Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Library Day

Boy this one snuck up on me...I think I still have Christmas in my brain and I can't quite shake it. Yesterday was blissful! We had nothing to do so we did nothing! Prince Charming was home for the day and we just enjoyed being home. The kids were happy to play with their toys, eat pancakes and watch a little more TV. We did have some exchanges to take care of so Prince Charming ran out early and did a few quickies in town then we went out after nap and took care of the biggies. My mom had us over for some leftovers, which is fine with me, I'm always happy not to have to think about what to make for dinner! Then it was home and to bed early, the kids really need to get back into our normal routine. JB in particular, he's been a bit crabby for the last day and a half, too much crazy!!!

So I was thinking, what book can I highlight for Library Day today? I think I've done all I can with Christmas titles and nothing new is hitting me. Then I remembered my new favorite books. So I'll plug them, since all of you reading this are adults, maybe you'd like a book suggestion for you instead of the preschooler in your life :)

First let me just say I'm a bit of a kamakazi reader. I love to read and I do it at top speed. I start off like a normal person, than when the book clicks with my brain (which sometimes only takes a page or two, sometimes half the book) I'm in go mode. I have to know how it ends immediately and I won't cheat by just reading the end. The funny thing about this "style" of reading is, when I'm done, I rarely remember the details of the story. Certainly I understand the story as I go, and I can tell you the "big picture" but don't ask me too many questions, I won't know the answer. I should probably be labeled with some sort of reading disability relating to comprehension, but I guess I'm too old for that. My style has served me well, I can read the blurb on the standardized test, immediately answer the ten stupid questions then clear my mind to go to the next section. What can I say, it's a gift :)

OK, OK...the book! It's no secret that the world has fallen in love with the series, The Hunger Games. I saw it on the library shelf about a year and a half ago, read the back cover and then tried to convince my then book club to give it a try. At that point I think it must have been brand new, because noone had ever heard of it and it's Survivor like quality seemed to turn some of my club off. Oh well, we read something else and I completely forgot about it.

Fast forward to this past July and I decided, after hearing EVERYONE and their BROTHER, talk about it, it was time to read The Hunger Games. Little did I know EVERYONE and their BROTHER had not read it and I think it was mid-September before the library called and said it was finally in and my turn to read it. I picked it up on a Monday morning and by 10 o'clock Monday night it was finished. I read the whole thing in about five hours! COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN! (read: children are neglected when mommy has a good book) There was no way I was waiting another three months to read the next installment so a good friend at church (Who happens to teach Miss M in Sunday School and Cubbies and still allows me to be her friend) lent me her Nook. I read part two over two days, just as great as the first. That same wonderful friend had part three too, so I borrowed her book and finished up the series.

I highly recommend them! They are considered Young Adult fiction so they are a quick read. The other benefit of that category is that the content is fairly "clean". I'm not a fan of bad language or explicit sex and violence. The very nature of this story has a violent theme to it, but the book is not gratuitous at all. Someone did ask me what age I thought they were appropriate for, I hate that question. I don't want to be the one to recommend a book that then destroys some innocent quality in a child!! My best answer to that question is "read it yourself and then you decide". I mean really, don't you want to know what your kid is reading/doing/playing/seeing on fb/watching. (oh sorry, I was just about to step up on my soapbox and preach)

I can't think of a fun craft or game to go with this book...just get all three and hunker down...you'll thank me later :)

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve Confessions

It's 10:56 pm...we just wrapped ALL the gifts, put one together, got breakfast prepped and "gave the house a once over"! I always have high hopes of doing these things much earlier, well except the breakfast prep, but I never do. I have even had good excuses this year and last...illness the week before the holiday. But even so, most of the gift have been bought for about two/three weeks now, they could have been wrapped before the flu set in!

Oh well, it's all part of the joy of Christmas Eve. It really is one of my favorite days of the year! It has been since I was young. I love being surprised and I love getting presents, so the anticipation of Christmas morning has always been a favorite! I always loved the thrill of putting cookies out for Santa, listening for sleigh bells (which my brother used to pretend to hear just to torture me) and trying to get to sleep. Then I'd be up at the CRACK OF DAWN and sit at the top of the stairs until everyone else decided to join me. But my real favorite thing Christmas Eve was my church service at Davisville. Every year it was the same exact thing, and every year I loved it! The bell choir playing Ring the Bells, the choir and jr. choir doing the Silent Night echo number (personal fav), the huge crowd that required people to sit in chairs all the way back to the lobby, Les Wilson belting out Christmas carols, getting all dressed up, etc...LOVE those memories, and love making new ones with my family.

