Bramell, Party of Five: December 2012

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Sweet Holiday Tradition

I know a lot of families do this, but our Christmas PJ tradition is one of my favorites! We let the kids open one gift on Christmas Eve, which is their pajamas for bed.  This makes for really cute photos on Christmas morning.  And, what's funny is that Big Sis was so excited to open that first gift---she didn't even remember that it would be pajamas! 

Here is our 2011 photo:

And 2012:  (not sure why it's so blurry)

We had a great Christmas at home. I'll have some pictures up in a few days. Santa really got it right this time--the kids love their gifts and have even been sharing!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Gingerbread House Building

Before Big Sister's school let out for holiday break, they hosted a gingerbread house-making night for students and family. Dad stayed home with the little ones, so I got to take a crack at my construction skills.

Here's what we learned:  

--Neither of us have very good construction skills

--Other people cheated by bringing in their own gingerbread house building kits

--Sometimes it helps to just let your house crumble and start over

--It's always fun to call in extra help!

Big Sis hard at work.  See that focus!

Our "extra help" that came to our rescue.  My friend Keisha, who is always up for a creative challenge!

Mama and Big Sis with the final product.

Surprisingly, we got this done in the one hour time frame we were allotted.  Also surprisingly, the gingerbread house made it home without falling down.  Once home, it was all we could do to keep Boy Twin from taking it apart, piece by piece.  We sure had fun and got messy.  This was my first attempt at making a gingerbread house...I think it turned out great.  Nice teamwork and great kindergarten memories!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Our first Advent Calendar

I've been wanting to get an Advent calendar for a couple of years, but realized that most of the cute ones were not cheap. Then, I thought about making one but I was too busy being pregnant and then busy having infants to look after.  Not sure what happened this year, maybe just the sheer luck of being stuck at home for the long Thanksgiving weekend.

Luckily, I've become acquainted with my new friend Pinterest, who made this project very easy and manageable for me.  I'm also lucky that I have Big Sis around, who never turns down a chance to use glue and Sharpie markers.  So, off we went to Hobby Lobby for our crafting extravaganza.

Instead of giving the kids candy every night leading up to Christmas, I chose to write special activities on each card.  Some of them are:  look at Christmas lights, drink hot chocolate after dinner, make a Christmas craft, etc.

We are having fun with it! And Big Sis is really enjoying the countdown to Christmas.  And the best news? We can use it year after year!  Score.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Twin Tuesday: Our Jingle Bells Rock

Funny how I get the best twin nuggets on Tuesdays. I had nothing planned to write for today, and it just happened all by itself.

Just as I am complaining about how much these kids fight, they shock me with this.  Tonight, as we were sitting at the dinner table, Boy Twin says: "Sister pretty. I love her."  I could have cried. Then, as if she understood the compliment, she went over and squeezed herself in the chair beside him. And they hugged. O-M-G. Adorable!

We've been listening to a Christmas CD in the van on the way to daycare every morning. They have definitely decided which songs are their favorites; Miss Bossy will scream her request from the back seat like I'm a DJ or something.  Out of 12 songs on the disc, we actually listen to about four of them.  Today:

Girl Twin:  I want Jingle Bells Rock.

Boy Twin:  No Jingle Bells Rock!

Girl Twin:  I want Jingle Bells Rock!

I start playing Jingle Bell Rock and Girl Twin starts singing along.

Boy Twin:  TOO LOUD!!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Dear Santa

Taa-Dahhh!  Presenting the 2012 Bramell kids photo with Santa.  Yeah, pretty much a spot-on wordless description of my children.  In case you need the interpretation--

 Big Sis: "I'm only here because I left something off my letter that I already mailed."

Girl Twin:  "Just give me the candy cane, dammit."

Boy Twin:  "I wonder if I can climb up there?"

Seriously, we waited in line for the mall Santa for about 45 minutes. For this.  You only get one photo with your own camera, and I sure wasn't going to buy their overpriced photo packages to get 65 copies of THIS.  Actually, I'm quite pleased with the overall experience.  Nobody cried, the little ones sat in his lap and both even talked to him and nobody cried.

