December Traditions

December is full of so many fun activities. We’ve loved creating some of our own traditions as well as celebrating traditions that were part of my childhood.
Every December we enjoy the fun holiday art the kids bring home and every December we pull out our Advent calendar. My grandma made this calendar for me and my siblings when we were little and I love seeing my girls use it now. Each day they pull out a little nativity figurine to place on the tree (a wise man, soldier, sheep, etc.) and then baby Jesus and the star on Christmas Eve. They were so excited to finish the tree this morning!

This was my fourth year going up to Addison’s pre-school to help with Christmas cookies. It has become a fun little tradition for me regardless of which child is attending at the time.
One of my cute neighbors throws a neighborhood holiday party every December that we all really look forward to. We used to do a playgroup once a week but as the kids have gotten older it has been harder to get together and we miss it! It’s always so fun to catch up with friends while the kids do crafts and play.

This month was also full of lots of school parties and performances (above is Addison with her favorite teacher during her holiday performance) and LOTS of lights. We’ve enjoyed the lights in our own yard and driving around looking at other lights at night. We always take a trip to “Christmas Card Lane” – a neighborhood of houses that are decked in lights with Disney paintings and themes. The girls love getting out of their seat belts and standing in the car with windows down and the heat on full blast. They run back and forth from one window to another… “Add, look! It’s Ariel!” “Over here Ellie! It’s Peter Pan!” People are out walking the streets with hot chocolate and everyone is waving and yelling “Merry Christmas!” Such a fun holiday atmosphere and one of my favorite San Diego traditions. We also always make a trip to the temple to see the nativity and lights. The girls get to be in pajamas with hair not done – as was the tradition when I was a little girl. :)

Kenny and I have started a little date night tradition of going to the Poinsettia Bowl together every December if we’re still in town. We went last night and had a great time together. Utah was playing and won which made it even more fun. GO UTES!
This year we started a new tradition with “The Elf on the Shelf.” I’m sure most of you reading this have done it with your family or have heard of it, but for those who haven’t, it’s a little elf that comes to visit every December to watch the kiddos and make sure they are being nice and not naughty. Every morning he is sitting in a different spot to watch over things and the kids can’t touch him or his magic will disappear. Each night he heads back to the North Pole to report to Santa about what he has seen. My girls have LOVED this. They can’t wait to wake up and run downstairs to see where he is hiding. I have LOVED this because it has been a major help in the behavior department. All I have to mention is that “the elf is watching” and any fighting quickly ceases. Brilliant.
Our elf has been so sneaky! Here are some of the places he has been hiding this month…
If you have little ones at home this is such a fun tradition to start! This morning my girls woke up and ran downstairs. I called them to see what they were up to and Ellie yelled, “We found the elf! And we put the star on the tree! And there are presents under our Christmas tree! We’re having our own little party!” :) They are so giddy and excited.

We just made cookies and are anxiously awaiting this guy to visit! I don’t know how my girls will sleep tonight. I don’t know how I’ll sleep tonight. What’s better than being a 3 or 5 year old on Christmas Eve? Being a mom of a 3 and 5 year old on Christmas Eve.
Hope you all have a great Christmas and enjoy this special time with your family!

Pretzel Hugs

Last year I found this little treat on Becky Higgins’ blog. I decided to make them look a little more “Chrissmassy” and to deliver them for friends and neighbors for Christmas.  They were such a hit that I made them again this year. They are seriously SO YUMMY and so easy to make. All you need is Pretzel Snaps, Hershey’s Hugs, and Holiday M&M’s.

It also helps if you have a couple of good “helpers” to unwrap the Hugs and place them on top of each Pretzel Snap.

After you place the Hugs on each pretzel you can count them all. Why? I don’t know. But Ellie seemed to think it was an important step.

Then place them in the oven at 200 degrees for about 7 minutes. Just watch for the Hugs to barely melt.

After you take them out of the oven promptly place two Holiday M&M’s on each Hug. Then put them in the fridge to cool. I like to leave them in the fridge overnight and then take them out the next morning and deliver them sometime later that day. Let them sit on the counter after the fridge for a bit so they are room temperature when you deliver them.

Olivia the pig loves Pretzel Hugs too.

Then wrap them up on cute plates or in cookie jars and deliver! And don’t forget to make a tray for your own family. They really are such a tasty treat. I should know.
I’ve eaten about a hundred of them in the last week.

Oh…one last thing –

Keep a close eye on your “helpers.”

**Update:  Here is a fun way to give your pretzel hugs as a gift!

2009 Christmas card

I have so many pictures to post and catch up on but I spent the last hour making my to-do list for the next few days and now I’m burned out. So tonight I’d just like to wish everyone in blog land a

Christmas Decor

We are pretty happy around our house. The girls are counting the days until Santa comes and are having so much fun with all of the holiday festivities. Kenny is still flying high after seeing the Chargers play in Texas. Not only did the Chargers win and not only did he get to see the coolest stadium in the US, but he also got to sit in the owners box during the game and meet Jerry Jones (the owner of the Dallas Cowboys) because one of the guys he was with is related to him. Yes, Christmas came early for my husband. He should be on a high until at least February. As for me, I’m happiest when I’m home. Listening to Christmas music surrounded by my decorations and lights puts me in the best mood.

A week or so ago Ellie yelled from the family room “mom! there’s a sock for the baby!” I had taken the Charger sock down that she put up (I know, I said I was mellowing, but apparently not…it was bugging me so bad!) I went in the living room thinking she had put the Charger sock back up and saw a matching sock with “Kole” on it. So far Kole is the ONLY name Kenny and I have agreed on for our little guy. We don’t know if we’re using it or not, but Kenny ordered a matching sock with the name on it to make me and Ellie happy. He set it up and waited to see how long until one of us noticed. Didn’t take Ellie long. :) I said to Kenny “but what if we don’t use that name?” and he smiled and said “then we’ll order another sock next year.” I was already feeling emotional because it was such a sweet thing for Kenny to do and then I looked up and saw all five socks hanging there. Before I knew it I had tears running down my cheeks. It just hit me. There was my family. All five of us. I always knew there would be five. It felt so right and so…complete. Kenny didn’t even tease me for crying like he usually does. I think he liked the look of five socks too. (that or he’s finally learned not to mess with me when I’m crying during a pregnancy)

I’m especially loving all of the lights at night. You can’t beat dimming the lights and turning on the fireplace and tree and just feeling the coziness it all brings. Of course our fireplace is completely for ambiance. It doesn’t give off much heat and it’s a good thing since its been sunny and in the high 60’s all week. I love that here in San Diego we’re all running around in UGGS listening to music about how “the weather outside is frightful” when it might as well be June. :)

Hope you’re enjoying the coziness of your home this holiday season!