As I wrote in one of my last posts, the girls were spending Christmas with their mother in Texas, so we were trying to get most of our Christmas in before they left. They were still going to open some presents when they returned, but with the girls likely already tired of the holidays and with school starting back up again, it was best to really celebrate our holiday beforehand. We had a lot to do and a relatively short time to do it, so we dove right in as soon as they returned from Thanksgiving.Continue reading “Run-up to Christmas”
Earlier in the year, we brought out the fabled Disney Princess Cookbook to test out a few of the recipes. One that we tried was the Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo Magic Wands (Cinderella). While we had fun making them, the recipe involved sprinkles on flour tortillas, so it was not particularly appetizing. I have been thinking about ways to improve on the recipe to make them more appealing for the girls, so that is what we tried to do last weekend.
So by now, most of us are probably bored out of our minds being stuck at home. While I still have to go in to work (being mission-essential and all), the girls are definitely getting tired of being cooped up in the house most of the weekend. But, pandemic or not, good parenting never stops and we are still driving on with our routine (albeit a safer one).
While we were eating dinner the other night, Gabriella was thumbing through one of last year’s Christmas gifts: The Disney Princess Cookbook. While debating on making Bull’s-Eye Pizza (Brave) or Ham and Cheese Biscuit Braids (Tangled) in the future, the girls simultaneously saw something that they both wanted to make. Since it was easy and we had all the ingredients, it looked like after dinner the Calkins Family would be making Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo Magic Wands.
A couple weeks ago, Elaina’s best friend, Elora, invited Elaina and Gabriella over for a play date with her and her sister, Emma. Since we had not already planned our activity for that Saturday, the girls gladly took them up on the offer, “scheduling” a home-and-home (for all you college football fans) with her parents for this and the following weekend.
The girls got to pick dinner on Friday and they chose pizza. Since I was not about to take them back to Peter Piper Pizza so soon, we compromised on making pizzas ourselves. After a quick trip to the commissary, we were ready for our family pizza night.
I put in a lot of hours at work. I am pretty good at time management (and work through lunch on most days), so I still get off by 5:15pm every day, but the time spent at the office definitely adds up. While anyone can tell you that breaks need to be taken, it is important to ensure that those breaks are effective, meaning that they replenish you and allow you to refocus once you return to work. I do not take as many breaks as I should, but they are almost always effective. The best break? Going to one of my daughters’ schools and surprising them for lunch.
From the second that I picked up the girls from their summer with their Mom in Texas, the only thing that Elaina has wanted to talk about has been her birthday party (Gabriella had her birthday party at her Mom’s house in July). Little did she know, I had already been planning it all summer, and thankfully, she did not change the theme. So it was just time for me to bear down on the finishing touches to ensure that I stuck the landing, because this was the first of their birthday parties where I was going in as the primary planner.
It is really funny how fast things can get out of hand. When the girls came home from Texas on Sunday, I had Halloween sugar cookies waiting for them. This led Elaina to ask if we could bake and decorate cookies next weekend. Sounded like a plan, one that would be fun and fairly easy. While we were eating on the patio on Monday, my neighbor let me know that this was going to be their last weekend in Arizona before the Army shipped his family to Italy for three years, so it seemed right to invite them over for some cookies (and because their household goods are already packed up, their house is pretty much empty). As we were leaving for school, the girls spotted our other neighbor (whose son is in Elaina’s kindergarten class) and begged that they could come too. It still seemed to be manageable, so I did and they accepted. Elaina then told her best friend at school that she was having a cookie party, after which her friend begged to be invited. After I told Elaina that we could do that the Saturday after, her friend wrote a handwritten card to Elaina asking to please come to her cookie party. Like I was going to say no after that. So, I started planning for a Halloween cookie decorating party… for 17 (Note: One of the families cancelled the day before, so while it did not change the spread, the event itself was a lot more manageable).
So we are a unabashed Star Wars family. I play a Star Wars tabletop miniatures game. Elaina is a huge fan of Rey from the sequel trilogy and continues to ask me when she is getting a lightsaber (Me: “You got one at Disney World.” Her: “No, Dad, a real one.”). And Gabriella enjoys learning her colors, letters, and numbers from Star Wars children’s books, because, why not? Because of this and being a relatively good baker, it was no shocker that my friend’s wife contacted me about a making a Star Wars cake and surprising him with it during his party. But of course, I cannot do anything in our house without being interrupted by two wonderful little girls, so I just let them in on the baking fun. So here goes the Calkins Family’s attempt to bake our very own Death Star.