Monday, December 31, 2007

Gingerbread Houses

It's hard to post during Christmas, so this is a week late, but I had to share. When I was a kid, we made gingerbread houses with graham crackers and a can of frosting. So when I think of a gingerbread house, that's the image that comes into mind. Ben's mom had different ideas. She made all the pieces of the house (roof, chimney, opening door, sleigh, and everything) along with homemade frosting. She also brought a TON of candy for the kids to decorate their houses with. Nicole had an interesting method. She would eat 10 pieces of candy and then put one on her house. Then, when no one was looking, she would eat that piece too. Tyler did pretty good until he saw what Nicole was doing and he realized that he could eat the candy too. Either way, the kids had a ton of fun and the houses turned out really cute. A week later they still want to eat their houses and remember the fun they had with Grandma Debbi. Thanks Papa Jim for taking the pictures. :-)

Monday, December 24, 2007

Ice Cream for Breakfast (What are Grandparents for?)

The kids are unbelievably excited for Christmas. They are excited for the presents (duh) but they were also very excited for Grandma Debbi, Papa Jim, and Uncle Zach to come. With the grandparents sleeping in Tyler's room, that means they both get to sleep in Nicole's room. They love sharing a room. I can't tell you how happy that makes me because they will be sharing a room when the baby comes. They don't want to wait until April, they want to start now! After everyone leaves, we're going to move the furniture around in Tyler's room and get it all ready for them. I thought about trying to redecorate so that it worked for boys and girls, but Nicole really doesn't care what it looks like. Anyway, they are both thrilled that their grandparents are here and they pretty much leave me alone and play with them instead. I'm not gonna lie, it's nice to get a little break from being the favorite. Unfortunately, they aren't used to the beautiful December weather here in the the Northwest and the rain is starting to get to them. It stopped raining today for a few minutes and Grandma got the kids bundled up and took them for a walk. They went to Target and looked at all of the toys and got a treat. I don't usually let them eat treats until after they have breakfast, but just in case the rain came back, they had to leave right away instead of eating first. When they got home, both kids had an ice cream cone. Someday when I have grandchildren (gosh, that's a long time from now) I'm going to do that kind of stuff so I can be the favorite. Why do parents have to be the bad guys all the time? Someday, I'm going to do the fun stuff and break the rules. It's going to be great.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

It's Official. Ben is going to hell.

Do not pass go, do not collect $200.

Well, I have suspected this for a long time, but I am sure it is official now. So here's the story if you care.

Last night I was watching Family Guy. (It's hilarious, what can I say?) Tyler has watched it with me a couple times and now loves the show. As soon as he sees it on he shouts, "Family Guy!" When a commercial comes on, he furrows his brow and asks me, very seriously, "Where did Family Guy go daddy?"

Anyhow, at one point in the episode Quagmire falls over and says his catchphrase, "Giggity." Tyler then laughed and said to me in a very excited voice, "Giggigy!" I laughed at THAT let me tell you.

Later, when Kristi got home, (you didn't think she was actually within 10 blocks of this when it happened did you? Like I say, I am the one going to hell, not her) I told her what had happened. She just stared at me blankly. I then tried to get Tyler to say it for her, when Nicole piped in with a "Giggity" of her own. I just about fell over from laughing at that point. Oddly enough, Kristi did not see the humor in the whole situation and didn't seem to think it was nearly as funny as I did. She seems to think that I shouldn't let our 2 and 3 year old children watch that show, (or 28 year olds for that matter) let alone have them starting to quote lines from it. Not to mention the fact that Tyler told Nicole she sucks the other day. (Maybe I should stop telling the Lakers that when they either lose, get behind, or miss a shot? Oh well, that's a whole other set of issues)

I wonder how many years of purgatory I'm gonna get for this? Not nearly enough I am sure.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Yummy Treats

Citrus Drops

18 1/2-ounce package yellow cake mix
3 1/2-ounce package instant lemon pudding mix (the small box)
1 can of soda (something other than Cola usually)

4 cups confectioners' sugar
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 lemon, zested
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 tablespoons water

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Spray miniature muffin tins with vegetable oil cooking spray. Combine the cake mix, pudding mix, and soda and blend well with an electric mixer until smooth, about 2 minutes. Pour a small amount of batter, filling each muffin tin half way. Bake for 12 minutes. Turn out onto a tea towel
To make the glaze, sift the sugar into a mixing bowl. Add the lemon juice, zest, oil, and 3 tablespoons water. Mix with a spoon until smooth.

