Monday, January 16, 2012

Christmas Morning

I know it sounds kind of bad, but one thing my siblings and I look forward to each year is what the tree looks like on Christmas morning. How many presents are under it and how high they are stacked. I think most of us are over the "what we are getting and how many" stage and are now onto the "how much are we giving, I can't wait to see if they like it" stage. We also wrap EVERYTHING and usually in bigger boxes than are needed just to make it look like more. This year though I think was my last year thinking like that. My first thought when I saw the tree was "This is way to much, even for 10 people." Pretty intense, huh?

I do have to say that out of everything stockings are my favorite part of Christmas. I look forward to opening my stocking more than my gifts under the tree. Santa treats me VERY well. I got flowers (for my hair,) jewelry, dvds, cds, gift cards and fuzzy socks... and hardly any candy, which I was happy about. It never gets eaten.
Since Christmas fell on a Sunday this year we all woke up and went to church. It LOVED going to church in the morning. It was so wonderful to feel the true spirit of Christmas prior to doing the whole commercial side of christmas. In church on Sunday I sang with the ward choir. It was fun to stand between my mom and sister and hear all of our voices blend together so well. I think when you are in the same family your vocal cords must be similar and made in such a way that they blend with the other member of your family? Maybe? At least in my family we do. I sang a duet with my sister. I sang the lyrics "On a star lit night, neath a sky so bright. The angles sing carols of love. Of a baby asleep in a manger bed, sent from heaven above. Sleep oh tiny precious one sleep Gods chosen son." While my sister sang the 1st verse of silent night. It was beautiful together the way it was arranged. It was also really cool to sing a duet with her. We have never been able to do that before. Shortly after our duet my dad gave the concluding talk. It was beautiful. He touched on all the major things I wanted to hear and be reminded of on Christmas. I was sitting on the stage and tears were steaming down my face. His words words beautiful, the spirit so strong and my whole family within feet from me. I don't know how many more Christmas' we'll be able to spend all together as we grow older and my siblings get married and have kids. But I hope we do it often because I have never been more happy than I was on Christmas day.
After church we all went home and took pictures in front of the tree. Usually we were in our PJ's but since we all were in church clothes and looking pretty we decided to take advantage of the situation and snap a few pictures. Don't worry though. We didn't stay in our church clothes for long. It was unanimous that we all must put back on our PJ's if we were going to open gifts.

Christmas Eve

Christmas eve was wonderful this year. That morning my friends from church Aaron, his wife Kristina, and Michael came over for breakfast. It was lovely to spend time catching up on each others lives. Once again it felt just like old times. Although we were missing our friend Laurissa who was part of our "fantastic four" when we were in high school, but her family has since moved away from our town so she was not there. After they left Mike and I went to the mall to pick a few things up. We came home and gathered the family together to learn the 4 part harmony to silent night. Once we felt like it sounded good, it was off to caroling, which i already posted about :)
After Caroling we came home and had delicious soup for dinner. But we were all very anxious to get the Christmas eve traditions rolling.

Every year on Christmas eve we all get a new pair of PJ's for that night. I love new PJ'S!!

please notice that in this picture Andrew is 1/2 naked putting on his new PJ's... some things that are tradition, maybe shouldn't be once you reach a certain age... lol.

so precious

Famous McKnight Butt shot.
Of course KT and Andrew preformed the popular Christmas song "Baby it's Cold Outside." The sound so pretty together. After the concert was over all the kids went to the basement for the night. The boys brought down their mattresses and we all watched Elf to go to sleep. It was sooo wonderful being together. I love the pictures we took. The boys always hate how many pictures I take, but I don't care. These are some of my new favorites.

Merry Christmas Eve!!

T'was The Week Before Christmas

This year I was able to go home to Ohio the week before Christmas. It was probably the first time in several years (maybe even since I lived at home) that I was able to do that. You got to love the schedule of a teacher.

