Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Morning

Our Christmas weekend was so wonderful! We had such a nice and relaxing weekend. Taylor's parents, Kay and Robert, arrived around noon on Christmas Eve. We made sugar cookies, went to my parents house for gumbo, and then attended a Christmas Eve Candlelight service. On Christmas day we got to hear the screams and delight of a toddler with new toys. Shepherd was so excited and we had a blast watching him. Christmas morning, we drank coffee, opened gifts and ate a nice breakfast. My parents came over around noon to join us for some appetizers. Shepherd and I took and afternoon nap and Taylor, Kay, Robert, and my parents, David and Diana all went to the movies to see True Grit. After they got home, we ate a traditional Christmas meal. I made a stuffed turkey breast wrapped in bacon with apple cider gravy, mashed potatoes, stuffing, corn casserole, broccoli casserole, cranberry salad, and rolls. We were all so full that we could not eat dessert. It was a delicious meal and we enjoyed reading the story of Christ's birth and discussing what we learned in 2010. We ended the day snuggled up on the couch watching a movie. I love my family and had such a wonderful Christmas.

Shepherd showing off his new coloring book
Unwrapping his basketball goal from Nanna and Pappa

What's in your stocking Shepherd?

Shepherd loves Toy Story and got the Woody doll

Shepherd got a small Bob and Larry in his stocking. He got to open this gift last and he would not put them down the entire day. They ate every meal with him and he cried for over 10 minutes when I would not let them join him in the bathtub.

Lots of Play Dough! Hooray!

Shepherd riding daddy's back

Breakfast Christmas morning

Cinnamon roll tree

Wright Family Christmas

My family tries to celebrate Christmas the weekend before. This year we had our company Christmas party on 12/18 and then celebrated our family Christmas on 12/19. Saturday night, I left the company party feeling a little sick but had no idea what was in store. I woke up at midnight on Saturday sick as a dog. I had a stomach bug that lasted for twenty-four hours. I have never been that sick, nor thrown up so many times in my life. I think being pregnant did not help the situation. I was so devastated to miss my family Christmas. :( I just love hanging out with my sisters and cousins. I was also looking forward to holding my new nephew Beau. Shepherd got to partake in the excitement, but Taylor stayed home with me. I was so thankful he was home, there were times when he had to pick me up off the bathroom floor after hugging the toilet and carry me back to bed. I was able to finally drink some fluids by the afternoon and by 9pm Sunday night the nausea went away. Taylor caught the bug two days later, but thankfully he did not get near as sick as I did.

Here are the only two pictures I got from our company Christmas party, I am hoping to get some more from my family.

My cousin Amy and I

The Sweetness of Christmas

I love sweets! Christmas is such a great time to eat those delicious treats that come out once a year.

Here are some of my Christmas favorites!

Peppermint Popcorn:
This year I made a new recipe, thanks to my friend Nicole, of Peppermint Popcorn. It is so easy and very delicious. The best part about it was Shepherd got to help.

There are only three ingredients; 1. White Chocolate Almond Bark, 2. Two bags of Tender White Popcorn, and 3. Twelve candy canes.

1. First I put the candy canes in my food processor, and let Shepherd push the button. He had so much fun making a really loud noise.
2. Once my candy canes were broken up, Shepherd popped the popcorn. He just loves the microwave and gets excited when I let him use it. I then had to pop one more bag of popcorn so Shepherd could eat some.
3. Lastly, I heated the Almond Bark until it was melted, mixed in the candy canes, and poured it over the popcorn. After some good stirring, I was able to pour it on wax paper to dry!

Taylor's Toffee:
Taylor does not cook, but once a year he will make toffee at Christmas time. It is wonderful and he does a great job!

1 cups slivered almonds
1 cup sugar
1 cup butter
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
1 cup semisweet chocolate morsels

Grease a baking sheet. Bring sugar and next 3 ingredients to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Cook until mixture is golden brown and candy thermometer registers 290 to 310 degrees (about 15 minutes). Pour sugar mixture on baking sheet. Sprinkle with morsels; let stand 30 seconds. Spread melted morsels evenly over top; sprinkle with nuts. Chill 1 hour and break into pieces.

Childhood Cookies:
Every Christmas my mother, sisters, and I would make the Reece's Cup cookies. We like to use chocolate chip cookie dough and Reece's Cups in the center. These cookies are also great frozen.

Pumpkin Roll:

Taylor and I love pumpkin rolls! There is nothing better than a slice of pumpkin roll and a cup of coffee. Taylor will eat half of the pumpkin roll in one sitting. I made a pumpkin roll for dessert on Christmas day. I use the Libby's pumpkin roll recipe:

1/4 c. powdered sugar
3/4 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground all spice
1/4 tsp salt
3 large eggs
1 c. sugar
2/3 c. pumpkin
1 pkg. cream cheese
1 c. powdered sugar
6 Tb butter or margarine
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon

For Cake:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease 15x10 inch jelly roll pan; line with wax paper. Grease paper. Sprinkle a thin, cotton kitchen towel with powdered sugar.

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, all spice and salt in small bowl. Beat eggs and sugar in large mixer bowl until thick. Beat in pumpkin. Stir in flour mixture. Spread evening in pan.

Bake for 13 to 15 minutes. Immediately loosen and turn cake onto towel. Carefully peel off paper. Roll up cake and towel together, starting with narrow end. Cool on wire rack.

For Filling:
Beat cream cheese, 1 cup powdered sugar, butter, vanilla and cinnamon in mixer bowl until smooth. Carefully unroll cake. Spread cream cheese mixture over cake. Re-roll cake. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.

