Thursday, December 29, 2011

Daddy's Home AND Santa Came? No WAY!!!

Oh yeah Baby!!!
Christmas Eve was spent prepping for the big day.  I cleaned just enough to make the house look presentable for Jim's return and for Santa's arrival, but mostly I wanted to spend the day playing with the munchkins.  They helped me cook, prepare the cookies for Santa and carrots for the reindeer.

Christmas Eve night the kids and I played with our little nativity set, while I told them the Christmas story.  I read some scriptures to them about the birth of Christ.  I think they're starting to understand that Christmas is about more than presents.  After learning about the nativity, I read and sang carols from a little Christmas book my Grandma Stoehr gave me one year.  I LOVE that thing!  The kids don't know many of the carols yet, but whenever they see the musical notes on one of the pages of our Christmas book, the request that I sing that song to them.  I couldn't make it through many of the songs without tearing up a bit.  It was a nice moment with my own little babes.

Once a few carols were sung, the babies' teeth were brushed, and they were put in their jammies.  I wrapped them each in a blanket, put them in the car, and we drove around the neighborhood looking at the Christmas lights.  Some people around here went ALL OUT!  There's one house who choreographed their lights to the beat of various Christmas songs that play outside.  That was our favorite house this year.  Every time we drove into our subdivision at night Tralee asked, "Can we go to the music house?"  

Hunter fell asleep on our little drive (that was my plan!) so I tucked him under his feather comforter when we got home, but Tralee was WIRED!!!  It took her until 10pm to finally conk out.  She was just WAY to excited that Santa AND Daddy were coming in the same night.  I asked her if she was more excited to see Daddy or see if Santa comes.  She answered, "Both!"

Once Stinks finally had visions of sugarplums dancing in her head, I was able to go downstairs and wrap, wrap, and wrap some more.  I even saw Santa come!  Shortly after Santa's visit I heard Jim's truck pull in the driveway!  CHRISTMAS WAS FINALLY HERE!!!!!  I had my husband home after 15 LOOOOONG days without him.  He just missed Santa's visit, but helped him finish off a few of the cookie crumbs!  Jim also helped me with all the finishing touches, and we finally got to bed around 2:30am.

Santa's cookies and milk, and carrots for the reindeer before and after.  Santa even left a note for the kids!!!
Christmas morning was magical.  I mean, check out Tralee's face when she rounded the corner from coming downstairs and saw that Santa had come:

I'm getting ahead of myself.  Here are the pictures of the kids waiting at the top of the stairs so Mommy and Daddy could get the cameras ready:

Hunter was still half asleep!  Tralee wasn't.  She was READY to get the show on the road!!

Hunty looking around at all the goodies.
After Santa visited.  Darn it!  I didn't have my camera ready when Santa was here!  Maybe next year!!

Hunter's present from Santa was this four wheeler.  So far, he's rode it once and didn't think much of it.  We're hoping he warms up to it soon.  Tralee, on the other hand, drives this thing around like a maniac!

A gift for Tralee Daddy brought home from his business trip

Once Hunter figured out there was candy in the stockings, he cared for little else.  I think he sat like this nibbling on chocolate for a good five minutes before we snapped him out of it.
Christmas kisses!!  Love this pic!

Some homemade gifts for Jim.  Two things I know about Jim:  1.  He believes in Sasquatches, you know, Bigfoot (I secretly love this dorky little feature my hubby comes equipped with).  Every time we drive to Canada he tells me, "Keep your eyes peeled, this is PRIME Sasquatch territory!"  I would like to say he's kidding around, but I'm pretty sure he's serious.  Also, anytime there's a doc-u about Bigfoot, Jim's mesmerized!  So, I made him the shirt.  2.  Jim loves the TV show The Office.  I find him frequently quoting from it, and this Dwight Shrute quotes is something he says quite often.  So, I painted a little piece of canvas and painted on the quote.  Jim says he's going to hang it in his office at work.  Jim also got a new WII game, a marshmallow shooter, and some other little goodies in his stocking.

