Thursday, December 30, 2010

Our Little Christmas Family

So, I haven't blogged in awhile, Christmas is a busy time. I stayed up way too late way too many nights wrapping presents, making cookies, and "preparing" for Christmas. Funny how those 48 hours of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day always pass by so fast after all the prep that goes into them.

Anyway, one thing that I have been meaning to post...our little Christmas family.

Someone gave us a bunch of cookies and this little family made of large stick pretzels, white chocolate, tiny chocolate chips for our eyes and buttons on our clothes, frosting (I think) for our noses, strips of fruit rollups for our scarves, and two different jelly candies combined to make up our hats. Are these cute or what?

Honestly, I don't know how anyone has the patience to make things like this...I definitely don't. But, they were definitely fun, appreciated, and the kids LOVED eating them.

We ate our family this Christmas ;)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Talking in Traffic

Last night and this morning the girls and I sat in the car for an hour (each time), stuck in traffic. It was super special. The girls are actually really great, vacillating between being super chatty and really quiet, they can't really fight much in the car and they don't scream in terror or anything.

I had some interesting conversations with Tryn that I have to write down before I forget. Last night we were listening to the Christmas music station and the song "Santa Clause is Coming to Town" came on. After listening to it for a few minutes Tryn says to me, "Mom, is there a good and a naughty list?"

As someone who is not discouraging the belief in Santa, but also not wanting to jump into the full on beliefs of everything that Santa is or isn't, I said, "Well, I think so babe, but I don't know exactly how Santa does everything."

She pressed further, "So, everyone is going to be on a good or naughty list?"

At this point, so that I didn't get myself into further explanations that I didn't want to follow through with, I just asked her why she was asking.

"Well, I think I am going to be on the naughty list."

WHAT? "What? Why babe? Why do you think you will be on the naughty list?"

"I don't know," she was very sad, "I just think I am going to be on the naughty list." This coming from my good, good girl who is so sweet and helpful and loving.

We had to have an extensive conversation about all the nice things she does and how she is helpful to Mommy, Daddy, and Berlin and that she is not naughty very often. Geez. What kid thinks they are actually going to be on the naughty list? Even the naughty ones don't think they are going to be.

This morning Tryn told me, "Mom, I love you. I will love you always."

"Thanks sweetie, I love you too."

"Mom, where will you be when I am a grownup?"

"I'm not sure, but I'll be around."

"But...I won't live with you? Will I live all by myself?" She was starting to get teary at this point. So was I. Especially since she decided to ask this question while the song "Christmas Shoes" was playing in the background.

I wanted to say, "Babe, there will come a day when you won't want to live with me at all, where you can't wait to move out." But I didn't. Instead I said, "You probably won't live by yourself, but maybe with some of your best girl friends. Or maybe you will get married and live with your husband."

Silence. Then, "Mom, are there alligators in Edina?"

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Sugar Cookies

Two blog posts in one day, I am on a roll!

I just made cookies with the girls this morning, sugar cookies. I don't really like sugar cookies. I used to think that I really liked cookies as a food group, but I am finding out that I am not really into cookies unless they have some kind of chocolate involved. Those are the only kind worth eating.

However, sugar cookies are an important and basically necessary part of childhood Christmas. They are the most fun cookies for kids to make, from the mixing, to the cutting out shapes, to the decorating. These are kids cookies. So I make them every year. And most years I end up throwing most of them away because nobody wants to eat them - except the kids, and at least my kids don't eat that many cookies.

Anyway, after cheating last year and just buying the Pillsbury rollout dough - which was not impressive or tasty at all - I tried a new recipe this year. Even though it does not have chocolate in it, and I still don't love sugar cookies, it is pretty good. The best I have found so far.

So, cause I am such a nice person, I will share :)

1 1/2 cups butter, softened
2 cups white sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Cover, and chill dough for at least one hour (or overnight).
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Roll out dough on floured surface 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Cut into shapes with any cookie cutter. Place cookies 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
Bake 6 to 8 minutes in preheated oven. Cool completely.

I halved the recipe, incase it wasn't good, and it made about 30 cookies.

I also tried some new icing because, let's be honest, adding milk to powdered sugar is almost like topping cookies with something that tastes like sweet dirt. This is much better. It's pretty tasty, Berlin couldn't stop eating it. Which might be why she is not napping right now.

Butter Icing
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon milk

Combine confectioners' sugar butter, vanilla and milk, beating until creamy. Thin with a few more drops of milk (if necessary) to reach desired spreading consistency. Stir in optional food coloring. Spread frosting over cooled cookies and decorate with colored sugar, if desired.

