The tree with all the gifts. Notice there are no ornaments on the bottom branches of the tree, that is because of the cats. They did get a few off the top of the tree but we are going with 'don't ask, don't tell.' I think I will like them better that way. They also started to rip open the presents. Those thugs.
My cuties. They are sitting so nice by each other.
Spark passed out the gifts. We opened on Monday night so that Dad, who had to work the holiday, could have one night to celebrate with us. We use to open on Christmas morning when he worked, but it was rushed and he would open his gifts and go right to bed without a chance to enjoy them.
Dancer got butter! (She really got gum)
This is a tradition started by Dad's family. Set out a paper bag and after you open your gift you ball up the paper and go for a two pointer.
The Christmas puzzle
The furnace went out and we got a new blower fan on Christmas Eve!!! Just what we wanted!!! Actually, we were thankful it didn't burn the house down or ruin the rest of the furnace. The heat from the faulty motor could be felt a couple of feet from the furnace and the fix-it guy said we called him just in time. Just in time to not freeze to death on Christmas. Amazing to me is that it happened before Dad went to bed and I didn't have to deal with the guy by myself.
The days were filled with Kismet, minions,
and video games. We also played hours of Mario Kart.
Went to Grandpa Bob's and Grandma Shirley's last weekend to bring them plates and boxes of cookies along with a couple of gifts. We ate Snicker's ice cream bars, helped Grandma put up a new puzzle, and ooh and aahed over their new beautiful windows. Just before getting in the car to leave, we remembered should take a picture to commemorate the occasion.
Grandma Pat and Grandpa Jerry came to our house the weekend before for a little Christmas cheer and no one thought to get a picture.
Ever since last year when we toured the state capital and then Underwater World at Mall of America the boys have wanted to go back. We set the date and didn't think there could be bad weather and awful roads but, that is what we had. That didn't stop us though. Did it take us three hours to get there? Yes it did, but that is beside the point.
Since this was a day for the boys we pretty much just followed them around to all the video game and other boy type stores. Odd thing is, every store we went to, except for Lego Land, we can visit within 20 miles of our house.
Also lunch. We dined at Johnny Rockets and, as far as I know, there is no other one anywhere near us. They make a mean chocolate malt that lures us back to their restaurant every time we go to the mall.
Having never been in December, I was excited to to see the Christmas decorations Gorgeous strings of long lights hanging from the ceiling, three story Christmas trees (that is the boys standing to the left of the tree) and gigantic bulbs adorned the hallways and the place was beautiful.
Dancer got her ear pierced. I tried to steer her towards getting her belly button pierced, but she went for the ear. Later she asked if I would really let her get her belly button pierced. Yeah, there is a lot less chance of fatal infection. I was going with practical sense, not fashion sense.
As she was getting her ear pierce the boys were being themselves outside the window behind her.
The lady doing her ear asked if Dancer knew those boys. She actually admitted that she did!
Gather round the tree to exchange white elephant gifts.
The kids had a blast with this game. It is a gift wrapped with duct tape. They have to wear oven mitts to open it and they only get 30 seconds to open the gift, once the 30 seconds is up it is pasted to the next person.
It was hard enough to get the gift open, only to find there were three more gift layers to get through until getting to the actual gift. There was so much laughing and cheering!
Our KrumKake won the best decorated/presented/tasting cookie contest.
Cover a heavy piece of foam tag board, or an actual board would work great, with fabric. We used hot glue and glued around the edge of the back of the board to get the fabric to stick. If we could do it over, I would have put some glue on the front so the fabric wouldn't sage from the weight of what gets put in the pockets.
Using lots of different jean pockets (or the bib off a pair of bibs) glue pockets onto pockets leaving the tops open to put in papers etc.
Glue the pockets on to the board, again leaving the tops open.
Add buttons, appliques, ribbon, lace, letters etc. and hanger on the back.
This is a festive change to the much loved peanut butter cookie.
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Cream shortening, peanut butter and sugar. Add egg, milk and vanilla. Stir in flour baking soda and salt. Refrigerate for at least an hour so it is easier to handle.
On floured surface roll in into a 16 inch by 12 inch rectangle.
Melt chocolate chips. Spread over dough to within 1/2 inch of edges. Tightly roll up in a log, wrap in saran wrap and refrigerate again until chocolate is hard. Using a serrated knife, slowly (slowly is the key word here so they don't fall apart) cut into 1/4 inch slices. Bake at 350 degrees 8-10 minutes.
2/3 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
2 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup finely diced and peeled apple
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
Cream shortening and sugar. Beat in egg and vanilla. Stir in half of the dry ingredients. Stir in apple and walnuts. Stir in the rest of the dry ingredients. Bake at 375 degrees for 13-15 minutes.
If you are ringing the bell for the Salvation Army and it is -10 degrees out there are a few dos and don'ts. First off, do wear boots, snow pants, jacket, mittens, hand warmers in your mittens, several layers of clothes under all these outer wear items and scarves. Don't be a stubborn teenager and not wear a hat. At least she wore ear warmers, but really, when only your eyes are sticking out no one can even tell who you are.
Every year at Dad's employee health fair he gets Nikki a new MetLife Snoopy. This year it was so very cold, snowing and semi-blizzard conditions the day of the fair, but that wasn't going to stop us from getting her a Snoopy.
Dad and I bundled up, put the truck in 4-wheel drive and came back with the goods. Since I went with Dad we got her two Snoopys, a banner year for her!
For December our co-op is making either Christmas gifts or decorations. First one was stocking snowmen. Pulled a tube sock over a large cardboard tube, added some rice in the bottom so it stay where you set it, made a hat and scarf out of fabric and added a face.