Ignore the following statements if you don't want to hear my opinion about Santa Claus!To me as I look back at those memories, it was such a mixture of childhood joy and innocence believing in Santa and then reverence and awe in understanding that the birth of Jesus was just the beginning of my salvation story! I love that we did the fun and the important, it's what made my childhood ideal. I was allowed to believe in make-believe things and I was taught the truth in a consistent loving way. I hope my kids will look back at their young years and think the same thing!! And no, I don't feel lied to and my parents didn't seem to mind sharing some of the gift giving credit with a fictional character...just for clarification :)

Well, on to the confession, which is much less serious than the constant debate over Santa or no Santa...here goes...don't judge...I have never seen White Christmas, Miracle on whatever Street, or It's a Wonderful Life...

Also, it is now 11:09 and Scott is out doing a little last minute shopping...

Merry Christmas...

Thursday, December 22, 2011

I've gone and done it again...

Yes, sir, I went ahead and won the mother-of-the-year award again, right out from under you!!!

We've had a rough week here, mommy being sick and all! The kids seemed to turn on me the other day, like they knew I was well enough to handle them misbehavin' but not really well enough to take care of it properly!!! Well, meal times have become a joke in the last two days, I couldn't get either kid to eat anything!

So today at lunch I decided it was time to get them back on board the mommy train! I served them yogurt with frozen blueberries mixed in. This is a favorite lunch of theirs and we hadn't had it in a while. I re-introduced it last week and we've had it every day since. Usually they have a sandwich with it and some fruit but today they had been at my mom's and I knew they had snacked there, so I just gave them the yogurt.

They both took about two bites and then dug their heels in..."we're not eating this". I remained calm. I reasoned with them. I "indulged" them by listening to their tale of woe. But finally, I told them, if you don't eat it now you will eat it the next time you tell my "I'm hungry".

They both took naps and woke up quite pleasant so we ran a few errands. Dinner finally came around and so I got out their yogurt cups and told them to "finish up". They both looked equally startled by the fact that I had just pulled out the gross cups from lunch and sat them down in front of them for dinner. "Where is our real dinner?" asked Miss M. "It's right in front of you, when you eat that you can have something else". I mean c'mon, this is a total move my mom would have made 35 years ago (someday you'll have to ask me about chicken potpie).

I watched JB take a bite or two, and after each bite he made this horrible face. Then Miss M started crying real tears and tried to tell me it just didn't taste the same. BAH!! It's the same yogurt you've been eating for three years!! Although, I must admit at this point I thought, what if the yogurt is bad? Now, I hate yogurt so me tasting it isn't going to help, I think it all tastes rancid!! So I kept at it..."eat it and be done" "two big spoonfuls JB, then you'd be done" "don't you want cookies??????"

Finally I gave in, I went to the fridge, took out the big tub o' yogurt and there it was...instead of the "yummy" french vanilla variety we buy every time...it says plain! Oops...I guess plain yogurt is noticeable even with frozen blueberries added. Poor Miss M, she just hates change and I wasn't even really listening to her complaints!!

I made her eat two bites, JB ended up finishing his off. You know what they ate after that, since they were still starving because of it being day two of their food stand-off? Salmon...you've got to be kidding me...they ate the salmon! Why do I even bother????

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Library Day

It's been quite the week here...last Thursday, on the way home from preschool, I got the flu. Today is Tuesday and I feel more like myself than I have in five days...but not quite "better". I seriously think I'll get the flu shot next year, I don't need to experience this again!

So Library Day kind of snuck up on me. So first I'll confess...I have a stack of library books on my half wall that are late. I just haven't been able to get off the couch and as much as I have tried to pawn them off on my mom or Prince Charming...they are still here! My bill should cover next years library budget increase! UGH! (your welcome Caitlin :))

My next confession...25 Christmas books in December hasn't been that fun! Some days it is, they are always excited to tear open the package, but they haven't always been excited to then sit and listen. I think I'll be wiser next year, like my friend Susan, and just pick four or five and sprinkle them throughout the month. I'm planning a whole new post on "why mother's of preschoolers feel compelled to celebrate Christmas for an entire month and the pitfalls of those efforts"...I'm thinking about getting my doctorate on the subject!!

My final confession...I still haven't bought this years Christmas titles. My shopping got railroaded when the fever started. I plan to make a bee-line to B&N tomorrow but it will be stinky leftovers I'm sure. I pray I don't come home with "Bubble Guppy's Underwater Christmas Adventure" or "SpongeBob Elf Pants".

