DPP Day 13: Waffles

Our advent calendar activity of the day was to have waffles for dinner. Truth be told, this is not the most unusual activity for us; we probably do it at least once a month. We are all waffle fiends. They are one of the very, very few things August will eat (and I cant sneak orange vegetables into them easily and with no ill effects!)

I wanted to make it a little more special than regular old waffle night – so I decided to try Carrot Cake Waffles. It was much more fussy recipe than my normal (fabulous) sourdough one, but it was a fun change, and they were delicious. And plus? I made fresh maple whipped cream to go on top. So, yeah. It kind of kicked ass.

And there was bacon.
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What’s your family’s favorite breakfast-for-dinner meal? I’m always in the market for new ideas!

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DPP Day 6: Gingerbread House

Something that Silas has wanted to do for a long time that we’ve never managed to make happen is making his own gingerbread house. So this morning, when I walked into Trader Joe’s and was greeted by a self-contained kit for $7.99, I knew we had a winner! We made a last minute substitution to the advent calendar line-up, and away we went.

The kit is really cute, requiring only an egg white and a few drops of vinegar to mix up the frosting (and it even comes with its own pastry bag thing to pipe the frosting!)

Needless to say, much fun was had, many candies were sampled, and all in all, it was a big hit.

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DPP Day 5: Downtown Holiday Extravaganza!

I wrote yesterday how we’re doing an experiential advent calendar this year (which I plan to write more about eventually, because it is SO fun!)

One of the experiences we included was a trip to downtown Seattle to take in some of the city’s holiday spirit! We did this with friends last year, and it was a blast, so we decided to do it again. We hit up the gingerbread houses at the Sheraton, the Teddy Bear Suite at the Fairmont, and the carousel twice!20121205-200249.jpg

This kid. He LOVES the holidays. He was positively giddy when we were walking through Nordstrom to meet our friends – skipping, counting all the christmas trees, and exclaiming with wonder and joy the whole time. His joy is truly my joy.

DPP Day 4: Experiential Advent Calendar

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We decided to try making our own experiential advent calendar this year. Silas is not a chocolate fan, and those Lego/Playmobil calendars are so darn spendy (and I’m not sure that 2 1/2 year old August would really get those).

We have something planned for every day until Christmas Eve. Some are big (tomorrow we’re going on a Downtown Seattle Extravaganza, seeing the gingerbread houses at the Sheraton, the Teddy Bear Suite, carousel, and more). Some are small – today Silas got instructions printed out to build a Lego Christmas Tree (out of Legos we already have). We also wrapped our holiday books and we open one per day.

There have been some stumbles (like planning to do salt dough ornaments today and not getting around to it) but so far, it’s so fun. Silas is obsessed with holidays (all of them), so having a little something to look forward to everyday is really giving him something to focus on, instead of just obsessing about when Christmas is.

Aug is just along for the ride, having fun, opening books at the wrong time, taking ornaments off the tree and declaring, “Here this is!” Thanks, buddy. We were looking for that. 🙂

A Wonderful Week of Thanksgiving

It’s been a truly wonderful week of thanksgiving for my family! We’ve been down staying with my parents, about 40 minutes outside of Portland, OR, cooking, playing, dancing, making things…being awesome, generally!

We embraced our inner ducks to play outside:
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We collected cool leaves to dry (though we truthfully forgot to dry them – but the gathering and exploration of all the different shapes and colors was great fun in and of itself)20121123-131548.jpg

We cooked delicious food together. Here, my dad (Pops) and Silas work on pizzas for lunch. 🙂
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I made this ridiculously good Spinach Artichoke Dip for snacking – I think this one will become a holiday regular!20121123-131600.jpg

My wonderful husband surprised me with these super wicked awesome dino knee socks (and yes, the dinos are saying, “RAR!”)20121123-131529.jpg

My father-in-law, husband and Silas put together this amazing cardboard giraffe – it walks when you turn the crank! Thanks, Uncle Paul, for sending it to us!20121123-131618.jpg

And of course, there was a lot of dancing!20121123-131635.jpg

Lady Gaga (Bad Romance) is always a really big hit around here20121123-131652.jpg

There was also some dressing up in matching outfits for little boys – something they LOVE to do (which kind of kills me)! They are BIG fans of fancy clothes. 🙂 20121123-131726.jpg

And there was a Santa Sighting20121123-131740.jpg

And a family jam session with my dad and Uncle Tim20121123-131755.jpg

And proof that I participated: my swollen fingertips. Boy do I need to play more! I’m so outta practice. 20121123-131804.jpg

And now we’re off to take Silas to Wreck-It Ralph. I just love seeing movies in the theater!

