Monday, December 31, 2012

A Parton Saint for the New Year

Head over to Truth and Charity and use their Random Saint Generator to pick a patron saint for the new year.  My patron saint for 2013 is St. John Neumann.  What a great match for me considering our parish has an adoration chapel named for him.  Maybe there's a better chance that I won't continually  forget about him like I did my patron saint for 2012.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Friday, December 28, 2012

Quick Takes Volume 55

I was just telling Bryan that I was thinking about what I was going to blog for this edition of Quick Takes and he suggested that I blog about him.  So I think I'll do that for at least a couple of these takes.  As soon as I started typing away I think he realized that he got his wish.  He's not feeling so good about this suggestion.

If I'm writing about Bryan, I guess I should tell you that he tossed on his spiffy new sweatpants that one of the girls got him for Christmas and headed into the back yard to suck up the leaves with his awesome leaf blower/sucker.  The yard is looking pretty good, by the way.

Bryan keeps telling me about the possibility of us getting snow this weekend.  I don't like to hear things like that so I keep refusing to acknowledge the possibility.  To make sure he's not stuck with snow on the ground and a snow blower that doesn't want to start (this happened to him two years ago) he got the snow blower up and running.  It just needs to move to the garage.

Bryan is feeling more self conscious about me writing about him so I think I'll keep going with the Bryan themed quick takes.

Recently someone insinuated that I have "a lot of personalities" so Bryan and I have been joking around about it.  We have a lot of nicknames for ourselves and the kids so Bryan decided to write my gift tags out to my different personalities for Christmas.  I especially like the one for Brunhilda.  That's my newest alter-ego.  She's strong like bull and built like an ox. 

From the time I was six years old, my mom and dad used to take me to Disney World every year.  One of my favorite rides was Mister Toad's Wild Ride.  I was so sad when they removed it several years back to make way for the Pooh Bear ride that is there now.  I noticed while we were on the Pooh Bear ride that there was a Mr. Toad "Easter egg" in the ride.  It was a portrait of Mr. Toad looking rather stately.  Bryan and I got to head out to Downtown Disney one night while my mom and dad watched the girls so we could do some souvenir/Christmas shopping for the girls.  Bryan thought we should look for something Mr. Toad for me since I had no intentions of getting anything for myself beyond a magnet.  We were in the Art of Disney Store when Bryan spotted this print of Mr. Toad.  Right away he told me he was buying it for me for Christmas.  As soon as I get out the hammer and a nail it will be hanging in our bedroom.

On Christmas Day Bryan made yet another delicious turkey.  This one was practically swimming in butter. [My CCD kids would tell you that I am frequently praising God for his amazing gift of butter.]  Look at all buttery the drippings are and this is just the baking sheet he moved it to so he could carve it.  He added two lemons to the 20lb bird so the turkey had a subtle lemon taste to it.  YUM!

Sanctus Simplicitus Giveaway

Over at Sanctus Simplicitus they have a a great giveaway going for the 4th day of Christmas.  Check it out  and enter for a chance to win on of the following books: The Legend of St. Anthony, the Fishes and the Mule Coloring book or The Children's Saint Anthony.  They both look like great books for teaching children about St. Anthony.  I don't know about you, but in our house St. Anthony is a pretty popular saint.  He must get called upon by us several times a day.  We're pros at misplacing stuff!

While you're over at Sanctus Simplicitus, check out the other giveaways they have going for the 2nd and 3rd days of Christmas, too.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

{pretty, happy, funny, real} Christmas

Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life...


It's a bit of a rarity that I'm able to get a nice picture of all three girls.  Would you believe I didn't plan to have them coordinate for Christmas?  Madeline's dress was the only one she tried on that she and I both liked.  Ellie had a few choices for Christmas Eve Mass but she liked this dress the best because of how well it twirls, and Katie's dress was what I wanted her to wear for Thanksgiving before we got hit with hand, foot and mouth disease.  She was supposed to wear a different dress but I discovered on Christmas Eve morning that I never got her a pair of black patent leather shoes, so I decided that his pretty brown dress and her brown shoes would have to do for Christmas.

I love to take pictures of how the family room looks on Christmas Eve before Bryan and I head up to bed.  It takes me a bit of time to get everything set up, so I like to have a picture of how it looked before the girls come down and unwrap their gifts in the morning.  I was shocked at how many gifts each of the girls had.  Bryan and I gave them three each (plus one for Santa). 


