Friday, December 19, 2014

On A One-Dog Open Sleigh....

This has been a disappointing start to the snow season.  As of three days ago, we had green grass again.  Luckily, we got a dusting, which was just enough to reduce friction for Kolachi's continuation of pull training (she was in recuperation from her spay/gastropexy for the past four weeks).  I should state that I have no idea what I'm doing-- I'm winging it when it comes to this whole subject.  Right now she's pulling Justin in a sled (because, let's be honest, isn't that every kids' dream dog?) while I run just behind her and remind her to 'leave it' and stay focused.  I'm working on using collar pressure to teach gee and haw, but i'm not convinced it's working.  Back to the internets for me...there has to be a good tutorial out there somewhere!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Dec 18: Delivering Cookies to the Neighbors

So-- I'm just going to jump right in here and start mid-month with our Advent activities.  To be honest, we haven't gotten all of them done this year-- it's hard trying to homeschool and run a home and do whatever else it is I DO all day long!  

 We've never made gingerbread cookies before, but Justin's lesson this week revolves around a variation of the Gingerbread Man story, so we were inspired.  I found this recipe from Taste of Home and it will be our GO TO gingerbread recipe!  The cookies are soft and flavorful and amazing :-)  Of course, much credit must go to our flour-- the Heritage Bolted Red Fife from Sunrise Flour Mills.  Wow!!! (and so far, so good on the gluten-intolerant being able to tolerate it!!)

Our Advent Activity today was to deliver some fresh-baked cookies to our neighbors.  We were able to make enough cookies to deliver to four houses and still have a few left over to freeze for our Christmas Eve.

We made the dough yesterday and refrigerated it overnight.  Today was time to roll, cut, bake and decorate.
 Justin was adamant about using his train cookie cutter, and it turned out really nicely!
I used this royal icing recipe (I used a real egg white and only made a half batch, which was absolutely perfect planning).  I've never made a proper royal before, and it was worth it!  It dried so nice and glossy!
After Justin got tired of decorating, I stepped in.  Our hearts, trains and boys turned out pretty cute!
 The best part was hand-delivering them :-)

Technical Difficulties and Delays

Apologies for the Technical Difficulties/Delays--
 So...right after I posted last time, our hard drive crashed.  As in blue-screen-of-death crash.... So.... I've been AWOL for some time on this blog.  Hopefully, once I recover my November photos I'll get those updated.  I'm going to start working on December now....only I'm planning on going BACKWARDS from today, so if you're looking for posts you missed, please keep scrolling back.

Wish me luck....

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

"And I will call him George..."

I'm behind on the Christmas Card ordering thing, too.....   so today, in order to 'fill a square' on the card design I picked, I needed a photo shoot with the cat and bunnies.
 Alex and Justin were happy to oblige me.  I wasn't quite sure how this was going to work-- I knew the two bunnies would try and bug each other if they were right next to one another, but I wasn't convinced that putting a cat in between them was the answer.
 Turns out it was.  Percy was only too happy to snuggle in and start grooming his bunnies.  He's always shown gentle and kind interest when we've been brushing the point of being removed from the hutch area because he kept getting in the way.  Today was his day to shine.
 "And I will kiss him and love him and squeeze him and hug him and I will name him George..."  - Percy
 Here you go buddy-- there's the spot...  and now on to your little friend.
 We were giggling so hard it was difficult to convince Percy to stop.  I mean, there's only so much Petromalt can work on.  This cat may have quite the hairball in the near future.  To the bunnies' credit, their resting heart rate didn't raise at all.  They are quite the cool and relaxed fellows.
"What in the blazes just happened to me?" - Basil

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Dec 16: Downtown to Macy's Display

Since I have a train enthusiast on my hands, one of our most beloved Advent activities is to park at the Mall of America and take the light rail to downtown Minneapolis.
 After our 45 min journey, we typically meet up with Daddy (who works downtown) for lunch and a stroll through Macy's Santaland.  The kids love going to the sky cafe and picking out their meals!
 Then it's time to tour the North Pole.  The display has been the same for a number of years now, and although I was resistant to the (non-changing) change, I've come to enjoy it through my childrens' eyes.  They look forward to seeing the familiar scenes, and even spotting some new nook or cranny filled with elves and animals that they had not yet noticed.
 We really like the reindeer barn scene-- probably because Julie the Elf (the elf that writes the kids notes throughout the year-- this is NOT an elf-on-the-shelf thing, just something we do) works in the real reindeer barn with her Papa.  We like to imagine that the little blonde elf girl trying to pull down the floating reindeer looks just like her.
 Afterwards it's nice to stop for a sweet treat.  Yep.  Even Alex got to "cheat" and have a normal sugar cookie!

Monday, December 15, 2014

December 15: Storytime by the Fire

With Daddy still traveling for school every other weekend (and doing homework most other nights after the kids go to bed), we cherish the nights that we get to spend with him.  He always makes time to put the kiddos to bed with stories and prayers when he's home, but tonight we had a very special whole-family Advent activity-- storytime by the fire.
 Each child picked out two books from our Christmas book bin.  We had fun listening to the stories and I had fun playing with my camera settings to get the best photos.
Even Kolachi got in on the storytime action-- settling down (from time to time) on feet and trying desperately to figure out why we were all sitting on the floor together.

Our book choices for the evening:  'Twas the Night Before Christmas, The Polar Express, Spot's Christmas and Olivia Saves Christmas.  

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Meeting Odin

Meet my new 'nephew' - Odin.  A Norwegian Forest kitten.....we are ALL smitten!
Justin has declared that he is asking Santa for a kitten this year.  I would jump right on the bandwagon if Percy was ok with the idea.  In short, he is not.  Very not.

Kolachi, however, is.  Kolachi and Odin became fast friends-- she even let him in her kennel.  It might be the painkillers talking (she's a few days out of her spay surgery, which went well), but he is pretty much the best thing in the world!

Aside from cute kitten antics, we've been busy celebrating Justin's birthday (early).  Grams and Gramps brought a piƱata
 .....  AND a fireman costume!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Grams and Gramps visit

Grams and Gramps came up for an early Justin's Birthday / Christmas visit to shower the children with attention and gifts.....and more gifts and attention.  We spent the morning at the Science Museum, where they renewed our family membership (homeschooling score!).

After Justin's preschool, he got straight to work on some Legos (part of their Christmas present was going to the LEGO store at the Mall of America!).  I am so amazing at this almost 4 year old who is assembling pretty complex LEGO sets with barely any help. 

He carefully reads the directions and is able to follow them....even 20-30 step directions!  LEGOS are amazing.  I'm glad I 'caved' and allowed this form of plastic in the house.