I stole this post.

True story.  I stole this post from my brother’s blog without asking him for permission.  Sorry, Ted.  (I’m not really that sorry).

Family Night… or day.

(written by my little brother, Ted)

Greetings and salutations!  Going back a little more than 7.5 years now, we decided early on when Robby was a baby, that we would have an open invite to family members, once a month where we would cook up some good (hopefully!) kibble and just enjoy each other’s company.  That way, Robby grows up with a good support cast around him and knowing the family from the immediate surrounding area.

As time has gone on, we’ve missed a few months, but for the most part, we’ve been pretty consistent.  We’ve also added a few “traditions”, if you will.

That brings us to the subject of this post. It’s December 2012, and we’re decorating gingerbread houses.

This time, the boys picked who they wanted to be partnered up with.  Robby and Aunt Doris (I got picked FIRST for a team!  First time EVER!!!) were a team, as were Samuel and Aunt Molly, Caleb and Aunt Dianne, and last but not least, Jonah with his Aunt Lesley.  Not one boy picked his Mom!

A shot of the troops at work, getting dirty and having fun.
Molly, Sammy, Robby, and Me….

Team Lesley/Jonah modeling their creation; ]onah with a mouthfull of candy.

Team Molly/Samuel.  Sam, unlike his brother, could show teeth in his photo.
Team Dianne/Caleb with their house o’ candy.  Caleb hopped up on sugar.
And team Doris/Robby with their crafty craft (note the rainbow doorway!).
After the gingerbread houses were done, we had lunch, then decorated cutout sugar cookies.
3 of the lads at work.
The Four Horsemen pose with their creations.
…and again, just to relieve a little sugar pressure.  And thus wraps up another family night!

I posted about last year’s Gingerbread House day here, which was in November, and before my brother, his wife, and Robby travelled to China in December 2011 to adopt Caleb.  See how well he fits into the family already?!?

Merry Christmas!




100 Good Wishes

For 4 or more years now, my brother’s MIL has made gingerbread houses and people for us to decorate with the kids.  This is something my SIL and her sister did every year with their mom, Marlene (our gingerbread baker!).  Here is my post from 2008, which includes a gingerbread recipe link if you want to make your own!  This year, we had a brunch get-together, because our evenings were getting full too soon.  It also happened to be this little guys birthday…

So his Aunt Lesley gave him four candles in his donut hole (don’t worry, he had birthday cupcakes with his supper later that day!).

I had help with my house this year, 3-year-old Jonah decided this was “our house” and he was determined to cover every bit of gingerbread surface while packing his chipmunk cheeks as full of candy as he possibly could…


The boys were way into the activity this year, typically they only last about ten minutes then head off to play while the adults finish up decorating houses (Easter Eggs, etc.) but all three stayed with it the entire time…

Here are our finished houses…from the front:

and the back:

You can probably tell, but Jonah and my house is the one in the back by the Pepsi can, I told you he was determined to leave no surface uncovered.  And here it is from the front, the house on the right:

I’m not sure how that gingerbread girl avoided being covered in candy and icing…

Next year we will have two new helpers, my niece Zoe will be big enough to be at the table, and my 4 1/2 year old nephew from China, who will be coming home to the United States for the first time three weeks from now will both be a part of this tradition.

I’ve been helping Caleb’s new Mommy, my SIL, Lesley, make her first quilt, a 100 wishes quilt for Caleb.  I’ve only instructed her up until now, answering questions for her as needed.  She has cut and sewn every block herself with fabric donated from friends and family.  I have the blocks at home now, while they are in China, because I offered to square them up for her, so she can piece the quilt when they return and finish it up for his new bed. 

We welcomed Caleb into our family in May–having never met him, we already love him and claim him as our’s.  My brother, his wife, and their 6 year old son left Iowa, for Beijing, this morning.  Next week they will meet and adopt their son and brother, Caleb.  And our family will become just a little bigger, and a little more complete.

You can’t catch me, I’m the Gingerbread Man

National Gingerbread Day is……..not December 5th, but June 5th. Do you think that’s strange? Maybe it just seems strange because here in the United States we think of gingerbread as a holiday time food. At least I do, I guess. Last night was our monthly Family Night at my brother’s house. He and his wife started this tradition when their son was a baby so he would really know his aunts, uncles and cousins as he grew up by having them as part of his life on a regular basis. We get together for dinner, once a month, and sometimes do crafts or play games, and last night was Gingerbread House Night! Marlene, my brother’s MIL, made the houses and ginger-people for us over the weekend, bless her heart! Marlene has been doing this with her daughters for 30+ years!

We had a LOT of fun decorating these!

Here is my sister’s house with her lovely family of four ready to go sledding!

and Robby and his Mommy’s house decorated with lots of YELLOW candy…(Yellow is KING in Robby’s world)…

This is my house, and Molly’s house from the back…love Molly’s pretzel fence!

I even learned some Gingerbread lore, like did you know it’s unlucky to have a closed door on your Gingerbread House? And every house should have a heart on it to ward off evil?

The newest addition to the family sat this one out, taking a snooze with his uncle on the sofa…

Robby gives the Tour of Homes to his Daddy at the end of the evening…

This was a great family activity, a little messy, but loads of fun! You might want to give it a try at one of your own family nights! Here’s a great recipe and tips to get you started… Or you could buy a kit… Or find a Gingerbread Angel like Marlene to make your houses for you!

HAPPY HOLIDAYS and Gingerbread Blessings to you and yours!