Friday, January 20, 2012

Making gingerbread houses

Gingerbread house making has become a tradition around here.  Over the years our creations have ranged from the ridiculously complex Martha Stewart gingerbread cake that took (no kidding) three days, 33 eggs, and 16 sticks of butter…

Not Martha


to the fairly simple yet adorable…



This year’s concoction was a nice in-between.  It was plenty big enough for all the kids to decorate, yet still easy to assemble.  Note to self for next year: caramelized sugar works GREAT to hold the pieces together.  No waiting for frosting to dry, and it was rock solid when hard.


The girls had been playing with their makeup earlier, which is why they have the war paint on.




Yes, every picture I have of Averi during this event shows her stuffing her mouth.


Other December happenings


Happy babies in Christmas jammies.


Making marshmallows using this recipe from Bon Appetit.  Oh, heaven!




Katie’s dance performance.  She decided that she wanted to do gymnastics instead of ballet, so this was her last little performance.  I’m sad to see her quit ballet, but I’m so excited for her to take gymnastics.  I get jealous watching Katie and Paul because it looks so fun!


I love to read.  Aaron loves to read.  Our families all love to read.  So it should come as no surprise that once Katie learned, she was hooked.  This is one of my biggest accomplishments as a mother.  Not only did I teach her how to read, but she actually likes it! 



Reading at breakfast.  It’s what I do, so I have no room to complain about it.  She’s reading Ramona the Pest, her first real chapter book.  And yes, that is my bathroom mat drying on the back of the chair.

And because my other kids are super cute too…




(Pictures taken December 8.)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Corrales Christmas Parade and First Snow

The first weekend in December is the Corrales Christmas Parade.  Corrales is a small village right on the outskirts of Albuquerque.  Despite being minutes from the city, it still manages to maintain a very small-town, rural feel.  A friend of mine has been recommending this parade for a few years now, and this was the first time we’ve been able to make it.  It’s very welcome-to-Mayberry.  Lots of tractors, trucks, church choirs, and firemen.  It was long enough to be worth it, but short enough that the kids never got antsy.  They have a bonfire afterwards, but it was a chilly night, and we called it good for Bridget’s sake.  She was not happy with us.






Tragically adorable.  Look at that pouty lip!


St. Nicholas on a firetruck.  Does this seem weird to anyone else?


Root beer floats after the parade.  Get it?  Floats?  Parade?  Clever, eh!


That evening Cindy Lou Who put the star on the top of the tree.  Interesting fact: this is the first year we’ve had a star.  I could never find one I liked at a price I liked.  Thank you, Target.  You always come through.

Two days later we had our first major snow.  I figured all other kids got snow days, so mine should too.  We made cinnamon rolls and hot chocolate and played in the snow (well, we didn’t play in the snow; I stayed warm inside like a sensible person).  We watched movies and ate popcorn and generally had a grand time.



Turns out my desert-raised kids have no idea how to make a real snowman.  I’m sorry to say that the final result didn’t look much different than this.

Monday, January 9, 2012

December Goings-On

I know that most of you won’t care about this since Christmas is so last month.  But I care, and grandparents care, and that’s enough reason for me to write.  We’ve been out of town in Salt Lake for the past two weeks, which meant that pictures were home but I was not.  So now that the pictures and I have been rejoined, it’s time for the posting frenzy to begin.

We started off the month with a new tradition.  I found a cute felt advent calendar in the dollar bin at Target, and it became the hit of the month.  I wrote a Christmas activity for every day on a slip of paper and the kids got to wake up and find out what awesome thing we were doing that day.  I realized about a week into it that I had been WAY too ambitious.  For example, “make and decorate gingerbread houses” is NOT a one day activity when you’re doing everything from scratch.  Live and learn.

On December 1st, all the kids got to open a present.  Christmas jammies for all!








That same day we also decorated the Christmas tree.  Ideally I would like to do this Thanksgiving weekend, but it hasn’t happened yet.  So first day of December doesn’t seem too bad.






Of course, we wound up with a million balls on the bottom branches (sometimes as many as five on one branch), but I managed (somewhat) to hold back the obsessive-compulsive inside of me and let the kids do the majority of the work.  It’s not as pristine as it’s been in previous years, but that doesn’t really matter.

Averi had been going to a little preschool craft class that my friend hosted throughout the holidays.  I only imagine how much time and effort she put into each class.  They came home with the cutest projects!  December 1st they made a bunch of delicious treats that were devoured nearly the instant we got home.  I only had a few seconds to grab my camera before the disposal team got to work.


We started another new tradition this December.  I loved the idea of wrapping up a Christmas book and letting the kids read a new story every night.  I certainly didn’t have 25 Christmas books, but I do have access to the public library.  I cleared the shelves of holiday books and we unwrapped one every evening.  This was something the kids really looked forward to, and Aaron and I really enjoyed this new tradition as well.  It was so nice to take the time out of a busy December day and just sit together every evening.  It really helped bring the Christmas spirit.  Our new favorite this year was a book by Kate DiCamillo (who wrote the Tale of Despereaux) called “Great Joy.”  It’s one we’ll be adding to our own library.