Monday, December 21, 2009

December 19

Advent Calendar - Make pretzel snowmen.

Remember This - Today was a fun {but busy} day! We had Lexi's birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese at 10AM and then a girly date with Reilly and Mrs. Kelly after that. The girls decided they wanted to go to the bead store to make jewelry. It was my first time "beading" and we loved it! Olivia made the cutest pair of snowmen earrings and she was soooo proud of them!

Once we got home, we decided to quickly make our pretzel snowmen before Nana Georgia and Papa Joe came to pick up the kids for a movie (Disney's The Princess and the Frog). By the end of the night, they were worn out and acting U-G-L-Y!!! Unfortunately, they both ended up with spankings before bed and early bedtimes. I hate it when such an awesome day ends so badly, but such is life around these parts!

These guys are a fun looking bunch, dontcha think?! I'd surely hang out with them if I were of the snow variety, and from Mexico. They look like an overgrown Mariachi band. Or, maybe that's just me?!

December 18

Advent Calendar - Roper Mountain Lights

Remember This
- It's raining and freezing and our first winter weather advisory is in full effect. Roper Mountain Lights just isn't going to happen tonight. The kids are okay with staying in and doing nothing and of course, Hon and I are totally fine with the idea! We'll try to catch the lights one night before Christmas, but I'm not sure we'll be able to. I guess we'll wait and see!

Today was Whit's Christmas party at school. He couldn't WAIT! All the boys bought a gift for a gift exchange and he really wanted to get the gift he brought. We had a long talk about opening gifts and being thankful NO. MATTER. WHAT. but I wasn't sure how it would really turn out. Whit is a little different and doesn't necessarily like the kinds of toys other kids his age like, so when he opened up a Bakugan starter kit, my heart rate accelerated to 1000 beats per second. I could tell he was sooooo disappointed, but he quickly wiped the frown off his face and began to make preparations for decorating his gingerbread house. I was soooo proud of him! Once we got home and he started playing with the set, he found out he really might like it after all. Lesson learned!

He really enjoyed decorating his gingerbread house! I definitely need to try this with them next year!

December 17

Advent Calendar - Make reindeer food.

Remember This - Tonight was our ELC staff Christmas party at City Range. Kaylyn (Kay Kay) came to stay with the kids for me. Before I left, the kids turned over the advent activity and got so excited to make reindeer food. I quickly pulled out the oatmeal, glitter, big bowl, mixing spoons and ziplock bags and gave Kay Kay the rundown on how to make it. When I walked in later that night, this is what I saw...

HOLEY MOLEY! That's A LOT of reindeer food!! Ha ha ha ha ha! If the reindeer eat all of that, they'll have a belly ache for sure! In fact, I think they can stop back by at Easter and still have some left on our ground to eat!!

Kay Kay said the kids wanted to make the WHOLE CANISTER of oatmeal, so she let them! I don't care...they had a great time making it with Kay Kay and I had a fantastic night out with my friends from the ELC. Life is good!

December 16

Advent Calendar - Make donation to "Gift for Christ."

Remember This
- Obviously since yesterday's advent activity didn't go as planned, tonight's activity got ditched, too. The kids and I talked about it and decided to make our donation after Christmas, but before New Years so that they have a few days to earn a few more dollars in their banks. I'm happy with that. They know that giving is an important part of our lives, but forcing it makes it a LOT less fun. I don't want them to give with resentful hearts. Compromise is a good thing when you're 5 & 6.

Olivia's school Christmas Program was today (and her class party). She did fantastic! She really loves the stage, or at least she loves singing! The stage is just an added bonus. And, she loves her classroom and Mrs. Sophie. She's having a truly wonderful year in her class!

December 15

Advent Calendar - Count change to donate to "Gift for Christ."

Remember This - Maybe this wasn't the year to spring it on the kids (twice in one week) that they were going to have to give away lots of their money from their little savings banks. Maybe they are a bit too young yet? They're getting the gist of it, but asking them twice within 4 days to give away huge chunks of change isn't the way to go. {Note to self: you might want to spread these activities further apart next year}. Yes. There was resistance.

Moving on: Since our advent activity didn't go quite as planned, I'm using a picture from school today. The kids in my class made cute ornament storage boxes to house the ornaments we made this year. We also made the parents a little bag of hot cocoa, marshmallows and crushed candy canes. The kids had the best time making their gifts and they did all by themselves! From crushing the candy canes to scooping the hot chocolate, they did it all! They were so excited to take them home! I'm glad to include these pictures in my December Daily album because really, I couldn't talk about MY December without talking about my classroom. I put a lot of time, energy (and sometimes blood, sweat and tears) into making it a magical place for my students. We had the best year this year and the kids had such a WONDERful December!

