Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Nibble Nibble Like a Mouse...

...who is nibbling at my house?

If you know who says that, we are friends. I know I've mentioned it here before, because it freaked me out as a child and has clearly scarred me for life. :)

It seems like every year that we are putting together the family gingerbread house Eric is traveling. It's sort of a tradition now. Dad leaves, we decorate tiny cookie homes. This year our resident elf Moe brought our house once again, and the kids were driving me crazy to put it together! We finally got around to candy construction last night.

We used a Disney kit this year. It comes with some Mickey shaped candies and a few cute character cut outs. Our particular house came from the North Pole bakery of course, but I hear you can pick them up at Walmart, too. And thankfully, our sweet residence does not belong to a wicked witch in the middle of the forest who wishes to eat children. Because that is so weird, and the dudes who came up with that idea were seriously disturbed.

Looking at you, Jake and Will G.

Last year we had some malfunctions with a home that did NOT want to stay together no matter what we did. The roof just slid right on off of the icing mortar, and the walls caved in like the house was disappearing into a brown sugar sinkhole. So this time we totally cheated and hot glued that sucker together. Those pieces were not going anywhere! It made for much fewer headaches. I vote that from now on all gingerbread house kits come with a complimentary glue gun. Or real cement.

As usual, there was just as much finger licking and candy sneaking as there was decorating. All part of the fun, right? And no matter how sloppy and sticky, you can't really go wrong with colorful gumdrops and candy will always come out cute. ;)



Those are the sounds our house makes when it models to the left and right, in case you didn't know.

Once again, we aren't winning any awards, but the kids did have a very good time! That's one more holiday tradition complete this year. Check! You won't be seeing this mother trying to bake up her own gingerbread any time soon (like ever) but these little kits are so quick and easy...simple holiday fun! My favorite kind.

Hope your day is super sweet!

Monday, December 5, 2016

I Like the Knightlife Baby

It was time once again for the annual Knights of Columbus Christmas party, and there was no way we were going to miss it. We have to be choosy these days about which events we come "home" for, knowing that it's a bit more of a time commitment with the drive. But when this is one of just a few things that the kids start talking about long before the season starts, you know that it's worth the extra miles!

We got all dressed up and ready to go! And nope...I didn't bother making my bed or picking up before we took a bunch of mirror photos. Getting five kids ready to go somewhere is no joke!

Before the party we stopped in for a visit with my mom, of course. She did the annual cookie baking extravaganza on her own this year - one of the sacrifices of moving away! But I hear she did leave some to do over Christmas break. ;)

Soon we found ourselves at the party, where I got a lot of blurry pictures of kids who were much too excited to sit still. Who can blame them?!

I'm learning to embrace the fuzzy pictures. I used to skip right over them when choosing photos to share in posts or blogs, but seriously...there is a lot of life happening in those moments. :)

Aunt Amy is brilliant, and she always brings something for the kids to do while they wait for all of the official fun to start!

Pardon me while I share some of the one million photos that we took. 

There's Gingy!

Hello, little Linc!

After everyone had their fill of dinner it was time for some traditions. (And thank goodness we have a couple of kids who are now old enough to hold their own plates in a buffet line, haha. What a world of difference!) Next up was singing some tunes to earn a little Christmas cash!

Reagan sang a rousing chorus of "Jingle Bells" with the girls to get his dollar. :) 

They had an adoring audience, of course.

Some of Gracie's first paychecks on the road to becoming a rockstar. ;) 

As all of the adorable singing began to wind down, the distinct sound of jingle bells could be heard in the air. Could it be? Is it he?

I thought Reagan was going to come out of skin when Santa Claus made his way through the hall and found a seat near the Christmas tree. All of the kids eagerly awaited their names to be called to get their shot at telling Santa what they want for Christmas!

We got a ton of pictures and video of all of this, but I'll just share one of each here today. We were so happy to see the best Santa around at the party this year!

Grace wants a lava lamp. Evelyn wants a sled and some Shopkins. :)

Poor Reagan had been trying to tell me for weeks what he wanted for Christmas, and I couldn't understand what the heck he was saying. 

"A heart doctor?"
"A hotdog shirt?"

Finally, I figured out he was trying to tell me he wanted a helicopter. Haha. But I wasn't alone in the end. A boy at the party asked Reagan what he wanted, and the boy said, "I thought he said he wanted a heart doctor!" Heart doctor, helicopter. Same thing!

Lincoln fell asleep just before his turn. That's fine by me...always makes the cutest Santa pictures!

And then there was Charlotte. Charlotte was terrified of Santa last year, so I had no idea how she would react this year. It was looking promising when he walked into the room and she got VERY excited along with the other kids. But when it was actually her turn to sit on his knee....

