Monday, December 17, 2012

Kitchen Crew

We are getting ready for the Swedish contingency to arrive here in Monterey in the next few days. In preparation, we cut and freeze half ready meals, cook and bake.

Lukas helped by chopping nuts, Mamma took on the title of Butcher Girl and cut 3 pork shoulders into bite size pieces, while Noah decked out in complete kitchen attire tackled the orange. Bob felt it safest to shot from afar....

House decorating

One of the Christmas traditions that I (Mamma) grew up with was making and decorating ginger bread houses. I remember my father and our next door neighbor rolling out the ginger bread dough and cutting out sides, roofs, doors and eaves - and once the house was put together it was time to decorate or rather cover it in candy.
The boys were just babies when we continued the tradition and almost every year, we have managed to cover houses in candy, some years with more success than others. This year, a good friend of ours invited us over to decorate Ginger Bread house with her family - we found a kindred spirit. Well, a spirit we can aspire towards, as she joyfully baked and assembled half a dozen houses in preparation for the gathering - no store bought pre-baked like we have used in years past.
The boys had so much fun and their personalities shine through a bit in their decor. Noah added a fence and Lukas added a sandbox.
It did not take long however before the nice decor began to deteriorate, amazingly and suspiciously pieces are disappearing at the oddest of hour, and the houses are threatening to collapse under structural weakening due to direct assault on the siding.. Maybe Lukas' surveillance camera could be rigged up to catch the culprit in the action....


Santa's Workshop

School is almost over for the year, so the school room is being overtaken by wrapping paper, boxes, ribbons, scissors and tape. The boys and Bob wrapped all the Angel Tree gifts and since they were on a roll, continued the cousin gifts... The floor under the tree is getting harder to see every day, especially since the 'man in brown' delivers wonderful little treats almost daily from generous friends and family.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Too much fun

We are about to sheet mulch our yard, a non pesticide method to remove grass and replacing it with native plants.  The process requires a lot of cardboard and we are stacking it up in the garage. Our innovative boys could not resist the temptation to pull out some of this cardboard and play with it. What will be grass killer, is currently a large scale housing project, complete with dead end tunnels, a mail slot, shoe storage locker and a shoppette for last minute needs.
Lukas and Noah spent hours in these contraption and even invited friends to play with this high tech toy. As parents we were invited for an Open House, which meant getting down on our hands and knees and crawl through to marvel at Noah's decorating talents and Lukas ingenuity - a perfect match.

Penguin ....
Too bad we need the boxes for mulching....

Christmas tree

Noah crawled behind the tree to make sure all sides look nice and are properly decorated.
Our Christmas tree tradition for the last few years have been heading to Home Depot for a suitable tree, and this year was no exception. The boys carefully inspected several trees before proclaiming their decision, 'this is the one!'  All three guys helped load and tie down the tree and we headed home for a Tree Trimming Afternoon, complete with cookies and Christmas music. We are ready for Christmas!


Lukas had a recital on Saturday and played several pieces. We are so fortunate to have such a talented and generous piano teacher for him, and his skills have improved drastically under her tutelage.

This was the first time that the boys performed a duet together in a recital, a re-run of their performance at church the previous Sunday. Noah commented that in less than 8 days he had played for over 400 people..

Live Nativity

I did not get a photo of Noah outside as I was holding his music stand to prevent it from falling over as the crowd pushed by.
Every year, our church puts on a Live Nativity in conjunction with the Annual Carmel Tree Lightening Ceremony. This year, Noah was asked to play the violin to accompany the little angels who sweetly sang Silent Night to the crowds. Lukas along with friends were aptly the wise men, they are indeed all very wise for their age.

Need cheap dentist

The boys' teeth are serious trouble...

On the School Schedule - Electricity

The 3Rs had to take a back seat yet one more day for the outside to be decked out in its holiday finery. Courtesy of Barb and Tom, we have a lovely fresh green wreath hanging on the chimney, and the boys set out to hang the lights.

Getting ready for Christmas

Lukas, Noah and Mamma pulled all the boxes down from the garage and stacked them in our hallway. Although we do a lot of the 3 Rs, this day school involved Interior Design - ie Christmas decorating. Lukas and Noah had fun unpacking and placing the various Christmas artifacts that we have collected over the years. Empty cookie tins got stacked up ready to be filled with yummy treats, linens are piling up for laundry and the tables and flat surfaces of our house are decked out ready for Christmas.
After dinner and shower, Noah settled in with one of the best things he found in the Christmas box - a story book. And it is not just any story book, it is the  It Was the Night Before Christmas, which we read every year on Christmas Eve in according with the Severinghaus' traditions.
Last year Pappy sent us a brand new edition of the book complete with a recording of Pappy reading it! Noah thoroughly enjoyed his story hour with Pappy, although Pappy most likely was sound asleep at this very hour back in MO.  Noah read and listened at least three times before we had to call it quits, it was time for everyone to go to sleep.

Christmas card

This is probably our last Christmas in California, so we wanted a Christmas picture that reflect the local amazingly beautiful nature - the scenery that we almost take for granted after living here for several years. On a sunny December afternoon, we set out for the rocks at Asilomar along with another family to capture the spirit for Christmas cards. My favorites are always the out-takes :-)

The picture we choose? It will come in your Christmas card !


We are having a great and fun Christmas this year, all but two of our Swedish relatives are coming to celebrate Christmas with us! The baking began early to make sure there are plenty of cookies.. A great find in the freezer, green marsipan, lead us to make a gluten free version of Dammsugare - a Swedish confectionery that originated when someone did not want to through out all the cookies crumbs in the bakery. A little ingenuity and this little green and chocolate treat was created. Dammsugare means vacuum cleaner, a pretty apt name.

Lukas stirred, rolled, formed and dipped and we now have a little stash in the freezer. The only question is, will there be any left by Christmas? Someone is snatching the tiny sweets when nobody is around... Maybe it is time to call the exterminator again?

Bargain hunters

Lukas needed new dress pants. Since he grows so fast, our first stop was our favorite second hand store in Carmel, and we hit it on the last business day of the month, which means even greater savings! Unfortunately, there were no dress pants for Lukas - BUT there was a fabulously fun, brand new toy that the boys pooled their money for and happily scoped up.
For Mamma, this seems more like a torture device, but judging by all the exuberant comments from friends, it is a fun contraption.
Since it supposedly reads brain waves, Mamma is trying to figure out how to interrupt the brain wave impulses with such valuable messages as 'clean your room' and 'put away all your school work'.. any and all ideas are much appreciated!