Thursday, December 31, 2009

Christmastime at Boyd's Bear

One of our favorite places to visit at Christmastime is a nearby Boyd's Bear Museum. The kids love the two-story Christmas tree.

I always make sure to bring my camera, this place is full of wonderful backgrounds for picture-taking.

I was even able to get a picture of ds3...smiling :)

And a good picture of all three kiddos...
This year, we returned to the candle display ~ ds3 loved smelling all of the candles last year, and this year was no different. He went down the display smelling each candle, declaring "yum" after each sniff...

Christmas Day Evening

After a leisurely Christmas morning at home, we headed to dh's parents' house to celebrate Christmas with more aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, and great grandparents.

Whew! Three Christmas celebrations packed into two very busy days. But I do feel blessed that most of our family lives so near and we can celebrate most holidays with them.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas Morning at Home

We like to spend Christmas morning at home. After waking up early, the kids cannot wait to head down the stairs to check out their stockings. We still have a baby gate posted at the top of our stairs ~ and even if you are old enough to open the gate, you know that you cannot go downstairs until Mom or Dad give the ok...

After we spend time emptying our stockings (which this mama fills with fun stuff like socks, underwear and mittens), we all head into the living room to open the rest of our gifts.

This year, dd5 and I received matching aprons from dh ~ dd5 helped her daddy pick them out :)

We like to keep the gift-giving simple, each child received three to four gifts from us, including one toy they had either asked for or we thought they would enjoy.

Christmas Eve

On Christmas Eve, we headed over to my mom's house to celebrate Christmas with my side of the family.
We planned to attend the Christmas Eve service after our get together, so the kids were in their Christmas finest. I figured this was a perfect opportunity to attempt to get some nice Christmas pictures of each of them.
The two oldest were happy to oblige their mama.
The 3-year old was not :)
Even bigger smiles appeared once they began opening presents.

Monday, December 21, 2009

A Snowy Weekend

I looked out of our kitchen window Friday night before heading to bed, and there was already a light layer of snow on the ground. The snow continued through Saturday, finally ending on Saturday night. I'm not sure what our final snowfall total was - but I'd guess it was at least over 18 inches...
The kids spent most of Sunday afternoon outside, playing in the humongous piles of snow left behind after the snowplows came through.

Dd5 made up her own game - she called it "trudging through the snow". I have never seen a child bring so much snow into the house after playing outside ~ but she had a lot of fun :)

Of course, I tried to take advantage of this snowy photo opportunity ~ I actually got a picture of all three kids smiling...

I got some great individual pics, too! Ds7 had no problem posing for the camera.

Dd5 was a real ham for the camera, too.

It's ds3 that's always the one who turns from the camera ~ but after many attempts, I was able to get this adorable pic of him.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Christmas Traditions ~ Decorating the Tree

Another beloved tradition around here is decorating our Christmas tree. The kids each have an ornament box that contains ornaments that were given to them and ornaments that they have made...Once the tree is put together, the ornament boxes come out.
Ds7 spent a lot of time reminiscing about each ornament in his box..."remember when I picked this ornament and daddy gave me this one the year I was two because I loved trains..."

Ds3 doesn't quite get the reminiscing thing yet, he has fun just checking out all of the ornaments in his box :)

Then the decorating begins...

Dd5 was very particular about her placement of ornaments this year. I noticed two ornaments that were hanging on the same branch, so I moved them a bit farther apart. Soon afterward I heard dd5 exclaim, "who moved my ornament?". I told her that I moved them because they were very close to each other, she quickly replied "but they wanted to be next to each other on the tree!".

At some point during the decorating, dh gained possession of the camera and began experimenting...

Dd5 waited patiently for me to get around to hanging my heart ornament, the one that matches her heart ornament. And, of course, we hung them together, on the same branch :)

I love the memories that come rushing back each time we decorate our tree...

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Christmas Traditions ~ Cookie Decorating Day

We held our annual Christmas Cookie Decorating Day this past weekend.
This is the first time that ds3 has actually participated (he slept through previous ones) - and I believe that he thoroughly enjoyed himself. He decorated a total of four cookies, and I won't even guess how much frosting he licked off his little plastic knife :)

Dd5 is now considered a pro at this decorating thing. This year she even pulled out her mini rolling pin and rolled out some dough all by herself!

And I know that ds7 had to have had a fabulous time, he decorated two full plates of cookies! He got quite creative with his cookies, he even created a few new frosting colors :)

Our goal for cookie decorating day is not to end up with a boatload of cookies. We actually have each child put his/her cookies on their own little plate, and send those home with them (if they are visitors) ~ 'cause, there's lots of frosting lickin' going on :). Our goal is just to have fun ~ and we had lots of that this year!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Pilgrim Hats ~ A Thanksgiving Eve Tradition

A couple years ago, I found a cute recipe in a Family Fun Magazine that I knew the kids would enjoy making, and it looked simple enough that we could actually accomplish began our Thanksgiving Eve Pilgrim Hat cookie making tradition.
This recipe calls for only a few ingredients: a bag of large marshmallows, a bag of chocolate chips, a package of fudge striped cookies, and a container of colored icing (the recipe calls for orange icing, but this year we used green).

My little kitchen helpers took turns smoothing out the melted chocolate over the chocolate-dipped marshmallows.

My camera guy (ds7) grabbed a picture of the pilgrim hats cooling (and hardening) in the fridge.
Here's the final product, the green icing makes them look a bit like leprechan hats - but the kids didn't mind :)

And, of course, I must share a picture of one of our cute taste-testers.

This treat is a great one to deliver to family and friends on Thanksgiving Day. Dh took two of our kiddos to his parents' house to deliver a plate of these on Thanksgiving morning, while I stayed home with dd5 to guard our turkey (in the oven) and work on all of those other millions of things that need to be done to prepare our annual Thanksgiving feast :)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Getting Outside

We took some time last weekend to get out and enjoy some beautiful fall weather. It seems that we've gotten more rain this year than usual ~ so when we have a clear day, we need to take advantage of it...'cause it may not last long.I actually took my planner and planned out our school for the week while dh and the kiddos played...

But it wasn't long before they convinced me to join in their fun. I climbed a hill with dd5 and ds3, and worked up a bit of a sweat (it was a steep hill).

See, it even tired the kids out, they had to take a breather on a park bench after they reached the top :)

We've visited this park many times, but I've never explored the back end of it...I'll definitely have to add it to our list of favorite parks.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Pumpkin Creations

Dh is the king of pumpkin carving around here. I am always amazed at his creativity when it comes to things like this, and this year was no exception.

Each child chooses the design for their pumpkin (picked fresh from the patch), and somehow, daddy makes the design happen...
First up, is Abby's "dog"
This is Ryan's choice, I don't think it had a name, just a design that he chose...
And finally, this is Caleb's little pumpkin with hair (see the holes on top...)

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