Sunday, November 30, 2008

Deckin' the Halls of our House

We finished up our Christmas decorating on Saturday morning. Well, I actually finished the decorating on Friday night, but finished the cleaning up after it on Saturday morning. Let me first say, I think I am becoming my mother. I put up 4 trees this year. I usually just have one, maybe two, but this year... I put up every tree I had.

There is our main tree in the living room that is decorated with all of our sentimental ornaments. There are several from when hubby and I were growing up, as well as ones for B for part of his own collection. This tree was a hand me down from my mother in law that I first used last year. This might be the last year for it. It is so messy. A million needles fall of it as you are putting it together.

I have one of those primitive stick trees on the steps as you go upstairs. It is decorated with those bluish/ white snowflake LED lights. This was the tree I had when I lived in an apartment before Matt and I started dating.

I put our old tree downstairs for the Tot Spot kids, and we will work on making ornaments for this tree over the month. I also want to make the chenille stems garland featured in Parents magazine with the kids to hang on this tree. I think it looks so bright and festive! I don't have a skirt on this tree yet because I plan on moving the one from upstairs down to it. I am going to be making a heirloom skirt for upstairs that I will be blogging about later this week. Our fourth and smallest tree is outside on our porch. It is just one of those 4 foot trees with multi-colored lights. I thought the kids would like this as them come/ leave for daycare, as well as a nice little spot of holiday lights that you can see from the street.

Once I get going on the lights, I just love the look of them, especially in the evenings. I also added some strings above the counters in our kitchen.

Holiday Lights Festival

Our annual tradition to the Holiday Lights Festival in Downtown Omaha was lots of fun on Thanksgiving night. We got there just in time to do the countdown to turning on over a million lights. It is amazing how bright it gets when the lights are all on, and so beautiful! We always look forward to this tradition with my mom and her boyfriend. The weather was great, not to cold, around 40F. B enjoyed the giant slide (okay, I did too!), the brass band playing Christmas songs, the flashing lights and glo-neclaces, and the musical couple with the monkey. We always have to walk around until we find this couple. B enjoyed listening to them play several of his favorite Christmas songs. We ended our night at Old Chicago with some Italian Nachos and dessert!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Our Advent Book

While attending the MOPS convention in Dallas this past Oct, a few of us from our group purchased this advent book from a couple at one of the booths at the resource fair. I think we are all looking forward to beginning a new tradition with this beautiful book in our families. It was a little pricey, but I think it will be well worth it. It is more than just a book, it is a keepsake. It was so interesting and touching to speak with the illustrator and hear their story about how they began the tradition in their family. The book will be something that can be passed on as our children start their own families.

A new door is opened each day beginning December 1st through Christmas in the manner of an Advent calendar. The illustrations are so rich and detailed. Each day you are to re-read the previous days and open the next door to reveal a new piece of the Christmas story. I am looking forward to using this book at bedtime and beginning a new Christmas time tradition.

Hometown Holidays

I mentioned in an earlier post that I went to Plattsmouth, NE with my mom and B. It was November 21st and they call it "Hometown Holidays". We have not been to Plattsmouth a lot lately due to the bridge being closed. It is so nice to have it reopen again. This even took place on Main Street and there was lots to see and do. B enjoyed sitting on Santa's lap, petting the live reindeer, seeing the carriage rides and the costume characters walking around, and the time with his mom and granny! His favorite thing however, was the red caboose he got to go in and check out. Lots of businesses were open late for shopping and many were serving cookies and hot chocolate.

*Side note* As we were leaving the reindeer we told them we would leave them some carrots on Christmas Eve like usual. Their owners corrected us that they like Nilla Wafers. No wonder we always found the carrots in the trash!

Friday, November 28, 2008

2 of the Best things after Thanksgiving...

... the ads for all of the sales and the leftovers!

