Saturday, December 28, 2013

25 Days of Christmas Adventures 2013 (2nd Annual)

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)
•rolling pin
•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: 

Reindeer Decorations!

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 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: 

Craft Night! 

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 Whatever. It was busy and moving fast!

Behind and to the left you can see the steamboat docked on the frozen lake.

We are definitely coming back in the summer time to enjoy this place again and take full advantage of all it has to offer!

Fah who For-aze
Dah who dor-aze
Welcome Christmas
Come this way!

Fah who for-aze
Dah who dor-aze
Welcome Christmas
Christmas Day!

Welcome, welcome
Fah who rah-moose
Dah who dah-moose
Christmas day is in our grasp
So long as we have hands to clasp

Fah who for-aze
Dag who dor-aze
Welcome Christmas 
Bring your cheer
Fah who for-aze
Dah who dor-aze
Welcome all Who's
Far and near

Welcome Christmas, fah who rah-moose
Welcome Christmas, dah who dah-moose
Christmas Day will always be
Just so long as we have we.

Fah who for-aze 
Dah who dor-aze
Welcome Christmas
Bring you light

Welcome Christmas 
Fah who rah-moose
Welcome Christmas
Dah who dah-moose
Welcome Christmas
While we stand
Heart to heart
And hand in hand

Fah who for-aze
Dan who dor-aze
Welcome welcome 

Ok, so we had a moment of silliness, but WHO doesn't have those?

This was the schoolhouse. They were doing a craft inside, but we went in to warm up for a few minutes. It was like being in Walnut Grove. I was waiting for Miss Beadle to ring the bell to start the day.

Inside the Broom Shop they were selling roasted almonds! We bought a bag and munched on the warm goodness until it was time to eat dinner.

I didn't get any pictures of the beautiful church but we talked to the historian there and he explained that Crossroads Village was designed to resemble an actual working village from the time period between 1860 and 1880.

The above building a full scale model train set. It was really interesting.

Darkness is finally starting to fall and the lights are shining brightly now in the village. We leave the train building and our eyes are immediately drawn to this tree right in our path. I sure wouldn't wanna be the ones responsible for stringing up those lights!

You can see Allie, sort of, on the right side of the tree trunk, just so you get an idea of how big that tree actually is.

Next, we wandered thru the home of what would have been the richest man in town. It was too dark to take any pictures. The rooms were only lit by oil lamps. We learned this man had 10 children and the home had 11 bedrooms. That was almost unheard of for each child to have his own bedroom in that time. Also, the teacher for the village, who had to be a single woman, would more than likely be lodging with the most prominent family in town, and she also had her own bedroom with an attached work room.

Now, for some dinner. We don't buy the buffet tickets, but instead stop in to a small cafe for burgers, chips and a drink.

Allie got a stuffed wolf! She's so happy!

Near the bottom, left-center, of this building is a lighted entrance with stairs leading up to the playhouse.

Waiting for the 6:30 showtime!
The play turned out to be a Scrooge-like melodrama. There was also some caroling involved. Very nice and worth the time spent (not to mention the two flights of stairs to get up to the playhouse)!

Now we're done and only have to wait for our 8:20 train departure. Egad! That's almost and an hour and a half away. Maybe we'll get lucky and get on an earlier train. Heading back to the depot.

The whole time we were wandering around the rainy sleet never stopped. Sometimes it was light and sometimes it was heavier. We all got wet and chilled. The depot was warm and dry.

We weren't there but a few minutes when one of the rail-workers walked in and asked if we were waiting for the next train. 
Nope. We've got 8:20 tickets.

"Come see me around 7:30. Right over there." he points outside to the tunnel entrance. "Because of the weather there have been a lot of empty spots and I can almost guarantee I can get you on the next train."

Yayyyy! We made the 7:30 train!

We had been very lucky all day with the weather temps just hovering above the freezing mark. Yeah, there were some icy spots on the dirt covered roads and we had to walk arm-in-arm to cross them, but by this time it was getting colder and we still had to make the drive back home.

I took lots of pics on the train ride, but very few were recognizable as anything other than a blur of colored lights. The train was old and rickety, but was still fun. Anyone with a bad back might have a hard time, although the seats were very springy and thickly cushioned.

During the first loop that takes us back to the beginning of the train tour, they had the 12 Days of Christmas all done up in lights that matched their part in the song. Very very cool!

