Sunday, December 27, 2009

Day 23: Make a Gingerbread House

Day 22: Wrap Presents

On Tuesday we wrapped presents for Dave. Mere hours later Emma spilled the beans when she talked to her dad before dinnertime. Luckily, he was too busy working on a deal that was closing the next day to really understand that she was talking about his presents.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Day 20: Deliver Treats to Neighbors

We made a bunch of different treats, including Chocolate Mint Marvels and Christmas Fudge. Here's the recipe for another favorite, Peanut Blossoms.
--1 3/4 cups flour
--1/2 cup sugar
--1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
--1 teaspoon baking soda
--1/2 teaspoon salt
--1/2 cup shortening
--1/2 cup peanut butter
--2 tablespoons milk
--1 teaspoon vanilla
--1 egg
--about 48 Hershey's kisses
Blend flour, sugar, brown sugar, baking soda, salt, shortening, peanut butter, milk, vanilla and egg at low speed until a stiff dough forms. Shape into 1 inch balls and roll in sugar. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 375* for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Immediately top each cookie witha Hershey's kiss, pressing down firmly so cookie cracks around edge. Cool on wire racks.

Day 19: Watch a Christmas Movie

Emma has a bit of a Frosty fetish. So of course that's what we watched.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Day 18: Attend a Christmas Party

The library had yet another fabulous event for the preschool set. This time it was a Christmas party, complete with cookies, crafts, and storytime with Santa.

Poor Santa! Madeline totally wanted a piece of his beard.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Day 17: Attend a Cookie Exchange

We went to a cookie exchange today. I love getting new recipes for cookies! Here are the beauties we brought:

So yummy. We doubled the recipe so we could share some and still have a bunch left. :)
Chocolate Mint Marvels

3/4 cup butter
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 cups chocolate chips
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3 or 4 packages Andes mints

Melt butter and sugar in a saucepan over low heat. Add chocolate chips and stir to melt. Put the mixture into a bowl and let cool. Add eggs and mix in flour and baking soda. Chill dough for 1 hour. Preheat oven to 350*. Roll into balls and place on baking sheet. Bake for 9 minutes. Remove cookies from oven and place an Andes mint on each one. As the candy melts, spread it across the top of the cookie with a butter knife. Makes 3 dozen.

Day 16: The Nutcracker in a Nutshell

Once again our local library provided our Christmas activity today: a puppet show, "The Nutcracker in a Nutshell." Emma loved the puppets, especially a black bird that wasn't really part of the Nutcracker story but was used in the beginning of the show. After the show she got to see some of the puppets:

Day 15: The Polar Express

Our wonderful library did an evening of the Polar Express. A conductor greeted each group, and an elf led the way down the tracks, past sweeping, painted vistas. Soon we arrived at the North Pole:

We did a Christmas craft:

And chatted with Santa, who gave Emma a personalized Christmas bell:

It was incredibly crowded, but really fun event. I hope they do it again next year.

Madeline: 7 Months

Madeline is closer to 8 months than 7 months now, but I took the pictures a while ago so I thought I'd post them anyway.

She has become an incredibly busy girl. In the last few weeks she's learned to sit up, crawl, and bite. Her pincer grasp has become refined enough that she can eat that holy grail of children's food, Cheerios, which have quickly become a favorite. She has reached that stage in life where she inadvertently tries to kill herself every day, and we are tasked with keeping her alive. In the last week alone, she tried to eat a poinsettia plant (don't worry, I did some research, they're NOT poisonous) and broke off the end of a door stop and tried to eat that too. She's great at entertaining herself, but her near-death experiences keep us busy nonetheless. To make up for it, she has increased the frequency of her babbles and coos, and Emma and I find ourselves talking gibberish right back at her because it's so cute.

It was hard to get a picture that wasn't blurry; Madeline rarely wants to sit still! Below is a new favorite pose, which I have dubbed the "goddess" pose. She dons it whenever she needs a break in her path of destruction.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Day 14: Work on Christmas Cards

I worked on our regular cards while Emma made some of her own.

Day 13: Act out the Christmas Story

We used our Inn at Bethlehem and Nativity sets from Fisher-Price to act out the basic storyline of the birth of Jesus.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Day 12: Attend Church Christmas Party

On Saturday, we attended our church Christmas party. There was caroling, dinner, and a lovely program, but I only got a picture of the girls with Santa. Emma has gotten over her fears and has the interaction down pat.

