Monday, December 29, 2008

Annual Bake Off

For those who know we do a Bake Off at my mom's Christmas party. This was the third one and Riley, Matt and I participated. Here are the pictures of our entries. Riley was insistent that she be in the adult contest because last year we told her she was in the kid one and she won. She figured out this year that she would win because she is the only one in the kid contest so she wanted to be included with the rest of us. We were very proud of her for wanting to do that because we have told her so many times that it is not about winning and she understood. She never once pouted or was upset when she didn't win. She did great placing tied for 5th, Matt took 4th and I took 2nd.
Here are the preparations:

Riley's "Everything But the Kitchen Sink Bars"

Matt making his Banana Foster

My Hummingbird Cake with Chocolate Poinsettia

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Christmas Bustle

The last week has been full of wonderful family Christmas parties. We are very busy at Christmas time but we enjoy it and this year was really nice because it was all spread out. The kids tried to wake us up on Christmas morning at 4am! We told them no and went back to sleep! We were able to hold them off until 7:30 which was fine. Santa was really good to all of us and we had a ton of fun playing with all of the new stuff.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve

We spent the day at home and we really enjoyed it. We ate lots of good food of course. We wrapped the last few gifts and played together. This afternoon we called Papa and Grandma in Missouri to open the presents they sent. The kids had been bugging us to open them since they woke up this morning. Every year they send the kids new pajamas so they put them on right away.

Our tradition on Christmas Eve is to eat fondue for dinner and the kids love it. It was a tradition I had as a kid and I truly looked forward to it every year so I am glad I can share that with my family now. We had lots of good food and I think I will be full for a couple of days. Carter really liked that we let them have pop and they could have as much as they wanted. Riley was in love with battered dill pickles and I think that is all she ate for dinner.

Before bed time the kids got a plate of treats ready for Santa and the Reindeer. Riley insisted that each reindeer get two carrots so it took them a little while to count and make sure they had enough. They also spent ALL day watching Santa online and they were constantly running to the computer to check on his whereabouts. It was really fun and they wanted to stay up until he was in the USA but we convinced them otherwise. Omce we set out the plate for Santa and checked to see where he was (he was in Brazil) they went to bed. Shortly after putting them into bed I checked on them and found Carter sleeping with his Santa hat on. So cute. We are so excited to get up in the morning and enjoy Christmas with them.

One last thing. Riley made a gingerbread house last weekend and I have not posted it yet. She asked me today again if I had so I thought I better get it on here.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas lights after a "little snow"

I know these are blurry but I am not going back out to get good ones! If you notice the candy canes, you will see how deep the snow is on the side of the driveway! I posted the first picture to compare the two.



The kids came out to play while we did the driveway tonight and here are a couple pictures.

Snow, Snow, Go Away

For those lucky enough not to be in Michigan I wanted to share some photos. We have had several days of snow and honestly enough is enough. We shoveled about 15 inches off the driveway on Friday and then again on Monday we had at least 18 inches on some parts of the driveway. It has been snowing constantly since yesterday and it is still accumulating! Here are some photos near our house. I will try to get out and take a picture of the Christmas lights tonight because it looks much different than the picture I posted a couple of weeks ago. The candy canes are disappearing!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Holiday Baking

Friday was a snow day and I planned to bake all day if school was cancelled. I spent most of the day shoveling about 15-18 inches of snow off the driveway. We don't snowblow when our candy canes are out for Christmas because the break really easy. So, we shoveled the whole driveway. Once we came in I was exhausted but managed to gather everything for baking. Riley and I started at 5 because we were also fighting with Carter to take a nap. We started that project at about 2:15 and at 5 he was still awake. But with a weekend full of parties and a cold we wanted him to take a nap. Needless to say we lost the battle and about 7:15 this is what we found:

Riley and I baked for 6 hours and finished everything we needed to do including making homemade pizza for dinner. We were really tired! Here are some pics of our work.
This is the counter before we started.

Riley and Carter both helped me bake.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Week in Review

Monday: Matt was home but working. I tried a new recipe for dinner and it was terrible. After dinner I went to finish Christmas shopping and Matt took the kids shopping. It was really funny because we ate my terrible dinner before we left and I came home with some Taco Bell. I felt really bad about getting something and not bringing some home for the rest of my hungry family. Then they walked in with Burger King! It was pretty funny and needless to say my feelings were not hurt. The dinner was really bad!

