Month: December 2012 (page 1 of 2)

Can you believe I didn’t take a single photo?

I love Christmas break. LOVE IT. I love having the kids home from school. I love sleeping in. I love the all-day playing and pajama-wearing. I don’t want it to end. But tomorrow marks the start of a New Year. The Christmas tree will come down and we’ll pack the decorations away. We’ll go back to school and the old routine and look forward to the next thing to celebrate.

We had a wonderful holiday. Did you?

We spent Christmas Eve baking cookies, making buckeyes and tracking Santa on NORAD. We sprinkled magic reindeer food on the lawn and left cookies and milk out for Santa. The girls opened their new Big Sister pajamas and wore them to bed. Then Dave, my mom and I stayed up until 4 a.m. doing elf work.

There weren’t a lot of gifts under the tree this year, but no one was disappointed. Our budget was tight and that wasn’t really a bad thing. It helped us to be thoughtful. Dave and I tried to give the girls presents that served a purpose some other toy wasn’t already serving because, even if we had a ton of money to spend, our house is shrinking. We can’t afford to give up too much space.

I think we were successful. Mostly.

The day after Christmas, Dave and the girls not only let me sleep late, they brought me breakfast in bed, “for making Christmas so awesome.” I’ve heard that was mostly Julia’s idea. I thanked her later by running over her face with a sled while we were out playing in the snow.

The rest of the Christmas break has been blissfully lazy and filled with all the things we want to do and nothing that we don’t. And we can’t exist forever like that, I guess. So, welcome 2013. I’m expecting good things.

How to Make Salt Dough Ornaments According to Phoebe

Step 1: Dump two cups of flour in a bowl.

Step 2: Taste the flour.

Step 3: Add one cup of salt to the bowl.

Step 4: Taste the salt.

Step 5: Dump 3/4 cup of water in the bowl.

Step 6: Mix the contents of the bowl with bare hands.

Step 7: Lick hands clean while Mom takes over.

Step 8: Flatten the dough on the table using hands or try a rolling pin. If that doesn’t work, sit on the dough.

Step 9: Use a star-shaped cookie cutter to make twinkle twinkle little stars. (Tip: It helps to sing the song.)

Step 10: Use a straw to poke a hole in the stars so you can hang them up.

Step 11: Blow through the end of the straw and shoot the dough piece lodged inside. Aim for your sister.

Step 12: Let your mom put the stars on a baking sheet and put them in the oven at 200 degrees for 20 minutes.

Step 13: Use your dough scraps to make Krabby Patties and eat them. They will taste terrible, but your mother’s reaction will be worth it.

Step 14: Paint your baked ornaments.

Step 15: Paint yourself.

Step 16: Paint your sister’s baked ornaments.

Step 17: Get chased from the table by your angry sister.

Step 18: Paint the space heater.

Step 19: Return to the table. There will be glitter.

Step 20: Add glitter to your ornament.

Step 21: Add glitter to your sister’s ornaments.

Step 22: Get chased from the table by your angry sister. (Don’t forget to take the glitter!)

Step 23: Put glitter in your diaper.

Step 24: Put glitter on the cat.

Step 25: Put glitter in the space heater.

Step 26: You are done! (You’ll know this for sure because your mom will tell you very loudly.)

Salt Dough Ornaments

I’ve been told it’s no big deal, but anything that has to do with private parts usually is.

I got to peek at my baby boy today.

Baby boy

He was all sprawled out as, once again, I’m making too much amniotic fluid. (I made too much with Julia. And Phoebe. [But not Lucy.])

“You’re such an overachiever,” Dave said.


“You can’t just make amniotic fluid, you have to make THE MOST AMNIOTIC FLUID EVER,” he said raising a fist in the air.

The ultrasound technician laughed. “Well, it’s better than not making enough.”

Then she took a look at the ventricles of Jackson’s brain and his spine since they were difficult to view at my last ultrasound.

They looked just fine, in case you were wondering.

I’m wondering whether or not my son should be circumcised. Have you had to make this decision? What did you do? Also, if you own a penis, A) is it circumcised? B) are you happy about that? C) if not, do you blame your mother?