The number one MOST played with toy Christmas morning and beyond was this marble game Jim and I made for the kids.  Jim built it, I painted it.  The kids love it!  HOORAY!  The 160 pack of marbles Hunty got from his Grammy Char Char and Grandpa Jim help keep the game well stocked.
Funny Christmas Story:  Tralee asked Santa for a "Rainbow Barbie House."  I told her I wasn't sure Santa's elves made a rainbow one.  Tralee assured me, "Santa can do it!  You'll see!"  So, a few nights before Santa visited, "Santa" stayed up late painting rainbows onto cardboard to put onto a Barbie Dream House.  Christmas morning came around and when Tralee saw the Barbie house with rainbows I said, "it's a Rainbow Barbie House!"  Without missing a beat Tralee turned to me and said, "See Mom!  I told you Santa would do it!"  A few second later she rubbed it in a bit further by saying, "I guess you were the wrongest mom in the world, huh?"  We got it on video.  Someday when she's up late painting rainbows or doing some other ridiculous thing to make sure her four-year-old's Christmas is magical, I will reminder about the "wrongest mom in the world" comment!  :)
The post-Christmas mess
Every year we have the same menu for Christmas Brunch.  I grew up going to my Nana's for Christmas brunch.  She started making it 34 years ago.  My Grandpa Eugen's very last Christmas on Earth was the first time Nana served Christmas brunch at her house.  She's been doing it ever since.  Since our little family can't make it to Nana's for Christmas Brunch, I make it myself.  Christmas isn't Christmas without Nana's Christmas Brunch.

Menu For Christmas Brunch

Frozen Peaches thawed and served in their syrup
Ham with Brown Sugar Glaze
Kielbasa (served with ketchup and horseradish)
Crepes with a creme filling and raspberry sauce
Quiche Lorraine
Cherry Kringle
Monkey Bread (or some other delish baked good.
Nana usually does cranberry bread.
My Aunt Mary also makes some little Polish Apple baked item.)

We always serve Christmas Brunch with something bubbly to drink.  Here's how my meal turned out:

Our little family before we sat down to partake of Christmas Brunch in Idaho
The rest of our Christmas was spent going to church, eating, playing with our new toys, spending time as a family, talking to our extended family on the phone, and relaxing.  It was PERFECT!!!!  I hope everyone else's Christmas was just as memorable and magical!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Cookie Time

Two days before Christmas (is that Christmas Eve Eve?) the kids and I decided it was time to bake cookies for Santa.  When I grew up my mom always made sugar cookie dough and gingerbread dough, so that's what I did (isn't it funny how you're drawn to the traditions you grew up with?).  My munchkins had a lot of fun rolling the dough and choosing which cookie cutters to use.  

Here they are hard at work:

After all the cookies had cooled,  I mixed up five colors of icing, sanitized some paint brushes (I mean, I TOTALLY used the proper approved pastry brushes), got out all the sprinkles I could find, and let the kids have at it.

Tralee insisted that Santa wanted a rainbow cookie.  We didn't have a rainbow cookie cutter, so I took a knife to some dough and came up with the cookie below.  Tralee approved of it (phew!), and Santa told her later on in a letter that it was his favorite cookie of the night!

This was the work of Hunty.

Tralee lasted longer than Hunter.  Hunter decorated (if you can call one splotch of red icing on a cookie decorating) one or two cookies, then had enough.  Tralee  helped me till the cookies and icing ran out.

It was a fun cookie filled day!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Our Night Out on the Town!

My friend Audie and I are single moms a lot.  Our husbands travel for work, and just like last holiday season, they were both gone again this year.  So, just like last year, we planned a night out with the kids to eat at some place yummy, hang at the mall, and let the kids visit Santa.  We hit up Chipotle first, noshed on some food (guac and chips -- yum city!), went to the mall, noticed that the line to see Santa was ridiculously long, so we window shopped, bought some cinnabons (Have they changed their recipe?  They were not as good as I remember!), then went back to check on the Santa line.  We thought all the responsible parents would have taken their kids home and put them to bed at that point so we could hog Santa all to ourselves.  Nope.  The line grew since we first checked, so we decided we better get in it before it got any longer.  