With fingers, dip the cupcakes into the glaze while they're still warm, covering as much of the cake as possible, or spoon the glaze over the warm cupcakes, turning them to completely coat. Place on wire racks with waxed paper underneath to catch any drips. Let the glaze set thoroughly, about 1 hour, before storing in containers with tight-fitting lids.

The flavors of the cake mix, pudding, and soda can be done in a thousand different ways. I like to use a white cake mix, cheesecake pudding, and raspberry cream soda. For the glaze, I use raspberry juice instead of the lemon juice and zest. I've also used diet cake mix, diet soda, and fat-free, sugar-free pudding. It's all good! These treats are super easy and fun and everyone loves them!

Our trip to see Santa

I thought it would be a wonderful adventure for the kids to go see Santa and they thought I was the coolest Mom in the world. When we got there the kids saw Santa and that was fun, but they didn't want to get anywhere near him. Tyler clung to my mom like his life depended on it. He told Santa that he wants trains and cars for Christmas, but he wouldn't sit on his lap. Nicole sat on my lap while I sat by Santa and held her hand in front of her eyes to hide from him. He gave her a candy cane so she had to cover both eyes with one hand while she held the candy cane. Then he gave her a stuffed animal and she was forced to reveal her face to the world. After Santa said the magic word ("Dora") they were best friends and she wanted to sit and visit all day. He was a very cute Santa with a real beard and the kids were very excited that Santa was going to go back to his workshop and make their toys.
My mom was supposed to take pictures of the kids with Santa, but that didn't really work out, so we got pictures of them on the carousel at the mall. That's all they could talk about for the rest of the day, so I think next year I'll just skip Santa and go straight for the carousel. Much less stressful that way.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

The Price of Sleeping In

This morning Ben and I both wanted to just stay in bed and let the kids entertain themselves. I got up, turned on some tv for them and gave them some juice. Everything was out of reach (I thought) so I got back in bed. A little while later, we got up to a big messy surprise. Somehow, they had found the baby powder and paint. The paint was all over the chairs and floor of the kitchen. The powder was (and still is) everywhere. After they were done with the kitchen, they took it outside and powdered the table, patio, and barbecue. I think Tyler is the one who put the powder on Nicole's head, but you never can tell with these two. Tyler had powder on his jammies from sliding all over the floor. He made sort of a home made slip-n-slide in the kitchen. That baby powder makes wood floor super slippery! The paint mixed with the powder made sort of an impenetrable paste that took forever to clean up. I think next week, I'll just get up and make breakfast instead.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Stolen Camera

Yesterday, things got very quiet around our house for a little while. I realized that it was much too quiet for anything good to be happening, so I set out to find my kids. Nicole was just playing with her dolls and Tyler was hiding in his room. Hiding is never a good sign. He found my digital camera and, since he's a genius, figured out how to turn it on and take some pictures. After deleting a hundred pictures of his carpet or under his dresser, I found these and thought they were too funny to delete. I love that he smiles for his own pictures!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Scratch my back, Daddy

Nicole didn't get her nap today and was a little grouchy tonight. She fell and started screaming. The only thing that would make her feel better was if Daddy scratched her back. She put her head on his lap and as soon as he started scratching, she fell fast asleep. It was pretty dang cute. She doesn't fall asleep while cuddling very often. I bet in the last year I've only held her asleep once or twice. You could tell Ben was happy about it. :-)

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Yay for December!

Okay, I'm a little stressed about Christmas being so close, but I'm trying to enjoy the season. We decorated for Christmas in November, so it seems strange that it's just now finally December. We have two trees this year (one for the kids so that they don't harass the big tree too much). Ben is totally gung-ho about decorating for Christmas, so I have lots of help. He also likes to get it all done fast and then clean up the mess, so that's helpful. I don't have any pictures of our Christmas stuff yet (I'll take some later) so here's some pictures that made me laugh from the last couple of weeks.