Tuesday: I had to cancel preschool because of sickness. Matt worked in Chicago. I got sick Tuesday evening and was sick all night. I am really glad it was only a 24 hour thing!

Wednesday: Matt headed to Iowa for the rest of the week. I was in bed sick all day and the girls were not here because they were sick. I had to make "triangle" shaped brownies for Riley to take to school for her Christmas party (which I hope is not cancelled because of a snow day tomorrow) and of course we didn't have any eggs. So even though I was still not feeling well we went off to the store and came home to make brownies. This was definitely one of those times that I wished Matt was not out of town. I just wanted to go to bed. :)

Thursday: Today we were back to normal. Carter has a cold and he was a little crabby today. After Riley got home from school we went to my grandma's to take her grocery shopping and make her dinner. We had a nice time and I know she enjoyed it. When my grandpa was alive he loved the battery operated little singing toys/stuffed animals. My grandma has them all out and she really enjoyed showing the kids all of them. I really am glad she kept them all and gets them out because I love watching the kids enjoy them. That is all he would have wanted! Now I am watching the radar as Matt is headed home. He was planning to work in Iowa until tomorrow but when we looked at the weather, he made the decision to come home tonight. I really think if he looked in the rear view mirror he would see snow/wintry mix because according to the radar he is right at the front of the storm. He should be home in a couple hours and bringing the snow with him. I am headed to bed hoping the weather people are really wrong. I know too many people planning to travel tomorrow and lots of kids who would be disappointed if their school parties were cancelled. So for once in this teacher's life, I am wishing for NO SNOW DAY!!!!!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Visiting Santa

The busiest time of year

Here is a glimpse of our decorations. We really are glad the snow melted this weekend because now we might get the rest of the lights up. There are still two more boxes to put out but not sure we will.

Friday I had a Girl Scout card making party at our house. We made cards for elderly in Zeeland. Saturday RIley and I got up and went shopping. We were gone for 7 hours and we accomplished it all! I had only a couple things to still take care of and we did that after church on Sunday. Grandma Jennifer cut Riley' hair when we got home from shopping.

Sunday we went to church and Carter sat in church with us for the first time. He did so good. For some reason he did not want to go to nursery and really wanted to go to our church. On the way he was asking us if he could go with us and we told him no because nursery was so fun. He asked "Is your church boring?" So we told him yes so he would want to go to nursery and that backfired because he replied "I like boring things!" So anyway, we were very pleased with his behavior and to be honest it was nice having all of us together in church. If you know Carter though you would understand why he is three and this is the first time we tried!

After church we went to see Santa and I will try to get the picture scanned to share it. We did some shopping and then went to Grand Rapids to see Aunt Allison and Uncle Jim's new house. It is so nice and we had a wonderful time. The kids all love playing together.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Watching TV in Style!

This is Carter watching TV when the sun is coming in the window.

Decorating the tree

Last Friday we went to get our tree and it was freezing! It was snowing and blowing but we dressed warm and found our tree. When the man was shaking it the top broke and he was very relieved that we did not yell at him. I assume he has gotten yelled at before. But we told him we could make it work. So the tree is slightly shorter than we wanted but that is not important. We brought it home and Riley cut the strings to "release" the tree. She liked that part. I just realized that we do not have a picture of the tree after we decorated it but I will get one later. We managed to only decorate the tree before bedtime. Saturday was our last craft show for the year and the weather was terrible. We were contemplating not going (it was at West Catholic High School in GR) but after calling and finding out they were not going to cancel the show we decided to try and go. I usually pull a trailer with our stuff in it and with the weather I was not sure that was a good idea. So Matt and I went out to load as much of the stuff we could in the van all while leaving room for the three of us to sit. We really thought we would have to leave some stuff home but once again the mini-van has amazed me. We were able to take everything! So we did the show and it was great. It was a little nerve racking watching it snow all day while we were there but it was not too bad coming home. So another craft show season is behind us and we will miss Abby as she has decided to free up her fall for other things. Sunday we worked on decorating the house and the outside. Unfortunately since we have gotten so much snow already we decided not to make our light display into a musical show with animation. We will try that next year. We actually have 15 strands of lights that we have not put out yet because of the snow. I have not taken any pictures of the house to share yet because we just finished them late last night. The pics will be posted soon.