Thursday, December 31, 2015

Christmas 2015

 Because of how Christmas fell this year, the kids and I got a four day weekend! Some of it was busy, some of it was uber relaxing, and all of it was pretty darn amazing.

 We started our holiday weekend with last minute Christmas shopping and dinner at one of our favorites, Star Bar. We tried out a few new dishes, all of which got approval from the minis.

Santa surprised the minis with a new toy while we were at dinner! Back story: Amazon delivered this gift a day early. While Matt loaded the kids into the car, I quickly took it out of the box to look it over and make sure there were no damages. It was larger than what I thought and I groaned that I didn't want to wrap it. Then I walked out the door for dinner....forgetting to put the Megazord away. When we walked in the door from dinner, the minis were super excited to see that Santa screwed up and forgot to put the new toy away....eeerr, I mean, left them an early Christmas present. 
Christmas Eve day the minis and I got the house all ready for Santa. In the evening we spent a few hours at my Aunt's house celebrating the holiday. 

 I didn't want absolute chaos when opening gifts so I had the minis open in age order, oldest to youngest. Elizabeth (obviously) was not thrilled that she had to wait to open her gifts!

 The kids love the Christmas that rides the bike. They've asked for it for weeks beforehand!

 I love their worried looks in this picture. Back story: ALL day we kept up with Santa's sleigh via Norad. When the kids heard he had made it to North America, panic set in because we weren't home yet! They practically had meltdowns in the car because mom and dad wanted to keep our tradition of looking at Christmas lights on Christmas Eve, but the minis wanted to get to bed so they wouldn't miss Santa Claus. When we pulled into the driveway at home, I jokingly said "oh my gosh, I think I see someone inside our house." They made Hubs go check out the house to make sure we didn't catch Santa leaving gifts! Apparently in the mall Santa's not so scary, but the thought of Santa in our house is enough to make them crap their pants. 

 Reading The Night Before Christmas as we do every year. As evidence that Max is getting older, he didn't want to partake in our family reading of the story but chose to read it on his own after we were done.

 Yes, we're all in Christmas jammies. The kids have had their jammies for a while, but Hubs surprised me with our's Christmas Eve before we went to my aunt's house. I'm not usually a big fan of the whole ensemble of pajamas, but these were really comfortable!

 Christmas Day was a beyond relaxing day. I love our new tradition of spending Christmas Day at home, fully enjoying each other and the holiday. The minis each got one present from Santa: Elizabeth got her first American Girl Bitty Baby, Harrison got a panda play set, and Max got a Minecraft Lego set. The rest of the presents were from mom and dad and had a hiking/camping theme. We all got new hiking boots, hiking packs, water bottles, sleeping bags, and more. Can't wait to put these items to use in the spring!

 The minis and Matt opening their surprise 6 person tent. I'm not much of a camping person (like at all. I'm a "camping in a cabin" type person), but the minis love camping. I figure with a bigger tent, I may suck it up and try out a night in the woods this long as it's close to home so I can drive home to my bed if need be.

 Our Mimosa Bar was a favorite of guests. The kids enjoyed trying out the different juices we had on the table.

 The minis enjoyed their art projects they got Christmas Eve.

 Hedbanz was one of our family gifts the minis opened Christmas morning. The game proved rather difficult for the minis, but hopefully they'll get the hang of it because it will be a super fun game to play during camp outs and on our planned getaways.

 The boys love setting up the panda village different ways. When Harrison first informed me he wanted this from Santa, I was unsure about this present. However once it was opened and the kids started playing with it I realized how awesome it was! The kids can figure out different ways to construct the village and use their imagination while playing with it. This wound up being my favorite toy Santa brought.

 Elizabeth loves her new jewelry box and jewelry from Grandma Sheaffer.

 The day after Christmas was nearly as relaxing as Christmas Day, minus the cleaning and finding space for their new toys. Hubs and Max got to see the new Star Wars movie and I got to spend time with my sister and brother in laws watching Sisters. Truly a very relaxing two days.

 The kids had a "snowball fight."

 On Sunday we celebrated our last Christmas of the year with my dad's side of the family. It was wonderful to spend time with nearly all of my aunts, uncles, and cousins.

 My kids have a new obsession this holiday season: sparkling cider.

I think I can speak for all 5 members of our family when I say this was a great Christmas (despite most of us coming down with a nasty virus at the end of it). It was wonderful to have such a relaxing long weekend and spend quality time with everyone important in our lives.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Not A Thing To Do On Christmas

Sunday, December 27, 2015

How To Create A Mimosa Bar

Christmas Day was relaxing around here. We stayed in jammies all day and had family and neighbors stop by through out the day. This year we hosted many more visitors than we have in the past. I felt the need to "do it up" a bit more than our traditional "can I get you a water or juice?" when people stopped by. I wanted something simple, something I love, and something that wouldn't knock our guests on their ass for Christmas Day.
Enter my idea for a Mimosa Bar. Our MB featured a variety of juices, three kinds of champagne, vodka, and rum (all things that are great mixes with champagne). The MB was easily put together and great that people could make their own drinks however they pleased.
I found the glass decanters at Target for only $5 (find similar ones here). I couldn't pass them up! They were perfect for holding the juices and keeping them cold. We had cans of pineapple juice, grapefruit juice, orange juice, cranberry juice, and lemonade for mixing.

