Monday, December 28, 2009

Too fast...

Tonight at dinner, when asked whether he wanted to take a bath or shower tonight, Cooper had this answer. "I take showers because I'm a big guy. You take showers (Erik), you take showers (me), I take showers. We all take showers because we are big guys".

When did he become a big guy? and why does it make me so very sad to think that he is finished taking baths?

It does truly all go by so quickly.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Merry Christmas to All!!

Christmas morning highlights, in photos:


Anticipation


Ellery's delivery from Santa


Cooper's delivery from Santa


Checking out Super Mario Brothers


Playing with her new Taggies ball


Playing together

Hope everyone had a joyful holiday!!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Advent Day 21

Solstice Celebration!

The big activity for our little Solstice Celebration was stringing popcorn, cranberries, and cheerios to put outside for the birds and squirrels. We talked about how the animals need extra help during the cold winter months, so we did our part to help. I thought this activity would be difficult for Cooper, but he surprised me once again. He was a natural using a needle and thread and took right to it. He also liked discussing all the different patterns we were making.


 
 
 
After we strung five strands, we hung them from one of the trees in the front yard. Hope the animals enjoy!


 
 
We read two books about the winter solstice: The Shortest Day: Celebrating the Winter Solstice by Wendy Pfeffer, illustrated by Jesse Reisch and The Winter Solstice by Ellen Jackson, illustrated by Jan Davey Ellis.

No celebration is complete without a nice meal for dinner.

The Solstice miracle at dinner was watching my three year old eat brussels sprouts. Seriously. I must say they were delicious, or, as Cooper prefers to say, scrumptious!

Erik is officially on vacation today through Christmas. Hurray!!!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Busy times

We are all busy getting ready for Christmas and still enjoying the Advent activities. But, I've been bad about taking pictures, and have had some big Advent failures. The worst failure was having shopping for Christmas gifts as an activity. What was I thinking? This is not fun for a 3 year old. Let's just say there were countless melt downs in front of the many displays geared towards him. I definitely set him up for failure on that one.

One day we walked up to the neighborhood coffee shop for hot chocolate. Cooper still remains unimpressed by hot chocolate and it remained mostly in his cup. He did like playing with the toys at the coffee shop though.

Cooper was thrilled with the minimal snow we got a few days ago and insisted on going out in his PJs.


 

We all had a great time building a ginger bread house, especially me, since Cooper did some and told me I could do the rest by myself. He is always complimentary when he loses interest, and tells me that I'm doing such a great job. So sweet. Cooper was right...I did do a good job this year, don't you think?


 
 
 
 
 

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Advent Day 13

Celebrate Sankta Lucia Day!!!!

We had our very first Lucia celebration. For those who don't know, it is a Swedish tradition, and you can learn more here. I'm definitely still learning about the holiday and figuring out how I would like to celebrate. So what did we do for Sankta Lucia Day?

We had a lovely breakfast and lit lots of candles. We had minimal traditional foods present, mostly because it is pretty dairy heavy. Since I can't eat dairy due to Ellery's sensitivities, I wasn't willing to make things that I couldn't taste. Selfish...maybe a little. The breakfast was delicious, if less than traditional. We ate pancakes with lingonberry jelly, raspberry danish, and bacon. I made the pancakes from a dairy free multigrain box mix using extra rice milk so the batter was thinner, more like Swedish pancakes. They were super delicious. All the candles gave the morning a magical feeling and Cooper was especially enchanted by it all. I think it was a successful start to a new tradition and I'm looking forward to adding to it next year.

Here's Erik lighting the candles. There is even a candle attached to each plate.

Cooper enjoying the lights
 
 
 
 

Later in the day we went to Cosi for the first time as a family. It was surprisingly empty...everyone must have been out doing Christmas shopping instead. A wonderful end to a three day family weekend that was pretty ideal. Lucky us!

And last, a couple rare photos of me.

Trying to capture the morning breakfast

Still in my pjs...and yes, I have had that shirt since high school
 
Riding a rocket with Cooper
 
Can you see how much I love that boy?
 


*Erik shared some of his pictures with me for this entry (which is showing off how not so great my pictures are. oh well).

