Friday, December 30, 2011

Anna's PJ School Party

It was crazy busy the week before Christmas but I love getting to go into Anna's school. My big third grader. How I love that grade. It certainly holds a special place in my heart since it was the first grade level that I taught... so long ago. "Miss Sullivan" I was that first year. Eager and loving teaching. Anyway... I love being in the classroom seeing Anna in her element.

She has the most lovely teacher. We adore Mrs. Anderson! How she ever looked so calm, relaxed, and beautiful the last day before vacation is hard to figure out. I was always so frazzled, exhausted, and worn out looking that day! She planned a special day for her third graders to enjoy!

w mrs anderson

Cake pops, pajamas, and crafts... oh my!

cake pop


A Preschool Christmas Concert

It feels weird to turn on the computer and figure out how to do this again.  It was such a nice break from my camera and blog.  I've soaked in all the slowness that this week between Christmas and New Year's brings.  I hope you have too. 

But there is a bit a catching up in pictures to do.  First, Abigail's preschool Christmas concert.  She attends a small and darling preschool that we love.  Each December we are invited to a little Christmas concert.  There's nothing little about it to  Abigail.  It's the BIGGEST event all year to her.  I don't know if it's more about her grandparents coming to her school or the "gown" she gets to wear. 

One thing I know for sure is that nothing gets you in the Christmas spirit like 3 and 4 year olds singing Christmas songs.

abi bells

abi singing hands

Abigail was thrilled that her Grandma and Grandpa were able to come and also Grandma B!

grandma close up

grandma b hug

snack with grandmas

Huge hugs for Grandpa.

grandpa hug

Ever since Abigail was born my 'growing up best friend' Laraine always said that Abigial looked just like her Grandpa; I never saw it. Until these pictures!



A sweet morning!

And here she is after the concert hearing some birds singing outside.  I just had to add these in.  She is such a feminine little girl.  Look at that foot!  Just love it! 

outside 3

outside 2

outside 1

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas! I'll be taking a bit of a blogging break after this post... looking forward to celebrating with my sweet family.

Here's a look at our Christmas Card 2011



Inside Left:

Inside Left

Inside Right:



The Back

Here's a close up look at the pictures I chose for this year. So, so many (hundreds) I snapped but these four, well they really show the intense love Anna and Abigail have for each other and how much Anna needs Abigail.

looking at each other

on bench


walking away

Merry Christmas

Thursday, December 22, 2011

No Matter What

Just three days before Christmas.  Just two days before a big dinner party.  While my dining room looked like this...


And my gifts were all wrapped... (Santa ones out of sight of course)



And my cute little wrapping "center" all finished for the season....


And their white leotards, skirts, and tights hanging and ready to go to Christmas Eve mass...


And two silk Christmas dresses ironed and stuffed with white tissue paper to prevent wrinkles


THIS happened to my kitchen. 


I thought this would be 'the year'.  The one where everything was done waaaay ahead of time.  The one where I could actually do my nails before Christmas Eve in the car on the way to church.  The one where I could feel relaxed. 

And so came the ceiling in my kitchen.  A bathroom leak and a gush of water changed all of that.  All of my ideas of 'the one....' 

And do you know what?  It doesn't matter.  I should have known.  No matter how organized.  No matter that most of the gifts were bought before Halloween; I should know by now that things happen.  Good thing everything else was done!

Ugly ceiling leak or not, Christmas will come, and I will enjoy it.  My girls will only be 8 and 4 one Christmas.  I will never get it back. 

Ugly ceiling or not a tiny baby was born to save us.  Jesus came that we may have life, and have to the full.  John 10:10

So ceiling, you didn't win.  You'll be fixed another day, but not today! 

And while ceiling dust settled over ever surface of my house I can still have a beautiful Christmas.

No matter what!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Just One More Letter To Santa

Anna wanted to go mail one more last minute letter to Santa tonight.  Of course I assumed that she wanted something else.... so I nicely told her that she was not to ask Santa for anything else. 

