Saturday, December 31, 2011

My 'to do' list in the New Year...

I know I could 'do' it any day of the year but why not make 2012 the reason I push myself to take the time to really 'do' it so here it 'to do' list for 2012.

Learn to Sew - Jon bought me a sewing machine last February and it's time I learn to use it. I will take some classes starting in January and hopefully by the end of the year I will be able to sew up some clothing for the girls and curtains for our home.

Take Better Pictures - I took a beginner class called 'Say No to Auto' awhile back but I still have a lot to learn about my camera so with my new iPad2 I think it's time I read some photography books and take time to practice picture taking in the manual mode so I can improve my pictures in 2012.

Take Time to Read - I already started this one with my new iPad Kindle app and I joined a monthly book club to keep me on the right path. I am currently reading The Kitchen House by: Kathleen Grissom. I love how relaxing reading is and I have always enjoyed a good book.

Oh and let me take a moment to share my very FAVORITE thing in 2011 is Pinterest. Really if you haven't checked it out take the time in 2012 because you will love it and probably become addicted to it.

Wishing you all a fabulous New Year! xoxo

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas 2011

Christmas Eve 2011

It seems like Christmas comes faster and faster each year, I usually worry I won't have enough time to get it all done but somehow I manage, even if it is the day before when I am 'finished'...maybe there is such a thing as magic?

I was so excited Christmas Eve was on Saturday so we would have all day to enjoy together as a family before we go into the big day. We lazed around in the am, let the kids each open a present before lunch so they would have plenty of day time to enjoy it and we baked Santa's favorite (Jon told the kids these were Santa's favorite) Peanut Butter Temptation Cookies before we headed out for our annual Christmas Eve dinner at Lawry's. After getting the kids to bed Jon and I had a couple hours putting Santa toys out and filling stockings before we went to bed.

Christmas Eve presents:
Paige opened up a Cotton Candy Maker (so easy and fun!)
Aiden a Cars Guess Who Game
Harlow a pink My Own Laptop by Leapfrog

Aiden enjoying some Gingerbread Play-dough on Christmas Eve. Paige helped me make this recipe the day before.

Harlow helping me finish Santa's cookies

The kids insisted that Santa preferred chocolate milk so here it is ready for him

Setting out carrots and hay for the reindeer's...minus a couple that Harlow ate

Mrs. Claus (I think she really should get MORE credit in this whole Christmas story, I mean she does MUCH more than bake cookies...) and Santa finished and ready for bed:



Christmas morning I heard the kids wake up at 7am so Jon and I quickly hurried out of bed, Jon grabbed the video camera and I the camera so we could capture the moments forever. They each headed downstairs to check out what Santa brought. They were all so excited about all of their new goodies from Santa. I made us a yummy breakfast casserole for breakfast and then it was time to open the presents under the tree.

Favorite presents 2011:

Paige her purple Fijit named Willa (she asked Santa for this toy), oh gosh I must say it is cute when it does the sprinkler dance

Aiden his marshmallow shooter. Paige and Jon also received one of these so they have had daily marshmallow fights around the house. Our dog Ruby tries to run around and eat the marshmallows on the floor and those she misses I find around the house the following day.

Harlow loves her Baby Alive, she enjoys feeding her new talking doll each day.

Our house still looks like a Christmas mess, we have some cleaning and donating to do before I can get all the new stuff put away. I sure will miss our tree, I love the warmth the little white lights bring into our house.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and I wish you all a fabulous New Year! xoxo

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Making Memories (and some trouble) in December

I can't believe it's already Christmas Eve, I remember when December 1st came around thinking about how much time I had before this day would come but really this month just flew by so fast. We sure had a lot of holiday fun along the way so I thought I would share some of our holiday fun before we head into Christmas day tomorrow.

Our Elf Sam came back the day after Thanksgiving, the kids were thrilled to have him back and this year the Elf on the Shelf movie made a debut making it even more exciting.

The kids were anxious to see Santa and tell him all about what they wanted for Christmas. Paige asked for a Fijit, Aiden said he wanted "boy toys" and Harlow asked for Minnie Mouse.

We purchased our 8" Noble Fir tree the first weekend in December, it was Harlow's turn this year to put the star on the top of the tree. Jon put the lights on the tree two times, the first time he didn't have enough lights on the tree so I had him go out and get us more. He started over making sure to put each strand really close together until it was covered in lights. The kids all helped me put on some ornaments, I did do some re-arranging after they were in bed. ;)

an ornament my Grandmother made and painted for me when I was born

We took our annual trip to Great Wolf Lodge. We swam and played in the water park each day but the hotel has plenty of other fun activities for when you need a break from the water. Paige and Aiden defeated the dragon (with dad's help) and each received a MagiQuest Master button.

Harlow and I spent some time in the arcade and I was lucky at the toy grabber game winning Harlow 2 toys after playing just 3 times, she was thrilled to have a Santa and a Rudolph. The kids enjoyed playing some games of WILEY Bingo in the kids center. Storytime and snow each night was a favorite.

playing WILEY Bingo...each of the kids won a game and got a prize

Harlow was so HAPPY I won her two (I was pretty excited too!) toys, she carried each under her arm so proud!

Paige had a winter themed party at school, she made a polar bear, decorated a snowflake sugar cookie, made paper snowflakes and played winter Pictionary.

Paige with her 2nd Grade Teacher Mrs. Helms

Aiden had a holiday party at his pre-school, he sang Christmas songs, enjoyed lunch with his classmates and had a present exchange.

We decorated a gingerbread house...of course a few candies never made it on to the house.

for each candy Harlow put on she would eat one...

I took the kids to Bass Pro Shop for a day of Christmas fun, they have the most beautiful reindeer carousel along with some other holiday games and activities for the kids to do.
quick picture before we headed out for the day...

Hot Cocoa at Starbucks before looking at Christmas Lights in Highland Park Village.

Now let me keep it real here and share a few of our not so great moments this month. Harlow threw and broke a couple ornaments off of the tree. One of them she actually pulled off the silver top, filled up with water from the fridge leaving a water mess all over the fridge and kitchen floor and then AFTER filling it with water threw it over by the fireplace leaving another big water mess along with broken ornament glass.

Harlow also decided to unwrap a few presents while I was in the shower one day last week, thankfully the big kids were upstairs so I was able to whisk her, the wrapping paper pieces and the presents into my room for damage control. I re-wrapped all of the presents exactly the same and put them back out as fast as I could. Harlow had opened one of Jon's, Aiden's and one that was hers wrapped in Blue's Clues wrapping paper. She kept saying, "I open my Blue Clues present".

Just yesterday, Paige and Aiden went into our bedroom closet (aka Santa's closet during the month of December) to get a pair of daddy's shoes to play dress-up. I noticed the closet door open when I went into our bedroom. When I confronted them at first they tried to point the blame on each other until they admitted they both had gone in.

I couldn't just ask about what or how much they had seen, part of me didn't really want to know...what if they saw it all and put the whole picture together realizing that Santa is really just mom and dad? I had to assume though they saw something since Jon had started building some large Playmobil sets and I had a few toys on my side of the closet that weren't in the bags so I had a long chat with Paige and Aiden explaining that sometimes our Elf Sam brings and puts together toys before Christmas making Santa's job easier but if you see them before Christmas the Elf will be in trouble and Santa might want to take the toys back.

Because of this incident I wrapped more toys this year, I wrapped the toys they might have seen peeking out of bags with hopes it all works out and they keep believing the magic of Santa (and his very helpful elves). Speaking of Santa, I better get off here and get to work making the magic happen. xoxo

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas!