So, I never got around to blogging last year's 25 Days, but it is archived on Facebook for anyone interested. This year, however, I will keep up with each day as our adventure progresses.
Day 1: Made Cinnamon Ornaments!
Firstly, here is the recipe for the dough we used...
The recipe calls for a few ingredients:
•4 oz. (or 1 CUP) cinnamon
• 1 TABLESPOON ground cloves
•1 TABLESPOON ground nutmeg
•3/4 CUP applesauce
•3 TABLESPOONS white glue
You'll also need:
• cookie cutter(s)
•string/twine/ribbon for hanging
Combine all the ingredients; work with them until smooth.
Divide into 4 portions.
Roll out 1/4" thick & cut out with cookie cutters.
Make a hole in the top for looping ribbon through. (We used a straw)
Dry at room temperature for 1-3 days.
Thread with ribbon.
We chose to put the ornaments in a dehydrator, as suggested by another blogger. Hopefully they'll be done and ready to decorate in a day rather than 3 days.
Day 2 of our 25 Days:
Making Christmas cards for 20 of our closest friends and family!
Last years 12 cards weren't quite enough. Also, the cinnamon ornaments are all done drying, so we will decorate them sometime this week or by the weekend.
Day 3 of our 25 Days:
Movie Night - Nick's choice!
He picked Jeff Dunham's Christmas Special. Love Akmed!!
Day 4 of our 25 Days:
We traced our hands for the antlers and one foot for the head. As you can see, we each used our own creative genius when it came to overall design. Mr. Grumpy (aka Nick) complained he "hates crafts" but he put the most effort in to his Christmas "moose". Personally, I think his moose looks a little like a Franken-moose!
Day 5 of our 25 Days:
Watching the Sound of Music Live on NBC!
Family just got home from scouts, so it's time to sit down and start the DVR. Holy Cow! This is 3 hours long! I don't anticipate Allie making it til the end, but lo and behold, she does...barely.
Nick complained for two days that "I don't like that movie!" Wanna know something? He sat there the whole three hours and didn't move at all. He watched the whole thing and afterwards when I asked him what he thought, his response was "I didn't remember what the story was about from before, but I liked it!"
Day 6 of our 25 Days:
St. Nicholas Day! Reading the Legend of St. Nicholas.
Well, were going to read the story, but last year, Douglas put our stack of Christmas books away somewhere. Probably in the basement. Gah! Have you seen our basement? It's filled with boxes and other crap! Well, I think there's a monster down there hiding among the boxes and randomly hides things we put down there. Maybe we can bribe him with other goodies and it'll return our stack of books.
So, alternate plan. We're driving out to see the Rochester Light Show. On the way I remember my sister-in-law posted a picture on my wall of a Christmas light scavenger hunt.
So, we're driving up Ryan Road. Allie has my phone on my Facebook page and is reading this list to Daddy while he writes them down on a scrap piece of paper we find in the van.
First thing we find when we get to Rochester is the Santa on the roof...
We drive around for a while. The traffic is absolutely crazy!
When we make it back out of downtown Rochester, we end up driving back down Ryan Road and randomly driving down side streets trying to find all the items on the above list. We do find them all! Here are just a smattering of the things we found.
One house we stopped at was on the corner of Frazho and Thomas. That house had absolutely everything you can imagine in the way of giant, plastic, light up figures. There was even a choir singing!
It was awesome!
Day 7 of our 25 Days - Part 1:
I woke up early to go out to my scrapbook club, but when I got home, we were preparing steaming hot water for hot chocolate to take along and help keep everyone toasty warm while we were
BELL RINGING for the Salvation Army!
|Nick and Miss Lisa as a very voluptuous Snowperson!|
|Allie and Zack|
|Luke sings: "All I want for Christmas is my two..er...four front teeth!"|
|Cub Scouts and a Boy Scout (Zack) singing to help raise money!|
|Miss Lisa finally got her magical top hat so can move and dance!!|
|Mrs. Robyn getting touchy!|
|There's something stuck up in the snowman's butt....|
Day 7 of our 25 Days - Part 2:
We had planned to attend the Center Line tree lighting ceremony, but we were all still frozen from bell ringing. I asked the kids if they just wanted to stay home and decorate the cinnamon ornaments from day 1 instead. We all heartily agreed.