December 14

Advent Calendar - Watch a Christmas movie.

Remember This - So, tonight Whit got a better deal and left Livi-loo and I on our own. It actually turned out perfect because she looooooves Christmas movies and he's not a big fan. Once he was out the door to Nana's house, Olivia and I popped in Holly & Hal's Uplifting Christmas Story and began making Oreo pops and goodie bags for her class party. She loves to help me with whatever project I'm working on. The past few times she's helped me, she always says, "Mom, you reeeeeeeally love to make cute things, don't you?!?" She has no idea how right she is!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

December 13

Advent Calendar - Fondue Night!!

Remember This
- Of course, I forgot that tonight was supposed to be Fondue Night. After church, the kids flipped over the advent number and I quickly had to rearrange my plans for the day to include a quick trip to the grocery store to buy chocolate fondue and strawberries, bananas, pound cake and marshmallows.

A few years ago (like SEVEN years ago), my mom & grandmother gave us a really nice fondue set.

I mean a reeeeeaaallly nice fondue set.

Well, it's never been out of the box. Ever.

So, I decided to dust it off and give it a whirl. I thought this would be a really fun thing to try with the kids! They are at a great age for fun projects like this. Unfortunately, I didn't know that the fondue pot had to have one of those little gas burners underneath it to warm up the pot until I unwrapped it {RIGHT BEFORE THE FESTIVITIES}. Oh, come on?!?!? Where's the plug in? Oh right...there's not one.

This is SUCH a Leigh-thing. I have the best ideas with the least planning-ahead possible. I mean, would it have KILLED me to take the thing out of the box earlier than 5 minutes before take off?

So, we did what anybody in this situation would do and microwaved the snot out of that chocolate and drizzled it all over everyone's fruit/cake-filled plates. We even ate with the little fondue forks and the kids loved it. Erin came over and brought pizza, so we got all high-class and had Domino's and Fondue.


And, once again, I got no pictures. This is really becoming a theme for me, no??

I did get pictures right after church when we visited our new favorite restaurant! If you haven't been to Jimmy Johns (on the eastside of town), you're really missing out! Seriously, it's soooooo good!

So, here's our substitute picture for the day.

I love those guys!

December 12

Advent Calendar - Shop for each other's Christmas gifts.

Remember This
- Another FAIL on my part. Hon, the kids and myself all went shopping at Toys 'R' Us tonight to let the kids shop for each other. I totally forgot to take a picture (more on that later)!! WAAAAAHHHH!

I made the kids each take $20 out of their banks to buy gifts for each other. At first, Whit was none too happy about spending 20 of "his own dollars," but I told him if he decided to spend less, then Olivia would spend less too. Of course he wanted the BIGGEST! GIFT! EVER! so he decided $20 would be a good number to choose after all.

It is really important to me to teach them practical life skills about money like saving, spending and giving. It's not easy letting go of money, but it's something you have to do. Even though they are aware that you have to earn money, it doesn't stop them from asking for "this" and "that" every time we go to Target or Walmart. Now that they have their own money, they are slowly learning the value of earning!

Back to the story at hand, we finished up our shopping and checked out separately to ensure no one saw the other's gift. Olivia picked a Transformer figurine for Whit and Whit chose the Tinkerbell DS game for Olivia. Once out of the store they both started asking to change gifts. RIGHT. THERE. IN THE PARKING LOT!

Then they both proceeded to break down in full-on tears, wanting to switch right then!! At this point, I've had it. I'm not a holiday shopper and just being at Toys R Us near Christmas time makes me a little more prone to a nervous breakdown.


So, we pile both toys and both kids in the back of the car and speed off as fast as possible to the house. WITH. NO. PICTURE.

Oh, for the LOVE!

Maybe next year I'll be better at this.

December 11

Advent Calendar - Make gumdrop pops

Remember This - Olivia got a better deal and left Whit and I making gumdrop pops by ourselves. She got an invitation to hang out with Papa Steve and of course, that was waaaaaaayyyy cooler than hanging out with us. So, Whit and I made a few gumdrop pops and enjoyed watching Christmas shows together waiting for Olivia to get home. I honestly can't think of a better way to spend a Friday night! Even though we got verrrrrrry sticky and Whit ate about 30 gumdrops, we had a ball together. He is such a goof!

