Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Have six parts of the thesis down and three to go.  Came up from underground to wish everyone a Merry Christmas! 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Going Underground

Hello!  I hope that everyone is having a wonderful holiday season!  I am currently working on my thesis, so I have put myself on "computer restriction" which means minimally answering emails, checking in on Facebook, etc. until I am done.  Hoping to finish this weekend.  After that, I will be back.  Merry Christmas and all that jazz!

Friday, December 14, 2012

In Remembrance...

Something awful happened in the world today.  Newtown, Connecticut cries tonight.  Those children, the teachers, the aide, the principal, the mother, the shooter. Why???  I can't decide if my mind is screaming or silent.  There are no answers. No words.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

December 4

I am procrastinating.  I have been avoiding the final project for my Masters degree for the longest time.  It was due two months ago.  I am typically not a procrastinator, but for some reason, I don't want to tackle it. 

OK, that was the equivalent of a confession.  I feel much better now.

Today, Jingle was sighted in the girls' room, laying in a LaLaLoopsy bed, which he had situated right in between their two beds.  They were so excited!

Our craft today was supposed to be singing a song, but we wanted to do something a bit more productive, so we made friendship bracelets out of red, white and green floss. Just a simple braid, really.  Both Abby and Juli are able to do this, so it was ego-boosting for them to do a project that they did not need help with.

The book that they opened is this one

Olivia Helps with Christmas by Ian Falconer

We love Olivia books.  They are all good.  Enough said.

The girls are very much enjoying opening a new ("different" new, not "new" new) book each evening and reading it with one or both of us.  Sorry for Dan's demonic eyes - I could not get the red eye fix to work.


Monday, December 03, 2012

December 3

On day three of our crafts, book advent and elf sightings, we are still merry and bright!  How about you?

Today, after dinner (still whole foods!) we cleaned up the kitchen table and got to work making it a mess again.  What a happy mess it is:

We made wrapping paper!  Fun, fun, fun.  All it takes is brown craft paper and cookie cutters dipped in acrylic paint.  Then step back and let the kiddos get into some stamping fun.  We only made one sheet, but now that we know how to do it, I get the feeling that this activity will resurface.

Then, the girls got into their new pj's from Carters (only $10 people!).  Luckily, we have a store down the street, but you can buy these online, too.  You can see from their matching outfits who sleeps "hot" and who sleeps "cold". 

I used to put Juli in footed pajamas when she was a baby and I would go it to get her out of her crib in the morning and she would be naked except for her diaper.  She does not like having her feet (or really even her body) covered when she sleeps.  Abby, however, could wrap herself up in a cocoon and be perfectly happy.  She begged for the footed pajamas - they are a size 6.  I did not know they made them that big.  Thank goodness for Carters!

You can see the advent book they opened in the picture, but here it is in case you want a closer shot. 

It's Christmas, David! by David Shannon
David Shannon's "No, David" books are very popular in our house.  If you have not read any of them, please do.  They are sooooooo real.

Here is a pic of the ornaments we made last night.

Sorry about the pic - I was playing around with saturation and the like.  I have said it before and I will say it again - I am using my iPhone for these pics and I am in no way good at it.  Anyway, this ornament is a Pinterest-inspired craft.  Basically, we painted the girls palms and fingers with white acrylic paint and had them hold the ornament.  Then, after the paint dried, we added the features with Sharpies (luuuuurve Sharpies!) and, voila!  Snowmen from handprints.  We added their name and the year on the bottom and filled the inside with red and green stuffing (?) paper. 

All supplies have been bought at Michaels.  I.love.Michaels.  Aaaaand, I just found out you can host birthday parties there.  Really????  That is sooooo gonna happen!


Teaching With Love and Laughter: Pencil Sharpener Giveaway!

Teaching With Love and Laughter: Pencil Sharpener Giveaway!: I know you've all seen this cute little pencil sharpener all over blog land. Well, I am here to tell you that everything that has been said...

