Monday, December 21, 2009

The Third Week of Advent

Our priest got to wear his rose vestments on Gaudete Sunday!

We began our Christmas making and baking this week. Cecilia helped load the food processor full of starlight mints... you would not believe how fast they turned to mere powder in this bad boy... under ten seconds!!!!

Caroline helped unwrap many of the mints. Each one was individually wrapped, and we had to unwrap two packages full. Plus, we will be making another batch of this, too!

Stirring it all up... not going to tell you what it is - it is a surprise for those who will receive it and is a new recipe this year!

More unwrapping fun... Hershey's Kisses and Rolos! These were a fun, kid-friendly, and easy treat to make. Pretzels, Hershey Kisses, and M & Ms for one, and pretzels, Rolos, and pecan halves for the other.

Even Cecilia could unwrap and place the Hershey Kisses... and try to eat a Rolo, which surprised her by causing her teeth to stick together!

So, here's blowing this surprise... here is what they look like at the end. If you will be receiving some, here is a sneak peek!

And these are just delicious... they are little turtle candies, basically, and we bought some fresh Georgia pecans to use on them... so, extended family, if you don't get any of these from us for Christmas, it is because they are all in my belly. :)

We began getting out decorations slowly this week... just a few knick-knacks here and there throughout the weekdays. Caroline and Cecilia love watching this snowglobe where the snowman and penguin ride a seesaw inside it while the music plays. Well, they loved watching it, that is... unfortunately, the manufacturer apparently didn't see fit to use waterproof glue to attach the little fellas to the seesaw, and the piece on which they were sitting just randomly fell off a couple days after we got it out. Bummer. Now they are focusing all attention on the snowman that plays Christmas carols when you clap (or yell) near him. I wasn't going to get him out, but then I did to replace the snowglobe.

On Saturday, we got our tree! I went errand-running while Chris took the girls to choose a tree. Apparently nobody else waits this long to buy their tree... they didn't have any left in the appropriate size anywhere. They ended up getting a too-tall tree and having the bottom 18 inches cut off! It is a huge, beautiful tree, bigger than we've ever had. And, it was on sale, since we waited "so long." We may need to pick up a fake tree on clearance after Christmas so next year, we won't feel pressured to buy one early.

Cecilia couldn't quite figure out how to hang ornaments up... but she tried a bit with some help.

Caroline loved the excuse to climb on the armchair to hang things high up.

Over the weekend, I started on our gingerbread man cookies... the recipe makes a lot and is somewhat time-intensive, so the girls helped with the first rolling and cutting and then went on a walk with Daddy while I tried to do the rest. The baking sheets were brutal this year... I finally only did batches on the old, cheapie pizza dish and the Silpat. Otherwise, they all would have broken and crumbled when I tried to scrape them off! Usually only one baking sheet gives me trouble (the nicest, newest one)...

The girls helped me get out the Christmas houses - very carefully, that is. I did all the lifting of the breakable parts, while Caroline helped retrieve boxes... and they loved watching, because each house is very detailed. The village is supposed to be the North Pole, and it is just lots of imaginative fun! Cecilia wants to see the reindeer every day and asks for us to lift her up to see them.

The tree, all decorated on the Fourth Sunday of Advent

Look Around the Stable after the third week: we added a shepherd's crook, a rake, a hoe, grain, a loaf of bread, a saddlebag, and a blanket. Stable's getting full!!

Mary and Joseph joined together on top of the radio to begin their journey to Bethlehem, and by the end of the week, they were in the stable, awaiting Jesus's birth. The nativity is way up high out of little hands' reach... we tried it down low, and the girls are obsessed with it (you'd never guess they have some wooden nativity figures that I let them play with). After the cow lost the tip of his horn, the stable got moved up high permanently. It was pretty dumb of me to attempt to put it down low, anyway!

Three candles were lit this week... Caroline was excited that it was finally the rose candle's turn!

The manger is getting fuller, too!

Christmas is almost here!


Tiny Actions said...

