Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Christmas Eve!

Christmas Eve is already here!  How??  Yes, I will be out shopping today for some last minute gifts.  Call me crazy, it usually happens every year!!  I learned thought from previous Christmases to not save all the wrapping for today.  I do not want to spend my Christmas Eve wrapping all night. 

What are your Christmas Eve traditions?  We have always spent the night at my parent's house on Christmas Eve after church.  Before we had kids, we usually went to dinner after, watched Christmas Vacation and played games.  With way too many kids amongst my sister and I, it's not so easy to do that anymore.  Now, my mom makes chili and we spend time together watching the kids play and talking.  We have not spent Christmas Eve or Christmas morning at our house.  We ask the kids every year if they want Santa to come to their house and they say no, Coach and Grammy's house is way more fun since there are a lot of people there.  That is the tradition they remember and how they want it to be, so I guess it's not changing!

For the past month, I have taken Christmas pictures for many friends for their Christmas cards.  Yesterday, it was my turn to take pictures of my kids.  We had a fun little photo shoot and here are some of their pictures.

Enjoy your traditions with your family and friends on this Christmas Eve! 


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A little holiday baking

When the kids are out of school, one of the things we always do is some baking. Yesterday, we made something besides our usual cookies - we made Cracker Candy. Have you ever had it? It is so yummy, buttery and rich. When I worked at HP, one of my co-workers brought it in around Christmas time and I couldn't get enough of it!! It tastes much like toffee, one of my favorites! Since Blake is allergic to pecans, we could only have them on one little portion of the pan. It's super easy to make, even Brody had fun helping and licking the spoon.

Here's the recipe:

40 saltines/sleeve of saltine crackers
1 cup of butter (2 sticks)
1 cup of brown sugar
1 (16oz) package of chocolate chips
1 cup chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place a layer of foil in an 11x16 inch pan and layer crackers over foil. In saucepan, bring butter and sugar to a boil (this smells divine)! Boil for 3 minutes. Pour over crackers. Bake 5 minutes or until crackers float. Remove from oven and sprinkle chocolate chips over top of crackers. When melted, spread chips and sprinkle nuts on tops. Cut into bars when cool.

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Last Day of School for 2010

The last day of school before Christmas vacation begins is always a blast.  I have the best memories of my Christmas parties at school.  They were so much fun.  We made handmade crafts and got to eat sugar cookies brought in by the homeroom moms that they baked at home.  We would never hear of that today.  Everything today has to be pre-packaged and they are now called Winter/Holiday Parties-boohoo, I can't stand that!! 

I still have some of the little crafts we made at school.  In first grade, the homeroom mom made tick tac toe boards out of felt and in another grade, we got felt Christmas trees full of 25 peppermints.  Each day we got to take a mint off so we knew how many more days til Christmas.  One year, I made the cutest cookie jar for my mom and I remember getting off the bus with my big bag of goodies to bring home.  I forgot about my cookie jar and swung the bag in the air upside down and out came the jar and it broke all over the ground.  I ran home and cried and cried because I broke the special gift I worked so hard on for my mom.

I love all the handmade gifts the kids make for us.  Especially the little ornaments with their faces, feet and handprints.  We even have a special tree for all their handmade projects.  They are priceless.  Each year, it's amazing to see how they have grown!  This year, I love this little hand and feet reindeer painting that Brody did...

At Blake's school, they have an annual tradition where all the fifth graders create floats and parade around the school for all the other grades and teachers.  They let the kids be creative.  So, Blake and his friend Josh worked together on their float using stuff we had around the house.  They worked so hard and used Brody's wagon to put it all together.

This morning getting the float to school.

Santa leads the way to kickoff the parade!

Blake's Christmas Parade - December 17, 2010 from Shannon Fortunato on Vimeo.

Blake and his friend Josh-he sat on the back of the wagon handing out candy canes.

Santa made a visit to First Grade!

Sydney and her teacher Mrs. Burson

Syd making a snowman on a stick

Today was Blake's last elemantary school Christmas party.  Yes, I got teary-eyed knowing that this stuff won't be considered fun to him anymore in the coming years!!

My only hope is they remember these fun times and these will be lasting memories when they are older.

And now -  the CrAzInEsS of Christmas Break begins!!!!