Tag Archive | butter icing

A Week of Seasonal Fun

December 9-13

Mondays, as we get closer to Christmas and further along in Advent get more and more red and green and festive. This year I am doing a combination of secular and religious worksheets, books and shows. So much colouring!101_5459

Our storytime has continued as well. The boys are reading (Emanuel included) to each other and myself whatever they want but TRINITY’s books are all Christmas and all fun!101_5460

All week actually

All week actually


Movies too

Movies too

We also did our yearly page from Activity Village – What we like about Christmas!101_5461

And later in the day – special cookie making time with Daddy!! Mommy and Daddy had an anime date with a new/old Facebook friend, his daughters and another couple. So of course I wanted to bring one of our homemade goodies… SUGAR  COOKIES!101_5462

101_5464I just realized I got my timeline wrong – on the last entry (HERE) I said we DECORATED the tree… when in actuality we ASSEMBLED the tree and flared out the branches. TODAY we put our Canadian ornaments out on display and it was so much fun!!!!!101_5468

101_5473101_5475Of course on Tuesday it was time to see Santa… something you can relive HERE.101_5485

Wednesday we reflected on our visit with Santa in our journals.101_5552

The boys also reflected on what Christmas means to them in this Activity Village printable (link for their site on right, just look up Christmas… they have TONS!).101_5551

We also made a wreath (hands) and bow (Echo’s feet) with the kids.101_5554

101_5555The kids worked with Daddy on the NEXT step of cookie making – making the icing.101_5559

101_5562And Nana found Trinity a great deal on a VERY appropriate winter jacket that allows us to hand Echo down Trinity’s old purple one (loose but usable).101_5561

Of course we had to keep making cards as well. Mommy hands off!101_5557

We ended the work week with more worksheets…101_5564


We even had a workbook completion!101_5567

One week closer to Christmas!!! And don’t forget anime night at a dear Facebook friends’ place on the 13th. It was so fun to meet Keith in person! 101_5482

The Day Before the Day Before Christmas

While not a special day for the kids… but for Ken, very much so. With the cabbage rolls created the day before it was time to move onto potato soup and “gunk”… another Johnson family tradition. There are so many special things Ken has talked about EVERY year and things we truly could not recreate without the presence of his parents. It has been over a decade since Ken has last gotten to have Christmas with his parents, instead he has spent it with us and my family. Special, but definitely NOT the same.

Zander playing Candyland with Baba… somehow the instructions did NOT make it from Canada!

We have two days of family coming up… Christmas Eve will be spent with Ken’s mom’s brother and his family (they have two kids) here at the house with Christmas Eve dinner – the potato soup, cabbage rolls and gunk… we have not seen them since moving here as Ken’s uncle has been a little under the weather. Then on Christmas Day we have Ken’s brother and his family AND Ken’s dad’s sister and HER family. (Jim, Judy and kids) I think dinner will be ham! YUM!

Gunk… I am told it is “to go on top of everything”… trust me NOT healthy!


The kids have expressed a little bit of sadness over missing some of the traditions and people we have left behind but we are so thankful to get to have these chances in Minnesota to really get to know and BE with the family from Ken’s side. We have been so lucky to be able to come here and live with Ken’s parents and take the time to find a real and stable life here in the USA. There is still lots to be done and hurdles to be jumped but we are starting to have a home again and that is a very precious gift.

Potato soup with unknown spelled Ukrainian name

The day before the day before Christmas has been a quiet one for the kids out of necessity. School stuff is put away, cleaning is being done… and most importantly to the kids — cookies are iced!! Butter icing on sugar cookies with sprinkles and M&M’s… though it was bemoaned that they are NOT the same as Smarties (Canadian, not those candy things).

Ice the cookies

In the meantime Ken and his mom had some bonding time on the iPads with a “jelly game.” It is looking like AFTER the new year these comfortable moments are going to be less often… at least during the week… for KEN… but I can’t say anything until January has begun so check back on that one!!

Gaming together

We sent most of the kids outside to play a bit in the afternoon but really I don’t think anyone is too motivated to do much more than wait for the Christmas festivities to begin, though the twins and I did vacuum the basement and tidy up toys and excess things that were out and in the way.

Front yard fun

A close up of the structure in the front yard

We ended the night with POLISH sausage (yum) and then some traditional Christmas movies for the kids (thanks again Sharon) and we are READY for Christmas Eve! 

A Santa out of Perler Beads… you can find the pattern on Activity Village

And So the Holiday Begins

December 21-22

Finishing up the school week right before such a major holiday is a bit of a task but amazingly enough all the kids woke up Friday morning as ready and willing as I was to get things done. Before noon we had ALL our paper work finished up, pictures sorted, words printed… Talk about a surprise – BOTH twins got 100% on their spelling tests!!!


Emanuel and his number line

We didn’t make it to BAKING cookies… but we did make dough… from scratch, in Nana’s mixer (yup Ken is drooling over that one)… the kids loved watching that work.

Working together

Reading the recipe

BUT amazingly enough I FINALLY figured out how to use the timer on the camera (one year later) and so the kids and I played around a bit with that after we did up their carols! It was a little crazy, somewhat silly and totally THEM!

Post concert picture (Gavin in red)

And then with Daddy when he got home from errands

Ken and the kids also finally found the time and supplies to make a pin hole camera… well two actually. Here are the instructions we used off of Activity Village.

the image inside one of our cameras. We made one with the lid in the middle and one without. Both work!

Our cameras

We got a package from Canada as well…  from the Bleau family – with COFFEE CRISP chocolate bars! Oh and Puss in Boots the movie among other things. BUT Sharon and Ken have conspired to ration my chocolate bars for me… hopefully Ken will be kind! Of course we had to watch Puss in Boots before bed! 

Guilty Pleasure

There was tons to get done on Saturday, well for the adults at least. Ken and his parents worked on a family tradition – home made cabbage rolls. Ken is writing out the recipe for future holidays!

Working with his parents

Putting them in the portable oven

The kids and Nana put up the window clings together. Even Echo got in on the decorating. 

Window Clings

The rest

Of course we had to kick the kids out into the sunshine to play in the snow for a while.


I put the boys in charge of making most of the cookies from our nicely chilled cookie dough. I love watching them work together. 


We are really getting to the end of the Christmas preparation. There are TWO trees full of presents, refrigerators filled right up and the kids are beyond excited! And tomorrow we get to DECORATE the cookies! Butter icing for the win! OH and a success on the reading – we were watching Gnomeo and Juliet with Nana and Baba before bed. There was a spot where a character talks “like a samurai” and a short line was printed on the bottom of the screen… THE TWINS READ IT!!! Without struggles or problems!!!! WOOOOOO!!!!

Dressed for singing