Christmas Day 2013

Christmas Day 2013 was a memorable Christmas.  Picture perfect.  No sickies.  Beautiful weather.  Incredible food.  Lots of family.  Blessed.  Blessed.  Blessed.

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The kids were SO excited to show Grandma and Grandpa and Nate and Hilary their beautiful embroidery work towels.

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The scooter = happy boy = happy mommy!  I was so excited to see he could actually ride it!

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I know Christmas is not about all these things… the presents, the food, or even happy healthy kids.  It’s not even about giving as much as receiving the gift that God sent to this broken earth; his only Son so that we might have life and joy and peace.  Christmas is over.   Family is gone.  There may not be peace in the world for many.  But for those of us who know Him – who know of a God that is love.  We are blessed to have that peace live in our hearts no matter what the circumstances around us.  May you know Him!

Christmas Eve 2012

Christmas Eve!  The girls could hardly wait until after breakfast to open their one present.  Deciding which one was a tough decision.  Waiting to tear into it until after the picture was apparently too much for Sierra.

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I didn’t take many pictures, but we more than enjoyed a wonderful day.  Boys are so easy.  I’m glad I had mine last.  One truck and he is good to go for the rest of the day!

Christmas Eve included:

  • Apple pancakes for breakfast
  • Daniel at work 😦
  • Church with Grandma and Grandpa
  • My first time making Swedish meatballs; (yummy!)
  • A special new movie with Grandma
  • The arrival of Uncle Nate and Aunt Hilary
  • A tickle fest with Uncle.
  • Joy and thankfulness for the gift of Jesus, a healthy family, and the visit of extended family.

Polar Bear Party

Details:  We got this giant polar bear from Costco, and took everyone’s picture with it as they came in.  It will serve as their thank you card, (I hope!)

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Polar bear cupcakes: white frosting, marshmallow ears, jr. mint nose, mini chocolate chip eyes, and coconut fur.

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Muddy buddy chez mix “snow” and, of course, polar bear Coca-cola.

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Polar bear ornaments: cookie cutter from Ikea, and simple clay mixture: 1/2 cup baking soda, 3/4 cup water, 1 cup cornstarch  Mix on medium heat until you get a mashed-potao texture.  Remove from heat, let cool, roll, and cut shapes.  Bake at 175 for 45 minutes.

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Polar bear decorations: Oriental Trading Company  (You can see not everyone loved making them!)

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Marshmallow igloos… Just let them have fun!

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Candy cane ice cream — love this time of year!pbp 17 pbp 18

Present opening on the birthday chair!

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And, it’s over!

Happy birthday to my favorite 7 year old!

Natalie Turns 7!

Whew… having to back-blog is  tough sometimes.  We just finished a wonderful birthday party for Natalie.  She turned 7 a few days ago, but today was her friend party.  That means I’m tired, but oh-so-content.  Cold leftover pizza and chips for dinner and another cupcake for dessert.  Aaahh…  But, let me back-up for you just a bit:

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Under the bed present:  the rainbow loom, and a comforter cover.  To my surprise, she was more excited about the new comforter cover!   But, I think once I show her how easy the loom is, she will love it!

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Next up:  more homemade cinnamon rolls for breakfast.  Num num.

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And then… the revelation.  Natalie decided she wanted a surprise theme for her birthday.  She gave us 3 options to choose from; penguins, dolphins, or polar bears.  Since I needed to start prepping for her party, we sent her on a scavenger hunt to discover what her theme would be.

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This is what she found:

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The rest of the day was filled with gymnastics, a short shopping trip, and a movie with sisters.  Then we went out to Islands for dinner, per Natalie’s request.

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The only disappointment of the day was a cancelled trip to go ice skating, as the rink changed the times.  We made-up for it the next day!

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And, that brings us to today… the party… I’d better get on that!

Snowflake Day

I told you we’d add a little fun to our week.  🙂  Simple fun, that is.  We started at snack time with “frosting” our snowflakes. (That is, cream cheese on Ritz — my kids love it!)

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Next is an old favorite; cutting snowflakes.  The best part is their excitement after cutting.  They just can’t wait to open them up to see how they turned out!

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I got this from Pinterest, and have been wanting to try it — snowflakes from pine needles.  We also added some snow dots with q-tips.  Speaking  tips, the only tip I have is press hard with the pine needles.  Other than that, have fun!

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And, last of all… pipe cleaner borax snowflakes.  So simple.  1/3 cup borax mixed with 2 cups hot water.  Of course, the hardest part is patience.  I told the girls they wouldn’t be ready until the next day.  However, we checked that night and they were already crystalized.  Hooray!

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And, that’s about it for snowflakes in December in California!

California in December

The only certain thing about the weather in Southern California in December is that snow, wind, rain, or hot sun are all possibilities.  It feels we have hit them all so far this month.  Just last week it was the wind:

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My kids LOVE the wind and always beg to do “bag kites.”  Then I have a dilemma… insist on starting school, or enjoy a second cup of coffee for an hour while they run outside with bag kites and call it p.e.  I usually opt for p.e.

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Then we have days like today.  December 17, 2013 — 84 degrees.  That’s when I’m forced to make another decision.  Insist on starting school, or walk to the horse stables and call it p.e.  Guess what we chose?

