Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Monday, December 26, 2011

Merry Christmas! Part 3

After a few hours of rest in a semi quiet house we headed out to Stef and Steve's house for dinner and gifts with them and Sheri.  We had a very yummy pork roast, scalloped potatoes, salad, and bread with Frog eye Salad and Apple Pie for dessert.  Before dinner though we had more gifts to open.

Everyone always gets chap-stick, toothbrush, toothpaste, and bath stuff in their stockings from Sheri.  The kids LOVE getting that toothbrush every Christmas.

Another bath robe!  We couldn't have been more excited!

Adam got a football robe and slipper socks.

Operation, with added sound effects.  I have so far refused to put the batteries in and told them to just practice for now.  I needed to come down from the Christmas high first.  Maybe tomorrow.  Oh, but the slipper socks!!  Look at these adorable and awesome socks Noelle got from Grandma Sheri.  Sooo cute!!

New sleds!!  Now they each have one instead of having to share 1 two person sled.  They were super excited!!

After dinner we all sat around the table to play Yahtzee.  It was lots of fun and Adam beat the pants off the rest of us.

Stef and Sheri

Noelle is surprisingly good at this game.  The only part she had trouble with was writing her numbers facing the proper direction.

LOVE this pic of Noelle and her Auntie!!

Thanks Stef, Steve, and Sheri for having us to dinner and spending your Christmas evening with us!!

Merry Christmas! Part 2

After open our family gifts it was time to get the house and ourselves ready for brunch with Derrick, Kellyn, Jenna, Grant, Ron, and Merle.  We had a wonderful selection of yummy food!  Justin made Beignets, eggs, and diced breakfast potatoes.  We also had fruit, bacon, and juice.

Jenna and Grant being silly.

Derrick and Kellyn

Justin, Adam, and Noelle



Noelle got an Easy Bake Oven from Grandpa Ron.  She is very excited to try it out.

A very nice drawing pad.  He also received a How to Draw Manga book.

A very soft and warm robe.

A Kindle!!  I was, and still am, very excited!  

Noelle got some really fun gifts.  The best might be this cotton candy machine though.  Merle got it set up and made some cherry and regular flavored cotton candy.  It was very yummy and easy to make AND clean up.

I was also given some Baby Girl scrap booking stickers, gel pens, rotary cutter, and a very neat set of hand painted Winnie the Pooh Matryoshka Dolls.

Justin was very excited to get a Bamboo Tablet, the complete set of Star Wars movies on Blu Ray, a drawing pad, and some new Magic cards.

The kids got so much stuff I couldn't even begin to remember off the top of my head, LOL!!

Thank you to all the Allens, Merle, and Ron for some great and really thoughtful gifts and for spending Christmas morning with us!!

To be continued...

Merry Christmas! Part 1

We had a wonderful and fun Christmas Day with our families!

We started off early on Christmas Eve by opening a family gift from Greg and Michele and the kids each opened their Christmas clothes from Grandma Sheri.

Pancake making supplies!!  We LOVE pancakes at this house, plus I have wanted one of these squeeze bottles and molds to make shapes for a couple years.  Thank you Greg and Michele!!  We can't to try it out.

Adam read us "'Twas the Night Before Christmas.

Santa came while we were sleeping.  He ate a couple cookies, drank some milk, left a gift for each child, AND hatched a couple Dragon Eggs!!  (There is a story to go with the eggs, but that is for another time.)

Hmm...looks like Adam's Dragon hatched very hungry.
Oh, he filled a couple stockings with goodies while he was at it!

If I remember right Noelle's Dragon's name is Eggers.

I have no clue what Adam's Dragon's name is.

Noelle LOVES the Explorer Santa brought her.

Awesome!!  Star Wars Pod Racers.

Obsessed already.

Special bookmarks from Mommy.

Pickachu!!  (Pretty sure that isn't spelled right.)

Slippers very similar to Mommy and Daddy's.  She LOVES them!

Adam Picked out this necklace for Noelle all on his own from his school's holiday gift shop.  I was very proud of him for thinking of her.

This one needs an explanation.  Adam received a HUGE Nemo for his 1st birthday.  He was done with it and it was placed in the donate pile.  Noelle repeatedly took it out and tried to keep it for herself.  The thing was so big that I really just wanted it gone.  It FINALLY got donated and she never did let it go from her mind.  She asked Santa for a Nemo of her own so I went ahead and bought her a 12" one.  She was very excited to open it and has had it by her side most of the time since then.

She even feeds him with the Chimp Sticks Santa gave her in her stocking.  LOL!!  She used her Chimp Sticks at Tokyo Joe's today and managed to eat her whole lunch without using her fork.  Yeah!!

My beautiful children that I feel so blessed to call my own!!

To be continued...

Friday, December 23, 2011

Gingerbread Houses

The kids FINALLY got to decorate the houses today!!  

It took a while to get to it since I decided to try making them myself this year.  Spending $12.99 on ONE house the kids have to share just seems silly.  I bought this Gingerbread House cutter set for $8.99 at Michael's or JoAnn's.  I am already looking forward to getting to use it every year.  They can now make houses for any holiday they want!

I used this recipe from Food Network.  The recipe is for a smaller house than my cutters, so I actually made 3 batches of dough to make 2 houses.  Justin and Noelle each ate some of the leftover cookie and said it was very good.  I have never in my life tried actually eating gingerbread anything and I'm not starting now.  

Step 1 - cream together the butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, molasses, and baking soda until the mixture is smooth.

Looks smooth, right?!  LOL!

Step 2 - Blend in the flour and water to make a stiff dough.  This was easier said than done.  I had to finish with my hand, the mixture just couldn't get all the flour blended in from the bottom of the bowl.

BTW, this is what happens when you insist on sticking things into the mixing bowl while it is still moving.  Oops!  At least it was a cheap one and not a Pampered Chef.

Step 3 - Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until firm.  I did this step for the first two batches, but it was very hard to roll out.  I skipped it for the last batch and it was much easier.  I would recommend maybe chilling 5-10 minutes only.
It even looks hard, see all the cracks!

Step 4 - Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Roll dough out and cut shapes.

Step 5 - Bake for 15 minutes.  Re-cut shapes over existing lines right away.  You have to do this while the dough is still soft.  Leave on baking sheet to fully cool.

Step 6 - Make royal icing and have husband build houses so they have plenty of time to harden together.

Making the icing was interesting.  I had never made my own before.  It was REALLY thick and perfect for the grout needed to hold the walls and roof together.  It would not have worked for actually frosting something though.

Step 7 - Decorate!!

Can you tell she's excited!?

Noelle was having some sliding issues.

Pretty lights on the roof and fruit slice bushes.

Justin said we should add an empty sleigh to the top of Noelle's.  Why empty?  Because it looks like there was a massacre on the roof.  Adam's is very nice though.  I hope Santa made it to that house first.

Next year we will be keeping the red away from Noelle.  Also, the tiny tubes of gel icing we had on hand don't work as well as the writing icing tubes.