Gingerbread House Decorating Day

Gingerbread House Decorating
Gingerbread House Decorating

I may or may not have mentioned before that I am not very crafty at all! Thanks to Pinterest I am becoming more crafty but I seriously need step by step instructions and sometimes step by step pictures. And a step by step video probably would not hurt either.

My daughter (isn’t she lovely) on the other hand is EXTREMELY crafty and creative and AMAZING! She makes me jealous and I seriously cannot wait for her to get older so that she can make me all the stuff I see on Pinterest.

The part I did
The part I did
A work in progress
A work in progress

As you can see, I cheated and bought a kit (told you I was not crafty) but she used her creativity to make a design all her own.

Her face makes me smile
Her face makes me smile

My kids do not get a lot of sweet. And they certainly don’t get to make giant cookies covered in frosting and candies that they will later be able to nibble on. So her face in this picture always makes me laugh because I know that in her head she is “dreaming” of eating this sugary masterpiece!

Finished product!
Finished product!

And here it is all finished and ready to go! Not too bad for a first time and with no help from Mom!

 

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Christmas at Disney

Extraordinary Christmas Decorations
Extraordinary Christmas Decorations

Disney does (almost) all things well. And well, Christmas is no exception. It’s kind of hard to get into the Christmas spirit living in Florida, especially if you were born and raised in Ohio. Green and Christmas just don’t go together in my mind (at least not yet). But one sure fire way we have found to get us ready to Deck The Halls is to head to Disney Hollywood Studios and spend some time at the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights.

View from the end of the street
View from the end of the street

This is just a small part of the display, impressive isn’t it? This was actually a private home display at one time. The Osborne family was a real family in Texas that knew how to decorate for Christmas. Obviously they had some serious money and obviously the local power company LOVED them!

Hidden Mickey
Hidden Mickey

The kids and I always try and find the Hidden Mickey’s in the parks and you know Disney adds them to the Christmas decorations too!

I want these!
I want these!
My favorite building!
My favorite building!

Reminds me of a cupcake! I would love to decorate the outside of my house like this but my husband would never allow it. So I just go to Disney and stand in front of this building for 30 minutes and pretend it’s mine!

LOVE!
LOVE!

Be still my pink and blue loving heart! I’m telling you if my house was decorated like this for Christmas I would never ever take them down and I would turn them on every night! My neighbors would hate me but I know that I would be smiling every time I came home!

Too cute!
Too cute!

 

Thankful Disney knows the reason for the season!
Thankful Disney knows the reason for the season!

The absolute best part of the Osborne Lights is the nativity scene! It is beautiful!

Emmanuel "God With Us"
Emmanuel “God With Us”

Most precious Christmas gift ever given to anyone.

A tiny babe,
God wrapped in flesh,
Sent to die,
That we may live!

LEGOLAND Florida

One of the Extraordinary things in our lives is where we live. We live in central Florida, the heart of all things Disney! And boy do we love our Disney! We are pass holders and can be found at one of the theme parks just about every weekend. Disney is our home away from home and we love it!

A few years ago LEGOLAND made it’s debut about an hour and a half away from us and since my middle son is a Lego Fanatic we made the trek down to see what all the hype was about.

Lego Christmas Tree
Lego Christmas Tree

The holiday decorations were amazing!

Extraordinary attention to detail
Extraordinary attention to detail
Andrew with the Lego Christmas Man
Andrew with the Lego Christmas Man

The Miniland USA was by far the best part of the park! It is absolutely amazing the amount of detail they are able to get into these city landscapes. We spent hours looking at them and pointing things out to each to other. I would go back to the park just to see these again. I wish that I had taken more pictures, but the pictures really don’t do them justice anyway.

Mini World
Miniland USA
Because we love the USPS
Because we love the USPS
Little tiny mailbox!
Little tiny mailbox!

 

 

 

 

 

No matter where the children and I go we are always on the look-out for USPS mail trucks, mail boxes, and mailmen! And believe me when I tell you that they are EVERYWHERE!

Mini Land dedicated to Star Wars
Miniland dedicated to Star Wars

My middle son, Andrew, who is not only my Lego Fanatic but also a Star Wars fan was completely impressed with the Lego Miniland dedicated to all things Star Wars.

Amazing!
Amazing!
Lego Darth Vader
Lego Darth Vader
Lego R2-D2
Sissy Girl with Lego R2-D2

The life size Star War characters make out of Lego bricks were beyond amazing!

Because this post has gotten WAY TO LONG! I will wrap up our trip to LEGOLAND Florida tomorrow!

Meet Pumpernickel (He is Our Extraordinary Elf)

Pumpernickel!
Pumpernickel!

This is Pumpernickel! He travels from the North Pole every year on December 1st to spend the Christmas season with us.

He is a mischievous little elf who does CRAZY things at night while we are sleeping. Pumpernickel appeared on our breakfast table 3 years ago and we (OKAY maybe more me) have loved having him around.

Pumpernickel has been a way for us to keep some of the magic in Christmas. With three kids who are growing up way too fast (at least in my opinion) our elf has given us a chance to have some fun and “believe” again.

Making Marshmallow Snowmen
Making Marshmallow Snowmen

Pumpernickel has become my way of bringing the EXTRAORDINARY into our Christmas celebrations!

No Bake Cookies (A Family Tradition)

Christmas Eve growing up was ALWAYS my favorite night of the year. We would head over to my Grandparent’s (Ma-Maw and Pa-Paw) house and meet up with my mother’s other 5 siblings and their kids for a family meal and presents!

I can still to this day recall that excited feeling that I would have ALL DAY long! The clock seemed to move so slow and the day felt like it was never going to end. And then somehow, almost magically, Mom would call for me to get my coat and we would head out the door. The best times were when it was snowing and the houses in the neighborhood were lit up with multicolored lights. In my mind’s eye everything was beautiful and perfect. We would pull up to the house and the drive-way would be filled with cars, the windows would be steamed up from all the cooking and baking that went on in the house ALL DAY long! Their would be lights and laughter and presents and JUNK FOOD!

We ate buffet style and so once I was old enough to fix my own plate I bypassed the ham, noodles, and deviled eggs for BUCKEYES, FUDGE, AND NO BAKE COOKIES! My Aunt Shali makes the best No Bakes in the world. And still to this day it would not be Christmas Eve without an Aunt Shali No Bake.

I have to make them myself now that we have moved to Florida. The North Family Christmas parties have been over for a long time now. Siblings moved away, kids grew up, there were divorces, and deaths, and LIFE just changes. Of course, we still try and get together on Christmas Eve (from our own little corners of the world) but it will NEVER be like it was. Those perfect (if only in my mind) nights of gently falling snow, laughter, lights, Christmas trees, presents, and FAMILY!

But every Christmas Eve when I put out the Buckeyes and Aunt Shali No Bakes, my mind races back in time to Christmas Eve’s long gone and I remember faces, and smells, and sounds, and sights that bring a smile to my face and joy to my heart. And as I pick up a No Bake and take that first chocolaty bite for just a second I am 5 years old again and all the world is right and it’s the BEST NIGHT OF THE YEAR!

Aunt Shali No Bake Cookies (a Family Tradition)

Extraordinary No Bake Cookies
Aunt Shali  No Bakes

2 cups sugar
4 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups quick cooking oats (make sure you use the quick cooking)
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

Bring sugar, cocoa, milk and butter to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly.
As soon as it starts to boil, remove from heat and stir in vanilla, peanut butter, and oats. Mix well!
Drop by tablespoons (I use a medium cookie scoop and then flatten with the back of it) onto waxed paper.
Let cool!