Madeline was THRILLED when she opened up her new bedding set.  She was very excited about her gallon of purple paint, too.  Her bedroom is now a very pretty shade of  Sassy Lilac.

As soon as Ellie saw the shape of this present she knew she was getting an American Girl doll.  She was so happy when she discovered her Caroline doll inside.  She's been playing with it a lot over the past three days.


Bryan was playing around with the camera after Christmas dinner while we unwrapped gifts from extended family that my parents had brought up.  He was attempting to get a "dignified" shot of the dog.  Nothing about Mr. Furkins is dignified, but I think the picture Bryan took was pretty amazing.  He doesn't normally get very good results when he shoots with one of my prime lenses, but I love how this picture turned out.  I'm a little jealous that I can't get the twinkle lights to look like that in my pictures.


Katie is largely unimpressed by Christmas gifts.  This picture of her standing next to her new car was about as excited as she got.  She didn't like Christmas last year (she was very sick), and this year she was pretty overwhelmed by all of the presents.  Maybe next year she'll enjoy Christmas morning.  She sat and watched Madeline and Ellie as they took turns opening her presents for her.

Visit Like Mother, Like Daughter for more pictures of contentment.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!

A New Take on the 7 Fishes

If you're Italian or have married into an Italian family, you're probably familiar with the 7 fishes Christmas Eve dinner tradition that many of these families have.  Bryan has an aunt who does a dinner like this every Christmas Eve.  I don't eat any sort of seafood, so I've always found this sort of dinner to be rather unappealing (I really can't stand the smell of seafood and hate being around it.  We'll pack up and go if we're eating out and the table next to us gets a bunch of seafood.  The smell of it really turns my stomach.), but I always appreciated that they made something with chicken so I'd have something to eat when we would go there.

Bryan and I were joking earlier today that we should do our own variation on this 7 fishes tradition.  What we came up with sent us to Target this afternoon.  We did a snack/dessert them using various Goldfish crackers and Swedish Fish candies.  It was a real hit with the girls and I think it's safe to say it will be a new Christmas Eve tradition in our house.

So if you're anti-seafood like me or just want to do add a fun snack option to your real 7 fishes dinner, give this neat idea a whirl.  I put all of our fish in clear bowls, but using real fish bowls would be a cute idea, too.

For our 7 Fishes dessert we used chocolate, chocolate chip and vanilla cupcake flavored Goldfish graham crackers, pretzel Goldfish, red and green cheddar Goldfish, and Swedish Fish.  If we had though of this idea a few days ago we could have made some fish shaped sugar cookies.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Our Festivus Miracles

Today is Festivus.It's a made up secular holiday where you are supposed to sit around the aluminum Festivus pole* and air your grievances.  It's also a day filled with "Festivus miracles" which are easily explained events.  When it comes to Festivus, I prefer to celebrate it by pointing out the Festivus miracles.  I think Bryan got to spend a little bit of time doing the airing of grievances thing earlier in the day when he was on the phone with a family member.  But let's not worry about that, here are some of the day's Festivus miracles:

I started to develop a migraine just before lunch today.  I thought I was going to be in pain for the rest of the day, but I took some Advil, drank a lot of juice to make sure I was well hydrated, and moved away from the window there the sun was streaming in full force.  Within an hour or so I was feeling a bit better.  Then I got to take a nap for a couple of hours while Katie napped.  Clearly this was a Festivus miracle of the best kind.

Bryan took the older girls to the grocery store to pick up a few items that we need for Christmas dinner.  Bryan couldn't find the lemons, but a Festivus miracle occurred and Madeline, knowing that lemons are yellow, found them and pointed them out to her confused father.  Somehow Bryan momentarily forgot what color lemons are.  Madeline had a good time teasing Bryan about it for most of the day.

I was able to put tags and bows on the gifts for Bryan and the girls.  I was even able to relocate everything to the basement closet completely undetected.  A Festivus miracle, indeed! [I did all of this while Katie napped and Bryan and the older girls were at the store.]


We won the honor of Best Christmas Card from our friends.  Out of 20 cards Alex and Kelly chose our card as the best.  We saw pictures of some of the competition so I'm certain this was a Festivus miracle.