You don’t have to search for a parking space at the P&G eStore! (Batteries included)

Dave and I battled the crowds and finished up our Christmas shopping last Friday. Let me tell you, it was crazy out there! We had a list and knew exactly what we were shopping for and it still took the entire day. Once we were done, it took us another forty-five minutes to get out of the parking lot and back to the highway and on our way home. I won’t be back in stores until after Christmas, if it’s at all possible, and it is when you can get everyday products online at the P&G eStore.

Did you forget to grab some AA batteries, like me? Don’t go back out there. You don’t have to. A Duracell battery bundle is just a click away.

Enter to win $100 worth of Duracell batteries to power you through the holiday season while you’re at it!

Are you still searching for last minute gift ideas? Try a Braun Pulsonic Shaver for him or an Olay Professional Cleansing System for her.

The P&G eStore has everything from diapers to dog food as well as these great deals:

* 15% off on a first-time order from a new customer, using promo code: A9Z-MN5-KY3-ISA

* Free Shipping on orders over $25

* Free Samples with every order

* Holiday Bundles

Stay home. Shop online. Be merry.

There is good in this world.

I was thankful to have a project to throw myself into over the weekend. The devastating news of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Friday has been impossible to process. Even as details have emerged, there is nothing that makes it all make sense. The loss is unfathomable. The grief is overwhelming. My heart is with the community of Newtown, CT – the families, children, teachers, service personnel and all those affected by this tragedy. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about them. But I was serving no one sitting, glued to Twitter and sobbing helplessly. So, I worked on this –

Teacher Gifts

– our 2012 Teacher Gifts.

I saw this genius idea from Kimberly Kaiser on Pinterest and used some painting tips from Young House Love to create my own “Thanks for helping me grow!” pots.

Rather than paint the message, I decided to use chalkboard paint so the girls can write it on and sign their names. Then, the teacher can change it later to suit their needs, if they’d like.

They aren’t perfect by any means, but I think they’re the perfect gift from a family with more time and talent than money to give. I was able to pick up the pots for $1.50 each, since they’re off-season right now, and I already had all the paint I used. It only took a few hours of painting over two days.

I spent most of that time thinking about the teachers these gifts were going to and the teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School. They’re a beautiful reminder that there is good in this world.

A Partidge in a Pear Tree

Watching Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer seemed like a lame Christmas countdown activity, especially after all the show-watching that went down during the weekend o’sickness, so I threw in some antlers and Rudolph lip pops to ramp it up.

Watching Rudolph

Okay, it doesn’t look exciting, but it inspired Lucy to tell me I’m The Best Mom Ever.

Phoebe the lollipop-nosed reindeer

And the girls have been being reindeer for two days now.

Meanwhile, I’ve been busy organizing a twelve days of Christmas for Dave. I saw the idea at Tip Junkie, but it came from Passionate Homemaking and it’s simple: you give your true love a little gift on each of the twelve days leading up to Christmas . Dave and I aren’t really big gift givers. It isn’t our Love Language. (Mine is Acts of Service. His is Physical Touch.) So I thought giving him a little something could be a fun way to make him feel special. (I found a fun size Milky Way in my purse yesterday and I’m still high an that feeling, so I can only imagine how he’ll feel getting six of them on the sixth day!)

Today was the first day of gift-giving. Dave was due home early in the day and I knew he’d want to head straight to bed after working all night, so I left the package on his pillow. The gesture, though small, was a huge success. He told me so, in every Love Language.

I highly recommend doing the twelve days of Christmas for your true love.

I’m not sendin’ them this year, that’s it!

I have some strong feelings about Christmas cards, but is it just me, or are people not into sending them so much anymore? (They’re not.) I haven’t received a single card this year! Of course, I haven’t sent any, either, and – get ready for this – I’m not going to. I know. I know! It’s just so hard to justify the expense if people aren’t sending them, especially when you can go the way of the fast, easy and free electronic holiday greeting. Sending a Christmas card this year would be like giving gifts of money in doubloons or something. (This is what I’m telling myself.)

Still, giving up the card is hard for me and it’s not for the lack of greetings taped to my archway, like you’d expect. The part of the Christmas card experience I’ll miss is the Christmas Card Photo.

Here’s our 2007 photo, from the just-Julia era.

Christmas Greeting

Introducing Lucy in 2008.

Merry Christmas

Some outtakes from the 2009 photo shoot.

Christmas Card Photo Outtakes

And then there was Phoebe in 2010.