On a positive note...two years running Miss M's favorite Christmas books is "Snowmen at Christmas". It is a very cute story about what snowmen do, while we're sleeping, to celebrate Christmas. It even has a little "eye spy" element in that there are three pictures that the illustrator hid in every picture. If you need a last minute Christmas gift, give it a whirl!!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Hold Your Breath

Don't lick the screen, don't breath too deeply, and DO NOT for any reason, come to my house. I have the flu...self diagnosed...I started yesterday feeling not so well, which quickly turned into feeling horrible! Fever, chills, swollen glands, achy everything...it's fabulous!

Why am I blogging then? Well, I just took three advil and I can swallow without feeling like razor blades are rubbing together in my throat. The kids are happily watching Curious George Christmas, so I thought I'd type for a minute. But to be honest, it's been a minute, I'm exhausted...

Friday Fun is cancelled today due to lack of energy...

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Library Day

We're still up to our eyeballs in Christmas books here!!! We got a little behind at the end of last week but we got all caught up over the weekend. Miss M has finally caught on that every present is a book...we weren't trying to keep that a secret, in fact I say "what book will we open tonight?" but just last night she finally said, "it's just going to be another book". I detected a slight bit of disappointment, until the said book was opened..."Christmas Bear" a Berenstain Bears Christmas story. All disappointment faded and we snuggled on the couch to enjoy our story!!

We are still working on what Christmas titles we are adding to our collection this year, we will get two, one for each kiddo.

I think JB is going to get one of these:

If you're kids haven't gotten into the "I Spy" series yet, they are so much fun!! Miss M enjoyed them for a short time, but JB LOVES them! We get at least one out every library trip, and I sit and do them while I watch TV...without the kids!! I'm so addicted!

We had some fun the other day, we had Walter Wick's Can You See What I See? Toyland Express book and JB and I thoroughly searched every page!! Later that day we were playing with blocks and it hit me...we can make our own I Spy sets (thank you Garven family, I know, you've been doing this for years). We stacked all 200 of his little wood blocks on thier little table top. Than I had him go in the other room and I put his cars, her princesses and ponies, little people, dinosaurs, any little toy I could find all throughout the blocks. When he came back in I'd name something and he had to find it! This was so fun, they both loved it! Then when I was done playing (read: it was time to make dinner) the kids knocked it all over. As if that wasn't fun enough, they rebuilt it and played again, just the two of them.

So easy, so fun, so repeatable...-

Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas Bucket List

Saw this list on pinterest and thought it was cute, although there are a few things on there I would like to change! To be honest, a couple of the things on the list have nothing to do with Christmas/winter...so I'm skipping them. Like shucking oysters, that will never be on any bucket list I have, EVER. I don't want to eat them, why on earth would I go through the torture of shucking them! And swimming/hot tub? No thanks, although we could do both with no problem since my mom lives in a community that has both indoors. Somehow, even though they are in a nice warm swimming facility, the thought of putting a bathing suit on from November-April just turns my stomach! And s'mores certainly are yummy, but I think I'll stick to making them over the campfire in the summer/fall.

Other items on the list are "gimmes", I mean really, who celebrates Christmas and doesn't drink hot chocolate, look at Christmas lights, fill stockings and bake cookies (okay, maybe everyone doesn't make gingerbread men, but most bake and/or eat some special Christmas cookie).

We still plan to decorate a gingerbread house (read: I need to go to Walmart and pick that five dollar house kit up)and bake cookies for Santa. Ice Skating is a nice idea, not sure we'll have the chance before Christmas, but maybe before winter is over. I think it's a nice bucket list idea, the same with seeing a play. I love the secret gift idea too, we'll discuss that at dinner tonight and see what we can come up with!

My favorite thing we've done so far this season was to volunteer together at our church. Our church, Bible Fellowship, is a major relay center for Operation Christmas Child (that's the shoebox ministry) and we went over as a family twice to help pack boxes, load trucks, unload vans, fill shoeboxes, etc. The kids were actually able to work and they had a blast doing it. We went once and Miss M begged to go back again! What a great tradition to start! That happens before Thanksgiving, which is nice because we're not so busy at that point.

The only thing left on that bucket list is 'make reindeer food'...we'll see about that. We still have 13 Christmas books to unwrap and read, two Christmas videos to watch, cookies to bake, presents to wrap, shopping to finish, etc. The reindeer may or may not be fed by us this year...maybe I can just throw some sprinkles out on the sidewalk!!

