We decided to try out Gingerbread House decorating this year. I bought two kits from Joann's because I heard that they were the best. Ryan made the houses the night before Christmas but today was the first day that I thought we might actually have time to decorate them :) The icing was a lot trickier than I expected. It was a learning process for us all but we made do and ended up with some pretty fabulous gingerbread houses!
It snowed on Christmas Eve in Texas! Apparently is hasn't snowed here on Christmas Eve since somewhere around 1923. It was beautiful!
Ryan and I had fun hanging out on the deck in the blowing snow. We also took Little Dog for a walk as a family and froze our butts off ~ it was COLD!!
Christmas Day was wonderful. We had too many presents as usual :) but at least it was less than last year. Year after year we are getting bigger "toys" but less of them which I like.
After opening presents we hung around the house and did some cleaning up because our family came over for Christmas Dinner around 6 pm. Ryan and I cooked salmon, barley risotto with asparagus, and fresh green beans with pine nuts. It was delicious and a very light dinner which was nice so that our stomachs weren't so stuffed when we opened up all of the presents from our family. My parents, Ryan's parents, my sister, and Ryan's brother and sister in law were here this year and we had a blast!
As I look back on the evening I realized that I only took 5 pictures all day and the ones I took I took in the morning. We were so involved with talking, catching up, and having a great time that we didn't really think about taking pictures :)
Our biggest family tradition: Christmas Cookie Decorating
Every year the entire family gets together and decorates Christmas sugar cookies. This year was no different. My parents, in-laws, sister (and her boyfriend, Ryan), me, Ryan, and the kids, and my brother in law, Denver, all got together today to continue the tradition. I made sugar cookie dough and peanut butter kiss cookie dough, my mom made two recipes of sugar cookie dough, my mother in law brought sugar cookie dough, and my sister brought sugar cookie dough. My mom made Corn Chowder and my dad made his famous Chili and we chowed down on lunch before we set to decorating hoping that maybe lunch would fill us up and we wouldn't eat so much cookie dough . We cranked up the Christmas music (Amy Grant and Clay Aiken) and got into the cookie making spirit by singing loudly and eating a lot of icing :) Little Miss and Little Man truly had a wonderful time this year although halfway through Little Man was looking a little "over sugared" because he had eaten so much cookie dough and sampled a little too much homemade icing! Little Miss really got into it this year and did a fabulous job decorating her cookies. All in all we made and decorated 108 sugar cookies!
Here are some pictures I took with my iPhone. We forgot to bring our camera so as soon as I get copies of some of the best, I'll post them :)
Little Miss had her class Christmas Party today. Oh what an event it was. There were balloon centerpieces and Christmas table clothes, crafts galore, food, and a book exchange. And she got to wear her pajamas to school today! I think that was her favourite part :)
This morning they had Fireside Reading with her teacher and then the Christmas party was this afternoon at 2 pm. I showed up with Little Man (in his pajamas as well) and helped to set up and get everything ready for the kiddos.
The kids came in and set to making their crafts. They coloured wooden ornaments, decorated foam bell shapes, and made jingle bell necklaces. Then they feasted on cheese cubes, pretzel sticks, cupcakes, grapes, strawberries, and hot chocolate. During all of the hoopla, each kid got to go and pick out one of the wrapped books in the library (each child had brought a wrapped book to give).
Little Miss and Little Man had a blast and I got a couple of cupcakes to each as well (anyone who knows me well knows that that is the most important thing :) ).
I'm the Room Mom for Little Man's class this year. It's actually a pretty involved job :) We plan all major holiday parties and crafts and get the parents to help pay for or donate their time and money for said parties. (That is actually more difficult than you'd imagine.)
The Christmas Party was scheduled for this Friday but one of the kids is moving and our teacher, Ms. Carson, is going to Hawaii for Christmas vacation this week so we moved the party to today.
Our craft was a Christmas tree ornament. I got fat green popsicle sticks and hot glued them in a triangle. Then I added red and green pipe cleaners for the "hook" and a brown construction paper trunk. Last week I went in and took pictures of each kiddo and last night I hot glued all of their cute little faces into the middle of the "tree". Then today we let the kids decorate their trees with sequins, stickers, and jewels. They turned out super cute!
We got the kids McDonalds happy meals for a "special" lunch and then had them decorate a sugar cookie for dessert.
One of the grandmothers even came in today and did face painting for the kids making them each look like a reindeer.
The kids had a great time and so did the parents and the ornaments turned out even cuter then I thought they'd be :)
My 34th birthday was great this year. My actual birthday was on Friday, December 11th but we celebrated it over the weekend (twice).
Ryan, the kids, and I had our own little celebration where they gave me my presents on Saturday evening after the Movies by the Fire in our neighborhood. Then on Sunday morning we had the entire family over to celebrate my birthday with a brunch at our house.
Every year our neighbor down the road hosts a Christmas Movies by the Fire evening. Usually it's the second weekend of December. They provide the hot chocolate, hot dogs, and s'more makins' and the rest of us bring something to share. Then they blow up their large inflatable movie screen and project the movie onto it. We all bring lawn chairs and a bunch of blankets and watch movies well into the night.
