Saturday, December 31, 2011

Just Because and a Great Cookie Recipe.

I didn't want my post about Tin Tin to be the last thing I post for the year.  But I can't say I have any goals or resolutions set for the start of the new year. I am still in the thick of the holiday whirlwind. It doesn't really end around her until after Ian's Birthday which is still a week away. And this year he turns 8 so there is all sorts of things to do and plan for.

So anyway... this post is mostly some random pictures from the last few weeks.  They don't fit into a post and yet to don't want to loose them or forget about them.

My kids all loved the candles. They asked if we could light them just about every night.
Here Molly is holding a chocolate frog which is the treat I made for each of our co op friends.  Oh and those cookies on the counter are the BEST! I got it from this site. But just so I don't forget it I am going to repost it here.  These are SOOO good!

Better-than-Brownies Chocolate Cookies

2 2/3 cups (about 16 ounces) bittersweet chocolate, chopped
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 eggs
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.

Put the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and set it over a saucepan of barely simmering water, stirring occasionally, until completely melted and smooth.

In the meantime, whisk together the eggs, vanilla and sugar in a medium bowl. Set aside. In a small bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder.

Add the melted chocolate mixture to the egg mixture and stir to combine well. Slowly add the dry ingredients, folding them into the batter. Once all of the flour is incorporated, fold in the chocolate chips.

Scoop about 1 1/2 tablespoons of dough (a medium cookie scoop’s worth) onto prepared baking sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the cookies are firm on the outside. Like brownies, do not overbake! Leave to cool completely on the baking sheets.

Makes about 24 cookies

One Grandma gave Henry this monkey but Molly quickly took charge of it and has been holding it like a baby wrapped in a blanket. She calls it her Baby Jesus.
We checked out The Strange Case of Origami Yoda and of course had to make a few origami Yoda puppets.

And now I will get back to playing with all the new toys and games we received for Christmas. The boys have especially loved their Mario, Luigi and Yoshi Knex toys. They have been building little tracks for them to race through for days now.
We have had a good year and look forward to the next.

Have a Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Better than Expected.

My kids each found a movie theater style box of Raisinettes in their stockings on Christmas morning.  They were the perfect snack to stick in their pocket for movie they would get to go to the theater to see the next day.  I know... wait until the next day?.... but Christmas was on the Sabbath this year so no movie that day.

We don't go to movies very often so this was a very special treat!
 My husband was the one to take the kids.  (I stayed home with Molly. We will have to wait to see it on DVD or Netflix.) He said he didn't have really high expectations for the film. He had read some mixed reviews. Plus this is one of his favorite things to read aloud to the kids. He has a voice for each of the characters and he didn't want to be disappointed when they made the characters sound different. He was also worried about the story and how they would combine story lines of the different books. Would it still have the charm of these old 1930's comics?

 When the kids came bursting in the doors of Grandma's house after returning from the film, they were all pumped up and excited about how good the film was. They LOVED it! My husband said it exceeded his expectations.  And, of course, now my kids want to get the Wii video game that goes along the film. It was one of the many previews that were shown before the film began.
My kids gave this film two thumbs up and can't stop telling me about this or that from the film. And for someone who hasn't ever read the comics or watched the film, it is rather funny to hear and ends up being just a big jumble of words. I guess I better check these books out of the library again and read through them so I can understand what these guys are talking about.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Party

I am finally getting around to posting the pictures of our Church Christmas party. It was a few weeks ago.

Since there is no longer an activities committee someone is just selected to be in charge of each activity. My husband was chosen to make sure the Christmas party happened this year. And can I just say it was stressful! I have been on Relief Society activity committees and such so it just didn't seem like it would be that much different than that but my husband, who has not had that pleasure found the whole experience rather daunting. Plus this is just the season of busyness so it was somewhat difficult to get others, that were also asked to help pull this shindig together, to meet to plan etc. But he was really grateful for those that did! And the whole event went very well and all had a great time.

Here are some pictures of our family from that night. There is a photographer in our ward who took the pictures with Santa and other shots during the night. He did such a fantastic job! I quickly downloaded a few and used them for our Christmas card this year.

Here are all the primary kids singing a few Christmas songs.
Ian is really singing away!
Can you tell what song the kids are singing here?

My husband MC'd the event and so was on the mic most of the night.

Of course Molly had to go up and see him. She was not going to sit still with me for anything.
And if Molly got to go up then Henry of course had to go up as well.

So from our house to yours Merry Christmas to all.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Celebrating Hanukkah

Every year along with all our Christmas book and activities we spend a little time reading and learning about Hanukkah. It is easy to find books about this Jewish holiday. The Library usually has a big group of them pulled off the shelf much like the Christmas books at this time of year and they are set up on top of the book shelves for easy access.  I always find a few good books there to bring home and read with my kids on the first day of Hanukkah. (I do a similar thing with Passover around Easter time)

We read a few books and listened to some Hanukkah music. I had found this DK Sticker book on the used book shelf a few months ago. It looked brand new and was only 25 cents. I am glad I picked it up and brought it home. I am even more glad I remembered it and could still find it when it was the right time to use it.
When we attended Bethlehem this year, and every year past, one of the booths in the "city" hands out a dreidel to the kids. They have been floating around our house for a week and some already but the kids found them and figured out how to play.
And of course for dinner I decided to make some latkes. Mine, I am happy to say, looked almost exactly like the ones pictured.  These of course aren't mine because I didn't break my camera out at all during the day. Henry had at least three of them, Ian had a few too, and Sophie actually finished the one I gave her. For kids who aren't usually that adventurous with food, especially Sophie, this was quite an achievement.

I also served applesauce but we didn't eat it with the latkes. We had it for desert. I didn't make the traditional donuts. We have so many cookies and treats in the house I didn't think we needed yet another.

