Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Traditions

We usually go to Santa'sTree Farm in Half Moon Bay to cut down our own tree, but this year we were in a hurry to get my parents to the airport after a wonderful Thanksgiving visit and we didn't see anything that we loved, so we had fun running around in the mud, then left treeless. We went to Home Depot the next day and found a great tree, already cut, for half the price. I am thinking we found a new tradition...go to the tree farm for the experience but plan on buying one pre-cut.
We go to the the Oakland Temple on Christmas Eve and see the beautiful lights. We watch the Nativity movie and walk around the visitor's center, then we head home for dinner. We usually have Cornish Game hens on Christmas Eve and just have left over on Christmas Day so I don't have to spend all day in the kitchen, making food the kids don't like and Dave doesn't want to clean up...but this year, since we were in the city and I wasn't home to cook, we had our New Year's Eve tradition of fondue early (so I guess I'll be cooking Cornish Game hens at Tahoe for New Year's Eve!) I did a three course fondue dinner (cheese, buillion, and chocolate). Yum!
I love having everyone open the presents from the kids on Christmas Eve so they don't get lost in the Santa shuffle the next morning. The kids are always so thoughtful. Then, we read The Christmas Miracle of Jonathon Toomey, one of the best Christmas stories ever, and we take turns reading from Luke 2 in the Bible, just to make sure we all remember the reason we celebrate Christmas. I tucked the kids in bed, then began a long night of thinking, "why didn't I do this earlier" and finally went to sleep at 3:00am. What a wonderful day.
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California Academy of Sciences

On the 24th, Dave went in to the office and I checked out of the hotel and got the kids some breakfast, then we all went to the California Academy of Sciences. Alaina and I went on her field trip there last year but no one else had been before. We had a great time and everyone loved the rainforest, aquarium, living roof, and planetarium. We ended up getting a family pass for the year so we can come back later and see the rest. Look at the spiderman frog and the colorful little bird. They are so cute!
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Thursday, December 24, 2009

San Francisco in December

Every year we go to San Francisco to experience Christmas in the city for a night.
We always go to Union Square and watch the ice skaters from the Macy's Holiday Lane. The kids pick out an ornament to add to their collection so when they go off to college, they'll have something to start with. We really look forward to roasted chestnuts but couldn't find any this year.
We stayed at the most incredibly decorated hotel in the world, the Hyatt Regency. It was fabulous!
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San Francisco in December, Part 2

We saw the Macy's windows, with the live puppies and kittens and I bought a $5 tin of delicious chocolates to support the SPCA. Well, it is Christmas, right? And we happen to love chocolates!

The kids love picking out their ornament at Macy's and I love to see more Christmas trees. They had beautiful displays this year.

Last year we discovered this treasure in the lobby of the Westin St. Francis hotel at Union Square and added it to our San Francisco Christmas tour. A 12-foot tall gingerbread house with 30 rooms, and made only of edible ingredients: 70 pounds gingerbread, 300 pounds of royal icing, 40 pounds molasses, 60 pounds flour, and 100 pounds of hard candies. Whew! This is totally worth a trip to the city to see.

Monday, December 21, 2009

2009 Bain Kids Gingerbread Houses

Somehow I got behind this year and made the gingerbread house pieces really late. Usually I make several really large ones that I bring to the sisters I visit teach, but all I had time for was one for each of the kids. They all built their own and they wanted to make them different. The sugar glue I usually make just wasn't working well this time, so we had to use a hot glue gun. What a great new tradition! It was so much easier! Andy's was more of a futuristic house. He and Ryan don't like frosting, so they just put their candies on top of the gingerbread and ate them. Alaina made a traditional house with beautiful traditional decorations. Becca decorated one side normal, then hot-glued a "no trespassing" sign on the other side. Notice how she hyphenated tresp-assing!
I never know what to expect from these four :)
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Friday, December 18, 2009

December in New York

Dave and I flew to New York for his office Christmas party and I had a whole day to visit Holiday Faires while he was at work. My Walnut Creek friend was there with her husband (who was also working) so we spent the day walking all over the city. We tried to go to a Rachael Ray taping, but they are finished until 2010, so we went to Grand Central Station and took the subway to Columbus Circle and I found some great gifts at the Market. The ball in the picture is made of pure chocolate...delicious!
I love Christmas trees!
We didn't make it to see the Macy's window display, but the Saks 5th Avenue windows were great. And of course we had to visit the shoe floor again!
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Monday, December 7, 2009

Thanksgiving Break in Monterey and Carmel

My parents came to visit for the Thanksgiving break and we took them to Monterey, Carmel, and Big Sur. Usually when they come Dave and I go out of town and they watch the kids or they aren't able to stay long enough to go anywhere, so this was a great mini vacation for all of us. This was Cabo's first vacation and Carmel is so dog friendly, we found a great restaurant that actually had a dog menu and he ate right by our table with several other dogs! He loved being the center of attention at the dog stores, too.

The kids were in heaven with Cabo there. It was his first beach experience and he wasn't sure if he was supposed eat the waves or not. He had a blast running on the sand with 54 other dogs...yes, the kids kept a count of all the dogs they saw!

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My mom took the dreaded Christmas photo this year. One of these made the cut...can you tell which one?
The guys all went to a Sharks game in San Jose and the girls were on our way home to start Thanksgiving food preparations when my van suddenly found the Gilroy Outlets! So, we spent a few hours there, then we all met at home and had a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner outside. It was a beautiful day! I am so thankful that my parents could come and spend time with us.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Save Darfur Jewelry Sale

Andy is in the Save Darfur Club at LasLomas and made these jewelry sets for a fundraiser they are having this week.

Let me know if you are interested in any Christmas presents!!

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Saturday, December 5, 2009

Grandma and Grandpa Bain Came to Visit!

Dave's parents hadn't been to see us in a while so in October they hopped in their car and drove from Idaho to spend the weekend with us. We spent one day in San Francisco, where we met Dave for lunch at the Ferry Building and got to see his new office with a beautiful view of the Bay Bridge and the Piers. Then we spent all day Saturday going from game to game! They are great soccer fans :)

Bob had never been on BART before so we all decided it was about time he experience it!

Isn't Marcia beautiful? I love this picture of her. It is always so fun when they come to see us.

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