29 December 2010

Decorating Cookies and Christmas Morning

We had a wonderful Christmas at home this year! On Christmas Eve we decorated sugar cookies as a family. I think this was probably one of Lincoln’s favorite Christmas activities, only because he was able to sneak who-knows-how-many M&M’s and was given many a-cookie to snack on.

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I wanted to try my hand at some fancier cookie decorating. It was harder then it looks and it was a huge pain to make a bunch of different colors. Also, it was something I probably need to do without Lincoln. Nevertheless, I think I will try again soon.


Here’s Lincoln’s best cookie. Jonathan did help some of course.


When I was little, I loved making these cookies with my Grandma. A few years ago she sent me the recipe book they came from, so that I can continue to make them. She passed away earlier this month, so this was a special activity for me. I miss her a lot, so I am happy I can continue the tradition we started together with Lincoln.

Lincoln must have been an exceptionally good boy this year, because Santa Claus brought him some pretty sweet toys. As a matter of fact, his toys were so cool, he could hardly be persuaded to open his next gift, he just wanted to play with the one he had already opened. As a result, Jonathan and I ended up opening a lot of his presents, but it was sweet that he was so excited.

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“No, Dad, I don’t want to open these other presents. I want to play with this awesome bulldozer!”

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The after-mess.

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Jonathan and I made Christmas dinner together in the afternoon (and made a 100% successful turkey, might I add) and we will be eating left-overs for weeks to come. Lincoln played his heart out and ate way too many sweets. It was a very merry Christmas.

23 December 2010

Can We Build It? Yes We Can!

Over the past few days Jonathan and I have been working on a huge project together. We’ve invested a lot of our time, talent, and math skills into… building the Eiffel Tower out of gingerbread. This was a rather large undertaking (and a bit ambitious for our first foray into the world of gingerbread construction – especially considering our quickly-eroding math skills), but we emerged victorious.

Before construction could begin, of course, we had to go through a rather lengthy planning phase. First there were the good-spirited arguments about what we should build. I wanted to build a simple house. Jonathan, at one point, suggested the Taj Mahal. We eventually settled on Jonathan’s original idea of the Eiffel Tower.

Next, we had to draw a template. Jonathan measured a picture of the tower and made the template to scale. The next day – we stretched the project out over a few days – I made the gingerbread dough; and we cut out all of the pieces and started baking them.


This is where we hit our first (and, to be fair, only major) problem. Jonathan (who does not study engineering, or any of the various disciplines that may have been helpful for this sort of endeavor) did not take into account the fact that the pieces would grow slightly during the baking process. So, the pieces didn’t fit perfectly together like a puzzle (which is what we had planned). Nevertheless, we were able to slowly piece everything together with gobs and gobs of royal icing.



Finally, there was the decorating stage. We weren’t totally sure how to decorate the tower because the real thing doesn’t normally have a lot of Christmas Decorations, or any decorations for that matter. It’s just a wrought-iron structure covered with lights. But, with mini-M&Ms as lights and a few other candies spread about, it turned out pretty good.

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Ultimately, we were extremely pleased with our first gingerbread construction efforts and hope to try something even more daring next year.


15 December 2010

You Want Me to Sit Where?!

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09 December 2010

This Kid

One time I’d like Lincoln to come to me because he’s scrapped his knee, or stubbed his toe.

But this kid only ever hurts his mouth.


04 December 2010

In search of Tannenbaums

We chopped down our Christmas tree at a local farm a few days ago. This was Lincoln’s first outing in all of his snow gear and walking in snow pants and boots took some getting used to.


These pictures are a little deceiving since they suggest Lincoln had a wonderful time. He wasn’t too excited about the snow and cold. We wandered around for a while until we found the pokey-est tree on the lot and decided to chop that one down. After nearly poking ourselves to death, we managed to load the tree onto a wagon and get it packed up to take home.

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When we got home we discovered we had not only picked the pokey-est tree on the face of the earth, but the pokey-est tree with a trunk so large we had to go out and buy a new tree stand. It is a very nice looking tree, but next year I think we’ll probably go for a fir tree… and check it’s trunk size before we cut it down.

01 December 2010

Advent Calendar Accomplished (Finally)


If you’ve talked to me in the last three months or so, you’ve heard about this advent calendar. I started working on it in September and I feel like I haven’t shut up about it since. I sewed all the squares by hand, which it took forever, but I think it was worth it for the end result. There are parts of the calendar that I’m not as happy with as I could be, but I guess I can live with those mistakes. Here are more pictures of an advent calendar than you ever wanted to see.

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I’m linking to:

30 November 2010

Windy City

We made the long (long) trek to the suburbs of Chicago to spend Thanksgiving with our friends the Booths last week. It was so much fun getting to hang out and catch up for a few days. Lincoln and Taylor fought a lot (as almost two year olds are want to do,) but they also had a lot of fun running around together.


Tiffany and I attempted our first turkey for Thanksgiving. We were cautiously optimistic when it went into the oven and really excited when it came out. It smelled great and looked crispy and brown. We proclaimed a premature success. After the resting period, however, we need to flip the bird over, since the recipe had asked us to cook it breast down. We made quite a mess flipping it only to discover the underside did not look nearly as crispy or brown. In the end we determined the turkey may not have been totally thawed, so it didn’t cook all the way through in the allotted time. After some additional time in the oven it was quite good.

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Here are the boys “watching” the kids while we cooked.


Tiffany’s beautiful table setting and the kids table.

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Tiffany and I went shopping early on Black Friday with one of her friends there. We had so much fun and got a lot of great deals. We were totally out of it the rest of the day, though.

Lincoln and Taylor coloring (in between stealing crayons from each other.)


We went into Downer’s Grove for some Christmas activities that afternoon. We missed story time with the Elves, but we got to see the big tree lit up and we ate some mini donuts. It was cold, but a lot of fun.

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The next morning Tiffany was nice enough to watch Lincoln so Jonathan and I could go into the city by ourselves. We had to hurry, though, because there were important football games Jonathan had to rush back and watch. Since we only had a few hours we just went to the top of the Tower formally known as the Sears Tower and got a hot dog. Chicago seemed like a really nice city and we’d like to go back when it’s warmer (and not football season) so we can look around some more. Thanks, Booths, for letting us come visit!

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