Last week was my goody baking/making week. I started a list of things I wanted to make in early November and picked things up for them as I saw them on sale. I started with the double peppermint bark that I'd intended to put with my parents Christmas gifts but I sent the box before I'd made it. I continued with chocolate scotcharoos, kissy cookies ( I made a three batches of these because Derek loves them so much )and muddy buddies. Hyrum helped me dump in the ingredients for all of these delectable treats. He loves to help and I love having a helper in the kitchen. It's much better than doing them all by myself. Plus the holidays are all about making happy memories. So that children can live on nostalgic happiness for their entire lives and what is more nostalgic and happy than making Christmas treats with mom?

Which brings me to my Saturday goody making/baking. When I was young I remember digging our the leather worn brown paper bag that contained all of the cookie cutters. We didn't make sugar cookies too often but regardless I loved looking at them. When my parents remodeled the kitchen this last fall they brought the cookie cutters out to me. There were some new cookie cutters added to the mix and the leather worn brown paper bag had been replaced with a plastic one but I felt the same thrill as I saw them again.

Hyrum shares my love for cookie cutters and absolutely adores making sugar cookies so I knew now that I had my retro cookie cutters that we'd have to make sugar cookies this year. When we picked out the cookie cutters that we would use for our cookies Hyrum insisted on this one.

What an astronaut has to do with Christmas we'll never know but unfortunately this particular cookie cutter likes to hold onto cookies to the point of destruction so we were unable to get an astronaut Christmas cookie.

Derek and Hyrum are the cookie cutters. I make the dough and bake the cookies and the boys cut them out. Derek says that I see sugar cookies as a spectator sport. If that's the case then Hyrum definitely sees it as a full contact sport.

And if you don't watch him he will cut cookies with reckless abandon

We also gave him a chance to roll out the dough. And this is something that we found ourselves doing a lot of.

Hyrum...Look at momma!

My fearless cookie cutters after their hard work was done.

Derek is going to hate me for posting this picture. He thought his hair was crazy. But I like this picture of my boys.

Also when I was young my mom always made old fashioned hard candy for Christmas. We'd have wintergreen, spearmint, grape, pina colada, licorice ( which they always called anise on the bottle ) and others different years but always cinnamon...ALWAYS cinnamon. I don't know if it was because I was in my own house this year or if it was because Hyrum was getting older but I just really wanted to try making hard candy this year. But I was also very nervous to try them on my own. So after several nervous calls to my mom I started.

When the candy is done it's 300 degrees fahrenheit so naturally we didn't have much of a role in actually making the candy. Our job was making the candy trails in powdered sugar.

But as soon as that oil was poured into the syrup and the kitchen filled with the strong smell of warm cinnamon a flood of memories poured into my mind. Derek ( who actually poured out the candy into the trails ) says that he still has the smell of cinnamon in his nose.

It turned out EXACTLY how I remember it and I want to make hard candy every Christmas from now on. Hopefully Hyrum has the same fond memories of making trails in powdered sugar and breaking up cooled candy.

Doesn't it look good? Yumm! Does anyone else have nostalgic treats that you find yourself wanting to make now?

I will get to reporting on our amazing Disney World trip but it's just too daunting right now. I'll do that in January.

We got home from The World on Friday night and Saturday was our wards Christmas party. Santa came and sat with all of the kids. I wondered how Hyrum would do as he wouldn't even touch Santa last year as he sat uncomfortably on his lap and kept his arms aloft. But as soon as Santa walked through the doors Hyrum was all smiles saying "SANTA!!" We waited in line and he realized that if he sat with Santa he got a sucker. That certainly sweetened the deal. He didn't get ANYTHING for posing with the Characters in Disney World.

He looks a lot more comfortable than he did last year but always with that thumb which is a clear indicator that he's not feeling completely at ease.

We did manage to get a grin out of him but it was fleeting and we were pretty lucky to get a picture of it.

After Santa left they had a dinner and a program that Derek was a narrator for and our next door neighbors and their darling baby girl played the parts of Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus.

On Sunday Derek was feeling pretty rough and Hyrum had a nasty cough (although he was acting fine) so he and Hyrum stayed home from church. Later we decided to decorate a bit in the house. We opened one of our boxes and found our gigantic stockings and decided to see if Hyrum would fit in it.

