Saturday, November 19, 2011

A little Christmas Cheer!!

These last couple of weeks have been such a whirlwind. We have been so busy and I am already way behind on all of the blogging that I need to do. Here's what's been going on our side of the world. :)
We put up our Christmas tree almost a month ago. Yes, i realize that was a little early but since we will be heading home for much of the season we wanted to go ahead and put it up so we could enjoy it. The first Christmas that we started dating (years ago) David showed up at my front door with a Christmas tree, lights, and 1 single ornament. I was so excited. I love decorating Christmas trees. We have moved a lot over the last 7 years and no matter what our situation was I have been able to set that little tree aside to make sure we had it with us until this move. The tree just wouldn't fit in our air shipment. So a couple of weekends ago we went and bought a little tree. We already had a couple of ornaments from our travels (we buy an ornament from every place we visit) and were able to use those. Other than that, we didn't do much with it. Everything is so expensive here and we knew we wouldn't be able to get it back to the states so we bought the minimal amount of decorations. We bought two sets of lights that were ridiculously over-priced. They said they were 12ft long but when we started taking them out of the box we realized only about 4 ft of the 12 had lights on them. The next week I found another strand of lights from France (where they were cheaper), got them home and realized that they were the wrong kind of lights and the plug wouldn't work with what we already had. I took those back and bought some more from the place we bought our tree. They were wrong too. The lights are a different shade of white and they blink which drives me nuts, but i didn't want to have to take them back again so we kept them, haha!!

Here are a couple of the ornaments we have picked up over the last couple of months. They don't match, but that's okay...the memories we have from these places are priceless and it's usually hard enough to find ornaments for sale so we get what is available. I also didn't want to pay for a tree topper so i just made a huge bow instead. It's simple but it all means a lot this Christmas.

I also managed to pick up this little iron Christmas tree which we saw at a store in France. It was so cute and it folds flat so I knew I would be able to pack it and bring it home. It needs more ornaments, but i have some back in the states that will match. I figure why buy anymore when I have plenty at home. We are only here for a year so we really couldn't see spending a bunch of money on decorations, but it was so nice to be able to put up a tree since we will be missing out on a lot of other festivities.
I have no idea why it looks like it is leaning in this picture. Must have been holding the camera wrong because it stands up straight and is really cute.

We had searched everywhere for a Nativity scene and happened to find one that we loved in London last weekend. This picture doesn't do it justice, but it looks really nice!!

One of the other things we love to do every year is put together a Gingerbread house. I would love to tell you I make it from scratch but what would the fun be in that, haha!! We actually did try that once and it just didn't work at all. I don't think I have the patience for it. So we usually buy the little kit from Walmart. By the time we get done with it, it usually looks as though a five year old has put it together, but that's part of the fun. I really didn't think I would find a kit and just figured this wouldn't be something we did here, but to my surprise I found the kit in one of my favorite stores and was so excited. I got it home and opened it up and realized all the directions were in French.

It's pretty self explanatory I thought and so I started putting it together. I soon realized I didn't have sugar to make the icing. I went to the store the next day and bought a huge bag of sugar. We set everything out and I started getting ready to make the icing. David was looking the box over and says "what is sucre glace"? We then realized it wasn't regular sugar that I needed but powdered sugar. Me and a friend went to France to go grocery shopping and we picked up the sugar that was called sucre poudre. Now.... doesn't that seem like it would be powdered sugar? Well, after I brought it home and started making the icing for the 3rd time I realized it was regular sugar and so I sent David to get the powdered sugar. Four pounds of sugar and one very messy kitchen later we finally had our icing to make the gingerbread house. After mixing the icing and the powdered sugar together I never thought it was going to work. It wasn't the right consistency. I've made a lot of gingerbread houses over the years and so I knew something wasn't right, but I didn't know how to fix it. I was so frustrated after all the failed attempts that I figured we should just try to use the icing and see if it would still sick. It did, and the ginger bread house turned out so cute. It was even real gingerbread unlike the kind you get from Walmart which is hard and I doubt edible.

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