Thursday, December 31, 2009

Another New Begining

Happy New Year's Eve! Our friend's birthday is today and we have a tradition of celebrating with a group of friends this night. I hope everyone has a safe evening tonight and a blessed new year!

Family is beginning to depart and tomorrow things should be getting back to normal. It's been pretty non-stop around here, traveling back and forth to my parents house (where all the rest of our family is staying, fortunately it's only 30 minutes away.) We had a wonderful time visiting and there were some fantastic pictures taken. Hopefully we'll be able to share some soon.

In the meantime, even though family is heading home, radio stations are no longer playing carols, and neighbors are taking down decorations it's still Christmas! And will be so until January 10th when we celebrate the Lord's baptism. Anyone have any plans for Epiphany this year? I'm thinking we'll bake a king cake and make some paper crowns for the kids to wear.

Friday, December 18, 2009

A Mystery Afoot

This is what happens when I sit to feed the baby and forget to close off the kitchen.

Now if there was only a way to find the culprit...

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Who turned out the lights?

There was a baptism this past Sunday during Mass. Well, technically two, they were twins. :) In our Church the baptism comes right after the homily. The priest and families made their way to the baptismal font and the lights were lowered so a live image could be displayed on one of the Church walls (we are part of a very large parish.) As they made their way back all the music stopped and it grew very dark. One certain little girl who had been wonderfully quiet and content suddenly looked up with big eyes and said, "What happened?!" in a loud and concerned voice. When our shushes, pointing, and whispers of "babies are being baptized" were not enough she repeated her question even louder complete with shrugging shoulders. Snickers and chuckles erupted around us and we couldn't help but join in.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A Reminder

Take some time, remember what Advent is about.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Homemade Vanilla Extract

If you haven't noticed, I like to bake. A lot. Much of what I make calls for vanilla extract so you can imagine that I go through a bottle pretty quickly. It's not cheap either, with a 2 oz bottle of Madagascar vanilla costing between $3 and $6. I decided to make my own so I could save some money and have a large supply on hand.

4 Madagascar bourbon vanilla beans
1 1/2 cups vodka
1/2 cup dark rum
tall glass bottle or large canning jar with lid

Cut each vanilla bean lengthwise to within one inch of the end (to help it stay together.) Push each bean into your jar or bottle and pour the liquor on top. You want the beans to be fully submerged so I used a tall, narrow bottle. Shake a few times then place in a cool, dark place. Shake every day or so for 6-8 weeks.

Now, I just have to be patient.
I hate wait. (*bonus points if you know what that's from*)

Monday, December 7, 2009

Weekly Tidbits

1. Addie likes to eat onions. Raw. She stole a few from the cutting board as Steve was cooking dinner and munched on them like apples.

2. Juliana is close to rolling over. She gets to her side easily but her arm still holds her back. She can make it from her stomach to back without a problem though and is enjoying her tummy time much more. And she's five months old today. Where is this time going?

3. Gabe will try to divert your attention from an infraction (like standing on the table or playing with the laptop) by breaking into a dance. "Ot dog" (hot dog, as in the hot dog dance at the end of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse) he says while bopping up and down and shaking his arms from side to side.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

St Nicholas Day

Today... was a great day. (Unfortunately, our camera is dead so we had to make do with a phone camera, and all the pictures turned out blurry.)

We spent yesterday talking about St Nicholas, reading a book about him and trying to prep them for today. We hung their stockings and they seemed excited by their "big socks." This morning the kids came downstairs to advent music playing, stuffed stockings, and a lit tree with a special new ornament.
"Teh-yee Berrs!" (teddy bears) was the first exclamation of the morning. (They were really stuffed reindeer with tiny bags of mini candy canes but, close enough.) We said a prayer and then took their stockings down for them to go through. Aside from the stuffed animal they each got a clear bouncy ball with glitter in it, a mini board book and a little chocolate santa. The santas were eaten as soon as they heard they were "Chock-et!"
While they sucked on their santas we read The Saint Who Became Santa Claus.
We enjoyed a nice breakfast and later the kids helped to make Speculatius (German spice cookies.) I didn't have a special cookie cutter or the time to decorate them so we just made circles and they turned out well. Next time I might add a bit more cloves, I like them spicy.

We had a great time finding ways to make this day special (As the kids get older we hope to add a tradition of helping out at a local soup kitchen) and are looking forward to our kids growing up celebrating this great saint.