Thursday, December 23, 2010

Day at Cabela's

Yesterday, we had a little outing with my mom and the kids at the new Cabela's in my parent's town. Very cool store! I'm not really into the world of hunting and outdoor sports, but this place is amazing.

We had to take some pictures. Joshua was thrilled with this lion behind us. It was posed attacking the nearby water buffalo.

The store also has a fishing department, with large fish covering the walls. The kids like the tunas and the swordfish. We also had to check out all the boats and fishing polls. I was interested to see all the Disney princess fishing and camping equipment.

There was an entire safari section that included this huge elephant and a rhino, along with the lion and several antelope-like animals.

The hunting section had an impressive display of birds, geese and ducks.  They also had beautiful display animals for ponds and yards (and probably for target practice).

The center of the store is a two-story mountain covered with animals. It also has two waterfalls and a pond. Under the mountain is a tunnel you can pass through. In the tunnel are three aquariums with interesting fish from Washington state.

The back of the mountain has the cold weather animals, including this sea lion, a musk ox and a polar bear. They also have a desert region with coyotes, prairie dogs and more.

The front of the mountain had waterfalls and this beautiful pond. The kids loved watching the big fish that filled this pond. This region included the elk and mountain goats and more.

I'm sure I took too many pictures, but we were not the only ones with our camera out. Check out additional pictures of the fish, prairie dogs, polar bear, tents, and more on my Facebook album.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Our attempt at Gingerbread Houses

We had such a fun time last year making Gingerbread Houses that I decided to try it with my sister, Rebecca, and her little boys. Let me start by saying... Jenna made it look way too easy last year.

Let me share a few tips of what NOT to do:
  1. Find a good recipe. Try this Ginger Snap recipe that worked great last year. I tried a new one this year because I didn't have a kitchen scale to use. In hind sight, it would have been worth the investment.
  2. Don't pull the dough out of the refrigerator too early. I let it sit on the counter too long, and it was too soft.
  3. Don't roll the dough too thin. Our pieces warped as I transferred them to the pan, and they were too thin to support the weight of the decorating.

Here are a few tips of things that can help the process:
  1. Make sure you have everything ready before you call the kids to come decorate.
  2. Give a few pointers to the kids before starting, such as "be gentle" and "don't poke holes in your roof with a candy cane."
  3. Release control. Don't let your preset ideas or need for order to limit the creativity of your little ones.

We had a great time decorating our houses, in spite of a few mishaps. One of the roofs collapsed and needed a quick repair job and I only made enough dough for three houses between four kids.

Joshua and Abigail shared a house, each decorating one side. It was fun to see their different styles on the same little house.

And here is the finished house! The little snowman peeps were the perfect touch to our festive gingerbread house!

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