Monday, December 31, 2012

New Years Eve 2012

I was determined to end the year with a nice family pic so I threatened gathered everyone together after we came home from a nice dinner out.

I first took single pics of each of us for my opening page for Project Life 2013, then got us together for the money shot.

I managed to do this without tears & got this in the second shot.  YAY!

Now we'll gather together to watch the ball drop & hit the sack.  We party hard around here. ;)

Wishing everyone (that still reads this) a HAPPY & HEALTHY NEW YEAR!!!  2013, BRING IT!!

December 365

It's hard to believe the year is over! Using this Photo 365 app I took a pic a day for the year. It's been great when catching up on Project Life. And I plan on using it this year too.

2012, it's been real!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Benigno Family Christmas Party 2012

Every year my side of the family gets together for a Christmas party.  We are all spread out but from each other, but we always manage to get together.  This year was my turn to host and we numbered around 25-ish people.
This is my cousin Maria, my sister Maria, me & my sister Connie.  We have a LOT of Maria's in our family.  My father was the oldest of 4 boys, three of them had a daughter named Maria after their mother AND my mom is a Maria!  Like I said LOTS of Maria's.

Out of 4 brothers, there were 12 cousins and NOW there are A LOT of little ones running around. 

All the ladies, 4 original, 2 additional, all family.

My Aunt corralled all the families into family group shots.  Mine (on my camera) came out a bit blurry, but I hope to re-take some before the tree comes down.

We got all the kids together for a group shot before they opened their Secret Santa gifts.

The kids were all happy being together.  They did a lot of this during the night.....but we all had fun.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Day 2012

Christmas Morning started out quietly.  I made sure to get up early since the girls made a special request that I do....then I waited for them.

Gianna was the first one up which is no surprise.  She hasn't hit that "tween" late sleep mode like Marissa has.  I made her wake her sister up, because if I have to be up that early, so will they.  HA!

Then once again I made them pose for pics before tearing into things.  They know the rules.

I won't bore you with all the pics, but I will tell you that Monster High was a big hit (once again) in our house.

Both girls were happy with their haul, and at the end the room was a total disaster...but that's a sign of a Merry Christmas!!

Later in the afternoon, we headed to my sister Marie's house for a relaxing dinner & movies.  I couldn't talk the whole family into a pic but I managed to snag Joe for a pic.  Love him!

Hoping everyone had a very Merry Christmas!!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve 2012

Christmas Eve is always celebrated at our house.  My family & Joe's dad come over & we exchange presents...after eating of course!

The tree starts out looking so pretty and full of presents.

The spread of food kept everyone full, with plenty of leftovers to keep me from cooking all week. ;)

Before opening presents, we torture the kids and make them pose for pics.  We try telling them it will be over as quickly as possible if they cooperate, but they still complain.  Then it's PRESENT TIME!!!!!!!! 

My nephew Tyler with his pile of presents.

Gianna with her stash.

My niece Nikki and Marissa each with their piles.

Of course we can't call it a night without a sister pic.  My sister Marie, me & my younger sister Connie.  I won't tell you how many pics it took to get a decent pic of us...or photographers!

When the presents are open, the food cleaned up & everyone on their way home, we have one more thing to do before calling it a night.  The girls, dressed in their Christmas PJ's, leave Santa cookies & milk with carrots for the reindeer.  Then they're off to bed to dream of sugar plums.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Cookie Time 2012

Cookie baking happened around here.  I had hopes to do it in two days but I was forced to stretch it out a little further.  Oh well, it's done!

A staple that might not be considered an actual "Christmas Cookie" are my "Famous-In-My-Own-Mind" Chocolate Chip cookies.  I make extras of these since they're everyones favorites.

Another non-traditional cookie are "White Chocolate Macadamia Nut with Coconut Cookies".  I usually just make these once a year, though I do see people reaching for them.  Joe loves them.

These go by many names but according to my recipe they're called "Honey Sand Balls".  They are a little involved and messy to eat but Joe loves them and I normally just make them at Christmas time.

These are probably my favorite, "Walnut Tarts".  I fell in love with them at my Aunt's house and got her recipe.  So good not too hard to make but a few steps....completely worth it!

I stopped making "Peanut Butter Blossoms" a while ago but for some reason decided to make a batch to see how the girls liked them.  Marissa LOVED them!

The standard "Green & Red Spritz".  I make these every year as well....I find it funny to see which color people prefer....It's the exact same recipe except for the food dye but I've noticed certain people only eat certain colors.  Go figure.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Gingerbread House 2012

One of our yearly traditions is to try to build a Gingerbread House together.  This year I let the kids have fun and do it mostly themselves. After a little "building" from Joe....

Except for the roof.  Joe takes over the roofing duties.  Cause it's a "guy-thing".  He's got to make sure the shingles are "just right".

Gianna was running a fever, with a sore throat, & laying like a lump on the couch but we forced her to have fun.  We force our kids to have fun around here.  That's how we roll.

I've got to say this was the quietest house building I have ever witnessed!  It wasn't just quiet but they were (dare I say it??) getting along!!  Oh the power of a sore throat!!  I guess you can say it was a "silent night". ;)

The girls each decorate one side to the house.  This is Marissa with her side....

And Gianna with her side.

This year might be the last year we do one house.  The girls are (normally) a bit competitive and want to do their own.  Gianna looks so miserable but she gave smiling a good attempt.

Thursday, December 13, 2012


I wish I had more time in the day to get things done.

Like the cookie baking I need to start.

(Joe went to BJ's to pick up the cookie ingriedients I needed.  He is a total keeper!!)

Like the laundry that's piling up, again.
Like the Christmas shopping that needs to be finished.
Like the Gingerbread house we make ever year.
Like getting my bangs trimmed.
Like exercising.
Like the 3 mini albums I've been wanting to make for about 3 years.
Like the Christmas wrapping (for the above mentioned presents).
Like sitting on the couch watching those merry Christmas movies.

Gee, my list is pretty long....and slightly depressing. I've got to get moving!!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

12 on 12 December

Is it really 12-12-12 already??  I am so happy that I decided to do this monthly project this year, of all years.  I mean 12-12-12!!  It's the last time we'll see something like this in our lifetime!  How cool is that??

The day starts with Zonko lounging in the Button Tree forest.  He must be taking it easy today.

Of course on a day like this the weather needs to be recorded.  The Swackett app is a fun to do that.  Makes me wish I had a pink coat.

12-12-12 at 12:12pm.  I set an alarm on my phone so I wouldn't forget.  HA!

Gotta find a spot for all the everyday stuff while the Christmas decorations are out.

Been slowly getting Christmas cards in the mail, today was a 3 letter day!

Gianna kept me company while we waited for Marissa at the orthodontist.

Saw someone on Instagram post a crazy bokeh effect of their tree by taking a picture while moving the phone.  Love the whirly effect of the lights!

Gianna wanted all sprinkles.  I needed a giftcard.  Marissa wanted two donuts.  Guess what I almost left without buying?  I am losing my mind!

Marissa went with green bands for her braces in honor of Christmas.  She likes to match the holidays.

If you see me drinking tea, then you know I'm not feeling good.  Marissa shared her germs with me.

How I amuse myself & the girls every year.  Elf yourself is now a free app.  GO ELF YOURSELF!

Love Adam Sandler on the 12-12-12 concert for Sandy relief.  "Sandy screw ya!", LOVE IT!!

Almost sad to see this end, but it's been a fun year!