Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Needle Madness

Another Christmas has come and gone. How sad is it that I have NO pictures of it? I guess when you are hosting an event you have other things on your mind!

That's right! Dave and I hosted my family this year for Christmas. Counting 12 children, 1 teenager and 8 adults, it was quite the party... although I guess that is what most Sunday afternoons look like also. 

We decided to do something very untraditional. To keep stress low, lasagne, garlic bread and salad for Christmas dinner. I was able to make the lasagne several days ahead and freeze it, leaving the majority of the work in the past.

I believe a good time was had by all and the food seemed to go over well also. Always good when that happens.

Boxing day, however, means, "get this tree out of my house"! Christmas is over, now lets clean up.

A good sign of a neglected tree is if it looks like this:

Where are all the needles you ask? Scroll down.

 Yup! there they are.

Several factors contributed to this mess. First being that I didn't water it. That's a big one. Initially I had it in a huge bucket of sweet water and I just never added more. Second factor was the bucket. We don't use a stand, simply a bucket with the tree tied to something. So the tree branches are actually resting on the lip of the buckets making it quite the task to try and get more water into it. Third factor, it is in the same room as our wood burning fireplace. It gets quite hot and very dry in the house, let alone that room alone. Over all, the tree and I didnt really stand a chance. Even if I had been a bit more diligent.

What did that get me?


I had to empty my vacuum three times just to clean up the needles in the house. Lets not even mention the needles on our porch and out the back door! Dave actually got out the blower and blew the needles out of the porch so we would stop tracking them in on our boots every time we went out.

I love real trees. Ill deal with the mess. No big deal. I am thankful for Christmas and I am also thankful that it is over for another year.

Tonight is New Years Eve. May you all have a wonderful new year. We plan on staying in and keeping it low key. This year has been strange. We plan on finishing it the same way. Doing nothing!

Friday, December 19, 2014

A Christmas Read

A fun, dark and fantastical story or who Kringle is and where he came from.

I really enjoyed this read but am very thankful I stopped myself from reading it out loud to the boys without having read it first. I'm thinking it is a bit scary for young ones.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Activities and Guests

Family is very important to me. I get tired, I get grumpy and I get overwhelmed but I can very rarely turn down the opportunity to be with family. It has been build right into my being. Through the loving parenting and teaching we had as kids, family (both blood related and not) has become one of our essentials. A support and network that is there in thick and thin. 

Sunday afternoon, my niece asked if she could spend time with us this week. As talk of this ensued, a nephew also made the request.  As an Aunty who didn't wish to leave anyone sad, I told them both to come on over and visit. 

Until Wednesday evening I am the mother or 6! I love it. Its loud and messy (wait, thats no different than normal) but at times easier than normal. New distractions and all.

Monday, I took them all with me to get some gingerbread houses so we could have a fun Christmas project to do together. It was an adventure with an extra two but they were so well behaved. Once we waited for Mr. Declan to nap, we got started on the building.

The finished projects next to the poinsettia that Dave bought me.

Ewan got to do his house solo (with a bit of help from mom).

Matthew and Isaiah worked away, compromising with each other about the placement of each candy.

Norah busily worked on the house while Levi snuck candy after candy into his mouth.

Messy and loud!


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Trimming the Tree

We usually try to get our Christmas tree around December 5th since it is Sinterklaas. My sister in law, Vanessa, gave me that fun idea. Our husbands, who are brothers, are Dutch and as a way to do St. Nicks in our own way, we try to get our tree and decorate it.

This year it was the 6th. So we failed a bit but no one seemed to really care or even notice. Daniel and Amanda ( my brother and his wife) along with the kids, and Connor (my other brother) came with us this year to Thomas Tree Farm to chop down our tree. We hop on a wagon pulled by some horses out to the trees and come back on a tractor ride with our freshly cut tree.

Its expensive but an enjoyable tradition ( at least the boys and I think so).

The boys decorated vigorously and within 5 minutes they were done. I managed to catch Matthew adding a few ornaments but it lost its appeal after a handful or ornaments were placed.

From this picture, you can clearly tell they were the ones decorating. I think there are 5 ornaments on one branch. Pretty! I told myself I would go back later and move things around but it appears not to bother me. I think I just like the warm lights. I dont actually pay attention to the decorations once they are on the tree.

Along with the fresh cut tree I added some other trees (just not real).

This is usually the tree that the kids are able to decorate and undecorate all month long. They never really got to it though. So, it remains mostly plain which is still warm and cozy.

Are you wondering how the tree is standing up to Declan? Its a good question. I think one of the reasons I haven't noticed the crowded ornaments is that Declan removes them quickly and in great number. I have found them all over the house. Once I find them, I find a place for them on the tree in a slightly higher location. By Christmas all the ornaments will be at the top of the tree.

Meh! Its what we do :)

Hope you are all having a wonderful time getting set for Christmas.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Counting Down

Growing up, December first was exciting because we got to start opening our daily chocolates from our advent calendars. Counting down the days until Christmas morning.

I decided to continue the tradition, as so many do, with our boys. However, it hasn't gone as smoothly as I remember. One of the kids would go to open their chocolate only to find the treat missing. I guess their moving it down from its shelf proved too rough and the chocolate would slip down to the bottom. So we would have to rip open the cardboard to find the culprit and in so doing cause others to fall out.

This year I decided to try something new. 

These are my home made calendars. Each boy has a different colour and each pocket contains its treat. Yummier than the store bought cardboard calendars (though I am sure the kids really don't care).

I folded origami pockets, and stamped each one with the date. Some are all mixed up. It lets the older boys hunt for the number and the younger ones are in order so I can quickly grab their treat and hand it to them.

This is also not going as smoothly as I would have liked. Mostly because Declan is a climber. He brings a chair up to the calendars when I am out of the room and steals envelopes off of whichever is closest. Thankfully I have extra treats to replace the stolen ones.

Another tradition that we started several years ago is opening a book a day. They are all Christmas books and they are put away all year long so they aren't boring. 


Each child takes a turn opening a book until Christmas eve. They love it.

That's how we count down to Christmas. How about you?