Friday, December 31, 2010

Bowling New Year's Eve Day

 Since the girls went to a bowling birthday party this past summer, they've been talking about going with daddy.  With three free game passes from the summer reading club, we were able to bowl for the cost to rent the shoes and one game... bowling can be expensive!  The girls had a blast (minus one melt down from LuLu) and as always, we took waaaaay too many pictures!. 

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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Day with the Crawford Family

Saturday, December 25, 2010

One last surprise...

The girls with the really BIG sheets
from Pappy and Gramma Kate
Look at what Daddy and Mommy found!
Enjoying their "one last surprise" Christmas Day

Santa left a note with his special key saying that the girls needed to keep a look out for one last surprise.  After dropping the girls off with Gramma and Grampop for the afternoon, we found out what it was.  Santa had to wait until the girls were no longer in their beds for their last gift.  Pappy and Gramma Kate must have been talking to Santa and made sure that they had fun holiday sheets!

As excited as she was at having a new bed, Alyssa was not too sure about running into Santa Claus at night, so she chose to sleep on the couch at first.  Once she was sure that he wouldn't surprise her, she has been ok with sleeping in her new bed.

Merry Christmas Live on Ustream

Our Christmases

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Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve

We spent our Christmas Eve with the Mertzel family, re-establishing a tradition started a few years back. After a dinner or homemade pasta (thanks to Ryan) and making "gingerbread houses", we piled up in Grampop's truck and sang carols while looking at Christmas lights! We had a blast! (The first thing Alyssa talked about the next morning was riding in the back of Grampop's truck!) Oh what fun it is to ride in the back of Grampop's truck!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Church Christmas Program

Our sweet little angel and darling little lamb helped to tell the story of the birth of Jesus this night. Even though it rained hard all day and little noses were sniffling, our girls did a wonderful performance. We are especially glad that Hannah decided to participate because she truly had fun. 

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Friday, December 17, 2010

Alyssa's Preschool Christmas Program

Today was Alyssa's day to shine!  This was her first preschool Christmas program.  She is in a small class and Samantha was already gone on Christmas break, so Alyssa, Evan and Daniella though small in number were mighty in song!  They sang "Bible Book" and "Bells and Ringing" as loud and clear as if they were in a class of 12. 

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Nutcracker

Another activity that we are now doing every year is going to see the Nutcracker.  This year, Gramma joined us... now that she's retired, she can schedule more activities with us. We went to the performance held at the San Gabriel Playhouse with the Wolterbeek ladies.  Instead of giving an intermission, the audience is allowed to see the stage hands clean up the stage, move props and learned a little about what goes on behind the scenes.  There is also a short q&a.  And there are a lot of children in the performance, so the girls can see children their age dancing and performing. 

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Making cookies with Lulu

It is always interesting when you do the same exact activity with each child separately... you really can see their personality differences.  Take for instance these cookies.. the yummy sugar cookies made by pressing the glass into the sugar and then onto the cookie.   That part went pretty much the same... it is when the little red candy is place onto the cookie that was different.  And although the way the candy was placed was the same, Alyssa was not at all concerned with doing it in any sort of order... much like she does when she traces the sentences I write for her in the cards she makes. 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Happiest Place on Earth

 For Family Night we opt out of taking the girls with us so we can ride all the rides that the girls cannot or will not ride.  Eric and Britt were willing to spend the night with us (this year it would have Brett and Jen if they weren't flying to London the next day.) We had a fun time... got home WAAAY to late!  But it was worth it!

Blasters!  Ryan was VERY focused!

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LA Zoo's New Elephant Exhibit

As members, we got to see the new exhibit for the elephants before the general public.  We went with our little home school coop.  We hadn't been to the zoo in awhile, so we enjoyed our little outing and plan to head back there soon.

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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christmas Caroling

We Christmas Caroling went with Gramma and Grampop's church tonight.  With cookies in hand, we went to a retirement home just a few blocks from the church.  The residents were eating dinner and we serenaded them with song as they ate.   I am grateful for the opportunity to show my girls that there are many ways to serve others and show them God's love.

Delicious Deliveries

Every year is deliver cookies to our neighbors. It's our way of spreading a little holiday cheer. It's fun to see the recipient's faces beam as they are handed their cookies. People are generally surprised by such a gesture. The girls love to package and hand out the cookies. And going to my annual cookie exchange allows me to hand out a variety of treats.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Christmas with the Ladies

The centerpiece that Hannah created
Peggy and me at the AFFC Tea
I officially kicked off this holiday season this week, first with the Ladies Christmas Tea at our church where I hosted a table once again. Then on Saturday, it was a marathon day... first to West Hills for the annual Cookie Exchange with Kerry and Michelle... I've only missed this once in the last six years... then off to Malibu for the MPC Christmas Tea with my friend from Arcadia, Lisa.  Good food, great company, and happy memories!
The gals from Kerry and Michelle's Cookie Exchange

Lisa and me at the MPC Tea

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Tis the season for baking Christmas Cookies!