Then about 10 minutes before 7 PM a thought struck me. The high school theater group was performing Grease this weekend. Tonite was the last performance. "Hey, anyone wanna go see Grease at Fitz?" Nick promptly responds "I'm down for that!"
So, we all rush to put on our shoes and jump in the car cuz curtain goes up at seven!
Bravo! Those kids did a great job! That was fun!
Now, back out in the frigid cold night to head home and finally decorate our cinnamon ornaments.
Day 7 of our 25 Days - part 3:
|Nick's friend, Nathan|
These are some of our ornaments the next day after they are all dry.
Day 8 of our 25 Days:
Decorating Gingerbread Houses!
Today we had two extra guests. Our friend Gerilyn showed much interest in making a gingerbread house, so of course, she was invited to join us. Nathan is Nick's friend from school who is at our house almost all the time. He ended up spending the night last night and stayed all day today so he could partake in the fun.
I was up to 'here' in fundraiser spread sheets and tallies, so I was unable to decorate my house, but I sat nearby and snapped a few pics when I could and enjoyed listening to Doug 'teach' everyone his techniques. All in all, they had a blast!
Geri's house has one side of the roof left off because she plans to fill it with candy canes and set it on her office desk to share.
Nathan will be giving his house to his parents.
Doug decorated his for a co-worker and the rest of us are giving ours away as gifts.
Day 9 of our 25 Days:
Watching classic Christmas cartoons!
Frosty the Snowman and Santa Claus is Coming to Town.
We would have watched more but Monday is Daddy's late night and we could only get these two in before bedtime.
Day 10 of our 25 Days:
Movie night - Allie's choice!
Allie originally chose to watch Dr. Seuss's The Grinch with Jim Carrey, but she changed her mind and we watched A Chipmunk Christmas and The Year Without A Santa Claus instead.
The Year Without is the one where Santa gets sick and loses his Christmas spirit. It has Heat Miser and Cold Miser. The beginning intro is Mrs. Claus narrating about how there almost wasn't a Christmas. Well, Nick looks over at me and sincerely asks, "Did this really happen?" I had to turn away to avoid giggling. Gotta love the naivete of children. And he's 15 years old!!
Day 11 of our 25 Days:
Shop for and wrap gifts for the Scout Christmas gift exchange.
Today the kids had a PLC day (early release from school) and Daddy had to work late again so the three of us went out shopping for the Scout gifts. We started at Toys R Us because I had a gift card we needed to use, and then we went to 5 Below. They ended up finding what they wanted at Toys R Us, but they wanted to see what was at the 5 Below store. Allie ended up finding a silicone protector case for her new Nook for only $ 1.00 and Nick bought Pixie Stix!
After shopping for the gifts we had to go do a bit of grocery shopping and the kids helped me out big time cuz I had already had a super long day running multiple errands before getting them from school and also had to babysit Drake from 6:30 to 10 AND pickup and sort a fundraiser for Scouts.
So, we get home and Allie helps me make an Italian Sausage Tortellini Soup recipe that was so super yummy, while Nick worked on his IED project.
After dinner, and when Daddy was finally home, we sat down to watch Miracle on 34th Street. A busy, busy, busy day, but fun nonetheless. We definitely are full of the Christmas spirit this year, even though it is going to be small in the way of gifts. I'm just glad we can spend all this quality time together as a family.
Day 12 of our 25 Days:
Thursdays are always Scout meeting nights, so we have to plan something that is not very time consuming. Tonight we have a craft planned, but it's now 8PM and the family is still at Scouts.
Nick's Troop is working hard on finishing up their Citizenship in the Community merit badge and the merit badge counselor was going to be there tonight to finally sign off for them. But, they also had to finish a making a presentation display with pictures of historical buildings and important places from our community to present to the counselor. I don't anticipate they'll be home soon.
I guess we'll see if we actually get to do the craft tonight. We might need to postpone it until tomorrow, seeing as how it's Friday then and there's no rush to get up for school. That being said, I'll update when everyone is home, but I'm thinking we'll just relax and watch a couple more Christmas cartoons.
