Thursday, December 29, 2016

Feeding The Reindeer & Cookies/Milk For Santa

On the way home from Grandad and Grandnee's home, we kind of laid out the rest of the evening's plans for the kids.  Darren and I had still had quite a bit to do to prepare for the next morning and I was terribly sick, so I really needed to get to bed as soon as possible.  Ty's health was starting to fade as well, so all he wanted to do was take his THIRD HOT bath of the day and go straight to bed.  He is getting a tad too old to feed the reindeer and Santa anyway, LOL, so we prayed over his body and kissed him goodnight.  The twins fulfilled one of our last traditions alone. They got dressed in their Christmas jammies and headed outside with our homemade reindeer food.  
The twins were barefooted and because the ground was wet and cold, they were NOT too interested in this event to last long.  LOL!  
They blew through the reindeer food so fast, I barely even captured Jax in action.
They finished up their elf on the shelf countdown to Christmas calendar!
Then, it was time to feed Santa milk and cookies!
Together they walked to the fireplace.  
Lilah left the milk.  
Jax left the cookies!
AND up to bed they went! We read them the book, "The Night Before Christmas!" and prayed with them! Then... Darren and I busted butt to get everything set up.  Darren went to bed about 11:45 pm.  I went to bed at 1:15 a.m., after finishing up some last minute details for Darren's Christmas morning AND vacuuming the basement for Santa, where he leaves their gifts.  Sigh... why me!?!? Haha.

Baking Christmas Cookies (#Tradition) ~ 2016

Our elves gave us a gentle reminder that we hadn't yet baked Cookies for Santa.  They left us a few new cookie cutters, embellishments, color-me-elf-aprons, and cookie dough to get us in the mood.

We took the hint loud and clear and got to work on December 23rd.  LOL! Talk about last minute....

It's definitely a fun tradition of ours and I hope it continues forever, even when we are old and our children are adults.
I took the advice of one of my favorite and most talented bakers in UTAH, Gen, and put our pre-made cookie dough in the freezer. Keeping the dough really cold was supposed to be helpful with it being overly sticky. It was also supposed to help, in the baking process, with keeping it's form.  
We got to work rolling out the dough.  As you can see, Darren is always trying to make us laugh.  
This snowflake was the first cookie cut and I was so excited to see how beautiful they were looking.
I don't know if you can tell, but another piece of advice I took from Gen was to work on parchment paper. Basically, if you cut all of your cookies on top of parchment paper, you do NOT have to try and pick up the cookies off of a counter, with a spatula, causing the possibilities of tearing or breaking (due to room temp dough).  
It's so funny because we had some laughter and small talk, but we are ALL such perfectionists that we were a LOT silent because we were so concentrated.  LOL! I am thankful that we have ALEXA to sing to us.
Caught licking his fingers... I guess Santa doesn't mind germs.  Hehe
Our cookies were done being shaped.  I was definitely enthusiastic and hopeful this year about putting them in the oven and having them returned to me just liked they looked BEFORE they went into the oven.  
We cut santas, angels, christmas stockings, snowmen, Jesus' cross, gingerbread, christmas trees and more..
SADLY, they didn't come out perfect like when they went in.  Typically, I pull them out immediately, take the SAME cookie cutter and cut the WARM cookie dough.  These are all of the left over scraps from the expanded cookie cut AGAIN! I am BOUND and determined to figure out how to resolve this. I have a woman at church who makes these all year round. I am going to have a session with her. LOL!
As you can see... the clothing changed.  It's usually the next day that we decorate.  I didn't take MANY pictures of the kids decorating because I was working on our Happy Birthday Jesus Cake.  They started ALL of this on their own.
I did help decorate two of the cookies.  I didn't get creative.  I just didn't have the time, but they sure did!
I absolutely LOVE Jax's Santa.  Although this cookies would be awful to eat, due to so many embellishments, it sure does look pretty!
Lilah's stocking!
I know Santa was pleased!
I'm all about #traditions in our home! Traditions are ONE thing that definitely make up a family!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Christmas Eve @Grandad & Grandnee's Home ~ 2016

We had a lovely time at Grandad and Grandnee's home, on Christmas Eve! I was beyond thankful that they hosted a lovely dinner and I could sit still for 2 hours to enjoy PEOPLE and not the hecticness of "The Night Before Christmas!" The table was set beautifully and we had chicken, potatoes, rolls, salad, and I brought a homemade macaroni and cheese!
Before dinner, we had a small photo shoot, haha! The kids tore through their "presents".  They each got ONE gift and then Grandad and Grandnee loaded their wallets up with a crazy amount of cash. I hope to take the kids to the mall or to the Friendly Center in Greensboro for a day of shopping.  
For dessert, I brought our traditional Happy Birthday Jesus Cake! The kids and I make Him one every year, but it looks a little different.  This year, ours had the manger scene on it.  I also brought some homemade oreo bark!
We also enjoy spending time with Darren's parents!  Wonderful people, great memories...