Sunday, December 21, 2014

Mommy's Sweatshop: Music Tree Edition

We got a late start on anything Christmas because Thanksgiving ran long and birthday season ran late this year.  But I think I have all the presents ready, sort of.  (I just bought a sweater that I can't decide whether to give to Ian or  keep for myself and tell him it's from him.  We don't normally get each other anything, but it was a really nice men's sweater marked way way down so I couldn't resist.  Maybe he won't like it and he'll just give it back to me?  Anyway...)

Despite a more packed schedule than usual (I played a performance of the complete Messiah in a town more than half an hour south of here and those three-hour rehearsals plus commute on top of my normally packed schedule about did me in) we did manage to make our holiday cards and get them out on time!  Unfortunately Mona was knocked flat with a fever for several days and Aden's been playing catch up on homework, so Quinn was my lone helper in Mommy's Sweatshop.

We painted cards with watercolors, then glued trees cut from music paper to them.  Mona was delighted when she saw the finished cards and said, "Ooh, it's like the notes are ornaments!"  Which is exactly what I was going for, so that made me happy.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Candyland Cake

I can't really take any credit for Aden's birthday cake this year.  I was hoping to redeem myself after last year's cake wreck, but all I did for this cake was frost it and suggest the general concept.  Aden baked two layers of vegan chocolate cake, I did the crumb coat and the final frosting surface, then Aden did all the decorating herself.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Bug Cake

Mona has successfully turned 11.  To celebrate we created a Bug Cake.
For her party this year Mona asked her friends to bring cereal to donate to the food pantry instead of presents, which was an idea introduced to us recently by a friend and my kids were excited by it.  Mona also wanted to do something for her party that was new to her, so we ended up at a place with Laser Tag and Go Kart Racing, and that seems to have been a hit.  The other big hit was her bug cake.  When she requested a bug for a cake design she told me I could choose the bug, but nothing dainty looking like a butterfly.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Thankful: Past, Present, and Future

Thanksgiving this year at our house wound up being about a two week event with lots of comings and goings.

[Try to follow along if you like!:  Ian left for New York for a week starting back on Quinn's birthday to watch our niece while my brother, Arno, and his wife had to be in other time zones, and he didn't get back until two days before Thanksgiving.  My parents arrived a week before Thanksgiving, and my brother, Barrett, came out by bus from LaCrosse for a day around then to visit with all of us before heading back to teach a few more classes and returning with his wife, Dosha, (and their dog) the night before the big feast.  Arno and his daughter, Ellora, arrived the day before Thanksgiving.]

All in all we ended up with six guests (plus dog guest) staying in the house and it was great.

I think it was the first time I've been with my parents and both my brothers at a Thanksgiving table in over 20 years.  After we all left for college it just wasn't worth the effort and expense to gather at the end of November when there was a longer break with even more relatives to see a month later.  Having everyone together this year was a rare and wonderful treat.

Dinner itself was delicious and fun.  My mom made some excellent dishes for the vegetarians among us, my husband cooked the turkey, I made pumpkin pie, Mona made the place markers, Barrett got creative with the napkins, and Arno made the potatoes into a nice Devil's Tower.