Three days of Christmas

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a saviour, who is Christ the Lord.  Luke 2:11

On the first day of Christmas my true loves and I had a wonderful day, opening presents, playing with presents, just hanging out and eating lots of yummy food!  Grandma and Grandpa came and spent the day with us and it was just a wonderful, relaxing day.

 On the second day of Christmas, my true loves and I went to my parents – Oma’s and Opa’s where we spend the day with my 2 younger brothers and their families and opened presents, took some pictures, ate some more yummy food and played games.  It was another wonderful day… we are blessed!

On the 3rd day of Christmas, my true loves and I drove to Jason’s parents – grandma and grandpa’s – where we opened more presents again (the kids were in their glory), the kids played with their cousins (Liam and Aidan),  we ate a very delicious turkey dinner and just relaxed and had yet again, another wonderful day.  And to top it all off the kids were still were pleasant and in good moods, shocking but wonderful!

Erik got a CSI kit – here he is dusting for fingerprints…

So another Christmas that came and went and we feel so blessed by all the gifts that were received and we rejoice in the gifts we could give, but we know for sure that…

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.  James 1:17

Merry Christmas!

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Eggnog & Cranberry & White Chocolate Muffins

These are really muffins, but they are such a treat that they really seem like eating cake.  I actually tried to look up the differences between cupcakes and muffins and the easiest explanation is that cupcakes are cake (made with butter and sugar and beaten) and muffins are a quick bread.  But sometimes I think the line blurs, especially when your ‘muffins’ take a cup of sugar!!!   

To get the recipe, you need to go here  as I am not sure about the internet etiquette about putting someone else’s recipe’s in your own posts.      Now, I did reduce the sugar to 3/4 a cup and the white chocolate chips to 1/2 cup and I made a brown sugar streusel and so used a way less amount of sugar too and they were still plenty sweet probably because I had to add extra eggnog because my batter seemed a bit dry.

Enjoy!

Christmas parties and other stuff

Whew… it’s been a busy week!   So last Saturday night Jason and I hosted a Christmas party here for some of our friends from church.  It was a wonderful night and our last guests didn’t leave until almost 2:00 am!     We ate, played dutch blitz and just had a great time. 

Now,  a huge bonus of having a Christmas party is that it’s great incentive to get things done around the house and I have to give Jason an extra special ‘thank-you’ for getting our bathroom done and the fireplace tiled… it looks amazing!    And to help us get ready, my my mom and dad stopped by Saturday afternoon and they did it all from cleaning to installing a light to getting food ready, we couldn’t have done it without them.   And we could do all this  because my dear brother and sister (in-law) took our kids for the afternoon and evening and even had the oldest 3 over-night.  Family really is wonderful and I’ll say it again, we are blessed.

Then Sunday grandma and grandpa came and put together a ginger-bread house.  Now for those of you who believe that it’s just fun and games,  believe me, it’s quite intense…

And of course it wouldn’t be a gingerbread house without the candy.  As you can see, I’m still adjusting to my new camera which in this picture focused on William, not on the house…

And is that purple icing you say?  Yes, it is almost enough to give you a heart-attack when you think of the dye, but thankfully the kids tend to concentrate on eating the candies afterwards and and not the house so hopefully they won’t be ingesting much of it…  really you say?

Sophia was just content to sit on grandma’s lap and look cute.

So then this week Wednesday we had another snow day when the buses weren’t running, I technically could have driven the kids to school, but I thought that picking them up after school would probably be chaotic as there is a small parking lot at school and with the snow… yeah… too much.  I’ve decided that when the buses aren’t running, it’s a snow day and that’s that, so there! 

