Friday, December 31, 2010

How to Make New Year Pop!

First you start with treats.  We chose M&M's, stick treats, and rainbow lollipops.  You can add trinkets, toys and anything else that's fun.  Since this is the last candy the girls will eat this year, we went craaazy!
You'll need wrapping paper, cardboard tubes, ribbon, confetti, scissors and glue.  We just rolled the wrapping paper off their tubes and used the cardboard.  You'll want to score the tubes down the middle, but not cut them all the way.  You could also just use two tubes and hold them together with tape. 
 Tie one end with ribbon and try to look like you're having a blast even though your mom is making you do this when you'd rather be chatting online with your friends.
 Fill the tube with confetti because it really isn't New Year's Eve if you aren't making a mess.
Tie the other end of the popper with ribbon.  Make sure it's real tight so that it "pops" when you snap it in half.
 Be sure to tie them tightly so confetti doesn't fall out.  It should look like a long piece of candy, with curly ribbon at the ends.  Pretty huh?
 Yup, it's that easy!
When your mom isn't looking, stash some extra candy in your purse.  When she asks why there seems to be missing candy 1) look innocent, she'll forget all about it in a second 2) blame it on your sister, but choose wisely which one you blame. 
 This New Year's craft idea is brought to you by Sisters Who Do Cool Things. 
 When everyone's screaming "Happy New Year!" and popping fireworks and champagne, we're going to be popping open candy covered confetti awesomeness.  Or, was it confetti covered candy fabulousity? 
Sommer would like to remind everyone to please be responsible and clean up after yourself. It's a great piece of advice for making stuff and for life!    

Monday, December 27, 2010

What I Got For Christmas

 I got some really expensive gifts this year. 
I witnessed my children enjoy giving more than receiving.

I was asked to make cookies from scratch because "that's what we always do" and I realized that the traditions I worked so hard to build have been etched in our hearts as well as our home.

 I saw my children teach and share the same things I taught them. 

The people I love surrounded me for one more year.  
It's more than I could ask for and nothing I could ever deserve. 

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Because Everything's My Fault :)

Sommer Kalani

I'm ready to go to the party now!
Sommer, we're not going to a party.
But, you said we were going to grandma's.
We are, but to just to visit.

you made me do all this for nothing!!???

Saturday, December 11, 2010

You BETTER Warch Out!

When you live in the islands, every holiday is like being thrown into a vortex.  I mean, let's be honest, what really belongs to us? Constitution Day, Covenant Day, Commonwealth Day, Citizenship Day.  All we got's the four C's, folks.  Every one of them is about being lucky enough to crash someone else's party, but I'm not complaining.
Growing up I always liked celebrating Easter even though I didn't see a real white bunny rabbit until I was in college.  And Thanksgiving? Good Lord, thank God for textbooks, because I always thought that Plymouth Rock was somewhere near Naftan Point, just beyond the cliffline.  Turkey came in sealed plastic containers by the slice for me.  Who knew they were actually really big chickens?
Our children are much more fortunate, they don't have to endure the crazy stories our parents had to make up to explain why we were spraying snow on our windows when it isn't even cold outside.  "Cause nai, we're gonna pretend there gots snow so Santa Claus can climb down our chimney and give you plenty pressen." Oookay... if I tried telling that to Sommer today, she'd make a beeline for Google Search and expose my ignorance.  But seriously, I love Christmas in the islands and things changed after a while.  Songs were translated into Chamorro and Carolinian, some were localized like, "jingle bells, coconut shells, sticky birds all the way!"  Pretty soon we started making sandmen instead of snowmen and yesterday I even saw an office decorate their palms with ornaments.  The spirit of Christmas is not snow, boughs of holly (whatever that is) or mistletoe (that's when your fingernail on your feet are very sharp, no?).  The spirit of Christmas is giving and sharing; and if you're lucky enough to receive, appreciating everything you're blessed with.  For me and my family, it's remembering that long ago a King was born and even though we botched it all up, He came for us in the humblest of circumstances, while we were all yet sinners, and that gift can never be refunded, re-gifted or rejected. 
P.S.  I still think a Chamorro woman wrote Santa Claus is Coming to Town, because who else likes to yell, "You BETTER warch out! You BETTER not cry!"

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Same and Brand New

I didn't take any pictures of our Thanksgiving dinner because I was happily and busily making it this year.  We spent the night with my parents and my sister's family laughing and enjoying the sound of children squealing in delight.  It was a marathon cooking adventure that brought out mostly winning recipes and one that flopped horribly like a big chubby man in a red suit diving off the bantalan.  The winners: Rosemary Citrus Roasted Turkey, sage and feta mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, Italian sausage and sourdough stuffing, pumpkin shortbread squares, cranberry orange relish, tequila sangria with fresh fruit and candied yams all from scratch.  Loser: butternut squash soup.  It was such a culinary mess that my dad actually said, "Don't ever make your pumpkin soup again for as long as you live, but everything else was delicious."  You can always count on my dad not to sugarcoat things.

Favorite quote of the evening:  
Me: Sommer, please change the channel.  That cartoon is inappropriate.
Sommer to Savannah:  Hey Nannah, wanna watch Food Network?

Favorite dish of the evening: My first ever shortbread squares.  Mmmm...

Favorite comment of the evening: I love you mom.  You're my hero.  (Hope)

Favorite memory of the evening: Sitting around the Scrabble table drinking sangria and knowing beyond a doubt how blessed I am to have such a wonderful family. 

We had just enough to supply a perfect breakfast the next day, then it was off to work, home and Christmas tree ornament hunting.  The girls and I decided on some sparkly red apples, crystal green grapes and shimmering plum pomegranates.  Decorating the tree is a big deal in our home.  There's the village, the Nativity, the stockings to hang, the garlands to string and the tree to decorate.  There's a routine we all depend on like having to add something new to the village and making sure no one mistakes the shepherd boy for a wise man, but this year was markedly different in a couple of significant ways.  Tonton wasn't here with us and we all felt his absence despite anyone mentioning it. The music didn't seem to make us giggle as much or sing as loudly and each of us kind of took turns sitting down for a bit looking disoriented.  "What's wrong Peyton?"  "Uh, I don't know.  I just wanna watch."  We hung up one less stocking on the wall.  We'll send one less letter to Santa.  Sigh...

It was also new and promising.  Hope and Peyton arranged the Christmas village all by themselves and it looked awesome.  It actually looked like a completely different village, which reminds me of the proverb about entering the same village from a different bridge.  It's all about perspective, I suppose.  I am happy to relinquish my village architect duties to our beautiful girls.  Ahhh...and so we're ready.  Christmas is on it's way.  Amidst the frenzy of mad dashes to on island and online stores for just the right gift, I sit calmed and comforted, content in knowing that all I need is never more than an arm's length away.  We'll spend some of it in the snow and some of it in the sand.  Every year will be the same and brand new, familiar and transformed,  just like each of us!