And Megan, I've been planning this post for about a week, I swear ;)

Friday, December 9, 2011


Isaiah 40:27-31

Why do you say, O Jacob, and complain, O Israel, "My way is hidden from the LORD; my cause is disregarded by my God?" Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

I had the opportunity to really meditate on these words a few weeks back and they really spoke to my heart. Ever since then I have been replaying them over and over and sharing them with a few friends who I thought might find encouragement from this scripture. I'm posting it today because as exciting and fun as the holidays can be, for many they can be weary days. Family, finances, busyness and the process of looking back on a year that may be filled with disappointment, mistakes or tragedy can drain us of our joy! I love these verses...so blunt..."do you not know, have you not heard? ... He will not grow tired and weary"

I pray you can put your hope in the LORD when you are weary and that you receive HIS strength to carry you through!

I found the soaring eagle here!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Here's the lemonade...

You've heard the expression...When life gives you lemons, make lemonade...

The other day we got a phone call from a friend from our small group. We were all coming over for dinner and she didn't have any coffee filters (as you may or may not know, if you don't have coffee at an event where church people are they all melt into puddles of unrecognizable goo). Sure, no problem, we have coffee filters. I put them on the half wall that we MUST walk past to get out the door and didn't think about them again...until we got to our friends house and she asked "Do you have the coffee filters????"

Thankfully we live a short hop from their house, so Prince Charming ran home for the filters (he is definitely one that will turn into the goo...and he makes a VERY big puddle!). Now here is where Prince Charming and I differ (well lets be honest, I could write a post a day for 10 years on the ways we differ, but this was Sundays glaring example), he ran in the house grabbed one coffee filter off the stack and left the stack on the half wall. I think I would have grabbed the whole stack or grabbed one and put the rest away (I might be giving myself too much credit there).

We had a nice night with our small group, came home, put the kids to bed, and hopped into bed ourselves to watch TV and just take it easy. The next day, got up, did our morning routine and then it happened...I ran in my room to check an email while the kids were playing nicely and all of the sudden it was quiet...too quiet...

I peeked into the living room and what do I see (and I wish I had taken a picture of this) about 100 coffee filters neatly layed all over the room, each one with a toy or two in it. "Look mommy, it's my basket store" Then, as if on cue...JB runs through the basket store "vroom, vroom, vroom" as if he is a racecar cruising in for the win at the Indy 500.

Coffee filters...smashed! Toys...everywhere! Miss M...crying! JB...tickled pink!

Couldn't reuse those coffee filters. I remembered my pre-school teaching days and something about coffee filters, markers and tie-dye. Here is the finished product:

I like to call them "lemonade"

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Library Day

As you may have gathered from a previous post (or ten) I do love Christmas Books. I have been reading to my kids since the day they entered this world and they both love books! We read the same books over and over, then we find new ones and fall in love with them. Here are two of my favorite Christmas books and something fun to do with each one! Enjoy!

Night Tree by Eve Bunting
This is the story of a family that has a unique Christmas tradition. They go to the woods one night before Christmas, equipped with food items to decorate a tree with. They choose a tree, hang yummy fruits and popcorn, make it look beautiful than watch the wildlife around the forest come and dine on their very own Christmas present!

Enjoy the book and then make some things to hang outside on a tree in your own yard. Stringed popcorn and cranberries, peeled clementines, or an apple. In first grade we used to get soft pretzels or bagels, slather them with peanut butter and roll them in bird seed. Tie a red ribbon and hang it up for the birds to eat! Look at it as a Christmas present to your animal friends.

The Crippled Lamb by Max Lucado
This is the story of a little lamb, Timothy, who has a crippled leg and can't join the other sheep on the trek to green grass. Instead he stays back, with his best friend the cow, and mills around the stable. Then strangers come into the stable and a miraculous birth occurs. This little crippled lamb offers comfort and proves that God has a special place for everyone!

Enjoy this story and then make Timothy Sticks. I taught for years with a real dynamite (who says that??) teacher, Joyce. She had a knack for coming in my first grade classroom for "special occasions" and showing us a creative, fun way of looking at things. She often came in at Christmas, read The Crippled Lamb and then handed out pretzel sticks dipped in chocolate...she called them Timothy Sticks. We make them at home now to remind us of this sweet story and how God makes us each special!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

My hometown :)

A quiet Saturday at our house (read: boring Saturday). Prince Charming had to work and JB is still under the weather, so we played at home all day. The kids made a bakery in their bedroom. Miss M was the brains behind the idea but JB was happy to help, and then destroy, and then help, and then destroy. It was very cute, and although I thought we might have enough play food for two small children, today's adventure indicates we do not. So I am going to try my friend Megan's idea, she crafted some cute baked goods with her son...check it out!