Merry Christmas!

Finally, my favorite, from 2011.

Christmas Card Photo 2011

I guess I could still do a Christmas card photo, even if there’s no card to put it on. I could post it here. People still come here, right?

This girl is crafty like ice is cold*

Lucy’s preschool Christmas party is next Wednesday and I am, officially, The Bringer of Christmas Crafts. (And not just because I asked to be.) (Okay, sure, I volunteered, but they still had to pick me. They chose to put the Christmas Party Craft in my hands.) (Really, I’m not trying to make it a big deal or anything, but of all the parties, the Christmas one is The Big One, especially for crafts, and they did put it in writing. On the party paper sheet – the one that went home to everyone – under the heading of Christmas Party, subheading Helpers, was printed my name, dash, CRAFT. ALL CAPS.)

I’m not the most creative person, but I’ve heard of The Pinterest and I’m one hell of a Googler, so I’m fairly convincing when I want to pretend to be one. And lo, the ideal preschool Christmas party craft came upon me and the glory of ingenuity shone round about me. And I said unto myself: We’ll do I Spy Ornaments!

I Spy Ornaments for Lucy's Preschool Party

I Spy ornaments are all over the internet, but I first saw them at Craft Snob and felt inspired and started gathering supplies.

The makings of an I Spy Ornament

I found clear plastic ornaments for the best price at Walmart. The EcoFlurries came from JoAnn Fabrics & Crafts. (You don’t have to use EcoFlurries. I picked them because they’re nice and light, and my hope is these will end up hanging on Christmas trees.)

I Spy Ornament guts

The trinket items also came from JoAnn’s, but if you’re going to make these, please try the dollar store first. I found similar items there for much less after I’d already bought this stuff and ripped it all open. Lesson learned.

Since most of the kids in Lucy’s class are just beginning to read, I photographed each of the items so I could include a picture alongside the typed list, which I printed on cardstock. (You may also notice that the list rhymes. That’s called Kicking It Up A Notch.)

I hope the kids will have a good time putting these together next week. (I’m imagining whooping and cheering and a ticker tape parade! Although I’d be pleased with a rousing rendition of For She’s A Jolly Good Fellow or a slow clap turned Lucy’s Mom! Lucy’s Mom! chant. Or maybe just some smiles. You know, whatever.)

*See how I did that? With the Beastie Boys lyric?

Elves in my house. (But not that guy on the shelf. He’s creepy.)

It was raining on Tuesday night when we left Julia’s third grade Christmas program and we all came home with wet feet, but my mother was the one that just couldn’t seem to get warm after that.

“I think I’m getting sick,” she said, shivering and looking miserable and cursing us all.

Three days later, half the house was laying fevered and motionless in a heap on the couch. (Not counting Dave who had conveniently escaped to work for the weekend.) And so began a day and a half long viewing marathon of Christmas shows. The Grinch. Charlie Brown. Winnie the Pooh. A Christmas Carol. Mickey’s Christmas Carol. Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas. Mickey’s Twice Upon a Christmas. Shrek the Halls. It’s a SpongeBob Christmas! The Polar Express. The Santa Claus. Elf. And even some stuff I’ve never even heard of before.

Finally, last night, the kids started to stir having stewed in Christmas juices at an average temperature of 102.3 most of the weekend. They disappeared into their room for a bit and reemerged wearing dresses and singing Christmas carols. I followed the sound to the dining room where they’d set up shop and were cranking out paper chains and snowflakes.

“There’s something different about your ears…” I observed.

Hard at work

“We’re elves, Mom!”

Elf ears

Of course!

Later, we made gingerbread houses.

Lucy's Gingerbread House

By then he kids had returned to their natural state of rounded ears and near-nakednesss.

Julia's Gingerbread house

Phoebe, the last of my sicklies, was, at last, well enough to hoover up the stray candy pieces.

Phoebe "helps" out

And eat the leftover icing straight out of the bag.

Eating icing right out of the bag

This morning, she was ready for her elf ears.

Big and Little with Elf Ears

And all is well. (Except me.) (Guess who’s sick now?)

Wordless Wednesday: We probably could have skipped the hot cocoa.

21 days until Christmas

Countdown Activity

Whipped cream Santa beard

Julia gets a Santa beard


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