Then it was the last day of school before Christmas holidays and then Saturday again, hard to believe only a week until Christmas.   To return the favour to Jason and Shelly, I had their kids over for pancakes yesterday morning and in the grand tradition of my mother who is always finding ways to make food special, I made a snowman pancake for each child…

I of course would rather have gotten a picture of them eating them, but somehow when you are feeding 9 children pancakes, it’s a little too hectic to take pictures… go figure.    But I think people have the wrong idea about caring for a bunch of children.    Because even though there were 9 children here yesterday morning,  I really didn’t have to do too much, they all play together so well.  So they keep each other occupied and I love how my kids love their cousins and are so excited to see them whenever they meet.   And I always love a chance to take care of Sophia’s twin Zach…

He got a boo-boo so I got great cuddles out of him.  And the bigger boys played outside and here’s my handsome boy,

And a great shot of cousin Nate…

OK – I’m almost done.   So then last night we had Jason’s work party – I should have brought my camera but didn’t.  But we love Marcus (his boss) and his wife Dianne and we had a wonderful time at the party.  They open up their home each year and Dianne makes very yummy food (which I ate too much of) and it was relaxing and nice and we finally tore ourselves out of there close to midnight.   This is what we found when we got home,

Our amazing, wonderful friends Rebekah and Cam and a very asleep Sophy baby.  She had kept waking up and decided that they made a better bed than her crib.    Thanks Rebekah and Cam for taking such good care of our bambino’s!

So that was our busy week… and now we are looking forward to Christmas and some  time off for Jay who has been working so very hard finishing up some work projects.    Family time here we come!

Snow daze…

So today it’s back to school after 4 days of a massive dumping of snow that hit our area, and 3 days off of school as all the schools were closed!  I can not remember that happening ever before.  The kids just loved it.    And it was fun having the kids home, and when they get a little rowdy, I just kicked them outside!    The amount of snow is really unbelievable, I just read in the paper that some areas will have ended up with 140 cms of snow, when our normal winter average here is 200 cm!!!    Needless to say we are buried…

The kids just had a ball even when daddy was throwing them in the yard, and yes, they were practically buried in the drifts…

and they even love to shovel, which as they get bigger will only get better.

And because of the copious amounts of hot chocolate my kids have been consuming, I had to send Jason to the store for milk (which they were almost out of during the storm) but I forgot to tell him to get hot chocolate mix, another necessity in this weather.  So off to google I went and found this recipe for homemade chocolate syrup…    it actually tastes great, uses the ingredients I have on hand and obviously doesn’t have any artifical flavours or colours and no hydrogenated oils which can plague regular hot chocolate mix.  I just mixed it up, stuck the rest in the fridge and we are set! 

So now back to the snow, they are calling for more on Sunday night, but at this point we just say,  ‘Bring it on!”  Maybe we can set some records!

Painting Christmas Cookies

I can’t remember where I came across this, but a few years ago I was surfing the net trying to find a different way to decorate Christmas cookies that didn’t involve icing them afterwards.   And I stumbled across painting the cookies BEFORE you bake them with just egg-yokes dyed different colours with food coloring.  Now, I do try normally to avoid food colouring, but this was not the year to try to find a way to naturally colour the dye, that will come another time I’m sure. 

The best part is, the kids absolutely love decorating these cookies.  I make the dough from a handed down family short-bread cookies recipe from Jason’s side, then right at the table I cut out the shapes the kids want.  Then they go to town painting them and using colored sprinkles.

It’s such a great family tradition and Sarah even enjoyed it last year when she was only 2 1/2.  This year I didn’t even try to involve Sophy at 18 mths, but I know that next year she’ll love it.

Here is a sample the finished product… the colours seem to be a bit off, they aren’t really that awful colour of green!  

But I would highly recommend this as a fun family Christmas activity, that involves surprising little mess!

Snow!

Well the day that my kids have waited for arrived today – a day where we woke up to snow that had stayed and accumulated… hurrah!    Hurrah for the kids, but I’m thinking, ‘Oh great, snow pants!”    But I’m happy to say that it all went off without a hitch and we actually got to the bus stop early.      Everyone co-operated, probably because they couldn’t wait to go outside and I was quite amazed how well it all went.   (Now ask me again in March how things are going I’ll probably have a different story to tell.) 

The girls and I played outside for a while after the boys got on the bus…

 

And of course Sophy took off her mitts to play – of course she did!    But I’m thankful she loves the snow and even though she’ll spend a winter with freezing cold hands and will probably ingest gallons of snow, I’m grateful for the bus stop that forces us to go outside twice a day for some excercise and fresh air.   And I’m really grateful that this year the boys do take the bus so I don’t have to bundle everyone up and then stuff them in the van!   

So the snow it here, it’s December…  it really is starting to feel like Christmas!