Bryan vowed never to do business with our favorite pizza place again after they screwed up an order we had placed for our gingerbread decorating party.  In what can only be described as a Festivus miracle, he forgave them their massive mistake and placed an order for two of the best looking pizzas we have ever gotten from them.  Praise God!  I will not have to live life with Pizza Heaven exiled from our take out options!

It appears that Madeline has outgrown a lot of her tops.  After she left to go to youth group, the rest of us went to Old Navy in search of clothing that would fit her.  I found a few things I think she will like.  The Festivus miracle occurred when an associate called us over to another register and I noticed that someone left their Old Navy coupon mailer by the credit card machine.  So I saved $15 since someone was nice enough to leave their coupon on the counter for the rest of us to use.  I put it back in the same spot to help facilitate a Festivus miracle for someone else.

*I was talking to one of the girls at Starbucks last week and she told me she thought she saw a Festivus pole at Spencers [I didn't realize those stores still existed].  I told her I thought that was odd since Festivus is not meant to be commercialized at all.  I guess someone missed that detail when they came up with Festivus merchandise.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Today's Earworm

Bryan likes to watch a lot of bad 80s movies that he says are awesome and I think are awful.So we'll sit and watch them and I'll make fun of them or him for watching them.  One of the movies that he says is great is Wildcats. I'll only partially agree with him on this bad 80's movie because I find the U.G.L.Y cheer to be pretty funny.  Its one of those songs that I get stuck in my head.  Even the girls like singing it.  I had the song stuck in my head all day so for your viewing and listening pleasure I have found the clip on YouTube.  Happy Festivus a day early!

Quick Takes Volume 54

Is it just me, or did Advent zip by pretty quickly this year?  I realized Thursday afternoon that I still hadn't made it to confession this Advent and that I essentially only had two possible days left in which to go.  Thursday or this Saturday.  So I decided that I had better stop procrastinating and get my butt over to the church before I wound up standing in the world's longest line on Saturday morning.  I didn't realize that I'd be standing in a line that was twelve deep when I showed up two minutes after confessions started.  I blame Ellie.  First, because we had to stop at the school to get something she forgot (we couldn't get in so that was a fail).  Second, I'm telling you this child is a guarantee that the line for confession will be long and slow moving.  Every time I've brought her along I've waited at least 30 minutes for my turn.

Do you know how much a seven year old can talk in just 30 minutes? It was a good test of my patience.  She had what my mom would have called diarrhea of the mouth.  I seriously wanted to die.  Some of her questions were good, but things she knew the answers to.  Adoration was going on in the church while we waited in line for the confessional in the narthex.  So there were questions about the monstrance, the humeral veil, the tabernacle and the eucharist.  I answered her questions.  I wanted her to be quiet, but I didn't want to pass up the opportunity to explain the things she asked about.  How I wish she had stuck to asking questions about the church and not making some of the comments she made. 

I made Christmas tree press cookies on Friday.  They taste good but they flopped.  Instead of holding their shape they melted and went flat.  I honestly don't know why I can never get these cookies right. It's very frustrating.  At least the cookies the girls made last weekend came out the way they should.
A friend put this up as her FB status a few days ago and it really resonated with me:
"Why should we defend ourselves when we are misunderstood and misjudged? Let us leave that aside. Let us not say anything. It is so sweet to let others judge us in any way they like. O blessed silence, which gives so much peace to the soul!" ~Saint Therese de Lisieux.

The girls had their Christmas parties at school yesterday.  Going to these parties makes me miss the public school system like you wouldn't believe.  I can't place my finger on it, but there's something about the overall atmosphere that doesn't sit well with me at all.  It's obvious that the school is very cliquey.

Are you all set for Christmas?  I have a few little things here and there left to do and we should be ready.  I was hoping to have a clean house, but I have a toddler and I think anyone who has or has had a toddler knows how that goes.  On the bright side, the Christmas trees have gone largely undisturbed by little hands.  I don't think Katie likes getting tinsel stuck to her so it sort of works as a deterrent.