Every year, I have such high hopes for a beautiful Santa photo. After five years of Big Sis not wanting anything to do with Santa, you'd think I would just give up.  We have one good photo of Big Sis with Santa.  And it's not really even very good. It's just not worth the struggle.  Maybe next year...

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

It's Twin Tuesday!

There is something going on with the twins that has caught me off guard. I guess that I shouldn't be surprised, but I just wasn't expecting it.  It seems that they are having a hard time being together for 24 hours a day.

In talking with their daycare teachers over the past few days, I've been told they are really fighting a lot at school.  This means they are hitting, scratching, yelling and wrestling with each other.  This is standard at home, but at daycare they are usually angels. Girl Twin is being really bossy to her brother (not shocking) and his reaction has been crying at school. Yesterday, they had to be separated while eating lunch.  The teacher said that Boy Twin actually acted relieved but Bossy Pants cried about it. *snicker*

I know my kids love each other. While they really don't show affection for each other much yet, they are very aware and concerned about what the other is doing at all times.  For example, just yesterday, Boy Twin slept part of the night in our bed.  When Girl Twin woke up in her own bed, she came toddling into the kitchen to ask me, "Where Bubby?"  Another example: their teacher has told me many times that during nap time that the kids must have their cots next to each other to sleep. Girl Twin has even been known to stroke brother's hair during nap time.  See? She is sweet sometimes!

This got me thinking about how much time they have spent apart.  Aside from one running errands with me, or a couple of days at Grammy's house, I can't think of any.  That's probably how Fergie feels about eating the same dog food every day, twice a day, for the past five years.  Maybe that's why she refuses to eat sometimes.  Maybe the twins are just finding a way to refuse to play with each other.

Of course, I can't say that I'd enjoy spending 24 hours a day with anyone either, really. Well, except for Adam Levine maybe. But that's for another post, and don't tell Lee.  Except, I think he already knows.

Anyway, I'm sure that this is a common problem for twins, and probably even for siblings in general. Has anyone out there in bloggy land experienced this? Got any advice? I try to split them up for "special time" as much as I can. Sometimes I'll take one to the store and leave one at home. Or, we try to have a "girls day" and I'll just take my girls somewhere. I want them to each feel special and not resent being twins, or feel like a package deal.  This parenting stuff is hard to figure out...

Monday, December 10, 2012

My Christmas Elves

Our Advent calendar activity the other night was to take a photo by the Christmas tree.  I assure you, getting all three kids to sit still and look at the camera was definitely a small Christmas miracle in itself. I got several pictures of open mouths, tongues out and booties shaking.  This is the best shot of the bunch.

Merry Christmas from us!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Righting a wrong in the kitchen....and pie!

If you are a regular visitor here, you may remember back to this post in October when I shared my family's "recipe" for dressing.  Well, I made my second attempt at it for Thanksgiving since we were stuck at home without the real cooks in the family. 

Here's what it looked like:

I'm overall happy with how it turned out.  Actually, on Thursday, it kind of sucked. I got it too dry again! But I was determined not to let it beat me.  So with leftovers on Friday, I added some broth and heated it up. Lee let me know real quick that it was "almost perfect" this time! YES! Sweet validation. 

After our fantastic turkey dinner, we got to have this glorious pie!

I've heard it called a Kentucky Derby Pie, or a Derby Pie, but all I know is that it's delicious with a capital D.  I used a Paula Deen recipe for mine. It was my second time making it, and this was just as good as the first time.  A couple of tips, though:  the recipe makes two pies (I gave one to a neighbor) and you MUST eat it warm with vanilla ice cream.  Give it a try!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Bringing home the bacon!

I've just wrapped up my giveaway of a Dallas Cowboys Gift Box of delicious ham and bacon from Petit Jean Meats.  Here's what it looks like:

The winner of this basket of tasty meats is my friend Keisha, blogger at Big Pitt Stop. She loves, loves, LOVES to cook, so I know she will enjoy whipping up something great with this prize. And coincidentally , she's a Texas girl, so this Dallas Cowboys package is right up her alley.  

The winner of this giveaway was chosen at random, in a very scientific manner.  All the names of entries were hand written on slips of paper.