Hunter was a little stinker while we waited.  Actually, he was a pretty normal two-year-old boy.  He did NOT want to sit still and wait in line when there was a whole huge mall to run around and explore.  I chased him around quite a bit.  Finally, towards the hour-long-wait (are we crazy for waiting that long?  It was either wait, or leave with a bunch of disappointed kids.  We waited), I strapped Hunty in the stroller while listening to him protest his trap.  Of course, when we excited the "North Pole" the line was completely empty.  Oh well.  Here are some pics from our night out:
Tralee waiting in line

Baby Anson.  Isn't he cute?  He's a handsome little nugget!

The kids and Santa.  Don't they all look SO EXCITED!  Sense the sarcasm.  At least Tralee is smiling a bit.

We got TWO smiles! 

Everyone got a book from Santa.  They wanted to read them right away!

Overall, it was a fun night, even with the long line.  Plus, Santa brought all our kids what they asked for, so it's a good thing we decided to wait to see him!

Friday, December 23, 2011

My Husband is Hilarious!

Every once in a while my hubby does something that REALLY cracks me up.  This video is one of those things.  His cousin hosts a free style rap competition every Friday on Facebook.  This is Jim's and his cousin's video for Free Style Friday.  They've both been away working for almost two weeks now, and won't be home until Christmas.  Their video examines that a bit.  Here it is:

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Wet Clothes

Our dryer broke. . . AGAIN!  This is the fourth time in two years that it's on the fritz.  It's the second time within a month that it broke.  We bought it from a used appliance place that had positive reviews.  We got, what I thought, was a pretty great deal.  I guess it was all too good to be true.  Two weeks after we bought it, the dryer's heating element stopped working.  Luckily the dryer was still under warranty, but two years later the dryer has broke down three more times.  We also bought a freezer from said company, and wouldn't you know it, one month passed this company's warranty the freezer broke.  They wanted to charge us $200 to fix it.  That's how much we paid for it in the first place.  Needless to say, we're not heading back to this used appliance place. . . EVER!  I'm not even sure we want to fix the dryer again at this point.  It might be time to bite the bullet and buy a new one.  With four people and a dog, we kind of need a dependable laundry room.  What I would REALLY like is a little number like this:

Aren't they pretty?  I bet they're as functional as they are beautiful.  Hold on, I need a second to wipe the drool off my face.  Santa, if you're listening, how about this red LG front loading washer and dryer set under the Christmas tree?  I've been pretty good this year.  Actually, I probably could have been better.  Awe shucks!  Maybe next year.

While I'm in dream mode, how about a laundry room that looks a little something like this: 

Are those two washer and dryer sets I see?  I hope the laundry-doer/s in this family know/s how lucky he/she/they are.  Isn't it funny how excited you can get over appliances when you're the one that actually uses them?

Or this:

So pretty and fresh.
Check this little beauty out:

I would even love something like this if it meant the dryer worked:
The lady is pretty fantastic, isn't she?  I love all the pink!

So, we're currently on the market for a new dryer.  We're hoping to find an amazing deal on a reliable dryer (fingers crossed).  If you have any tips on where to score a great deal, let me know!  Hopefully I won't get any recommendations to the used appliance place I've sworn off.  That would be kind of funny.

Oh. . . and Santa (if you're still listening), if I someday get my dream washer/dryer set, I'll dress up like the lady pictured above to match my set every time I wash (well, maybe not every time. . . but definitely the first).  I probably won't look as fab as she does though.  I don't have a hat anywhere close to the awesomeness of Lady Kenmore's.

