Monday, November 29, 2010

Our Stand on Santa

I've been thinking about how exactly to word this particular blog entry. Mainly because I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings or give off a 'holier than thou' sorta vibe. To be clear we are NOT anti Santa. We have, however, been putting alot of thought and conversation into our stand on the matter. Tessa is old enough now to wonder...who is he and what does he do?

Hmm...who is he and what does he do? That's a tough one.

The world probably knows that we are Christian and very active in our church. Tessa also goes to a Christian preschool and is always coming home telling me a new bible story, which I love.

There are some matters in which dedicating your lives to Christ means dedicating yourself against what the world is trying to push down your throat. It seems there is a constant tug of war battle in parenting, pushing against the commercials on TV that tell your kids what to buy and pulling your household ever closer to God. I know this sounds deep but it IS deep, it is very deep...all the way to the core.

I'm not saying we are in a tug of war battle against Santa. This is not Santa vs. Jesus in a boxing ring. What I am saying is that we are in battle to explore the TRUE meaning of Christmas with our children.

So, to sum it up I'll make some bullet points about our thoughts on Christmas. I'm just putting this out there for family and friends to know how we believe, NOT to push you to believe the same way or 'walk on eggshells' around us. Mom, please wear your Santa sweater with pride. Mamaw, please keep giving us our annual Santa figurine. They're all over our house!

-- Christmas will be mainly focused on the birth of Christ. When our kids ask what Christmas is, that's our answer plain and simple.

--If Tessa (and eventually Charley) want to know about Santa, we will tell them about St. Nicolas who has become an icon for Christmas. Btw, the Veggie Tales St. Nicolas movie is PERFECT for learning about him, especially at a young age.

--Santa doesn't come down our chimney or know your every thought and deed. I think this is the biggest sticking point for us. Santa is not watching you (nor an elf on a shelf) for good behavior, but the Lord always is. God is way more powerful than some imaginary elf.

--We probably will just do gifts from us and other family members and not Santa.

--We'll continue to push the idea of giving at Christmas more than receiving. Yay for Tessa who filled her first Operation Christmas Child box this year and I failed to get a picture. Definitely more of that kind of thing in the future.

--There is nothing wrong with families who choose to do Santa. Everyone has to make these kind of decisions for their kids and this is the decision that we're standing by.

Cookies in My Jar #7- Simple Cookies, Simple Mistake

I thought I'd keep it simple this week after all of the extravagant Thanksgiving eating. Next week I'll get back to trying some fun holiday cookies. Am I brave enough to do cut sugar cookies with frosting? We'll see. Last time I tried that (from scratch) it was a disaster.

Simple Nestle Tollhouse chocolate chippers. Anyone else out there have to pronounce Nestle Tollhouse with a french accent like Phoebe on Friends? Anyone?

Oh no, my cookies are puffy and round instead of flat and gooey. This is supposed to be simple, how could I have messed up? Baking POWDER instead of baking SODA. And this folks, is why I am not a great baker.

Isn't it amazing how on teaspoon of something can affect the whole batch? I'm sure there's a life metaphor in there.

But we kept them. The flavor is fine. Jeremy said I need to be better at masking my mistake by saying something like....look honey I tried a new puffy cookie recipe!

This week's recipe can be found right here...

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving Wrap Up

This year we had a nice Thanksgiving at home....well not our home but my childhood home. Since Jeremy planned on hunting on the farm a couple of days, we decided to stay over rather than go on home. It was really alot of fun. Perhaps a new turkey day tradition, although Thanksgiving spent in NYC would be a close second.

We had everything a good Thanksgiving weekend needs....

Relaxing and playing

Getting prettied up

Eating and eating

Anxiously awaiting cousins

Taking in the view out Mamaw's back window.

Hunting (but not getting a deer)

Crying for no good reason

Laughing for every good reason


Shopping and feeding ducks in the sleepy canal town of Metamora, while hunting for antiques and decorations.

More eating

And of course, resting

My Paradise Picture

Often on FB I see people post pics of their feet while on vacation, usually on the beach. You've all seen them, something like this:

Here's my version from Thanksgiving Weekend....

