Tuesday, December 28, 2010

More Nebraska Sledding

Julia was also itching to go sledding, so we hit the golf course this morning with both girls.
After Troy loaded the girls on the sled at the top of the hill, they were off. It's hard to see it in this picture, but both girls were grinning from ear to ear. Julia was just as excited as Evelyn to go down another hill.

We took the girls on three different hills, each one a bit more exciting. We couldn't believe how brave Julia was. They went down some pretty steep and curvy hills, but Julia didn't get scared once.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Nebraska Sledding

Evelyn had been hoping against hope that there would be snow in Nebraska so she could go sledding. Here's a view of the golf course that winds its way through Troy's parents' neighborhood . . . as you can see, Evelyn got her wish!
Here she goes on her first run, on a long, gentle slope. She cruised about 150 yards - not too shabby!

After riding by herself a couple of times, Evelyn wanted Troy to ride with her.
Evelyn was hoping that the extra weight would help the sled coast even farther, but the snow was too soft for that. They still had fun, though.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Luster Christmas

Sticking with tradition, Evelyn had the honor of making her infamous corn casserole for the Luster family Christmas dinner tonight. She just about did everything by herself this time. She just needs help with opening containers and pouring the batter into the casserole dish. It was delicious, as usual!
After dinner, we Lusters exchanged gifts. And, what's this? A Ralph's World CD the girls didn't have? Woo-hoo! More Ralph music!

In addition to a Lincoln Logs set for the girls, Uncle Matt also found a Disney princess book with a music player. Julia couldn't wait to flip through another princess book.

Frozen Fog

We spent the night at my Aunt Diane's farm last night. When we woke up this morning, we saw the most beautiful frozen fog. The frost on some of the branches was almost an inch thick! Even though it was crazy-cold outside, I had to go out and take some pictures.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas 2010

Julia and Evelyn were in luck - Santa found them in Bellevue, Nebraska this year, and here's how Christmas morning looked for the Luster girls. Evelyn got a science kit, and she couldn't wait to do experiments and mix potions with Daddy. (Evelyn's unicorn pillow pet is watching from the corner of the picture.)
Julia also got a pillow pet - a koala bear. Cuddle, cuddle, cuddle.

Evelyn had hoped for some train "details" for her model train at home. However, since I/Santa didn't know exactly what she wanted (and model accessories are to fragile to fly between Maryland and Nebraska) she received a gift certificate to a train hobby shop in Maryland. She was disappointed this morning, but hopefully her attitude will turn around once she sets foot inside the train store.
Here's Julia with a 300-page Disney princess book, while her new trains look on.
After opening Santa's gifts, we Lusters headed out to Holdrege, Nebraska to spend Christmas Day with my extended family. All but one of the Thorell grandchildren were at the Hock farm today. My brother, Eric, couldn't make it this year . . . but here are the rest of us.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Family Gift-Giving

This evening, the four of us exchanged Christmas gifts. Here's Evelyn with the newest Thomas the Tank Engine DVD movie.
Uncle Eric gave Evelyn a 2011 Thomas calendar. Yep, Evelyn still loves Thomas!

For the past month, Julia has been squeezing into her old, pink Crocs. She has been asking for purple ones for quite awhile, and tonight her wish was granted. She was so excited to have purple Crocs like Evelyn!
All throughout the evening, the girls opened small boxes that contained little dolls, dollhouse accessories and a wooden car for the dolls to drive. As if on cue, after all the presents had been opened, Evelyn said, "I just wish we had a dollhouse for all of this." Well . . .
. . . what should Troy bring up from the basement but a dollhouse! The girls went right to work, filling the rooms with furniture and pretending the dolls were taking a bath, feeding the dog, parking the car in the garage, and so on. A big THANK YOU to both sides of our family for contributing to this gift - the girls love it!

Saturday, December 18, 2010


Earlier this week, one of Evelyn's classmates shared with the class the Jewish tradition of playing dreidel during Hanukkah, and everyone in the class got their own wooden dreidel. Evelyn emailed Kat about the game, and Kat replied that she would bring some gelt when they visited.

Kat and Ross came over for dinner tonight, and after the girls' baths, we all played dreidel. It was pretty fun playing with five people (Julia and I were one team) . . . . . . but it wasn't long before we all knew who would take the most loot . . . Kat kept getting gimel, which meant she could take all the coins in the pot. I think she spun gimel five or six times in a row! The look on Ross's face mirrored everyone else's reaction: Really? Again?
Julia was such a high spinner, I couldn't even get her hand in this picture. Well, as I'm sure you could guess, Julia didn't exactly spin the dreidel. She just dropped it. And then got excited about whatever she got.

