Monday, December 22, 2014

Christmas Traditions - Advent Calendar Day 16-21

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The Advent Holiday fun has kept us busy and I have been lax in updating here on our adventures. We've colored drawings of Santa Claus, listened to a reading of T'was the Night Before Christmas, Drank Hot Cocoa, took Christmas Tree Light photos and listened to a ton of Christmas Music. We still haven't checked out the WildLights at the Zoo but we did drive to see all the Christmas Lights and checked out Candy Cane Lane. We ran out of time to make a paper garland over the weekend but plan to double-up this week as our tree needs a new paper garland.

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Sunday, December 21, 2014

Twelve Months with Mag-Pie

Maggie 52 Weeks

Dear Maggie,

Today you are one-year-old and as I remember the night you surprised us with your entry, I get a bit misty. I remember the adrenaline racing through my body and the exhilaration I felt upon meeting you. I'm also reminded of my Father racing to our house to take care of Molly so we could leave for the hospital to meet you. I'm so grateful that he had the opportunity to meet you while also saddened that you will never get to know what a wonderful Grandfather he was.

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We had a little party to celebrate you and you had such a great time! You chased your sister's friends around and played with your cousin, Abby. You had cake (a homemade version of a Funfetti cake with a fun little bunting), opened so many presents and giggled along the way.

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You've grown from a wee 8 lb 12 oz newborn to a 24 lb + toddler in just a year. It's amazing how fast you've grown and all the amazing things you've learned to do. You now open heavy drawers in the kitchen to quickly throw things all over, you run fast, you love holding forbidden objects in both your hands and trying to hid them from my and you babble with the best of them. I am most impressed with your communication skills. For someone with no words, you can quickly and efficiently express your wants and desires. It's absolutely amazing!

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This year has been a roller coaster going from amazing highs to devastating lows but having you has really made it such a wonderful year. We struggled a bit as a pair in the beginning when you wouldn't (couldn't) breast feed and I ended up pumping for over 8 months. That was one area that I really wanted us to succeed in and while it may not have looked like traditional success, I am still really proud of making it work for us. You've thrived and are a great eater. 

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While I may have been joking around when the above photo was taken, I kinda wasn't and that has been my face so many times over the past year. You and your sister are quite the pair. We call the two of you, Wild Bill and Calamity Jane and we often do not know who is the leader and who is the side kick. 

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I am looking forward to many more adventures with you this next year. Molly will be going to a drop-off preschool next year which means we'll have four mornings a week together. I'm looking forward to having that one-on-one time with you. You are a character and I am so looking forward to getting to know you even more. I have a strong feeling that you are going to have me in stitches more often than your sister does. 

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This past month has been filled with holiday activity and celebration. Your birthday season will always be crowded by the holidays. I'll show you how to be protective of your day, just as I am protective of my day; while also celebrating the season. Soon your second Christmas will be here and I know Santa has forgiven you for crying on his lap and will be bringing you the best presents. 

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Maggie, your smiling, happy face keeps brings smiles to all of our faces. You have completed our little family and made it perfect. We love you so much and so enjoy every moment we have with you. We love you, little Mag-Pie! 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Christmas Traditions - Christmas Sugar Cookies

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As a child, my Mom made these delicious and buttery sugar cookies every year at Christmas. She'd take out her red Christmas book and flip through the pages to this one recipe. She'd use her hands to mix the dough and when I was old enough, recruited me to mix the dough with my hands. I'd feel the texture between my little fingers and smell the sugar, that is how I identified Christmas.



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I loved her Christmas book. The dust cover is long gone and the spine reads, Take Joy! I used to sit and stare at the illustrations in the book. I dreamed of doing all the Christmas things that they were doing. This book is long out of print but remains a favorite in my heart. This year I liberated the book from her bookshelf so I could make sugar cookies with my girls.



