Saturday, December 23, 2017

December 1st, Santa, and Snow Ditch

 On December 1st we let the kids open their advent calendars from Grandma and then they each got to open two Christmas picture books from us. Belén got Pete the Cat Saves Christmas and Shae got the 12 Sleighs of Christmas--and then they each got a Christmas Seek-and-Find. They were ecstatic to get in Christmas jammies from last year and open a couple early presents.

 December 1st was on a Friday this year which was perfect since we do Christmas movies and pizza every Friday in December. It was the perfect way to kick off the season. 

 The next day was the Ithaca Welcomes Santa event at the Commons. Darin was going to be gone all day working on his Dissertation Prospectus, so I took the kids down alone. Ithaca, oh Ithaca, your uniqueness never ceases to amaze me. 

Santa and his elves didn't just walk in to the Commons, they repelled down the City Center building. It was so fun. We all hung out outside waiting for him to show up, all the while there were people dressed up as reindeer and snowmen walking around giving out candy canes. 

 There was also this really cool band playing Christmas music.

 Then people started to see elf heads peek over the building.

And the next thing we knew, they were coming down the building. It was really so cool. 
I thought I got a picture of Santa coming down, but I must have been taking video instead. He stuck his foot through one of the screen windows which was hilarious...and his beard was totally falling off by the time he was at the bottom. Oh man, it was great.
 The kids patiently waiting with some friends to see Santa.
 They had little crafts out on the tables for the kids too do while we moved through the line which was really nice.
 You probably can't see really well from the picture, but this lady stood in line for who knows how long to have Santa take a picture with her guinea pig. I was dying. Here he is holding it up for the picture.

Not the best Santa (that would be my grandpa), or backdrop or anything, but it wasn't professional in the slightest so that was to be expected. It was all set up for families to take pictures (no professional pictures) and to give the kids an opportunity to talk to Santa which is just what we wanted so it was perfect and magical for the kids which was great.

Shae asked for Legos and the PJ Masks Headquarters (which I'm pretty sure he just saw on some commercial while at my parent's house over Thanksgiving, and will not be getting. Sorry bud.)
I tried to encourage Belén to ask for a cash register since that is what I wanted to get her (please tell me I'm not the only one who coaches their kids before writing/talking to Santa), but she was adamant that she wanted to ask for Skye and Rubble from Paw Patrol--which I think she just asked for because that is what she got from him last year and what she associates with Santa. Not sure if she said anything to him in the end.

I was sad Darin had missed this event, but knew he would get a Santaish experience with the kids when we went to Dicken's Village later in the month. Sadly, that experience never happened since we ended up on the side of the road stuck in a snowy ditch instead.
A truck full of young country dudes pulled over, went home and grabbed their chains, and then pulled us out. We have been calling them our four angels. They were seriously amazing. We had some cash that we handed to them afterwards and wished them a Merry Christmas. It was clear they were unsure what to do as the guy took the money slowly saying, "We don't usually do this..." but took it nonetheless. haha. It was great. I mean, besides the fact that the front of the car got smashed up under the car and filled with snow. But we were all okay and Darin fixed up the car (we think) so all is well. One of these years we will make up to Dickens Village.

Monday, December 18, 2017

November Little Things

Snagged some pics from my moms facebook of the kids decorating job.

 I've wanted to throw a Chocolate Chip Cookie party for a few years now, to find THE one, the best, the most wonderfully perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie. I have a couple recipes myself that I love but have never made them at the same time so as to taste the cookies right next to each other (which is obviously what you need to do in order to find THE ONE). One of my friends here is just as much of a CCC lover as I am, and she is sadly moving soon so we had to have this party before she left rather than waiting for National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day or something classy like that (May 15th, in case you were wondering).

We ended up having 9 different chocolate chip cookies. We used score cards which we scored based on flavor, appearance, and texture. 

 There were so many cookies that we each just took little pieces of them to compare so that we wouldn't kill ourselves.
 Lilluna's recipe took first. This recipe that I made took second. But honestly, I think this was my personal favorite. My CCC loving co-host of the party friend made them and I made them the week after the party and they were so so good. And then there is still a special place in my heart for the recipe that has been my number one recipe for four years now. So instead of finding THE one and only best of the best CCC recipe, I now have like, five recipes that I will have to decide between when I make cookies. What have I done!? But honestly, can't wait to try the Lilluna recipe myself. That really was an amazing cookie. 