So, she took Daddy aside and it looked like he agreed to send Santa this one last note. 

After bedtime Scott showed me that one last note.  Just in case you can't read it, it said:

Dear Santa,

I know you don't bring gifts for adults.  But mommy really wanted napkin holders but she needed 2 boxes.  So she had to buy something different cause the store had 1 box.  So could you bring it on Christmas and on it write To:  mommy.  It looks like this. 

annas mommy santa letter1_0001

annas mommy santa letter1_0002

I'd say she still believes... Christmas is magic and my daughter loves me.  Anna does not always show her love.  She is not a cuddle bug like her sister.  She fights affection and doesn't always trust. But I never doubt her love for me. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Recipe for a Happy Christmas and Cookies for Santa

Recipe for a Happy Christmas (from 'Christmas Joy' by Susan Branch)

Fill a house with equal parts of love, hope, & peace

Add the joy of children & the strength of older people

Season with the Music of Laughter & some Mistletoe kisses

Warm before a crackling fire & serve with tidings of comfort & joy!

cookies 1

This weekend we made our annual kids sugar cookies.  I love the recipe: 

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour, spooned and leveled, plus more for shaping the cookies
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup (2 stickers) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1.  In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.

2.  Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until smooth.  Add the egg and beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Beat in the vanilla.

3.  With the mixer on low, gradually add the flour mixture, mixing until just incorporated.  Shape into disk and refrigerate, wrapped, for at least 1 hour and up to 3 days. 

4.  Roll out and cut cookies.  Bake at 350 for approx 12 minutes. 

cookies 10

The girls were so happy for sure!

cookies 9

And then the real fun! Royal Icing (from Susan Branch and the Heart of the Home)

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 egg white
beat 10-15 minutes until stiff

I usually triple this recipe and then divide the icing into 4 different bowls. Use food coloring to color the icing. Make sure to save one bowl white. The Christmas sprinkles show up much better on white icing.

This icing is the BEST! It hardens and you can stack the cookies when they are done. It's also like glue and really holds on the decorations! It's the real Christmas stuff!

cookies 11

Oh, it's good for licking!

cookies 12

cookies 5

cookies 6

cookies 8

cookies 7

cookies 4

I think they did a spectacular job!

cookies 2

After that I bundled them up in snow pants to keep them warm (no snow here) to play a bit outside.

cookies 3

Sunday, December 18, 2011

A Concert, Ballet Rehearsal, and Cookies for Santa

Phew! What a weekend! Saturday was a very busy day for us. Anna had art school in the morning, a viola concert in the afternoon, and both girls had rehearsal for liturgical dance in the evening. I was all geared up for the long day, but by the time we got to the liturgical dance rehearsal I was so exhausted. I think both girls kept their energy up better than I did.

Pictures from Anna's 4th annual viola Christmas concert. We were so proud of her; she was excited in the beginning but nerves set in as her time on stage approached.

We took some pictures as we arrived.

concert 5

concert 3

And Anna requested a picture with her teacher, "Mr." Lee. I wrote about was a wonderful teacher he is for Anna back here.

concert 4

Abigail was ancy during the concert and then at the very last song when she finally stopped moving she fell asleep in daddy's arms.

concert 2

concert 1

And then on to dance. Abigail is so young and little to be doing this but she's so darn cute too! She was given a second grader to follow. And she does her best to follow her.

dance 2

dance 3

dance 4

I love this one, the way Abigail is looking at her feet and trying her very best!

dance 5

Anna has been dancing at the Christmas and Easter Masses for several years and feels quite comfortable.

dance 1

Ahh, Saturday was done.

And on Sunday I taught my last religious education class of the cutest third graders for this year. We hung out at home (okay, well Scott repaired and painted our kitchen ceiling, mowed the lawn, changed the gas tank on the snow blower) and we all made and decorated Christmas cookes!  It was a great weekend.  I love my life. 

Cookies and recipes to come tomorrow...