Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas Happenings 2010.

One of the first things I want to share with you is Grace's plan to do something extra special for Santa. This was totally her idea, inspired, I believe, from the book, A Year Without Santa Claus by Phyllis McGinley. Basically this book talks about how Santa is tired of all the work it takes to put on Christmas. All the kids everywhere are devastated, except one, who says Santa should have some time off, that they should give to Santa. So they do. The end.
This whole idea really stuck with her because she came to me with a plan to do something really nice and could we please give Santa a special present. Yes and yes.
She suggested wool socks ("like Daddy's because his feet sure do get cold while he's riding in his sleigh..."). I keep lots of these packs of socks around, so we got some out, tied a ribbon on them and they were ready.
Then she colored a poster for him to hang in his workshop and made a card.
Now here's proof that Frank's tax dollars are working!
(and that Grace's sainted kindergarten teacher is performing miracles in the classroom)
Grace wrote this whole note, spelling and all (I drew the lines on the card) by herself.
I was mopping the floor at the time (ultra-luxo, I know!) and she followed me around the house, sounding out words and checking with me when she had a question until she was done. This is what she wrote:

To be fair, I did tell her what the date was.
And I reminded her to use spaces between the words.
But that's it.
She decided that Santa would want something different to eat and drink, so we left tea and brownies.
I was so proud of her that she thought to be giving by herself.
Maybe she is actually listening. Maybe.

The rest of Christmas morning was blur.
Frank and I were awoken by four little feet thump, thump, thumping out to the Christmas tree and then even more excitedly, thump, thump, thumping back to our room to drag us out of bed.
Up and out we went.
I pushed go on the coffee pot as I past by the kitchen and flipped the oven on to 350* to get ready for the cinnamon rolls.
Mark stumbled up the stairs with the Breakfast Strata (more on that later...) and the wrapping paper flew.

Most of our pictures were just a blur of fleece and happy smiles, but these were a success.
Up top you see Frankie with one of his new puzzles and Grace twirling in her new skirt that she and Nana had picked out the material for together.
The bottom row is Frankie showing off his antique train coin bank (that sucker weighs a TON!) and then of course Grace, holding up her new Tinkerbell Fairy hairbrush. Joy of joys.

After all the gifts were opened and I had taken all the cardboard and paper out to the recycling center, I got my much needed first cup of coffee.
Then the cinnamon rolls went in the oven, followed by the Breakfast Strata.

Both were delicious.
Strata was even better the next day.
I found the recipe for this tasty-make-ahead dish here.
I used bacon instead of sausage because that's what I had.
Oh and I added an extra egg because I was going to use a bigger pan.

I spent the day cooking (our bird was SO juicy!) and packing for our first snowmachine trip the next day.
Dinner was delicious and the kids stayed in their pajamas the WHOLE day.
They love it when I let them do that.
Frankie slept with his 18 inch hard plastic firetruck.

Flash forward to the next day.
Our trip ended up not happening because after a quick stop in at the urgent care clinic, showed that Frankie had borderline pneumonia and an ear infection.
Wait, what?! Back the truck up.
Yeah, three days before Christmas, we went into the the clinic for Grace because I thought she had pink eye.
Turned out she had a sinus infection.
So when Frankie started in with the same symptoms on Christmas Eve (and we missed the clinic open hours by twenty minutes), I thought we could stop in real quick, grab the prescription and go anyway. He and I could hang in the cabin and all would be fine.
But then the PNEUMONIA bomb was dropped and all was cancelled.
Frank, Mark and Grace went snow-machining for the day and little man + I took it easy at the house.
Everyone is either well or on the mend now.
Not that you would ever know anyone was down, what with the crazies running around here...

Hope everyone had a great day and that you can again take a deep breath because all decorations are put away.
I know I can!
p.s. our tree was on the porch Christmas night! I couldn't take it ANYMORE!!

Friday, December 24, 2010

A Very Merry to You and Yours.