At Mamaw's house with my new boots. Kids are playing peacefully with toys, Mom's just to my left gabbing with me, I've got a hot cup of coffee and my husband is outside blissfully tracking Bambi's dad. Way better than any beach.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Cookies in My Jar #6- a Snappy Ginger Snap

There was this song in Tessa's dance recital last year that I've been singing all morning. A snap, a snap, a snappy ginger snap.

We're headed to North Vernon tonight and I thought I'd take a holiday-like cookie. So this morning the girls and I made ginger snaps! Tessa kept asking when we make it into a house...she was obviously confuse about snaps vs. gingerbread.

This is a great cookie to incorporate the kid's help.

You roll them into balls and then roll the balls in sugar. They LOVED that part.

Tessa make the mistake of eating a big finger full of plain ginger. She spit it out and said "it's so SPICY!". Ooops. They did enjoy the finished product however.

Someone had sent me a ginger snap recipe but I couldn't find it so in a pinch I used this one from allrecipes.

It Pays To Have Friends different states! My college friend (and roomie) Stephany loved the Charlie Brown pageant set but couldn't find it in Rhode Island, where she lives. She asked me to send her one and I threw in some of my homemade soap.

She was all set to reimburse me for the set and shipping and I told her rather than send me cash, how about a box for us of East Coast stuff. Isn't that SO much more fun??

Well today I received my Rhode Island loot! Check it out: a book for the kids, pine soap, lobster cookie cutter, lemonade and two things that are very mysterious to me....white corn meal and coffee syrup. Must be an East Coast thing.


Monday, November 22, 2010

Tear Down That....Gate!

For a time I have referred to our house as 'gate city'. We have baby gates all over the place. Some for the babies, some for the dogs.

We had gates to keep everyone in the living room and to close off the upstairs. For a time we even had some to hold to the dogs in the kitchen so they didn't bombard people coming in the front door.

I guess now that the kids are a tad older, and I've pretty much given up hope on the dogs being obedient, they have been rendered mostly useless. Tessa knows how to unlock all of them and Charley can be trusted more and more with all areas of the house. He's even pretty good on the stairs.

So, it's time to open up some space. This particular gate has been there since Tessa was about 10 months old (aka started crawling).

Everything in the house is mostly toddler proofed at this point. And there's also something to be said for house-proofing the toddler too.

Look at how big the door is! I'm telling you it is weird weird weird to see them all down. Also very nice, because at this point the kids were just slamming their fingers in them and stuff. Now they are free to roam. The end of an era.


You know one great thing about having a girl?

When a dress grows too small you can put it over jeans and call it a blousy tunic shirt.

You Should See the Other Kid

She looks MUCH better than I thought she would today. It's hard to see the bruising in this picture but the bridge of her nose is still pretty swollen and blue.

Nothing like some blood spilled at church on a beautiful Sunday morning. Yesterday in her Sunday School class, Tessa ran face first into the edge of a counter. Jeremy was called out of service to console her and when she couldn't calm down, they came on home.

The worst thing is that she was screaming for me and I feel so guilty, I wasn't there. In the interest of honesty I'll tell you exactly where I was.

I had had a little too much wine on my at-home date night with Jeremy Saturday night and was suffering from a splitting headache.

Jeremy said there was alot of blood and Tessa kept screaming "I want my MOM!". Church friends eager to help asked Jeremy where I was and if they could go find me. Where was mommy? home with a hangover.

Grumble. I feel really guilty.

You have to understand that since I'm home with them every day, I very rarely miss anything. I've kissed every boo boo, comforted every nightmare, wiped every dirty diaper. So for me to be MIA during a time that I was really needed is a little hard to swallow.

Furthermore, I have a personal rule against drinking wine on a Saturday night for this very reason. I want to be clear and energetic for church. In case you're wondering how many glasses of wine it takes to put me in a stupor.....two.

In the end everything was fine. Jeremy called me on their way home and I met her at the door with a bag of frozen peas, tylenol and some water. We mostly spent the day laying around and watching tv.

