Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Blog Crazy---all caught up!

I apologize for the lack of posts his past month. With all the craziness of the holidays, it has been too crazy to blog. But I am all caught up today with LOTS of posts from the past month. Be sure to check out BOTH pages of posts. Enjoy and Happy Holidays!

Christmas Sunday

I just had to post a quick photo of Christmas Sunday with the kids.

Winter Wonderland

We have really been hit with quite a few major snowstorms lately. The biggest one hit on Christmas Eve into Christmas Day. We weren't sure we were going to be able to even get out of our house. The snow mixed with the famous Herriman winds made for some amazing drifts. The snow in the front went all the way up above our front porch and the back yard had drifts as high as our 6 foot fence! Thank heavens for wonderful neighbors with 4-wheelers and plows to help us out! The kids of course have been in heaven with all of the snow.
The snow drifted all the way up above our front porch!
Our poor street was a mess!

Christmas Parties

The Christmas Season brings a lot of Christmas parties for us. Here are a few photos of some of them.
Cayden as a very drowsy Joseph

Ashlee as a shepherd

McKell loved being Mary at the Neilson party

McKell & Santa

Cayden & Santa

Sadie was so funny with Santa. She didn't cry like I thought she would. Instead she just stared at him and tried to figure him out. It was hilarious!

Ashlee & Santa

The whole Steedman family nativity

Cayden the wise man

Ashlee the angel

Sadie and McKell were such cute little angels

Sadie doing the fish pond at the Steedman party

Chocolate Dipping

I'll start off by dedicating this post to my moronic brother-in-law Jon who thinks that ALL I do all holiday season is dip chocolates. He is an idiot. Chocolate dipping in my family has been a tradition for over 40 years. Every year, my mom starts the process early in December. She makes peanut brittle, English toffee, Almond Roca, etc. She also starts making the fondant which is what the centers on most of the chocolates are made from. As a child, I remember Mom making the fondant and letting it cool on the round pizza tins and then watching her and dad pull and pull and pull the fondant like taffy until it turned into a fudge-like consistency. They would do this numerous times. Mom would get us kids to help as well which was always fun. On chocolate dipping day, there are a few major necessities as follows:
*Dress Warm - The house has to be rather cold on chocolate day so the chocolates will set up. It can't be too cold or the chocolate cools off too quickly and turns white. We usually do a lot of layering in our clothes and feel somewhat sorry for those not dipping who are shivering most of the day.
*Christmas Music - There always has to be a wide arrangement of Christmas music going. In particular, we have to have the Ray Conniff singers on for some of it. With hits like "The Real Meaning of Christmas", "Go Tell it on the Mountain", etc. you can't go wrong. Just think Lawrence Welk singers...on uppers. It is amazing how they can turn ANY song into either a polka or a cha-cha. And more key changes than you can count. There is a lot of singing and dancing with Ray Conniff on.
*Marble Slabs - This is what we pour the chocolate on to dip.
*Electric Frying Pan/Fondue Pot - We've used both of these for years to heat up the chocolate. It has to be just the right temperature for dipping.
Those are just a few of the essentials for dipping. When we arrive, we start flavoring and coloring the fondant and then rolling it into balls. The usuals include mint, orange, lemon, and raspberry. Mom always insists on a batch of cherry nut as well. In addition, we do almond joys, caramels, raisin, almond, and peanut clusters as well. We also do white chocolate dipped pretzels and this year I threw in some white chocolate dipped oreos. It is a lot of work, but a tradition that I cherish and look forward to every year....and a yummy tradition for sure!

The famous Watkins flavoringsAn example of the fondant before they it is dipped. These are mints. YUM!
Some of the "dippers"
Look at ALL of that chocolate!!
We try to mark the tops of each chocolate with a letter so we know what is inside. Pretty impressive letters if I do say so myself!

Merry Christmas!!

Another wonderful Christmas for the Peacock Family. We woke up to a very white and windy Christmas. It was actually blizzard like conditions here in Herriman so we were extra happy to be warm and cozy inside. Sadie was the first to be awake...way too early of course at 6:00. She and I just hung out until the rest of the crew woke up. We have a tradition that they all have to come down the stairs together so I can video the whole thing. There is nothing like seeing the kids' faces when they first come into the family room and see that Santa has come. Cayden is definitely the most animated and excited! They all were spoiled this year and got lots of fun presents. Cayden's favorites were his new basketball and football as well as his new lightsabers to add to his collection. McKell and Ashlee both got Fur Real baby bears and apparently Sadie loved more than them. Ashlee also got a talking Fur Real parrot and it was hilarious to see Sadie play with that thing. She thinks it is real and gets so excited when it starts moving and talking. Sadie got a new pink silky blankie and a baby doll for her favorites. Rob got a GPS which he is very excited about and I got a new cell phone. Yeah!! The big surprise and highlight was that Santa brought our family a Wii. It has been SO much fun for everyone. We had our traditional orange pull-apart rolls and hot chocolate for breakfast and then spent the day just hanging out, playing with new toys, sleeping, etc. Later in the day we headed to my parents' home for dinner and visiting. We definitely were blessed this Christmas.
Sadie loved her new ball from McKell