The girls look like they're enjoying the wonderment of the season. Your goodies look so yummy, too! While there's many things I miss about a live tree, I like so many things about our fake tree. One of them is the flexibility of when I can put it up and take it down. Enjoy the rest of advent and a Merry Christmas to you all.

sara said...

erin, it is okay if the pretzel turtles get eaten by you and your side of the family... i was planning on making them too. ;-) apparently they are the "cool" thing to make this christmas. that and oreo balls, which i attempted and failed at miserably.

ViolinMama said...

LOVE these pics and all your activities...baking, WOW!

I have a question for you. I'm seeking ideas/traditions for the Christmas season - especially since I've felt so busy this advent (I've really tried to slow down, do Advent - Advent Adventures, activities, etc and make all our gifts, but the "making" has been more stressful this year than in the past. Maybe cause I'm pregnant and hormonal?). Our Christmas season will be slower paced and quiet after Christmas day and I wondered what others families do those special days. This is my 1st year really getting into the traditions and feast days for my daughters. I'd love to know your plans (IF you have time...LOL - NO RUSH! Just wanted to ask).

God Bless! It's almost Christmas!!!

Erin said...

That is funny you planned to make them as well, Sara! We saw them a couple months ago at a Halloween party, and I decided then that I'd make them for Christmas after the hostess told me how easy they were to make... and how good they were!! I thought they might be trendy this year when I went back to the store for the second package of Rolos and had to look way back on the shelf and found the very last package! I made so many that you will probably get some, though! I'll go light on them for you!

Erin said...

I also wonder what to do for the twelve days of Christmas!! There are so many Advent ideas out there, but then the Christmas sometimes doesn't get the attention that it really deserves! I am going to try to celebrate it more meaningfully this year... I have been meaning to do a blog post for it, so I hope to get to that within the next few days. One thing is that we will have extended family celebrations during the Christmas season... grandparents, uncles, aunts... I also plan to let the girls make graham cracker gingerbread houses one day (when they are older, we'll make big fancy real gingerbread houses). And we celebrate Epiphany, go to Mass on the 1st for Mary, Mother of God... and also, this is a good post about meals for the 12 days:

I looked at your blog, and I love the family photo at the top... is that on top of Stone Mountain??

Carrie said...

I have received some of those turtle candies too! I thought they were SO cute! I haven't started baking...I think we are going to make it our "present" day tradition, starting tomorrow! ha ha!

ViolinMama said...

Hey Erin!

Thanks for responding. 1st off, that IS Stone Mountain. LOVE that place. Do you live near it or been there? Good eye!

Thanks for the ideas, and the upcoming post. As I said, I'm growing into the Domestic Church traditions every day that goes by and I'm thirsting for bringing it all alive in our home. I just posted a "4th week of Advent post" and though reliving it through pics was fun, your Advent seems so much better planned and richer and I'd love to make the Christmas Season the same :)I should check Catholic Cuisine for food ideas too. I can't wait to see your plans! I need to check that link you posted.

I'd love to make some gingerbread next week...maybe something special as a family meal for the Feast of the Holy Family.

Thanks for the tips! Can't wait for more.

Blessed Advent (almost Christmas!)!

Erin said...

I grew up in Metro ATL - Sandy Springs. Stone Mountain was a favorite teenage outing for me and my friends. My parents also took us to the Laser Show several times as kids. I went last summer to the Laser Show and was so disappointed that they changed the two most important parts: GA on My Mind and God Bless the USA. I was mad!! In fact, I think I did a blog post on it that you might be able to find by searching "Stone Mountain," hee hee.

I have only been doing more liturgical year celebrations in the past year or so... I have found so many helpful websites and blogs! I am great at stealing other people's ideas! ;)

mel said...

We almost missed out on our tree this year too...we decided to wait until Christmas Eve to put ours up, and when John went to find one a few days before that he could only find two trees left anywhere near us! The guy there said we could buy a tree earlier next year and store it outdoors or in the garage in a bucket of water until we were ready to bring it indoors. :)