Sunday, December 02, 2012

December 2

Today, our craft from the Creative Christmas Countdown was supposed to be an ornament making station for the kiddos.  Now, I consider myself a pretty good mom.  I have a bit of a short fuse, but I attribute that to working and unpacking and having children and having a husband and completing my Masters all at the same time as trying to find a job.  That being said, I am a little too OCD to encourage the children to make ornaments out of recycled trash, bits and pieces and odds and ends.  I guess I prefer that our ornaments be a bit more...refined, if you will.

So, tonight I slightly altered the activity to decorating clear glass ornaments with ribbons, glue, glitter, sharpie markers and paint.  Tomorrow, I am going to fill them with tinsel and then take pictures so you can see what they did.  They were really cute and, yes, Dan and I each made one, too.

Then they opened an advent book.  Tonight's surprise was

Sadie and the Snowman by Allen Morgan
This book is more about winter than Christmas.  I like it because it is about a little girl who is determined not to lose her best friend, her snowman.  Her perseverance guarantees that she will see him again.  I bet you can't guess how she does it...

Jingle was sighted again today.  He was reading one of the girls' holiday books. Wonder what he will be up to next time?

I am loving this craft-a-day stuff and the advent books!  What are your most treasured holiday traditions?

By the way, I am only 20 days away from FINISHING MY MASTERS DEGREE!!

But I am not excited about it or anything.


Saturday, December 01, 2012

December Crafts, Elf Sightings, and Books

Today was a heck of a day - in a good way.  It started out with the girls catching Jingle (our holiday elf) in the act of undecorating the tree.  He had taken every ornament off and dropped them all on the floor.  The girls think he should be on the naughty list.

Then we ate breakfast (oatmeal or homemade granola), got dressed, and went to see this at the Marriott Theater in Lincolnshire.

 It was great! I especially liked the question and answer session afterwards, when the audience could talk to the actors and ask them questions. 

Then we went to lunch at a restaurant we had never tried before.  It is called The Tilted Kilt.  Ever eaten there?  Kinda like a Scottish Hooters (which we did not know until we walked in there and were already committed) but with a better menu.  Our server, Nikki, was really nice.  Dan's face was priceless when he got a look at their uniforms for the first time.  Abby asked why their shirts were so short.  Food was good, though.  I would even go as far as to recommend it for lunch.  Super friendly staff!

After our (ahem) interesting lunch experience, we bought Christmas lights and went home to hang them on the house.  Actually, Dan hung lights on the house while I laughed hysterically on the front lawn.  Not sure why I thought Dan on the roof was so funny, but it was.  Seriously, I was thrilled - it is the first time in our seven married years that I have been able to get him to hang light on the house.  Soooooo pretty!

Then we went out to eat (again!) with our wonderful neighbor, Betty.  We think we have found our new favorite pizza place. Bills Pizza.  If you are ever in the area, you. must. go. there. Yum!

After that, we headed home and worked on our first craft of the month.  We got it from Creative with Kids.  It is the first craft from their Creative Christmas Countdown.  We had fun.  Well, at least two of us did.  One of us was a bit grumpy.  Can you guess which one?

We are making gingerbread cards for some special people.  This project is sponsored by Red Ted Art.  Tonight, we traced our cards from a template.

Then we painted it brown with acrylic paint.  Tomorrow, after the paint dries, we will decorate the cards and then put them in the mail on Monday.  Yay!

Finally, we opened our first Advent book from under the tree.  It is a special one from YaYa.  The girls loved it and wanted to hear it again right away.  Thanks, Mom!

The Night Before Christmas (a pop-up book by Robert Sabuda)

We also read this to Abby, who is loathe to try anything new, lest she make a mistake. (This is why she had the grumpy face on during our gingerbread project - she was mad that she could not paint without going outside the lines.)  Whoooo boy - we have an uphill climb ahead of us with this one...

The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes by Mark Pett and Gary Rubinstein

This is a good book for a few reasons.  First of all, it helps children to realize that life is a lot easier if they don't pressure themselves to be perfect.  Second, it shows them that if they make mistakes, the whole world does not end.  In fact, mistakes can be handled with humor.  Try this read if you have a sensitive, perfectionist type at home. 

More crafts and holiday books tomorrow.