Happy new year! I can hardly believe it’s already 2012. I feel like it was just 1999 and the world was going to end. Oh yeah… that’s suppose to happen again this year. Better live it up and have a fantastic year just in case, right? :) I hope this year is a good one… not just for me and my family but you too!

I’ve rewritten this post so many times, just barely getting into it – sharing my highs and lows for the previous year. I won’t forget 2011 for many reasons but it’s also time to move on. 2012 is a fresh start. I’m not one for new year resolutions. And I don’t have big plans written in stone for the year. I just want to enjoy it and make it memorable. That should be sufficient for a goal, right? Are you big about resolutions or goals? I’d love to hear your plans for the year.

In case you missed it:
2011 Reader Favorites – The most viewed posts for the year. There were a few surprises in the bunch.
2011 My Favorites – My favorite posts that didn’t make it in the reader favorites.
Slow Cooker Roundup – A collection of slow cooker recipes from around the blogosphere. Recipes include varieties of chowder, soup, chili, stew, meat dishes and many more!

Recipe Love:
Taco French Bread Pizzas – Cassie Craves – This seems like such a fun party food or weekend fix. I’m positive everyone would like it and it could easily be made to suit your own style and preferences. Vegetarian? Want more meat, cheese, guac, etc? No problem!
Eggnog Pancakes – Pass The Sushi – I’m not sure how long eggnog is typically available in the stores but this is absolutely a perfect winter weekend breakfast.
Homemade Bagels Step By Step – Annies Eats – I’ve made bagels before. It’s been a while though and this might have just been the kick in the butt I needed to make some again. Plus, it might help solve the perfect onion bagel crisis. Okay not really a crisis. I exaggerate. Maybe just a dire need for the perfect onion bagel. ;)
Macaroni and Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms – Big Bears Wife – I interrupted a conversation on Twitter. It happens. But this time it made us want to create stuffed mushrooms. Angie beat me to it and they turned out fabulous. These would be super fun to make as an appetizer.
Blackberry and Cherry Kolaches – Barbara Bakes – I had one of those moments where I wished I could reach into my screen and grab the food in front of me when I saw these. Rolled pastry, filled with fruit and drizzled with icing. You know you want one too. I’d probably reserve them for brunch or a holiday breakfast. Because that’s when the fancier foods are reserved for, yes?

My Life:

Santa drove by on a firetruck. He likes to visit our small town.

We watched X-Men: First Class. When it came out I had no intention of ever watching it. I didn’t like that it wasn’t the people and characters I’ve grown to love in the movies. I finally changed my mind within the last week and I’m glad I did.

We left cookies and beer out for Santa. I’m sure he gets sick of all of that milk. A change is good. Plus the reindeer are really guiding the sleigh, right? ;) Speaking of what we left out for Santa… I shared this link over the weekend that tells what children in countries around the world might leave out for Santa. It’s a cute read.

One of my absolute favorite moment of Christmas was playing Perfection with 2 year old. I had no idea how much fun she’d have with it. And she’s pretty good too. She wants to play over and over and over. I don’t mind at all. It was meant for her big sister but I think she loves it more.

This week I made my favorite potatoes (baked, then covered in cheese and potatoes) then I burnt hand on the hot tray. It still hurts. We had a belated Christmas dinner on Monday. I made chicken. It cooked funny but was still super tasty. I wish I had wall ovens. Okay… reality says a double range. And maybe a roaster with a cover. I think both would have easily solved my chicken problems. But it was still delicious. I also made this on Friday. The Mr requested it.

Partly due to holidays, school vacation and a lingering cold – I never got around to making anything new to share on the blog BUT I do have a bunch of fun ideas I’m working on. One includes lobster. Yes?! Another hit me totally spur of the moment … are you up for another buffalo recipe? Say yes.

One more thing. I’m not sure how I almost forgot. I promsied I’d introduce you…

Meet Bonnie:

and Clyde:

I never thought I’d want to add two more cats but they’re perfect. They’re fun and gentle, super lovey and very curious. I love watching the girls play with them. I love watching them watch the birds… I don’t know how long they were without windows to the outside world. They’re settling in well and fit in just right here.

And since this has become more of a novel than a post and that’s after cutting it down (I’m so sorry). I’ll wish you a wonderful new year and a fantastic week. :)