She wiggled and squirmed until someone came to her rescue. :) But she did like admiring him from afar. Eventually she found her reflection in one of the ornaments on the tree and thought that was just dandy.

What a goose!

I think Eric had to keep his eyes pried open with toothpicks on the drive home last night, but I would say it was well worth it! The kids had so much fun. It was great to pop in and see my mom and for the kids to hang out with John and their cousins for a little while. Eric, are you sure we can't buy a second home in Red Bud? It would make a lovely vacation destination. Haha! We could have dual state citizenship. And the schools wouldn't mind if we were there one week and gone the next, I'm sure. Wasn't common core supposed to make that possible or something? :)

In other news, the heat in this dang house keeps going out, and I'm currently waiting on the repairman (for the second time this month) to get here and defrost us. It's a good thing I have these lovely pictures and memories to sift through while I sit huddled beneath blankets with my babies. Eric is traveling this week, so it's back to the grind for us. I foresee a lot of Christmas movie watching every evening while we await his return. Christmastime is here!

Friday, December 2, 2016

Making Magic at Home

Our holiday plans were completely turned upside-down at the last minute this year. But I ask you...who needs Mickey Mouse when you can take a pic with a pancake?

Photo compliments of grandma Joan. ;)

Between trips to grandparent's houses and getting to go to the movies and do other fun things, the kids don't seem to be missing much. We can make our own magic right here at home! And there is no better time of the year to do that than right now. 

Last night we had a MUCH needed family night. Nothing seems to turn out as we plan anymore, so it was no shock that when we took the kids to see Santa that the line was so long we decided to skip that part and just enjoy all of the rest of the festivities. Bass Pro always has such a fun set up for Christmas with their "Santa's Wonderland." The kids had fun playing and making crafts, and then we packed up to check out some lights!

Note the look on Eric's face. He loves this stuff, can you tell?

This is Gingy, Grace's gingerbread girl who is supposed to accompany our family on fun things we do for the holidays. :)

Eric. :D 

Every few days they change up the free crafts that they have available. While we were there, the kids were able to color Christmas canvases - right up the big girls' alley!

Charlotte wanted to RUN here, there, and everywhere.

This moose talks, which the kids and I found to be funny and Eric thought was extremely creepy. I didn't even notice when I was taking this picture, but Grace snuck some "snow" home with her in her pocket. "I was just trying to bring home some memories, mom!" We got to have a real Full House moment this morning when I explained to her that it wasn't ours to take and that "If every kid brought home some of the snow, there would be none left!" Oh brother. :)

Of course, it's not a trip to Bass Pro without checking out the fish in the giant tanks.

Charlotte was mesmerized. :)

I tried to get a couple of pictures with the kids before we left, but Eric was distracting the little ones and this was the best we could do...child photography skills, once again. 

Mom life! :D

Soon we were bundling back up to enjoy the second leg of our evening. Just ten minutes from our house is O' Fallon's "Celebration of Lights" at Fort Zumwalt park. It's very much like the Shrine for those of you who are familiar, but with a lot more colorful lights and Christmas displays. Also like the Shrine, it's $10 for regular vehicles and definitely worth seeing if you are in the area!

Different churches and local businesses sponsor certain areas of the park to create displays. There is everything from manger scenes to popular cartoon characters like minions and the Peanuts gang...Santa and his elves are around and even superheroes. The kids really enjoyed it! 

Later this month there are a couple of nights where no cars are allowed and you can come and walk through the displays. Weather permitting, I think that would be really neat!

We grabbed a quick bite to eat to bring home with us after this. We pulled into the driveway, and a few of the kids raced ahead while Eric and I juggled food and bags and coats and kids...then suddenly Gracie came bursting out of the front door and exclaimed to the entire neighborhood,


She was a little bit excited about it.

He must have snuck in while we were gone! Our December 1 tradition remains alive and well. 

This cutie is busy soaking up this new life of his...welcome to Christmas, little dude. It's fun, right? :)

New jammies for all!

Charlotte Rose - such a stinker. She would rather be seeing what's going on behind the camera. But she's got the whole "cheese" thing down cold. 

It was a very full and very fun evening that was just what the doctor ordered, and we were never more than about 20 minutes from home. :) Today would have been the day that we were getting home from vacation, so I think I can officially take off the veil of mourning now, haha! I looked at Eric last night and said, "For the first time this week I can honestly say that what we did today was more fun than what we had planned to be doing." And that's very would have been a full day of driving for us yesterday. I'll take the day we had instead. ;)

Hope you all are having a great season so far! Happy weekend!


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