The best part of making cookies was my disobedient child. The girls kept taking little bites of the dough and I kept telling them not to, with the raw eggs and all. So while I was transitioning some cookies to the oven I saw Berlin take a little piece of dough from the counter. She looked at it, looked at me, brought it up to her mouth, and took it back down. Then, so I "couldn't see her" eat the dough, she crouched down on her chair where she had been standing at the counter, put her face down by her knees, and slipped the little piece of dough into her mouth. I pretended I didn't see. It was too darn cute, and I was expending my energy trying not to laugh noticeably so that she wouldn't know that I saw. Oh, kids :)

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like...

Snow. 16.5 inches a lot of snow, especially when it comes in a 24 hour period of time. And especially when it comes before Christmas. I can't remember the last time we had so much snow before Christmas - it's been years.

I tried taking some pictures of the fam out in the snow yesterday morning, but it was like the equivalent of bringing my camera out into the rain. The snow was falling so heavy and thick and my camera was so warm from being inside that when the snow landed on my camera it just melted. So I couldn't leave the shelter of the front porch. Which wasn't really a shelter yesterday. I had to stand against the wall of the house to not get any snow on my camera because of how much the snow was blowing around.

The snow was almost up to adult knees. Steve and I helped the mailman get unstuck, he had stopped right at the corner by our house to deliver mail. After pushing him for several minutes and having him get stuck two feet later, we were finally able to help him get going when a 4 wheel drive Jeep stopped and offered to let Steve push the mailvan with the Jeep. When I tried to step back up onto the curb my foot went into a snow bank that was over knee high. I was still in sweatpants - dumb.

Steve shoveled a lot of snow yesterday. I watched Steve shovel a lot of snow yesterday.

Here are the girls sitting on a snow drift. That spot in the snow right next to them is the top of the fire hydrant. Which Steve eventually cleared for the safety of the neighborhood - cause he's such a nice guy like that.

Berlin really, really, really likes to eat snow. Like her poor little cheeks were so red and cold when we finally came inside because all she did was eat snow while we were outside.

Supposedly this puts us on the 8th largest snow storm ever recorded to hit the Twin Cities area. The best part? The evening service at church was canceled and so Steve got to be home all day with us. It was so fun :)

Thursday, December 9, 2010


I more often find myself frustrated with Facebook rather than pleased, but for once they did something right. A couple of months ago I had started looking over my statuses for this year looking for some specific information that I knew I had written as a status. However, I couldn't remember when I wrote it - which was what I was trying to figure out for something I was working on. While I was looking for this information I kept laughing at all these status updates that I kept finding about funny things my kids had said. Then I got super bummed because I was thinking that I was going to have to go back, find them all, and copy and paste them into a word document if I wanted to keep track of those funny things. Which I did, cause that's the kind of person I am. But FB came up with this "Year in Statuses" thing instead. Which I love, cause it was so much easier. So here are most of the funny things my kids said this last year :) (You have to click on it to make it bigger if you are actually interested in reading it. Which, you should. Cause I have funny kids.)

Thursday, December 2, 2010


Tryn and I had an a heartbreaking conversation the other day. Well, rough for her at least. We were driving home after I picked the girls up from childcare and Tryn was telling me how part of her green mankie had fallen off that day. If anyone remembers my post from back in March you might remember how I wrote about one of Tryn's blankets falling apart. These poor blankets are becoming so thin and worn.

Anyway, I said to Tryn, "Those mankies are getting kind of old. Pretty soon we will have to put them away."

I didn't realize that she was in such a sensitive mood at the time, because she started sobbing like her heart was breaking, "Mom, wh-wh-WHY?! Why are they getting too old? I want to sleep with my mankies!"

I tried a little bit of logic, "Well, Babe, when people get bigger they don't sleep with mankies or animals anymore. Mommy doesn't sleep with any mankies, just pillows and my bed blankets to keep me warm."

"Not with animals?!!" Like it was the only part she heard. "Is Sophie going to get too old too?" Mind you, all this is said while she is still sobbing. "I need Sophie. And Sophie needs me. She needs to sleep with me!"

I tried explaining a little more, "Sweetie, don't cry. We won't throw them away ever, okay? Someday we will just start leaving them just on your bed and then maybe someday we will put them in a special box that you can keep for as long as you want."

"Nooooo! No! I need my mankies and my Sophie!"

"Okay, Babe, it won't be for awhile, okay? Maybe when you are like 6 or 7, okay?"

Just crying.


This is one of the times when I realized I messed up as a parent. I did either one of two things wrong here. I either let her get way too attached to some pieces of material and a stuffed dog (I mean, these things literally go everywhere with her. I can't even tell you the number of times Sophie has been to Target. The other day green mankie went to Target tied around Tryn's shoulders like a cape.) OR I brought this up way too soon and should have waiting until she was 6 or 7 to approach the subject. I don't actually know which one is the right, or was the wrong, decision here. Probably should have started phasing them out when she was younger.

Either way, this part of Tryn's future is going to be heartbreaking.

This is a picture of Tryn laying on her green mankie in Poland when she was 5 weeks old. Like I said, these manks have been everywhere.