Monday, December 23, 2013

Gingerbread 2013

A couple weeks ago it happened once again. I made a ton of gingerbread and had friends come create and decorate it. This was the 9th year in a row! Craaaazy. Some firsts this year were: my sister was here for the first time to help with it all and to make mimosas the morning of, we had a grim gingerbread wildfire scene, and my icing flat-out rocked. That stuff glued everything together-- there were no structural catastrophes that I know of. My icing secret was that this year I didn't measure it when I was making it.

Too many words here. Here are some pictures. I didn't get as many pictures as I usually do, but people have been sending them to me. It was a fun and big party- held at our condo clubhouse this year.

Go time
I believe it was four double batches? I know it took a week.
Daddy kisses
Melissa and Chelsea apply clothes to their ginger people.
Cindy made me get in a picture, so I smiles with Theresa
Carey claimed to have never made a gingerbread house before.
However, she did study architecture, so...her house was amazing.
Abby built a beautiful house...while her mom and aunt drank beautiful beers
and encouraged her from the sidelines.
Clara's first (of many) gingerbread party! 
Jackson  appropriately renamed the party "that candy party"
The Kurtz family, pre sugar-rush
I didn't quite catch Thomas before he ate the head off his man.
Scarlet was only looking at that candy that fell on the floor...
Annabelle-- looking like an icing bag pro
When Cals's Cal and Cal!
Lovely cottage
Judy with frosting all over herself making her island house- classic Judy
Carey "I've never made a gingerbread house"'s house
I don't think those cookies made it very far...
The Korin family's traditional house and landscaping--
They've been at almost all of our gingerbread parties!
Even before the kids.
Structurally sound, quaint, symmetrical, whimsical, you name it
My sister's forest fire mountain range-- I believe there is a fire fighter
meeting his untimely demise
And here is the finish wildfire scene...can't get the picture to rotate
and not willing to keep trying. It says
"Don't play with matches." You go, Smokey Bear.
It snowed.
The Kuans and their giant gingerpeople
Teddy's cheeks and Margo
Teddy loves his Aunt Bean. I think she likes him a little too.
Clearly Chloe is in charge of her family's project.
Jackson doesn't know where that other cookie went...
Crys's final wildfire disaster
We've never had so many kids at a gingerbread party before...LOTS
Trevor and Trey and their ginger-twins
Jen, Gary, and Thomas created a Somalian pirate scene
with accompanying harrowing kidnapping story!
The uneaten portion of the Kurtz Family project
As the dust settles...Teddy Elf helps with
Cal and Clark's gingerbread house
Cal and Clark's house
Good party! Until next year, Mother-in-law's Kitchen Aid Mixer. I'll see you when we meet again for a week of spreading a fine layer of flour and powdered sugar all over my kitchen in the name of Christmas cheer, family traditions, and friends. I wouldn't have it any other way. Tenth year coming up!

Thanks to all who came. And if you have a picture to add, please send it to me!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Things I Found Under the Couch This Morning: An Image of My Life in Words

Things I Found Under the Couch This Morning

a ball
a mini hockey stick
embroidery floss
a ball
a winter glove
a Buzz Lightyear squirt gun
seven baby board books
a ball
two baby cloth books
an overdue library book
two flip flops
one slipper
a foam sword
two rattles
a ball
a hanger
a burp cloth
a Halloween coloring sheet
a ball
three magazines, one ripped up
a painted mini pumpkin (a real one)
three unmatching socks
a ball
a piece of foam board from a game I made
a ball
a onesie

We do have a big couch, but still. And it's been only about a month since my last comprehensive under-the-couch purge. And now all this stuff is in the living room, because who has time to put it all away? No me. I'm busy writing this in order to psychologically deal with the chaos.

Monday, December 16, 2013

The Search for Lumpiness

Last year we had our encounter with Lumpy Tree and her hideous gift of spiders on Christmas Day. Here is the tale of finding Lumpy Tree last year, and here is the tale of Lumpy's creepy crawly gift. And here is a picture of the original Lumpy Tree.

Here are the ways I aptly described last year's original Lumpy:

·         A hairball that a large pine tree puked out, that then grew a stump and stuck around
·         Two trees that fell in love, started growing together as one and then got in a giant fight but couldn't quite separate again
·         Twin trees, where one was always bigger and stronger and eventually ate the smaller one
·         A tree that grew close to a nuclear facility

Well this year we went out in search of Lumpy II. The thing is, we ended up at a tree farm (the one Lumpy came from was closed) on a weekday when they only allow cut-your-own trees on weekends. We were determined to find Lumpy II and find her that day. This year we went with Aunt Julie, Uncle John, and their tiny new baby Clara. It was Teddy's first tree and we decided to get it on a snow day last week when Brian was out of school. So I bundled him up in layers and took him out.

Baby boy leggings: just say yes
The woman at the tree stand said we could walk around the lot behind the already-cut trees. It was a lot that hadn't yielded Christmas trees for around twenty years. Sounds cool, we thought. Kind of like trekking through an Idaho forest looking for a tree, which is a fun childhood memory for me.

Turns out it's harder to find a lumpy tree amongst a bunch of really crappy trees than it is to find a lumpy tree amongst perfect triangle Christmas trees. We ended up trying to find the tree that most resembled a normal Christmas tree. I think that, considering the options, we did a pretty good job. We trudged along in the wet snow for about 45 minutes before we settled on our tree. Ultimately we left it up to the boys, who claimed that Lumpy II was, "so beautiful." But I think it's more Spindly Tree or Tipping Tree than another Lumpy Tree. It's tilty and spazzy. It looks like it's about to tip over, when it in fact the tree stand proves that it is not. Its branches shoot off in random directions and its needles are as sharp as knives. Not only was I inwardly grimacing that I didn't get a perfect, suburban mom triangle tree (even though I had consented to find a lump again) as I decorated it, but I was physically grimacing from the pain caused by wrestling the ornaments over the limbs.

It also took us a couple days to get around to decorating her because of several Christmas light catastrophes that I don't care to get in to. So, here she is: the photo story of the lovely Tipping Tree.

One of the stellar options "rainbow tree!"
But Teddy doesn't approve
Beautiful ice on the walk in the wild
Calvin declares this is the one!
We're committed now.
Good view of the tipping-ness
 Asymmetrical is the new symmetrical.
I feel like this really shows the girth well.
To four year-olds, and even a 5 month-old, it's beauty...
and I suppose that's what matters.

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