Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Gingerbread House Decorating Party

We threw what I believe to be our first Christmas party ever this year! I decided I wanted to do a gingerbread house decorating party, picked a date and then invited a few families over for some good times.

I bought these adorable little gingerbread house kits from IKEA, of all places, but they are so cute, smell so wonderful and were only about $5 each! I went back and forth about whether I should make them in advance or let the kids/parents assemble them. In the end, I thought that the most fun part is decorating and we might not have a ton of time, so I put the kits together a few days in advance.

We ended up with 5 families in attendance, with a total of 8 kids ages 5 and under. It was certainly LOUD at times!

We ate macaroni and cheese, mozzarella stuffed meatballs and roasted broccoli. I forgot to break out the fruit salad, so Michael, the kids and I ate nothing but fruit salad for two days after that.

Then it was time to break out the houses and the decorations!

The kids were really into it. Some had a plan, some just experimented. They all tried to sneak as much candy as possible.

For dessert, I made this really nice Italian Layer Cake, which has one layer that is mostly sugar and ricotta cheese. I have to say, I thought it turned out really well and the leftovers tasted even better as the days went by!

When it was time to leave, the kids helped tidy up (or the parents helped tidy while the kids "cleaned" as a herd of chaos all around us). Then it was time for a group hug and wishing each other good night. 

Michael and I hurried to clean up so we could collapse guilt-free into the couch for some rest and relaxation. We had such a fun night and loved getting to spend some time with friends!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Christmas Activity Advent Calendar: Part II

Time for a second roundup of photos from our Christmas Activity Advent Calendar!

First we have: buying toys for the Toys for Tots drive:

Making a Christmas card for her teacher:

Going to see the Nutcracker with Daddy:

Donating treats to the local animal shelter (and getting to visit the animals):

Building a Christmas fort in the living room:

(This one was new this year and was a MAJOR HIT with both kids. Definitely need to do this one again next year!)

Monday, December 21, 2015

Art Beast

We're back from our trip to Phoenix, where we had such a great time visiting with my family! June cried because she was so sad to be leaving Arizona! I have to say that I also nearly cried ... but that might have had something to do with returning to our home in Sacramento to find that it was 55 degrees inside and the heater was broken! 

I'm currently cuddled up wearing two sets of pajamas, the kids have space heaters in their rooms and we're going to tough it through the night in hopes of getting the thing fixed tomorrow. So, here from my perch beside the fireplace, I post some pictures from our trip to Art Beast.

Art Beast is a cool little spot in Midtown Sacramento that is all about imaginative play for kids. There are a few different floors and rooms devoted to different activities. I took the kids there one morning (it was the morning of our gingerbread house decorating party, and Michael agreed to clean the house if I took the kids out somewhere) and we really got to enjoy it. I had only previously been there with June one time for a birthday party, and Bennett hadn't been at all. 

This place was so cool, and the kids had such a good time. Admission is a little pricey (in my opinion, but I'm definitely keeping this place in mind as a cool spot to bring out-of-town guests with kids and a wonderful rainy day idea.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

All about that Bass

A quick blog post from my iPhone with some pictures from our trip to Bass Pro Shop with Kai!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Christmas Activity Advent Calendar: Part I

We're doing an activity advent calendar again this year! It's been a busy time with lots of early re-arrangements, but it's gone pretty well so far. We've had:

Opening the Christmas books (ones from last year, plus one new one):

A candlelit bubble bath with Christmas music playing (Bennett's a little afraid of bubble baths [or maybe just baths in general?] but he was thrilled to lean in and play with the water and bubbles from the safety of dryness:

Setting up the Christmas Village:

Walking around a really nice, super-decorated part of town with friends to see the lights and drink hot cocoa:

Eating "reindeer poop" for breakfast - which is, in fact, chocolate donuts:

Happy holiday season, everyone!

Saturday, December 12, 2015

The 2015 Tree

The Christmas tree is such a beauty this year! I present to you:

(Fun Fact: that is the exact ornament that has so far been the only casualty of war.)