Monday, December 28

X the TXT: Thumbs Up to the Safest Holiday Ever

According to recent research by Virginia Tech's Transportation Institute texting while driving can increase the risk of an accident by 23 times. Please pledging not to text and drive, you’re doing your part to help make this the Safest Holiday Ever. If you join this cause you’re pledging not to text and drive possibly helping to save lives. For each pledge received, Allstate will donate $1 to NOYS for teen safe driving efforts.

I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central on behalf of The Allstate Foundation. Mom Central sent me a gift card to thank me for taking the time to participate.

Sunday, December 27

Cinnamon-Applesauce Ornaments

Last Christmas I came across a recipe for cinnamon-applesauce ornament. It was too late to make them but I vowed to make them this year. The recipe I found called for equal parts of cinnamon and applesauce. The dough was much too sticky. I found some more recipes, some of which called for a little white glue (like elmer's). I did not have enough cinnamon in the house so the next day we went and picked up some more (Winco sells cinnamon in bulk making it much cheaper). I added lots of cinnamon and about 2 tablespoons of white glue.

WhenI first rolled the dough out I did it between wax paper and they really stuck to the paper. I finally figured out the best way was to roll it quickly on the wax paper. Once thin enough, quickly use the cookie cutter and lift off the wax paper using my offset spatula. We baked the ornaments for two hours at 200 degrees. I flipped the ornaments about every forty minutes. I then left them out to dry. The whole house smells like cinnamon. I thought was a good think until I discovered that strong cinnamon smells cause horrible headaches for me. The ornaments are fun to make but we will only do this again on a day warm enough to be able to open all the windows in the house!

Saturday, December 26

Painting for Fun

I was about to recycle the paper that came in a package when I decided to offer it to the girls. Princess A wanted to cut it up when I suggested painting. Princess A was so excited to paint on such a big piece of paper. Here is her first painting, a Christmas tree at the North pole, she later added the aurora borealis in lots of colors.
Princess G said she was painting "beautiful gumdrops falling from the sky."

Friday, December 25

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to you and your family!!!

Just before they climbed in bed Princess A remembered the reindeer food her teacher sent home. Princess A made the cute reindeer bag to store in it at school. The food consisted of raisins, jellybeans, pretzel sticks, and Chex. Princess A wanted to scatter it on the driveway and yard. I convinced the girls to leave it on a cute paper Santa plate by the front door. You can just see it on the hose box behind them.

Princess A wrote Santa two letters to leave with the cookies. One she wrote a couple of days ago telling Santa that she was going to give him a gift and the other was a Thank You note for the gifts and visiting our house.
Princess A gave Santa a bell so he can keep it in his workshop and whenever it rings he will remember her when she was six years old (her words). The girls gave Santa a gingerbread snowman and unicorn and two molasses cookies we just made in the afternoon.

Merry Christmas!!

Thursday, December 24

Making Gingerbread Men

The girls were so excited when we started making cookies.
Last year we made two different Gingerbread cookies and one recipe was much easier (not sticky) to make cookies from. The recipe calls for a small package of butterscotch pudding. I only had vanilla and in the large box. I modified the recipe so I could use the large pudding box:

Gingerbread Men Recipe (modified from original)

1 (5.1 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix
3/4 cup butter
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1.In a medium bowl, cream together the dry pudding mix, butter, and brown sugar until smooth. Stir in the eggs. Combine the flour, baking soda, ginger, and cinnamon; stir into the pudding mixture. Cover, and chill dough until firm, about 1 hour.
2.Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease baking sheets (I used a splat mat). On a wax paper roll dough out to about 1/4 inch thickness, and cut into shapes using a cookie cutter. Place cookies 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets.
3.Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven, until cookies are golden at the edges. Cool on wire racks.

The girls wanted to decorate them before they were baked. Princess A found M&Ms (minis, regular and peanut), cinnamon hearts and later sprinkles.

The girls picked some Christmasy cookie cutters but they also always pick the unicorn, Scottie dog and hearts. We also used the ABC (already been chewed) gingerbread cookie cutters I won last year. The girls thought it was so funny that they looked like someone had bitten them.
Just as we placed the last batch in the oven the neighbor girls (that is what my girls call them) brought over a plate of Christmas cookies. The girls wanted to take them some cookies too.

I had to convince them to wait until the cookies came out of the oven before we took them over. They were so proud to share the cookies they made and decorated.

Wednesday, December 23

Wordless Wednesday: The Real Santa

As Princess A informed me sometimes Santa has helpers that dress up as him but this is the real Santa.

Tuesday, December 22

Princess G's Christmas Program

Friday morning Princess G has her Christmas Program at school. Princess G was in the first row and at first I could not see her at all from my seat. I joined a bunch of parents in the center aisle, trying to get a better picture. Everyone was half squatting so I got down on my stomach and started filming and taking pictures. Hey a mommy has to do what a mommy has to do, plus I made sure I was not blocking anyone, as I was laying completely on my stomach. The school director looked over at me and sort of chuckled. I did get some great video and pictures!
After they sang songs about baby Jesus and Christmas we all went back to the preschool for snacks and drawings.
Princess G drew a picture of herself, what a cutie.
Her is Princess G with one of her teachers. She gave them the Christmas gifts (flower brooches and candy canes) on Wednesday so they each gave her a lovely Thank you note. She wanted to wait for her sister to read them to her.My baby is getting so big now. She sang so wonderfully and was proud of herself. She keeps practising the song too, just yesterday she sang them the whole time we were grocery shopping.