December 10

Advent Calendar: Have hot cocoa with candy cane stirrers!

Remember This: The kids were sooooooo excited to have hot cocoa. I'm still not sure why they love it so, but they definitely enjoy it more than I've ever seen them enjoy anything else! We served up the cocoa and they drank every drop and finished the candy canes completely! I'll have to remember to make hot chocolate for them more often!

This little mini-post is for Erin:
Whit went on his Limo & Lunch Date today. Yep. He got to ride around town like a real pimp (or a high schooler at prom...whichever way you choose to look at it). He had a fantastic time until some little girls booted him out of his spot for the ride back to school. Anyway, thanks for the "BIG SALE" that pushed his little total over the quota to earn this fine treat!

December 9

Advent Calendar: Make Christmas cards for teachers

Remember This:
The kids and I had a great time making cards for their teachers. We all sat together and used my paper punches to decorate simple construction paper cards (just like I used to make). The kids wrote sweet notes to their teachers, too {BONUS - educational activity!!} Unfortunately, once we finished, I packed the cards up, cleaned off the table and totally forgot to take pictures.

I also finished up our teacher gifts. I forgot to take pictures of those too, but I did take some the night I wrapped them up.

I decorated tins with the teachers' names using my Cricut machine and some adhesive vinyl.

Then I decorated some white coffee mugs with each of their family members' names and big polka dots. (One mug for Mom, Dad and each child in the family). I stuffed the mugs with packets of hot chocolate and marshmallows.

Finally, I added a package of Keebler mint cookies and attached a little note to them like this:

I made the note digitally with Krystal Hartley's Homemade Holiday kit from Sweet Shoppe Designs.

I have to say, they turned out SO cute! I really hope the teachers liked them as much as we enjoyed putting them together! I know Mrs. Sophie's family liked them because she sent me these pictures of her boys sipping the cocoa through the cookies!! YAY! Thanks, Mrs. Sophie! ♥

I think they liked 'em!! :)

Oh, and in total Leigh-fashion, I totally forgot to add the hand-made cards that the kids made to the gifts. I didn't even realize it until AFTER the gifts had been given out. Oh well...I won't tell the kids.

Hey, at least I'm trying here!!

Monday, December 14, 2009

December 8

Advent Calendar: Make ornaments

Remember This: So, tonight is the first night that the kids aren't "feeling" the Advent Calendar. They really weren't thrilled about making ornaments (which is weird for them), but I figured why push it. Instead, I let Olivia take a picture of her favorite ornament on our tree. I'm not shocked at the one she picked. It truly is her favorite one!

Whit wasn't interested in any of it. I guess I can let him off the hook this time...8 days in...I think that's pretty dang good!!

December 7

Advent Calendar: Walk around the neighborhood and look at all the Christmas lights.

Remember This: Ummmmm, I DON'T THINK SO. It's like 35 degrees outside and this chick isn't even thinking about stepping foot out there. Maybe next year I'll wait and write out each day of the Advent Calendar the day before so I can check the weather!

Olivia and I had a SUPER fun time at Briley's tea party today. The girls had so much fun dressing up and REALLY having tea at The Broken Teapot. They got to decorate their own cupcake as well as their own teapot to take home. They ate little heart-shaped sandwiches and finger foods. They served themselves tea from real porcelain tea pots. They had an all-around fantastic time! {And, I just added a real teapot to Olivia's Christmas list and I'm hoping to find one somewhere soon!} Olivia had another birthday party tonight that she attended (one was enough for me). I was so thankful that Rhonda offered to take her to give me the night to work on ornaments and such!

December 6

Advent Calendar: Greer Christmas Parade (with Santa hats for treats)

Remember This: I had to work the 4 year old classroom at church this morning, so the kids and I bundled up and took off. We had a great time together with the other kids. I traced life-sized angels of the kids and they decorated them with markers, glitter and glue (messy, to say the least). They loved it!

Then we headed over to Greer to get situated for the parade. We first ate at our favorite hot dog spot and I snapped a picture of the kids in their Santa hats. They were getting soooooo excited!

When we finally got to the parade, we got ourselves situated and began to enjoy the festivities. That is, until we started to FREEZE. TO. DEATH. It was so stinkin' cold we couldn't even stay until the end of the parade. That didn't stop us from having a great time while we were there, though!

Notice the sign and where it's pointing!

Notice Olivia trying the "Don't look at me, Whit!!" face. They were showing me their hand warmers.

Sitting in their chairs watching the parade.

It's cotton candy:30!