Even though Kat got TONS of gelt, she shared with Evelyn and Julia. Evelyn must have eaten seven pieces of chocolate before we realized what was going on and stopped her.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Our Day

Since we had a whopping two inches of snow yesterday, the schools had a two-hour late start this morning. So, we took our sweet time eating breakfast and getting ready for the day. At one point, while Evelyn and I were in the living room, Julia took it upon herself to climb onto the kitchen island (with the assistance of her stool). She then started writing people's names on my grocery list . . .
After school, both girls couldn't wait to go sledding. This was Julia's first time sledding, and she really seemed to enjoy herself. Even though some of the snow had melted, they still managed to get some decent speed going down the hill.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

First Snow

We got our first real snow of the season today. It lightly snowed from 9:30 this morning until 6:00 this evening, giving us about two inches in all. After getting home from school, Evelyn couldn't wait to play outside.
I know, I know . . . leaves and grass are poking up through the snow. However, according to Evelyn, there was still enough snow to swish around to make a snow angel.

After making her snow angel, Evelyn was ready to break in her new sled. Here's an action shot of her sliding down a hill.
Nothin' but smiles at the bottom of the hill. :)

Tip the Box

Before I could flatten this box for recycling, Julia climbed in and made up a game: Tip the Box. The first time she rocked backwards, it took her completely by surprise. But she enjoyed it so much that she kept asking me to pull the box upright so she could tip the box again.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Santa at the Train Museum

We spent most of the day at the B&O Train Museum today, primarily to enjoy their holiday events. We looked at a couple of model train layouts, took a train ride with Santa and decorated Christmas ornaments. Here we are on the train ride:
As you can tell from these pictures, Julia is all about smiling for the camera this year. These decorations provided a perfect photo-op.

Julia actually sat (somewhat) next to Santa! She was totally at ease and told him what she wanted for Christmas - a pillow pet and trains. I think Evelyn influenced Julia's wish-list . . . Evelyn told Santa she wanted a pillow pet and train layout accessories. Monkey see, monkey do!
Here's Evelyn, checking out one of the model train layouts.
And here are the girls, coloring and stamping wooden (train) ornaments. All in all, another fun day at the train museum!

Christmas Baking by the Numbers

We girls made a plethora of Christmas goodies this weekend. We not only made treats for ourselves, but we also made sweets to give to teachers . . . thus the reason for the abundance of desserts.
Julia was totally in her element, using her rolling pin to roll out flour and sugar cookie dough. Her shirt was completely covered with flour after 30 minutes of cookie-making.

When it was time to decorate the cookies, Julia started with a decent amount of frosting. Since she kept snitching while spreading the frosting, not much was left by the time she was done. (I'm sure you understand why we let Julia eat that cookie.)
Naturally, Evelyn had a different approach to decorating the cookies - she took her time so they looked nice.
When all was said and done, we used a total of 14 sticks of butter and 14 cups of sugar to make 120 Russian teacakes (also known as snowball cookies), 20 sugar cookies, 40 peanut butter bon bons, 66 spritz cookies, 48 mini cupcakes topped with Hershey's kisses and a batch of fudge. Thank goodness I had help!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Frost Crystals

During the walk to school this morning (with the air temperature only 20 degrees), Evelyn came across several leaves with frost on them. This sycamore leaf took the prize for best crystals, though. Evelyn loved how the crystals were standing up. They were pretty amazing!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Julia's Gingerbread House

In Julia's art class this morning, the kids made gingerbread houses (the walls are really graham crackers built around a small paper milk carton). I let Julia do her own thing with the candy placement, and she did a pretty good job!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Ever-Changing Princess

Our Julia has been taken over by the three Disney princesses shown above. If you call her anything other than Cinderella, Snow White or Sleeping Beauty, she gives you the business. "I'm not Julia! I'm Sleeping Beauty!" Or sometimes she will ask you to ask her what her name is. That means she has changed from one princess to another.

True to princess form, Julia (or, should I say Cinderella?) dances around the house in her glass slippers, singing all the while. Sometimes she sings recognizable songs like Cinderella's "A Wish is a Dream Your Heart Makes" or Sleeping Beauty's "Once Upon a Dream." Other times she just spins around and sings a made-up tune. Every now and then other characters show up to hang out with our princess, like the Fairy Godmother or one of the Seven Dwarfs. Good thing we own the "Sleeping Beauty" movie and she will get "Cinderella" for Christmas!