Update: copied and pasted from my Facebook page...
Day 12 of our 25 Days:
Well, it was going to be a craft night, but Doug and kids just got home from Scouts and we don't wanna rush thru the craft, so we're going to postpone it until tomorrow night when we have more time.
This always seems to happen on Scout nights, but tonight it doesn't really matter, because Nick was able to (finally) earn his Citizenship in the Community merit badge! It took a year and a half of him working on it but he finally got it! Aunt Sondra Proctor helped a lot this past summer with the second of the three Citizenship merit badges (Nation). So, now he has two complete and there is only one left...Citizenship in the World. He's so close to having earned all the Eagle required badges. I'm so proud of him.
So, them staying late at Scouts tonight was well worth the delay in our day 12 adventure. We'll more than make up for it over the next three days! Just stay tuned for more Abernathy family Adventures!!
Day 13 of our 25 Days:
Family Game Night!
But first, we need to do our crafts from last night.
I bought several 'melty bead' kits. Boy, what a waste of money. We all sat at the table and placed those small plastic beads in tiny spots on a tray to create various Christmas shapes - Santa, snowflake, candy cane, snowman, penguin and Christmas tree.
Well, let me tell you, those damn things didn't wanna melt. We had the iron nice and heated but could only get the edges to melt together. The designs that had many beads in the middle just didn't wanna melt together.
Doug tried to cover the back of one with Elmer's glue. That was a mess and a half. But ultimately seemed to work. Once it was completely dry, it was clear, and any glue that poured thru the beads peeled right out and stuck to the wax paper.
|Penguin had to be glued. Santa is only one that melted nicely.|
I also bought two kits that were lacing pony beads thru string to make a Christmas tree. The kids made those while Doug and I tried to melt the other ornaments.
Crafts are finally done, so we clear the table and sit down to play a game of Life. We only get one game in before it's time for bed. Nick petered out just before it ended and he went to bed. Daddy was kicking our butts and he won with almost 6 million. Allie and I, respectively, ended up with 3.2 (her) and 3.5 (me) million. All in all a fun evening.
Now, off to bed. Daddy has to work in the morning. He doesn't like working Saturdays, and there's a snow storm brewing. Supposed to get 4 to 7 inches. Let's see if that actually happens.
Day 14 of our 25 Days:
Wild Lights at the Detroit Zoo!
We used to go to this every year and then, all of a sudden, the zoo stopped doing it. Well, it finally came back last year, but we were unable to attend. So, this year we made it one of our 25 days.
My parents really wanted to come too, and Mom bought our tickets for the evening.
Well, we DID end up getting the snow storm. Doug awoke to only about an inch so his drive to work was uneventful. However, when the kids got up around 9:30 there was about 3 - 4 inches out there. We were going to visit my parents cuz my niece, Shelby was coming down to visit with her son, Jasper, so we all worked together to shovel the drive and walks. Thankfully the snow was light and fluffy.
Now, the snow didn't end all day. It was coming down in varying degrees of small flakes to large, snow-globe type flakes. Temps were frigid, but we braved the evening and worked our way to the Zoo. What fun that was!
Took about 3 hours of walking, stopping to rest and wandering thru the otter house (complete with carolers) , reptile house (where Allie decorated a cookie) and then thru the education center (where Santa was, but the kids didn't wanna wait in line) out to a covered outdoor stage to watch a performance of people in giant costumes sing and dance. There was also a couple guys with chain-saws doing ice sculpting. That was pretty neat.
|L-R: Nick, Doug, Allie, Mom, Dad and Nathan|
|I absolutely love when the snow covers trees like this!|
|Allie's cookie she decorated in the Reptile house.|
|My crazy kids decide to get an ice cold drink as opposed to a nice hot chocolate!|
|Look!! I'm in the picture! :-)|
|Rudy, Santa, Mrs. Claus and Snowy the polar bear sang and danced for us!|
Day 15 of our 25 Days:
The Desolation of Smaug (The Hobbit part 2)!
Oooo What fun this was. Last year we only attended the regular version of The Hobbit. This year, we decided to see it in 3-D HFR (high frame rate). Holy crapoli! Was that ever amazing! It was like watching a live performance on the stage. The picture was incredible! Can't wait until next year and the final installment of the Hobbit series.
