Christmas Time Is Here Again....

Christmas Card 2011

Fenley, Mary Ellie, and John Barron

Time for fun and time for cheer! I am baaacckk.  After an embarrassingly long hiatus, a husband actually nagging encouraging me to start chronicling our little family's comings and goings, I am going to fervently try to keep everyone updated about our little family.
First things first, to get everyone back up to speed, Two lambs and a Bear is about to be Two Lambs and a Bear plus a Baby. We are expecting Baby Number Four in the Spring. Our due date is late April but this little munchkin will be making her debut in early March. This pregnancy has proved challenging and complicated {not that the other pregnancies were not challenging but this one has it's own set of complications}. I am resting in bed according to the doctor yet trying to survive the Holiday Season as well.

Baby Flack with her arms and legs covering her face

Baby Flack looking right at us!
 The children have been already getting in the spirit at school: Snow Days and School performances. Bear had his Snow Day at school complete with Gingerbread houses and a visit from Santa Claus! I only got to attend the Gingerbread House decorating aspect of the day. He was adorable and ate three candies for everyone one he attached to his house! Honey was a big help and got there first and helped him until I could arrive for my short outing. It was worth the trouble. Honey and I had a good time celebrating Christmas and playing with Bear.

Gingerbread House Decorating

Bear focusing on his decorating

Bear and Santa Claus

Mary Ellie and Fenley had a Snow Day at their school as well. Parents were not invited so I don't have any pictures to share but they had hot chocolate and met Santa. They were elated. If you are not a fellow Texan, then you probably think the preschools down here are kind of funny pumping in snow to make up for the nonexistent snow in our state but the children love it! They had a wonderful time and I am so thankful that their schools make such an effort to make the holiday season so special for them.
Mary Ellie and Fenley also had a Christmas Breakfast and Performance of The Friendly Beasts that Joe and I did get to attend. We had a great time visiting with their teachers, friends and friends' parents at the Breakfast but an event better time watching the performance. The twins were the Singing Reindeer which is where all the youngest children able to participate in the school play come on stage (after all the friendly beasts, Mary, and Joseph) wearing reindeer antlers and they sing all together. This is really cute since I am pretty sure the stable animals were present at the Birth of Christ but not the singing reindeer. Mary Ellie and Fenley were adorable. Fenley sang his heart out and we were so proud! Mary Ellie seemed to enjoy the onstage view of all the action. Precious Singing Reindeer! It really put me in the holiday spirit.

The Friendly Beasts and The Singing Reindeer

My Singing Reindeer and a Bear

But now school is out and the small people are home all day and every day.  My children have been out of school exactly four days {who is counting, though?!}. I cannot leave the house and entertain them so they are stir crazy and so is this mama. I am trying to drum up some projects and things we can do around the house that require limited standing and activity on my part. If you had three children under three years old you would realize this is an oxymoron but we are trying.
Our first project: Salt Dough Ornaments

Recipe From Fly Through Our Window:

Darby’s Salt Dough Christmas Ornaments

4 cups flour
1 cup salt
1 1/2 cups of warm water                                                                                          
small to medium cookie cutters

1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
2. Whisk together flour and salt in mixing bowl until incorporated. (Use a stand mixer with the bread hook attachment.*) Gradually add water until dough ball collects.
3. Using half the dough at a time, roll out on a floured surface until flat and very even. (Dough does not rise at all.) Dip cookie cutters in flour and use to cut out shapes. Using a straw, add a hole at the top of each ornament. Transfer to cookie sheets lined with parchment paper.
4. Bake for 2 hours. Turn off oven and let sit for another hour.
5. Remove from oven and place on cooling racks. Using a basting brush, dust off excess flour. If still soft, put back in preheated oven for another hour.
6. Once dry and hard, paint ornaments, if desired. To finish, spray with clear polyurethane (outside or in a well-ventilated area) or glossy Mod Podge, or leave all natural. Yields 30 - 40 small-to-medium-sized ornaments.
*If you don’t have a stand mixer, mix by hand. Knead until dough is well incorporated and pulled together in a ball

** I am making the Cinnamon Salt Dough Ornaments First. "You can make cinnamon salt dough by omitting 1 cup of flour and adding 1 cup of cinnamon and 1 cup of nutmeg. I think I’d skip the glaze and let them be “natural” as to maximize the scent! Her’s always smelled wonderful, even through many years!" Fly Through Our Window

We made the salt dough both ways. They turned out darling! It made our kitchen Christmas Tree very homey and it smells wonderful. Mary Ellie, Fenley, and Bear decided to add their school ornaments to the kitchen tree to spruce it up a little more. One holiday project down and I think we have a new tradition.

The Ingredients

Bear watching the mixer action

First, mix the dry ingredients

Slowly add the water until dough forms

Fenley and Mary Ellie putting the ornaments on the tree

The Flack Children enjoying their ornaments and gingerbread house display

The Finished Product

Hmmm....a little low?

Mary Ellie making round two: plain salt dough ornaments

Ta-da! I even remember to do their hands

This was an easy and fun project for the kids. I highly recommend it to anyone looking for something crafty and not too labor intensive. We enjoyed it. Let's see what else I can drum  up to do next....

PS Forgive the choppy writing, I'm pretty rusty!

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