Even though I don't usually go out to the 4 AM madness that occurs, I do enjoy looking at all of the things on sale and looking for ideas. The paper is even thicker than the usual Sunday paper!

Today for lunch we had turkey sandwiches and chips and the full blown leftover dinner tonight. Yum, Yum, I do love Thanksgiving food!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Kick off the Holidays!

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? both, kids get wrapping paper, adults get bags

2. Real tree or Artificial? Artificial

3. When do you put up the tree? Weekend of Thanksgiving

4. When do you take the tree down? Weekend of New Years

5. Do you like eggnog? Yes!

6. Favorite gift received as a child? NKOTB CD, teenline, or being able to get my ears pierced

7. Hardest person to buy for? almost everyone! I hate picking things out!

8. Easiest person to buy for? our son

9. Do you have a nativity scene? a small candle one

10. Mail or email Christmas cards? used to mail, last year was an Elf Yourself Email... email

again this year

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? Can't think of any. but there have been some!

12. Favorite Christmas Movie? ELF, Polar Express, I think there is one more I like

13. When do you start shopping? November- December

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Yes

15. Favorite thing to eat atChristmas? sugar cookies

16. Lights on the tree? Yes, white

17. Favorite Christmas song? Mariah Carey, All I Want for CHristmas is You

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Travel, lots of family to go see

19. Angel or star on top of tree? star, need a new one this year!

20. Open presents Christmas Eve or morning? In the morning at our house, several different

times/ days with other family.

21. Favorite Christmas memory? The best Santa ever used to come to our house in Early Dec. He was so fun. Lots of memories of playing with him

22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? the crowds

23. Favorite ornament? ones from when I was little

24. Favorite for Christmas dinner? turkey, mashed pot.

25. What do you want for Christmas this year? ??? still thinking on this one!

Thanksgiving 1997

In 1997 I moved to New Jersey to become a live-in nanny for a family I had found through a nanny agency in Nebraska. Several of the friends I met while living there were nannies for friends of the family I worked for. This meant that we were all away from our real families over holidays if we did not choose to fly home. One friend, Alyssia, who was from western Nebraska and I were particularly good friends. We were both invited to spend Thanksgiving with our nanny families, but we always enjoyed seeing the sites of things in the City. We had both grown up watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade on TV so it was only fitting that we go see it live in person. We got up very early and took the train into NYC. We arrived at 6 AM and proceded to wait for several more hours until the parade would actually start. My camera broke after about 5 minutes of the parade, but I was able to capture a few shots from the beginning. It was an experience I will always remember !

Thankful #27

I have saved this Thankful post for today, Thanksgiving day. I think about it every day and I don't know if I will ever feel like I am able to give enough thanks to this person. I am thankful for my cousin Kris, who was willing to carry a baby for us through gestational surrogacy. Unfortunately, we did two attempts at IVF with our embryos and it was just not meant to be. If you would like to read more about when we were going through this process, you can click here. The site has not been updated since we found out our second attempt was not successful, because it hurts my heart too much to write about it.
I wish so much that it would have worked out for us. Not just for the fact of we had a chance to have another baby, but for the bond it would have created with Kris and her family. We had so much family, friends, and strangers that were supporting, helping, and praying for us. I am still blown away that she was willing to give so much of herself to try to help us have another baby. I just want her to know that we are going to be forever greatful, even though the results were not what we all had hoped for.

Thankful #26

Begin sarcasm here- I am thankful for the extra weight I have because it means I have not been hungry this past year. Sarcasm over- Seriously, I might not be happy and thankful about the weight, but we do not suffer and have to go hungry. My heart is thinking a lot about those who will not get to enjoy the Thanksgiving meals with friends and family and a warm house.
This Thanksgiving Day, we are celebrating for the first time with just the 3 of us. Here is our menu for the day:
Cream Cheese Braid for breakfast that we purchased from a fundraiser

Lunch will consist of Turkey, mashed potatoes, gravey, rolls, cranberry sauce, corn, grape salad, and pumpkin pie. All of our favorites and none of the things we don't like! Tonight I made the grape salad and pumpkin pie. I also washed the turkey so it would be easier for me tomorrow.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone, I hope you lots to be thankful for.