Reagan's Sugar Cookies:
2 c. Flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/3 c. butter (softened)
1 egg
3/4 c. sugar
1 Tb milk
1 tsp vanilla

Combine flour, baking powder. In a larger bowl, cream butter, shortening, sugar, egg, milk and vanilla. Gradually mix in flour mixture. You might need to add a little more milk to get the consistency you need for the dough. Cover cookie dough and chill for 3-4 hours. Then roll out onto floured surface and cut out cookies. Cook 6-8 minutes at 375 degrees. You might want to double the recipe.

The icing is just powdered sugar, vanilla and milk.

Taylor making cookies

Julia, Kay, and Robert decorating the cookies on Christmas Eve.

Each person selected their best cookie, looks like we need to keep this as a hobby.

Eating our treats!

Christmas Traditions & Decorations

I just wanted to share a little of the Faught family Christmas traditions. The birth of Christ is the reason for the season and I am so thankful that God would send his son down to this earth as a little baby. We love to celebrate this joyful time of year and incorporate some fun family traditions. Taylor and I strive to make our holiday family traditions a husband and wife thing. We do not want everything to revolve around our children, because we know that one day our children will leave us. If our children want to help us decorate the tree or make Christmas cookies, that's a bonus. We also want to be understanding if our grown children do not want to be at our house for Christmas, but want to celebrate this time in their own homes. Taylor and I have been very blessed to have parents and in-laws that are understanding and flexible with the holiday schedule, and we want to keep that up. Our goal is to create traditions that continue until we are a little old couple. Here are some of the things we like to do:

We love to watch a Christmas movie while we put up the tree! Usually Taylor picks Christmas Vacation.

Here is a picture of Shepherd's Christmas tree. He would count to three when I would turn the Christmas lights on each morning. It was too cute!

Another small tree

Here are the stockings Christmas morning.

Presents Christmas morning, the big one was for Shepherd from Papa and Nana

We like to read the story of Christ's birth as a family over Christmas dinner. This year we read the version in Luke. The picture above and below is Shepherd's bible and I just love it! I try to read Shepherd a bible story over breakfast each morning. The two weeks leading up to Christmas, I read the story of Jesus's birth every morning. Little kids really respond to repetition and I noticed how the more I read the stories, the more Shepherd responded. He got to where he would point at baby Jesus and say, "Ba-by." This is big for Shepherd since reading stories is not his favorite thing, he is usually too busy to sit down and listen to a story. By reading the Christmas story each morning I was able to start my day embracing the true reason for the season!

The picture above might just look like a shoe rack to you, but it was a fun little thing I did with Shepherd this year. Since Shep is only 19 months old, we did not get to do an advent calendar for the month of December. In the future I hope to do one with my children, having a daily scripture and fun activity, but this was more age appropriate. The shoe holder had 24 spots and each morning Shepherd got to open a small present. I wanted to do this instead of getting him a bunch of gifts on Christmas morning. Toddlers get overwhelmed easily and I knew that he would have a lot more fun playing with a new toy each day. We decided to get him one nice gift for Christmas morning, (the Woody doll from Toy Story), and let him open up something small each morning of the month. Most of the gifts were craft supplies, (Crayons, color sheets, play dough, etc..) that I collected from the dollar store. Shepherd had so much fun with this activity! As soon as he would get out of bed, he would run right to the gift closet giggling and excited.

Lastly, Taylor and I like to make and decorate sugar cookies together. Listening to Christmas music, drinking hot chocolate, and decorating cookies is such a fun activity. Shepherd was napping this year while we decorated cookies but he sure loved eating them.

Breakfast with Santa

Shepherd got to have breakfast with Santa for The Right Solutions children's Christmas Party. He did not want to sit on Santa's lap because he wanted to open his present. We tried to get a few pictures, but they are not great. Shepherd was so excited to get the Slinky Dog off of Toy Story 3.

Christmas Progressive Dinner

This year, we decided to do a progressive dinner for our high school small group Christmas party. Taylor and I each lead a small group for high school students, he leads the boys and I have the girls. We meet every other week and study either a book of the bible or some type of bible study. We have been doing this for five years! When we started, the kids were in seventh grade, now they are Juniors in high school. We have grown to love them so much and they have enriched our lives much more than we have theirs.

Our progressive dinner started out at the Faught home for our first course, we ate appetizers, and played a round of Dirty Santa. We then caravaned to the Lambert home, for a second course of either tomato, sausage and tortellini, or broccoli and cheese soup. We also played a round of Christmas Taboo and the girls team won! We then headed to the Kretzer home for the main course and enjoyed a pasta bar with red sauce and Alfredo sauce. The last stop for our progressive dinner was at the Dinger home, where we sang a few Christmas carols, ate dessert, and played fish bowl. We had a wonderful time and ate a lot of food!

Family Christmas Card picture!

Cheesy Best Friend Picture!

Christmas Carols

Dessert Time!

2010 Family Pictures

This year, Taylor's sister Lindsay, took our family pictures. She did such an amazing job! We could not believe how many pictures turned out so great. Shepherd was a little bit of a challenge the day we took our photos, it was in the evening and he was done for the day. Lindsay was so patient and interactive with Shep, that we actually got so great shots. Lindsay discovered that she could throw marshmallows at Shepherd and he would laugh and smile. There are some really funny photos of Shepherd diving or running to get the marshmallows. Thanks Aunt Lu Lu for taking these pictures!