I flew home on Saturday Dec 17th. I had been sick with a stomach bug all week so I opted for the 1st class upgrade for the fight home. I LOVED IT. I was the first person on the plane, my seat was huge and comfortable, I was given a drink the second I sat down, presented with a basket full of treats rather than just handed peanuts. It was amazing. It will be hard to fly coach from now on.
I went to bed as soon as I got home that night.

Sunday we went to church. When we got home I helped my mom make dinner. My grandparents arrived and we all hung out. Then I we all went to Katie's concert. After the concert we came home and hung out and the kids played a game called "Last Word." I'm not sure how you are suppose to play it but we made up our own rules and it was a lot of fun. We all were laughing non-stop. Infant, at one point I was laughing so hard I was crying (which believe it or not was the first time that has ever happened to me.) It was a memory I will cherish forever. Now that we are all getting older we enjoy spending time together and we don't fight :) That is a good stage when your family finally hits that point.

Monday my mom and I went out to Amish country. I love it out there. We also went to wal-mart and ran a few more errand. When we got home we got stuff together for Elizabeths class party. Since she is in 5th grade they still have parties and my mom was scheduled to help out. Naturally I tagged along. We were in charge of games and we played a really cool one. We gave them a bag with eight groups of paper. Each group of paper was the letter needed to spell a christmas song. They had to unscramble the letters and spell the song. Then they all stood up and had to sing it. It was sooo much fun for the kids, teacher and other adults. I directed the activity. As soon as I got the classes attention another mom looked at my mom and said "is she a teacher?" Got to love my natural classroom control. After that we went home and began to get dinner ready. It is to bad that my families favorite dinner is one that requires so much work, but man is it good. We all ate dinner together which was wonderful, it's not often that all of us are home and was are able to sit down for a meal more than once. I think we had dinner together all but 2 nights I was home.

Tuesday- My mom and I went to Zanesville, where my mom grew up, to visit her parents. My Aunt Becky and her son Kyle came up from columbus to visit as well. It was nice to spent time with my moms family. Unfortunately we were only able to stay for a few hours before we had to get home. Tuesdays are busy at my house with all of my sisters activities. We drove them around town and picked up pizza for dinner (as tuesday is now pizza night at my house.) That night after dinner the kids made the traditional batch of christmas sugar cookies. Unfortunately this year the boys mostly watched "The Grinch" while the girls decorated. But the tradition was carried out which is the important part.

Wednesday all five kids and my mom braved Canton. It was busy and traffic was awful. My mom had errands to run and the kids had to get all their christmas gifts for each other. We went to Target, Dick's sporting goods, Khols, Michaels and Steak and Shake (for lunch.) Then we went to the Mall for a good 3-4 hours. My feet were so tired from walking back and forth and my shoulders sore from carrying all my bags and purse. My dad met us up their that evening and we all went to play lazar tag. It was a blast. They were pretty slow so it was only my family in the whole room. Andrew picked the perfect spot to pick people off from and I was getting frustrated. So I formed an alliance with my sisters so we could go get him. It didn't really work but we had fun anyways. We cornered my dad which was pretty funny, but I felt bad that all his little girls had teamed up to get him. After lazar tag we still had to go to Sam's Club, Jos A Banks and Walmart. We didn't get home till about 11pm (only 10 -11 hours after we left.) When we got home we found that the dog had eaten all but eight of the cookies we had made. What a shame, Those were good cookies!!! Lucky dog.

Thursday was spent mostly in my PJ'S watching How I Met Your Mother and Storage Wars while I wrapped gifts with my sister by the fireplace. Thats about all I remember. I was in a wrapping frenzy.

