December 16, 2011
Preparing for Gingerbread

I got into making gingerbread structures with my friends in high school.


Sixteen (!!!) years later there are enough little kids coming that we decided to create a kids table. We always use gluten free dough and although I liked last year's cookies better, the dough this year was fabulous to work with. It rolled well and you could even pick it up. It baked a bit hard and had a tendency to bubble, so I guess we need to experiment further, but the lack of gluten is becoming less and less of an issue. If they'd just come out with a gluten free string licorice for wires and string I wouldn't miss it at all!


I added a new challenge this year with a sugar-free, gluten-free, dairy-free and molasses free gingerbread for a friend. The candy was replaced by non-sugared dried fruit, seeds and nuts, but replacing the icing was a big problem. Eventually we settled on peanut butter and honey but it was really too runny to hold multiple pieces together. It made a nice iced cookie though. Next year I'll have to experiment some more.


We got everything ready two days before the actual party, including baking pieces for Elizabeth's creation. She wanted to make a plain old house, so aside from insisting on stain glass candy windows I went along with it. She nearly took out the camera with the rolling pin while showing me how to crush the candy.


Elizabeth's eyes nearly fell out of her head when she saw the table full of candy. "I like eese and eese and eese and dere's cok-o-late mummy" Interestingly, she did not demand to eat it even though we had a mountain of yummy treats as our table centerpiece for two days worth of meals. We'd explained everything was for the party so I guess she understood that she had to wait.

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December 15, 2011
Great Aunt Mary
This is MY Aunt Mary, who also happens to be a Great Aunt, in both senses of the word.
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December 12, 2011

Lest anyone thought our experience of parenthood was all sunshine and roses, it would only be fair to report that sometimes there is a lot of chewing involved.


Elizabeth's pretty suspicious of new food (often won't even try it) so we eventually caved and started using "yurt" or dessert as an incentive to at least give some of it a chance. But it's not good enough to just get in the mouth. Dear daughter is apparently an expert at shoving undesired food into her cheek and continuing to eat normally. Like a "quirrel, Momma". After a few too many supper-in-the-cheek discoveries an hour later at tooth brushing time, we started to check for a "clean mouth".


Only trouble is that then she'd sit there for upwards of forty-five minutes, chewing and chewing and chewing and chewing. At first we thought she might be having trouble with swallowing. When my brother was small I remember similar epic chewing sessions that we all had to sit through whenever we had stew for dinner. But Elizabeth did the same thing with mashed potato. Do not ask me how.


It was hard to know what she'd eat normally and what would prompt a chewing sessions. For instance, some days she'd eat nearly an entire head of broccoli. And then the next day she'd look at it like it's an alien lifeform and how *could* we be so horrible as to serve it for dinner.


After a week or so of squirrel cheeks, we started stopping dinner once we were finished our own dessert. Then there was the dilemma of what to do with Elizabeth's mouthful. A few days of spitting out that last mouthful and Mommy was nearly pulling out her hair. "Eek - we're actively encouraging toddler bulimia!"


Then suddenly the problem went away...

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December 11, 2011
Happy Birthday John

High school friend John is another year older, but even more exciting is seeing baby Simon scooting around the furniture.... He's almost walking!


Hopefully for Karin's sake he will be actually walking before his sibling shows up in January.


Despite having every excuse to take it easy, Karin put on an incredible feast. Two years ago, Elizabeth first started actually eating the non-post-it note solids we tried to feed her at Karin and John's "baby party". This year, she decided that apples actually are edible even if you don't peel them first!


When Daddy was a little boy, the neighbours used to borrow him to demonstrate to their children that children really can enjoy exotic food like mushrooms.  Mommy and Daddy clearly need to borrow baby Simon.

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December 10, 2011
Happy Birthday Auntie Karen

Brendan, Auntie Janice, Elizabeth and I got to take Xander Christmas caroling with St Nicholas on Auntie Karen's birthday while Dave took her on a hot date.


Elizabeth was extremely happy, especially after I let her change Xander "by herself". We're a bit out of practice compensating for the extra time it takes to cart a wee one places but were proud that we got everyone to caroling more-or-less on time.


Originally we were going to push Xander in the stroller but Elizabeth was having none of that ("My stroller!") so I ended up carrying him zipped under my coat. Quite a number of my fellow-carolers did a double-take, wondering if they had missed a memo...


Both kids behaved very well during the caroling. Xander briefly squawked shortly before we got back to the church for hot chocolate and cookies, but only because he wanted a diaper change. He's really a very contented little chap. He even obligingly had a nap en route home AND stayed asleep for a good chunk of supper!


After caroling we picked up Kevin and cousins Josie and Daniel (here for a sleepover) and headed for Dave and Karen's for supper. Swiss Chalet, carrot cake, good company and a fun Santa project for Auntie Heather's stocking. (Shh... it's a secret!)


Xander was extremely interested in Mommy's candles, but though we thought he might like to cut the cake he kind of freaked out. Perhaps he's right. He IS a little young to be handling such a big knife!

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