Saturday, December 27, 2008

Lovely Christmas!

What a lovely Christmas we had! My parents-in-law and brother-in-law were here from Dec. 23 until this morning. We had a wonderful time with them!

I must talk about my stocking swap! Tara at The Well-Rounded Woman hosted this really fun swap where you prepare a stocking for a person only known online and another different person prepares one for you.

Unknown to me Becky at Scripture Mom was my secret Santa. She sent me such wonderful gifts! Which my husband kindly loaded in my stocking.... My two favorites are the butterfly bookplates and the magnetic measuring spoons- although I ate that whole Toblerone bar on Christmas day. The gifts also included an Eiffel tower key chain, spatula, lovely soap, candy cane, and bath beads!!! What fun! Thank you SO much Becky!

Soon I will post again with more Christmas details!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

IV's favorite Christmas cookie (I think) is pictured to the left. Fortunately, it's also an easy cookie to make- just like chocolate chip cookies with cocoa in the batter and chocolate mint chips.


Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
10 oz bag of chocolate mint chips (Andes Crème de Menthe)

1. Heat oven to 375°F.
2. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, vanilla and salt in large bowl until creamy. Add eggs; beat well.
3. Stir together flour, cocoa and baking soda; gradually add to butter mixture, beating until well blended. Stir in 10 oz bag of mint chips. Drop by rounded half-teaspoons onto cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
4. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until set. Cool slightly; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely. Makes about 7 dozen cookies.
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Check out Our Creative Life for more cookies in the cookie exchange!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Mary, Did You Know?

"Mary, Did You Know?" is one of my all-time favorite Christmas songs. I love the version recorded by Kenny Rogers and Wynonna Judd. You can hear it here.

In this advent season I can't help but think about what Mary must have been going through during her pregnancy, when she was waiting for the birth of Jesus.

Thank you Mary- for being open to the will of God in a way few of us are.

I pray that I can follow Mary's example.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

DV's new apron

DV has a new apron! I got it last week at World Market when I was shopping for stocking stuffers.

But, I couldn't wait until Christmas to give it to him! He needs it for all the baking we are doing!

The apron is actually made for doing arts and crafts and it is a really small size (the other kids aprons I have seen are really too long for DV.)

It is perfect, DV wears it every time we are going to cook or bake anything, just like his mommy.

Children's aprons work for me! Check out the other great tips on Shannon's site!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Gingerbread House

Today DV and I decorated our Christmas gingerbread house. I got the house as a kit from Sams club. Then I assembled the house and let it dry while DV was napping.

After DV woke up (and after IV got home from work) we decided to decorate the house. You can see we really worked as a team- I used the icing and DV controlled the candy.

I think we really got great results this year- and DV's hand eye coordination has improved so much from last Christmas when we also did this! He was able to place the candies exactly where he wanted them on the lines of icing I piped.

This activity is SO much fun and I would recommend it for anyone, especially the kit we got this year which had pre-mixed icing (although if I had made it I think we could have used a little more.)

This is my Works for me Wednesday post, although I am too late to make it on Shannon's list you can check out more great ideas at Rocks in my Dryer.
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Monday, December 8, 2008

DV and trains

DV has a thing about trains. Remember how a train table is his only request for Santa? It's not too surprising considering the fact that he LOVES trains.

Here you can see him with two trains- his wooden train on the right and the new Christmas train on the left. The Christmas train was supposed to go in the Christmas tree- but after about 20 minutes of trying IV and I decided not in our tree...

So instead of our lovely tree skirt we now have a train. I already miss the tree skirt- it has a nativity on it and I LOVE nativities (now I only have 7 out decorating!)

Thank you Pop-pop for the Christmas train! It makes some great noises that DV loves too.
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Sunday, December 7, 2008

DV and Santa 2

IV and I had been talking about taking DV to the mall to ride the carousel and see Santa. We just didn't know how well he was listening!

When DV woke up from his nap he decided he "needed" to get to the mall to see Santa and to ride the really cool carousel we have (I am a sucker for carousels!)

Since I was feeling spontaneous and IV was not, I decided to take DV to the mall- even though it is Sunday and everything should have been very crowded. We lucked out! There were only 4 people ahead of us in line to see Santa.

We parked, saw Santa, rode the carousel and got home in 45 minutes. That was a perfect mall trip!

It would have been even better if I could have gotten in some shopping.... but I have given up doing that kind of thing with DV.
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Saturday, December 6, 2008

DV and Santa!

Today we went to a fort near our home where they were having a Christmas celebration. Lots of people in period costume- doing traditional things like blacksmithing and weaving and showing off their skills on a bugle. DV, IV and I really enjoyed touring the fort- it was the first time we paid admission to get in, we have only admired the outside previously.

DV had refused to get his picture taken with Santa since he was a baby- but amazingly he decided that the colonial Santa was cool! In fact, the Santa was so cool he got down on the ground to get his picture taken with DV and it didn't cost us a thing. DV says he wants to invite Santa to our house.

We have told him Santa is coming- and DV says the only thing he wants is a train table!
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Thursday, December 4, 2008

DV is growing up!

DV is growing up! I know, they all do that- but sometimes it is really hard for me to be losing my "baby" and gaining a preschooler.
Yesterday we went to an open house at the school where DV will attend pre-K 4 next year. I can't believe it!
I am really quite sad about this, I love staying at home with DV and I don't think I'm quite ready for him to be a big independent boy.
He already is an independent boy. Just look at him hanging that ornament all on his own. He is potty trained, mostly dresses himself, and is working on his pre-reading skills. At least he still lets me carry him around, sometimes. I'm not giving that up until he says so.
Anyone have tips? How do you get over your babies growing up? What am I going to do next year when he's in school half the day? (Of course I'll still be working part time so I won't be bored, just sad.)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Easy Cinnamon Ornaments WFMW

I have always wanted to make homemade ornaments with DV. You know, the kind that look like cookies but bugs, dogs, and kids don't like so they can actually hang on the tree for a season.
This year we did it! DV's magazine "Your Big Backyard" came with a recipe for Cinnamon ornaments. I figured that cinnamon would not be too attractive for eating and would be great for smelling so we gave it a try. I have only modified it slightly.
The only ingredients you need are cinnamon and applesauce. I recommend using inexpensive cinnamon (we get ours from Sam's). You will need about 4 oz of applesauce and 2 oz plus of ground cinnamon.
1. Mix the cinnamon and applesauce together in a small bowl. I used one of the snack size applesauce containers (4 oz) and then filled it half full with cinnamon for measurement. My applesauce was pretty wet so I ended up having to add quite a bit more cinnamon to get the right consistency dough. The dough should be like a sugar cookie dough.
2. Roll out the dough until it is 1/4" thick and cut shapes out using cookie cutters (We used the small 1" Christmas cutters that Wilton makes.) Place the cut shapes on a cookie sheet. Next time we do this I will use parchment paper on the cookie sheet. When you re-roll the dough you may have to add more cinnamon to keep the consistency.
3. Use a toothpick to make a hole in the top of each shape.
4. Bake at 200 degrees F for 20 minutes.
5. After the shapes cool thread an ornament through the hole and hang them wherever you need a cinnamon scent. It is great in combination with our fresh tree smell!
This recipe makes 30 1" ornaments.
Cinnamon ornaments work for me! For more great ideas visit Shannon's Rocks In My Dryer for her Works for Me Wednesday.