A Bushel of Brooks

A Bushel of Brooks
Us as we are ...

Saturday, December 29, 2012


With Christmas and all the family events and activities and you-name-it going on, I just got behind of writing things down and putting up pictures! Hopefully, the pictures will trigger memories as I look back.

Overall, it was a great Christmas. The boys enjoyed every minute of it! They took naps to recover before heading to next events, and we tried to continue to remind them of the Real Reason for Christmas, plus the joy of giving to others. = ) It has been a fun week. Lots of family time at home, and time with our immediate families, and extended family. The boys are now hankering to have friends over to enjoy their gifts with!

A few of the many pictures ...

Yes, early in the morning! I look awesome, yes? = )

Present time at home!

Got the boys costumes after Halloween and saved them! They love them!

Me, my little sister, my mom, my big sister, and my sister in law!

Jessica and Nathaniel

My "present!" He wore that bow all afternoon with no complaints! I loved it!

At Eli's parents house Christmas morning ...

Setting up a Hot Wheels track with Uncle Seth and Uncle Ezra

Playing cribbage on Daddy's team against Grandpa

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Elf Hats

Elf Hats! That's the name of our little cookie creation that I was so excited about. Meant to post earlier this week, but we have been battling sickness on many different fronts, and so I haven't hardly been on the computer except to order a couple last minute presents and to keep up on my email = )

It's a meringue cookie. Saw a version of this in a Parents magazine that I get everyone, so was definitely up for the try! I'm currently putting together a second version upstairs this afternoon, just dipped in dark chocolate and chopped peanuts. YUM! Since the entire cookie is meringue, it is light and airy, but has that sweetness on the bottom.

3 Egg Whites
1/2 tsp. Cream of Tartar
Dash Salt
2/3 c. White Sugar
*Beat Egg Whites, Cream of Tartar and Salt together on high with wire whisk attachment until soft peaks form. Add in sugar, about a Tablespoon at a time, until meringue is glossy and stuff peaks form. I used a decorating bag and star tip to form my cookies, but you could even pipe through a little sandwich bag or something! Pipe cookies onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet and bake at 200 degrees for around an hour or hour and 15 min until cookies are lightly browning and shiny. Remove from oven and let cool.
Dip bottoms in melted white chocolate and then in crushed candy canes (the boys had a great time smashing these with a hammer!).

Wrapped up and ready to share!

Would love someone else to give them a try! I think there are a million little flavor combos that could be used!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Done Done DONE!

 It is done! Eli turned in his thesis yesterday, and we - yes, I mean "we" collectively, as in the entire family in this house - are DONE! Three and a half years of dedication by my husband to get his Master's degree and pursue the desire in his heart. So, so proud of him. Which is a gross understatement.

He has put so many hours, late hours especially, into his schoolwork over the last three years, and done excellent. We don't know his grades for this final semester, but at this point, he is graduating with honors (keep your fingers crossed!).  My heart is just bursting for him.

The boys are getting Daddy back for lots of Lego play this Christmas break, and I can't wait for some nights when we actually can go to bed at the same time! Or watch a movie together after all the boys are in bed ... ahhh, lots to look forward to.

I am so proud to see Eli accomplish this ... he laughs when he said how he was sure he would never go back to school! But, he has loved his studies throughout seminary, and with a lot of Grace from the Lord, commuted each week to class several hours.

Got a family picture before people started coming over! Yay Daddy!
We had a little reception for him at his parents' house today - just to celebrate and have friends and family celebrate with us. It was great. Yesterday, I kept telling Jonah that it was Daddy's LAST DAY of school down in the office. He would respond with "but, tomorrow, tomorrow, he will have to work on school again, Mommy". I can't wait to see as he figures out that isn't true, and that we'll have evenings together again to do fun things, to go see Christmas lights, to read books and play games and all those good things.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Christmas Cookies!

What would Christmastime be without the classic cutout sugar cookies? In this household - that would be just plain wrong. The boys love decorating cookies (I can already think of numerous posts on this: think Easter, Halloween, Christmas, etc), and so these cookies get infused into many of our celebrations throughout the year!

With Eli working at the church, I don't make tons of goodies to give out. When he worked retail management, I was always baking and sending things along with him for the teams. But, other ladies at the church tend to send trays of stuff to the office this time of year, and the staff is obviously much smaller than Target or Kohls! So, in the last two years, my Christmas baking has seriously pared down. Which is fine. My house has also increased in general business and household work = ) But, we still do some baking and have some to give out to preschool teachers, friends - and for some reason we always leave a little goody bag in our mailbox for our mail carrier! We love him - he's been delivering to our house a long time, and so we like to surprise him too!

So, Tuesday was the day to mix up the dough so that today we could roll out, bake, and decorate. Jonah was delighted to be my helper while Reuben was at preschool. He LOVES to bake with me, but doesn't like to argue over who gets the spot right in front of the mixer! We donned our aprons, and got down to discussing quarter cups and measuring things. Kindergarten math lesson booster right there.