I'm looking forward to hearing my girls sing at Christmas Eve Mass with the children's choir.  This group of girls really sound great.  It's too bad they only get to sing at Mass once a month.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Book Review: We and Our Children

A few years ago I had read Mary Reed Newland's The Year and Our Children and I was very impressed and inspired by the book.  It left me wanting to read more by her, but I was dismayed by the lackluster consumer review on another book authored by her because it was a "severely edited" version of the book.  I don't know about you, but I prefer to read a book in it's entirety because I find that it's very easy to distort the author's meaning when you go in and start changing things up in the name of updating.  The editing, as I understand it, was to update it to be in alignment with the ordinary form of the Mass.  When it was written, what we now know as the extraordinary form was the norm.  So some people might be bothered by a book that references the traditional Latin Mass, but honestly I don't see why one would be.  Not knowing what else might have been edited out or updated, I passed on reading the newer version of the book.  When it comes to books I like them unabridged and original, or not at all.

By pure happenstance it came to my attention that the book I had very much wanted to read but had passed on because I wanted to read what the author actually wrote and not what an editor thought was relevant was now available as a reprint of the original work from Angelico Press.  I am thrilled that I finally had the chance to read Mary Reed Newland's We and Our Children:How to Make a Catholic Home.  This book was originally published back in 1954 and I have to say that while there are a few things here and there that are dated, this book is just as relevant to creating a Catholic culture and raising Catholic children now as I'm sure it must have been back then.  The book is packed with sage advice and parenting wisdom that is very much needed and often lacking in today's society.

As a convert to Catholicism, I can tell you that there are times when you can feel a bit lost and out of your element when it comes to navigating just how you go about parenting Catholic children so they will understand, appreciate and love their Catholic faith.  If you never take a child outside to explore the beautiful big wide world, they won't come to appreciate it.  It's the same with our Catholic faith.  If you don't give your child opportunities to experience the richness of our faith, they won't understand it or appreciate it and even worse, they might not practice it as adults.   Faith is something that needs to be cultivated and nurtured.  If you find yourself unsure of just how to do that with your children then you might want to grab a copy of We and Our Children and set out to planting seeds of faith in your child's life.  Mrs. Newland offers sound advice and good suggestions for transforming your home into a Catholic home (or as some would call it: the domestic church).

We and Our Childrenis a twenty chapter book that addresses just about every topic that keeps parents awake at night.  Sure you're not going to find anything in this book about today's digital age with it's social media, internet, and texting, but the wisdom found in this book about supervising the types of television, radio programs and music your child is exposed to is pretty much the same as what you would need to apply to today's world.  Just as a mother back in the 50s would have been concerned about what media her child was exposed to, we should also be concerned about what our children are ingesting from our present, often, toxic culture.   So in some cases, you'll have to draw some parallels between now and then to get the most out of Mrs. Newland's gem of a book.

For the life of me, I'm not sure why previous reprints of this book under different titles would have edited out the author's description of the Mass.  While it's true that there were plenty of changes made after Vatican II, there is still a lot in Mrs. Newland's description of the Holy Mass that is relevant to today's ordinary form.  Again, you'll just have to take some time to draw the parallels.  Of course, if your family attends Mass in the extraordinary form you everything in her description of the Mass will make perfect sense.

Now this book is essentially a parenting book, but unlike most parenting books, Mrs. Newland's advice is not preachy and she doesn't take the stance that her way is the only way to do things.  The book reads like a fellow mom sitting down with you for coffee and discussing a variety of parenting issues as they relate to our Catholic faith.

Overall, I found this book to be very well done.  I think it belongs on the bookshelf of every Catholic mother who is serious about creating a Catholic culture in their house with the intent of raising well formed Catholic children.

I was provided with a review copy of We and Our Childrenby the publisher, Angelico Press, in exchange for my honest review.  Visit to take a peek insideor to purchase a copy of this book for yourself.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Book Review: Forever You

Forever You: A Book About Your Soul and Body is geared to children in the age range of 4-8.  The book teaches youngsters about the joys of being a human with a boy and an immortal soul.  It's a cheerfully illustrated book that will explain to children that they have soul and that their soul is in all that they are and all that they do.  The explanation is on a level that young children will easily be able to understand.

While this hardcover book is geared to the pre-K through second grade set, I think it's actually quite appropriate for children in the toddler set provided the toddler you read it to doesn't have a penchant for tearing pages.  [I'd actually really like to see a sturdy board book version of this book since I'm presently trying to protect the book from my toddler as I write this review.]  The story is comprised of short sentences which makes it ideal for little ones with short attention spans.  The illustrations for this book show a diverse group of children doing all sorts of activities that little ones will easily be able to relate to their own lives.  I can see using this book at home with young children to teach them about how God created each of us with a body and an immortal soul from the moment we first existed.  It's also a great book to read to children in a religious education class.  I haven't brought this book in to read to my kindergarteners yet, but it will be making an appearance very soon.  I suspect it will be a great jumping off point to discuss God's wonderful gift of a soul with the class.

