Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 in Review

Although I still have a bunch of Christmas to post, the year is ending so I am just going to skip ahead...
#2016bestnine based on instagram likes!

2016 was the year when:
-Ryan started Kindergarten
-We took our first family trip to the Bahamas
- We travelled to Belize with my family
- We spent a week in Montana with Kevin's family and my parents joined us as well

Here's to 2017! Wish all good health, lots of family time and love! muah!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Cinnamon Rolls and Cookies

This year we made cinnamon rolls and cookie mix for our neighbors. On Thursday afternoon we packed up our little red wagon to make some sweet deliveries!
I used the same cinnamon roll recipe as last year - Pioneer Woman Cinnamon Rolls. And they were just as delicious as I remembered. However, I wasn't a huge fan of the maple I did a cream cheese one this year. So yum!  If you are craving sweet rolls....of any variety you should check these out!
As for the cookie mix - Bakerella for the win! I used her Merry Christmas Cookie Mix recipe. I was super excited to get the kids involved...but there was a little bit of a learning curve and turns out the little kiddos weren't quite as helpful as I thought they might be. Imagine that. After multiple spills and countless swiped M&Ms, Kevin took the kiddos outside to play while I finished up. They needed to burn off some of that sugar!

I was suppose to use the smooth front jars (to easily apply a sticker label) but I accidentally bought the wrong ones. So instead of a sticker on the front, I opted for a printout for the top. I suppose you could print them on sticker paper as well, but I just used regular paper and the jar lid holds it on nicely. I made these little tops for the jars.  The printable directions are here

And the cinnamon rolls were delivered like this (thanks to my mom who helped me tie all the ribbons on!)

This little Red Wagon comes in quite handy!

Each kiddo got to carry something - cinnamon rolls, cookie mix and our holiday card. Hayden quickly realized she got the "boring" item to carry. 

She was happy to pull the wagon though...

We had to leave a few on our friends door steps...a fun little treat to find!

And by the end she was happy to be pulled in the wagon!

Last year we drove around delivering our cinnamon rolls...we didn't quite get around to that this year- oops! I actually still have a ton in our freezer so if we are needing something to do this week we might deliver them to some friends as New Year treats! 

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Trains at North Park

One of my favorite holiday traditions is our visit to the Trains at NorthPark. We have been going since Ryan was a baby and it's always a fun activity that the kids love. Not to mention it's for a good cause.  All ticket & train car proceeds go towards the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas Charity. Three years ago I learned that you could make a donation to purchase a personalized train car that will run during the exhibit. You let them know what you want on the train car and they always do an amazing job! I love checking out all of the different cars - so festive and fun! It's always fun to search for our train car and pretty soon we will have to get a track so we can run ours at home. 

The big thing that was new this year was the app, All Aboard! 360. We totally missed out on this but I so wish I would have dowloaded it before we went. It allows you to ride as a passenger aboard the trains. During your visit you use the app to track your progress in an interactive scavenger hunt and win prizes. The download is free but you can give a one time donation to until all the train rides. Definitely will need to download this for next year!!!

 Hayden was so excited to find Marshall from the Paw Patrol!

She probably would have jumped in if she could have...

The State Fair display is always my favorite

It took a while but we finally found our train - Kevin spotted it first!
After the trains we walked around the mall. 

The Gingerbread village was London Town this year.

Of course we stopped to see the ducks and turtles...
I think this was a reaction to the large santa and reindeer above the pond....

The kids loved seeing the turtles and ducks....and of course playing on the wall thingy. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Breakfast with Santa

"Make me handsome" says Grayson. 
What a stud! 

Of course I couldn't get her to stand still for a picture and when she finally did I was facing the sun. Oh well, I'll take what I can get....

Kevin took Ryan to his 9am basketball game so we caught a ride with the Hales to Breakfast with Santa. A few selfies while we waited...

And we're done! lol

Once we made it to the club we snagged a table and then went exploring! We found some friends out on the train!

So we waited in line for our turn...

Riding with the girls!

This sweet little bug held on to my leg the whole ride. 

We grabbed some breakfast and watched the Elf do a magic show. 
The line to see Santa was crazy long so we bailed on that.
Instead we got a little visit from Mrs. Clause. Hayden wasn't too sure about her either....

One last pic at the tree on the way out...

Grayson + Hayes = Besties

And the mommas...with a few stragglers. 

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Color By Number - Grayson in the Middle

I love this Color By Number activity that Grayson was doing the last night. Ryan was doing homework, so of course he wanted to do some as well. He actually started doing Ryan's homework but that quickly caused an issue and I was able to redirect him with his advent calendar activity book (from Target) - whew! Anyhow, I explained to him how it worked (by starting to color in the light blue square) and he was so excited he got right down to business.  Hayden was also a super helper - she found the colors that he needed and gave them to him - after she put them in her mouth...#littlesister

I noticed he was going through the colors at an incredibly fast pace so when I looked at his page I started to giggle when I realized that he was only coloring the actual number! So cute! I showed him again how you are suppose to color the area that the number is in with the coordinating color (and not just the number itself). He understood, and then explained to me that he was 'too tired' to do that. I convinced him to try - so he did one orange square then happily reverted back to his original plan. He was quite happy with himself. #youdoyou

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Sausage Party at the Botterman's

Last night the Botterman's hosted the (32nd-ish) annual white elephant gift exchange & sausage party! 
Cheers to fun nights with family and friends!

I never know what to bring since I don't know much about German food...but I think I found my "dish". From here on out I will be making soft pretzels! They are so easy to make and they are so darn good! Ryan was obsessed with them...and well, I was too! I also made a beer cheese fondue to dip them in but that needs a little more tweaking!
Seriously amazing. I'll have to post the recipe soon - I kinda mixed two. 

Sweet kiddos! Ryan's face looks so awkward because he shoved a big ol' pretzel bite in his mouth before the picture. 

I love a good cheese board! And I love the rosemary and thyme garnish - so cute! Will definitely be incorporating this in my next board!

Sweet Tate!

Playing together...kind of. 

Sausage. Glorious sausage. 
I clearly need some sausage cliff notes because I didn't realize there were so many different kinds. 

And the other German fixins!

The kids had an ornament exchange!

Strangely...most of them ended up with the ornament that they brought. lol. 

And then the adult exchange started...the kids helped with the present selection AND the unwrapping. So helpful. 

Once the game was over we had a little mini celebration for Miss Lyla! She turned 11 today!
She has recently taken up a love for baking so we got her some fun new cookbooks!

Somebody enjoyed the birthday cake!

Hayden wanted in on the action. 

Big HUGS! 

Always a great time - love this tradition!

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