Christmas in the Cookie Jar

Where to begin?  I guess I should start with Christmas Eve.  Boy, was it busy!  I was working feverishly to get all of my last minute gifting accomplished.  You see, the Christmas tradition on Allen's side of the family is for everyone to gather at his grandparents' house and eat dinner and exchange gifts on Christmas day. The other Mrs. Cook (that is, my brother-in-law's wife) and I decided to make boxes of cookies (something her mom used to do) together to hand out as a joint gift.  I had been saving some cereal boxes for some craft project yet unknown, and now I had the perfect excuse to use them.

First, I undid the seam along the long edge of the cereal box.  Then I used spray glue to coat the printed side of the box (I sprayed it outside, of course, because that stuff reeks).  I chose to use wrapping paper, which worked well because it was relatively thin and pliable but was still thick enough that you couldn't see the original design of the cereal box underneath.  I put the flattened cereal box sticky side down onto the wrapping paper (wrong sides together, if you know sewing lingo) and smoothed it down.  Then I just cut along the edges of the box, trimming and gluing the wrapping paper on for nice corners where applicable.  Next it was time to refold the box, and I opted to use a stapler to staple the edges together, but I'm sure you could use a glue gun or the like if you prefer.  I also did not choose to line the inside of the box, but craftier souls than I (or perhaps just those with more spare time) could certainly do that.  They turned out great!
Alishia and I got together for a few hours in the late afternoon and baked up a storm.  She did most of the box assembling, too, because I had to leave so that we could go to our church's Christmas Eve service at 7 pm.  We used cupcake liners and coffee filters to hold the cookies, and I also put in some chocolate dipped plastic spoons and packets of hot cocoa.  I printed out to and from tags in nice font on card stock and attached them.  I am KICKING MYSELF for not taking any pictures of the final product, but they looked awesome and not at all like my usual Pinterest Fails.  You'll just have to take my word for it. Or my relatives-in-law can vouch for me in the comment box, if any of them read this blog.  
Back to Christmas Eve: we went to the church service, and the kids did pretty well considering that it was past their bedtime and there was no nursery for them to play in.  Then we came home and the kids got in their new pajama pants that I made for them, and they opened a special present from Chandra.
Max got Where the Wild Things Are pajamas and Ruby got Elmo

A scratch and sniff Christmas classic!
Hot cocoa was had, the book was read and duly scratched and sniffed, and then several more Christmas stories were read. Off to bed went the kiddies, and then the elves got to work.

I don't even know what kind of animal this is...

Team Awesome-o Selfie Time!

Tired, punchy mommy

Allen requested a "duck face" picture, but it looks a little more like sour lemon face   

We went to bed, and because our kids are still of the age where they don't realize that the earlier you get up, the earlier you get presents, they slept until after 7.  But Ruby was quite enamored with the Christmas tree and all of the decorations. 

The kids are still of the age also where opening presents takes quite a long time because they want to play with each thing, and they are still content.  Oh, I love this about them.  As per custom in our family growing up, the kids opened stockings first and had breakfast, but did not get to open any of the bigger presents until we all got back from church.  I don't think the kids would even have known to complain if all they had gotten were the few things in their stockings.  

Check out that wooden chest…one of my presents from Allen (by way of his grandpa, who was looking to sell it)
We did let them open one big present before church, though: the Bitty Twins (made by the American Girl company). Thanks, Grandma Laurie!  They were a big hit. One doll is a girl with blue eyes and blond hair, and the other is a boy with short brown hair and brown eyes (they didn't have a blue eyed brunette, apparently). Ruby christened the girl doll Cece and the boy doll something that sounds a lot like Cagney.  Not sure where she got that.

 They took their dolls and got dressed up for church.  Our church didn't have a morning service, so we went to the local Catholic parish, St. John the Apostle for their 9 AM mass.  We were a few minutes late so we were relegated to the folding chairs in the back, and Max threw a hissy fit about a quarter of the way through and had to go sit in the lobby with Allen, but Ruby did fine (albeit with some stage-whispering, "Is it done yet?  Is there another song?"  Ben slept the whole time…good baby.
Afterwards we talked a little bit with the monsignor (who, in a shockingly small world turn of events, is of German-Russian heritage and his great grandfather founded the tiny town in North Dakota near the other tiny town where Allen's grandpa is born, so perhaps we can snooker him into being a speaker at an upcoming GROW meeting.  And I'll have to devote a whole blog post later this whole digression.  Anyway, carrying on…) Then we went home, opened the rest of the presents which we had stowed in the wooden chest instead of under the tree, and tried unsuccessfully to get the kids to nap before heading over to the Haas family festivities.
Said festivities went well.  Our cookie boxes were appropriately admired and the kids received a lot of presents (being the only grandchildren in the family on both sides has its definite advantages).  The whole family was assembled and it all went pretty well, all things considered.  I would say more but my mother-in-law and grandmother-in-law do not trust the internet (re: civilian surveillance done surreptitiously by the government) and really don't want to be mentioned on it in any way, so I will respect their wishes and let the events pass unmentioned here.
Max's present rivaled him in size.
Upon arriving home there was napping, skyping with my St. Louis family members, noshing, playing with new toys, taking down the tree (it really was too crowded) and everyone hitting the hay pretty early because of the busy day.  Ben's Christmas present miracle to me was to get his first full night of sleep…I think he slept from about 9 PM to 5 AM!!!! It was awesome and amazing.   Maybe we'll get an encore performance tonight.  A mom can dream, anyway. 
And now, off to bed.


  1. YESSSSSSS. I didn't think until after I shipped the book, but I should have included oranges for the stockings. I was, oddly, OBSESSED with having an orange in my stocking as a kid, due entirely to TSSoC. (Not JUST an orange, mind you, but an orange nearly falling out of the top...) HURRAH for successful Adventing and Christmasing!

  2. We always got oranges in our stockings, too (although at the toe), because that's what my parents got in their stockings when they were young'ns.


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