Thankful # 25

I am thankful for all of the shoes I have to wear. Sound simple? There are so many things in our life we take for granted. I first heard about the Soles4Souls project on Angie's blog. Then I saw something for it again on another blog. Then I started thinking about how lucky we are to have multiple shoes in different colors, styles, etc. in our size. The Soles4Souls project donates footwear to people in need worldwide. Many of these people have never owned a pair of shoes. For just $5 you can provide 2 pairs of shoes for someone. Check it out and spread the word, they are trying to collect 50,000 pairs in 50 days.

Thankful #24

I am thankful for the Google Reader. My friend Laura introduced me to this handy little tool and it has enhanced my blog reading habit. I don't think I could follow so many if it was not for my reader. If you have not heard of this and you are a blog addict like me, I suggest you look into it! Each morning it is so fun to come to the computer and see how many blogs I have to check up on that have updates! Handy!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thankful Gift

I sent B to school today with 3 little gifts. Last night we made some mini loaves of pumpkin bread. I wrapped each loaf and put it in a small paper bag with a tag that said "thankful". I had traced a simple leaf out of one of our fall books and cut it out from red, orange, and yellow construction paper. I attatched the 3 leaves on each bag with a small brad. On the outside I stamped the names of B's 2 teachers and busdriver. We handed the first one to the bus driver as B boarded and he told him "Happy Thanksgiving". I hope the other 2 make it to school with out getting too smashed!

Here is the recipe I used:

3 1/2 C. flour

3 C. sugar

2 tsp. baking soda

1 1/2 tsp. salt

2 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. nutmeg

1 C. oil

2/3 C. water

5 eggs

1-15oz. can pumpkin

Heat oven to 325-350 F. Grease bottoms only on mini loaf pans. Combine flour, sugar, soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in large bowl. In seperate bowl, combine oil, water, eggs, and pumpkin. Mix well. Add to flour mixture and mix until blended. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake until toothpick in center comes out clean about 35 minutes. Cool 10 minutes in pan and then on wire rack.

This made 8 mini loaves and 12 micro mini muffins.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Thankful #23

I am SO thankful for the price of gas! In our area I'm not sure the exact number, but it was very close to $4 per gallon. I never thought it would come down as much as it has again. It just made me sick when I would have to fill up my van. I am thankful that hubby and I don't have a drive to work like we have previously. I obviously don't have to drive to work and hubby works only a mile away. The travel during the upcoming holidays and wrestling season to watch the team will definately be easier with the lower cost of gas!

Thankful #22

I am thankful for my pets. We have 2 dogs, 2 fish, and 1 bird. Yesterday, November 22nd, is the day we celebrate our dog Foxi's birthday. She is approx. 8 or 9 years old. Foxi is a mutt dog and I found her running along side the road when she was around a year or so old. She has been the best doggie ever since. She is smart and beautiful, and like me, has gained weight each year. Does anyone else celebrate their dog's birthday or am I the only dog-nut out there?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Thankful #21

TGIF! This is my post for today. Friday is my favorite day of the week! The kids were so good today too! After work, I went with my mom and B to Plattsmouth for a little Christmas thingy. BTW- I like that word. Thingy. You can use it any place you can't think of the real word you want to use. Try it. You will like it.

Tomorrow whoopdidoo is Saturday, my second favorite day of the week. I am going to Kohl's when I get up and going to buy a few Christmas ornaments. I might even stop at our storage unit and dig out a few of the Christmas boxes to get ready for Thu. when we put our tree up. Tomorrow night hubby and I are going to the Thanksgiving Dinner at the Fire Station and then out with a few couples from there. Last year was Matt's first year as a volunteer fireman, so our first year to go to the Turkey dinner. Good food- but you have to dress up. Not really my thing, expecially the past few years of daycare. I am a jean capri, barefoot or flip flop wearin' wrestling t-shirt kind of girl. But I can probaly find a pair of black pants somewhere in my closet to get through the night. Especially since I don't have to cook.