I was provided with a review copy of Forever You by the publisher, Pauline Kids, in exchange for my honest review.  Visit Pauline Media for a sneak peek into this book.

Imagination Station Giveaway Winner

Congratulations to Kelly K. you've won the Imagination Station books giveaway!  I hope you enjoy them as much as we have.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Quick Takes Volume 53

Last Sunday I pestered Bryan into making me a batch of chocolate chip cookies.  Thanks to expired baking soda or old flour or a combination of the two they came out flat.  So the cookie fail prompted me to check out the spice cabinet.  Did you know that spices, actual spices, have expiration dates?  I didn't.  We're not going to discuss the spices we use that expired around about 4 or 5, ok, FIVE years ago.  For those of you who might be wondering, no, you won't die if you consume spices that are years past their expiration date.  The family and I are living proof.
I'm pretty sure I'm done Christmas shopping now.  I have a few items left to wrap and I'll have all of the wrapping done, too.  I'm just not feeling incredibly motivated to wrap gift cards and packages that took over ten days to arrive.  Katie has decided today that she will now start to attempt unwrapping the presents.  I managed to save a package from certain unwrapping after she started to tear into it.
The Christmas tree that Bryan set up for me the Friday before the first Sunday of Advent is still undecorated, unless we count the tree skirt and the candy canes I put on the top two thirds of the tree decorated.  The bottom third is bare because a certain child thinks it's her job to remove the candy canes and toss them on the kitchen floor.  After the first few candy canes were shattered I moved them all out of toddler striking zone.  I will have him set up the family room tree this weekend.  I suppose I should put out some sort of effort to decorate the first tree before I have two undecorated trees in the house.

I think Katie is on a mission to make every cup she drinks from leak.  She insists on drinking her cups with the spout upside down and that causes the vent to leak juice.  I think it's possible that she's also blowing air into the cup since she has this amazing ability to empty the contents of an entire sippy cup onto herself and her carseat in the ten minutes that it takes me to drive to Target.  I'm not a fan of dismantling her car seat to remove the cover.  Perhaps it's time I start using one of the car seats I got as a  review product that has an easy to remove seat cover.  I just have to get over the fact that I don't like the color of the cover.  Then again,  I could always just buy her some cups that don't have vents.  Maybe that will solve the problem.

I finally got my Christmas cards ordered and mailed out this week.  For some reason my sweater came out looking a bit purple on the cards but I wasn't about to spend another minute worrying about these cards.  Instead of taking them back to Sam's Club and asking them to redo them I just mailed them out.  If you have a Sam's membership and you still haven't ordered your cards, they have some unbelievable prices.  I got 50 photo cards for $14.50. 
You know that saying "Haste makes waste?"  I'm always saying it to the girls when they're rushing about and shortcutting their chores and homework.  Well, I didn't bother to check my Christmas card mailing list to see how many cards I needed.  I assumed that I probably only needed 40 or so since we've had a lot of deaths in the family over the years.  Apparently I needed somewhere around 60 cards. Haste makes waste!  So I decided to to with hold mailing cards to some people who never send us a card.  I have about 12 cards that are sitting in my dining room that can be mailed out to people if they happen to send us a card.  Since the in-laws pretty much act like we don't exist these days, I think I'll have a few cards left over.

I'm always amazed by the dumb products that you see hawked on TV.  Last night while playing around on Facebook I noticed that a few friends had posted a link to a steering wheel deskon Amazon.  If you need a laugh take a peek at the customer pictures and reviews for it.  They're a riot. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Imagination Station Escape to the Hiding Place Review and Giveaway

A couple months ago Ellie and I were given the opportunity to review the two latest books in the Imagination Station series.  The books take children on time traveling adventures to places in the past.  In the latest book, Escape to the Hiding Place,the main characters, Beth and Patrick, are transported to Holland during WWII.

Children will learn about how those who resisted the Nazi occupation worked to help Jewish families go into hiding.  The story line will have young readers on the edge of their seats as they watch the story unfold.