 There were 3 champagnes to choose from (Spumante, Brut, and pink). We also had 7 Up and cherries for mixing (pink champagne, with a spoonful of cherry juice, and one cherry was my favorite drink I made all day).

 Late in the morning we set out cookies, meats, cheeses, and crackers to snack on. The treats and snacks paired well with our drinks.

 Opening that first bottle of champagne bright and early Christmas morning.

Some of our drink combinations included:
  • Traditional mimosa (oj and champagne)
  • Champagne, pineapple juice, vodka, orange juice
  • Champagne, cherries, with a spoonful of cherry juice (really good with pink champagne)
  • Champagne, rum, 7 Up, and cranberry juice
  • Champagne and cranberry juice
  • Champagne and grapefruit juice
  • Champagne, vodka, grapefruit juice, and a splash of pineapple juice

 Placing the table under these words on our table was perfection.

 Christmas jammies, champagne, snacks, family, friends, laughter, and naps all day long. Just a few of my favorite things in one day.

Everyone who stopped by Christmas Day loved the mimosa bar idea and thoroughly enjoyed experimenting with new flavors and making new drinks. It was such a hit that it's been requested we have it again for our New Year's Eve celebration.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

3 Day Week In Review: December 21 - 23

It's been a while since I've done a Week In Review post, but daycare had such a jammed pack week that I couldn't not share everything we did!

We put out our bird seed Christmas shapes that we made last week (we made them at the end of the week and I completely forgot that they take 8+ hours to dry out, so we saved them so the kids could watch the birds). We used a simple recipe, but in the past we've found that the bird won't eat them if we make them into ornaments and hang them up. Instead we laid them on the ground. The kids thoroughly enjoyed watching the birds, squirrels, and rabbits nibble at them throughout the day.

The kids painted several pictures and such at the beginning of the week. Some kids used their hands, one kids ate some paint, and another got it caked in their hair. The younger the kids, the more interesting painting is!

The girls love playing babies. We also have babies at daycare and several of the kids have baby brothers/sisters. I found it funny when they took the dolls and laid them on their backs on a playmat because "little babies shouldn't be put on their tummies." It made me giggle how much kids pick up by just watching what's going on around them. Also, funny is that one of the babies is "rolling away off of the mat."

The kids were soooo excited for Santa to come visit them. We've been counting down for a while, but once we got to five days before Christmas, the kids couldn't contain their excitement. We sang Christmas carols through the day (their favorites were Santa Claus Is Coming To Town, We Wish You A Merry Christmas, and of course, Rudolph). We also watched a few Christmas movies that we hadn't gotten around to: The Little Drummer Boy, Elmo's Christmas Countdown, Prancer, and Prep and Landing. During lunch on Wednesday, we watched A Charlie Brown Christmas because all of the school age kids complained they weren't around for the first daycare viewing of that movie.

Painted Christmas shapes. I sent them home with the kids just like this so parents could do what they wanted with them: an ornament, displayed on a shelf, or how I like to do them, a magnetic strip glued on the back so it can hang on the refrigerator. 

 Christmas slime. The green smelled like peppermint and the red like cinnamon.

We tried doing a grow tree but the first time ever, this didn't grow at all. We discovered 24 hours after placing it in water that the cats were drinking out of the glass so that may have had something to do with it....Either way the kids were disappointed it didn't grow because we had plans to use it as a stamper once it was done growing.

                                         The shaving cream candy canes turned out great!

 The kids had a great time with Christmas sensory evident by the mess on the floor! Luckily it all cleans up easily.

Pajama Day at daycare and school coincided.

I set up a school area for the kids to play. They enjoyed taking turns playing teacher and having the younger ones practice their writing. The two oldest enjoyed challenging each other with math problems. I wasn't exactly expecting them to turn it into doing school work but wound up being entertaining and educational. The kids have already requested that we set up a school area outside next summer. May not be a bad idea!

 The Find It game with the Rudolph stuffed animals was the hit of the day. Read how to play here.

The fruit Christmas tree. I had to add a few bananas and raspberries as the kids ate them the most.

The kids decorated Christmas cookies. For the first time ever, the kids actually took their time decorating each cookie and didn't whine about eating one right away! I was impressed with them and by their cookies.

                                  Holiday necklaces kept them busy beading for a while in the afternoon.

                                                        Last minute wooden ornament sticks.