We had scheduled and rescheduled our visit to see Santa for a bunch of different reasons, but finally got there on Tuesday morning. I had them dressed up and was even wetting and combing William's hair seconds before he was placed on Santa's lap. And who even knows if it even matters, getting the perfect photo is all a big question mark. Really, if you were placed on this dude's lap wouldn't you start crying?
I had asked the grandparents a few weeks back for pictures of Billy and I around the same age as Lauren and William to compare reactions and of course, how similar they each look to us. I'm 3.5 yrs old in this picture and PJ is about 10 months. What I LOVE about this picture...my pants! You can't go wrong in plaid pants.
I forgot to get confirmation on ages, but if I had to guess Billy is about 3 or 4 years old and Cara is oneish? Surprisingly, none of us are crying. Maybe not crazy smiles..ok, I think the candy canes helped below.
Everyone was smiles and in good moods. With a few minutes to kill we took some pictures.
Lauren patiently waited as they called our names and proudly asked Santa for a dollhouse for her birthday. She got it half right.
A little bit better facial expressions then their parents, but not by much. Though they look good, you have to admit that!
William had to get his own picture with Santa since it is was his first visit to see the big guy. Lauren said he isn't getting anything from Santa because he can't talk.
We are now just days away from Christmas and even though we've really tried to celebrate the season it has really crept up on me. I feel pretty ready, but an almost too ready feeling so I'm making a crazy amount of lists so I don't forget anything. Like, we were suppose to make Chex Mix today and I had half the ingredients, so I conveniently made that tomorrow's activity. Today, watch a Christmas movie. Our choices are "Die Hard" or "Love Actually." Two great Christmas movies, but not classics.
Hint, hint for any last minute shoppers...Christmas Vacation and A Christmas Story would be great additions to our pretty lame DVD collection.
We did well with our Christmas crafts...marshmallow snowman!
Elmer's Glue, construction paper, markers, googly eyes and marshmallows. I traced the snowman and she glued and stuck/ate the marshmallows.
For the snow, we had some white paint and she dipped a marshmallow in and made dots.
Our annual cookie making tradition with Grandma Mary was last week too. Lauren was at school for some of the heavy baking, but helped after lunch.
Check out our Elf on a Shelf hanging from the chandelier...he's a wild man, that Prince Mittens:)
Lauren does add time to the process but its worth it. All she wants to do is be right in the middle of everything we do. So we let her help and may or may not have had to redo all her thumbprints.
After grandma left I just let her go to town on all these sugar cookies. I can't get over how much more she can understand and listen since just turning 3. Our conversations are more elaborate and the "why" questions have begun.
Lauren: "Why is it called church?"
Billy: "It comes from the latin word..."
Saturday's activity was all Billy. Build a fort and have dinner in it.
Lauren and William did think it was pretty cool, Billy thought is was SUPER cool.
(Not the best pic of everyone, but it was all I got. Apologies in advance.)
I've had so much fun with the 25 days of Christmas and know that the next few years will be even more memorable but with little room for forgetting ingredients:)
This visit was on my mental "to-do" list for months, I took Lauren to meet my Aunt Madeline when she was five months old, so I was a little behind but felt like the holidays were a perfect time to go.
Aunt Madeline is my grandmother's sister and the oldest living sibling. There were six sisters and two brothers and longevity is definitely in our genes. She is 93 years old! Besides a long healthy life, can I also wish to have that good of hair too?
We enjoyed our little visit, I got both kids a little dressed up for the occasion. You know, because kids always look cuter when they are dressed up.
These pictures are absolutely precious, I love that I caught this on film.
I realized after our visit that William is the youngest and Aunt Madeline is the oldest in the Dutts Family.
Lauren's friend, Camille invited the play group over last week to make a mini gingerbread house. Everyone was asked to bring different candy and our host supplied the houses.
Upon arriving, Lauren's eyes saw the table-o-candy and I knew "don't mind if I do" was coming next. There were a few swipes of M&M's here and there, and if you can't beat 'em, join 'em!
The newly minted three year olds enjoyed painting and decorating their houses.
Making a gingerbread house was part of The 25 days of Christmas. We are having fun with our list and I know Lauren is enjoying each day's activity. Last night we drove around and looked at Christmas lights...the crazier the better for kids!
Thanks to Camille, Kelly and Drew for hosting! What a fun idea and hope we can do it next year.
As one would guess I'm very particular about what goes on my tree. Billy said that sooner or later my designer tree will be no longer so we can make way for all the kids ornaments. My response...we'll have two trees! Ha!
I'm so happy with how the tree turned out this year. I've kept the same color scheme of red and gold for a few years and have gradually added more and more finishing touches.
I picked up these poinsettia's that have really completed the look. If only I could find the right angel, I could sleep at night:)
Here she is all lit up at night!
Our mantel is the only other area we decorate. I have some ideas for our buffet, but I'm going to wait to purchase those items until after Christmas.
I've had the same mantel decor since I had my first place. We just cut a few branches from the back of the tree and voila!
My favorite part is the red string beading. My mom and I bought it at a speciality shop and I love the way it sparkles and hangs off the mantel.
Outside I recycled my fall wreath with some Christmas garland, ribbon, and berries. It was so easy to pull out and replace.
I wanted to share all the details from Lauren's Tangled Party...
what we did and where I got my inspiration from.
The birthday sign was all me.
I made a similar one last year and just used the same idea with purple and yellow.
This picture was snapped in a matter of seconds right before the guests arrived. Grandma Robin tried to make them both laugh and even though Lauren isn't looking...they are matching, under the tree and smiling! I'll take it!
After getting inspired at Christopher's birthday, I began my internet search for the perfect Rapunzel cake. Perfect and easy! I modified the cake tutorial found here.
Everything I bought was from Kroger. The cake was two 9" layers of a Betty Crocker box (raspberry jam held them together and added something fruity) and topped with one container of frosting and just a hint of green food coloring.
The tower is just plain donuts and a sugar ice cream cone that I frosted with the remaining frosting (mixing red and blue food coloring). The key was Billy's state of the art stand. The tutorial suggested a dowel but other people said it was falling over. His stand was made of twine that had a base. I can email a picture to anyone interested.
I then had purple, yellow, and green icing with 4 different tips to create this masterpiece. The assembly/frosting took 30 minutes.
(I'm even wearing "the magic flower")
We played two Tangled inspired games...
Not a big win with Lauren's guests:)
We then pinned the frying pan on Flynn Rider. All three girls enjoyed this easy game. I skipped the blindfold and just spun them around a few times.
I got the idea from this blog. She had the right idea on taking the image to a copy center to be printed vs. drawing your own. She also did a variation of the tower cake. Her daughter's party looked like a great time!
Of course, everyone was a winner!
Each girl got to take home their own set of Rapunzel paints.
Also borrowed from Pluckymomo...she was full of ideas!
(Yesterday we used our paints to make Flynn Rider more colorful)
Opened presents, ate pizza,
and sang Happy Birthday!
It was the perfect little party with a few special touches!
As much as she loved the cake I made and getting new presents, it was having her friends over that she liked best!