Friday, December 16, 2016

Christmasy Things

Our first of many Christmas parties this month was our branch party. The kids got to participate in the little nativity program which was adorable to watch. Here is Shae (Shepherd) and Eppie (Mary), although I like to think they are Joseph and Mary, just because I like to think of them as a couple later in life some time and this makes it more fun.
"We need more cow bell!"
Shout out to my mama who threw this awesome little jumper together when we were visiting for Thanksgiving. I mentioned that Belen was going to be a cow and there just so happened to be some cow fabric laying around and voila!

Shae was so disappointed and confused at this point. When it was over I went over to him and he said, "But, it can't be over yet, I didn't say anything." (Someone just read the nativity story). I told him he could keep going and he turned to "Mary" and said, "Mary, I am here to see the baby Jesus." That seemed to satisfy him enough. 
We've done our Pizza-Picnic-Christmas-Movie night a few times now. During the one that I recorded below we actually had homemade chicken nuggets, potato wedges, carrots sticks, and cherry tomatoes. Still went with finger food, but felt like we had been eating pizza for days so I had to switch it up. 

We watched the classic Frosty the Snowman, but after moving on to Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer, we lost Darin (and me too if we're being honest). Those old stop motion films are kind of hard to watch.
Let's be REALLY honest, Shae was the only one paying attention, Belén was busy burying herself in pillows (I wonder where she learned that).

My mom sent us these advent calendars that we always did as kids. Belén is a HUGE fan of this tradition.
I feel like we were so busy with parties those first two weeks of December, everyone trying to cram things in before leaving for the semester. We had our branch party, a friend threw a White Elephant Party, our RS Christmas party, and then I went to a Favorite Things party. They were all SO fun, but it made for a few busy weeks.
Last year, it was in the 50s in December. This year I think we are getting a better taste of what real Ithaca winter is like. It's been pretty snowy the past few weeks and we have loved it. Snow in December is so magical. And while I am perfectly content to enjoy the snow from the indoors, the kids much prefer to be outside, so I finally got us all bundled up last week and took them out one morning and we had a blast. (One of those times when I really wish we had a backyard that they could just go play in).

 We have read this book about a hundred times since we pulled it out a few weeks ago. It was the book that I bought on sale after Christmas last year and it has been a huge hit. Shae loves that it is OUR book and that we never have to return it to the library. For some reason there is something special about that to him. (We've also read Samurai Santa and Olivia Helps with Christmas dozens of times, both very fun reads as well).
 Because of the above book, we decided to make our own gingerbread men one evening. 

 I wasn't planning on making cookie plates for neighbors this year. There was just so much going on and I've been so good about holding back on baking the past few months (sooooo hard!) while trying to lose a bit of weight...but then we made the gingerbread cookies and I was like, well, if we're going to make these, I may as well make 20 other kinds of cookies too. So I did, and it was actually really lovely (Of course it was, baking is my happy place). Shae and I made a few during Belén’s nap time one day when I didn't feel like I needed to lock him away in a quiet time because I didn't have much work, and it was just so fun to cook with that boy. I love when we get some one on one time like that, especially when it is in the kitchen!

(These and these have been my go to Christmas cookies for a couple years now and I loved trying this recipe this year for fun too. It's a definite keeper. Also made the Food Nanny's pumpkin bread because I've been wanting to make it all fall but have held back until now. So that one was kind of random, just making up for lost time :).

Mmmmmm, those Christmas goodies.

I read on a blog last week that a few girls were doing a sugar-free holiday challenge and I am happy to say that that is a challenge that I would NEVER want to participate in. Bring on the chocolate peppermint EVERYTHING! I mean, New Years (resolutions!) is right after Christmas for a reason, am I right?

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