We have been over to the Academy Theatre several times now. Orion loves the childcare room, and they play well reviewed second run movies for only 3 bucks. AND they have decent food and beer and wine. It is alot like the McMenamin's theaters. This time we saw The Darjeeling Limited, and we both enjoyed it quite a bit. I had read it was similar to Rushmore, which we have both seen and liked, and The Royal Tenenbaums, which Ron thinks is an awesome film. We were not disappointed. Of course, Owen Wilson is always great in my opinion. :) It was authentic and touching and had some twists I really didn't expect. And Bill Murray has a funny little cameo of course.
I decided to start evolving our tree into more of a solstice theme, so I knew the first thing I wanted to go was the angel tree topper. I scored the perfect one at Target!Does that look sun-ish or what? I also got some other ornaments that are gold and kindof sunbursty looking, but I haven't found any actual sun ornaments. I might order a couple from ebay, but I figure it will be a slow year by year process. Ooh, maybe I will find some good craft ones and make some with Orion next year.
My Christmas pictures are kindof a bummer because Orion had to change out of his reindeer pajamas. :( It was really odd as he had some kind of crazy pee night. He soaked through his diaper by the time we were going to bed! Sometimes he does that by early morning, but he has never done this before. Oh well. At least we put him in a red sweatshirt. :)
This blow up trampoline was the first thing he saw from Santa. Bounce! And this - what he asked Santa for! Just like the one in the mall. "Check out my stocking." Reaching in for goodies. And then later... it snowed! If you look reeeally closely, you can even see a few fat flakes in this picture. It snowed off and on all day, never enough to really stick, but we did get a light, white cover out in the streambed. I decided to try some spice cookies later since we were all out of the sugar cookies. These were OK, but they tasted like they had too much baking soda. Maybe it should have been baking powder or just less. It was a pretty quiet day overall. We were supposed to go to a friend's for dinner, but her little girl came down with the pukies. However, she was nice enough to bring some ham and fixings over for Ron since they had cooked anyway! He was a happy camper, and I had leftovers, which seemed weird on Christmas, but oh well. I miss the big family gatherings I grew up with, but we chose to move to a city with no family here. I wouldn't trade it for one day a year though. We love it here!
We decided on Italian food for dinner. No pictures, but here is the menu:
Meat Lasagna - ick, but this was for Ron. I have never really made him lasagna the way he likes it, so I figured that would be nice for Christmas, and he can eat it all week LOL. Rice Pasta with Porcini "Cream" Sauce - This is one of my favorite recipes, so I decided to try and adapt it with a cashew based vegan sauce. It came out great! Spinach with Garlic, Raisins and Pine Nuts - Also a favorite of mine, and it is supposed to date back to Roman times.
Oh no! Another present opening picture. But Ron took this one. Clompers! Orion found these a bit challenging, but I am hoping he will be more into them when he is a little older. I had these when I was a kid! A new bath toy from Grandma and Grandpa. Wooden clock with numbers that come out. Orion loved this, more than I thought he would even. That's it. Gotta go - big night ahead. :)
We had a nice, quiet Solstice at home. Before dinner, we did a short ritual using pine cones from our yard. We turned out all the lights and had just this candle burning. Then we blew it out and talked about how this is the longest night of the year, an how now the days would start getting longer again. Then we relit just the single candle and each chose a pine cone and talked about what we want to leave behind in the dark half of the year. Then it was on to the feast! Well, it wasn't exactly a feast, and kindof an odd menu, but here is how it got inspired.... On a whim, I put in "sun" as a title word in Recipezaar to see what I would get. I noticed recipes with sundried tomatoes coming up and thought, hey, what a great idea for an ingredient. So I found a recipe for a meatloaf using them and went from there. The menu was: Turkey Meatloaf with sundried tomatoes Broccoli and Cauliflower with "cheese" sauce - it was kindof yellow, so I figured it worked New Potatoes with herbs and lemon juice - I am not a huge lemon fan, but it went well with this meal
The knife man - wow, does he look tired. Orion says, look, I have a big boy plate. And for dessert... orange jello jigglers that were supposed to look like suns. This was the closest cutter I could find. I am starting to find out that present opening pictures pretty much all look alike, but for the record, here is the squirt opening a gift. He noticed this one made a noise when shaken, and he declared it marbles (it was a puzzle set). This is what Ron thought of the proceedings. :( Yay for new puzzles! But this was the biggest hit I think. Officially from Grandma Gloria and Grandpa Vern. Yeah, it is plastic crap, but if there is a wooden castle out there, I am sure it is way more than they would have paid. I decided to give it to him on Solstice instead of Christmas Eve because I figured I would have a hard time getting him to bed when I wanted to be getting stockings and such over with LOL.
Girl!!! We had the ultrasound today and everything appears to be where it should be. She even waved at us LOL. I will try to take pictures of the printouts they gave us. I really wish we still had a scanner hooked up, but we don't right now.
Sarah is really excited as I thought she would be. Now we just have to come up with a name.... I had this amazing boy name that I am kindof mourning not being able to use. We want something that has ocean or water in the meaning, but I don't care for anything I have found. We may just revert to one of our favorites from when we were making our lists last time.
