Wednesday, December 23, 2015

December 23rd: Jones Family Christmas Eve

I think tonight I'll call it a wrap.  Tomorrow will be our Jones family Christmas, and then all bets are off for me getting back to a computer to write.  

We have listened to a lot of Christmas music these last few weeks.  I have Pentatonix on repeat.  I have caught myself daydreaming that my voice would blend perfectly with their stunning acapella tunes.  Then I think this is what heaven is going to sound like, except like a million times better. Then I wonder if the thousands of people who sing these songs at Christmas have any idea of the magnitude of the words that they are singing.  They so beautifully deliver the most powerful story in history.  We casually walk through malls or grocery stores and hear these words and I wonder if I have become numb or immune to the power in their words.  

With all the fun, and all the red and green, the cookies, the hot chocolate and everything else, I hope that we can always remember why we take a whole month out of  the year to celebrate.  I hope that we can let the power of the Christmas story penetrate us right down to our souls.

 Tonight when I tucked Cooper into bed, I asked him what Christmas was about and he answered Jesus.  Why, yes, my little son, you are correct.  May !

Happy Christmas friends! May yours be warm and cozy and all you hoped it would be.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

December 22: The Big Santa Fail

We go to see the big man every year.   I love it.  I love how I can feel their excitement surging out of their bodies on the drive there, walking the red carpet to his chair and then pulling back a little when they realize seeing Santa involves sitting on a stranger's lap.  I wait for that magical moment  when they see him and their eyes sparkle with all the hopes of what meeting this man could mean...

Well none of that happened this year.
Some of it happened, I guess, but let me retell our Santa-tale for you.  Obviously, we are kind of running out of time to see him.  I mean, Thursday is a pretty big night for him. The kids had not asked to go see him, but of course I think that their childhood might fall to pieces if we miss sitting on Santa's lap one year.

I washed them and dressed them pretty, I even brushed their hair. We drove 45 minutes because a Santa that is say, 15 minutes away isn't good enough for my kids.  Nothing but the over-commercialized best for my darlings.

Let me stop here and say that the reason I forgot my post yesterday was because I was wrapping presents into the wee hours of the morning.  When I finally did go to sleep, I think I had to wake up for the day.  To say that there was no coffee cup deep enough is an understatement, but I was determined to see Santa, not matter if I was kind of sleep walking all day.
When we walked in to the mecca of Santaland at 2 pm a cheery snotty little elf handed me a "Santa-Pass" that said come back at 6:30 pm.  Four and a half hours wait to see Santa.  Yep, you read that right, four and a half hours to see Santa.

So basically I shimmied the kids up to the edge of the red carpet and said "hey kids wave to Santa, from a distance, maybe just shout what you want"  like "hey Santa, if you could just add a train, a robotic cat and every stuffed animal in the land to your list you'll have the Jones kids covered."  I gave him a thumbs up and a wink as I was shouting and clicking my camera but I think he just gave me a dirty look.  I could feel his sparkling eyes and his cheeks like cherries starring me down saying "hey lady, where's your Santa pass?  Take a number and get in line with the rest of these crazy parents."

No worries Santa, my kids liked the train better.

So that was it, we missed Santa. While I might be crazy enough to drive 45 minutes to see him,  I know better than to wait 4 1/2 hours in a crowded store when I'm running on no sleep and Starbucks.

I'm pretty sure that Babs and Grandma are much more attentive than Santa anyhow...
Until next year.

Happy Christmas xoxo

December 21st: Cookies and Videos

The theme of my countdown this year is baking and videos.  I won't make you watch another video, but yesterday was THE day of cookie making, again.  This is time without the assistance of my husband.  My children love to help in the kitchen and I love letting them.  We are making memories.  That is, until they have taste-tested cookie batter so many times that their heads start spinning and you find them all in a heap of tears on the kitchen floor.
It was fun.

All of our treats were gluten free and delicious!  We are not a gluten free family, but I like to pretend that if it doesn't  have gluten in it it makes it healthier.  Gluten free makes it perfectly acceptable for me to eat a cookie every time I walk through the kitchen. Burp!
I kind of made up all of these recipes based on stuff I read on the internet.
You can absolutely trust everything you read on the internet because the interwebs do not lie.
First, we made White Chocolate Peppermint (gluten-free) Pretzel Sandwiches.  Shew, that's a mouthful to say, they are the perfect bite -sized snack.

We also made Triple Chocolate Chewy Peppermint Cookies, which I have no pictures of, but they are my favorite, in fact, give me a minute while I go have another.
Yum, now that I have that out of the way...

Kev's favorite were what I like to call Vegan Salted Caramel Pretzel Thumbprint Cookies.  You should say that again.  Despite their long, hipster name they are really good too.  Thank goodness I had all this help, I may have never finished them.

Alright, I'm going to pour myself a cup of milk while I eat my healthy cookies with a side a vegetables because then it will all be fine.

In January I'll start my healthy eating/fitness blog.  Until then, bottoms up and cookies in!

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

December 20: Decorating Cookies With Kids Or Herding Cats

On December 1st my darlings started to beg me to make Christmas cookies.  I wanted to bake everyday, but making cookies with kids takes time and precision to execute it just right with minimal disasters.

