Saturday, January 16, 2016

Some more holiday scenes.

Making Saint Nicholas ornaments for an ornament exchange.

 Story time at The Great Wolf Lodge.

Snow at The Great Wolf Lodge.

Our simple, but lovely Christmas mantle.

A quick story about our 2015 Christmas tree.
So, the day after Thanksgiving, we traditionally go and pick out a live Christmas tree.  Some years, we head to the mountains to chop it down.  Others, we just go to a local lot or even Lowes to buy a tree.  This year on Friday, we all were feeling a bit lazy and didn't head out until the evening.  We decided to go to Lowes to pick out a tree.  It was cold and we all were a bit tired so no one was really *feeling* it.  The selection was really small, so we just haphazardly picked one out.  Joseph wanted colored lights this year, so we picked up some lights as well.
So, the next morning we set the tree up and Darryl put on the colored lights.  Traditionally, we always have a little party as we pull out all the ornaments because our ornaments have special meaning to us.  So, we all gather to decorate the tree.   Secretly, we are all (at least the big ones) were lamenting over the tree.  It really was very ugly.  It was bald in some spots, crooked, and looked a bit dead.  Adding all the colored lights just made the tree look like it was on fire when lit.  
That evening after we had decorated the tree, I went over to admire it and it was horrible.  From my bedroom it looked like we had a fire in the foyer.
  So, the next morning I told Joe to tell daddy he didn't like the tree.  I figured since Joe was his little buddy, he would agree and get another tree.  It was kind of a joke around the house as we were all trying to convince daddy we didn't like the tree, but he worked hard to set it up and put on all the lights we felt bad. But, being the awesome hubby and daddy he is, he agreed to take the tree back.  We took off all the ornaments. 
 Daddy removed all the colored lights and then he returned the tree, along with the lights to Lowes.  I guess the next morning they received a new shipment of trees and he went through all the trees to find a beautiful one. 
When he got home, he decorated it with white lights and we had an ornament party all over again. 
I laugh because it truly was funny. 
 We always have an amusing story regarding our Christmas tree and this year didn't disappoint. 

 More crafting!

Chocolate dipped pretzels..yumm!!

Christmas Eve Vespers.

This year the little ones were the animals in the manger.
You can see Juliana in the giraffe costume and Joe was a little bear.
Nicholas and Matthew were kings.

Juliana adores Father Robert.

McCadenville lights.  

Cookie baking day!

My sweet girl in her sweet coat.

Friday, January 15, 2016

 So again this year, I had a computer on the fritz at Christmas time.  I was unable to upload pictures or post to my blog.  Thankfully, my sweet hubby bought me a new laptop after Christmas so I'm slowly playing catch up.  
I think I'll just post a few hilights from our Christmas season.

 Sending letters to Santa.

 Enjoying train racing at the Kannapolis Christmas Celebration.

Big brother helping his little sister see all the model trains.
(she says she's going to marry her Matt when she grows up)

"Me like Frozen and Princess for Christmas, please"

 Crafting at the homeschool Christmas party.
Lots of fun and food!

Feeling special with one of the dancers from The Nutcracker.

Always a great time at the annual Christmas parade.  
A bonus...It was warm!

 Nicholas and Matthew turn 14!

Do you know how hard it is to capture a picture of a teenage boy?  Two teenage boys?
While these pictures are not the greatest, they hold a couple of moments during their celebration.  The boys wanted a simple, small birthday celebration this year with just a couple of close friends.  Now, their mama wanted to invite everyone and have a large gathering, but not these two.  They felt like too many people made it too chaotic and it was hard to connect.  So, they chose a select few to come over for a party.  At this age, it seems as long as I feed them, they are happy. By feed, they want junk and lots of it.  So, I  headed to the store and stocked up on their favorite junk food.  Along with that, they wanted pizza, so we bought loads and loads of pizza.

After all of their friends arrived, they promptly headed outside for a game of capture the flag.  They all had a great time and then rushed in for snacks.  
I purchased two games to help facilitate the party fun.  
Claim to Fame involves performing silly shenanigans in a team environment.  The kids had to gargle with water while singing Christmas tunes, use different accents with silly words, etc.  It was hilarious to watch them perform!
We also played 5 Second Rule.  That game was even funner!  We paired up and you had 5 seconds to guess  3 things in a specific category.  It was pretty hard, but great fun!

After games, the kids ate pizza and then headed back outside for some tag and games in the dark. 
Before the girls left for the night, Nicholas and Matthew opened gifts from their friends.

Then, all the boys hunkered down in the playroom for video games and movies.
Apparently, at some point in the night, they ate the rest of the pizza and snacks, which I guess gave them the energy to stay up.all.night!

Needless to say, Nicholas and Matthew were zombies after their friends left, which didn't make it an enjoyable birthday celebration for the family.  They just wanted to sleep and then eat at Chick fil A..  I think next year, if they want to do the same, we will not have a sleepover on their actual birthday.  I want to celebrate with my babies too! 
But, they had a great time and we hope they will have fond memories.
Happy Birthday, my sweet boys!

Monday, December 7, 2015

 Thanksgiving 2015

Our Thanksgiving was quite lovely this year.  It was quiet this year, as we only had our family and my sister and her family over, but it was very nice.

We had great fun playing card games, as well as Mancala and Zingo ( the littles really love that game right now).  We also taught everyone a game we call Mean Neighbor.  It's very easy to play for all ages, but still lots of fun.

We enjoyed all the traditional fixings including:

(I made the gravy days ahead with turkey wings.  I found a recipe on that used turkey wings and some veggies.  First, I roasted the wings and veggies and then basically made a turkey stock.  Then, I thickened the stock with a roux.  It was just like making gravy on Thanksgiving, but saved the hassle and frantic cooking at the last minute. I'm not sure if it was worth the extra expense of purchasing the wings, but it was a very yummy gravy!)
Twice Baked Mashed Potatoes
Brussel Sprouts with carmelized onions and balsamic glaze
Creamed Corn
Homemade Rolls

I also baked two apple pies (Darryl's request) and made a Trim Healthy Mama Chocolate Raspberry Pie.  

After dinner, we headed outside for races.
  It was a great way to burn off all those goodies before dessert and avoid the carb coma.
I am shocked at how fast the big boys are now.  Wasn't it just yesterday, they had little pudgy legs and I had to pretend I was running fast, so as not to beat them in a race?  Now, they beat me easily.  
Ah, such is life.  It makes me want to work harder.  Hopefully, I will get stronger and faster and perhaps win that race next year.

After our races, we came in for some desserts and more games.  
The little ones, with sweet sleepy eyes were ready to settle down.
We gave them some pie and prepared a cozy spot on the sofa for some movie time. 
Such wonderful memories were made.
Good Food. Good Company.Good Times.
All we need is time together and some yummy food and our family is perfectly content.

Here's to another great holiday together!

(Little Joe and Juliana's Thanksgiving sign-those drawings are turkeys and hearts).

Monday, November 30, 2015

 With the holiday season here, we have been inundated with Christmas catalogs.  Our favorites are the catalogs from Rainbow Resource, Magic Cabin, Nova Naturals, Heartsong and American Girl.
Joseph has taken every.single.catalog and marked, in green marker, the items he wishes to have, as well as items he wants Santa to bring Juliana.  However, he has marked almost everything!  
We aren't ones to shop for toys during the year, nor do we watch regular television.  Perhaps, that is why he is so excited to see so many toys he has never seen before.  
However, I had to draw the line when we received the Bed, Bath and Beyond flyer.  He marked everything in there too!  lol


 Sweets making sure he marks what she likes.