Sadie also thought every box and package was her own personal stepping stool and chair
McKell was SO excited to get a nutcracker
Ashlee LOVED her new big fluffy pillow from Grandpa and Grandma Neilson
Cayden was very happy to get a new basketball

"I'm dreaming of a white Christmas..."
The BEST orange pull apart rolls. I'll put the recipe on my recipe blog. These are SO yummy!

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve is one of my favorite days of the year. I love the excitement and anticipation with the kids and we have lots of fun family traditions as well. (Shocking, I know!) This year we headed to Texas Roadhouse for an early dinner. We love that place and have gone there for Christmas Eve for quite a few years. After coming home, we had an early surprise on our front doorstep. "Santa" had left 3 packages for the kids. Porcelain dolls for the girls and a woodburning kit for Cayden. We were all very surprised and grateful for this mysterious "Santa". The kids also received their letters from Santa reminding them to go right to sleep or he would have to go to a different house. After that, we made our cookies for Santa, reindeer food for the reindeer, and egg nog for Santa as well. We then put the final piece on the advent calendar and hang up stockings. We pulled up the "Santa Tracker" on the laptop so we could show the kids where Santa currently was. That was SO much fun for them to see, especially because they have learned about so many of the countries in school already. Rob read the kids "Twas the Night Before Christmas" followed by a stirring musical rendition from Cayden and me of "Twas the Night Before Christmas" as well. Cayden learned it last year in school and it is hilarious to listen to. Right before bed we read the Christmas story from the bible, sang "Silent Night" and said our prayers. Then we tucked the children all snug in their beds and Rob and I started wrapping presents. Another tradition that we're not sure if we like or not, but every year it happens that we are up way into the night wrapping gifts. We had the added "help" of Sadie this year who has decided to plant her little behind on everything that resembles something she could sit on...including every present that we wrapped. It was another fun Christmas Eve at the Peacock Home.
Sadie thought it was more fun to throw her stocking on the ground and laugh
Ashlee and McKell hanging up their stockings

Cayden and his stocking
The whole crazy crew on Christmas Eve. Pretty darn cute aren't they!?
Daddy reading "Twas the Night Before Christmas"

Gifts from Secret Santa

Making our magic reindeer food!

Our Christmas Angel Ballerina

Tonight was a proud Mama moment for sure! It was McKell's first ever dance recital and it was SO wonderful. She started taking dance in the fall from Tiffany Dance Co. here in Herriman and they do a great job! McKell has always been a natural dancer and has begged me to get into dance for years. I was so happy to finally find someone so close and so good. McKell is in the ballet/tap class and she really loves the ballet. Her class did their dance to "Silver Bells". They were all dressed in white and silver and looked beautiful. McKell did such a great job and I was SO proud of her. She was so graceful and beautiful. She was very excited to get flowers from Rob and me for good luck. It was a very special evening for sure!Our sweet McKell with her flowers from Mom and Dad
They were all so cute!

"Ring a ling....hear them ring..."

McKell's closing pose.

Girls' Night Out for the Holidays

For the past 2 years I have hosted a girls' night out for the holidays. It is SO much fun and definitely what we women need during the hectic holiday season. Everyone brought such yummy food and we just sat around and ate, laughed, and had an overall great time. We joked that it was refreshing to actually just have to fix one plate at a holiday party, not 3 or 4 extra for the kids, who then in the end don't eat it anyway. It is a must-have break for sure! At the end, we do a white elephant style ornament exchange which is always a highlight. I think we had about 30+ ladies here this year. This is a tradition I will always continue, not just for myself, but for the wonderful women that come and have a great time with me!
Some of the yummy food everyone brought

Janene, Stacie, Caroline & Erin
Stacey, Dorey, and Tricia
Lisa, Rebecca, Jade, Adrienne, Amy & Josie
Audrey, Beth, Adrian, Lisa, & Rebecca
Amy's hot ornament earrings!

Leanne, Amy, Jailyn, Hailey, Lise, and Janene