Yes, my birthday is on Christmas eve. Again, knowing it was going to be a busy day (especially since Christmas eve fell on a Sunday this year - the worst possibility for a church musician!) we planned something easy. We went to White Spot for lunch amidst all the other errands we had to accomplish that day. No pics, sorry. But it was really good!
Sunday, December 31, 2006
December 22nd was the day of our annual Christmas sing-along concert at the church. This concert has been held for many years - at least since Jeff first started directing there - and has run the gamut from simple sing-along to full multi-choir performances. This year's concert definitely fell into the first category...very simple, no choir performances, just sing-alongs for everyone to participate in. Everyone seemed to have a great time.
Partway through, Jeff called all the kids up to the front to sing Rudolph and Jingle Bells (which happen to be Amanda's two favourite Christmas songs). She was by far the youngest kid up there, but it was her idea to participate and she did great! It was so funny to see the long line of "big kids" with Amanda at the end:
She even managed to snag a prize from Dad!
(Click any photo to see more).
What's that you say? That doesn't say "pictures with Santa"? Where did you learn to read, anyway?!?
OK yes, we changed this activity on the fly. Good thing Amanda can't read yet! :) We were going to make fingerpaints and paint pictures in the bath, but it was the only night left to get her picture taken with Santa (and she'd had a bath the previous night anyway).
The line was horrific, as usual. But she did very well - no tears, just a serious case of shyness. Santa even commented on how great she was for her age...I think 2 1/2 is a common age for total freak-outs in the presence of Santa Claus.
Here is the final product:
I knew cookie-making would be much more than a 1-evening project, so I pre-baked the gingerbread ladies and we just decorated them. Why gingerbread ladies? Both other kids at daycare are girls!
A completed cookie (the "hair" is sliced up gummy worms):
As you can see, this actually started out as going to the storytime then the CP Christmas Train, which was scheduled to come into Port Moody at around 10 pm that evening. However, as the day wore on, we realized just how dumb it was to attempt a 10 pm train visit with a 2.5 year old. Who plans this stuff anyway?!?
Regardless, we decided to stick with just the storytime, and Amanda had a great time! There was a story from the children's librarian, followed by carol singing (Amanda loved that) and a surprise visit from you-know-who.
First glimpse of Santa:
Sharing a hug with Mom:
(More pics on Flickr).
Saturday, December 30, 2006
We've been having even more problems with Blogger Beta in the last week or so...but this time, the problems were so bad that we couldn't even post at all! It looks like everything is back up now (cautiously optimistic) so hopefully over the next few days we'll be catching everyone up on what we've been up to.
Posted by jenandjeff at 7:15 p.m.
Monday, December 18, 2006
Well, most of them anyway...just a few more to finish up tonight. Phew!
Thought I would share my favourite outtake from our Christmas card photo shoot:
There were a few good ones but I think this one's my favourite!
All the trimmings...hah! Since non-Supermom Jen forgot/ran out of time to go to the grocery store, trimmings were almost non-existent. However, we did have some cocoa glass edging stuff (the word is completely escaping me here) that worked very well.
Our hot chocolate...Amanda's was supreme, mine was chocolate caramel:
She's trying it out...
And it's a hit! The chocolate smile says it all:
So, our weekend activities got a little messed up...as we get closer to Christmas, it's definitely getting harder to keep up with everything. Saturday's activity was supposed to be going to the Christmas Train/Bright Nights in Stanley Park; however, Friday's huge windstorm caused the event to be closed all weekend. Looks like we will have to do that sometime after Christmas...no big deal.
I thought I would move Sunday's activity to Saturday, but as it turned out, we spent the afternoon at Metrotown....IMHO, the place most closely resembling the fiery depths of hell than anywhere else in the city. But hey...on the plus side, they had a Gigantic Rocking Horse! What more could a person ask for?
Anyway, Sunday's activity was making salt dough ornaments.
Not so easy, as it turned out. Well, the dough part was fun and Amanda had a great time squishing it with her hands:
And they looked really cute when we cut them out:
However, due to a certain someone waking up seven bajillion times, including a stretch over the supposed oven removal time, they got a little bit overcooked. They're still OK, but they have tiny brown flecks in them (or maybe this was because we didn't mix the dough well enough?). Plus, when I opened the cupboard today, something fell out and directly onto one of the stockings, breaking it into three pieces. :( We still have to paint the survivors at some point...that may have to wait until the weekend.
Friday night was Music Night at Jeff's school. It was a bit hectic trying to get both Amanda and I there on time, but we made it, just a few minutes late!
Amanda has been to every one of Jeff's music nights since she was born. I think some people think we're strange to bring her, since they tend to go pretty late (this one ended at around 10 pm), but they're on Friday nights and she enjoys them. Being the musical sponge that she is, she knows pretty much all the instruments you could imagine, and can act out an approximation of how each one is played. So she really likes watching the bands play and pointing out all the different instruments. She also likes to groove along to the fast songs and sway to the slow ones. Plus, they have cookies! That match your outfit!
