Friday, December 25, 2009

Stars were gleaming, shepherds singing, Mary's eyes shot laser beams

Monday, December 14, 2009

So Easy A Cave Mom Can Do It

I admit, now that I'm looking at this close-up, there are a few things I would do differently next time, but I still wanted to share this because it was so EASY!

If you've ever tried making a gingerbread house with the traditional royal icing and candy, you probably recall that the icing takes forever to dry, all kinds of supports are needed to keep your house standing while the icing dries, and the candy is ridiculously expensive if you buy enough variety to really do it up cute.

The kids really wanted a gingerbread house this year, and I really wanted a successful gingerbread house at long last. (I can't tell you how many times I have tried and failed.  Royal icing and I get along great with flat cookies...not so much for 3D structures.)

I realized that we never actually EAT our gingerbread.  It sits there until its thoroughly stale and nasty anyways, so why not use hot glue?  The hot glue was as close to an instant bond as you'll get with something full of sugar and grease.  While it didn't bond as well as I would have liked it too, it certainly bonded well enough to get my structure standing.  Although next time I will still make a recipe of royal icing to fill it in and make it pretty after I've got it glued.  (I didn't have enough sugar on hand and didn't want to go buy any for this project.)

When it came time to decorate my little house, I saw I had some homemade wheat thins on hand that looked nice and rustic and shingle-y, so I started gluing them on the roof only to discover I was about 1/3 short of what I needed to complete the roof.  But guess what?  Marshmallow fondant makes a nice snow-laden roof, and I happened to have a small amount left over from this cute thingy I made a couple weeks back.  (please excuse the cornstarch/kitchen tool laden counter.)

So with the help of a rolling pin, my fingers, some cookie cutters, and a steak knife, I got the rest of that cut out and put on my little house.

When all was said and done, this house, which I think is at least as cute as one you can make from a pre-purchased kit cost less than $5.00.  WAY less.

Of course now that I've got one under my belt, I've got lots of ideas for really doing it up next year, but hey I think this turned out pretty decent for my very first actually STANDING home-made gingerbread house.

And since it was so easy a Cave Mom can do it, you can too!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

A little Christmas Miracle

After a crazy week of temper tantrums, spontaneous crying, wringing of hands, gnashing of teeth and all other manner of pre-Christmas childhood angst, I came downstairs this morning to find Gabriel reading a Christmas story to Lily.

It was so quiet, so happy, so friendly.  When he finished the book Lily told him "You're a good reader Gabe" and he beamed ear to ear.

Ahhhhh, it warms a mom's soul to see her children happy and content, being kind to one another.

When the kids ask "Mom, what do you want for Christmas" I (predictably) answer "for my children to behave for one full day!" (you all say that same thing, right?).  Well, it felt like Christmas came this morning, and I told them so.  Of course they went off looking to see if Santa had arrived and insisted that the single package I currently have laying under the tree was a certain sign of Santa having visited.  They were disappointed when I told them that was already there, but what was curious to me was that they didn't seem the least bit disappointed that there was only a single item under the tree!  Of course Christmas day will be a little more abundant, but it made me feel good that we don't have to go crazy to make them happy.  Whatever Christmas day brings, I feel certain it will be joy and contentment. (now if only we can keep the kids at school quiet and not swapping "what did Santa bring you?" stories....ugh.)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A Man's guide to avoid giving quite possibly the worst gift ever

**if you're just reading this today, and it seems perhaps a little too close to this, please note my  publish date and the fact that I've never even heard of Wasatch Woman Magazine before today...although, Boy do I have an idea for a spoof! (Wasatch/Sasquatch...we'll go there another time.)

Nothing says "Hey babe, I love you, but you're starting to look a little too much like a primate for my tastes" better than a gift certificate to the Dr's office to have them shine a pretty laser at her chin several times over the next few months.  That rubberband snapping against the cheek feeling will only last a moment and she can go about her day with only a little bit of red irritation. Doesn't that sound delightful?

I mean, don't get me wrong, a little well placed laser treatment really could be a good thing, but this kind of gift giving could get a man a swift kick in the family jewels.  Dying to give her a "spa" treatment?  Then purchase a gift certificate and let her chose her own pampering.  Who knows, maybe she'll get those unsightly hairs lased off anyways, but at least you won't be guilty of causing her to believe you find her grotesque.

Here are a few more items no man should ever consider purchasing as a Christmas gift for the woman he loves:

Vacuum cleaner.  It doesn't matter if its the $60.00 model, or the $460.00 model.  No matter how badly your lady wants a new vacuum cleaner, this is never an appropriate gift.  This is the kind of thing that should come out of the regular everyday household budget.  Reserve your gift giving budget for romantic gestures and items which lack necessity.