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Advent Day 12

Another lesson in flexibility....

Today read Make Ginger Cookies. This was to prepare for Sankta Lucia Day, which is our Advent Day 13. However, we made last minute plans to drive to Dayton to spend the evening with our friends Jamie, Nilesh, William, Annie, and Graham. What a treat!!! There is nothing quite like spending time with good friends.


We did still manage to make cookies, with an idea shared by my friend Emilie. Reindeer cookies!


The kids had fun making them. I loved watching the individuality expressed by each.

William seemed to like lots of chocolate chips and thought it was super cool that his reindeer had many eyes.


Annie seemed more interested in consuming the decorations as well as the raw dough. She also practiced beautiful excess...I think the pile of red sprinkles on her plate exceeded the cookie dough.

 

Cooper worked diligently to create cookies that looked as close to my examples as possible, requesting help and support to do so, balanced on the edge of a break down when a step went a bit awry. Ah, the my son, the perfectionist.


I failed to take any after pictures. Suffice it to say that the kids and adults enjoyed eating them.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Advent Day 11

Today was the day Cooper has been waiting for since we started the Advent calendar. I think just about every morning he has asked "does it say get a Christmas tree?" or "are we getting the Christmas tree tomorrow?" Box 11 finally came through for him. Here's the play-by-play:


 
 
 
 
 

And the goods:


 

Cooper's current favorite ornaments of 2009.

 


They aren't on the tree anymore. They are on the shelf next to his bed watching him sleep. Cooper even had a fairly long conversation with both Lightening and Sally before going to bed. I love the magic of Christmas.

I hope that it isn't all down hill from here. Oh box 12, can you be as sweet as 11?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Granola Recipe

Enjoy!!!!

 

Ingredients

  • 8 cups rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 cups wheat germ
  • 1 1/2 cups oat bran
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup finely chopped almonds
  • 1 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 1 cup finely chopped walnuts
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups raisins or sweetened dried cranberries

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Line two large baking sheets with parchment or aluminum foil.
  2. Combine the oats, wheat germ, oat bran, sunflower seeds, almonds, pecans, and walnuts in a large bowl. Stir together the salt, brown sugar, maple syrup, honey, oil, cinnamon, and vanilla in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then pour over the dry ingredients, and stir to coat. Spread the mixture out evenly on the baking sheets.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven until crispy and toasted, about 20 minutes. Stir once halfway through. Cool, then stir in the raisins or cranberries before storing in an airtight container.

Advent Days 8, 9 and 10

It's been a bit of a whirl-wind few days so here's an update covering all three.

Day 8, which was Tuesday, was all about making presents for Cooper's classmates and teachers. The salt dough ornaments from Day 7 were the gifts for his classmates, along with a chocolate ornament from Trader Joes. Cooper worked diligently to paint 19 (!) ornaments. I have been amazed by Cooper's willingness to partake in crafty activities with me. So much fun!!


 
I love these little fingers!
 
The finished ornaments
 

After the kids were in bed I set about making Holiday Granola for his teachers. I did a trial run over the weekend and was amazed by 1. how easy it was and 2. how amazingly delicious it is. I highly recommend making this, and will include the recipe for those interested.







Erik and I worked to package everything up so it was ready for delivery at school on Wednesday morning. This was Cooper's last day of school for Christmas break.



Day 9 was slated to be a day for making Christmas cards. Unfortunately I had a rough day and the activity got scrapped. I just couldn't get it together. I'm still plagued by a baby who has a couple nights per week of waking every two hours. Waking two times is a really great night for her. Good thing she is so darn cute! The sleep deprivation is a rough road at almost 8 months, along with hormonal shifts, the stresses of being a mom to little ones, etc. etc. etc.

So we moved on to Day 10, and shifted making Christmas cards to today. This activity went much how I imagined that the craft activities would go, with Cooper saying "no thanks...you can do that by yourself". I got him to do a couple, and then I worked alone. There are no pictures, because I don't want to spoil the surprise for those who will be receiving one.

Today I also started making more of an effort to get myself back on track by trying to stay healthy with a new vitamin and herbal regimen. Healthy mamas make for happy kids, and better Advent activities too!!