The excitement is building at our house and I am sure your homes too. The kiddos can’t wait for our New Year’s Eve party.
Our party usually starts around six in the evening. The kiddos are allowed to dress in whichever outfit they please. This is a lot of fun because one year we might have Spiderman and Belle from Beauty and the Beast and another we might have a daughter dressed in a swimsuit and cover-up and son in his pajama shirt and snow pants. We never know “who” will be joining us for the New Year’s Eve party but we are always guaranteed a smile.
We sit food out on the table for the kiddos to munch on while we write our New Year’s resolutions on a balloons and talk about the fun things we did during the year and the accomplishments the children have made (i.e. going to Kindergarten, going to Preschool, walking). Then, around 8pm we go outside with pots and pans screaming Happy New Year and the children pop their poppers, play their toy instruments as loud as they want, pop their balloons with the resolutions on them, and then the kiddos are off to bed.
The hope (and I say hope because in the past five years this has happened once) is that my hubby and I can stay awake and toast the New Year together. We’ll see how it goes.
Recipe for Cheeseburger Cookies
2 (12 oz.) boxes vanilla wafers
1 egg white
1/4 c. sesame seeds
Yellow and red food coloring
1 c. coconut Green food coloring 2 (10 oz.)
1 pkg. grasshopper chocolate-covered cookies (or thin mint)
1 can white frosting
Place whole perfect wafers on 2 trays; one with wafers facing up, the other with wafers facing down (i had 35 on each)
Brush wafers (top of bun) with egg white and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Mix frosting with yellow food coloring until it resembles American cheese.
Place coconut in jar with 3 drops of green food coloring and put lid on then shake.
Then assemble burgers, use dab of frosting to glue grasshopper cookie to wafer. Then place coconut on top of grasshopper cookie. Place frosting on the other side of “the bun” then place on top of the coconut. And enjoy!
I hope you and your family have a Happy and Safe New Year’s Eve. I will share more next year.
Please share your family’s New Year’s Eve traditions, or maybe you plan on starting one this year? How many times have you and your hubby made it to Midnight?
One of my New Years resolutions is to take the children camping. It should be noted that I am not a huge camper myself. In fact when I was a child we would go camping for a week, sometimes more, once with extended family and once with close friends. I always enjoyed the swimming, camp fires, fishing, canoeing, and hikes, it was the sleeping arrangements that I never really cared for, more appropriately, detested.
One year we stayed in a Teepee during a drought, the top of the Teepee was opened wide to allow for better air circulation. That first night there, as luck would have it, it poured down rain, buckets. Everything was wet, we were wet, I was not happy. Then to make matters worse, the restrooms were a few minutes down the path. So I went to go get cleaned up and found myself sliding on slimy things all over the path. They were little frogs; I was slipping and sliding on frog carcass, AHHHH!
I never really understood why people would pay their mortgage and then pack up to go live outside for a week or two? I was always like, Hello, you have a cozy climate controlled environment at home and you choose to sleep with the bugs, rain, large varmints, and weird smells? I didn’t understand it then, but, as a parent I think I understand it. It teaches children to really appreciate what they have at home and, I suppose, it can even be fun, but that is only during fun activities that I previously mentioned. So, I guess this city Mama can go camping, or maybe Camping Chic (do all the fun stuff outside then stay at the lodge overnight). No, I can do this, for the sake of my children learning a valuable lesson, the sacrifices we make for our children.
So, we visited Cabela’s yesterday in hopes of introducing the children to a different side of the great outdoors (where you do not stay in the lodge). Boy was it an introduction. I forgot about the entire taxidermy mountain, they had a lot of questions. “Why did they kill this animal? Why did they kill that animal? Why did they kill the baby?” This was tricky. I am always honest with our children, when we eat chicken, fish, turkey, cow, what have you; they know it was an animal at one time that they are eating. It was just tricky explaining the hunting, eating, and stuffing as a sport and, I suppose taxidermy as an art? I was always fascinated by the skills that the Native American had to hunt down a large animal with an arrow and bow. I also admired the fact that they had an appreciation for the animal and utilized all components, the fur, meat, bones, etc. I do have admiration for the hunt but I am still working with the whole taxidermy thing, I struggle with the idea that it is a little narcissistic to display something you killed. Like the three-year-old who wants all his pictures displayed on the refrigerator, but an adult, I just don’t get it. Maybe one day?