I recruited an able-bodied assistant (and her assistant) to help me.

One name was chosen from all of the entries.

Don't forget, Petit Jean offers many varieties of gift boxes which make great gifts during the holiday season. Visit their website to check them out.  You won't be sorry!

Disclaimer:  I am a member of the Petit Jean Meats Blue Diamond Club.  Through this affiliation, I get to try out products, and give my opinions on new products and branding for the company. My opinions are my own and honest reflections of how I feel. I was given product for this giveaway, so that I could also give away the gift box on my blog.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Twin Tuesday!

This Tuesday caught me by surprise. I didn't have a story prepared or a post scheduled. So, we're going on the fly here. And it's getting late.  But I do have a few tidbits to share this week.

  • The kids have a new game they like to play. One kid will pretend to be asleep while the other screams, "WAKE UP!" in the other's face. It's really kind of funny, but gets old quick. They do this in their car seats, sitting on the couch or anywhere else the mood strikes.
  • I had to take Boy Twin to the doctor last Thursday. He woke up in an unusually bad mood and kept saying "ear hurt."  Once I investigated, I found a swollen lump just under his right ear. That's what worried me.  So, I gave him some Tylenol and off we went to the pediatrician. Turns out it was a tiny ear infection, in its very early stages. The doc said he was surprised the boy even felt it. He gave us some of the pink stuff and sent us on the way. Once Girl Twin got sight of brother taking medicine, she immediately developed a pitiful fake cough.  "I sick," she kept pleading with me.  Pitiful.
  • Boy Twin got a note sent home from daycare last week....a good one, for once. His teacher tells us that he's doing very good in his lessons. He can now identify a circle and a triangle! She said, "He is a very smart boy."  Proud mama!
  • Girl Twin can count to 10 all by herself, which I think is pretty fantastic!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Did someone say BACON?

This time of the year we are all looking for creative and unique gift ideas for our family, friends and loved ones.  Do you hate shopping for the person who has everything?  Do you try to think of something unusual, that shows you really put some thought into the gift?  

Look what I have here! This is a Petit Jean Bacon & Ham Gift Box that will knock their socks off! As many of you know, Petit Jean is an Arkansas based company that offers many excellent products from bacon, to hams and sausages.   

And YOU could WIN one of these unique food baskets right here on my blog!  This particular package is specially branded with the Dallas Cowboys team logo.  If you want to see this, and other Dallas Cowboys branded products, you can click HERE.  This would make a perfect gift for the Dallas Cowboys fan in your life. And, if you aren't a fan? Doesn't matter! The delicious ham and bacon is reason enough to enter this giveaway.

This gift package includes:  (1) package of Sliced Smoked Ham
                                          (1) package of Sliced Peppered Ham
                                         (1) package of Hickory Smoked Bacon
                                          (1) package of Hickory Smoked Peppered Bacon

I have been thinking of what you might do with this gift box, and here's my list--
  • A teacher gift. Trust me, they get enough candles and apple trinkets to last a lifetime.
  • Great for a family member who doesn't live in Arkansas; introduce them to the goodness of Petit Jean Meats.
  • Makes an excellent hostess gift during your holiday travel.
  • Perfect for a holiday gift for your boss.
  • Or just keep it for YOURSELF!  
My family tried out this very same gift box around Thanksgiving. I was so thankful to have something besides leftover turkey to eat! We had ham sandwiches for lunch and bacon for breakfast for several days.  I personally love the peppered bacon, but the kids preferred the plain hickory smoked variety; the little ones couldn't handle the spicy flavor from the pepper.  

HOW TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY:  You must leave a comment on this post.  Tell me what food is a must-have at your holiday dinner table.  Also remember to leave me your name and email address so I can contact you if you win! Deadline to enter is 9:00am on Saturday, December 8th.  Winner will be chosen at random from all comments left on this post.

Disclaimer:  I am a member of the Petit Jean Meats Blue Diamond Club.  Through this affiliation, I get to try out products, and give my opinions on new products and branding for the company. My opinions are my own and honest reflections of how I feel. I was given product for this giveaway, so that I could also give away the gift box on my blog.

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