I hope you all had wonderful holidays!

Loving 2011: Day Eleven

I’m participating in Lori-Lyn’s Loving 2011, a personal retrospective of the year.

What Holiday Traditions Are You Creating This Year?

I *love* the holidays, and since we’re really not religious, it’s the traditions that make it magic in our family.  Here’s the low-down on the old traditions we love to look forward to and the sparkly NEW traditions we created this year!

The Classics: Movies, Food and Tree

Movies and Cartoons!  We are a media loving family, and we have SEVERAL movies that we try to watch each holiday season.

*Emmett Otter’s Jug Band Christmas – This was my grandfather’s favorite, so it’s kind of bittersweet for me now.  But I love watching it and singing along.

*March of the Wooden Soldiers  (1934)– The Laurel and Hardy version, people!  This one is soooo hilarious and campy and wonderful.  I’m fairly certain that my husband thinks my mother and I are insane about this, but trust me – you should watch it.

*Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol – Razzleberry Dressing.  That’s all I’m saying.

*Mickey’s Christmas Carol – my FAVORITE of all time.  It’s only a half hour, so really easy for kids to enjoy, too.  The best intro/outro music, so pretty!  It was on ABC Family once already this year, so check your listings.

*Holiday Inn – this is my husband’s addition to the mix.  While I’m not totally sold, it is pretty awesome because it has Bing Crosby singing White Christmas.

Food!  Also HUGE food fans around here.  There are always lots of snackies around during the holidays at our house.  Some of our favorites include classic Chex mix, Spritz cookies (shot out of the cookie gun!), spiced walnuts, and these crazily delicious enhanced oyster crackers that my grandmama makes (I think the ingredients are butter, oyster crackers and ranch dressing mix…OMG).

Then of course, there’s Christmas dinner, where we always have to have CRAPPLE (cran-apple cobbler-y type thing that is SO GOOD), my grandmama’s cornbread stuffing (she calls it dressing; potato, potahto), mashed potatoes, and then some kind of main course – this is the only thing that is variable.  And there’s usually a couple of pies, including Buttermilk pie (although ours uses lemon extract) and chocolate pie.  I can’t WAIT!

In the past my mom’s usually had a lot of these things made in advance.  This year, I asked her to hold off until we arrive to make the cookies – because I know a certain someone who would LOVE to play with the cookie gun!  And Silas and August would probably like it, too. 😉

Tree!  I *love* decorating a Christmas tree.  When I was growing up, my dad would do all the boring stuff, like the lights and the garland, and then skedaddled as my mom and I took over with our very loud sing-a-long to Very Dramatic Christmas Carols.  We fancied ourselves opera-like-divas while we unwrapped our ornaments from the tissue paper, with some cheerful ribbing thrown in (i.e., “Oooh, look which one I found!” sang in the nah-nah-nah-nah-naaah voice.)  I can’t wait to do it again this year with some little helpers.  And I really hope they sing along…LOUDLY.

The New: Downtown Seattle Holiday Extravaganza!

This was a new one this year, but I hope to continue it in years to come.  A good friend started doing this last year with her daughter, and she was kind enough to invite us and some other friends along this year. Note: We went on a Tuesday morning, and there was virtually no wait for anything.  I’m sure the weekends are a madhouse of misery.  My advice: take the morning off, make some memories.

We started by visiting the Nordstrom’s Santa, where some of us got very nice photos taken (seriously, if the kids ever want to get photos taken with Santa this is THE place to do it.  Very low-key, they keep the waiting people at bay so it’s not crazy-feeling, and the staff were SO nice).  And they give out candy canes!

Next, we headed off to the Sheraton for the Gingerbread Village! Here’s what they say about it: “Each year local architecture firms collaborate with the Sheraton Seattle culinary team to custom design, bake, and build awe-inspiring gingerbread displays.”  And they were AWESOME!  Definitely worth seeing.

Next up was the Fairmount Hotel, where we oohed and ahhed over all the Christmas trees in the lobby, grabbed a snack, and then headed up to the Teddy Bear Suite!  A whole suite that looks like Christmas just exploded all over it – in a totally awesome way.  Teddy Bears everywhere, a giant four-poster bed, holiday books to browse…it was wonderful, and the kids had a blast.

After grabbing some lunch, we headed off to the carousel, which was much-loved by all.

What traditions are you creating this year?