My husband tried to teach the kids a hebrew prayer that he knows. The kids recognized it from the book/books we had read that day.

We didn't light any candles and we don't have a menorah but I think we celebrated Hanukkah in our own way.

There is a special kinship I feel with the Jewish people and faith. Perhaps because we share some of the same history and scripture. For what ever reason, I like sharing a little bit of the holidays remembering the miracles God has performed for his people.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Evaluating the Wii

 It has been almost a year since we bought our family a Wii.  I am still sitting the fence on how much I like it.  There are good things about having a game system in the house and there are also some aspects that I don't always appreciate.

I personally love to use the Wii Fit and I admit I am a pretty good skate boarder and all those years in marching band have paid off because I can't be beat at the Rhythm Parade. I am however horrible at the Soccer heading and juggling.  My husband and I, after the kids go to bed have been known to have a little bowling tournament or we pass a few levels of Lego Harry Potter or Lego Indiana Jones. My goodness can time fly while you are lost in the world of video games!

Here is Sophie doing the Kung Fu game with the Wii Fit. Aren't our Mii characters cute!
Sophie actually don't really enjoy playing the Wii all that much. She will take her turn on Wii Fit and she has her Daring Game for Girls but she isn't interested in the Lego games or even the sports.  She prefers games like Civilization on the computer.

The boys, at times, live and breath wii games. They talk about, draw pictures about and even dream about their wii games.  They have been known to even pray for help to figure out how to pass a certain level.  I can usually tell when they have had too much Wii time.

We have tried to keep the time on the Wii to only an hour on Saturdays and once in awhile during other days. But for some reason the boys seem to think that any time Mom has band practice or a meeting to go to at night that means they get to play Wii.  I need to break them of this idea but then when Mom is away the mice to play.

So for now the Wii is staying. We have a handful of games and sometimes even try a new one that we find at the library. The boys are each getting  a new game for Christmas. One is an active game that even requires the use of a mat the other is a creative game. We will see how things go. When all I hear about from the boys is their latest strategy to pass the next obstacle in Indi I start to threaten them with a Wii fast. It is sort of scary to see how much power these games have over my boys especially.  They can fly through their chores each Saturday so they can get to their hour of play. 

So, yes, I have a sort of Love/Hate relationship with the Wii. I do enjoy playing the games occasionally and I don't mind that my kids play them a little.  I just object to it becoming the sole motivation to get things done or the ultimate reward.

Everything is a constant work in progress. We will continue to see how it goes.

Sunday, December 18, 2011


 Molly has really embraced the Nativity Story. We have been reading book after book and watching movies about Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus for weeks now. Molly loves this story.  She is always telling me to read "Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus book". Usually this is accompanied by her throwing one of the many Christmas pictures books at me that we have on the shelf or at the moment they are usually scattered about the room.

When the Christmas boxes were unloaded a few weeks ago so that we could decorate the tree and put out the nativities there was a bag of things that Molly in particular has enjoyed. It is the bag of costumes that I made a number of years back so our family could dress up to go to Bethlehem. They have been used ever since so our kids could act out the nativity story. I think it is time to make some bigger shepherd costumes. Sophie and Ian can't fit into any of them anymore.

 Molly quickly picked out a robe and a headdress and asked me to make her Mary. She often doesn't want me to take this off so she has dressed like Mary for several different outings. And her pink hat and bowed baby is now constantly playing the role of baby Jesus.

Molly has caught the Christmas story very well and is often singing away at Angels We have Heard on High. She usually gets stuck on the Glooooooooooo and never gets to the -ia but she has the main gist of the song.

It really is very cute to see her take such an interest in the goings on of Christmas.

But, of course there is also a fair amount of singing about raindeer and she also has appeared as a few other famous ladies lately also.
I think this is a sugar plum fairy mixed with lady liberty.  She bounces from one outfit to the next rather quickly. She hasn't mastered the art of the quick costume change yet.

What we would do without this cute but busy little two year old around the house?!

Monday, December 12, 2011

December so far

 I can't believe it is already almost half way through  December. The days are passing so quickly.

My kids are counting down the days until Christmas but honestly I didn't do any kind of advent type things this year. December crept up on me before I had anything planned out. But that hasn't stopped us from reading a bunch of Christmas books, learning some new Christmas songs or going to our usual Christmas activities.

We of course went to the Christmas Creche Exhibit.  We saw many lovely nativity sets from around the world. The kids had fun going on the scavenger hunt through all the rooms looking and trying to find the nativity with a shepherd holding a chicken or one with an angel in a pink dress. My kids always look forward to this event and are thrilled to see the marionette show performed in the children's room.  Molly really enjoyed the dressing up and finally getting to touch and play with a nativity set.  It is hard to have a 2 year old in a place where she can't touch anything.
We also took a trip to Bethlehem where we get to walk through the Christmas story. It is the same show, usually even the same actors but every year it is a highlight of this season. The pictures throughout this post were all taken while we were at this event.

The kids love seeing the animals and the different booths that are set up to see carpentry tools, foods, natural dyes, pottery and games from that time and place.
We have also had a number of parties to attend. My husband in particular is thrilled that the Ward Christmas Party has come and gone. He was put in charge of it this year and he was a bit stressed having to plan and carry out this event for 200+ people.  But it was a wonderful evening, everything seemed to run smoothly and everyone had a good time.
Everything is packed into the first two weeks of December.  Most of our yearly Christmas outings have already come and gone. We are now at the waiting.... waiting.... waiting sage of the Christmas season. We still have a bunch of pictures books to read, a number of Christmas movies I plan to introduce my kids to, and I plan to have Jim Dale tell us the story of A Christmas Carol.

There is still lots of things in which to fill in the next two weeks. Christmas day will be here before we know it.