last night my friend Courtney hosted a gift exchange at her home. The theme was “My Favorite Things” and it was a LOT of fun. Everyone had to think of their “favorite thing,” valued at $15, and then we each brought three of that favorite thing to the party. Everyone presented their favorite items to the group, explaining why they were so wonderful, then we pulled names from a bowl and everyone went home with three gifts that were other peoples’ favorite things. It was super cute and I loved seeing what everyone chose to share!

    I was already planning on telling you today what my favorite thing was (of course it’s chocolate), but as I was sitting there last night, this blog post kept growing in my head. First I thought, “Wouldn’t it be fun to do a virtual ‘favorite things’ gift exchange on my blog, where everyone comments and says what they would have brought to the party?” Then, as I furiously took notes on everyone’s favorite things last night, I realized I should be sharing that list with you, too! I mean, that is one totally awesome gift guide!

    So, what began as a short “here’s my favorite thing” blurb has turned into a blog post with a three-fold mission!

    1. I will share my favorite thing with you
    2. I will share all of my friends’ favorite things with you.
    3. You will share YOUR favorite thing with all of us! Please comment and tell us what you would have brought to the “My Favorite Things” gift exchange. Your budget is $15!

    I’m sure you dying to know what I took to the party, right? My gift included to two items made by GuittardCocoa Rouge and Super Cookie Chips. (Click through on those hyperlinks to read why I love them so much. AWESOME stuff.)

    And now for the list of favorite things from last night! There are tons of great gift ideas in here…or even just ideas when you need to splurge on yourself a bit!

    Time for the virtual gift exchange! Tell us what your favorite thing is! Your budget is around $15. Can’t wait to read about your faves!
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  8. Wednesday, December 12

    Call for Recipes: Inspired Slow Cooker Recipes!

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    A reader named Tony emailed me recently requesting a Call for Recipes. I LOVE Call for Recipes posts. They make me happy, seeing all your favorite recipes. I especially love it when the theme of these posts comes from one of you, which they often do!

    Tony recently found a slow cooker cookbook that was inspiring, including a recipe for cake. Tony’s reaction was, “Slow cookers can bake a cake?!?!”  So, Tony hit the keyboard and sent me a great email, including this: Almost everyone has a slow cooker from their wedding, but many hardly use them, so it was inspiring to learn that breakfast foods, cakes and other non-traditional foods were possible in a slow cooker. With the holidays coming up, having easy to prep and serve food is a necessity, but great/creative recipes for the slow cooker have been few and far between.

    Thus today’s Call for Recipes was born! Tony and I want you to share your favorite traditional and non-traditional slow cooker (a.k.a. crock pot) recipes. Tony thought it would be cool to see what ideas are out there, and I agree! Can’t wait to see your creative and fun slow cooker recipes!

    I’ll admit, my slow cooking experiences have not been very out-of-the-box. I love to make pulled pork, teriyaki chicken and pot roast with my slow cooker. These are all great recipes, but that’s about all I’ve got up my slow cooking sleeve. My slow cooker is hoping you will have something fun for it to try!

    Please note, if you have a slow cooker recipe that isn’t necessarily fun and creative but still wonderful and delicious, please feel free to share it!

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  9. Tuesday, December 11

    Happy Holiday Giveaway: Canon EOS T3i DSLR!

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    THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED. THANK YOU!

    Hannukah is in full swing. Christmas is right around the corner. Giving is in the air!

    Because I’ve caught the giving bug, I’ve joined up with 9 other bloggers today to bring you an amazing giveaway! Together we are giving away a Canon Rebel T3i.

    I use the Canon Rebel T2i. I LOVE MY CAMERA. It’s the camera I recommend when people ask me about cameras. Since I got my T2i, the T3i and T4i have come out…and they are all amazing. Anyway, I’m super excited about this giveaway because it’s COOL and because I LOVE the camera. And I want one of you to win it!

    This giveaway is a little different than all the other giveaways on my site. No commenting this time around. To enter, use the following rafflecopter widget. Don’t forget to claim all of your bonus entries to improve your chances of winning!

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Happy Happy Happy Holidays from:

    1. Crissy of Dear Crissy
    2. Kami of NoBiggie
    3. Stacie of Simply Stacie
    4. Allison of Petit Elefant
    5. Myra of My Blessed Life
    6. Jane of This Week for Dinner
    7. Laura of Real Mom Kitchen
    8. Amy of Positively Splendid
    9. Chari of Persnickety Prints
    10. Mique of 30 Days

    *Be sure to checkout all the great blogs above!

    GIVEAWAY RULES:
    NO PURCHASE NECESSARY.

    *This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook or Pinterest. We hereby release Facebook and Pinterest of any liability.

    This giveaway is open to entrants 18 years or older, worldwide. If our randomly drawn winner is a resident of the United States, he or she will receive the Canon DSLR described above. If a non-US winner is selected, a cash prize of equal value ($599) will be delivered via PayPal. Entrants from outside the United States should have a valid PayPal address prior to entry. Cash option also available for winning US resident upon request.

    The winner will be notified through email by December 28th, and will need to respond within 48 hours to claim their prize or another winner will be chosen. Giveaway starts Tuesday, December 11th and ends Thursday, December 27th at 10 PM MST. Once the giveaway ends, the winner will be chosen randomly using the Rafflecopter widget and contacted within 24 hours by email. This post will be updated with the winner’s name.

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  10. Sunday, December 9

    Week 307 Menu

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    First off, thanks for all the well wishes last week! Everything is all better now (thank goodness!) and we really appreciated your kind words and tips!

    The December rush is in full swing and we’re having a lot of fun! We held Cate’s birthday party yesterday and it went so smoothly. Side note: seven- and eight-year-old girls LOVE party games. It doesn’t take much to entertain them! Cate chose an animal theme for her party and decided she wanted a giraffe birthday cake. I was so happy with how he came out. (Click here for my how-to-make-cute-cakes-even-when-you-don’t-know-what-you’re-doing post.)

    Soooo…our family has some news. We are moving to San Diego in January! Nate has a great job opportunity in San Diego so we are moving back! We are really going to miss the Bay Area terribly, but it’s fun to move to a place we love and know well. For the next month or so we are going to try to use up food in the freezer, so there may be some random stuff on the weekly menus!

    MONDAY:
    - Chicken strips (we have a bunch of these in the freezer!)
    - Carrots

    TUESDAY:
    - Stefania’s Braised Chicken (I have a few pounds of chicken legs in the freezer)
    - Rice and Salad

    WEDNESDAY:
    - Take out (swim lesson night)

    THURSDAY:
    - Leftovers from Sunday, Monday and Tuesday

    FRIDAY:
    -  Homemade pizza ~or~ paninis (tbd)

    SATURDAY:
    - Chuck E. Cheese for Anna’s birthday (it’s her family year so she got to choose the “restaurant”)

    SUNDAY:
    - Breakfast for dinner

    You know the drill…please post your menu for the week, no matter how small or big, plain or fancy!

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