We had a plain, yet yummy dinner, that everyone actually ate. I always love meals like that, they are few and far between here! Prince Charming said that we could go get a treat since some of us haven't hardly left the house since...oh....TUESDAY! (that's not completely accurate but it is very dramatic) So off we went to the Zebra Striped Whale for some delicious ice cream. As we sat there eating ice cream and reading the strange books that they keep there I came up with this list:

You know you're in Newtown when...
1. All girl children are wearing UGGs (Well, all but my girl child! Seriously? I'd like to believe that even if I had that kind of money I would understand that paying $60 for boots for a three year old is worthy of a head exam)
2. The ice cream you just bought your child cost you $3.25 for one scoop. (They do have very fun sprinkles but I don't think they are worth $3.25)
3. The people sitting at the table next to you share with you that they've already been to "the light show" four times (it costs $25 each time!)
4. You walk out of the store at 7:15 pm and everything around you is closed. (Prince Charming really hates this about our lovely little town, you can't get gas after 8 pm)
5. You walk out of the store and notice that across the street is "the Tubby Olive"...an olive oil store (I have nothing else to say about this...)
6. The people sitting on the bench outside are feeding their two dogs each their own $3.25 ice cream cone.

I really, actually, love where I live...but we are way out of our league on most accounts. The fact that I was born and raised here makes little difference! It is NOT the same small town I rode my yellow metallic banana seat bike into to pick up a two dollar hoagie. Nor is it the same town with the five and dime store where you could literally buy candy for a dime! And it certainly isn't the town my parents grew up in...I think then there were more pheasants than people (yes, I said pheasants...when is the last time you heard someone speak of a pheasant?? I have fond memories of driving around with my Dad spotting them in fields...fields that are now things like Dunkin' Donuts, 7-11 and my current home).

I am thankful for where and how I grew up, I am mostly thankful that I can raise my own children here.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Friday Fun

Let's follow up Library Day with some Friday Fun :) I'm on a roll...

I decided, after spending wwwwaaaaayyyyy to much time on pinterest, that I wanted to have a homemade Christmas this year. I have already given up that dream and it's only December 2! Actually, it's best I give it up, then there won't be disappointment later. I do have some new, more attainable goals, that we have begun to work on today.

We are going to make three crafts for our tree, I will add more if I get these three done and still have quiet days that need filling (you can laugh out loud at that last part of the sentence if you'd like).

We're going to make tree ornaments using popsicle sticks. Today we painted the sticks green, this is a HUGE undertaking, yet should be so simple!! Getting a four year old a two year old to flip the sticks over and paint the other side is an exercise in futility. I gave up and changed the way we'll put them together for my sanity and their joy :) So, three sticks will now get glued on a piece of green construction paper in the shape of a triangle. We will decorate with little glittery foam cut-outs I found of stockings, snowmen, snowflakes and trees. I have stars for the top and some glitter to make things really crazy! I used to make these with my first graders each year, they would skip the decorating and put a little picture of themselves in the center and then write the year on the star. I may have them each make one of them too, it's nice to have thier little faces on the tree!

The next project, probably for one day next week, is cinnamon and applesauce dough ornaments. The key to this recipe is to find cinnamon at the dollar store in a huge container. It may not be the best cinnamon, but who really cares, it's going to hang on the Christmas tree! You just mix even amounts of the two ingredients and mix and knead it until it is "dough". Then roll it out, use Christmas cookie cutters to make shapes, and a straw to poke a whole for the ribbon. They take a while to dry, like days, but they smell delicious!! I made some years ago that I still use and they still smell wonderful!!

Finally, and this one can't happen until we get our tree, I want to string popcorn and cranberries! I have ALWAYS wanted to do this, seriously it's been on my bucket list since I was like five. I think the Ingall's family probably did this and since I have wanted to be Laura Ingalls all my life (yes, still, that's a whole different post) it's only to be expected that I want to decorate my tree like her! Since I haven't done this before I am accepting "tips"...what kind of string, needle, how to not break the popcorn, etc.

So there is my Friday Fun. And to be very honest with you, the fun was typing it...we have only started the first ornament. The kids are very excited about decorating them, so maybe tonight along with a movie and some popcorn! Friday's in December are Christmas movie night at our house...tonight is Buzz Saw Louie...Miss M's favorite!