Elf on the Shelf 2017 – Days 9, 10, 11

I’d like to go on the record to say that I have NOT fallen off the elf train. The blogging train? Well, that’s a different story. But in all fairness, I’ve been sick, Henry has been teething, and well, life has gone on. So, I’m just gonna lump the last few days of elf shenanigans all together here and not even worry about whether or not someone is going to judge me.

December 9 – The kiddos woke up to discover the elves had left them a few coloring pages and were just hanging from one of the sconces in the living room where they could watch the beautiful creations being made.

Of course, Cadence jumped right in and made a work of art, complete with a few dozen added hearts to let the elves know just how much she loves them. (She’s been telling us at least 3-4 times a day how much she’s going to miss them when they’re gone, to which I promptly reply, “Oh yeah, I’m going to miss them too!” in a very convincing tone).

Henry sat down and gave gave a few obligatory scribbles before deciding he would much rather watch Boss Baby for the 117th time.

 

December 10 – After being sick for a few days and not having the energy to eat much more than soup and crackers and grilled cheese, I decided it was time to bust out my new KitchenAid mixer and make some chocolate chip cookies. Mom and Dad surprised me with a Happy Monday Gift! back in November, and I’ve been dying to try it out.

Somehow I’ve survived most of my adult life and all the mixing/baking I’ve ever done with good ol’ elbow grease and my trusty little hand mixers, so the KitchenAid is a serious game changer.

Hell, I might be able to make multiple batches of pizza dough without overheating Stevie’s Ninja blender! Score!

So, I rummaged through the cupboards and discovered that I had exactly enough chocolate chips to make one large batch of cookies. It was surely meant to be. And wouldn’t you know those darn elves were just waiting to scavenge some cookies as soon as they returned from the North Pole the next morning. Cadence kept swearing she saw them move, and took careful note of how both Cosette and Leo managed to polish off the last bites without leaving so much as a crumb behind.

Henry? Well…Henry wasn’t sure how he felt about the elves dipping into his stash of cookies.

 

December 11 – So yesterday we did manage to finally go out and buy our Christmas tree. And I’d like to take a moment to let everyone know that the tides have turned in the Romano house. I’ve always been a real tree person. Stevie has always been a fake tree person. Growing up, I remember always picking out a real tree. Stevie can tell stories of how they had a fake tree for so long that it finally looked so beat up and ragged, his Mom insisted they buy a new one.

The first Christmas I spent with Stevie’s family on Long Island when we were engaged, Richie had accidentally thrown out half of the new tree when he was trying to replace the old one. Neither he nor Diane noticed until it was time to pull the tree out of storage and decorate. Diane was mortified when she realized she had a mismatched collection of tree parts in various stages of deterioration, but in true Diane form, she decorated the tree anyway and apologized to me at least two dozen times for it’s frightful appearance. If she didn’t already love me, I think my non-judgement (and good-natured joking) of her Frankentree would have sealed the deal.

The first year Stevie and I were married and living in Arizona, we had the great tree debate. I insisted it just didn’t feel like Christmas (especially in the desert) without going out and picking a real tree with the real pine smell. Stevie tried to convince me that it was an incredible waste of money. He even tried to argue how ridiculous it was to kill a real tree just to stand it up in your house for a few weeks before throwing it away.

But I’m stubborn and he let me have my way, but only after I agreed that if I got my real tree, he gets to choose our tree topper. I still don’t know if he’d actually seen the Yoda tree toppers in Target before he made the deal, or if the universe just decided that Stevie deserved the tree topper of his dreams after letting his wife win the real tree/fake tree argument. (If you want to read a little more about how this all went down, CLICK HERE). Either way, I’ve gotten my real tree every year since we struck the deal, until this year.

This year, I finally decided I’d had enough of the annual expense and the sticky sap and the pine needles littering the floor. I’ve had enough of the tree drying out because I forget to water it, or overflowing the water because I tried to fill it not knowing that Stevie had already filled it. I’ve had enough of trying to figure out how many strings of lights we need and never being able to find one whole string where all the bulbs are still intact. And I’ve had enough of worrying about the damn tree catching fire in the middle of the night because, well, have I mentioned that I forget to water it?