I love the recipe we're using for our sugar cookies this year.  After dropping the cookie batter by teaspoonfuls onto the cookie sheet, you put a glass in sugar and press down onto the batter to flatten it.  For me, there is a hint of nostalgia in this method of cookie making even though I don't remember making cookies like this when I was a child.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Disneyland w/ the Girls

Every December we go to Disneyland for the whole day to enjoy the Happiest Place on Earth during the happiest time of the year. We had a fun day, starting at California Adventure where Alysa rode the bumper cars for the first time. Hannah was a little bit disappointed that she's still not tall enough to ride Indiana Jones, but we're hoping she can grow two inches by the time we return. We enjoyed the magic of Disneyland snow, the festive holiday parade and the thrill of getting a few last rides in while the crowds headed for the exit.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Our Christmas

Our Christmas begins the day after Thanksgiving when we get our tree.  The girls get to decorate the tree first with their own box of ornaments... ones given to them and ones we buy of their choosing each year.  The angel that tops our tree is from my childhood.

Out comes our set of Christmas plates, replacing our everyday plates. 

We celebrate the advent by reading each night.  This year we're using, A Family Advent, by Thomas Nelson.  We also add to our nativity scene wall hanging that has 25 pockets for each part of the picture.

There is the church pageant that the girls participate in.  Alyssa will be a lamb again this year, Hannah an angel.  We are hoping that Hannah participates... last year she opted out and sat in the audience.

Christmas Eve we will see the lights and have peppermint ice cream (an Idaho family tradition).

Christmas Day is spent with the Jaffe family most years.  Before opening presents, we always sing "Happy Birthday" to Jesus (also an Idaho family tradition).

Christmas Day also begins the Twelve Days of Christmas.  We read the Zonderkids, The 12 Days of Christmas, and the last day, January 6th, we have a Three Kings dinner.   This year we have an ornament set for the Twelve Days of Christmas that we will hang on the tree each day. 

Along the way we play Christmas music, sing carols, make crafts, bake cookies to give to our neighbors, fill Operation Christmas Child boxes, drink lots of hot chocolate and holiday flavored tea, go to the Nutcracker and also added to our holiday traditions, First Presbyterian Church of Monrovia's concert of Handel's Messiah.

Snowflake cookies

Saw this recipe at looks like fun! Hannah loves to cut paper, so I'm excited to try it with her.

Falling Snow To make these snowflakes:

1. Fold wonton wrappers into quarters and cut out designs with scissors.
2. Open; place on cookie sheet lined with foil.
3. Spray lightly with vegetable oil and sprinkle with sugar.
4. Bake at 350°F until they begin to brown, 5 to 8 minutes.
5. Cool on a wire rack.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Home Depot/Christmas Party

We have been keeping connected with the classmates from Hannah's last class from preschool.  Josiah's mom, Cindy, half jokingly says that she hoping her sons marries one of the girls.  It is a wonderful group of families where the kids and parents get along so well... this fellowship is blessed. 

Cindy got the gang together for a morning at Home Depot and Christmas party at her house afterward.  The kids painted the frames they made,  decorated gingerbread men cookies, played, ate and participated in a reading of the Christmas story.  Each character of the nativity scene was unwrapped by a child and and accompanying passage of scripture was read by a parent.  Ryan was the only dad who came.   He made a new little friend, Micah, Josiah and Chrissy's baby brother.  Micah took and immediate liking to Ryan.  Most of the time, he wouldn't even go to his mom, actually pushing her away and reaching for Ryan!  How funny it was to see how similarly Ryan and Steve (Micah' dad) was dressed when Steve arrived home from work (in VA) that day!

By the way... Home Depot has an awesome program... once a month you make a craft and receive a pin upon completion... and it's free.. including the apron with your kid's name on it!

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Friday, December 03, 2010

Christmas Centerpiece

Hannah loves to collect rocks, sticks, pine cones, etc. I continue to find creative ways for her to use her found objects from nature. This also became a fun "math" exercise as Hannah created a pattern for the centerpiece. I am using this for the table I am hosting at my church's Ladies Christmas Tea this Thursday night.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Our First Christmas Parade

We marched in the annual Monrovia Christmas Parade with The Little Gym where Hannah is currently enrolled in karate and Alyssa in dance. Alyssa had a ball marching right up near the banner and doing "monkey jumps" all the way up Myrtle, the main street in Old Towne Monrovia. Hannah did some marvelous cartwheels and other dance and karate related moves. Ryan actually made it home early enough to march with us!

Ryan also found our family friend that we haven't seen in ages! Good to see you Carla!

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