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I gathered all the ingredients and laid them out so Molly could easily combine them. The great thing about about this recipe is that you literally dump all the ingredients in a bowl and start mixing them with your hands. I thought I was smarter than the recipe and tried using my KitchenAid Stand Mixer to mix the dough. That was a mistake! My poor mixer could not handle it and I ended up finishing the job by hand mixing the dough.



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I'm pretty sure the girls and I are going to adopt the tradition of making Christmas Sugar Cookies. As they grow, they too can have the dreaded task of mixing the dough by hand which I hope they eventually learn to love and eventually pass onto their little ones.  


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Christmas Sugar Cookies
by Rebecca Mongrain
Cook Time: 10-12 minutes
Ingredients (5 dozen cookies)
  • 1 pound unsalted butter
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda dissolved in 3 Tablespoons milk
  • Nutmeg for dusting cookies
Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Place all ingredients in a large bowl and mix with hands until smooth. The great thing about this dough is that you can mix, mix, mix without repercussions.
3. Form into a ball, dust with flour and chill throughly. Break into smaller pieces and roll as thin as possible. Dust with granulated sugar and nutmeg. Using cookie cutters or round glasses, cut into shapes.
4. Bake until the top of the cookies are light brown on top, about 10-12 minutes. Place on cookie racks to cool.
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Monday, December 15, 2014

Christmas Traditions - Advent Calendar Day 14 & 15

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This past weekend, I headed down to San Diego to celebrate my upcoming 40th birthday with my best friend who is due to have her first baby any time now (she says she needs three more weeks but ANY TIME NOW!). It was my first weekend away from Maggie and Scott's first weekend alone with the girls. I have to say that everyone did awesome while I was away. I might need to make this a regular thing.

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We stayed at The Westin in downtown San Diego which was quite lovely. Even more awesome was the fact that my Mom gave me some of her points so I was able to book a very nice room. The best part might have been the bed all to myself and that I was able to sleep through the night without interruption for TWO WHOLE NIGHTS! 

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My friend and I hit up the shops after indulging in pancakes for breakfast. Her husband picked us up later and chauffeured us around town. We discovered this place called 85C which supposedly has the best coffee ever and it was really good. Later that night, they took me out for Mexican food and a HUGE margarita. It was nice to be able to drink without worrying about anyone but me. 

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We also checked out the Christmas Lights in Balboa Park before calling it a night and heading back to the hotel for another night of uninterrupted sleep (can you tell that I've been having a lot of interruptions to my sleep?). 

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The next morning we watched Splash on tv and relived some childhood memories before checking out of the hotel and heading to the Hillcrest Farmer's Market. It was a pretty good market though it had nothing on the Ballard Market! It was a bit of a shock to see fresh berries though!

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We finished out the day with some time on the beach before I headed to the airport for my flight home. It was a wonderful weekend and just the way I wanted to spend some of my last days of my 30s. I can't believe that I'll be 40 by the end of the week. That sounds so grown-up and yet, I do not feel like a grown-up. 

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Friday, December 12, 2014

Christmas Traditions - Advent Calendar Day 11, 12 & 13

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On Day 11 of our Advent Calendar, we visited my Dad's grave and left some flowers before heading out to lunch and a day of remembrance.

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For our twelfth day, we stayed close to house and made Play-doh Snowmen! I think I had more fun with the creations than Molly did.

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She did have fun gathering supplies on our walk home from preschool and loved putting buttons on the snowmen. She directed me in making a few of them too. 

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Today, on Day 13, we headed to the Sheraton Gingerbread House Village which supports the JDRF Northwest Chapter. We had a great time checking out all the beautiful houses and Molly talked about the different ones all the way home. Maggie slept through our adventure. She would be so bummed if she knew what she missed out on. 

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I leave tonight for my first solo trip away from the girls. I'm going to visit my best friend in San Diego and I am so excited for a weekend away. While I'm gone, Scott is going to continue the Advent Fun with the girls. I'm sure they will be having an exciting weekend themselves. 
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