Monday, 15 December 2014

Christmas Countdown 2014: Day Fifteen

No, you didn't miss 3 days of our advent activities - days 12, 13 and 14 are currently stranded on my camera's memory card.  So, now for day 15!
A few years ago (before the blog), I attempted (and failed... miserably) to make a gingerbread house that was NOT pre-assembled.  It completely caved in and caused me hours of frustration (that was before I learned that 'giving up' was an option).  I still covered it in icing and candy and ate it - don't get me wrong - but it was still pretty annoying.  I swore never again, but then someone gave us one (LOL) and so I was forced to assemble my second gingerbread house.  Somehow, it went up without a hitch. 
The kids LOVE decorating the gingerbread houses, although, there was a ton of whining about not being able to eat the candies as they were decorating (how do they think it will get decorated if they eat all the candy??!!).
We're not sure what is happening in this picture, but I'm sure it has something to do with Harrison inspecting the candy from his dish.  He was pretty attached to the blue gumball.


And here is our finished product.  Ella and Harrison were each assigned one side of the roof, one of the side walls and either the front or the back wall.  Next year, when Ben is able to help out a bit, we may need to invest in a gingerbread mansion or one with a garage, so he has a space to decorate too.

 Thanks for reading :D

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Christmas Countdown 2014: Day Eleven

Day 11 is brought to you by gingerbread cookies.  As expected, I didn't have enough time (before Ella got home from school) to bake ALL the cookies (as I type this, there is still a bowl of gingerbread cookie batter in my fridge...maybe tomorrow's the day?).  I did, however, manage to bake enough so the kids could each decorate some. 

This year we had some candy eyes left over from the Halloween cookies, so the kids were excited to use those on their gingerbread men.  Aside from the eyes, the most popular decorating item this year were the chocolate chips.  One of Harrison's cookies was so full of chocolate chips that they were stacked three high. 

Of course they had to sample one immediately after decorating...couldn't even let the icing harden.  At least they get it honestly! 

Thanks for reading :D

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Christmas Countdown 2014: Day Ten

Tonight we went to the annual Kids' Christmas Party at Adam's school.  The organizer really outdid herself this year!  There were stations set up for the kids to do colouring pages, make a snowman craft (using marshmallows!!), make reindeer food, beading with pipe cleaners and, of course, the ever-popular gym mats...or death traps as I like to call them. 
The gym mats always steal the show, and we may be purchasing a trampoline in the summer (NO). 

Santa made the rounds this year too.  He said hi to all the kids and asked what they wanted for Christmas.  He seemed a little confused when Ella told him she wanted a laundry basket (side note:  Ella actually talked to him!!), but promised her it could be done.

We couldn't leave before getting the kids picture taken at the amazing photo booth prop.  This picture may become my new Facebook cover photo. 

The boys managed to fall asleep on the way home, but Ella was wide awake until well past her bedtime.  Someone is really excited about all the Christmassy fun she's been having!

Thanks for reading :D

Christmas Countdown 2014: Day Nine

Today we made our most exciting Christmas decorations yet - Christmas wreaths!  I had the idea to let Ella and Harrison each make a wreath for their bedroom doors, so I grabbed a couple plain wreaths from Michaels and some random decorations (not to mention a kajillion borrowed decorations from Nan).  They were both excited to make something they could put in their room.

I set all the decorations out in front of them and they got to decide what should go on their wreaths.  After they chose a few special items, I had them set everything around the wreath in the EXACT spot they wanted it to be.  I then used hot glue to attach everything (except the garland and beads).  You could use wire or ribbon to tie all the ornaments on, but my timeline only allowed me to use hot glue.  :D

And here are the finished products:

I'm already thinking these would be cute gifts to make for special people next year.  I'll add it to my list!
Thanks for reading :D

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Christmas Countdown 2014: Day Eight

Our original plan for today was Christmas carol karaoke.  We have a sweet Christmas microphone from last year (complete with an elf voice) and a lovely selection of kids Christmas CD's.  That plan kind of fell through, so we made a batch of Christmas cookies instead.  This is often our back-up plan.

Harrison was so lucky to do all the measuring and stirring himself - without having to take turns with Ella.  He learned how to turn the mixer on and off and was surprised that it was 'too loud for his ears'.  He especially enjoyed using the whisk to combine the dry ingredients.  When I told him he had to do it gently, he barely even moved the whisk around.  In the end I helped him out with that one.

We made a batch of Oatmeal Cranberry cookies (our first time making this recipe) and they were delish!  Here's what I can remember of the recipe (yes, that's how I roll):

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 1/2 cups oats

  1. Mix butter and both sugars together on low speed for 1 minute and then on medium speed for 1 minute.  Add egg and vanilla and mix for an additional minute until combined.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine flour, salt and cinnamon.  Whisk to combine.
  3. Add flour mixture to butter mixture and mix on medium until combined.  Stir in cranberries and oats.
  4. Bake at 350 for 7 to 10 minutes...depending on your oven and cookie size.  Ours baked for 12 minutes.

Thanks for reading :D

Christmas Countdown 2014: Day Seven

I guess you'll have to think of today as a 'wordless-ish Sunday'.  The kids went to the Santa Claus parade today, but I stayed home with Ben while he napped.  From their faces in this picture and the handfuls of candy they brought home, I'd say they had a jolly good time.

Thanks for reading :D

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Christmas Countdown 2014: Day Six

Did you happen to see that creepy vehicle driving slowly around your neighbourhood and staring at your house tonight?  Well, that was us.  Only we aren't creepy and we were looking at your Christmas lights (or lack of!).  :D
So, we've never taken a Christmas light tour of the village before, and now that the kids are a bit bigger it seemed like the perfect time.  Everyone (the kids) got into their warmest jammies and piled into the van for a quick trip around town (20 minutes round-trip and we hit every street!). 


I must say, there are some very well lit houses around here.  There are also some fails.  Although I'm mostly kidding, I shouldn't say much on that end because I've put 0% effort into our outdoor Christmas lighting/d├ęcor. 

Here are the highlights of our tour:

-First place goes to the house on the highway going out of town towards HBC (oh big shocker there)

-Strong second place goes to a cute little house on the dead-end part of the Post-Office street.  For realz, you need to take a drive down there and see for yourself.  There are a bazillion lights, they flash, plus there is a wicked spotlight set up in the middle of the driveway shining on the garage door.  It's  a 'light party' according to Harrison.

-Third place goes to a large house on the court beside the high school

-Honourable mention goes to Great Grandma's and Great Poppa's house because all their lights are blue (awarded by Harrison - it was very exciting).

The kids loved the light tour almost as much as their visit to the coffee shop for a donut this afternoon.  We tried to follow a mental Christmas light scavenger hunt, but it was kind of a bust.  It was more fun to just shout out all the things we saw. This will definitely be a new Christmas tradition!

Thanks for reading :D

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