It's hard to tell if she broke her nose. It's swollen and sore but not as badly bruised as we thought it would be. If she did break it there's nothing they can do unless her airway is obstructed, which it's not. She's acting fine with no signs of concussion.

So Jeremy did good. I think Daddy can handle these things too, but that's still no excuse for a Sunday morning hangover.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Cute Videos from The Museum

Please excuse my sniffling and shoddy camera work but otherwise, enjoy.

Tessa guiding us at the Museum from Laura Sargent Bennington on Vimeo.

Tessa and Charley Dancing from Laura Sargent Bennington on Vimeo.

Fridays at the Museum

I've discovered the best time to go to the Children's Museum...3:30 on a Friday afternoon. The school groups are gone and there's only 1.5 hours until closing. It's practically empty and fabulous. So much so that when he saw us looking on the map for the Barbie exhibit, a staff member graciously walked us right there (cause he had nothing better to do). I love it.

1.5 hours is enough time to explore some dino bones, check out the penguin exhibit and slide, and finish with a little Barbie.

btw, I went down this slide with Tessa a couple of times and some guy offered to take my picture. I think my response was "oh hell no".

We did miss the carousel, which I will now remember closes at 4:45. But the museum staff have a genius way of emptying the building, having an 'end of the day parade' down the spiral ramp. "Rex" the dinosaur and staff guide everyone right to the lobby (gift shop) and wave goodbye.

Much more peaceful than when we visit in the morning and through lunchtime. More peaceful means more fun when it comes to small children.

Afterward we met Jeremy for dinner and I broke off to go to a Pampered Chef party. I was out until 11pm!! Crazy fun day, indeed!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Pigtail Day

The girls took a nice long bubble bath in our jacuzzi tub this morning. I even got the jets going for them (glad to know they still work as they very rarely get used).

Since they both had clean hair, I couldn't resist styling them with a matching 'do.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Singing, Baking and Sagey Soap Making

Today was such a nice Sunday. It started with me singing for the first time with our church's worship band. I really enjoyed myself and being a part of the band, leading the church in worship.

Aside from a performance here and there (at the church talent show, or the Jones Memorial Concert) it's been a looong time since I've been behind a mic. But there's something cool about this that takes the pressure off of those perfectionist PMO tendencies. This is all done in love, for the church and God's glory. So we just sang our hearts out and it was NICE! was promptly followed by a whole family nap, then a movie. During movie time Jeremy started a bubbling cauldron of pea soup on the stove (props for using last week's ham-bone) while I started a few cauldrons of my own bubbling.

This week I made No Bake Cookies. These are a simple classic that I'm sure everyone has had, and so easy...just like I like! These are by request from Jeremy. I think he's figured out that I don't usually eat the weekly cookies so whatever he or the kids want is fine with me.

I think you could call this chocolate slurry. It's melted butter, sugar, vanilla, peanut butter, oats and cocoa powder. You simmer it up and then scoop it out quick before it gets solid. It's really more like making candy than baking cookies.

Yes I gave him a cookie but he was crying cause he wanted MORE! He settled for some dried blueberries instead. By the way his new catch phrases are 'no way!' and 'go away!'...charming, really.

This bubbling cauldron was for some more soap. When I started that project my goal was to dry a bunch of rosemary and sage from our garden before frost, then make soap out of it! I made rosemary lavender soap a few weeks ago, and today I used the sage.

At first I wasn't sure how to make sage soap that didn't smell like you were washing yourself with turkey dressing. Then I noticed a lotion bottle I had that was sage and citrus. So I tried it with grapefruit and lemon extracts and was pretty happy with the result.

Tessa and I went to the Franklin antique show with Mamaw and Mamaw (Creech) on Saturday and I picked up these bell shaped candy molds. Perfect for holiday soap!

I tried to make red and green but haven't perfected my colors yet. Melting crayons is apparently an exact science
Our day ended with some of the soup (which both kids really liked), some dancing to Jack's Big Music Show videos online and then later SNL and a glass of wine with Jeremy.

I love a day that is both restful and productive at the same time, with the bonus of blessing the Lord and my church. Could I ask for much more?