He wasn't as excited about it as we were. But he was much more excited to put up the Nativity scene. Every time he put up a piece and had it settled and facing in the right direction he was diving for another one.

A few days later when Derek was feeling better (and on one of the coldest nights of the year) we decided to venture out to the local Christmas tree lot to pick out a tree.

Hyrum loved running around the trees hiding from us and then peeking out at us. Being here though made me think of last year being in Michigan and picking out a tree from one of the many tree farms around so I did my best to try to recreate that.

Not too successful but at least Hyrum was happy. Although on the way home he said that his feet hurt. We asked if they were cold and he said no. But as soon as we took his boots off we found that his toes were little ice blocks. Poor little guy. We didn't have a truck to throw it into the back of or even a longer car to strap it to the top so we put it in the trunk as best as we could. It still stuck out quite a bit. It's a good thing we live in the country.

We got home and started to decorate the tree. Hyrum wasn't too interested in being involved but as soon as we helped him to put a ball on the tree he was really excited.

Then Dad took it to a new level and helped him put decorations up towards the top of the tree. He was all about that.

Since this is the first year in the house and we have high ceilings we decided to get an 8 foot tree. And since Hyrum has been so excited about trains we decided to put a train around the bottom of the tree.

The tree is a little skinnier in the middle than we realized at the tree lot. It must have been the cold that blinded us to this small abnormality. Or maybe it was just that I wanted SOMEBODY to have a waist in the house. :) We've been figuring out the new ways we can decorate this house. It's been fun.

We quickly realized that we don't have as many flat surfaces to put things in the front room as we had in the apartment ( because EVERYTHING was in the front room in the apartment). So some things have gone into Hyrum's room.

( I'm not sure if you can tell but those are Star Wars ships on his tree and a sled full of little people. Those are the ornaments he couldn't live without. And he fell in love with that little gingerbread house I painted in my teens )

Before we left and when it was warmer Derek got up on the roof and put up lights. Neither of us were too excited to put up colored lights. We're both more solid color light fans but we had a bunch of colored lights so we put them up with every intention to put up solid color lights in the coming years. Hyrum was excited about them though. Every time he sees them he says "Oooo Wow! They're glowing! Glowing! Glowing!" He likes everything glowing so he's always plugging in the lights despite my constant efforts to save on electricity.

I think Derek did a fabulous job. It is certainly better than the system the previous owners had for the lights. They had pounded nails into the roof and strung twine from one to another and then wrapped the lights around the twine. Interesting. We spent the summer pulling out the nails and filling the nail holes so we don't end up with water damage somewhere down the road.

This year we spent a very different Thanksgiving then we ever have. We were heading to Florida and Walt Disney World and my family the day after Thanksgiving (yes that would be Black Friday) so we couldn't go up to Idaho like we usually do. We had first thought that we would just cook our own dinner but then we'd have all kinds of leftovers that would just go bad after a week of us being in Florida so we thought we'd invite someone over and send them home with the leftovers. But we couldn't think of anyone. Then we got an invitation from Derek's wonderful cousins to eat with them. I don't know why but I always forget that we really DO have family close. Then later we got an invitation from his aunt and uncle to join them for dinner too. Again...HELLO Why do I always forget? Silly Sunny.

But as different as I thought it was going to be it had all the elements of a Thanksgiving I was used to in my family.

An amazing table set for a house full of family

Kids happily playing with cousins and Derek organizing games for them to play

Browsing through the Black Friday ads

Napping after an amazing meal

( I love how dramatically Ayrel sleeps)

Hyrum loved playing with his cousins. He caught a frisbee in the face (right across the eye when his eye was open-Poor little man) but it didn't stop him from playing video games and running around with them till the last seconds.

There were also new elements to this Thanksgiving. Most notably the deep fryer which fried the turkey and anything anyone could think of.

There was also a puzzle set up to be put together which is a Jensen tradition and most tried their hands at putting a few pieces together.

It was a great Thanksgiving and we are so grateful to have family so close - even if for some reason we always forget that you are close. :)