Thursday, December 16, 2010

Grandma’s (Annual) Christmas Cookie Party

This afternoon Charlotte and I headed over to my mom’s house for a cookie decorating party with my sister, Sancha, and my nephews, Jacob & Brennan.

Grandma started the party by giving the kids Christmas aprons she made for each of them. They loved having their own baking gear and the aprons are SO cute.

Next she got Brennan and Charlotte involved in separating the mini M&Ms by color….quite a few never made it to the separating stage as these two were eating them faster than we could stop them!

While that was going on Sancha and I were rolling out the dough that our Mom prepared and making icing. Once we had individual trays ready the kids sat down with Grandma to make Reindeer Cookies.

All the kids did really well making their cookies, adding eyes, noses and antlers. My favorite was a cookie of Jacob’s that had no less than seven antlers. :)

When the cookies were ready Jacob, with help from his mom, put his in the oven to bake.

Then we got the kids started on the Melted Snowmen cookies. Sancha and I melted the marshmallow heads then Jacob was able to help me with the initial icing of the cookies.

We then let each kid add eyes, noses, buttons and arms to each cookie.

Charlotte got A LITTLE (that’s an understatement) preoccupied with the gumdrops Grandma used to make the noses! She was eating them SO fast that she had one in hand ready to go before she’d swallowed the last one!

After many hours of decorating fun, the kids (fueled with candy energy) ran around Grandma’s house turning her Christmas decorations into toys. I am not sure she ever found all of her Nesting Santas (think Russian Nesting Dolls). The kids really enjoyed discovering the next smallest Santa and then hiding him!!!! They also each took turns treating her very extensive nativity scene like a GI Joe war camp. At one point Brennan and Charlotte had the camels (with riding Wise Men, no less) tromping ALL OVER the house – luckily Grandma was a good sport about this injustice!

Don’t even ask about the tree ornaments….

Somewhere in the middle of all of that madness my amazing sister managed to make dozens of cookies for her friends and Neighbors!

I am so glad my Mom decided to do this for her grandkids, Sancha and I. Baking with my mom is such a huge part of Christmas for me and I am happy that it can now be part of Charlotte’s Christmas memories too. Everyone had a GREAT time; I hope my not-so-subtle hits to make this an ANNUAL event were noted! Thanks Mom!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Preschool Christmas Gifts

Tonight, after dinner, Wayne and I let Charlotte open gifts she received from her teachers and classmates. She had a blast and we had to have quick hands to keep her from eating everything in site! What a generous class she has, and so creative! Although, she LOVED all of the gifts I have to say her favorites were the candy canes and gummy Christmas tree pop! Thank you to her teachers and classmates, Charlotte was thrilled to receive her gifts and was so excited to say “Daddy, this is from Jackson” etc. as if we didn’t just read the card to her! :) It might surprise you to know that even in a candy frenzy, Charlotte was very generous and made sure that Wayne and I each had some candy too!

One of her teachers, Mrs. Cannaday, gave the kids puzzles for Christmas so we decided to work on that while we ate candy canes. Charlotte did a really good job and needed very little help, Wayne and I were both so surprised and impressed!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Reindeer Food

Tonight Charlotte and I, with an assist from Daddy (thanks, Honey!) made Reindeer Food for her classmates and (local) cousins Brennan and Jacob.

I can’t take credit for this idea; my Mom gave Charlotte Reindeer Food last year – complete with a fabric bag she made herself. For those that may not know, you spread Reindeer Food on your lawn Christmas Eve, just like you leave milk and cookies for Santa, so that the Reindeer will be drawn to you house! It was a big hit last year, when Charlotte was just beginning to understand Christmas. As I started to think of something Charlotte could do for her class (tying to stay away from candy) this seemed like the perfect project.

I am sure there is a recipe out there for what SHOULD be in reindeer fool but I tried to use things I had on hand, we added stale Cheerios, ALMOST out of date oatmeal, Frosted Wheat cereal, cookie crumbs, red and green glitter, round green sprinkles, and Christmas tree wafers…TADA, Reindeer Food! Anyway, as I usually do with these kinds of projects, I had all the ingredients laid out on the table and just guided her through each step.

We did have a few overzealous stirs of the spoon and some of the Reindeer Food had to be thrown away. (Obviously, the reindeer would not have cared about a few seconds worth of floor time but just in case her classmates decide to try a taste – I made sure everything was eatable and, so, no floor time allowed!)

In preparation, I spent the afternoon hyping this up for Charlotte. We talked about how much work Santa’s Reindeer have to do on Christmas Eve and how nice it would be if she helped her schoolmates by making them Reindeer Food too, etc. By the time we sat down to make the food she was AMPED! I may hav e misjudged how much motivation she needed because she was bouncing off the walls. Unfortunately, we had a few power struggles that may have taken some of the fun away from the project. :( But all in all we had a fun night together creating another neat project. I think the best part was the sneaky way she kept snacking on the ingredients and then would try to ask us questions - about what we were doing, Reindeer or Christmas in general – with her mouth so full we couldn’t understand her half the time! You can see in two of the pictures how she has her cheeks stuffed with reindeer food, kind of like a chipmunk!

We bagged the mixture up, packaged them in festive Chinese take-out boxes and added a tag I made to finish them off.

Charlotte will give these to her classmates at their Christmas Party later this week; hope they enjoy their gifts as much as we enjoyed making them!