Saturday, December 22, 2007

Making Cinnamon Ornaments

One of our favorite advent activities was making cinnamon ornaments. We made enough to give as gifts to family and friends. Here is the recipe we used:
Cinnamon Christmas Ornaments
Fill your house with the delightful scent of cinnamon! These homemade Christmas ornaments make wonderful gifts for everyone on your Christmas list, and they're very easy to make. You can even use different cookie cutters to make other shapes (like hearts for Valentine's Day) to be used throughout your home all year long!

1 c. ground cinnamon (cheap at the dollar store)
1 tsp. cloves
1 tsp. nutmeg
3/4 c. applesauce
2 T. Tacky or Elmer's white glue
Cookie cutters
Paint, if desired for decorating (fabric paint works great!)
Red, green or white ribbon

Combine first 5 ingredients until stiff dough forms, kneading well with hands. Roll dough out onto cinnamon dusted surface, about 1/4-inch thick, then cut with desired cookie cutter shapes such as teddy bears, hearts, Christmas trees, snowflakes, stars, candy canes, gingerbread boy (or girl), angels, etc...

Lay ornaments on a sheet of waxed paper and cut a small hole in the top (a plastic straw works well), then put in a safe place for drying. Depending on how dry your home is, it can take about 2-4 days for the ornaments to dry completely (or Bake ornaments on cooling rack in oven set at 150-200 degrees for 2 hours.)

Other comments or suggestions to consider:
I think some people "freshen" their ornaments with a bit of spicy essential oil after years of use. Remember that cinnamon can "cloud" when shaken or stirred, especially in large quantities, so adults should mix, letting kids help in other areas. Don't let anyone rub their eyes while working with the dough!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Holiday Festivities

The kids were done with school on December 6th, so we've had lots of time together to do fun holiday activities. I made an advent calendar with mini muffin tins that has magnetic doors. Behind the doors I've been placing a small treat and a note with a new holiday activity. Here are some of the things we've been doing:

  • Decorating a gingerbread house
  • Setting up the nativity scene and reading the nativity story
  • Attending the neighborhood horse-drawn carriage ride
  • Reading Santa Mouse and having a mouse hunt
  • Attending the Parker Carriage Parade
  • Making cinnamon applesauce ornaments
See more pictures here!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

October Fun

Here's a glimpse of the fun things we did in October! The highlights:

  • John & Jack got a deer and an antelope in Craig
  • Kate's a Brownie
  • Jack's Playing Basketball
  • Our costumes: Grim Reaper, Ladybug & Vampiress
  • Snow!
  • Falling Leaves
  • Pop's in Town!

To see more photos, visit our online album HERE.

We hope your Fall has been this much fun too!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

A Familiar Face on a National Catalog!

Our Jack is somewhat of a celebrity! His scrapbook page and a few of my other projects were featured on The Angel Company's 2007 Fall Supplement (a mini catalog they publish each year.) This year, they sent me some materials and asked me to design some cards, scrapbook pages and projects. It was quite a surprise and honor when I saw them on the cover and Jack, of course, is very excited!

See more of my work on my papercrafting blog.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Hiking in Castlewood Canyon

The kids are a week and a half into their 3 week break, so we decided it was time to get out and enjoy the beautiful weather we're having in Colorado. Castlewood Canyon State Park is about 10 miles south of us and was formed by Cherry Creek, which meanders through Parker and goes into Denver. It was dammed in the late 1800's, forming a reservoir, but the dam broke in 1933, causing the worst flood in Denver history. We hiked down to the small stream, finding nature treasures and bugs the whole way. (Lily was most interested in sitting and playing in the soft, sandy soil along the trail and eventually had to get a shoulder ride. After exploring, we visited the picnic area, played on the playground and had a snack.
This weekend we're headed to Vail for our timeshare. We're looking forward to more outdoor time and the beautiful fall leaves!

