Monday, December 26, 2011

Celebrating Christmas

Isn't it crazy how fast Christmas comes and goes?! We plan, shop, decorate, bake, wrap, mail...the list goes on...we do this for weeks, some even months! And then in a few hours its all over! But you know what?...Its all worth it!

Our Christmas weekend fun started on Friday night when my step-sister Kae arrived. I was very excited to see her, its been about 10 months since I last saw her. Anyway, Mom, Ray-Ray, Kae and I headed out for a fun/yummy dinner at the local mexican restaurant, Tequilas, as soon as Kae showed up. The place was packed! I'm sure everyone was eating out since they were getting all their last minute shopping done! LOL We got settled in our booth, ordered, enjoyed our tasty food, and chatted it up with each other to catch up. Once we finished and had full bellies, we decided to drive through the neighborhood to see some Christmas lights on the houses. Ray drove us down the first street which had the most lights on it, and they named it Candy Cane Lane, so cute! (but its not its real name...I think it was Ridge Dr. LOL) We saw some fun decorated houses, especially one in particular! This one house only put out one decoration...a pig in a santa suit hanging in the tree! This was Kae's favorite house! LOL Ray didn't see it when we drove by the first time, so we came around again and I made Kae go onto the lawn to take a photo...she was freaking out hoping not to get caught! She's cute! :) Gotta love the orange extension cord hanging down across the yard! Too funny. My favorite was this cute house that had big colorful balls hanging in the tree. It reminded me of candy and I thought it was so cute and colorful! :)After we drove down most of the streets, we were done. Not too many people had decorated, at least not all in one area. So we headed back home. We all got in our comfies and snuggled up on the couch to watch a Christmas FAVORITE, The Christmas Card. Kae had never seen it, so of course we had to introduce the best movie to her! LOL By the time the movie ended we were beat. So off to bed we went.

We woke up the next morning, Christmas Eve, and met up in the family room. We sat around chatting for a little bit, and then Ray-Ray got up and made us ladies some super tasty biscuits and gravy! Delish! We enjoyed our yummy breakfast together, then went to our separate rooms to get ready for the day. The parents started doing some prep work for the big day (like wrapping, etc.), so Kae came downstairs in the basement where I'm living and we watched the movie Snow Day together. Its a cute movie...I wish we could've had a snow day like they did! I've been dreaming of one! LOL When the movie was over, we went upstairs to see if the parentals were done wrapping and if we could help with anything. We decided to get out the gingerbread sleigh kits and have a decorating contest. Oh dear, what a mess it was! That icing is so sticky and messy! We were all frustrated at one point or another, but I still had fun! (psst...I think mine came out the best! lol) Kae was so frustrated with hers...we all started off with some broken pieces (that were broken in the box before we even opened it) so that was a bummer. But Kae had lots of broken pieces so trying to glue them together with frosting and then decorating...well she was over it! LOL But she was a good sport
Mom and Ray were pretty frustrated with theirs too, but they kept at it as well and we all finished. Here are all four finished products...what do you think, should we go into the gingerbread decorating business? LOL I think not!!After that ordeal was done, we decided to get some baked goodies boxed up for our neighbors and a few friends and then we all headed out together to deliver them. It was fun making the deliveries and giving out our love gifts to them. They seemed to love them and put a few smiles on their faces.

Around 6pm, we went to the Christmas Eve service at church where we sang some worshipful Christmas songs, listened to the Pastor give a special message, and wished some friends a very Merry Christmas. Its important to remember the real reason why we celebrate Christmas, its the birth of our SAVIOR! Let His light shine in your lives, so that all men might see and come to know Him!We headed home after the service and immediately started taking some pictures together. We do this quick, so that we can then get in our comfies for the rest of the evening. After the pictures, Santa came early! Mom brought out four boxes that we opened at the same time...we all got MATCHING PJS! I was so excited! I asked Santa for new pjs!! :) Yay!! And they are so cute too...they have cupcakes on them!!!We immediately left and went to our different rooms to put them on. We came back and took more pictures all matchy-matchy!
After all that, then we started getting dinner all ready. Our family tradition is to have a bunch of yummy finger foods...I just love it! We had yummy pizza rolls, lil smokies wrapped in crescent rolls, ham rolled with cream cheese, chips with gucamole, a chili dip that I made, and "Dad's Disappearing Salsa" dip (my brother-in-law's packaged spices), beef stick slices with cheese, and then all the baked goodies mom and I made a few days ago. So yummy! We also have a tradition of doing puzzle races on Christmas Eve. They are little puzzles that are pretty easy...but you gotta finish first in order to win a prize! (which is usually a dvd) I was the first to win!! Yay me! We all ended up winning at least one round, even if we did have to cheat in order to let Ray win one! LOL