It's late, this post is going no where, I'm tired. Good Night! Have a GREAT weekend everyone!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Thankful #20


I am thankful for all of the traditions we have in our family. One in particular that we are getting ready for is going to the Holiday Lights Festival in Omaha. We have gone to this since I was pregnant, maybe even the year before. Each year hubby, B, and I meet up with my mom and her boyfriend on Thanksgiving night for the official lighting ceremony. We love to do the countdown with the crowd as they get ready to flip the switch to over a million lights. We have been there on freezing cold nights as well as some that have not been too bad. I can't wait to go again this year! We always have lots of fun walking around the GeneLahey Mall and the Old Market.

Talkin' Turkey

I think this might be our last turkey of the season. I can't remember any more that I have planned that I want to do with the tots.

Today we used our watercolor paints and painted on some round coffee filters. The kids always love when we do painting and I love the look of the watercolors. After they were dry, I cut out my classic turkey body shape from construction paper and we taped some pipe cleaners onto the back for legs. Next, we folded the coffee filter about 1/3 of the way up and taped it together in the middle. We glued the turkey body onto the filter over where the tape was holding it together. On most of them I cut slits in the filter and then folded the slits down and scrunched them a bit so they were not so flat. I put two little glue dots on the face and the kids placed the googly eyes on the dots. We have been talking about the beak and waddle so I decided to let the little ones draw these on with markers. Some of them are hard to see in the photos.

My son has been practicing his cutting skills a lot recently, so on his he wanted to cut the slits. I think he did a good job trying to do just what I did on the others.

One fine feathered friend

The tots helped me make a simple little felt turkey last week. We have a small size felt board that I made a few years ago and it works for our little theme felt projects. I cut the body and head out of light and dark brown felt. I hot glued the googly eyes on since I didn't want pieces that small out of felt. The waddle, beak, and 2 legs are all small individual pieces that my older tots can put on easily. The feathers are the perfect size for my one and two year olds to stick to the felt board. There are 10 feathers, 2 in each color. The kids have loved putting this turkey together and it is a good way for them to practice taking turns or something for them to do on their own. When we are finished with the pieces it goes into a shoebox size storage box for now and can be put away in a zip lock bag after the holiday until next year.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Thankful #19

I am thankful for all of the wonderful teachers out there! Teachers are under-paid, over-worked, under-appreciated, and over-loaded! There is one teacher in particular today I want to call your attention to.... Mrs. Wendelin Miller- recipient of the Charles E. Lakin Outstanding Teacher Award.

I had the opportunity to teach with Mrs. Miller for 2 years at Chantry. She was a great role model for me. Miller is full of wonderful ideas and passion for her job. The amount of dedication, heart, work, time, and money she puts into her profession is absolutely immeasurable. She sets her goals high for her students and does everything in her power to help them reach them not only academically but out of the classroom as well. She empowers them to be the best they can be and to know they are valued individuals. Miller loves her students and I have also never seen students who love their teacher as much as children in her room do as well. They are proud to be in her room and a part of her classroom family.

*Mrs. Miller and I were the winners (or losers, however you look at it!) of a kiss the cow contest between the classrooms. Each room had to raise money for something... I can't remember what...I am thinking books, and two teachers had to kiss the cow in the end! The kids loved it and had so much fun watching us do this!

I would be honored to have my son in her room any day! Congratulations Wen! You DESERVE this!

KMA News Story

My first freezer paper attempt

A few friends have done the freezer paper stencil technique on t shirts for their children. My good friend Laura has a great tutorial on her blog with step by step instructions.

