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Christmas Catch up

It’s that time of year.  It’s magical.  Especially with three kids who search diligently for “snow red” (our elf) each morning, who chant “santa santa santa” every time they see him on a show, in a decoration, or even just a look alike on the street, and who do not yet know to troll the newspaper for ads to demand gifts from or pull our tired arms for one more look at a doll or dino they really want.  This is not to say our kids our saints – the number of times I hear “uppy!” or “no way!” in a day is often inversely proportional to the number of veggies eaten at a meal, and the screaming matches over staked territory at the kitchen island while we cook dinner or over crayons as they create masterpieces is enough to drive anyone nuts momentarily… but I am grateful that -so far- our kids are more excited to see what our faces look like when they wrap up pretend gifts in blankets and tea towels then to rip the paper off the presents that already wait under the tree.

One of my very favorite moments so far was the preschool play Matthew was just in – he was the angel Gabriel – and he melted my heart.gabriel

We made melted snowmen cookies for treats for all the kids after the play (super easy – recipe below)

snowman cookies

We also had our Christmas party again this year, planned more last minute than ever before because of crazy work schedules and time flying.  All of this meant no special invites to mark the date just after Halloween, and through email misses, crossed wires and prior plans we missed some dear friends at the party, but it was still a blast to pull together and a surprisingly stress free evening with 19 adults and 14 kids – the oldest of which was 5.  One year in the not too distant future we’ll revert back to actual evening parties with martinis and taxi cards waiting in the early morning – but for now the 5pm start time remains – and the finger foods included some less delicate options like homemade pizza in many varieties, snowmen cups with popcorn treats, fancy cheeses but also fishy crackers in reindeer bags, and 8 different Christmas desserts that little fingers were all too eager to grab instead of the healthier fruit salsa and cinnamon crisp offerings (recipe below).  The bar area was replaced by a craft station to make your own snowman, and the media room was turned into a viewing party for ‘late night’ (8pm) Christmas movies for kids.

the spread snowman crafts

A blog I particularly love – Cate’s creative space – shared an awesome idea for reindeer food which I happily made my own and completed with a special note from Mrs Claus about the magic food which was to go home with each child to be spread on the lawn on Christmas eve for the flying reindeer.

reindeer food

I hope you’re starting to feel the magic of Christmas in your home.  I’m most excited for the two weeks that lies ahead: from Christmas meals with family to Christmas day in our own cozy home, hearing the reindeer on the roof and seeing what santa brought in the morning, to the week long rest afterwards doing lots of baking, local catching up, and hanging out with our little family – never feels like we get enough time to just hang out – I’m so glad this year we’ve carved the time to just be together, enjoying the crazy of our little miracle kids.

Promised Recipes:

Melted Snowmen Cookies:

  • bake sugar cookies in round circles – your usual recipe
  • make fondant icing (4 egg whites whipped to foamy, add 2 cups of icing sugar or more, ad 1 tsp vanilla)
  • spread icing on cooled cookies
  • melt 12 large marshmellows for 10-15 seconds in the microwave – then squish each one on a cookie so it ‘melts’ slightly into the icing
  • with edible beads or icing make a snowman face, add scarf, hat if you like – voila! melted snowmen

fruit salsa and cinnamon crisps (the sort of healthy kid snack for parties):

  • preheat oven to 250
  • cut up two tortillas into small wedges
  • melt 3 TBSP of butter completely
  • mix 5 TBSP of sugar with 2 tsp cinnamon
  • spread butter on tortillas lightly – both sides and sprinkle sugar mixed over both sides
  • cook for 5 min then flip for 3 more min and let cool on a rack
  • meanwhile cut up strawberries, kiwi, raspberries and apples into small pieces and place in a bowl for ‘dipping’ the crisps into
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