Ski bib.  Its true YOU may think your wife looks beautiful in anything she puts on, but I promise you, given the choice, she will never willingly choose to look more like the stay-puff-marshmallow man than any other thing. (except maybe a wookie)

New Tires or Brakes.  Its probably better to just agree ahead of time that you will not be exchanging gifts this year than to pretend that such things are your gift to her for Christmas.  If you do go the "Merry Christmas babe, I got you new tires so you don't have a blow out on the freeway while you've got all 8 kids in the car" route, may I suggest you at least purchase the lifetime free balancing and rotation package?

Don't bother to tell her what you "wanted" to get her, if it is significantly more costly than what you really got her unless A: the item you really wanted to get her is currently out of stock and thus unavailable for purchase, and B: you can actually afford to purchase the item when it becomes available again and you have plans to do so.  Also, if she asks you for a trip to Hawaii or other exotic location do not add the phrase "hopefully some day" to the answer of "no" unless you have started a savings account and put at least $10.00 in it.

Electronics.  Unless she asks specifically for a certain piece of technology, its always safer to not buy her anything that may be misinterpreted to actually be a gift for yourself.  If she's super techy, she'll let you know which piece of equipment she wants.  If she's not, you're probably wasting your money on a gadget she has no idea what to do with, and no interest in learning how to operate it.  The one possible exception may be an upgraded camera or video camera, so long as she can open it and use it right away without having to read an instruction book for hours before beginning.

"As seen on TV"...honestly, she probably never wanted a Chia Pet, the Strapper, or a Ped-egg.  A Snuggie may be a possible exception, but you'll want to check with her first. Chances are good she either thinks the Snuggie is the greatest invention ever, or the stupidest, you take your chances on her response if you don't ask.

Its too dangerous

I'm wondering just how much of the Christmas story my three year old knows.  We actually put out the Nativity in a "reachable" area this year, due to lack of space and the kids being old enough not to play with it.  But not being allowed to touch the figurines has not stopped Lily from imagining various scenarios in which they are involved.

Sunday afternoon, I was sitting on the couch, and she was standing at the side table looking at the figurines and I hear her mutter under her breath "I will kill you" and then (still quietly, but not muttered, and in a feminine voice) "don't go! Its too dangerous!"  There was alot of other muttering and argument taking place before and after that little exchange, but I was trying so hard to listen that I couldn't hear a thing.

I'm pretty sure she hasn't yet heard the story of the flight into Egypt, but she's definitely got me wondering.

Monday, December 7, 2009

The revolt has begun!

I'm beginning to think that this small wave of people who are sick and tired of being PC in order to please a very few who cannot be pleased is starting to grow! Our governor said "No more 'Holiday' Tree" and continued on to say that she believes it is politically correct to call something what it is, therefore, the holiday tree and the holiday candle display have resumed being a Christmas Tree and a Menorrah.  Old Navy reportedly has used the phrase "Merry Christmas" in a national advertising campaign, and today, my son came home from his publicly funded school with a worksheet he had completed about SinterKlause, and the Norwegian CHRISTMAS tradition of putting candy in children's shoes.  The worksheet actually said Christmas on  it, spelled correctly.

I LOVE it!

And you know what? I'm also ok with him doing a worksheet on Chanukah, and another one on Kwanzaa.  I'm just thrilled that they aren't completely ignoring the Christian tradition in favor of appeasing those who incorrectly believe that the government's job is to protect atheists from being exposed to religion.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Gimme Gimme Gimme

Anybody else sick of hearing this yet? What are you doing to curb the gimme's at your house?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The TRUE meaning of HoHoHo

Lily is only 3 and a half, and has a very rich imaginary life.  The girl spends more time pretending than living in our adult version of reality, and she's quite happy there!  But there is one area of pretend that she doesn't seem quite sold on.


Lily has ALOT of questions about Santa.  Why is he at the mall?  Where did he get a computer from? What do elfs do? Why would elfs do that? Why isn't Santa helping his elfs? How come Santa is at the mall AND at Bass Pro shop?

If you saw the look on her face and the wheels turning in her head you'd see that she's giving this a whole lot of thought for a kid who's not yet four.

But mom and dad are keeping up the pretend.  We love it!  And she wants to love it too. I can tell she really wants to buy the story.

This afternoon during lunch she started asking more questions about Santa, so we turned the tables on her and said "why don't you tell us what YOU know about Santa."  She answered "well, he says 'HoHoHo'" and JP asked her what does HoHoHo mean? To which she answered "I think it means quit your crying."

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The neighbor probably thinks we're raging racists...

We have a neighbor who doesn't come out of his house very much.  He is Chinese, and he doesn't speak very much English.  When we do see him, we always wave and say hello, and he waves back and goes his merry way.  But tonight, the boy Gabe decided it was time to have a conversation.

So, he saw the neighbor come out of his house, he quickly parked his bike in the middle of the street, went running up to the man, and said ( I kid you not) "Do you know how to make Chinese food?" and ran away.

What I'm sure the neighbor does not understand, is that Gabriel is a big time Chinese food fan! He LOVES Chinese food with all his heart, and he's been trying to figure out for months how to get our Chinese neighbor to come over and make us Chinese food. He actually thought he was being a friendly neighbor, but we are so embarrassed!