Friday, 27 December 2013

Gingerbread Extravaganza!

Every year the Le Parker Meridien Hotel hosts a gingerbread extravaganza. Bakeries and restaurants around the city make gingerbread creations that goes a long with the extravaganza's theme. This year the theme was "quintessential New York". Being an amateur baker (at least I like to think of myself as an amateur baker) I really wanted to go and see the gingerbread houses. I also saw photos a friend posted on instagram and the gingerbread creations looked fantastic. A Christmas tradition I had growing up was making gingerbread houses, and I have tried to carry on the tradition the last couple of years so another reason to spark the interest to venture to midtown. It was worth it! The event is basically free, I saw on a website I found that tickets were a dollar, but once there the concierge said they just took donations and the exhibit was free.

The Empire State Building!!! This picture I saw on instagram of this one is the reason I wanted to come see it. It is a culinary marvel. Okay, each of these gingerbread "houses" are, but for some reason the Empire State Building just takes the cake. I thought this would be my favorite going to the exhibit, but after looking at them all I had a change of heart.

The Chrysler Building turned out to be my favorite. I love the detail on it. All those windows are individual pieces of some sort of candy (I think). And the Christmas d├ęcor of at the bottom of the building is what puts it ahead of the Empire State Building. I love the Christmas wreaths that are on it. Don't worry Empire State Building, you are still the most romantic place on Earth.
The "Love Statue" is a work of art. The chefs who put this one together are true artists. It was spectacular! The frosting on the gingerbread dogs surrounding it look like it was painted on. The detail that was put in to it was fantastic. I sent Lyndon this picture:
 because he is my love. Anyway, he thought I was actually at the Love Statue. Job well done by the creators on this one.

The miniature subway station was adorable. I love the colorful candy that was used on this one. So cute.

I included this picture of it because Cosette helped me take it. You can see us in the reflection. Makes me happy.

I cannot remember what building this one is, but it does not look like it is made out a baked good.

This one is of  New York City Street. It reminds me of Sesame Street. I took a side view picture of it because there is an entrance to a subway. Definitely stuck with the quintessential New York theme.
The best part was going with one of Cosette's good friends. It made the trip a lot more enjoyable. If only I could get these cute girls to look at the camera. Oh, the ornaments on this Christmas tree were made out of cookies too. Pretty neat. Another thing to check off on our Christmas bucket list.

Santa Land

Have I said how much I love New York during Christmas time? I am sure I have said it, but it is the BEST! It is so magical and there are so many festive things to do. We had a pretty jam packed week. I had a Christmas activity list I had to check off because we were leaving the next week for the holidays. The first thing on the list was pay a visit to Macy's to visit Santa. Macy's this time of year is awesome! The whole store is decorated so beautifully I kind of never want to leave.
This photo pretty much explains why I never want to leave. So festive! So Christmas!
You have Santa on the 8th floor, the decorations around the store, and then the window displays out side.
We could not tear Cosette away from this particular window. For some reason she was enamored with it. I did not get photos of this, but there was a Dear Virginia window display on another side of the store. It has the whole Dear Virginia story depicted in the display. I could not get Cosette away from that one either. Her language is getting better and she kept saying "Virginia" as we walked by each of the windows. Made me happy because she is aware of what is going on this time of year.  
Made it to Santa Land!

It has become a family tradition to visit Santa at Macy's during this wonderful time of year. I love it! I promise I do not go just for myself, because Cosette loves it. Macy's does a fantastic job of creating a magical Christmas environment. This year Santa Land was set up a little bit different.
She really enjoyed watching the train this year. Good thing she has a little brother who she can play trains with.

Another of Cosette's favorites is the stuffed animal's production of the Nutcracker.

We found the Elf on the shelf, except he was in a tree. And who knew ducks like snow so much.

Had to take a photo with the rocking horse with this little horse lover.

Aboard the Polar Express.

Jack Frost was directing the snowman choir this year.

 We can't wait to meet Santa!

If anyone knows where to find a train set that goes around the tree like this let me know because Lyndon wants one real bad.

Got our chance to meet the big man himself. Cosette told him that she wants a yellow horse for Christmas. Henry sleep soundly in Santa's arms, so I am guessing he likes the guy. Cosette did not want to sit in Santa's lap, but she really liked going to meet him. Afterwards she told everyone that she met Santa and that he was her friend. I thought this Santa was pretty good, until the last few photos. He held out his hand for me to take it and I did, both weird, haha. This fun outing kicked off our week of Christmas fun.

Sunday, 15 December 2013

it's gone

For the last few months Lyndon has been growing out a mustache and today he shaved it off. I am kind of sad about it. I am going to miss it.

Thanksgiving 2013

Before I post anymore about Christmas going on I should post about our Thanksgiving. We had family from both sides come into town, which made for a full house. It was great! We went to the parade this year (post here), so we had our Thanksgiving dinner on Friday to make it less stressful/busy day. I even started making some food ahead of time, but that did not seem to make a difference. Basically after cooking the Thanksgiving feast I never want to cook again. We even got take out last night because thinking of cooking was making me nauseous. But I am going to have to cook again, and I am fine with that.

Look at that beaut! I am so happy it turned out, especially with that nice golden color.