We were kinda tired after awhile of playing games, so we decided to go hang our stockings and then watch a Christmas movie while laying on the couch. Here's me and my kiddos with their stockings Ray started a fire, stockings were hung, presents were under the beautifully decorated was a good evening. AND...Santa came again early! Mom brought out little blankets for each of us to use while snuggling during the movie! It was late by the time the movie ended, so we all said our goodnights and rushed off to bed so Santa could come! :)

Christmas morning was finally here!!! We got up in the morning and met up in the family room for some pastries and coffee...and Santa had come! Once we were all awake, we started with stockings! Even our little animals had fun toys in their stockings!We girls got some yummy goodies in our stockings, a cute headband, some huckleberry chapstick, a pez (which is tradition), some flameless candles, and a pinwheel pen - so cute! Fun stuff! Then it was time for presents!!We had a good time taking turns opening gifts that we had for each other. I got some great items, including a cakepop maker, vintage owl playing cards, an antique poodle figurine (that I collect), some socks, winter accessories like scarves, beenies, and gloves, a dvd, a handmade ornament from my sister's family, and a handmade beenie from my sister-in-law! We siblings drew names this year and you had to give a homemade gift...the beenie she gave me is so cute!!!! I love it!I also got a book from a distant cousin who I recently came in contact with. This book is so special. My great grandmother wrote it years and years ago, its called "God's Trees". It is the original version, which has recently been published as "The Three Trees". When she died, the copywrite lapsed and others picked it up and made changes to it. But don't be fooled, God's Trees is the original by Helen Frazee Bower. Anyway, I didn't have this book and had been looking for it online. Its just sooooo expensive on all the websites, like $200! So when I met up with Steve, I told him I was on the hunt. He actually had a friend in Australia bid on one for me (the site it was on only allowed citizens of Aus to bid) and then sent it to me for Christmas! So sweet!!! Thank you Steve! I'm so happy to finally have this special book!!!Look at little Lucy, she was all tuckered out from her super exciting first Christmas! She had so much fun, and then crashed atop the empty stockings!After all the presents were opened, we got up and started working on our lunch/dinner. Our friends, Rick and Glenna, were coming over and we were planning on having ham and turkey with some sides. I started boiling eggs to make my deviled eggs while Kae started peeling potatoes. While my eggs were cooling, I chopped the potatoes to get ready for boiling. Then I peeled and made up the eggs. Mom worked on the rest! LOL

While mom continued working in the kitchen, Kae, Ray and I worked on making little party favors for each of the place settings. Trash to Treasure my friends! We took empty toilet paper rolls (the trash part of it), wrapped them in Christmas wrapping paper, got some red cellophane and wrapped up some candy treats and slid it through the paper roll. WALLAH! Fun little yummy favors!Just as we were working on our little craft, our guests arrived....EARLY! We were not ready for them yet, so when we saw their truck pulling up we started rushing around trying to clean up. We did our best trying to make it look as neat as possible even though the craft stuff was still out, but they didn't seem to care that we were still working on it. They thought it was a nifty idea. We welcomed them in and then continued finishing our project while chatting with them. When that was finished, we set the table just in time to eat. It was delish!!
When we were done stuffing ourselves with the tasty food, we cleared the table and got out games and goodies. We ended up playing Triominoes for a couple hours. Kae was the big winner of the night! I'm pretty sure she cheated, I mean she was the score keeper! LOL, just kidding...she wouldn't cheat! We had a lot of fun all hanging out together.