So, after answering quite an array of distinctive questions from our Kindergartener and preschooler, while struggling with our toddler who wanted to go swimming with the fish, it was off to the camping equipment. As we made our way to the elevator, thanks to the stroller, I realized I was standing out like a sore thumb. I was the only pink in a sea of camouflage. I noticed a group of Mennonite women seated on a bench and I suddenly felt for them, I know they often receive stares because of their clothing, this time I was the odd-ball.
Once upstairs we priced some camping supplies and I came to the realization that it just might be cheaper to borrow a tent the first time we go, order pizza, lots of pizza, I am talking pizza in the morning, pizza in the afternoon, and pizza for supper time (and s’mores). All that camping gear really adds up and besides what do we actually need? We need a few sleeping bags, bread, peanut butter and jelly, and some clothes? Besides, isn’t camping suppose to be about time together as a family, having fun in the great outdoors.
So maybe our family is not quite at the Cabela caliber for camping just yet. But, maybe one day, I will get beyond the Camping chic status, and if not, I will book a room in the lodge for the evening and spend a lovely day with the family and sleep in a climate controlled environment and a dry cozy bed (also, Maumee Bay State Park Lodge has Starbucks, BONUS!)
So are you a hardcore camping mom or is Camping Chic more your speed too? Got any advice for this Mama when it comes to camping? Maybe you have a funny camping story, I would love to hear about it, do tell!
Our house has been on and off the market for about the past 20 months and I can’t help but think that maybe 2012 will bring us a new house. For some reason I am feeling even more optimistic about this today than I have in the past few months. We had a showing last Thursday which was hectic to prepare for considering that we had Christmas gifts, cookies, and clothes sprawled throughout our house. We still have not heard anything regarding that showing so, maybe the optimism comes from the mystery of not knowing.
Since I am allowing myself this moment of optimism today I figure why not go all out and dream big, after all isn’t that what life is about, I mean, where would we be without our dreams? So, while the kiddos play with their new Christmas toys I am daydreaming about furnishings to put into our future house. Okay, so I went beyond daydreaming and have let my fingers do some browsing online. I came across a really cool website, I am the type of consumer who really likes to shop around and do my research in terms of what company has the best quality product and price, which can be time-consuming but www.Become.com does the work for you, how convenient is that? So, I have used the site to come up with a list of furniture that I would like to include in our future house.
I have always liked the idea of having a bedroom vanity; it seems so distinguished. I recall the old Hollywood movies with scenes of these glamorous movie stars dressed in beautiful gowns sitting at bedroom vanities powdering their faces. As a child I would sit there and watch them on the television screen and think, one day, one day I will be glamorous like that too. Well, I might not be glamorous, unless you consider yoga pants and layered tank tops glamorous, but at least I could give the illusion of glamorous with a gorgeous bedroom vanity, http://www.become.com/antique-bedroom-vanity
I would also like some furniture for the children’s new Play room. Hey, I daydream BIG! And yes, our new home will have four bedrooms and a large playroom that comes with its own referee/babysitter (heck, why not, it is just a dream).
I would like these chairs for the Dining room, so elegant, yet not too stuffy.
I would like the armless Chaise for my Family room, I have always loved these and yes, let’s get it in white (remember we are dreaming, there is no dirt, stains, or muddy paw prints in dreams).
I am so excited; I want to order these NOW!! Oh my word, this website even has price comparisons for artificial tears http://www.become.com/artificial-tears . That is good; I will add those to my order so that when everything arrives I can look genuinely distressed over the massive amount of chairs that I purchased. I can hear my husband now, “Who NEEDS this many CHAIRS!!!” That will be my queue to use the artificial tears. This might actually work, and if it doesn’t, I might also want to add win the Lottery to my New Year’s resolutions.
We started off Christmas Eve at my parent’s house. We exchanged gifts then headed to Rosary Cathedral for 4pm Christmas Mass. After Mass the children wanted to take photographs of the nativity with their new cameras, we have future photographers in our family.
And in support of their new-found interest I will be adding a new installment to the blog titled, Kids Click and Pic, coming soon. After Mass we took a slight detour back to Nana and Papa’s so we could listen to Christmas music and look at Christmas lights. I so enjoyed the Chorus of “Wows” from the backseat, especially our little 16 month-old who just learned the word a few days ago.
Once at Nana and Papa’s the kiddos joined the rest of the family and grabbed a plate and started munching on some yummy hors d’oeuves.