The kids watching a movie while their parents stuff their faces with all the cookies. 
 Scored big on after Halloween dress up/future costumes (if they last that long). The little Darth Vader and big Storm Trooper are killing me. So cute. And Belén has worn her Rapunzel dress daily since I gave it to her. Little girl dress up dreams coming true over here. It took all I had within me to stash the Belle dress away in my closet to give it to her for her birthday. But seriously guys, after Halloween shopping is the perfect time for dress up shopping. The kids costumes were $3 each and Darin's was $5, full price $55. Heck yes.
 Decorating our house while watching the Sesame Street Motab Christmas concert. (Belén wearing this green dress we snagged from a hand-me-down bag. She calls it her mermaid dress and alternates it with the Rapunzel dress).
 I came out from the back one day to find her with her tummy pressed up against the table. I asked her what she was doing and she slowly got up and with the sweetest little smile said, "I drawing."
 Family lunch date at Circus Truck with the most amazing Plantain Steak Sandwich. 

Play date with friends. I just love how in to dress up these kids are. Super Panda, Bumblebee Boy, Captain America, and Super Rapunzel (note the cape :). Ba Ba Ba Baaaa.
Jamming out on their stage.

 The kids are always pointing out who they are in every movie and book. It kind of drives me crazy when we're reading that they have to say (on just about every page mind you) "That's me!" (I've had to ask them to only say it once per book because the every page thing was driving me bonkers). one day I walk out to find them in the living room pointing at the choir saying "That's me!" "And that's me!" Ohhhh so cute.
  Toddler school snack time (missing one of our little friends who was sick). These kiddos are so much fun.
 Our new playground was FINALLY thrown up last month. They cleared the area out a year or so ago and we've been waiting and waiting and waiting ever since. Not necessarily the best timing with it going up in November, but it will be so nice to have it come spring. 

 She ran out of my room with my workout shorts on saying "I go running! Come on mom!"

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Self Thanksgiving 2017

We enjoyed a lovely Thanksgiving at my parents house. The food and company were perfect.

Shae just loves cooking anything and everything with me and I kind of love it too. Here he is helping me with the Caramel Chocolate Pecan Pie (aka Rolo pie). This pie was out of this world good. Definitely one I will be making again and easily my favorite of the day.
 Belén got to help with the Apple Crumble Pie which was just meh. Didn't love it.
 She took her job of stabbing the apples with the corn skewers seriously. Cooking with a two year old sure is exciting. 
 While the food was cooking the kids went out to help my dad rake the leaves, rather, jump in them.

 I loved seeing them carry around their rakes, following him and his leaves wherever he went.
 Shae made sure to tell me that I needed to yell loud to get them from outside when Santa came on the parade.
 We chose not to do the Turkey Trot this year to save some money and while I love doing it, it was fun to just relax on the mattress in the living room with the kids watching the parade in between food prep and leaf jumping.
 The only food picture I took was of the desserts. Of course. 
Chocolate Salted Caramel Pie, Pumpkin Dump Cake, Apple Crumble Pie, Chocolate Caramel Pecan Pie (it looks so simple but seriously guys, it was amazing).
 The next day was an interesting one. Grandma and Shae worked on getting a tree put up on the inside of the house, while Darin and my Dad worked on taking a tree down outside the house. My mom was so sweet and patient as Shae put garland all over and ornaments stacked on ornaments. She let him work his magic and he ate it up.

Sadly, our trip ended on a low with the outside tree coming down in the wrong direction, taking out a power line with it. The electricity went out, which caused a power surge frying quite a few appliances, including the fridge, the microwave, and oven. The water pump was also out, but thankfully my parents have a great supply of water we were able to use. We went home on Saturday, but felt so bad leaving my parents in this situation. We were grateful that no one was hurt and for all the love and support that has been shown to my family since.  So, other than that...we had quite a lovely Thanksgiving and are excited to go back down in a few days to celebrate a mini-Christmas together before the actual day.