When Rick and Glenna headed home, the four of us cleaned up and decided to relax by the fire and watch another movie...this time we watched Surviving Christmas (Ray's favorite). Its a funny movie! By the time the movie ended, it was we all said our goodnights and thank yous for the wonderful day and gifts, and we headed to bed.

We had a great Christmas celebrating together! I'm so glad that I was able to spend this holiday with family this year. I love them all so much and appreciate all their love and support. It was a special weekend for sure!

I hope you all had a very special Christmas too and were able to enjoy celebrating the birth of our Savior together, and show some love to one another.


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Baking Babes

Its that time of year for baking yummy Christmas goodies! And I'm excited that I'm able to spend the holidays with my mom this year...its been a very long time since we've been able to do all these fun things together around Christmas.

My mom and I both have a love for thrift shopping and finding good deals. Well, we decided that on our shopping list should be some fun/ugly (which ever you prefer) Christmas sweater-vests to wear while baking. We had seen some a few weeks back at the thrift store, but decided to wait to buy them since we didn't know exactly why or when we were going to wear them. Well, we finally decided that we wanted to wear them while doing all of our holiday baking. So we went out on Monday back to the thrift store we initially found them at in Moses Lake and started hunting. Unfortunately we couldn't find them, I'm sure someone else snagged them up for their fun parties. But that was ok, there were a few more stores we could check out. Sure enough, at the Calico Cat Thrift Store we found TWO MATCHING sweater-vests for only $3.99 each...we were excited! They weren't the festive red we were hoping for, but they were festive none-the-less.
Baking Day #1 arrived and we put on our lovely/ugly festive Christmas sweater-vests (that had been washed of course! LOL). Man we were HOT Baking Babes! HAHAHA! The baking list was as follows:

A Hyde family tradition at Christmas is BUCKEYES! :) Delicious!!!Buckeyes are a creamy peanut-butterey rolled ball dipped in chocolate...that end up looking like a buck's eyeball. Seriously, they're sooooo good! Every year at Christmas when we'd go to my grandparents house, there would be lots of yummy goodies to eat, but Buckeyes were the family favorite! They would get eaten all up so fast!!

Second on the list was some tasty no-bake cookies. Only a few ingredients needed, including cocoa, peanut butter, and oats...combine and drop them onto a baking sheet for a tasty treat!Next we made some Butterscotch Crispies...these are my favorite! Forget regular boring rice crispy treats, who wants those when you can have these?!?! :) Fudge was next on our list....after it was made, we decided to roll them into balls. We rolled the non-nut fudge in some powdered sugar so we could tell the two apart.We started the gingerbread men cookies, making the batter and chilling it. The rest came on day two.

Last on the list for Day #1 was cake pops. We baked the cake, let it cool, crumbled it, mixed in the frosting, rolled them into balls, and chilled them overnight. The rest came day two.

Baking Day #2 arrived and instead of our lovely/ugly festive Christmas sweater-vests, we wore some fun Christmas apronsBaking list for day 2 was as follow:

Gingerbread men...rolling out the dough, using the cute cookie cutter, and baking the cookies(we didn't end up decorating these...we were going to decorate them at the end of the day, but were too tired and decided they looked great just as they were! lol)Next was sugar cookies. We made up the dough and chilled it for a few hours. Then we pulled it back out, rolled it, used the cute cookie cutters, baked the cookies, and decorated them.
Ya, we're not the best at decorating sugar cookies! LOL

Cake pops came next....we took out the chilled balls of cake, melted the chocolate, dipped them, and rolled them in sprinkles (I've decided that cake pops are not that fun to make)With the remaining chocolate, we dipped a few pretzel sticks and also made walnut clustersWell, two days of baking is a lot of work! We're so glad that we're finished! :) Now its time to get some goodies wrapped for our neighbors...and of course save some for us to munch on this weekend for Christmas.

I hope you all have a very
MeRrY ChRiStMaS!!

and get to eat lots of yummy treats!