Because we saw the 10 AM show we had the whole day to decide what else to do. We came home and had to shovel more snow. Then the kids helped peel potatoes and I made a big pot of potato cheddar soup. Soup is always good on a chilly day. We eat a lot of home-made soups!
Daddy and I caught up on a few shows, did the laundry and the kids played, rested, then went outside to sled a bit (and shovel again). Nathan went home at 6. Daddy is cutting dough and going to bake out the gingerbread houses we're going to take up north for Christmas gifts.
We will relax for the rest of evening and watch The Grinch cartoon and Rise of the Guardians.
Day 16 of our 25 Days:
Chocolate Dipped Pretzel Rods
Boy, what fun (and a bit messy) this was! It went much faster than the chocolate dipped Oreo's we did last year. We used semi-sweet and white chocolate this time around and rolled them in various types of sprinkles. After they hardened overnight we wrapped them in cellophane pretzel wrappers we bought from the local cake decorating store and will give them out when we finish our cookies.
Day 17 of our 25 Days:
Movie Night - Daddy's choice!
Doug had his mind set on watching an old Red Skelton Christmas special we remembered seeing when we were younger. After digging all around on our Roku channels I finally found a Christmas special from his old television show. It wasn't the one we thought it was, but Nick sure giggled a lot at all the jokes.
After doing some searching on Amazon, we realized the one we wanted was called
Freddie the Freeloader's Christmas Dinner from 1981.
After that we watched Jack Frost. The 1979 Rankin Bass version from our childhood days (stop motion animation like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer) where Jack wants to be human and Father Winter gives him until spring to get a house, a horse, a bag of gold and a wife. Boy, the pressure they had back in the day, huh? Ha Ha!
Day 18 of our 25 Days:
Family Game Night!
We chose The aMAZEing Labyrinth.
It's a fun game by Ravensburger. You slide whole rows of pieces to alter the maze in hopes of making an unbroken path to move your piece along in order to land on a picture of an item that matches one of your cards.
Day 19 of our 25 Days:
Christmas Pack Meeting with the Scouts!
Ah, the annual Christmas pack meeting where everyone gathers to eat yummy food, receive awards (and their long overdue prizes from October's popcorn sale), donate/pledge money to the Friends of Scouting, yell at the kids for running around the gym like chickens with their heads cut off, gather everyone around the tree for the annual group photo that will be given to families at February's Blue and Gold Banquet, and hopefully have some nice conversations with other grown-ups that may or may not involve a 'whack' with the Inappropriate Stick!
Kids are asked to bring a wrapped gift for the gift exchange. We separate kids in to three groups - Boy Scouts (Troop), Cub Scouts (Pack) and Sisters (all the girls)! Miss Lisa then reads a long, drawn out poem where kids pick a gift, then trade over and over again until finally the poem ends and you get to open your gift.
This year, Terry Phillips brought his cousin, Jackie. Nick and Allie ended up with both the gifts the Phillips boys brought, which were the exact same item! A Duck Dynasty throw blanket in a tote bag. They both really liked it. The blankets are so soft and fuzzy!
All in all we had a very enjoyable evening. I took a total of 7 shots of the group photo. I don't think there's ever going to be a single photo where every person is smiling and looking directly at the camera. There's always one boy who is looking in another direction, or he has these weird demon looking eyes, or is moving and blurs the photo. But whatever the glitch, getting them to sit still, if only for a few seconds is blessing enough for me!
Merry Christmas from Pack and Troop 1447!
Day 20 of our 25 Days:
Movie Night - Mom's Choice!
As of right now, I have not yet decided what to watch. There are so many favorites that it will be hard to narrow it down. I rarely get time of my own to sit and watch all the classics I enjoy so much, but you can bet the farm that one of them will be chosen this evening.
Hmm, will it be It's a Wonderful Life, White Christmas, Meet Me in St. Louis, The Polar Express, Rise of the Guardians (we didn't get to watch that last week), Scrooged or some other random Christmas show we've got recorded on the DVR. Guess we'll wait and see what I'm in the mood for tomorrow evening. Until then...
