Sunday, December 14, 2008

Holiday goodness

Welcome to a hodge podge of holiday treats and fun we've accumulated over the last couple of weeks. Included are short snippets of what we have being doing both out and about, and at home, all the while getting in the spirit.


A sale on gingerbread house kits at Target last week prompted me to pick one up for the kids as a break-up-the-week project. With chili in the crockpot ready for dinner and a little extra time Thursday evening, we dove into the construction.

Honestly, I was surprised the house's structure withstood the prettying up the four decorators laid on it. Initially, the majority would have rather eaten the candy than actually decorate the house; however, after a bit, everyone caught onto the "put the candy on the house, not in your mouth" game.

The treat turned out surprisingly well considering all the little hands that poked, pushed and helped with it. And, what's more amazing is that it's placed on a table low enough that they can admire their work, and it's remained in tact.


Our Elf on a Shelf is a new tradition this holiday season, and one well worth implementing in any house with small children.

The small little elf doll, ours by the name of Busy, helps Santa sort through the good and not-so-good behavior of little boys and girls. The premise is each night he magically travels to the North Pole to check in with the big guy only to return, positioning himself in a new location, and, from his perch, catch everything said and done over the course of the day.

Not only does Busy's presence help correct behavior going badly, as he can simply be mentioned to let the offender reconsider the direction he or she is taking, but each morning Alena and Alivia race off to see where he landed upon returning from the North Pole.


Last Friday we visited Santa at Cincinnati Mills mall. Two of the four kids hoping to make it onto his good list climbed upon his lap.

Trace couldn't even look in the jolly old guy's direction without crying and Alysse wasn't quite sure what to make of him, but knew there was no way she was going to sit anywhere near him.

Alena didn't hesitate to climb up on Santa's lap and rattle off her list (yes, she's been talked down from a real convertible that she and dad could ride around in, to a toy one she could put dolls in). Alivia, however, was a bit timid, but bravely took her place to request her pig and guitar (a purple sparkly one that Santa better get cracking on).


Most of the time when I come up with a hair-brained project, I have some preconceived expectations of how successful said activity will or won't be. Even before mentioning it to the kids, I've projected who will enjoy it most, what kind of mess I'll end up with in the end or what the end result will most likely be.

That said, our Friday afternoon cooking adventure far exceeded what I figured the outcome to be. Alena, Alivia and I, while attempting to make homemade peppermint marshmallows, actually surprised me with a festive success.

Alivia is a marshmallow connoisseur, who would eat the fluffed sugar mounds until she made herself sick if you allowed her to do so. So, when stumbling upon the recipe, I put logic aside and we set out to make them in her honor.

I measured, the girls took turns pouring and stirring, then we waited the 15 minutes my Kitchenaid mixture whipped the concoction. Two hours of cooling and a nap later, we had small squares of soft peppermint sweetness.

Not only did we learn we could make homemade marshmallows which surpass the store bought ones, we also discovered Alysse, too, would continue shoveling them in with reckless abandon.


The Paul R. Young Funeral Home has offered the community a semi-live nativity scene for as long as I'm able to remember.

The holy family and wise men are sculpted wax, but the nativity features live animals. This makes for an interactive, entertaining nativity for children. To continue the tradition we started a couple years ago, we visited Saturday night with lettuce and crackers in tow for drawing the animals near.

We picked the perfect time to stop by, as we were the only lookers there when we arrived which meant the kids had the animals all to themselves. They took turns feeding the sheep and donkeys, sharing the roll of crackers the animals were enjoying.

As an added bonus, previously unbeknownst to us, they were offering horse-drawn wagon rides to nativity visitors. The girls were thrilled to see the horses and grateful when the horses' owner asked if we'd like to ride.

While the whole riding on a horse drawn wagon thing was the initial highlight, once the team started trotting along the streets and their sleigh bells were jingling, it was the lovely holiday noise the girls liked best.

1 comment:

Gina said...

Your activities are always so creative and fun.

Peppermint marshmellows?! I didn't even know marshmellows could be made! I thought they only came from a marshmellow factory or something. :)