Friday, December 31, 2010

Christmas Eve 2010

For  Christmas Eve, we headed out to the Knowles farm for dinner and presents. We started with a large spread of goodies to munch on while waiting for the chili and oyster stew to finish. By the time the soup was on, we were all pretty full from all the grazing.

I didn't take many pictures this year, keeping up with a very excited four year old took up most of my time this year and I didn't want to take my focus off of what was truly important to hide behind my camera all night.

I did make all the grandsons get together for their annual Christmas photo. They sure are trying to look tough but you can tell their pretty excited that we are about to open presents.

At the Knowles household, they sort out all the gifts into piles and then everyone opens them up at once. (Where at my parent's home, we each took a tour opening a present and watching each other.) Ethan sure is excited by his pile of loot!

Check out that determined face while ripping into his first package.

 Ethan's newest move was holding his prized treasures above his head and shouting "Oh Yea"! It made for some pretty funny moments. (and some peaks at his cute, round toddler tummy)

Once we returned home from the farm, Ethan opened up one package under our tree that contained his new Christmas pjs. A plate of cookies and a mug of milk was prepared for Santa and Ethan also put out a carrot for Santa's reindeer. I never left anything for the reindeer, but I'm sure they really appreciated being included.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Breakfast Party

On the 23rd, I hosted a little breakfast party for my childhood friends and their children that were back in town for the holidays. It was so nice to get together for a bite to eat, some coffee to drink and some girl talk while the little ones played. We missed those that weren't able to make it this year but they were included in spirit.

Most importantly, I finally got to meet my good friend Monica's little girl. I posted a couple of months back about hosting her baby shower and now it was time to get to meet baby Tenley in person. Our good friend Samantha's daughter was fascinated by the baby and loved holding her and taking pictures with her. Ethan, on the other hand, wanted nothing to do with the baby and refused to take any pictures. But aren't these two little girls adorable?

It is so nice to get to spend time with people who have had such an impact on your life for so many years. Even though miles, schedules and years have come between us, it's always so easy to pick up where we last left off. Love you gals...and your little mini me's.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Cookies

This year, I really wanted to make snowflake sugar cookies. I wanted the decorations to be more delicate than what I get when I use traditional buttercream to frost the cookies. I decided to take the plunge and try doing royal icing for the first time.

I read a royal icing tutorial that can be found here and got to work decorating after Ethan went to bed. It took me about three hours to do about four dozen cookies from the outling to the final touches - the snowflakes above and the ornaments below. As I went along, my technique improved and I'm sure I could whip these out much quicker next time.

I'm pretty pleased with the results for being my first attempt and have some good ideas for the next time I decide to make decorated sugar cookies. I found the whole process to be a nice, creative outlet and a relaxing activity to do quietely while catching up on the drama of the Real Housewives.

I also received an amazing Christmas present under the tree this year. This beautiful, shiny red KitchenAid mixer. I'm so excited to whip up some goodies in this baby.

Christmas Program Pictures

A few more pictures from the Christmas Program at the Prairie View Reformed Church that I posted about last week.

Walking down the aisle to start the program.

My little angel - front and center.

 Singing the songs of Christmas.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Sparkly Christmas Tree Craft

Earlier this year, my Grandma passed away and we were left with an entire house full of objects, collections and history to sort through.

One of the boxes was full of costume jewelry. The majority of the pieces were broken or missing pieces - such as a single earing. We were all surprised at how many broken pieces of jewelry or partial sets my Grandma held on to. I guess she never gave up hope that she would find the other half of the pair or the missing beads.

My aunts went through the jewelry and chose the items that they wished to keep. After everyone had picked through the jewelry, we were left with a small box of broken pins, earings with out a match, necklaces with the beads unstrung, etc. that were destined for the trash.

I hated to see the pretty baubles and beads tossed so I kept the broken and discarded pieces thinking that I would use them someday in craft projects.

Last week, I thought of a good Christmas project to use them and to keep them as a special keepsake of my Grandma.

I wrapped a foam cone with a wide, satin ribbon and then used straight pins to gently and securely attach the jewelry and beads to the cone tree.

I sorted through all the brightly colored jewelry and selected only those in gold or silver tones with pearl or rhinestone accents to keep the color scheme simple and slighly understated amoung all the sparkle.

Monday, December 20, 2010

My Adorable Angel

Ethan was an absolute angel yesterday...literally!

Yesterday evening, our church held its' Children's Christmas Program. Ethan was the youngest in the program, besides his adorable little cousin that played baby Jesus. He did a fantastic job through the entire hour of the program. He stood patiently, sang the songs and happily invited Grandma Knowles up front to help with the bells performance.

I'm not sure there is anything sweeter than hearing the voices of children singing of the coming of baby Jesus.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Gobble, Gobble

Keeping up with my theme of posting events about a month after they happen, here are some pictures from Thanksgiving. But see, this time I'm only a couple of weeks late. It's called progress and I'll take it, no matter how small.

Ethan and I made these little turkey cookies. He placed all the tail feathers on himself. It was a great project for his little fingers and kept him busy for some time. Cookies + Small Decorations = Developing fine motor skills

 Family gathered at my parents house for Thanksgiving. My Dad is behind the camera and that's Jim hiding behind my big head.