This dragon was at the end of the second loop! Holy crapoli! This thing had to have been 25-30 feet tall. I totally want this in my front yard. Ya think it would be too much? Yah, me neither. Hee Hee Hee!

Well, this was one adventure that we will definitely do again. Hoping to get my parents to tag along next year. They would really have a good time. 

Some of the funniest moments though was when we would walk arm-in-arm over icy spots and I would repeatedly say "If I go down, we're all going down!" We'd laugh and then it would be over. But on our way to the car (which was in an icy covered dirt and pot-holed parking lot), again we were arm-in-arm, clutching on to each other for dear life. Doug on the left, me in the middle and Allie on the right. Allie slipped but quickly caught herself. But that didn't stop my quick wit. Thru my giggles I said "If you go down, I'm letting go!" We all got a good laugh at that one, but thankfully we made it safely to the van with no one going down!

The drive home was wet and yucky but no icy roads. We made it home safe and sound.

To end our night, my son and I sat up til after midnight watching White Christmas together. He had never seen it. I make sure to watch it every year and I was so happy he was interested in watching it with me this year. He loved it!

Day 22 of our 25 Days:

Making Cookies!

We have 8 or 9 recipes that I found online. All of which we have never made before. We want to do them all, but, I woke up sicker than sick! Yesterday I had an annoying dry cough, but I blamed it on being outside in the drizzly mess at Crossroads. Well, it is more than a cough now. I'm guessing bronchitis and possibly a touch of pneumonia. I've had both before and know the symptoms very well. I'm miserable! Allie just has a cold. Nothing as serious, thank GOD.

So, I will be steering clear of all cookie making. I will snap some pictures, but none of my germies are gonna be anywhere near those delicious crisps!

Allie chose her favorite from the stack of printed recipes...

Chocolaty Melting Snowmen! They were the ones that required the most work and the most steps, but boy did they turn out good! Great job Peanut!


Nick's turn! His cookie choice is Eggnog Snickerdoodles!

Well, Doug made the third batch, but by this time it was so late and I was so sick I had gone to bed hours before.

Doug made Pumpkin Biscotti. Our very first time ever making biscotti. It was really cheap to make and looked super easy. All I can say is, I hate my oven.

When I bake anything I have to always add extra time. Sometimes just five minutes. Sometimes up to a half hour. It's an old oven. It's been acting up for some time now. Well, Doug was getting tired himself and didn't know until it was too late that the biscotti didn't quite cook all the way thru in some parts of the loaf. He added the extra time, but still it was under-cooked in parts. Ah well. No harm done. It tasted fine. But I think my favorite so far was Nick's Eggnog Snickerdoodles! Those are absolutely amaze-balls! Especially dipped in warm tea or cocoa. Highly recommend this recipe!

So, only three of the stack were completed, but our goal is to make all the others before Christmas break is over. Will keep you updated.

Day 23 of our 25 Days:

Well, bad news for the Abernathy family. We were intending to hang out and watch movies all day, while finishing up laundry, packing our suitcases and getting ready to travel up north to visit family for Christmas, but this sickness is set in deep. 

My Uncle and Aunt have both recently undergone major surgeries and have heart conditions that if exposed to this 'virus', could do some severe harm to their immune system, so, <sad puppy faces> we're canceling our trip and celebrating Christmas at home.

My daughter has receded to her bedroom in a crying fit because "What's the point of Christmas now?! We didn't even put up a tree!"

Hmm, what to do? Well, I would like nothing more than to curl up in my bed and just die, but a new adventure awaits.

I can't even recall the last time my parents put up a tree, let alone a REAL live tree! We have never put up a real tree because of our Dusty-kitty, but he's been gone for just over a year, so I guess now's as good a time as any. Off we go!

I gather the children and head first to find a tree stand for a real tree that holds water. Aco Hardware. Nope. Burlers next door. Nope. Kmart. Yay! Cost: $20. Now, where we gonna get a good real tree?

We drive up Ryan road and the first place we come to is the church just north of Frazho. They've got some beauties. Hope the prices aren't ridiculous. It is two days before Christmas. Give us a deal please. 

Score! It's not a huge one, but it'll do. I think it's roughly about 5 feet tall. Allie picked a nice Black Hills Spruce. Cost: $30. We don't even have him tie it up. Pop that baby in the back end, we're going home to put it up now!