Fun times! My oldest is growing up so much right now it is hard to believe he will be six years old in the spring.

I also made a new recipe later that day - Eli dubbed them "Elf Hats". A meringue cookie that I now adore! They look super festive and cute - but easy and a "lighter" cookie, which is nice to have around. I will share the recipe and pictures in a later post!

Monday, December 10, 2012


I had hoped that either last night or today I would be posting adorable and silly little pictures of Reuben at his preschool Christmas program. Reuben - all dressed up. And who knows what to expect at a preschool program, right? Jonah's three year old program, he "sort of" sang along, but it was still so cute, and such a great little memory of him.


Reuben proved himself to be, well, Reuben.

He was sooooooo excited to wear his little dress outfit. Thankfully, one given to us, because those things are ridiculously expensive! Button down shirt, slacks, a matching vest, and THEN he got to wear the reindeer tie that I got for a $1 at Kohls' last spring on a clearance rack. He was parading himself around the house ... so loving his "outfit" as he proudly proclaimed. We bundled up (because it is actually getting cold!), headed to preschool, walked into the building, and he had a meltdown.

Not just a quick meltdown. No. A meltdown like "I DON'T WANT TO SING! I DON'T WANT TO BE ON STAGE! I DON'T WANT TO GO TO SCHOOL ANYMORE!"

Say what? Weren't we just super excited about this - like only 10 minutes ago?

His teachers tried. Eli talked to him. His favorite music teacher talked to him, I talked to him ... begging him to participate. And this is where it is so frustrating. You can't really force a three year old to stand on stage and look happy and sing along to songs. Doesn't work. He would not, for the life of him, get up on the stage. He sat on the floor, outside the room, while all the other beginners sang.

Ugh. He had been singing his songs at home for me for weeks!


Several times I would whisper, You love this song! Want to join your class and sing for us?

Nope. He sat with his legs crossed, chin in hands, no response.

I admit - I was furious. Furious! No pictures, no video, just us - the parents with THE KID ... you know?

And then I had to let go. Elisa ... let go. This was a preschool program. Just a preschool program. The poor kid feel asleep on short drive home. I could tell he was a little tired, but apparently he was t.i.r.e.d., and no preschooler operates well in that state. This day does not determine the rest of his life ... he just did not want to sing to a room full of people. In the grand scheme of life, this will not matter, and someday, I will actually laugh about it!

I was excited for that little sing. Excited to tape him and have the same memory of him that we had with Jonah. And as I sat fuming on the drive home I realized I could let this ruin my day, or just let it go. And I certainly didn't need to ruin his day (post-nap) by reminding him of his failure to "perform". He will return to preschool no worse for the wear - hopefully - and I still have a memory. Not the one I hoped for, but a memory! He woke up, and happily wore his outfit all the rest of the day.

So, no cute little preschool Christmas pictures. But a good Mommy lesson learned.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Better and Better!

I know, probably not necessary to post this ... but look how much faster he is getting! He is starting to figure out that he can follow me = ) Good and bad, right? He is just my sweet little guy!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


Somehow when the temperature is still often hovering at 70 degrees, I have trouble getting into all things Christmas. Which is strange for me! Usually I am all about Christmas ... and I still am! It just doesn't feel like it could be December 4th already. I have had the back door open nearly every afternoon while the boys run in and out, playing on the swing set and enjoying being active little boys. Not complaining in the least! Just musing. I don't want Christmas to come and go - and realize that I missed it. You know?

I know that cold weather will come in due time. And probably when I am scraping the ice and/or snow off the windshield, I will not feel so happy about cold weather. But, somehow, bundling up to run shopping errands, and craving warm coffee or hot chocolate in the evenings seems to be Christmas-y to me. I live in Kansas, after all. The tree is up, and I'm thinking I should start wrapping presents sooner than later, thanks to big families, advent calendars are in full swing, and Christmas music is playing in the house and in the vehicles! But, December 4th? Really?

The boys and I got on the front porch today to wrap some lights around the poles. Eli has always been so good about getting lights up on the front of the house - and loves to do it. But, deep in the mires of writing his thesis, putting up lights has to be put on the back burner. The boys and I had been planning to get a few up as a surprise. Our efforts are seriously pathetic compared to what he normally does, but at least it will look somewhat festive! I had about twenty minutes of a happy baby to work with, so we just quicky wrapped around two strands, but hopefully tonight when dusk falls, it will still look fun!

And I am enjoying the bits of Christmas we are getting around here. Maybe I am still just not used to being little ... I looked forward to Christmas so much that I made myself sick. Literally. = ) Perhaps I should just enjoy that there is no sickness involved, and watch the boys point out lights and cherish the singing of Silent Night and O Holy Night as they are tucked in each night. Laugh as they seek their advent treasures each day, and discuss with them the true meaning of Christmas. Not perhaps ... I will! In three short weeks, the big anticipatory day will be over. I don't want to look back and wish these next three weeks back.