I am proud of myself because I cooked a 23 pound turkey in my tiny oven. It turned out beautiful! I hate cooking meat just because I hate touching raw meat. it is so Gross! So many germs. I scrub my hands after I touch raw meat because I am afraid I might die or contaminate anything I touch. So that is why I jumped with joy when my turkey came out of the oven looking beautiful. My rolls did not turn out looking good. They tasted good, but the presentation just kind of exploded, literally. My sisters wanted herbed pull apart bread instead of rolls. So I though I could just make my roll recipe to use for the monkey bread and it worked except that the dough kept rising. I had it in a bundt pan and thought I could just stick the dough in the fridge so that it would stop rising, but no it kept rising. I went to look in the fridge and the dough was pouring over the sides of the pan. I went ahead and cooked them and it looked like a giant mushroom when I took them out of the oven. They tasted fine, but the presentation was sad, sad, sad. It was pretty funny though, and as Julia Childs says never apologize for how something you cook turns out. Coco helped me make the rolls. She kept tasting the dough every time we added and ingredient and would tell me it was yummy. I love that kid.
Trevor reading to Cosette was the cutest thing, because he was reading My Little Pony books to her. We all decided he should read books on tape for a living.
And we feasted,


Cosette really enjoyed having all the aunts and uncles around. As you can see here she kept them busy entertaining her.

These two got engaged while they were here. Lyndon's brother, Sam, proposed the beautiful Erin on top of the Empire State Building, which if you didn't know is the most romantic place on Earth. Several romantic films end with similar scenarios as this. We are very happy for them and happy they chose our city to get engaged in. I am happy to get another Plothow girl. You can never have to many, and us Plothow girls are pretty awesome. Just look at Cosette, pure awesome.

My babies and mustached man are the things that I am most grateful for this year. This is so late, but Happy Thanksgiving! And Merry Christmas!

Monday, 9 December 2013

It's Beginning to look a lot Like Christmas

Christmas in the city is my favorite time of year. Christmas has always been my second favorite holiday of the year, but since moving to the city I think it is now pushing out Halloween as my favorite. The lights, decorations, and events make it such a wonderland. Songs like Silver Bells play in my head as I walk around because "it's Christmas time in the city". I love it!

Holiday dinosaurs outside the Natural History Museum.

Shop window down by the Rockerfella Plaza. I can't wait to walk down 5th Ave and see all the store windows. It is so beautiful every year!

The church to the left with its beautiful wreaths. Columbia Campus, to the right, puts up their Christmas lights on the trees. It makes the campus look magical. I always feel like I am walking through a winter wonderland with the lights up.
Columbus Circle.

Just about every building weather apartment building or the lobby of a office building has a Christmas tree. A lot of the restaurants do too. Most just have wreaths like the one above. We are loving it! Cosette is really into Christmas trees this year, so she is enjoying pointing out all the major Christmas decor we see.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, 6 December 2013

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade 2013

We went to the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade again this year. We went last year and really enjoyed it so we had to do it again. It was freezing cold. Our fingers and toes soon went numb after we got to our spot. We had grate front row seats for the parade thanks to Lyndon and Sam and friends from church who got there super early (5:15 am!) to reserve our spot. This year it was really windy and they did not even know if they were going to be able to use the giant balloons because of the weather. We lucked out and it was a beautiful Thanksgiving Day. I got to see one of my all time favorite bands, the Goo Goo Dolls. That fulfilled one of my life long dreams. And yes, I did scream when I saw them. I am a fan! This year the new float for the parade was "Toothless" the dragon from "How to Train Your Dragon". So cute and I think the balloon was a life size replica of the dragon. I think going to the parade has become a family tradition of ours now. Two years in a row. We will see how next pans out. We made a little video of the photos and clips we took at the parade. The music is by Appalachian Spring: VII, Doppio Movimento: Variations On a Shaker Hymn
I know this is belated, but Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, 2 December 2013

Birthday Party

You might have thought Birthday Week was enough, but no. We had a party, a Star Wars themed party! It was fantastic! With all the decorations and everything it looked like and eight year olds birthday. Like I said, it was fantastic. We invited a bunch of friends over to celebrate Lyndon turning another year older. I made a massive Star Wars cake. Lyndon wanted a two tiered cake and I kind of did that. I baked a circle cake and put it on top of a sheet cake and decorated it like the death star. Not exactly a tiered cake, but it had two levels. We got really into the star wars theme. The cake was a marbled vanilla and chocolate to represent the light vs. the dark side. Lyndon was happy. He got Star Wars t-shirts for him and Henry. He made the video below with all the pictures from the party.

For the last time this year, Happy Birthday Lyndon!

Birthday Week

Husband's birthday was in November (I am so behind on getting this post up). It did not go amiss. In fact we turned it into a week long affair. We started one week before the husband's birthday which is the best day of the year, the day Lyndon came into the world (there was so much cheering). So everyday we did something special for husband's birthday. Day 1 was a trip to Max Brenner's for some sipping chocolate (husband is a huge fan of the Italian sipping chocolate) and to Black Hound Bakery for some cake. We called it Max Hound night.

Lyndon picked out these cakes because Cosette had checked out a book from the library called "Ladybug Girl and Bumble Bee Boy" that she was obsessed with at the time.

Day 2 we had movie night. We watched the French film Rules of the Game. It was very though provoking. Day 3 was date night which turned into order in take out night since our babysitter fell through. It turned out grate though. We got some delicious Indian food and feasted upon it. Naan bread is the best! Day 4 we had a poetry night. We invited friends over and read some poems and had scones!  Day 5 was game night. We had a huge group of friends come over and played Trivial Pursuit. We found out that we need to study up on a lot of things. Day 6 was Top of the Rock. It was fun to partake in a touristy activity. Now we have that checked off our NYC to do list.

 Day 7 was husband's birthday! We celebrated him with a family party complete with cake and ice cream.


Lyndon requested a German chocolate cake covered in chocolate ganache, his favorite. He licked the bowl clean 

Little video of us singing to Lyndon and himself singing "Happy Birthday to Me". Cosette was ready for cake.
Happy Birthday Lyndon! We love you lots.

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