Monday, September 10, 2007

John's Amazing Elk

John's archery trip to Paonia this weekend yielded one of the biggest elks we have ever seen. He is elated, to say the least! With its large, unique rack, this one might make the record books. It's not easy to come across an animal of this size, let alone get a good shot at it with a bow. Luckily, he had lots of help from the folks he hunted with to get this elk home. He bought a freezer today and we're considering having a huge elk chili event as well as sharing meat with everyone we know. See the rest of his pictures, including awesome scenery of the Ragged Mountains and John catching some rare species of trout at our web photo album. John has enjoyed successes on some of his previous deer and antelope hunts, but this is his first elk and with its size, a momentous occasion. Drop him a line of congratulations at or leave a comment on this post.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Kate's Family Day in First Grade

Kate is learning about families in first grade with her teacher, Miss Rose. Their class celebrated families by hosting a family luncheon on Friday and presented their writings and posters about what makes their family special. Kate's poster featured a family tree, a map highlighting the locations of Colorado and New York and pictures of her family near and far. She also read an excerpt from her "My Family" book and made a custom table covering for the luncheon which included not only her human family, but pet family as well. She was excited to show off her paintings of Randall, Jr. and our new fish Meemo and Gill. This Friday marks the beginning of the kids' three-week "track off" time. We plan to do some things around town like visit the zoo, Castlewood Canyon and travel to Vail.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Wine Tasting/Bottling in Fort Collins

We were invited by our friends, Jeff and Deanna Hager, to attend a wine tasting as well as help with the bottling of their custom batch of wine at Vintages in Fort Collins. In the photos you can see Julie corking a bottle of wine and John melting the seal onto the top of the bottle. Vintages has a variety of whites and reds that you can taste and then order your own custom batch to be made. You may have it aged in their oak casks and then when it is ready, you bottle your batch.
It was also an enjoyable visit to the city of John's college alma mater, Colorado State University (CSU). Jeff is also an alum, so they enjoyed reminiscing about their favorite watering holes. We were also joined by our friends Manny and Margaret Balbona, and we all enjoyed lunch at Enzio's italian restaurant and browsing the shops.
It was fun to take John's convertible for a spin, and we look forward to visiting again in a few weeks, when our own batch of wine is ready to bottle!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Fun in New York

We had so much fun being together with our family in Central New York. Visit our Online Photo Album for pictures from our trip, including our visits to Fort Stanwix, Delta Reservoir, The 1000 Islands and celebrating all the August celebrations, including Lily's second birthday. While you're there, check out the video slide show of our favorite summer pictures: August in NY.

Summer Fun 2007


Monday, July 30, 2007

One Crazy, Rainy Night

We went to a charity benefit and then out to a piano bar . . .
Disclaimer: We were not in control of our camera for a portion of the evening . . .

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Lily and the Pink Boots

We found the cutest boots at Target for Lily and these are the moments where you just have to grab your camera. This is what we got (and then she decided the boots weren't very comfortable).

Monday, July 16, 2007

Fishing in Eldorado Springs

Last weekend we visited our friend Tom's friend's cabin in Eldorado Springs for a day of hiking and fishing. The kids had a great time at this streamside getaway, between the dogs, the tire swing and the great fishing. We hiked up the road to a nearby damn where there's great fishing and great scenery. It was a beautiful summer day in the mountains and we caught enough trout for a modest dinner. (Katelyn caught the most: seven!) What a proud day for John as well, sharing what he loves with his family.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Fourth Fun

We celebrated the Fourth of July with our friends across the street, the Andersons. With so many kids around, our neighborhood is so much fun! We played on the waterslide, had a barbecue and did a few fireworks. What a great day!

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Scenes from our Garden

Tiny Dancer has her First Recital

Katelyn really shined during her first dance recital on June 2nd. The program, called Circus on Parade, featured many animal themed numbers, including Kate's class's "Who Let the Dogs Out." (It's funny how a song you never wanted to hear again becomes adorable when accompanied by the tapping of your favorite kindergartner in shiny shoes.)
Her ballet routine was to a song about ice cream and Kate was delicious in her fluttery, sequined costume. She also danced in the circus finale, where Katelyn's proud singing could be heard among all the other dancers. All the practices and classes were great fun for Katelyn, but I think her favorite part was walking back from the performance, glittery with eye shadow, rouge and lipstick, to a waiting Daddy with a big bouquet of flowers for his little princess.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Jack Graduates from Wolf to Bear

Jack attaches his new neckerchief during his graduation from Wolf Scout to Bear Scout May 21st. During his first year of scouting, he earned belt loops and badges for activities like building water bottle rockets and pinewood derby cars, first aid, sports, and community service. He also visited some interesting places like the Museum of Nature and Science, Parker Police Department, and the Singing Hills Fire Station.
Some activities (like building Jack's trophy-wining derby car) were especially fun for father and son, while others (like the monthly cookie raffle and huge cake auction) were fun for the whole family!