Thursday, December 30, 2010

Presents for All!

Throughout this Christmas season, my husband and I have been trying to teach Noah the importance of "giving."  With a birthday two weeks before Christmas and as the only grandchild on my family's side, he's been blessed with more than enough presents from family and friends.  So we've talked a lot about how giving gifts to other people makes them, us and Jesus happy. 

A few days before Christmas, I took Noah out shopping with me.  As we were driving toward the mall, we were talking about all the family members we'll be seeing soon and the presents that we've gotten them - "making our list and checking it twice."  :)

We finished the list and Noah was quiet for a minute.  Then suddenly, he cried out "Oh, no!"

"What's the matter?" I asked.

"Coda!" he replied.  (Coda is my parents' dog.)

"Coda!  Missing!"  he said, very concerned.

"Coda's missing?"  I asked.

"Yeah, Coda.  Missing present," he said and continued to repeat the entire way to the mall.

He was so insistent that we had to make a stop at the nearest pet store to pick out a present for Coda the dog.  When we got home, he helped me wrap the gift and when we arrived at Nanny and Papa's house for Christmas, Coda was the first one to receive a present from Noah.

I guess he's learning something. . .

The Great Cookie Adventure

Since Noah is so enamored with Thomas the Train, I thought it would be cute to have train cookies for his birthday party.  Little did I know what I was getting myself into. . .

I found a set of train-shaped cookie cutters on Amazon for $8 and set to work making a triple batch of sugar cookies.  Though time-consuming, baking was the "easy" part.

Once cooled, I had to icing them all.  I actually had never worked with royal icing before.  Thankfully, a dear friend of mine brought over her "tackle box" of cake decorating paraphernalia and gave me a crash course.  Who knew that egg whites would make icing harden?!?

So, we set to work about 7pm.  We had two batches of icing - one "thick" to outline and one "thin" to flood.  Each batch was divided in thirds for our three colors.  My "expert" friend outlined them all with her wonderfully-steady hand while another friend and I attempted to flood them.  Let's just say the first few were rather awful-looking.  But we eventually got the hang of it and turned out almost six dozen cookies by the stroke of midnight.

There was, of course, a "royal" mess to clean up when all was said and done.  But the cookies turned out rather well, all things considered.  They were very tasty and didn't look half-bad, either.  They were a big hit at the party and I had extra to share with the kids at church the following week.

In hindsight, I will think twice before undertaking such an "adventure" again.  But who can say "no" to this face when he asks for a "Thomas cookie"?  :)

Happy birthday, Noah!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmas Tea

Our little church hosted its first ladies' Christmas tea on Friday.  We literally transformed our fellowship hall into a sparkling "winter wonderland."

It was certainly a labor of love to plan, set up, decorate, bake for 50 ladies, but what a treat for everyone!  We were able to spend a quiet evening together as ladies, drinking tea and of course, eating desserts!

We played a few tea-themed games (see below for a PDF), sang some Christmas carols and heard a testimony on the power of prayer from one of the ladies in our church.  It was such a special evening.  Though, I'm glad that we have a whole year to rest up before we do it again!

I had a hard time finding appropriate tea party games online, so if you're ever in need of some tea trivia, feel free to use or adapt the games I created here.