Sunday, December 9, 2012

It's beginning to look a lot like . . .

CHAOS!  Well, and Christmas, but mostly a decent measure of chaos.  However, let's kick this well overdue blog post off with some cuteness:
Catherine has really started walking everywhere.  This night she was giving everyone hugs before bed.  Sooo precious!  And speaking of big brothers, look what Matthew has figured out how to do:

He likes to go "help" Catherine in the mornings which mostly entails putting stuffed animals in the crib.  Apparently that just wasn't enough and he figured out how to climb in.  As long as he doesn't teach her to climb out we're set!

Catherine has a wild side that we discovered at the Children's museum.
She and I have really been enjoying our one-on-one time and time with a "babies" playgroup while little man is at preschool.
While Matthew was willing to walk anywhere as soon as he learned (he rarely *knock on wood* asks to be carried) Catherine hasn't been interested at all when we're out and about.  Okay, let me rephrase, she's rarely interested in walking unless it is 100% on her terms.  However, we tricked her into walking out of the library "by herself" the other day:


 She also likes to give hugs and comforting pats to her brother.  I'm not certain if she was more concerned about what Matthew was watching here or by his wild bed head.
We kicked off our Christmas season with our unofficial activity advent.  We have a Christmas "activity" planned for each day, though we've left the format open to interpretation as hell hath no fury like a 3 year old who has just learned of a change in plans.  Our kick off on the first was a trip for Matthew and I to see the Nutcracker!
 The kids also helped make some Christmas ornaments.  Catherine took it very seriously:

 However, we still don't have a tree.  Bitter cold temps and high winds have foiled our plans thus far, but the kiddos have had a great time with our little tree:
 They were less cooperative about taking a nice picture though and this silliness is the best we got:
 Though this has its own charm:

And Matthew has enjoyed the rediscovery of an old toy from Amma and Papa:
Who might still be on the naughty list for getting the little guy this "marshmallow" catapult.  We've nixed the marshmallows to prevent the sugar highs and replaced it with dog treats.  After the dogs got their fill we switched to pom poms.  Matthew loves to shoot us:
Other activities on our Christmas list have included gingerbread men and "pirates".  
Matthew read Jan Brett's "Gingerbread Baby" twice a day for about a month earlier this year so he can't wait to make the gingerbread house to "catch" the gingerbread men.  However, they are holding hands because he "wanted them to".  In fact, we had a big old line of gingerbread men/pirates before we were done.

 And speaking of other books he's taken to recreating, here he is teaching Catherine how to be a pizza from "Pete's a Pizza."


This weekend we tackled making Potica, mostly using the recipe here which was very similar to the recipes grandma had, but with more directions.  I only had to google a few million things I missed by never making it with grandma (cake yeast substitution? scalding milk?) and crowdsourced some opinions on facebook about the necessity of rolling on a cloth (yes, yes, yes!  I can't imagine how much it would have stuck on the counters).  I didn't take many process pictures because my house looked like a cross between a nuclear explosion and an episode of hoarders.  However, I can share I rolled the dough from counter edge to counter edge, large enough to wrap a large toddler (which I probably should have done!) and exceeding the recommended 50" x 32" sizing.  Unfortunately, in this edge to edge rolling my super awesome and amazing rolling pin met an unfortunate end when it hit the floor (which is odd because the kids only have to look at our floor and it chips/scratches):

The honey walnut filling was super delicious and I could have eaten it by the spoonful.  However, walnuts run through a meat grinder are even less photogenic than my house.  Nonetheless, here's a picture I managed to take of 5 loaves ready to go into the oven:

And the delicious results:
5 delicious loaves of sweet bread in exchange for dirtying every surface and bowl I own :-)  The kids weren't too involved with this batch but it's a tradition I hope to continue and pass on.  They did help knead a bit, which we had practiced earlier in the week with making our Christmas playdough:


And Matthew's new ridiculous activity which is making shadows.  Why shadows make this noise I have no idea:

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