Day 11: Drink Hot Chocolate

I was going to make this all picturesque and do it by the fire, but since Emma has never had hot chocolate before, and is also somewhat of a recent graduate from the sippy cup, we opted to do it at the kitchen table. She became a quick fan.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

For my LDS Friends

This is too awesome not to share. Especially those who have been members of the Manhattan 1st or Morningside Heights wards! (You might recognize the Cub Scouts...)

Twilight Years from Tom on Vimeo.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Day 10: Pick out a new Christmas Book

Today we went to Borders and picked out 2 new Christmas books. I love the idea of reading a different Christmas book every night in December leading up to Christmas, but I don't have enough books yet.

We got Snowmen at Christmas by Caralyn Buehner and Christmas in the Manger by Nola Buck.

What are YOUR favorite Christmas books?

Day 9: Make a Christmas Craft

I've had a head cold and was not quite up to making a Christmas craft, but luckily our fabulous children's librarian spotted me this one. After storytime, Emma made a Christmas tree. Cute, simple, and I didn't have to do a thing.

Maddie Bites

Madeline sprouted two teeth in the past two weeks, and has thus gained the ability to chew. Sort of. (Look for two little teeth sticking up in the bottom!)

Day 8: Decorate the (Real) Christmas Tree

Dave finally showed up on Tuesday, and after a long nap (for him) and shorter naps (the girls), we headed to Home Depot to pick out this year's specimen. (It's not nearly as picturesque as when I grew up in Connecticut and we cut it down on a farm, but I'll take what I can get. This is Texas and not New England, after all.) A motley crew, aren't we? Poor Dave looks so tired, and Emma looks a bit disheveled after gymnastics and a nap. Maddie, as always, is happy just to be included. We took it home, and it was Dave's job to put up the lights. It was a tradition in his family that his dad put up the lights, and every year around this time I profusely thank my mother-in-law for instilling in him this most annyoying of tasks. After the lights were completed, Emma and I took over ornament placing. If Emma was enthusiastic to decorate this poor little tree, you should have seen her for the real thing! She spontaneously burst into song with each ornament. "I am Like a Star" for a star, and of course "Frosty" when she came across a snowman. We managed to get a repeat performance on video for your viewing pleasure:

The finished tree is appropriately ghetto. You can't tell from the pictures, but there are two differently colored strands of lights on the tree (note for next year: buy white lights!), the ornaments are the somewhat haphazard result of a toddler's placement, and I wouldn't have it any other way. Nothing matches and it would be terrible in a holiday display, but each ornament tells a story from our life. Come on over and I'll share them with you!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Day 7: Christmas Devotional

Today we watched the Christmas Devotional from the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It originally aired last night, but since half of our family went to bed before it began, we saved President Monson's talk for tonight. If you missed it, listen here.

PS. Check out this great Christmas site! (Thanks, Eryka!)

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Day 6: Decorate Christmas Tree

One of my favorite Christmas songs is "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," but not since my freshman year in college have I taken it so literally. Even when we lived in 350 square feet in Manhattan we managed to get a decent (fake) 5 foot tree. But with Dave working the entire Thanksgiving weekend and then taking a never-ending business trip to Houston (he's already canceled two different flights home), this is what we have. That's all I have to say about that.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Day 5: Rockwall Christmas Parade

Today we went to a Christmas parade that was sponsored by the local Kiwanis Club. Before the parade:

Don't be fooled by Madeline's zen-like stare. The parade was right during her morning nap and it took much cajoling, bouncing, and stuffing little star puffs in her mouth to keep her from screaming. As for Emma, that donut was probably the highlight of the day.

And like all winter parades, it ends with Santa on a fire truck. (How did that tradition get started, anyway?) We enjoyed ourselves immensely. And contrary to my belief, Emma claims that her favorite part of the parade was getting a little flag. I should have known from past parade experience.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Day 4: Neighborhood Sleigh Ride

We tried Santa again: success!

Unfortunately, they were running a little late and by the time we actually got on the sl"hay" ride, Maddie was losing it, so this is the only picture I got:

You can tell she had fun, though, by the chocolate and crumbs on her face. :)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Day 3: Rockwall Christmas Tree Lighting

We got there late and left early, but we made it gosh darn it. And managed to eat a cookie too.
PS. Do you like Emma's hat? She put it on herself. I think it's backwards...

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Day 2: Decorating for Christmas

We had kind of a crazy Thanksgiving weekend (more on that later), so we busted out the Christmas decorations today. We lit a pine-scented candle and popped in the best Christmas album ever. Emma took command of the Fisher Price Nativity:

She also took charge of the stuffed animals:

And tried her hand at photography:

I took care of the rest:

As for Maddie, she mostly crawled around and ate stuff. She was particularly excited about the new additions on the floor.