After hors d’oeuves we had dinner, lasagna from Spaghetti Warehouse, garlic bread, and Salad. We all sat and toasted to an exciting announcement, my grandfather is officially cancer free (he was diagnosed with colorectal cancer five years ago and has under gone surgeries, radiation, and has a permanent colostomy bag), the best news ever! After dinner we all made our way into the Family Room where the smell of pine from the Christmas tree and a warm fire in the fireplace greeted us. Once everyone found a cozy spot Papa Joe began to recite Twas the Night before Christmas, a family tradition.
After Papa Joe has finished reading we begin to sing Christmas Carols. We always starting with Santa Claus is coming to Town, and low and behold, guess who shows up? Santa Claus!! He has been showing up for Christmas Eve at my parents’ house since I was two, I think they have his direct line.
The kiddos were so excited to see Santa, well, almost all the kiddos. The youngest was not a fan.
Once Santa left we began singing again and at the end of Twelve days of Christmas we received a great surprise. My cousin called, he is a Marine stationed in Afghanistan and this is the first Christmas he has not been with family. My Aunt passed the phone around and we all had an opportunity to say Merry Christmas. It was an incredible way to end the best Christmas Eve ever.
It seems like Christmas morning comes earlier and earlier each year. The kiddos became overwhelmed with excitement at 6am when they saw that Santa arrived and he ate their Christmas cookies.
I popped some Cinnamon rolls into the over, made some coffee, and then it was GAME ON!
Each child took turns opening their gift and our eldest was so eager to give us, my hubby and I, our gifts that she purchased from her school’s Santa Shop. She gave my hubby a beautiful Santa ornament which he instantly jumped up and placed on the tree. While she gave me, a woman who is, and comes from a long line of individuals who have graduated from and/or are huge fans of Ohio State, a Michigan state ornament. Seriously!?! I wasn’t sure if I should disown her or hug her? So hug her I did, and graciously thanked her for the lovely gift.
The kiddos all seemed to really enjoy their gifts. We keep it small, each child receives four gifts, and it is perfect. We figure their birthdays are their big celebrations and Christmas is more about spending time together and giving.
Oh, and our four-legged friends also received treats from Santa which our toddler had mistaken for human food, yuck!
After we opened our gifts we packed up the car and headed over the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s house (and grandpa’s, my hubby and I are very fortunate that our parents are both still married, that means we only have two houses to visit).
Once there we opened gifts, ate dinner, and enjoyed spending time together. Then it was home for a long winters nap (until the 26th when we headed to Sauders Village for a Christmas gathering with extended family).
How was your Christmas? Any funny moments? ….Sad moments? …..Crazy gifts? Please share.
In the past I have participated in Cookie Exchanges and I think they are magnificent. The idea of only having to bake a baker’s dozen of one type of cookie and yet you leave the exchange with eleven more varieties to share with family and friends is splendid. I also admire the fact that there is often sampling of the cookies over conversation with the other women; it is nice to chit-chat and catch-up on everyone’s lives.
This year I did not attend a Cookie Exchange, I think life simply got in the way. To say I am disappointed is an understatement. I do not miss the cookies, although they are a nice bonus, I miss the conversation with friends while we sip on wine and discuss the latest happenings. Through my dismay I am finding comfort in the book The Christmas Cookie Club. Below is a description of the novel from the authors website.
Mark your calendar. It’s the Christmas Cookie Club! Every year on the first Monday of December, Marnie and her twelve closest girlfriends gather in the evening with batches of beautifully wrapped homemade cookies. Everyone brings a dish, a bottle of wine and their stories. This year, the stories are especially important. Marnie’s oldest daughter has a risky pregnancy. Will she find out tonight how that story might end? Jeannie’s father is having an affair with her best friend. Who else knew about the betrayal, and how can that be forgiven or forgotten, even among old friends such as these? Rosie’s husband doesn’t want children, and she has to decide whether that’s a deal breaker for the marriage. Taylor’s life is in financial freefall. Each woman, each friend has a story to tell, and they are all interwoven, just as their lives are. On this evening, at least, they can feel as a group the impulses of sisterly love and conflict, the passion and hopefulness of a new romance, the betrayal and disillusionment some relationships bring, the joys and fears of motherhood, the agony of losing a child and above all, the love they have for one another. As Marnie says, the Christmas Cookie Club, if it’s anything, is a reminder of delight. The Christmas Cookie Club is about the paths Marnie and her friends have taken, the absolute joy they take in life. Ultimately, The Christmas Cookie Club is every woman’s story. Celebrating courage and joy in spite of hard times and honoring the importance of women’s friendships and the embracing bonds of community, you’ll see yourself and some of the ingredients of your own story.