Well, today turned out to be busy busy busy! After I finished babysitting at noon, I ran out to grab a few extra Christmas gifts. Then I picked kids up from school, grabbed Doug (he got off early because of office party) and we zoomed to Sam's Club to meet my Mom.
We shopped at Sam's for a while then came home to eat a quick dinner (Chinese!) and went back out in the rain (yes, I said rain) soaked evening to take the kids shopping. They each had $100 to buy gifts for family and friends.
Allie and Doug got snow boots and Allie also got snow pants. Those were early Christmas gifts for them from my parents and are going to be much needed for our vacation up in Cheboygan next week.
Now, anyone who knows my son and has ever been shopping with him (oh wait...that's only ME! Lucky you!) knows he is the pokiest poke out there. He needs to stop and look at everything and read packages and "ooo, what does this do?" "how does that work?" etc etc etc. You could take an hour long nap and he'd only have moved one aisle. ;-) He also loves the element of surprise. So, when I noticed he was hiding something while I was nearby, I decided to leave him alone. Poor kid. Some of the surprise is gone with some of the gifts he bought, but it's still the thought that counts, right?
After we got home, he promptly went to his room, closed the door and started wrapping his treasures. He struggled with the wrapping paper, but again, it's the thought that counts.
I love my kids! God bless them!
So, we're finally home. By this time, it's after 9 PM, so I guess I don't get my movie choice (was going to be It's a Wonderful Life), cuz it's just too late and we're all too tired from the hectic day.
Instead we knock off a couple more shows on the DVR.
Dragons: Gift of the Night Fury and Kung Fu Panda Christmas. Both very cute and entertaining. We saw Dragons last year, but for whatever reason we can't recall, Nick missed it last year, so he was all surprised and happy to see it this go-'round.
Daddy was kind enough to massage my feet and calves for me and then it was off to bed for four very exhausted Abernathy's. Shopping really takes a lot out of you!
Day 21 of our 25 Days:
Christmas at Crossroads Holiday Magic!
This will be a first-time adventure for our family. None of us has been before. Well, Doug thinks his Mother might have taken him when he was very young, but who cares. This is our time for making memories with our kids.
I babysit until 1:30 and we're supposed to hit the road soon after. We're going to wander the village, have some dinner and then our train departs for a 40 minute tour at 8:20.
But there's a big-time glitch in our plans. There is a huge ice storm heading our way. Flint is already being hit with it, while we are still getting lots of rain, and the temps are hovering right near the freezing mark. But it's coming. The alerts won't stop dinging on my Weather Bug app. They're predicting 1/4 to 1/2 inch ice to cover everything and possibly knock down wires, trees and all that nastiness. Worst times are from 2 PM this afternoon until 7 AM tomorrow morning. Gah! That's when we'd be going. I guess we'll have to wait and see if we even get to go at all. I'm going to call Crossroads and see if they will honor our tickets for another day, possibly having to wait until next year because we're booked the rest of the days for this year. My Mom says it's better to lose out on the $49 than to risk our lives. I agree. Until then...fingers crossed.
Well, luck was in our favor today. The temps hovered between 32 and 34 all afternoon and in to the evening. So, we loaded the vans with any provisions we might need (in case of disaster): shovel, blankets, hats, mittens, scarves, tub of kitty litter, bag of ice melter and a bag of snacks and beverages, just in case. Thankfully, we needed none of it!
One hour and ten minutes it took to get there. We arrived just after 3 PM. I didn't know the place didn't open until 4. I missed that part on the paperwork. So we sat in the Depot to stay warm and dry until the gates opened to let us in the village.
Finally, the gates open at 4 PM and we begin a new adventure. Every building is lit with many twinkling lights. There are so many!
We wander thru a few shops right in town before venturing further in to the village to see the random homes, businesses and artisan shops. There are more light displays all through-out the village. The roads are dirt and somewhat iced over, so we tried to stay mostly to the boarded walk-ways.
|Under a gazebo in the central park area.|
|Opposite side of the village entrance is the entrance to a small amusement park. There are a few outdoor rides that were shut down, of course, but the carousel house was in full swing...er...spin. Whatever. It was busy and moving fast!|
|Behind and to the left you can see the steamboat docked on the frozen lake.|