Stevie was wary at first. He must have asked me three or four times if I was sure, really sure that I really wanted a fake tree. No going back. And after answering to the affirmative each time without pause, he decided that I was actually serious. He has been good about not lobbing any I-told-you-so’s my way, but even if he did, I think I’d be okay with it.

Real trees, it’s been real. But I’m really done chopping you down to decorate my den for a few weeks each year. It’s not you. It’s me. We can still be friends.

So, we hit Menards yesterday and found a really great-looking tree that is the perfect height, nice and full, already covered in lights, and that took us all of 5 minutes to get put up, lit up, and looking great.

And I’m not even going to argue about the Yoda tree topper. Truth be told, it wouldn’t be a Romano Christmas tree without him.

And of course Cosette and Leo made sure they got in on the initial stages of decorating….

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Elf on the Shelf 2015 – Day 10

Stevie likes to tell the story of how he and his siblings were never allowed to eat Mallomars growing up. Even when they were in the fridge, staring Stevie and his siblings right in the face, his Dad would forbid the kids to eat them, saying they were an adult-only cookie.

Knowing Richie, there was probably a much more detailed and barely truthful list of reason why the kids weren’t allowed to have any. But whatever the reasoning, the story stuck.

I hit the supermarket after work to pick up a few things, and happened to spy a box of Mallomars on the shelf. I tossed them in the cart, thinking it would be a nice surprise for Stevie, and something new that Cadence might enjoy trying.

Of course, the box of Mallomars was the first thing Cadence spied when I walked through the door. I swear, the girl has some ridiculous radar when it comes to anything chocolate (must be my share of her DNA). As soon as she pulled them from the bag, Stevie started hollering:

“Oh no! No way! No kids allowed! Those are for adults!”

Cadence didn’t even miss a beat before she started hollering right back.

“Uh-uh Daddy! Sharing is caring! Kids can eat cookies too!”

“You ask your Pop-Pop! Let’s get him on the phone right now. Kids can eat any cookies, except Mallomars! No way! They’re made of alcohol. You’ll get drunk.”

“Uh-uh Daddy! I can have some, right Mommy?!”

All I could do was laugh as the hollering continued.

After dinner (which was pizza, because now that I know how to make NY-style pizza at home, we’re slightly obsessed), Cadence snuck quietly into the fridge and returned with the box of Mallomars. Stevie just rolled his eyes and sighed and muttered under his breath as Cadence took her first bite of adult-cookie heaven.

“Mmmm…” she said.

“Yeah, mmm is right. I never got to eat these when I was your age. Wait ’til I tell your Pop-Pop.”

And I guess all the arguing must have piqued the interest of our little elves because this is how we found them when we got up this morning…

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Elf on the Shelf 2013 – Day 25

Somehow, today just didn’t seem like Christmas Eve. Maybe because the holidays just sort of snuck up on us this year. Maybe because it’s the first holiday we’ve celebrated since I’ve been back to work and we’ve all been so busy. And maybe because it’s the first holiday that it will be just us. Whatever the reason, I was having a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that tomorrow is Christmas, and that we’re just a few days shy of welcoming 2014.

Time is flying, and I’m not sure I like it.

Today we spent making our last minute preparations for Christmas, which was mainly making sure we had some homemade cookies to leave out for Santa. Steven and I were thinking chocolate chip, the time-tested favorite, but Cadence requested frosted sugar cookies, the kind she could decorate with sprinkles. So, we made both.

In the midst of the cookie making, the doorbell rang. Steven had run out to the bank and I was still in my pajama pants, but at least I’d had a cup of coffee and combed my hair, or I might have scared the mailman right off the porch. He had two boxes and a pile of mail. I thanked him and wished him a Merry Christmas as he went on his way.

Now, had I not been so preoccupied with wondering what Cadence was up to, left in the kitchen alone with a counter full of cookie ingredients, I might have noticed Electra taking more than just a passing interest in the box that Stevie’s sister Michele sent. Thinking that it was likely just some Christmas gifts that needed to be placed under the tree, I set both boxes aside and hurried back to the kitchen to finish the cookies.