{image via here}

In just a few short hours, we are off to the airport to pick up my handsome husband.
Then our little family will be complete.
We have some baking to do today and a little prep work for tomorrow.
I'm hoping we can go on a Christmas lights drive by tonight...

Happy Christmas, everyone.
Our warmest wishes to all of you.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Joyful Sledding.

my youngest.

my oldest.

These are the pictures I used in their ornaments this year.
Just close ups of their faces.
I love how their happy innocence is captured.
These ages, five and three are wonderful.
I am so happy with where we are in their growing up stages.
I am not wishing it to go by faster.
I love their why's,
their silliness,
their exasperations,
their need to still snuggle and find their own way;
they are so pure and perfect.

I am blessed.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Wanna Eat Lunch With Us?

Ever wonder what eating lunch is like with us?
Well here you go...

The crazies were making their pirate faces. And eating chips.

Today was a good day.
Went to bed with a light snow, very pretty actually.
Woke up with more snow, turning to heavier snow...
We had a lazy morning in pajamas.
Which resulted in an impromptu bath due to full body coloring...
If only we had another 50 or so coloring books around, maybe this wouldn't happen...

Finally bundled and out the door by 12:09pm.
Oh yeah, love this Christmas break schedule!

First stop was the Children's Hospital for a little toy donation.
Then to downtown to try a new place (for us) called the Muffin Man Cafe and Bakery.
Lovely. If you're local, give it a try.
I had the Berry Turkey. (get it? There was cranberry sauce on it.)
However, they roast their own roast beef, so I totally want to go back and try that.
This is where the pirate pictures took place.

Then we walked over to the Captain Cook Hotel to see their amazing gingerbread village.
This year it's modeled after Charles Dickens' Christmas Carol.
The details blow my mind.
Icing and chocolate, people!

{ watching the carousal going round and round...}

I just wish that Frankie could appreciate that, "absolutely NO touching" really means, "it took the chef weeks and weeks of work just to make the design happen. If you touch it and break it, I'll have no choice but to light your beloved Thomas the Train on fire."
But since I can't and didn't say that (really, I didn't), we had to leave earlier than Grace and I would have wanted.
I actually carried a screaming crying Frankie out of the hotel side door.
The door man was only too happy to help me open the door.

By now it had stopped snowing, so the driveway and its eight inches of snow was patiently waiting for me.
Changed into snow blowing clothes and out I went.
It took me one hour, 43 minutes.
So much better than the five hours it took me the last time I did the driveway.
It really helps when you only have to blow the snow once instead of blowing it twice...
Live and learn.
On a side note, it only takes Frank about an hour to do the driveway and it always looks so pretty and tidy.
This time I did get the charts and diagrams AND the 5-10 minute on-site walk thru as to the best ways and patterns to go about snow blowing... I really do love that man and all his crazy.

We had an easy dinner and read one of our new Christmas books, The Christmas Magic by Lauren Thompson.
This book was lovely.
One of my new favorites.
Beautifully illistrated and such a simple story about Santa and magic.
No talk of elves or being naughty and nice.
The message was about magic and love and giving.
Very refreshing.

Tomorrow: sledding.
And baking something...
Kids choice.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Teacher Christmas Gifts.

This year I really wanted to keep things simple and give a gift that I would like to receive. That's the whole point, right?!
Grace's teacher is a very organized lady who runs a well oiled machine powered by crazy five year olds.
I started with one of those craft organizer boxes.
I actually found this one in the fishing aisle at Walmart.
It was around $2.
Then I just started filling up all the little compartments with cute office/desk supplies and other things that could prove useful.

Top Row:
Hand sanitizer, Burt's Bees Hand Salve and individual Extra Strength Tylenol, magnetic clips.
Middle Row:
Cute binder clips, cute paper clips, m&m's (she tells the kids the m&m's are her vitamins!)
Bottom Row:
More magnetic clips, more m&m's, dry erase mini pens with magnets and little sticky notes.

