Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy 2013!

Our family has been so blessed in 2012 and I hope that 2013 will be just as wonderful. We wanted to spend a relaxing evening at home with the girls and that's exactly what we did.

We decorated the kitchen while the girls napped. They were so excited to wake up and find balloons hanging from the ceiling! They also loved the party supplies we got to ring in the new year.

We had a special dinner and dessert, then spent the rest of the night in front of the fire, relaxing and just spending time together. Before bed, the girls made phone calls to family to wish them a Happy New Year.

Our New Years celebrations have definitely changed over the years and this year's was just perfect for us. I hope that 2013 is full of blessings and wonderful things for you and your family!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas 2012

We had such a great Christmas this year. It was relaxing and full of family fun, which is just the way we like it.

Our Christmas festivities begin with church service, dinner, and presents with my in-laws on Christmas Eve. We got the girls dressed and ready right after their nap. Emma woke up grumpy and told me she couldn't smile for a picture. The only thing she could do was give her sister a hug. Three is such a "fun" age sometimes. ;)

The girls did pretty well in church but were ready to get to Mimi and Papa's house to eat and play. After we ate dinner we opened presents. Emma was so patient when she was waiting for her turn to open. Sophia was a little overwhelmed by the whole process but finally settled down with her toys while everyone else opened their gifts. Everyone got lots of awesome things and it was so much fun to see the girls enjoy their Christmas.

We got home pretty late but we still put cookies out for Santa, carrots for the reindeer, said good-bye to our elf, Lana, opened the last flap on the Advent calendar, and read a story. The girls had a very late night and Sophia was ready to drop.

Both girls woke up pretty early the next morning and we rushed downstairs to see what Santa had brought. Emma was thrilled to get the socks and bike horn she asked for. She loved the dollhouse even more. She played with it all morning. Sophia bounced from toy to toy. Her favorite was the princess castle Santa brought.

My family came over around lunchtime to celebrate with us. We let the girls pick what they wanted to open at their own pace and it worked out great. They got to enjoy each thing they received.  They got more toys than any two girls need, but they have played with each and every thing. We'll keep everything out for a while then pack some of it away and bring out later to switch.

I mixed it up a little bit this year and put together some Christmas Minute-to-Win-It games. They were hilarious!

After Andy and I put the girls to bed, we packed up, cleaned up, and organized the house. I'm so glad we did it last night because that let us be really lazy today.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Catching Up

Things have been so hectic around here, but it's been a good hectic. I've been getting ready for our Christmas break from school and planning crafts and other fun stuff for the kids at school. 

Here at home, we've been trying to fit in Christmas activities in between the bouts of illness that seem to have taken up permanent residence. This week, that illness infected both me and my mom. Andy was out of town, so I stayed home with the girls since my mom couldn't be here with them. Even though I wasn't feeling well, it was great to be able to have two days at home with the girls. It gave us a chance to get a lot done.

On Tuesday, Sophia woke up (too) early, so I brought her into bed with me in hopes that she'd fall back to sleep. She did, but spread out so much that she took up the entire bed. She was so cute and cozy that I didn't have the heart to move her.

Emma had a Christmas party at school this Wednesday and I was excited to be able to attend. Being a teacher is a blessing to be able to have summers and vacations with your kids, but it's hard to be there for the little things throughout the year. 

We were asked to bring in cookies for the party and the girls and I had a great time making them on Tuesday.  The girls seemed to think that all cookies they helped decorate were fair game for eating, so I had to cut them off and finish the rest on my own.

After Sophia and I dropped Emma off at school, we headed out to run some errands. I forgot how easy shopping can be with just one child! When we got home, it was so nice out that Sophia and decided to take advantage and went on a walk. She had so much fun looking at all of the Christmas decorations around the neighborhood.

After lunch, we headed to Emma's school for her party and we got to see her sing with all of her friends. She has been practicing her songs so much at home and I was so proud of my big girl!
Only two more days of school and then I have two weeks off with my girls! I can't wait! 

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Elf Antics-Week 2

Having an elf in the house sure makes things exciting! The girls are both still so excited to wake up and see where Lana is in the house. Sophia is usually up first and the first one to find her, but she's a good sport about not telling Emma where to look.

This week, Lana has been getting into all sorts of mischief.

Lana knew she was going to have a busy week ahead of her, so she decided to relax with a nice bubble bath.

She got a little overzealous with the Mega Blocks.

She just wanted to see what it felt like to be Santa.

Lana was tempted by the kitchen gingerbread tree and got stuck.

She made some "elf-friendly" changes to our menu for the week.
Lana took advantage of the unseasonably warm weather and had a campout.

Do you have an elf? Has your elf been naughty or nice?

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Santa Pictures 2012

We took the girls to see Santa tonight. I tried not to set myself up to be disappointed, because let's face it; we don't have the greatest track record with Santa pictures:

Emma 2010

Taking pictures with Santa is one of the most stressful experiences to me. There's the mortification factor when your child is screaming and no amount of "it happens all the time" is going to help. There's the pressure to get a great picture with your child smiling like an angelic cherub that never happens. Plus, as a mom of girls, I worry about hair, bows, dresses riding up (see above)...the list goes on and on.

This time around, I didn't mess with dresses. The girls do much better when they are comfortable and if their clothes doesn't make noise when they move. We fed the girls an early dinner and got to the mall during dinnertime. There was one person ahead of us and it was pretty smooth sailing.

We let Emma go first to tell Santa that she had been a good girl and what she wanted for Christmas. He gave a chuckle to her reply: "I need socks and a bike horn because people get in my way all the time." Sophia didn't want to leave me, but refused to be upstaged by her big sis. She cheesed it up pretty good.

I didn't get the angelic smiles, but who wants a picture like that anyway? I LOVE this picture because it is such a true representation of my girls right now. I know I'll look back and remember Emma's timid, careful nature and Sophia's wild and crazy spirit. I love these kiddos so much!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Cinnamon Applesauce Ornaments

Christmastime is so much fun this year! The girls are getting so big and are able to do so much more. I love the memories we are making and I hope they enjoy them as much as I do.

I found a recipe for cinnamon applesauce ornaments and remembered making them at school when I was younger. They smelled so good--just like Christmas should.

The girls loved choosing their cookie shapes and pressing out the "cookie" on their own. I have a feeling that there will be lots of fun come cookie baking time!

My little helpers loved this activity!

McCormick's Cinnamon Applesauce Ornaments
Makes 12-15 ornaments

3/4 cup applesauce
1 bottle (4.12 ounces) McCormick cinnamon or 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons

Mix the cinnamon and applesauce in a small bowl until a smooth ball of dough is formed. You may need to use your hands to incorporate all the cinnamon. Divide the dough into 1/4 sections and roll each section to 1/4 inch - 1/3 inch thickness between two pieces of plastic wrap.

Cut the dough into shapes with cookie cutters. Make a hole at the top of the ornament with a straw. Place the ornaments on a baking sheet.  Bake for 2 1/2 hours at 200 degrees F.

Cool on wire rack. Insert ribbon through the holes and tie to hang.