In-between each of the Chapters the author has provided history on the ingredients used in Christmas Cookies, such as flour, sugar, almonds, etc. Each chapter focuses on an attendee and also begins with that Cookie exchange attendee’s cookie recipe. I know I have been raving about this book to family and friends, I am just elated to find a novel that I can’t put down and it addresses an exciting Christmas event. An event that I unfortunately did not attend this year, so, I will be living vicariously through the Christmas Cookie Club book. (Please note: I am not receiving any endorsement, I am just sharing a great book with great friends, nothing more).
So, in an effort to at least add to my own recipe book and maybe make a few new friends I would like to launch a Virtual Cookie Exchange. Granted we can’t conveniently exchange real cookies but we can share recipes, photographs of cookies/baking, and stories about cookies, traditions, and more. So pour yourself a glass of wine and let the Virtual Cookie Exchange begin.
I will be making thumbprint cookies for the virtual cookie exchange.
Thumbprint Cookies Recipe
1 cup of butter (2 sticks or 8 ounces), room temperature
1/2 cup of sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
2 cups of flour
3/4 cup of your favorite jam
Cream the butter and sugar on high-speed for about 3 minutes.
Separate the eggs. Add the yolks and vanilla extract to the butter mixture.
Add the flour and salt. Mix until just combined. Place the dough in the fridge for 30 minutes and preheat the oven to 350F.
Roll the dough into balls about 1 inch in diameter. Place the balls on parchment lined cookie sheets.
Press down with your thumb to make a small well in the center of the cookie. Do not press too hard or the cookie will fall apart. Fill with 1/2 teaspoon of jam.
Bake for 12-15 minutes or until slightly firm. Allow to cool for a few minutes on the cookie sheet to firm up before moving them to a wire rack to finish cooling.
Makes 2 dozen cookies.
I came across some really cool ideas that I think I will try next year and wanted to share.
These are adorable and the kiddos would get a kick out of them.
These looked really neat too and easy thanks to the cookie cutters.
Then these just blew my mind, they are gorgeous. I am not sure if I will ever have the patience to produce such a beautiful cookie.
Please share your cookie traditions; do you make them with your children, girlfriends, grandparents? What kind of cookies do you make one and contribute to a cookie exchange or lots of different kinds of cookies? Feel free to link your post or simply post a comment below.
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I am finding it difficult to maintain the “normal” day-to-day routine while preparing for Christmas festivities. I woke up this morning wanting to throw a full-fledged mommy tantrum. I am talking kicking and screaming until my face turns blue tantrum. I have this overwhelming anxiety that just hit me like a freight train this morning. I kinda knew it might hit me eventually because I have been breezing though the past few weeks cool as a cucumber, eager to celebrate Jesus’ birthday and spend time with friends and family (you know, the true meaning of Christmas). Then this morning I awoke with a Scrooge attitude, I realized that I have exactly one week, not even, make that five days, to complete everything for Christmas (mostly the materialistic things).
Then I started going through my “To Do” list in my head:
Need to get my 16 month old in for her 15 month doctor’s appointment (feeling sooo guilty for this one).
Need to fill out permission slips and get money for field trips, due today (it’s gonna be late).
Son needs a dress shirt for Christmas (sounds so simple but those crazy stores strategically place all toys or “cool” expensive character PJs next to the dress clothes, I am sure he will be asking for everything under the son. I need one of those “that was easy” buttons that say “no, it is not in our budget right now”).
Need to finish purchasing some Christmas Gifts, I would rather go into labor again than fight the traffic and crowds of crazy people, seriously, is there such a thing as a surrogate laborer? Sign me up!!
Contact family and see if anyone can make it to son’s Christmas program tomorrow (so last-minute, I meant to say something weeks ago, honestly!)
Need to wrap gifts, I am a greenie so, I try to wrap with whatever I have on hand at home. Last year it was brown packaging paper with pine cones, twine, and clips of evergreen. The year before I included cloth/linen, you can wrap small gifts in linen napkins and the person receiving the gift gets a bonus gift, linen napkins! This year I am using magazine pages to wrap gifts.