Friday my sisters and I went to run errands to find a few last minute gifts for people. We had fun spending time together as sisters. It isn't very often that we get to do that. They are both growing up so fast. I am so excited that it doesn't feel like they are 9 and 13 years younger than me. I love the bond that is growing as we get older and the age gap is less and less noticeable.
That night my friend Michelle, from high school, came over to see my family and I. I love it when you have friends that you may not see very often but when you do it is like nothing has changed. You still laugh at stupid things, the conversation flows just as easily and you feel "at home" with them. I hate that I live so far away from so many of my friends who I have that bond with. But I look forward to times like that night when we are able to reconnect and make new memories. After Michelle left Mike showed up. He had been driving all that day to get there. When he got there the ping-pond challenge began. He told everyone that the first person to beat him would win $10. I think everyone gave it a try, multiple times, but he still won. He remains undefeated on our table at home.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Ceremony of Carols

When I was in high school I was in an "elite" women's choir called Ladies Ensemble. Every Christmas we preferred a concert called Ceremony of Carols. It was a tradition. We would sing a few fun christmas songs at the beginning then we would do a work by Benjerman Britten called Ceremony of Carols. It is written in old english and has about 8 or 9 songs in it. We started practicing in October and the concert was right before Christmas. I preformed in the concert all four years of high school and loved the music. I even had a solo my senior year.

My sister is in this choir now. She has used my old song book to learn her music the past few years and this year she had a solo. I haven't been able to go to the concert since I was in it. This year I can into town the day before so I could go see her sing. It was so fun and took me back to high school. It made me miss my girlfriends who were in choir with me. Where has the time gone? My whole family went and we had a great time... well I did... my brothers weren' sad when it was over.

Katie singing her solo
The 5 McKnight kids
mother daughter love
mom and dad
my awesome grandparents and I

Cookies for Santa

My mom makes loaves of bread for her friends and neighbors for Christmas. I've done that for the past few years but with only a kitchen aid to assist me it was much to time consuming. So this year I thought I would make some cookies in a jar. It was fairly easy to make but ended up being much more expensive than I thought it would be. So I will need to find something more affordable for next year. I wish I could take credit for the recipe but I found it here and made it work for christmas.

Here is the recipe if you want to try it at home. It is delicious and should be made year round. The texture and taste are phenomenal.

1 1/3 cup all purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup & leveled
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup cooking oats
3/4 cup m&ms
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup white sugar
1/3 – 1/2 cup chopped pecans


1 slightly beaten egg
1/2 cup butter (melted slightly in the microwave)
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Use the back of a large spoon to work it all together. You may even need to use your hands to get everything incorporated.

Then roll the cookie dough into 1 1/2 inch balls, place on a parchment covered baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes in a preheated 350 degree oven. I got about 26-28 cookies out of these.

Start with a 1 quart smooth Ball jar. I found these at Hobby Lobby craft store.

Layer the ingredients in like this:

First: flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt
Second: oats
Third: m&ms
Fourth: chocolate chips
Fifth: brown sugar
Sixth: white sugar
Seventh: chopped pecans

Pack each level down really tightly. I mean it. Pack it in. Or else it won’t all fit. Also, I added the chopped pecans last, because if the ingredients were too much or not enough, then I could add more or less pecans to adjust. I’d rather sacrifice nuts than chocolate, you know. The ingredients should be flush to the top of the lid when you seal it up.

Night out on the town

The Saturday after Thanksgiving Mike and I had a wonderful evening in the city. We started off the night by going on a city lights boat tour. We had dinner on the ship while it sailed around lower Manhattan and passed the Statue of Liberty. The city is beautiful but light up at night it is breath taking.

After the cruise we headed over to Radio City Hall of Music to see the Christmas Spectacular. Even though it was still November it seemed most of the city was already lit up and ready for Christmas. I loved all the decorations and lights out on the streets. It was simply enchanting.

If you have never been to Radio City, you must go. It is absolutely beautiful inside. It almost transports you back into a different time. A time when ladies and gentleman had a lounge in the restroom and dressed in their best clothes to go to the theater.

The show was simply stunning. I love watching the rockets dance. They are impeccably in sync with one another. It is just incredible.
I love the act with all of the dancing Santa's.
This is Mike's favorite number. The March of the toy soldiers when they all fall down slowly. It is amazing to watch.
The nativity number at the end always gets me in tears. I love how in a society where people are trying to take "God" out of the constitution people still aren't afraid to include Him in their Christmas celebration. They play a melody of Christmas songs as the 3 wise men travel to see the Christ child. They bring in live camels, sheep and a donkey. Pretty impressive and very moving. I LOVE it!