Thursday, December 29, 2011

Guess Who?


One of the best things about having two boys at the same time of year, is that Ryder can wear most of Parker's old clothes.  So, of course I had to put Ryder in the same outfit Parker wore on Christmas, three years ago.  I tried to re-create the same poses, but didn't get them exactly and I was taking them at night instead of the during the day.  It's fun to compare them and see their similarities and differences.  Parker was definitely bigger and had fuller cheeks than Ryder.  I think they are pretty darn cute!

Christmas 2008 - Parker Jackson

Christmas 2011 - Ryder Norman
Happy Champagne Thursday!


Friday, December 23, 2011

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays from our family to yours!

Take a look at last years card here.


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Sugar High

I love baking, especially around the holidays.  This year I made frosted sugar cookies, creamy mints, almond roca cookies and peanut butter blossoms.  Thankfully, my sister came over one day to help me bake and watch the boys.  Otherwise, there is no way I could have finished them all.  

Something new I tried this year were these yummy, creamy mints.  They were easy to make and I found the recipe on Pinterest.  It's easy to have only have one, because they are pretty sugary.

I love Hershey's Kisses Peanut Butter Blossoms!  Peanut Butter + Chocolate = Deliciousness
My sister and Parker helped with these.  I had Parker count out the kisses and put them in piles of five, to keep him busy for a few minutes.  He had fun pouring the ingredients in the bowl too.


  • 48 Hershey's Kisses Milk Chocolates
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 3/4 cup Creamy Peanut Butter
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Granulated sugar


  1. Heat oven to 375°F. Remove wrappers from chocolates.
  2. Beat shortening and peanut butter in large bowl until well blended. Add 1/3 cup granulated sugar and brown sugar; beat until fluffy. Add egg, milk and vanilla; beat well. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; gradually beat into peanut butter mixture.
  3. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in granulated sugar; place on ungreased cookie sheet.
  4. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Immediately press a chocolate into center of each cookie; cookie will crack around edges. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely. About 4 dozen cookies. 

And I had to make the classic frosted sugar cookie.  I made Christmas trees, snowflakes, ice skates, Christmas lights and ornaments.  I got a little careless with frosting the last half of the cookies, it was taking a little too long and I probably made more than I should.  Good thing we'll have a lot of people together for Christmas to eat them all.

Almond Roca Cookies are my favorite and I make them every Christmas.  They remind me of my Grandma, we always used to bake a lot of goodies around the holidays.


1 Cup butter
1/2 Cup brown sugar
1/2 Cup sugar
1 egg yolk beaten
1 tsp. Vanilla
2 Cups cake flour (1 Cup sifted flour minus 2 Tbsp. = 1 Cup cake flour)

1 Large Hershey's Chocolate bar
Chopped Walnuts


Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Combine butter, brown sugar, sugar, egg yolk, vanilla and flour and mix well.  Spread on ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes.
Melt large Hershey's bar and spread on hot cookies, then sprinkle with chopped walnuts.
Let cool and then cut.


Hope everyone has a sweet Christmas!

Happy Champagne Thursday!


Friday, December 16, 2011

A Colorful Christmas

With all the posts about Ryder, I didn't want you to think I was neglecting Parker.  Here is one of the projects we worked on together.  We took some of his old crayons that were broken or dull and melted them into new snowflake crayons.  

First, we peeled the labels off all the crayons, which was pretty time consuming and then broke the crayons into smaller pieces.  Breaking the crayons was Parker's favorite part, imagine that.  I had to explain to him that it was only ok to break crayons for this project.  So far, he's only broken once since we worked on the project a couple weeks ago.  Then we put the broken crayon pieces in the silicone snowflake mold, which I found at Target for $2.50, and melted them in the oven at 250 degrees for approximately 15 minutes.  After they cooled, I popped them out and attached them to some cardstock with a cute message for Parker's classmates.  

Peeling the labels off crayons

Crayons before

Peeled and broken into small pieces

Working hard

The labels

Ready to go in the oven

Melted and cooling off

The finished product

We Wish You A Very Colorful Christmas!


Thursday, December 15, 2011

1 Month

Ryder turned one month on Sunday, so we had a little photo shoot.  He's getting so big and growing everyday.  Its sad to pack up clothes he's already grown out of.  I'm hoping to continue this every month, for the next eleven months, to document his growth and changes for his first year.  Wish me luck!

Enjoy the pictures of this cute 1 month old!

Happy Champagne Thursday!


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Bear Bottom

Isn't this the cutest bear bottom you've ever seen? :)

I can't believe Ryder is going to be a month old on Sunday.  Time is going by so quickly!  We are enjoying every second with him!  He is growing so fast already!  I love all the faces and noises he makes.   He is smiling more and more everyday!  I can't get enough of him!

Happy Champagne Thursday!


Wednesday, November 30, 2011


We welcomed Ryder Norman Yates on 11-11-11, at 7:59 a.m.  He weighed 7 pounds 13 ounces and was 19.25 inches long.  He is absolutely perfect!  We are so in LOVE!

His big brother, Parker, is adjusting pretty well.  He hasn't quite figured out that his little brother can't do everything he can do.  For instance, the other day, he wanted to give his baby brother an underdog in his baby swing :)  Parker got Ryder an elephant stuffed animal (a newer version of the one he has) and he wants to make sure Ryder has it near him at all times.  He's a very good, loving big brother!

Happy Family of 4

The Proud Big Brother

Happy Champagne Thursday!


Thursday, November 10, 2011

It's Par-Tee Time!

We celebrated Parker's 3rd birthday with a fun Golf theme.  He loves to go to the golf course with his dad or hit balls in the back yard, so I thought it would be a fun theme.  And thanks to his Uncle Marcus, he has real set of golf clubs, that he got for his birthday last year.  

The Invitation

I had a lot of fun with the decorations.  I bought a few green and white planters and grew some wheat grass, (which grows super fast by the way) and made some flags to stick inside.  I filled vases with golf balls and tees and added some ribbon around the vases.  We had a "Guess the Number of Tee's" game.  The number of tees in the vase was 151 and my Great Aunt won with a guess of 150.  I made a "Happy Birthday Parker" banner with some fun scrapbook paper. I scattered golf tees around the food tables.  We also had a mini putting green set up in the living room with some plastic kid clubs.

We had some fun golf related foods:
Build Your Own Club Sandwiches
Chip Shots - Chips
Hole-in-Ones - White Powdered Doughnut Holes
Sand Traps - Rice Krispie Treats
The Watering Hole - Drink Table with water and lemonade
Arnold Palmers - 1/2 Lemonade & 1/2 Ice Tea
And few other items including: m&m's (dark green, light green & white), fruits, veggies & a cheese tray.

For the cupcakes, I found a frosting applicator that made frosting look like grass and then added golf tees, golf flags (which I made from scrapbook paper & sucker sticks) and mini golf balls.  The "golf balls" were white sixlets that I found at a candy store.  

So many presents!

Make a wish!

Skyping with Aunt Lisa while opening the presents she sent

Opening Presents

The Birthday Boy

I had every intention of getting more pictures, but unfortunately ran out of time.  I'll have to check out what pictures my mom got.

Happy Champagne Thursday!