Monday, December 21

Flower Girls in a Wedding

The girls were just so excited when their Aunt Cathy asked them to be flower girls in her wedding. She decided to only have flower girls, four of them, and a ring bearer. Here they are right before the ceremony started.
Princess G was concentrating so hard on walking slow like she was asked to she forgot to drop the flower petals. Plus all along they told her she would be walking with her sister, at the last moment they told her to go first and walk in front of her sister. I think she was just a little unsure since they did not practise at all.
Princess A had fun dropping the flower petal, very carefully one by one.
Princess A showed Princess G how to drop the flower petal just as they reached the altar.

My girls look so pretty with the new bride.

My handsome family!
I bought a new dress and even wore heels, the second time this year!

Princess G was having so much fun I let her draw on the condensation on the windows, of course now she keeps doing it at home.
They had sparkling apple cider for the toast and Princess A just loved it. She tried it a few years ago and did not like it at all, now she adores it. I am going to try and remember to pick some up for Christmas.
After a very, very yummy dinner it was time to dance!
Princess A even taught some dance moves to the bride.

I was being silly and showed Princess A how to dip so the rest of night her Daddy and I had to dip her over and over!
These two danced for hours! At times they were the only ones on the dance floor.
It was a beautiful wedding and the girls loved their first time being flower girls. They are also excited because now they can wear these dresses whenever they want. I told them we had to save the dresses for the wedding but now that it is over they can wear them all the time.

Sunday, December 20

Visiting Santa

We love this Santa and visit him every year. Princess A informed me that sometimes Santa has helpers that dress up as him to help because he is so busy but that this is the REAL Santa!
I must agree he is a great Santa which is why we ended up waiting for almost two hours!

Princess A let Santa know that her list includes a Strawberry Shortcake Cafe, Barbie Three Musketeers (pink) doll and movie and 100 rose quartz hearts.
Princess G wants a My Little Pony Unicorn Bakery, a Three Musketeers (green) doll and a twirly whirly race car (I hope this is what she means).
As we were leaving Santa told them that since they were such good girls that he would wake up their Mom on Christmas Eve and tell me where he hid a special gift just for them. The photographer also told me that my girls were so sweet and that she remembers them.
The wait was forever but after seeing these faces it was well worth it, at least it will be a whole year before I have to wait in that line again!

Friday, December 18

Princess A Throws a Tea Party in her Room

After we had our tea party in the kitchen Princess A decided to throw a big tea party in her room. While I was making dinner Princess A and Princess G set up the tea party.

Pinky and Sunny got to have the good chairs and table. The rest of us got to eat off of the extra tables (pillows). Since the tea party could not start until Daddy got home the girls had to wait until after dinner for the party. As soon as we finished dinner (we did not even get a chance to clean up) we all went upstairs for the party. The girls just love when Daddy joins their tea parties. Since they spent so much time setting the party we did tell them they could leave it out for a few days instead of clean it up for bedtime.

Princess A Won a WOW Award at School

Once a month Princess A's school has an assembly and rewards students for being good. This month they singled out students who were responsible and caring. Princess A did not know she was going to receive the honor so she was excited and surprised when she saw us there.

Here she is after receiving her certificate and prize (a coupon for a free taco). Last year she won a WOW award for for "Kindness and cooperation in kindergarten." I am so proud of her!

After the assembly the parents were able to take a few pictures, here the girls are with the principal. Princess G just hopped in the picture!

We are so proud of Princess A. She is doing well in school in all aspects, academic and socially. Earlier in this year her teacher told me that she is the type of person she hopes her own daughter is like. That was so sweet of her to say.
Princess A left for recess and Princess G ran around. She really wanted to go to recess with her sister and when we saw the principal he said to go ahead.

Princess A was so excited when we came out for recess, especially since I told her we weren't.
Princess G ran straight for her favorite playground toy (it spins!)

Princess A just wanted us to watch her run the track which we finally did when I was able to get Princess G off of the spinning circle. I did have to push her and about six other kids first. Once Princess A started running the track (a gravel path) her sister wanted to join her. Princess A sort of slowed down for her but was still very far ahead. When Princess G was on the other side of the field an older boy tried to stop her. The kindergartners and preschoolers are not allowed out on the field so I think that is why he said she could not go by him. I was just starting to walk over there when Princess G was able to explain to him about her sister (I could not hear as she was about 150 yards away but I saw the hand gestures) and he let her go by. I was so proud that she can stand up for herself with a older kid (probably 3rd of 4th grade so not that big).
Once recess was over we went home for about fifteen minutes. Once we picked up Princess A all the girls wanted to do was to play outside even more.