Tralee's Letter to Santa 2011

Thursday, December 15, 2011
Dear Santa,
I love you very much.  I wish I worked at your workshop.  And I can help you bring toys.  And I wish I could see your reindeer.  I wish Santa was my dad, and even my own dad at home so they could be twins.  And even they can have a great Merry Christmas.  I love you to get some princesses, and please give me a toy! I
What kind of animal do you like Santa?  You’re so sweet when you bring presents.  I want to be good.  And Merry Christmas to all!  I wish you were a great Santa, and you are!  Santa is a great great great man!  And even Christmas I will blow you a kiss.
Santa, I want a toy doggy that looks like Brady’s and even a rainbow Barbie House that has rainbows.  I do want toy pretend foods.  And you’re the greatest greatest GREATEST Santa in the world!

Etsy Shop. . . .READY. . . GO!!!

My Etsy shop is up and running!  There are only a handful of items up at the moment.  For now, I'm just selling some of my printable art.  I'm totally new to this, so it might take some time to get the hang of.  I'm excited!  My goal is to post at least one new piece a week.  With a household to run, a husband to make-out with, two munchkins to take care of, a dog to pooper-scoop after, and all the other stuff on my list, I think that's a pretty realistic goal.

Go ahead and take a peek at what's for sale over at Leslie's Love Prints:

Oh, and to celebrate the new shop (and the new year), here's a free printable to help you ring in 2012!!

Wish me luck!!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Busy Bees

We're buzzing around over here, getting ready for C-day.  There's been Christmas parties to attend, lists made and checked twice, and a whole lotta fa-la-la-ing.  It's all great fun, but not a whole lot of time for me to sit and sip wassail whilst reading Dickens's A Christmas Carol, and listen to a fire crackle in the background (if only we had a fireplace, I might put our buzzing on hold and actually do just that).

I have made some crafty little things, and one ultra awesome gift for some people that I'm super excited about.  The only problem is, said gifts and said people all read my bloggity-blog-blog, and I would hate to steal the surprise away from Christmas.  So, no pictures of my creations. . . yet.  Maybe when our jingle-bell-induced buzzing comes to a halt will I take a moment to share some crafty photos.  Until then, take a look at my two best creations:

I love his little tired eyes in the morning.

She was waiting for me to read Olivia to her.  I was snapping pictures instead.  Eventually Olivia's adventures in Italy were read.  That being said, how come a pig and her family get to go to Italy, and my family and I haven't been there yet?  That needs to be remedied.  Plus--spoiler alert--we won't leave Venice in ruins like a certain O-named pig!

I just like this one.  Don't you wish you could hang out with her everyday?  I'm one lucky mama!  And sometimes, I'm one tired mama who wants to pull her hair out, but mostly I'm just lucky.

Four more days!!!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Tralee's First Dance Recital

Today was Tralee's first dance recital.  All the little girls tap danced to Brenda Lee's, "I'm Gonna Lasso Santa Claus."  They were all adorable.  Tralee cracked me up.  She stole the show, that's for sure!  But. . . perhaps her show stealing techniques were not in the way you would think.  Tralee started off standing in the wrong place, then forgot to put on her hat.  Part way into the dance Tralee stood front-and-center and while the rest of the girls were doing the choreographed tap moves, my sweet Stinks was in her own little world.  She finished the dance strong!  I giggled through the whole thing thinking, "Of course she's doing her own thing!  What else would I expect from my against-the-grain girl!"  I love my little tapper!  She dances to her own tune, and that's why she's a star in my book.

Here's the video.  Right around 2:07 Tralee enters her own little world.  She comes back to Earth at 2:28.  I love her!

In other news:  Christmas is getting closer!!!  Are you as excited as I am?

Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas Party

We had our church Christmas Party on Saturday night.  Tralee played the part of Mary in the Nativity.  Her little crush, Alex, played the part of Joseph.  They were cute up there--all the kids were pretty cute acting out the story of Christmas!  

After dinner, the Nativity, and singing Christmas carols, Santa came to visit all the children.
Here's Tralee waiting in line too see Santa.
Tralee asked Santa for a, "stuffed animal that's a dog and a Barbie house with Barbies."

I think she just might get what she asked for!

Are you wondering where all the pictures of Hunter are?  He slept though the whole thing!  He woke up as soon as we got home.  Silly boy!

We had a fun and busy Saturday.