Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Bustin Out Christmas

Last post for the 2014 blog book. Gotta get this one on the books now.

Christmas is always a joyous time. This year we tried something new that I really enjoyed. We told the kids that they could NOT disturb us before 7 a.m. We told them that after seven they were welcome to sit at the top of the stairs (which happens to be right by our bedroom door) and we figured the ambient noise would fulfill its purpose. June decided that singing a little bit would be the best way to awaken us, so a little before 8 we were serenaded by five sweet voices. It was actually quite a nice way to wake up and I think I will request morning carols next year.

Five little girls were happy to run downstairs and see if Santa came. Looks like he made it.

But we have an order of how things work on Christmas.

First: Stockings
Even Foot made out like bandit this year. (Thanks to lovely June who filled his stocking.)

Second: (Sometimes First) Tyler made a roaring fire.
Last year he had it ready as the kids came down. This year, we all went down together, but the fire followed shortly after.

Third: Breakfast
I did not have to cook this year, as the children requested Dad's apple pancakes. Win/win.

Fourth: Official Opening of all things presents. (Excepting all Idaho gifts which are saved for a future time.)
We have this guy who always hands out presents:

We open Santa gifts first.

Then we enjoy the pleasure of people opening what we got them. (At least that is my favorite part.) We all drew names this year and had a good time getting gifts for each other. Here is everyone checking out my calendar for the year. (Which I built myself...shh.)

I have to admit one of my favorite gifts was the very official scroll from King Humphrey III. We got the best parent award this year. Sorry all you other parents. There is always next year...

One gift was too big to put under the tree. In fact, it ended up being the bane of Christmas Eve as it took Tyler (and me and neighbor) for-e-ver to assemble. But I think the end result was pleasing to the kids.

Barry and Vicki got us the table, and Megan and Bill added some good paddles. And our family benefited from a lot of fun.

Besides pinging the pong, we also did a lot of puzzles on Christmas Day, particularly because each girl got one in her stocking. Pearl finished hers first, but was happy to watch Ivory working hard on her project.

June had the largest puzzle, but finished it eventually.

Our family Christmas puzzle was already finished (as per orders from June). Like our cute Santa Paws?

What else? We finally got our 2014 ornament. Just in time.

One last picture before the new year. I love this picture of Pearl with Moxy in the sunshine. These two are quite the pair. They make my heart happy. (Yes, even the blasted dog. She is family.)

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year of course!

Friday, December 26, 2014

The Eve of the Savior's Birth

We don't have any solid traditions on Christmas Eve except pajamas. 

That is a given.

So we were winging it this year, but we came up with a great evening. 

We hadn't gotten out to see any lights, so we trolled around the neighborhoods and found some good displays. One of these years we will actually look up stuff on the internet and find the ones that play music synchronized with the lights. Do they have those in every town??

When we got back, we made Snowman Soup, compliments of Virginia. (All the important basics: hot chocolate with marshmallows and a candy cane stirrer. Yum.)

The kids were digging it.

Except June back there. She stubbornly refuses to like mint. (Much like her father.)

Oh, and she doesn't like whipped cream either. Who is this child? At least Dad likes him some of that.

Now on to the ritual jammie opening. Daisy is sporting a Muppet original.

Ivory is demonstrating how my children don't seem to have the waists to fill their pants.

Pearl is modeling fuzzy bottoms and chill tops.

This girl is walking the catwalk in style. (Or should I say owlwalk?)

Robyn is showcasing animal appeal.

They certainly each have their own style. But I believe they all fall under the brand of awesome.

Sweet dreams to these monkeys. We will probably be seeing them bright and early in the morning.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Back to Our Regular Program

Christmas Program that is...

Tis the season for cute kids dressed in fun accessories singing merry songs. We have a child in first grade and that means the annual First Grade Christmas Program. (This is one of my favorites.) In the past, we have had a doll, reindeer, and tree. Other options include elves, snowmen, and Santa. (Although Santa is usually all boys. I say all boys, but there was one girl this year.) The die was cast and Daisy's lot fell in with...

...the elves. And what a cute little elf, if I do say so myself. It seems very fitting because Daisy has this bend in her ear and sometimes I call it her little elf ear, although really, it isn't pointed. It looks more like a troll ear, but that isn't cute to tell your child.

That is one sad little elf next to her. In fact, the little girl in the white sweater left before the performance started and never came back up. Poor thing. I wonder if she had stage fright. It is something I could easily see Daisy having problems with just a year or so back. But Daisy is fantastic now. In fact, all of Santa's helpers look ready to go.

The first grade class is huge at Daisy's school. I believe there are six classrooms. It makes for quite a full stage.

Daisy had the prestigious job of being one of the bell ringers later in the performance. As far as I can tell they are distributed randomly throughout the pack, but none of our kids have got them before. Way to be first at something Dais!

Such a fun age and such a fun program.

Earlier in the day, (yes, same day) we were at Pearl's Christmas Program. It was a little less intense considering there were only 20 or so kids. Pearl started off with a reindeer nose.

But I think it was bothering her so she switched it out for the weird Christmas lights headband. She did her part excellently. She had it all memorized beforehand. "As I drew in my head, I was turning around, down the chimney St. Nicolas came with a bound." I'm not sure she would be a Cazier without some shirt rolling during the performance. Daisy had it down when she was in preschool.

Now for the close-up of light-head.

Santa came again! Still the same jolly Santa. Still LOVE his belt. (You can see it better back in the Daisy post.) Pearl seemed to take a liking to him.

She yakked his ear off about how good she has been and what she wanted for Christmas.

Then we got a photo of her with her buddy, Miss Tasia.

As we were leaving, Pearl gave me a brief tour of her classroom. My favorite part by far was the science station where the fish lives. Pearl said, "This is our fish. He used to be orange, but he changed to blue!" (Hahaha. Sounds like a fish died and it was easier to tell the kids that he magically changed color. Funny, I thought it was the science station, not the fantasy station.)

I hope you enjoyed these abbreviated programs. You were able to avoid all the crowds. You are welcome. Just another service I offer during this Christmas season.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Sugar Cookies

Some traditions take a bit more efforts than others. I have done sugar cookies before and I'm glad to say that many years ago I gave up the perfection of sugar cookies. Some years I didn't get around to it considering the work and business of the season, and I still hadn't found the perfect recipe. Well this year, I didn't have many excuses, and I found a recipe that is pretty close to perfect. (Although I had to double the batch.)

Sprinkles, frosting, cookies, creativity. What isn't there to love? (Well, the clean up obviously, but let's not focus on that.) Let's look at some of our cookie moments.

The only person I helped at all was Pearl. Sometimes I would finish frosting a cookie for her, but many times she did fine by herself.

The girls can get pretty detailed with their creations.

Even Dad came down for the second batch. We always love having him join us for any activity.


Here is the first batch when we didn't have blue and yellow frosting yet.

The little pearl beads are popular, but they don't taste very good. (In my opinion.) But everyone else seemed to like them. (Even Moxy was finding them on the floor and crunching them up.) Here is my Pearl with a pearl.

Finally all done. Christmas sugar cookies....big check!

If you keep the cookies in an air tight container, I think they are best a couple days later. Just make sure you scrape off any pearl beads. (Or better yet, don't put any on in the first place.)