B of course loves his new Batman and Superman shirts to go along with his new Super Hero love. When the Batman one was dry the first night, he wore it to bed and then also the next day before I was able to wash it. After the Superman was dry, I was able to wash that one so he could wear it to school.

I would like to make some baby ones for a few gifts, but I am not having much luck finding stencil sites that I really like. Any suggestions?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Thankful #18

Today I am thankful for the 2 blog world awards I have been given. They are my first! The first one Sandy gave me from her blog, Just for Fun on November 1st. I had not been posting for a while, so I had to get my rear in gear before I posted this to my site! Her Just for Fun Blog is full of great ideas for things to do with your kids. She is a creative and inspiring! In order to follow the rules for accepting this award, I have to share the love:
*Note- I don't really have many friends who follow my blog and/ or have a blog so I am giving this award to blogs that I love and / or inspire me!
Gold Blogging Friends Forever.

The Gold Blogging Friends Forever Rules Are:
1. Only five people allowed.
2. Four have to be dedicated followers of your blog.
3. One has to be someone new, or recently new to your blog, or live in another part of the world. 4. You must link back to whoever gave you the 'Blogging Friends Forever' award.

I am going to pass my Gold BFF award to:
1. Rebekah at Heart Cries
2. Tara at Plan B
4. Nikki at WhiMSy Love
5. That mom at We are THAT family

The next award is from Sandy again with her other blog, The Adams Family. I think she gave me this one to give me a little nudge to get to passin' on the love since I had not done the first one yet! Either way, Thanks Sandy!

Here is the low down on the second one:
*Once again, there are only a few people who really read this blog, so I am having to pass this award on to the blogs I love most/ and or inspire me the most!

This blog invests and believes the PROXIMITY - nearness in space, time and relationships!These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in prizes or self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers! Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award.
I now pass this award along to the following:
3. Tonya at Currently Crafting
Thanks again for the love Sandy!

Thankful #17

B had his first homework assignment. He had to complete a family turkey project. At first I thought we had to draw all of the turkeys in our family, but as I read the directions, I realized that we were supposed to discuss things together that he is thankful for. His list that he came up with was: apples, butterflies, Valentine's Day, Thomas the Train, his house, dad, himself, mom, the zoo, cousins, footballs, and friends. He has to return it to school today and they will have a turn to show their classmates their work and talk about the things they put on their turkey. I drew the pictures so he will have reminders about what he told me and then he colored them and his turkey. It was very cute. My heart feels so happy when I listen to him talk about things that he is thankful for or make him happy.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Thankful #16

There are toys all over my basement floor. It is not as bad as it is some days, but toys all over none the less. Usually I try to get the basement picked up at the end of each daycare day (with help of course) but tonight that just didn't happen. It is okay to have days like that though, don't get me wrong. I just feel better in the mornings when we start fresh and clean again!

Today begins the National Collection Week for Operation Christmas Child. If you have not heard about Operation Christmas Child, a division of Samaritan's Purse, I encourage you to click the links and read more about this awesome opportunity where you can begin a wonderful tradition with your family.

Our family tradition is that we select a boy and the same age group as B (age 2-4). In our box this year we included: hard candy, gum, soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, croc-style shoes, socks, 4 balls, mini bowling, magna doodle type thing, scratch off rainbow coloring thing, crayolas, colored pens, stickers, notebook, pencils, pencil sharpener, silly wiggly ball, voice echo microphone, book with pictures of animals, yo-yo, and a paddle ball thing.

I talked with B a lot about how we are thankful for all of the toys that we have in our house. We have toys downstairs, upstairs, and in his room. He helped me select the toys to pack in our box for a little boy who does not have any toys like he does. I'm sure he is too young to get this concept, but hopefully he will look forward to this tradition as he get older and will always be thankful for the toys that we have that happen to be scattered all over the floor tonight.