So thankful Nathan was over to help Nick haul it in from the van. I know I didn't have the strength to help. Now to get it lit. 

I'd been chatting with Daddy in texts and he works til 8 tonight. He's expecting to come home, dig out our 7 1/2 foot tall, pre-lit (icky white lights) tree from the basement and get it all set up so we can decorate it tomorrow. Well, we want to surprise him and have this one all done before he gets home. We're on a mission to make Daddy's day! Now, let's get this thing lit up like a Christmas tree, Allie.

Half-way done. Man are my arms breaking out. This tree is like covered in little kitty claws and making me break out in a rash. But it's gonna be worth it. I can occasionally get a faint sniff of pine, and if I wasn't sick I'm sure it would smell amazing. The kids say it does.

Finally done with the lights. Break time. 

We call the boys in, they haul up the ornament totes and start decorating the tree with Allie. Nathan's family doesn't set up a tree. I don't know if they ever have or if it's just been since his Dad has been sick, but he's all gung-ho to decorate.

All done! Daddy's gonna be so surprised!

Normally I put my lit star on the top, but the piece that it attaches to is on the fake tree, so we put on the angel. Nope. She ended up being too tall once we put the tree back up on the stand. Ah well. It's fine as it is. Kids did a great job.

Day 24 of our 25 Days:

We should have been traveling up north for a week-long visit with Uncle Kev, but this sickie kept us home. So today we are resting and trying to kick the sick out, but this little bastard wont go anywhere. I just awoke from a restless nap in more pain than when I went down. Fever is spiking...again! Head, chest and every other part of me just wants to float in a hot tub and let the jet sprays pound this crap out of me and massage away the achies.

For now, the boys are playing video games, Allie is resting in her room, and probably drawing, Doug is decorating gingerbread houses and me, well, I'm wrapped in my fuzzy blankie, sucking on cough drops, sipping hot tea, blowing my nose every ten seconds trying not to pee when a series of sneezy coughs attack, wiping the constant drip from my eyes that I can't be sure aren't actual tears and patiently waiting for the ibuprofen to kick in so I can move.

So, how's your Christmas Even going?

I honestly can't remember what else we might have done this night. I was so out of it.

Day 25 of our 25 Days:

Merry Christmas Day!!

I was up at 5 AM. Yep, 5 AM. The house finally started stirring around 8:30, but only after I had showered and was making noise in the kitchen by doing the dishes. 
Doug got up and made us all breakfast. Nick ate "baby food", which is farina, but it has the consistency of baby food so that's what they call it. Allie and I had eggs and hash browns. I could sort of taste it. Doug had a leftover omelet. Don't ask. You really don't wanna know what was in it. o.O

So, breakfast done and the kids finally wanna open their gifts, but not before Mommy and Daddy open theirs. We don't usually get gifts for each other or from the kids, but this year things were bought...or made. 

Daddy and I each got a Commander deck. Daddy bought mine and Nick bought Daddy's. I also got socks from Nick and shoe inserts from Allie. Daddy got socks and two new t-shirts.

Kids had fun opening their gifts from Uncle Kevin, us and Santa. We tried to stick with a theme. I told the kids to make their lists following this poem...

Something you Want
Something you Need
Something to Wear
Something to Read

My Mom saw an article in a magazine about a woman who did that with her kids. Worked out pretty well for us, although we sort of follow that anyhow. Only thing different I do is movies. We LOVE movies in this family and I get such fantabulous deals on Black Friday, that we always get lots of DVD's and Blu-Rays!

Our Christmas at home is done. Kids are enjoying their gifts.

It's almost time to head over to my brother's house. We exchange gifts there just between the kids, but Doug, the kids and I all pitched in and bought my parents (and Uncle Kevin) a blu-ray player for up north, so we brought that gift along with for them to open.

We were only there a couple hours hanging out before we all head over to the Harbor House on Groesbeck, south of 15 Mile for dinner.

After dinner was over, we all went our separate ways. Our family went home and with hot cocoa and home-made cookies in hand, we sat down to watch one of our new movies...Despicable Me 2!

Thus ends our 2nd Annual 25 Days of Christmas Adventures with the Abernathy family! 

Thank you for taking this journey with us. Whether you came along to any of our events, or just followed along as I posted updates on Facebook. Thank you.
We have enjoyed spending this quality family time together and making memories that will hopefully last a lifetime.

May God Bless you and your families during the holidays and for always.

Happy New Year!

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