Ten minutes later, I sent Cadence to the bathroom to wash her hands for the 17th time (kid has a bad habit of licking her fingers when she bakes). I heard her stop in the hallway, and then she hollered…

“Mom! Electra’s eating a box!”

I dropped the spatula in the bowl of cookie dough and ran. The hallway was littered with bits of blue plastic and wet, half-chewed cardboard. When I rounded the corner to the living room, I saw that one whole corner of a box had been chewed out, and what appeared to be a large, blue plastic bag protruding from the gaping hole. Then, I saw Electra, the food whore, with  an entire egg bagel in her mouth. And now that she knew she was caught, she was apparently attempting to swallow the damn thing whole.

“Hey!” I yelled, grabbing her by the scruff of the neck with one hand and grabbing the bagel with the other. She gave a disgusted sigh and tried to pull away. I caught her in a headlock, pried her jaw open just enough to wrench the soggy bagel free…well 2/3 of the bagel anyway. She promptly swallowed the other 1/3 and made a mad dash to the box for more, but I got there first, grabbed the box, and took it to the kitchen to assess the damage.

Inside, I found a Christmas gift for Cadence, two boxes of Dunkin’ Donuts K-cups coffee (score!!) and five fresh egg bagels wrapped in blue Ziploc baggies.

“Ooooh, Electra! Stevie is either going to be super impressed with the fact that you have a taste for New York egg bagels, or he’s going to be super pissed that you stole one of ’em!” I said. Electra just licked her chops and stared up me, looking forlorn that she didn’t get a chance to finish her breakfast.

A few minutes later, Steven returned. He shook his head sadly when he saw the damage, and didn’t waste anytime toasting one of the remaining bagels and having himself a little breakfast. Electra sat at his feet, waiting for him to drop a bit.

After the excitement wound down, it was time to finish some cookies. Cadence and I spent the afternoon and part of the evening baking and decorating. We took a break to head to church for the Christmas Eve service, and then Steven ran out to get us some Chinese food for dinner. We wound down the evening watching some Christmas cartoons and talking about Santa. Cadence picked out cookies for his plate and I poured him a glass of milk, and then we tucked a very excited kiddo in bed and called it a night.

We’re just hoping she sleeps past 6:00. 😉

Here are a few photos from our chaotic day:

Cosette gets us motivated to do some baking by making sure the supplies are all gathered and ready first thing in the morning…

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And then this short break is brought to you by our dog, the food whore…

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And I know most people would agree that Cadence is my Mini-Me. Our baby and early childhood photos are nearly indistinguishable. But, I tell you, this girl is her daddy’s personality clone. And obviously the ability to make such stellar goofy faces is genetic…

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And Cadence showed off some artistic flair putting the finishing touches on the cookies tonight. And after a short sugar rush, it was time to leave Santa a plate and head to bed.

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Elf on the Shelf – Day 23, 24, & 25

I know I sort of fell off the face of the Earth with the final three installments of the Elf on the Shelf saga, but it was a busy couple of days leading up to Christmas.

Here’s how it went down…

Cosette thought we needed to be reminded to do our holiday baking. She must have been reading my mind, because it was on the to-do list. Cadence was so excited to help!

We started with chocolate chip, and ended up with an assortment of chocolate chip, frosted sugar, peanut butter blossoms, spritz, and both chocolate and peanut butter chocolate swirl fudge. Mmmm…

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The next morning, Cadence was surprised to find Cosette still hanging out in the kitchen. Apparently Cosette likes cookies as much as Santa, and we quickly learned that she has a particular weakness for chocolate chip…

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You know we couldn’t let Cosette eat alone…

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And finally, with all of our baking done, Christmas Eve was upon us. We found Cosette that morning reading the story of Jesus’ birth in Cadence’s Bible.

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And after reading it ourselves, we headed to Christmas Eve service at Church. Afterward, we had a delicious Chinese food dinner from our favorite China House restaurant, and a Skype date with Nonna Dawn, Poppa Mark, Aunt Kassie, Uncle Jeremy, Uncle Beau, Uncle Eddie, and cousin Julian in Texas.

Then, it was time to set out a glass of milk and a plate of homemade cookies for Santa. Cadence gave Cosette and big hug and kiss goodbye, and then headed up to bed.

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