Saturday, December 24, 2005

Christmas Eve

Today is Christmas Eve. We have done some festive things, like baking cookies for the neighbors and then piling in the car and driving around the neighborhood delivering them. I also wrote out all the Christmas cards, which I put off writing until it was too late. Now they will be New Year's cards.

We also attempted to bake sugar cookies for Santa. We used the coffee table, covered in wax paper, as a work surface. In the midst of rolling, cutting and baking the cookie dough, the bad little weenie dog put his head in the bowl of dough and started eating. He is now banished to his bed and will not get to open a present for Christmas Eve. Bad dog!

So we only made about 1/3 of the cookies we should have made. But that's ok. Right now, homemade pizza is in the oven, affording me a few minutes to update the blog.

After dinner we will decorate Santa's cookies, have popcorn & cocoa, read both "Twas the Night Before Christmas," and the Christmas Story from the Bible.

The kids will be allowed to open one gift each, and then it is bedtime! That's about what we do, every Christmas Eve. Pizza's ready...Merry Christmas, all!

Friday, December 23, 2005

It's been a couple days

I could use the excuse that it is the holidays and I have been so caught up with doing Christmas stuff that I have been too busy to post, but nah, I am just lazy.

And really, not much else is going on for me to write about. The kids are off school and rotting their brains with TV. But every day I turn off the TV and turn on the music and they hate it. "Aw Mom, not the music again!"

There is still background noise, but they have no celluloid images to stare at, and proclaim themselves bored. I tell them to go play outside, and they don't want to do that. So I tell them to go clean their rooms, and you can imagine how big that goes over. We are on day 3 of the room cleaning disaster. Are they clean? No.

Katie tells me that she doesn't want to clean her room by herself. I tell her I dont want to clean the whole house by myself, so she is doing her room to help me. She looks at me in disbelief.

I don't get it. These kids empty trash, Jonathan takes the trash out, they help put out the trash & recycling on Wednesdays, they clear dishes, they sort laundry, and they go on toy hunts, searching each room for toys that are supposed to stay in their rooms. Its not like they are without chores. But to tell them to clean their rooms leave them blank.

We have gone over what entails a room cleaning---toys in the box, books on the shelves, laundry in the hamper, trash in the can, etc. So it's not like they don't know what to do. You would think I was using them as slave labor.

I tell them I don't ask them to clean my room, so don't ask me to help them clean theirs. Again I get the hairy eyeball. I have tried the "Santa's watching" ploy, to no avail.

I am this close to going in there with trash bags, handing them to the kids and saying "fill them up."

On a positive note, I found my garage keys. Our garage is not attached to our house. It also has all the Christmas presents in it. So yes, finding the keys is a positive thing.

That's about it. I am going to do more baking for neighbors and try to set a good example to the kids by turning off the TV, turning on the music and cleaning house. Maybe Santa will be nice to me this year.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

A grievous wound, a broken heater, and Christmas presents!

Yesterday, I went to pick up the kids from school after their parties. They were all sugared up, which was to be expected. I put some stuff in the trunk and tried to stand up straight and close the trunk at the same time. My skull met the trunk latch and I saw stars. I couldn't catch my breath and tears sprouted from my eyes. My scalp burned and I felt it gingerly to see how bad the damage was. My fingers were lightly stained with blood. I called a friend over to look at my head. She said it was scraped up but not bleeding badly. It has hardened into a little nasty blood-covered lump. It hurts to brush my hair.

Our heater is also broken. You think that not having a heater here in California wouldn't be such a problem. But we are right on the water and it gets cold! The air in the house is frigid.

I called for maintenance on the 15th, someone came out, tinkered with it, and the heater worked overnight. At dinnertime yesterday I noticed the heater was not working again, so I called maintenance, again, and they brought me a tiny little space heater for overnight.

They came out today to replace a broken part, but it still did not fix the heater, so who knows what is next? I probably need a new heater but you know that's not going to happen on a weekend. So we are all sitting huddled around a space heater the size of a box of cereal. And not a jumbo box either. One of those teeny boxes that still manage to cost $4.00.

Max enjoys the space heater. Being a weenie dog, he has no body fat, and has taken lately to hiding underneath blankets because he is cold. He enjoys sitting in front of the heater, letting the warm air wash over him.

Steve is home now, his ship pulled in, and he will be home now, with no more underway periods, until they deploy. I am still in denial about that, and am focused on making sure my kids have a nice, happy Christmas. They don't need a mom who is moping around, depressed because of the impending deployment.

Steve is currently sleeping on the couch, which has missed him in his absence. :-) The kids wrote their Santa letters today. They wrote a list of their top three wish list items, and Santa will pick one of the three to bring them.

A great big Thank You to Poppy, who sent us a box of Christmas presents yesterday, and said we didn't have to wait 8 more days! Jonathan got a K'Nex kit, which he immediately built and has not put down since. Katie got a marabou-trimmed, makeup-filled purse. She got little tubs of glitter lip gloss, little tubes of glitter lipstick, hair bows and clips, 2 glitter hair gels, a brush and mirrir, and 2 nail polishes. She has been sparkly for 2 days now and loves it!

