We all sat down for a delicious traditional Thanksgiving dinner at lunchtime. Becky made a delicious cranberry sauce that was even better than the canned cranberry jello stuff that she and I both love. Nathaniel's favorite food at Thanksgiving was definitely Aunt Becky's cranberry sauce; he ate at least a quarter cup of it. Brian made a very interesting stuffing with pretzel rolls, bacon, dates and all kinds of other things; I don't even like stuffing usually because of the whole soggy bread factor, but I thought his stuffing was delicious! Mom and Dad made turkey and never fail refrigerator rolls, of course, and Grace brought fruit.
We bribed the kids with mint M&Ms to sit for photos with the relatives after dinner. It was naptime for Nathaniel, so he was not at all happy to get his picture taken.
Nathaniel got to try some peanut butter chess pie, and thankfully had no reaction to the peanuts. He was a big fan of the pie, and kept hanging around Aunt Becky and Uncle Brian in the hopes that they would spoon more pie into his mouth.
Grace got a big hug from all the kids when she had to go home:
Grandma started a game of Uno with the kids, and Noah was positively delighted to play nasty cards on Aunt Julie. When Noah would play a mean card on her, she would really ham it up with how upset she was, and Noah would just laugh and cackle with delight.
The Weidners came back on Friday to make gingerbread cookies with Aunt Julie.
Next year we need to make a lot more gingerbread boys with a lot of red hots! All the cookie bakers wearing their gingerbread boy aprons:
Dad helped Aunt Julie finish up the decorating after the kids had had enough.
We sent the kids outside to burn off some energy, and they invented a version of hockey played with brooms and chunks of ice. They had also played kick the ice chunks, but some were more enthusiastic about stomping on the chunks instead of kicking them.
And then we decorated gingerbread houses. Dad got Mom to frost the entire roof of his house, so then all the kids had to have their roofs frosted as well.
Here are the finished houses:
I'm trying to think what we learned from this gingerbread house making experience. The kids primarily used the frosting bottles (rather than the piping bags or a knife) to put candy on their houses. But the adults had to spread frosting on the roof or sides of the house when they wanted the entire thing covered; covering the entire house made it very easy to put the candy on. We use two batches of royal icing to decorate the five little houses, along with the leftover frosting from putting the houses together. It takes a lot of frosting to cover the entire house! The kids also used a lot of frosting and candy to decorate the ground around their houses. Their favorite candies were Dots, Neccos, gummy Sweettarts, and candy corn (to make mushrooms). They did use some of the hard picture candy, gummy bears, M&M type candies and nonpareils, as well as the fancy nonpareils and other little candies that Mom and Dad had found, although the tiny balls and stars were used primarily to decorate the sugar cone trees.
In between all the cookie decorating, we had a little birthday celebration for Nathaniel. Mom made him Aunt Elaine's apple cake, and all the bigger kids helped him blow out his candle.
The big kids also helped him open his presents, since he had no interest in ripping the wrapping paper himself. He was not very excited about wearing the cute little panda hat that Aunt Julie gave him, but he is usually okay with wearing hats when he is outside.
He loved playing with all the buttons and knobs on the lawn mower that Mom and Dad gave him. He can't quite walk with it yet, because it isn't weighted for a cruiser, and so he tips it over. But I know he will love using it outside next summer.
He loves his green dog from Uncle David and Aunt Julie.
I did get a picture of him with the firehouse and firetruck from Aunt Becky and Uncle Brian although the big kids commandeered it right after this and played with it for a while. He likes that, too, especially the fire truck and the little firefighter that sits inside it. Although Nathaniel thinks that the firefighter does NOT belong in the truck; he loves to pull him out of the truck.
The big kids invented a wrapping paper snow game with all the discarded wrapping paper:
And because this post still isn't long enough, here's a few more random photos from our time at Mom and Dad's. The big kids played a sliding down the stairs game:
Nathaniel discovered the rocking horse that Grandpa Sylvester made. He couldn't quite figure out how to bounce on it himself, but he loved to ride on it with Megan:
Dad got Amelia and Megan to help him pollinate the lemon tree; they pretended to be bees and made a buzzing sound the entire time they were doing it. They thought it was a lot of fun!
Nathaniel's favorite thing to play with was the sliding trash can cabinet in the kitchen. He was pretty good about making sure his fingers didn't get pinched, especially when Becky would say "Watch your fingers!" Becky pointed out that he seems to understand some language now, and that's very exciting to see.
On night before bed, Aunt Julie read the girls some stories that she used to read Angela, Sarah and Stephanie.
And hey, Nathaniel likes Uncle Brian! I think he's the first one of my kids not to be scared by Uncle Brian's beard!