This year's double feature included Fred Claus and White Christmas. While we were unable to stay for the movies we were able to go down to enjoy hot chocolate, hot dogs, chili, eggrolls, corn casserole and numerous fabulous desserts. The kids had a great time playing with the other neighborhood kids and we shared in some fun neighborly conversation.
This year we decided to be smart Texans and decorate the outside of the house when it was still warm outside.
So the day after Thanksgiving when it was in the upper 70s, the kids, and Ryan, and I headed outside with all of our boxes and tubs full of decorations and made a day of it.
I put red and green lights all down our front walkway, around all of our "flower" beds, and along the street. Then we put out the Santa on a tractor inflatable and the Santa on a horse lighted display. Finally, my dad got us a Texas Tech Red Raider football players lighted statue and we decided to put that one out this year as well. We finished it off by wrapping our three pine tree trunks in lights.
I really LOVE Christmas time and having the lights out early enough to enjoy them for as long as possible.
The Art House in Flower Mound was offering free pumpkin painting. All you needed to do was show up with a pumpkin and they would provide the rest. So the kids and I decided to head over there on Monday October 19 so that we could partake in the fun :)
Little Miss made a rainbow striped pumpkin with antenna and Little Man made a globular painted pumpkin with LONG antenna that ended up falling off!
Messy --- Yes.... Super Fun --- You Bet!
As for our pumpkins, Ryan and I decided to go a different route with our carving this year. Little Miss and I both had the swine flu over the Halloween weekend. Since Trick or Treating was out for this year we decided that we couldn't hand out candy to unsuspecting healthy people either. So here is what we carved...
Needless to say... no one came to our door for treats :)
As for the costumes ... the kids did go to a costume birthday party the week before Halloween. Little Man wore his Batman costume and Little Miss was a Texas Tech cheerleader. Her actual costume was a Cleopatra but we were saving it for Halloween...
Western Days is a big deal at Little Man's new school! They go all out - petting zoo, picture taking area, campfire songs, stick horse races... the whole nine yards. Today was the day!
I volunteered to help out with the picture taking station and Ryan let the school borrow his roping dummy, chaps, bits and bridles, riding blankets, and saw horse.
Little Man had a blast going from station to station with his preschool class. His favourite stations were the petting zoo station and the stick horse race station. Nana even came up to school and followed his class around for a couple of rotations. He thought that was pretty cool.
After the kids went through all of the stations the room moms (of which I am one) brought the kids each a McDonald's Happy Meal. The kids really loved this special treat and I thoroughly enjoyed getting to spend most of the afternoon with my favourite little boy!!
The kids have been talking about Walking with the Dinosaurs since we told them we bought tickets in August. Tonight was the night when I finally got to tell them, YES, we are going TONIGHT :)
"...a dazzling 10 million pound arena spectacle of unprecedented size and quality set to captivate young and old alike. Marvel at the story of their 200 million year domination of life on earth. Watch them walk. Hear the roar. Be there as they fight for survival and supremacy. From the ripple of their skin to the glint in their eye, you will know the dinosaurs really have returned!"
The entire family went to the show tonight. Both sets of grandparents, my sister, and my family - we didn't want to miss it! It was an amazing show. The narration was fabulous and the scenery was breathtaking. The kids LOVED seeing the dinosaurs in their actual sizes, watching them interact and fight, and hearing their LOUD roars!!
This was truly a once in a lifetime show and we are so glad that we were able to go and see it!
Little Miss's Team - the Superstars - have been learning a lot and doing great at their soccer games. And Coach Ryan has had a great time as their soccer coach.
I don't think we've actually won a game yet (they don't technically keep score) but we are certainly having a great time. I put off letting her play soccer because I didn't want us to get too busy but surprisingly we are really enjoying all of the practices and games this season!
Here are a couple of pictures from her last couple of games.
Her class has been studying apples and decided to take a field trip to the Henrietta Apple Orchard. I, of course, volunteered to chaperone the trip. I was assigned to keep 4 girls in my little group - we loaded onto the big yellow school bus and off we went!
Once we got there we watched a presentation on what life was like 100 years ago. They showed us how they harvested cotton, picked the cotton out of the plant, separated the cotton from the seed, and then spun the cotton into thread to be used to make cloth. It was very interesting. Then we learned about all of the apples and other crops that they grow on the orchard. We were then given a tour of the grounds and learned many fascinating things about earthworms, ponds, pecans, and of course, apples.
So tonight we went to the Grapevine Library to see a Storyteller (Doryane Breedlove) tells us some Not-So-Scary Stories. You never know what kind of storyteller you're going to get when you find the information in a free publication but it looked like a lot of fun so we decided to try it out. Boy am I glad we did.
Doryane Breedlove was an EXCELLENT storyteller! The kids were totally absorbed in her stories. She told stories with music and skeleton stories where the kids used sticks to simulate the bones rubbing together. The kids favourite by far was the story of the Gunniwolf. Ms. Breedlove had the best voices and hand movements to go with this wonderful story. The kids LOVED it and retold it to each other in the car on the way home from the library.