Everything is all fine and dandy until you try to help them roll out their dough or line up the cookie cuts for optimal dough usage.  I can actually hear my mother's voice in my head telling me that I wasn't spacing cut-outs correctly.  Look at my girl trying to get her's as close to the edge as possible!  Glory be, one of my children actually listens to me!

 And please,  for all that is good and right in the world please, oh please, don't try to micro manage their use of sprinkles...
 It is the best part of Christmas cookie making and if you take this away from them you have basically ruined their childhood!
 See, look what happened to Cooper by the end of the night!  We had to cut him off after his sprinkling the cookies became just eating the sprinkles.

The cookies are gluten free and actually taste quite nice.  How they look is a whole other story.  Eat at your own risk!!!
Happy Baking


Friday, December 18, 2015

December 18: The Big Slow Down

I have spent the entire month of December waiting for it to slow down enough so that I could really enjoy it.  I just  want to sit on the couch by my Christmas tree and enjoy the lights and a Christmas movie, pretty much all day every day.  Kevin and I did that the other night and the kids and I did it tonight.  Finally!!!!
 I still have quite a few presents to buy, I have packages that need to be dropped off and I have three baskets of laundry to be folded and put away.  I can feel it coming though the big slow down!  All the hype of Christmas and then the day after when everything is quiet!  So if you need me on December 26th, I'll be sleeping all day and hoping that someone else is making sure the children are fed and happy.

Friday is my favorite day and not just because it is the end of  a long week.  Friday is the only day that we don't have to go anywhere.  Friday is the only day that I don't have to pack a bag (bags) and hurry them along.  Friday seems just right to me.  Especially when they line up at the table each one with a project in hand, a mess to create, or just a question to ask.  It just feels right when we are all here together.

So I savored every minute of today.  We watched a whole lot of movies.  We ate BIG gluten free sugar cookies that were drenched in frosting.  We drank hot chocolate just because in December that is what you do.

By the end of the day I was sitting on the couch watching Harry Potter with Libby, Maggie was asleep on my shoulder and Coop was climbing on my head.  We were buried under a mountain of blankets because it was finally cold today.
It was pretty much all that I have been waiting for.

Merry Christmas xoxo

Thursday, December 17, 2015

December 17th: I Survived the Post Office

It had to happen eventually.  Now that I am the mother of three, it's true, that I avoid the Post Office at all costs.  The Post Office at Christmas is an especially tricky place, today was no exception.

For starters, my packages were not ready upon arrival which means that I had to gather information while sitting on the parking lot.  This gave my darlings an opportunity to open the windows and scream loudly, surprising the hosts of people walking into the PO in front of me.  One woman in a black sweater stared over her shoulder like she wondered what was going on in our car.

On our first entry into the parental torture chamber post office, I carried my little son on my hip and gave the girls each one package to carry.  This was detrimental to my son's life, as screamed loudly for a package to hold.  While we approached the long line of folks mailing off Christmas goodies, he added thrashing and arching to the screaming, which was fun.  Realizing that this was going to be a spirited trip, I took my brood and packages back to the car to retrieve the stroller (maybe I should have just gone home).  He really liked being strapped down.

After we entered the PO for a second time, I was trying to ignore the screaming, when I asked a postal worker for assistance in finding the correct form to fill out.  I was almost certain that he handed me the wrong form, but seeing that he was a postal worker I trusted his judgement.  I found a quiet corner by the post office boxes to fill out my forms and to try to muffle the sound of my angry two year old.  Bless his big sister's, they were trying so hard to help, but in those moments of panic and sweat and trying to look like I had it together, everything they did felt wrong.  At this point the stroller almost flipped over from the screaming and thrashing but I somehow managed to catch it with my foot  and continue filling in the form.  Just like that, Maggie handed Coop a piece of plain paper and he stopped yelling.  Had I known that all he needed was a piece of paper to soothe his soul, I'm sure the abyss of trash that is my purse had many of those lurking in it's depths.

Now we got to get in line with all the other people.  One gracious man, who felt the need to comment, said "oh, look at all your little helpers." To which I just nodded and smiled and tried not to make eye contact with anyone else.  Because they are in the Christmas spirit, Cooper and Maggie started to sing "Happy Birthday" to Jesus as loudly as possible, I tried to shush them just a bit, which just fueled Cooper's fire...Louder and louder he got!  I was trying not to laugh as were most of the people in the line.  Finally, we got up to counter and the nice man waiting on me says  "Ma'am, you filled out the wrong form."  Of course I did, because I am in the land of post office torture.

He hands me the new forms and Cooper starts to yell "get me out, get me out here!"  Another passer by makes a "wow, your hands are full" comment to which I want to respond "why yes I do, would you like to fill this form out for me?"
The postal worker moves me to the side to finish my delivery and hands me over to his co-worker, a lady, who I am guessing felt my pain because when I looked up to move disheveled hair from my face, she was definitely laughing.
She took my packages, I curtsied to the crowd, they thanked me for the entertainment and we exited the building.
When we got to the car, I told the kids that we needed to snap a selfie because we made it in and out of the post office at Christmas-time. Then that same lady in the black sweater passed our car again and again looked at us like we were a spectacle.  Which let's be honest, we kind of were!

Until next year...Happy post officing!