Saturday, December 8, 2012

Count Down to Christmas

This year we are being blessed by having such a mild winter. We've seen a few snow flakes but nothing measureable really , and nothing to speak about. So far in the Northwest its been raining, dreary , but not snowing. All I can say is 'Yay'!  So far we're saving a bundle on our electricity bill ( our main heating source) , we haven't had to buy snow tires, no scraping ice off the van windows and freezing to death while we wait for the heat to kick in when we have to drive somewhere.  Its been a very long time since we've had a winter that has been so mild. Now, with that said  I'm sure I just jinxed us into our next winter storm.

I think the only thing is we're having a tough time with is getting into the Christmas spirit since we're so used to having a million feet of snow on the ground.  So with that said we've been very glad that we've had things to do to prepare and get us into the Christmas spirit mood.

The very first thing we did was make our own Advent wreath. I had scoured the web and looked and looked and either they were overpriced or just not what I liked. So I decided to make one with things I had around the house, and bought some things I didn't have around the house, and voila' an Advent wreath. It literally turned out way better then I thought it was going to turn out.
Then our next adventure was on Dec 6th when we celebrated the feast of St. Nicholas.  Though I do have a book about the Saints our book didn't contain any pictures so I read this story and found another online to read to the girls. This was when I truly realized I didn't have any other books about dear old St. Nicholas in our home. So my next investment will be of some picture story books about the grand Saint.
But this was the book we read from:
I will admit it is my favorite book. I like the fact it gives children something to think about before you read into the life of the Saint. Though it doesn't give multiple stories of Saint Nicholas it shares one story about him.
Another thing we need to invest in is some movies. If anything my children enjoy watching a good movie and it usually drives the story home when the watch and see too.

We did read the story from the Book of Saints and I also read them a story from this website : Catholic Heroes of the Faith. That had several other stories as well that I had not heard of before until I read it.

After reading our stories we decided to have some Saint Nicholas fun and Maggie had lots of fun wearing her Saint Nicholas Miter. She actually is still wearing it two days later she really likes it that much.
If your wondering where we got this super cool hat to make just visit this link at Catholic Inspired.
We also had Kids Club at the school so I decided to use the party cupcake toppers that come from the same link and make some Saint Nicholas cupcakes.  These were actually my idea ( and not a Pinterest one) to make and they turned out super cute. So much so the kids at the school really enjoyed having Mrs. Reed's Saint Nicholas cupcakes. 

First I used a vanilla cake mix and made it according to box directions , after getting everything made I split the cake batter into two bowls and added some red food coloring to one. Carefully I put about a tablespoon or so in the cupcake papers and carefully added just a small drizzle of the red. Trust me when I say small. You don't need much and if you put to much in your cupcake will just turn all red.  I used one of my kabob sticks to swirl it. I first went back and forth deep into the mix to get it mixed in with the white, then carefully took the tip of my kabob stick (you could use a toothpick too) and swirled it ever so gently. I found if you immersed the stick that the batter would just stick and you wouldn't get those swirls. Definitely not like making soap swirls that's for sure. 

Next , put in the oven and follow the box directions for making cupcakes and viola' . Red and white cupcakes. As you can see the cupcake , second from the front left is what happens when you add to much of the other color. I really tried fixing that one with adding a little more white. But it didn't help to much and that cupcake ended up being the Kid's Club teacher's because it ended up being the biggest cupcake because I ended up putting more batter in it to try and fix it up. 

 After creating my fun cupcakes I took them over to the school because they have a HUGE kitchen , unlike our postage stamp kitchen I have and was able to move around more and have more room to manipulate the cupcakes for my next step. Not to mention its much easier to travel with unfrosted cupcakes then it is frosted.  So once we got over to the school I was able to lay out our next steps. I had my oldest take candy canes and beat them with the end of our screw driver I brought along with us. You need something very heavy to pound them into little bits like we needed from the cupcakes.  While she was doing that Katie helped open the cake decorating bag so I could scoop in the store bought frosting ( something I don't like doing but didn't have time to make my own before going over that day) and I piped on the frosting on top of the cupcakes. Then I sprinkled the candy cane bits onto the top, and added our St. Nicholas toppers and they turned out great, not to mention tasted amazing!!! They were a sure hit and I had kids coming up asking for more. Sadly the rule was one cupcake ( due to children having after school activities we didn't want them loading up on sweets).  When I got home I was finally able to try one and I had to agree. They tasted super duper great!  
I will say this , the candy cane for toppers doesn't last long. Amazingly enough it melts on top of the frosting. I found this out the next day when I went to snack on another. I'm not sure if it has to do with it being room temperature but if you let them sit out to long in a warm area the candy cane will melt. With that being said, they still tasted pretty darned good.  
Oh yes, and on another note, St. Nicholas stopped at our house and dropped off some pretty neat Angry Bird Match Box Cars to put in the girls' shoes. I didn't get a picture of it though because , me being me, I forgot to grab a picture.  Maybe I won't forget next year. 

So that was the way we spent our St. Nicholas Day this year. Looking forward to seeing how everyone else spent their's. 

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