I'm sure there are some parents who may wonder if a story that involves the Nazis might be too intense for young readers.  This story is done in such a way that will not frighten youngsters who perhaps are not aware of the the atrocities and horrors of the Nazi regime.

The story is age appropriate for young readers from about second through fourth grade.  It's filled with several black and white illustrations which are nicely done.  I appreciate that the writing is done well and keeps young readers turning the pages.

I was provided with a complimentary review copy of this book by the publisher, Tyndale House,  in exchange for my honest review.

Enter the giveaway using the rafflecopter below for a chance to win a copy of Escape to the Hiding Place and Battle for Cannibal Island. The giveaway will close on December 17th.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, December 10, 2012

Celebrating Advent: St. Nicholas Day

I realize I'm a few days late in posting this, but I figured I'd share some pictures of the little things we did to celebrate St. Nicholas day.

Early last week I gathered up some scraps of red construction paper and made a bishop's miter for each of our chocolate Santas.  I then took gold pipe cleaners and fashioned them into croziers.  After a few minutes I had three chocolate St. Nicholases on my hands.  Another blogger mentioned that she used candy canes for a crozier.  I think I'll be stealing that idea for next year.  Anything that keeps me from having to dig through my craft supplies looking for pipe cleaners is a good thing.

On Wednesday night after Ellie's school Christmas concert, I realized after the kids went to bed that I forgot to tell them to leave their shoes out for St. Nicholas.  So I very clumsily quietly crept into their rooms to retrieve their shoes.  How I managed to not wake Ellie and our super light sleeper Katie is beyond me. I had the hardest time finding a pair of matching shoes in Ellie's closet and I thought I was toast when I had the genius idea to use the light up Mickey ears that she had gotten when we were in Disney World.  I was unaware that they were crazy strobe light mouse ears.  Aaah! Madeline, of course, was awake. When I snuck into her room she wanted to know what I was doing.  I did the mom thing and asked her why she wasn't sleeping and left the room with her school shoes.  Well played, Mom, well played.

So after I went through the shoe rounding up fiasco that felt like it took about an hour but was probably more like 90 seconds, I rounded up the bags of chocolate coins and Santas turned St. Nicholases and set them up next to the dog's bed.  I figured it made the most sense to put the shoes next to the fire place, but I don't think the dog appreciated that I put three pairs of shoes filled with chocolately goodness right next to him.  I have to give him props.  He's got a lot more self-control than some of the kids.  He may have looked longingly at the candy but he didn't even hazard to sniff it.

The kids were pretty excited when they woke up on St. Nicholas day to find shoes filled with candy.  I didn't have any time to snap pictures of the kids with the candy.  Katie made a beeline to her shoes as soon as she walked into the family room.  Ellie wanted to eat chocolate for breakfast, but I didn't think her teacher would appreciate a sugared up kid so I told her she'd have to wait until after school.  She decapitated her St. Nicholas as soon as she got home.  Isn't she darling?

After school Madeline read The Secret of St. Nicholasto her little sisters.  It's a nice story book with beautiful illustrations.  I think it made a great addition to our celebration of this generous saint.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} Gingerbread House Party

Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life....

This year we hosted our first ever gingerbread house decorating party for Ellie's soccer team and it was a hit!  I'm a bit of an obsessive neat freak and I have shied away from having such a party at my house because I was worried about the mess and the possibility of kids going wild on a sugar high.  I was shocked that the kids were incredibly neat and calm.  They were so focused on building their houses that the parents kept remarking about how quiet the kitchen was despite the fact that we had ten children in the room.

I had a bit of fun laying out the graham cracker gingerbread houses, icing and candies before the party started.  I think the table looked quite pretty.

Madeline was very happy to finally be able to design her gingerbread house.

Ellie takes decorating a gingerbread house VERY seriously.

See that container in the left hand picture?  That was a full bottle of sugar pearls before Ellie used about 95% of it on her house.  I have to say her house was rather impressive, but I felt bad that most of the other kids didn't have a chance to use sugar pearls especially since one of our guests brought them to the party.

The kids really did a great job at decorating their houses.  Can you believe that some of these houses were done by first time gingerbread house decorators?  All of the kids had a great time and I hope they will have some fond memories of this party as they grow older.  The party went so well that I told Bryan I think I'd like to host one every year.  It was well worth the effort it took to construct a dozen houses before hand.

Visit Like Mother, Like Daughter for more pictures of contentment.

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