(Side note: I'm writing this on Monday evening...as I was getting her ready for bed tonight, Amanda found the case for a Celtic harp Christmas CD I played for her on the weekend in a totally failed attempt to convince her to nap. She pointed to the painting on the front, of a woman playing the harp, and said "maybe that's you Mom!". "No, I don't know how to play the harp," I said, to which she replied "like this - put out your fingers and move them very very slowly", along with a harp-playing demo. Priceless!)
Hanging out with Daddy:
And a final gratuitous belly shot...
This was interesting. We didn't actually HAVE any Santa hats in the house (well, only one) so Jeff had to attempt to put some together with red construction paper while Jen was cooking dinner. As you can see, it was a valiant effort, but they kinda ended up looking like dunce caps:
Note to self: be more organized! Next time buy Santa hats at dollar store!
Sunday, December 17, 2006
It's been a bit disappointing this year - there definitely seem to be fewer lights around. I'm not sure if it's because of the snowstorm earlier this month - maybe it threw peoples' plans off - or what. Anyway, we did manage to find a few of the old favourites in the Coquitlam area. Amanda was thrilled - she checked out all the displays very thoroughly!
(Lots more photos on Flickr - click any photo below to see).
This was a fun night! We watched the Grinch, which Amanda really liked, then Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, which she didn't seem particularly interested in but wanted to watch anyway.
And, speaking of Rudolph...what is UP with that movie? Seriously? Jeff and I were laughing all the way through it. I don't think we've watched it in a year or two and it's a big shocker when you see it through fresh eyes. I especially like the grouchy Santa who keeps saying stuff like "Oh well, too bad he's ugly 'cause he's a good jumper".
This was a simple one, and it should have been fun since Amanda is quite into quirky things like this. However, the previous evening's late bedtime had Mandy in a "terrible 2" mood and she was a huge grouch. She played along, but I could tell she was just humouring me. :)
Just playing along...
Showing off her new favourite phrase - "No! [Delivered with an emphatic finger point]. I CAN'T like it! [Usually with another finger point on the CAN'T]":
And another favourite phrase..."Shh! Baby is sleeping!" (Baby being her doll, whom she likes to put to bed tenderly by singing and delivering multiple hugs and kisses, then protect by shhing anyone who dares talk above a whisper):
Since Mom and Dad had just arrived home from their fabulous vacation to the Cook Islands, we knew we would be at their house for dinner on Sunday. So we planned another simple activity - peppermint candy ice cream - yum! We shared it with everyone after dinner.
And, to top it off, we found the BEST candy cane ice cream ever. It's the President's Choice one, with fudge crackles. So yummy! I've never had candy cane ice cream with chocolate in it before, but now I'm hooked.
(Oh, and the photo at the top is of our German advent calendar that we bought on our trip in 2002. It's really beautiful even though we hardly ever remember to light it! It's out every year though.)
This is a really easy, quick craft and it turned out pretty cute. We just traced Amanda's hand onto red and green paper (we used about 5 or 6 of each, I think), then glued them together to create a wreath. The idea here was that we would also make one for our bedroom door, but we haven't gotten around to it yet.
We knew this day would be very busy, since Jeff's work party was in the evening and Amanda was staying with her Lolo and Lola for the evening. So we planned something portable - finger jello! Finger jello was a big favourite of Mike's and mine when we were growing up. I made it up on Thursday night, then sent some to daycare to share, as well as a second batch to Lolo and Lola's to have after dinner. A huge hit!
Here is the recipe I use for finger jello. It's not the same one as on the jello package...this one is from Feed Me I'm Yours by Vicki Lansky. My mom used this book (the original edition!) when we were kids, and when she saw it had been re-released, she picked me up a copy. It's got tons of great stuff in it for food and craft ideas for kids of all ages.
Anyway, this jello isn't as strongly flavoured (because it's got the unflavoured gelatin in it), but it stands up a lot better than other finger jello - you can practically throw it around (not that I recommend that). I always mean to try it with some juice in there instead of plain water, since that would probably up the flavour. It still tastes great though!
2 envelopes unflavoured gelatin (like Knox)
2 1/2 cups water
1 6-oz pkg (or 2 3-oz pkgs) jello
Dissolve unflavoured gelatin in 1 cup cold water. Set aside.
In a saucepan, bring 1 cup water to a boil and add jello. Bring to a boil again, then remove from heat.
Add gelatin mixture. Stir and add 1/2 cup cold water. Pour into a lightly greased pan and refrigerate until firm (~2 hours).
This recipe makes 2 8" square pans for me (I usually use two 3-oz pkgs, in different flavours), but these are pretty thick. You could probably get 2 9x13" pans out of it if you wanted thinner jello - would definitely go further.
A quick apology...we've had problems switching to Blogger Beta this week (like the rest of the known universe) so we're a little behind on our posting. We hope to get it fixed and post up our last week of adventures today. Stay tuned!
Posted by jenandjeff at 9:43 a.m.