I realize I'm skipping completely over our trip to Guatemala, but that will require a few long posts that I don't quite have time for yet. I figured while I compile all the Guat pictures I will finish off December. We got home from Guatemala around 2:00 am Christmas day. We talked about the possibility of catching Santa in the act, since we were getting home so late.
We came thru the garage door and quickly whisked the kids upstairs in case Santa happened to already dropped by. Noah and Ava peaked in the dark living room and claimed they saw something big in there, and that Santa must have already been here. We told them to get in bad FAST and go to sleep. Noah didn't fall asleep for about another hour because he was just too excited.
They were right, Santa had been there, and we interrupted him, so Adam called Edwin (our families elf) and told him to have Santa come back because we were home now and all the kids were asleep. Santa did have a couple more presents to leave, so luckily he came back.
The trip to Guatemala was our present to the kids, so they didn't have anything to open (which they didn't seem to care about). They hadn't opened their Christmas books and pajamas, since we got home so late, so they did get to open those present. I take that back, I did wrap up some family games for each of them to open. Games: Headbanz, scrambled states and Jenga.
Of course Santa delivered some great presents, so the lack of wrapped presents wasn't even missed. He brought everyone this jungle gym (which the elves assembled before we even got home - such nice elves). Noah got a magic kit, I Spy Books and some chemicals to make popping bobas. Ava got a huge cheetah, a little flying monkey and a matryoshka doll set. Grant got an over-the-door basketball hoop, a bunch of other little balls and a fart whistle. The jungle gym was made into a fort almost immediately and the cheetah has had to be stitched up about 4 times already. I find her in random places all day.
This basketball hoop is in the living room now, so it has been used for numerous competitions.
Adam surprised me with a fancy new road bike (which I'm loving) and a fitness watch, and I got him a new watch.
Adam thought we really NEEDED an underwater scooter, so he asked Santa for one. Can't wait for summer time to try it out. We had a great Christmas. The Christmas season was very different than we're used to, but I loved it. There really was NO focus on the commercial aspect of Christmas, because in Guatemala they really don't push consumer buying (at least not were we were). It really was nice. That being said, it was a mad rush to get everything ordered and here before we left on the 15th. This is my 3rd year of never stepping foot into a store for purchasing gifts. Santa, and this mom, did ALL their shopping online - mainly Amazon. Forces me to ONLY get what is on my list and not get distracted by what I see on the shelf.............and I'm lazy and don't like to get out of my sweats.
Grandma Connie encouraged us to do the Old Testament challenge from The Friend (back in January 2014). Every Sunday we read the assigned versus for that week, watched the really old videos from LDS.org (those still shot ones) and then colored in that weeks section on the picture. We really learned a lot about some awesome old testament people.
The kids were really excited to finish and call grandma with the news.
Grandma sent their prizes last week (some scripture figurines and Pass the Pig game). We started this years challenge (the New Testament) last Sunday. We're pretty bad at reading the scriptures during the week, so at least we accomplish this every Sunday.
We tested out Noah's chemicals he got for Christmas, and made some Cool-aid popping bobas (those jelly filled balls you find at frozen yogurt shops). We also tried cucumber juice, but those turned out pretty nasty. These weren't that tasty either, but I've since read that real fruit (i.e. juiced strawberries or blackberries) turns out better, because the chemicals won't change the flavor with the real fruit. We'll definitely be experimenting with this again.
Noah wanted to build a functioning helicopter, so Adam told him he would help him make a hovercraft instead. A couple Saturdays ago, Noah went to home depot and bought the plywood (we told him he had to buy it if he wanted it to be his own) and he and Adam built this hovercraft. Noah was smart and convinced the babies that they needed to donate some money to the cause so they could use it. I think Noah eventually decided to just pay for it and then let them try it out. We were going to use the blower, but we couldn't get it to start, thus the reason we had to use the big shop vac. We need a flatter surface and the blower and then it will work really well.
I've been envious of my mom's waffle cone maker, and kept thinking she would just give it to me, but she actually uses it on occasion, so it probably wasn't going to happen soon. Anyway, I finally broke down and bought one (don't know why I waited so long, it was only like $30 with a coupon). Anyway, we've been enjoying homemade waffle cones and are working on perfecting how we roll them so they won't leak.
Once we got the cones down, we started experimenting with homemade 'magic shell', you know that runny chocolate that hardens once it hits the ice cream. I poured some of the magic shell chocolate in the bottom of the cones and that made a hard layer and stopped the leaking! They're yummy.
The real reason I wanted the waffle cone maker was so I could make my own Dutch Stroopwafel cookies. Whenever I go to a specialty store, I search for these cookies. They are SOOOO yummy, and kind of expensive (6 tiny cookies for $6). Oh my goodness, the homemade version is just as good, or better, than the ones in the store, and it makes a TON. It's a good thing they are a tad bit time consuming, because I would make them all the time. The bad news is that the day I made them I got the stomach flu the following day, so I only got a small sampling of them by the time I felt like eating again.