Max could smell that his present was something yummy and tore the paper off his present himself! I took pictures of it because he was so determined to get it open and when he finally did he ran off to hide, and chew his present (a big rawhide bone) in privacy.

Steve opened his today, a pound of Dunkin' Donuts coffee, which we cannot get out here in CA and so enjoy when a friend takes pity on us, and a New England Patriots Santa Hat. He loves it!

As for me, I got my very most favorite yummy, milk chocolate covered honeycomb. It is unbelievably sweet! And so was Poppy for sending me a Michael's giftcard too! She knows how I love to make things! Woohoo, now I can go to the craft store!

That's about it for today.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Running around like a nut...

Well today I overslept, and we had to fly out the door to get to school on time. Today is the last day of school for the kids. Back when I was in school, we got out at half-day on the 23rd of December. My kids are getting out today, the 16th???

I always make homemade gifts for the kids' teachers, and this year was no exception. Katie is in a multiage class, and has 2 teachers. So I made something for each teacher, and one for Jonathan's teacher. Jonathan's teacher is getting a cake, a vanilla one with red and green sprinkles in the cake itself, iced green with holiday sprinkles on top.

I heard Katie's primary teacher say her favorite pie was apple, so I went to work. I made 2 apple pies, one with a real lattice top--thanks to Jordan for her cookbook with instructions on how to weave a real lattice top! The second pie was crumb-topped, with oats, brown sugar, butter and chopped walnuts. The 2 teachers can fight it out over who gets which one.

Both kids' class parties are this afternoon. Katie's class is making cocoa from scratch, and our contribution was powdered sugar to go in the pot.

Jonathan brought holiday candy for his party, and they are having chips and dip, and veggies and dip, and other munchies, so I am bringing in bean dip to go with the tortilla chips they will be having. I scooped it out of the can, put it on a plate, and shaped it like a star. Then I outlined the bean dip in squeezy cheese. It looks festive. Trinice tells me I am creative, but I don't know, I just didn't want to show up with a dinky can of bean dip.

What else have I done this morning? Oh yeah- I made a "new mommy" dinner for my friend Rachel, who had a beautiful baby girl 9 days ago. She is a little bundle of perfection, and it was such a pleasure to prepare a lasagna, toss a salad and get some garlic bread. I also made a cake, which is cooling now.

I have a pan in the shape of a Christmas tree, and I used it to make Rachel's dessert. When the cake is cool, I am going to ice and decorate it, with green sprinkles to make the tree green, and a yellow star on top and of course, bulbs and garland.

All that, and done before lunch. Tonight's dinner will be PB&J, because I don't feel like cooking any more!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Cookies, cookies, cookies!

This has been the week of the bake sale! The kids' school does a 2-night holiday program every year. Half of the classes perform each night. Before and after the program, there is a bake sale. I rounded up all the bakers and we had about 30 dozen treats per night to sell to the families. In addition to rounding up the treats & selling them, I also baked some yummies to add to the pile. I made chocolate chip cookies with M&Ms in them, cranberry orange mini loaves, and chocolate-chocolate chip cookies, with Santa-shaped chips in them too. Of course, I had to be there both nights, not just to sell things before & after, but also because I had one child performing per night! They couldn't both be on the same night, noooooo...

Well today is Thursday, and that is the traditional school bake sale day. Every Thursday, a different class takes turns hosting a bake sale, and the proceeds go into the class' special occasions fund. They buy special school supplies or party stuff with it.

So I baked yet again last night! This time it was cupcakes. This weekend I have a cookie exchange to go to, and I need 7 dozen cookies. That's not too bad, I guess. At least the cookie exchange isn't with 20 families or I would be baking all day!

Next I have to make trays of cookies for our friends in the neighborhood, as a holiday treat. Then the family will be making sugar cookies for Santa on Christmas Eve.

Finally, I will be making a care package of many, many cookies to send Steve off on deployment with, after the New Year.

I will wear holes in the kitchen floor from being in there so much!

A little bit about us

Hello family and friends! I am going to use this site to keep everyone updated on what is going on in our lives.

Steve will be home for Christmas, and will deploy in January for 6 months. Keep up-to-date with Steve's deployment news here. I will post updates as time passes.

Jonathan is 9 now and in 4th grade. He loves dinosaurs, football in general and the New England Patriots in particular, Legos and Harry Potter. His favorite color is green.

Katie is 5 and in Kindergarten. She loves pink! She loves Barbie, My Little Pony, Polly Pockets, and having her nails painted. She loves to draw, color and make cards for friends.

Max is our weenie dog, our red mini dachshund. He loves sleeping in the sunshine, and in keeping with the Christmas season, currently enjoys chewing the ornaments off the Christmas tree. His other hobbies include chewing the family's shoes and stealing food off our plates if our backs are turned.

And then there is me, Jenn. I am a SAHM. I like to cook, bake, knit, crochet (many thanks to Jessica for teaching me), cross stitch, scrapbook and make cards. (I have passed that on to Katie.) I hold down the fort while Steve is gone.