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The moral of the story is… always opt for p.e.!

Scenes from the Season

It’s official!  According to our charter school calendar we are officially on Christmas break.  But, shhhh… the kids don’t know this so I am trying to squeeze in an extra week of work!  Of course, we will include some fun, as well.  Here are some scenes from this season:

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1.  Malachi turning the nativity scene into a construction zone.  (Love it — fits him so well right now!)

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2.  After running into Santa at the mall, I found this letter on my almost-7-year-old’s desk.  Precious.  Santa is going to love it!

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3.  Styrofoam Christmas trees, take two.  These were such a hit last year, the girls just had to do them, again.  I buy the trees at the Dollar Tree — far cheaper than from a craft store!

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4.  Presents are being wrapped.  The kids know they are not allowed in our closet until after Christmas!

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5.  Cookies are being baked.  I got the idea to use my little blueberry boxes from the farmer’s market as small cookie boxes for people like our AWANA leaders, our piano teacher, etc. from Pinterest.  You can see the original here.

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6.  More cookies are being baked… and frosted… with friends.  (What is Christmas without special days with special friends?)

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7.  And… our Christmas cards are finally here.  The kids are so excited to go to the mailbox these days, and so am I!  Now if only I had a Christmas movie, my address list, a nice pen and some washi tape, and a tall peppermint mocha… I’d be all set to get our cards out!  Sounds wonderful, but my pile of laundry is calling.  (So is my bed!)

Happy Friday!

And, the countdown is on… not until Christmas, but until school is on break!  Ha!  Well… until Christmas, as well!  Ironically, school is going very well at the moment.  I know stopping always makes it hard to start back-up again.  I should be enjoying this roll we’re on!  But, I am ready for a school break.  How did I get onto school talk, anyway?

Anyhoo, I am happy it is Friday and so are the children.  Today was a great day with a trip to the Farmer’s Market, a visit with Santa who was out of his little house and looking for kids to get in line, a library trip with lots of fun Christmas books, a smoothie stop where the kids opted to sit by the fire and read while finishing their smoothies rather than play on the playground, afternoon art class, and now… a sleepover for the big girls!  They requested to sleep on our landing, so they could look our over the Christmas tree below.  I thought it was a swell idea!  (Swell… we have been watching too much “Brady Bunch around here, lately!)  Anyway, so far so good.  I can still hear talking, but no fighting.  They. may. actually. make. it.  We haven’t had much luck with sleepovers in the past, but it has been a while, and they do seem in good spirits.

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Disneyland!

You know how you have a plan of how a day will go in your head… and then it never goes quite the same?  Something always pops-up; bad weather, a kid gets sick, car trouble… something?!?!?  Well, I’m happy to tell you that sometimes… just sometimes it actually does go as planned.  And that is awesome!

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Let me back-up a bit.  We told the girls yesterday that they would get to accompany their dad to work for “Family work day.”  Since my husband works near Disneyland, that would explain the drive.  Once we got there, our oldest was the only one who seemed a little suspicious.  She was 4 last time we went to Disneyland, and asked, “Why does this place look so familiar?”  We parked in Downtown Disney and then took the monorail.  It wasn’t until we were on the monorail that I got to break the news — “We’re at Disneyland!”

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It’s funny, because that meant absolutely nothing to the two little ones — but from now on it will mean a big something!  All four were all smiles all day.  (Pretty amazing!)

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Crowds were small and our longest wait was 20 minutes.  (That was for Dumbo, and the kids did the carousel while I waited in line!)

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Disneyland at Christmas time was pretty special.  The kids especially loved “It’s a Small World.”  (Can you blame them?)

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Sierra’s favorite was the tea cups.  Figures.  She has a tea party with her animals almost every day!

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I never go anywhere that requires patience without lollipops! 🙂

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To add to our day of sugar, Daniel brought us some French beignets when we came out of our Playhouse Disney show.

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This was so sweet… by 3pm, Malachi literally couldn’t keep his eyes open.  He was still half-awake and smiling when he was kissed, but otherwise zonked!

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The plan was to stay until after lunch.  We stayed until it was dark, got dinner, and put four sleepy heads right to bed.  So I suppose it didn’t go exactly as planned… it went better.

Christmas Crafting!

Here’s a sample of a few of the crafts we’ve been up to, lately:

1.  Painting Christmas canvases

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2.  Making foamie frames; (Thanks for bringing these, Grandma!)

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3.  Making “Fleckle Trees”

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So, the first two crafts needed no explanation.  However, you might be interested in where the term “fleckle” came from.  You see, Sierra needed a quick Christmas craft.  I drew a tree and gave her some sticker “ornaments.”  All was well.  Then I cut a star for the top of the tree.  Natalie asked what the little pieces were for, and I said, “Whenever you cut a star out of a circle, the little pieces that fall are called fleckles.”  (It just came out — I don’t know why!)  Suddenly, this simple craft became an exciting craft.  Sierra kept requesting more stars, and Natalie joined in on the fun and kept requesting more fleckles.  We had a lot of fun, and decided we needed to make fleckle trees an annual tradition!

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The End!