I used the lid as a template to cut scrap-booking paper as an insert.
The sparkly letters are from the Martha Stewart section at Michaels.
Then on the inside I cut one more small piece and had Grace add her touch in her most tidy printing.
Grace's teacher is a BIG Yankee's fan, hence the navy, silver and white m&m's.
I am super happy with how this turned out.
Cute, different and useful.

For the rest of her lovely teachers (her music teacher, gym teacher and librarian), I planted one paper white bulb in a mason jar and tied baker's twine around the top.
We are going to add hand written notes to each jar.
I planted these bulbs a couple weeks ago, hoping they would be just how they are; green and well established but un-bloomed.
This way, her teachers can have something green and growing to take home with them.
I mean, who really needs another coffee cup, right?

I also packaged up some Costco bought peppermint bark to go with the bulbs.
A little bit of sweet is lovely.
Frankie's preschool teachers are getting a mason jar bulb and a bag of bark.
Easy. And all very inexpensive.

On a side note, I forgot to share these little guys with you the other day...
I LOVE them so.
Little elves made out of cast iron.
They hold tapered candles.
I just love that they are slightly dark...
It's as though they are a reminder that Santa is INDEED watching and you COULD end up with a lump of coal...
I bought these at the end of the season last year from CB2.
They don't come in black anymore, but you can find them here in RED...

Today is the last day of school for the year.
We have Frankie's Holiday show in the morning.
And Grace's first ever annual Kindergarten Sing-a-long in the afternoon.
The Queen of the Processed Meats requested Pigs in a Blanket and chocolate crinkle cookies.
I made Peppermint Bark Brownies for Frankie's show.
Wait until you see those.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Christmas Around the House.

This year, I weeded out my Christmas decorations and added some new, totally different lovelies.
I am really loving all the mercury glass that's everywhere right now and the colors in vintage ornaments just look perfect with it.

I tracked down some vintage ball ornaments and decorations and simply filled glass containers I already had in order to display them.

This is one of the two tinsel wreaths and wax paper flowers I made.
I love it!
Grace saw it one day when she came home from school.
She gasped and then said, "Oh Mommy, it's so beautiful and shiny."

These are some of the stained glass stars I have hanging in our kitchen window.
There are five total;
two of the bigger stars and three smaller stars.
I love how they are mostly clear.

These ornaments were tiny, tiny, but they look so cute here.
I have paper whites all over the house, growing...
It's lovely to have all the green.
I can't wait to see (and smell!!!) their blooms.

And of course, the tree.
All a-glow.
I never turn the lights off.
I love to walk out into the otherwise dark living room in the morning and see it.
It makes the darkness outside more bearable.

Just four more school days until Christmas break!
I'm looking forward to it.
We will have Frank home for a whole week.
If you're not finished with your shopping,
hurry up and then enter into your cookie/cocoa coma!
I know we will.

UPDATE: this is where I learned how to make the wax paper flowers. And this is where I learned to make the tinsel wreath. Ez has so many lovelies to share over there.
The stained glass stars are from this etsy shop. The box they came in was perfect. I was so happy to open it.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Pretty Girl.

Grace had a birthday party to go to this past Saturday.
One of her best buddies.
She wanted to dress up because it was a princess party.

Ahhh, girls.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Christmas Lunch and Homemade Advent Calendar.

December first.
The long awaited beginning of Hershey Kisses in the morning.
We fill up our stocking calendar with one kiss each and they love it.
I have no problem bending our sweets rules at Christmas time.
A little indulging is fine by me.

I made this a couple years ago.
This is a new spot for it, since it's former home (swaged over the big kitchen window) got upgraded with beautiful stained glass stars this year.
I rather like it here.

In other December first news...
It's been awhile since I showed you a Grace lunch.
This was her lunch today.
Ham and cheese gingerbread man with chocolate chip eyes, cheese smile and ham buttons.
Raspberries and christmas themed fruit snacks.
(these are so cute, from Target)

ps. it's really cold here today...
It was two degrees when I took Grace to school this morning.
Please think warm thoughts for us!


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