We finally got around to making Christmas cookies (which I had been trying to do all week). I found this awesome gluten free recipe on Recipezaar and even went for the full sugar version! Hey, it's the holidays - gotta live it up a little. I am glad I did, though, because I have been wanting to experiment to see how xylitol affects recipes, but I am usually too lazy to make a recipe two ways! So now I will have a control for next time, since these turned out to be awesome! The dough rolled out so easily and they baked up to the perfect consistency. Potato flour was suggested for kneading and rolling, and that seemed like a really good choice.
Here is my little cutter.Orion agrees with mom that the dough is even better than the final product! Shapes aplenty. First tray out of the oven. Orion is very into making the face he wants for a photo these days. He was not annoyed or angry in the least. This is just the expression he wanted me to take. :shrug: Decorating station all ready to go. Earth Balance frosting of course! I put a little almond extract in the red and mint extract in the green. Even though these cookies were great, they were a little plain, and that helped make them yummier. I would have chosen spice cookies, but Ron doesn't do ginger, so this was a pleaser for the whole family. Getting some frosting. Spreading up a bear. Orion got tired of the frosting fairly quickly, but loved doing the sprinkles. All finished! So it wasn't that much variety in color, but they are great! Notice the angel with the green sprinkles on the top row. That was Orion's first attempt before I decided to help him slow it down a bit haha. Then he got the hang of it and did really well on his own. Santa won't go hungry after all. :)
What better toy is there? Or at least I thought so. I bought Orion's first pack when we were shopping for stuff to make gifts for people. I thought he would get really into playing with them. I showed him a bit about how to bend them and twist them together, but he just wasn't interested until I made some figures for him. Then he played with them for hours. The poor guy on the left kept losing his head.But on the upside, his head got to double as a ball! We made a little hoop and hung it on this box so we could try to thrown them through. Not much else to report around here as most of our time is going to holiday preparations, but we are slowly but surely almost ready!
I am so excited to finally have my gluten free oats! Wow, my life must be really boring LOL. Seriously though, these cookies were yum. I did use coconut oil again, and like the last time I did that with cookies, they were runny during baking. I think it is best to only use it in cakes and breads. But oh man, it made them good, and to be honest, the oats helped them stay together, so it might be worth it even if they did end up a bit floppy. I stayed pretty light on the chocolate chips to cut down on the sugar and caffeine, but even that little bit gave them the super yum factor. Orion seems to be giving them the kid stamp of approval. :) A dirty face says it all.
We made edible birdseed ornaments today! It was a great project for this age. All it required was cutting shapes from bread, spreading them with eggwhite, sprinkling on the seeds and baking for 5 minutes. Here is the setup before we got started.Orion doing some sprinkling. Setting a shape on the cookie sheet. Ready for the oven. Orion progressively more undressed. I keep the temp about the same, and some days he says he is cold, some days he takes off his clothes. Who knows? On to making some Cheerio garlands. Tree in the backyard with a few ornaments and a garland. I wanted to make more, but this was about all that held O's attention. Maybe we will do more another day if we see the birds went for them. We put these by our front window so hopefully we can watch the birds get them!
I have been wanting to make this recipe for awhile. It is a well rated recipe I found online that is vegan and uses silken tofu. I also subbed in xylitol for all the sugar and used my macadamia nut crust. The one big snag is that it is actually a sweet potato pie haha. I could have sworn I recently bought pumpkin, but I couldn't find it. At least I got to make it, and I it is quite good.I didn't like this crust last time I made it. I think it was because I used unsalted macadamias and soy flour, which is what the original recipe called for. This time I used salted nuts, rice flour and just a little bit of xylitol. In my opinion, a crust should be just a tiny bit sweet and salty. It was awesome this time. So good, in fact, that I didn't want to throw the extra dough away. I remembered these things called snails my dad and I used to make from extra crust when making apple pies. He would cut the dough in strips, sprinkle it with cinnamon and sugar, then roll them up and bake them. This dough would not roll when in a strip, so I just made balls, coated them in xylitol and cinnamon, and then baked them. I liked them, but Orion tried one and spit it out! Can't win them all.
Working on the tree. There is a boy in there somewhere. This is one of those pictures that I almost immediately went for the delete button, and then I realized, wait, it is pretty funny. Watch out for the Ornament Zombie! Apparently ornaments are scary. Daddy flying Orion to the top of the tree to put our treetop angel on. I really don't care for our topper anymore, so we decided to look for another one during the after Christmas sales. Somehow an angel just seems like the wrong thing for a Solstice themed tree. I think even the traditional star would make more sense, since we all know where that symbol came from.... Hopefully something will jump out at me. And hopefully I will remember LOL. Close up Some of my other decorations. I do have a set of wise men. Hey, there were astrologers, ya know. I just love them because they are homemade and similar to paper mache. The amount of detail in them is just amazing. They were made over bottles and parts of them are like stiffened fabric. I am really not sure what went into making them, but they are cool! And last but not least, what I was waiting to get around to before posting the pictures. I finally put up the stockings. Yeah, none of them match. I have also thought about getting some that kindof go together better. Maybe next year....