Saturday, December 31, 2011

Adios to the Gingerbread Houses!

New Years Eve Day it was time for the annual house shoot em up party! We always look forward to this day because it's alot of fun and I love it because it means I get my counter top back. One week is my limit of no room in my kitchen. So we loaded them up and off we went to blast them up. We started with the 22s and then we moved up to the shotguns to totally finish them off.
I can't believe I didn't get pics of everyone that was there this year. Apparently I was too concerned with getting pictures of the houses in various stages of blasting mess. So sorry Christina and LeShae I know you were there but no one else does I guess. OOps.

And here is the final result:

Not much left to clean up which is the idea after all.

New Year's Eve

This year for New Year's Eve we had my sister Carolyn and her family here with us because the next day was Hayden's farewell. They arrived around dinner time so we just started our party when they got here. We spent the night gorging on snacks and meat/roll sandwiches and more treats. I am not sure what the kids did while Carilyn and I worked on food for the dinner the next day pretty much all night long. We made Cafe Rio dressing, shredded pork and chicken, fried tortilla bowls and finished up all the food prep! Whew long night. The kids amused themselves with games and TV and grand kids! The men had all night to visit and catch up then had leftover time to solve the world problems. It was a very pleasant night. It sounds like we were crazy busy but it was just fun to chat and work all night.
We took time out to do our countdown at midnight and watch fireworks on TV.

I almost forgot to drag out the party favors and hats I bought just for the event...whew!!

Bunch of Party Animals!!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Day 2011

We had a great Christmas Day this year. The little kids slept in until almost 7 so we got kind of a late start for us. In fact Hayden had to wake Rees up! We spent almost an hour opening presents up but judging by the stack under the tree we thought it would take even longer. We were rushing because church was at 9 am. So we dived right in:
Hayden knew he would be getting mission stuff but he didn't expect me to wrap everything up individually. It was great. He actually got sore fingers from unwrapping. Heck I had sore fingers from wrapping!!
Cooper was hilarious. He just laid on the floor with his bottle and rubbed his packages. He was not about to open anything.

Here he is with his presents starting to pile up around him. He pretty much spent the day unwrapping slowly. You can see he is kicking this present.

What an extravaganza. After we tore through the gifts we rushed around and got ready for church. There were scads of people there and it was fun to be with Overton 3rd ward too this year. After Church Mendis and I made our traditional sandwiches that we munched on all day. I have a hard and fast rule that I don't cook on Christmas Day. I love that rule. We just laid around and played with our assorted toys and relaxed and munched. It was a great day.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Family Pics

We crammed in some family pictures before Hayden left for the MTC. The only day we had all of us here was Christmas Eve and we still couldn't get all of us! We missed having Rachel with us for the big photo shoot but next time she is doomed. Here are a few of my favorites:

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Gingerbread House Time Again

Once again Christmas fans it is time to document the Gingerbread Championships of the world. It gets intense every year and this year was no exception. Trash talking began early and accusation were flying by Christmas eve. This year I had too much to do staying ahead of the mob with making frosting etc so I opted out of the competition. We used at least 6 boxes of graham crackers and I have no idea how much hot glue. This is still much faster and easier than the days when I made our gingerbread from scratch. That was fun! They spent pretty much the entire Christmas Eve day making these little babies:
The builders are enjoying the first phase of the production. There was of course much griping about the quality of the crackers. They are never straight enough or tough enough.
We did have 3 glue guns this year which was better but next year one per person will be mandatory! Sharing comes with its own hazards and scars.
After hours and hours of this some started loosing interest and just finished up to be done. Can it be that this competition will eventually be phased out??? Nah
The air was thick with anticipation but they really outdid themselves this year. The secret ingredient or item that had to be used or admit failure and defeat was the sugar star. See if you can see all 4 of them:
The Comeau Castle. Benjy is the builder and Ashley is the decorator. This Rees added the small outbuilding that ooops got cut off in this picture on the right. Love the flag pole and the candy path around to the back. I love the shape of the house too-nice roof line.
Christina's Casa is delightful. I loved the arch and the roof top candy canes the most I think. It was so cute. It such a cute little Victorian masterpiece. Even the gardens looked the part.
Jeff's roof was also very impressive. I like the lamp posts and the candies around the foundation.Good use of candy everywhere especially the candy canes on the top of the roof. That might be my favorite part of his.
Hayden had a lovely courtyard and fun BBall hoop in the back yard. The garden plot is so cute. He sure was ticked when he ran out of gum for the roof though and was forced to use a different color. I like where he placed his star.
They made a lovely colorful village. It was almost a shame to shoot them up!!
(Here's a better view of Rees' shop and now you can see Hayden's back yard too.)
Hopefully none of then will realize that we never did officially declare a winner this year.

Christmas Project

For some reason I always feel compelled to write about my Christmas projects. I think its because I put some much into it I want to document the effort or maybe because it's just usually pretty. So this years treat for friends and neighbors was cupcakes. I have wanted to do these for quite some time but there are logistical problems. Each batch takes awhile and you want a variety and you also want to deliver them fast so they don't sit around and get stale while you make other batches. So I picked a Saturday and started early and went all day long baking...These are the Eggnog cupcakes with eggnog in the batter and the frosting. They were pretty yummy. I garnished them with fresh grated nutmeg and a cinnamon stick. They were heavier than I though they would be but I still liked them.
Most people liked these the most. They were raspberries with raspberry jam inside and a champagne (flavoring) frosting and raspberry garnish. I saved the fresh raspberries from this summer in my freezer for these and they turned out sooo good.
These may have looked strange but they were peppermint. I used a candy cane kiss in each peppermint cake and made peppermint frosting. They are supposed to be Christmas trees but they look kinda odd.I was going for different but I got very different.
These were soo yummy so probably my favorites actually. These are Reeses cupcakes. The peanut butter cream cheese frosting was simply to die for. Really really good and light and fluffy too. I have little gold glitter hearts and Reeses cut up on top. There are even Reeses inside. Man do I ever want some of these now. This post is killing me for cupcakes. The power of suggestion.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

One of my Favorite Gifts

This year I was able to make a quilt for Christmas. I made two small quilts actually so I could keep one for us. I made Mendis' parents this fun quilt as a reminder of all the fun we had in Hawaii a few years ago.It began with a yard sale about a year ago. It was the community wide yard sale and I ran into this sale where they had a ton of authentic Hawaiian shirts that they were selling for a just a few dollars each. They were gorgeous and so fun that I knew I had to have them. Luckily some were huge so there was lots of fabric too. That is when I hatched my plan to make a quilt out of them for my inlaws. I bought about a dozen of them and started cutting them all up. I had so much left over that I decided I could make one for me too. For ours I used the pockets as much as possible and I used the labels too. I thought that might be a little too much for my inlaws. I picked the blue fabric for the back because it reminded me of the pretty blue water over there. I thought it turned out so I nice. I hope they liked it as much as I liked making it for them.