Need to finish a few gifts for our playgroup kiddos.
Remember to move the elf! Poor guy has spent a few days just hanging around in the same location, I think he had one to many eggnogs and couldn’t fly back to the North Pole; he took the mature route and avoided a DWF (Drunk while flying).
Finish teacher’s gifts. This year they are getting Eco-friendly soap and air fresheners.
Get Christmas morning PJs for my daughter (it has been tricky trying to find little girl PJs in a size 8, she is really tall for her age)
Address and send Christmas Cards (or save them for next year?)
Change sheets and much more but I don’t want to eat up any more of your time, you have your own list that I am sure is escalating as we speak/type.
I would like to just go back up to bed and call in overwhelmed. I need an assistant but I think they are expensive, anyone know anyone willing to work for Cheerios? Or, maybe I could multiply myself like in that Michael Keaton movie multiplicity? Although, if I remember correctly that just ended up being more work keeping track of all of his multiple selves. So, instead I am going to put some Christmas potpourri on the stove to get back into that Christmas spirit and take Julia Andrews /Froilan Maria’s advice and start at the very beginning; it is a very go place to start.
Please share your “to do” list, what’s the weirdest thing on your list? What are you dreading the most? Or, maybe you are on target, and have little left on your “to do” list, if so I am jealous and I would love to hear your secret.
As moms, the holidays mean adding more “to do” to our already lengthy “to do” list. There is decorating the house (both inside and out), buying and coordinating the children’s Christmas clothes, determining the best gifts for everyone on the list, purchasing those gifts (gotta keep within that budget!!), wrapping gifts, children’s Christmas performances, baking cookies, sending out Christmas cards, trying to keep the peace with extended family members/in-laws, and doing it all with Holiday cheer (come on big smiles ladies!). Wouldn’t it be nice to just escape for an evening?
Why not make this dream come true and host a Stress-free Christmas party for all your girlfriends.
Last night I hosted my first (what will hopefully become annual) Stress-free Christmas Party. All the moms in my playgroup were invited to escape from their holiday obligations and head on over to my home for some holiday fun. But there were a few rules in order to truly endorse a stress-free party .
Here are the rules for a Stress-free Christmas party
1. Everyone is to bring a food item/dish. 2. NO COOKING or BAKING!! No one is to cook or bake anything that they bring. You must grab whatever is in your refrigerator or pantry. (Half eaten bag of chips, olives, cheerios, apples, slices of cheese, you get the idea). 3. NO DRESSING UP! Everyone must come dressed in comfortable clothes. Come dressed in your comfy PJs, lounging clothes, anything that is relaxing and comfortable. 4. Everyone is to bring a gift to share. 5. NO ONE IS TO PURCHASE A GIFT!! You must look around your home for an item that you are not attached to and wrap it. (Pot holder, book, sweater, figurine, anything!!)
The moms arrived around 7pm dressed in their comfy lounging clothes or PJs, with their Christmas gifts in hand, and food item from their pantry/fridge. I was excited to see what they would bring but surprisingly there was not anything too random. Just your basic shortbread cookies (I think she cheated and bought those), half bag of coconut marshmallows, M&M ice cream cake, and Pop corn. I had some food on hand for us to munch on.
Once everyone had a plate of food and a glass of wine we made our way over to the non-existing fire (try as I might I could not get that thing going, we have a wood burning fireplace) and talked, and talked, and talked. It was so nice to have a conversation with friends without being interrupted by a child whining, falling, or needing their butt wiped. I hated to interrupt the conversation to do the White Elephant exchange but it had to be done.
So we started the exchange and I can confidently say that it seemed like everyone actually received a gift they enjoyed. There was a beautiful metal sign, placemats, cookbook, candle, earrings, and vase with flowers (which I snagged from another mom).
It was such an enjoyable fun evening I hated to see it end. But, like Cinderella’s fairy Godmother said, when the clock strikes midnight the magic will disappear, and that it did. At midnight the magical stress-free party transformed back to reality and moms came to the realization that morning will come early and many people would be depending on them.
Thankfully, like Cinderella, each mom did get to leave with proof that the stress-free party did actually occur. No, they did not receive glass slippers but they did receive small gift to help them live happily ever after. Each mom was given Peppermint stick coco mix to share with their family after sledding, making snow angels, and snowmen, on cold winter afternoons.