Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Christmas 2013

We had made a big batch of homemade cookie dough, baked half of the cookies before heading to Guam and baked the other half when we got back from Guam.  Christmas cookie cutters, 1 rolling pin and little fingers pictured here. : )

The 3 of us baked these while listening to Christmas music and Noboru hanging out in the kitchen with us, all of us having a pretty good time.

Well done kiddos. : )  Also, for what it's worth, I used to frost the cookies but when I did, nobody would eat them. I think they were just too sweet when frosted, for our family. Which is why we just sprinkle them this way and then everyone finishes them off. : )
Noah about to wrap the gift he picked for daddy. : )
Looking good Noah, I think daddy will be really happy with what you picked for him. : )

Noah about to wrap one more, the gift he picked for his brother Branden, so Branden had to go upstairs for about 10 minutes while Noah wrapped and put a bow and wrote the name tag on it.

After Branden's was wrapped, Branden came downstairs and wrapped one he picked for daddy and then Noah had to go upstairs, because I had pulled out the gift Branden had picked for Noah. : ) December was not insanely busy... but it was semi busy. Buying all the Christmas kai/party gifts with the other 6th grade leader mom's. We had the marathon. Decorating our house for Christmas, putting up our Christmas tree in the living room, we had Christmas presents to be wrapped. Preparing for Christmas dinner. Kids getting ready to go on winter break. Packing for Guam. Guam was a relief though, because it gave me just 3 short days to take a breather, you know what I mean. To not have to think about fuku kaicho stuff, 6th grade mom rep stuff. Just let the ol' brain destress and chill. So that might have been only 3 days... but my gosh, I came back feeling recharged. : ) I was glad I had 2 friend meet ups in December (lunch and the movie date) so that was awesome, but yeah....December definitely semi busy. : ) And I do know that once the kids grow up and leave the nest I'll be back to wishing they were little again and so...I try not to stress over the small stuff now and enjoy it more, but yeah Guam helped me big time. : ) 

Christmas morning came and we all went downstairs and unwrapped presents in the living room. It went from Christmas tree and many presents underneath to Christmas tree with nothing under it and wrapping paper all over the floor. Hahaha. That needed to be picked up and cleaned up. : )  The boys came into the kitchen and were pulling out a few presents out of their Christmas stockings (stocking stuffers) and I heated up the cinnamon rolls (for everyone) and made some coffee for Noboru and I.

It was a wonderful and quiet Christmas morning. Both Branden and Noah were so happy with everything they got this year. Noboru was pretty happy and so was I. We enjoyed our cinnamon rolls and then the boys went and played with their new toys and games and whatnot. : )
Noboru and I sat at the kitchen table and just enjoyed our coffees slowly and talked about the kids and their presents, what a nice Christmas this was.... We also talked about how absolutely cold it looked outside and how frost covered the field looked behind our house. It was a nice morning. 

Christmas dinner. Noboru unfortunately had to work from 4pm, so he missed having dinner with us. : ( But he had this all for lunch and dinner the next day as well. : )  What do we have here? Let's see. Those Red Lobster biscuits, 2 platefuls of those, 1 plate is near the Fanta soda. 2 servings of homemade from scratch gratin potatoes, these were so good. A salad with choice of ranch or vinaigrette, black olives and green beans and a honey glazed ham, this was the best ham I have ever eaten before in my life! Growing up, my family always ordered a ham (for Easter or whatever) from the Honey Baked Ham store, so I know a good ham when I taste one. : ) I used a recipe online from allrecipes.com, I liked that the baste was made from 3 ingredients, honey, brown sugar and a little melted butter, I glazed this every 20 minutes total cook time was an hour and 15 minutes. I will make this ham again. I am so happy the person on allrecipes.com shared this recipe. 
These were the biscuits we made, the boys and I. 

Salad close up. : )

And we were all wearing our comfy clothes, sweatpants and long sleeve tees. I had my hair in a pony tail and not a stitch of makeup on. I like that we are very low key with our holidays. Just good food, and the best company in the world, my boys. : ) Wished Noboru could be here, but I did Line/message him a pic. : )  And said we missed him and wished he was here with us. : ) 

We also had 2 homemade cheesecakes. We had blueberry sauce if anyone wanted it. It was just a very nice dinner. : ) By the way it's fair to note, the boys helped with the gratin potatoes, they both peeled mass amounts of potatoes for that and I peeled a ton myself. Branden grated cheese for the gratin potatoes and he also grated cheese for the biscuits. Noah helped make the salad and he opened the olives and placed them in the bowl. What I'm saying is... they helped a lot and I think that's really nice. Good kids, good kids. :  )

My serving. My salad with ranch and on the main plate we had potatoes, honey ham, green beans, black olives and a cheddar garlic biscuit.  So anyway there ya have it, our Christmas 2013 in a nut shell. : ) 
The day after Christmas the boys and I decorated some gingerbread houses in the evening. 

There were 4 mini houses total, Branden built 2, Noah built 2 and the 3 of us decorated them together the next day, we had to let the frames dry completely before we decorated them. : )

Noah working so hard at getting his house walls all nicely built and standing. 

Noah getting the roof on! Making a few adjustments still though. : )

This pic is a little blurry but you can see Noah's face, he's trying really hard looking at the house, making sure it was straight and looking good. : )

We left them like this to dry over night. : )

And all finished. : ) 

The best part about making gingerbread houses, is of course, eating them! Hahaha. : ) Here's Noah eating his and for the record he thought the roof with frosting was much too sweet, so he ate everything but the frosted roof. : ) 

Branden took a bite of the roof on his and thought it was way too sweet too, so he ate the unfrosted parts of the house. All in all, I am so glad I bought this gingerbread house decorating kit, it was a lot of fun for the boys to make and I had a blast decorating it with them. : )
I take a pic every year of the house all lit up at Christmas time. This year I forgot. : ) But you can at least see a bit of the icicle lights in this pic. I also forgot to take a pic of the tree all nicely lit up as well. : (  Sorry ya'll, I really think the Christmas party prep and the housing community rep thing (fuku kaicho stuff) plus like I said marathon stuff, end of school year stuff. Just my mind was a little preoccupied and I forgot. : ) Hopefully next year I will remember. : ) Good thing I have this pic at least though. : ) It was so pretty when it was up. And we have already taken everything down already because of the getting ready for New Year's and the cleaning that happens this time of year in Japan.  Anyway, at least this gives you a round about idea how our family here in Chiba, Japan celebrated Christmas this year. : ) Hope all of you that celebrate it, had a wonderful Christmas this year as well. : )