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.

luv 2

luv 3Happy Friday!

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!

dis 1

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!”

dis 2

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!)

dis 3

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!)

dis 4

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

dis 5

dis 6

dis 7

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

dis 8

I never go anywhere that requires patience without lollipops! 🙂

dis 9

dis 10

dis 11

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

dis 12

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!

dis 13

dis 14

dis 15

dis 16

dis 17

dis 18

dis 19

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

cd 1

cd 2

cd 3

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

cd 4

cd 5

cd 6

3.  Making “Fleckle Trees”

cd 7

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!

cd 8

cd 9

cd 10

The End!

Oh, Christmas Tree

Last night I made another list of all the things I wanted to accomplish today.  I went to bed laughing… if we accomplished half of that list, it would be wonderful.  Mixed in with the laundry and organizing was making two Christmas crafts as well as rice krispy treats.  And, while we may have only gotten through a third of the list, we did indeed accomplish the all-important crafts and treats!  The first craft we did was a paper-strip Christmas tree.  It was a Pinterest find, and you can see my inspiration here.  (I would recommend checking it out… they had other fun ideas using the same concept, as well.)

ctree 1

Since my kids don’t cut that straight, I first had them draw chalk lines on their papers so they would know where to cut.  I also made them  allowed them to cut their own 1/2″ strips of paper.  They really enjoyed this part!

ctree 2

Next, all they had to do was slip the paper through the slots!  It took a few minutes for them to catch-on, but once they did they were on their own!

ctree 3

Meanwhile, this little dude enjoyed chopping the air.  (Yes, I was nervous but I was right next to him and watching him like a hawk!)

ctree 4

And, Sierra made her own “tree” by gluing the strips on a paper.

ctree 5

Ta-da!

ctree 6

The beauty of this project is that they were able to use the leftover strips for two more projects; a count-down chain, (to Natalie’s birthday, not Christmas), and quilling once again.  Hope you stayed warm and found some Christmas joy mixed-in with your to-do list, as well!

Homemade marshmallows

It happens every year.  I see the cute advent calendars on Pinterest, and I vow to be on top of things and actually make one, and not just pin one!  Then it sneaks up on me… December.  And, my list is made.  And, the priority of an Advent calendar falls to the bottom and gets put off until next year.

Well, this year was no different.  Actually, it was a little different.  This year I actually figured out which advent calendar I would use, primed it out, and made a list of 25 activities specific for our family!  I even bought the Groupon for ice skating, (one of our activities), and saved my Chick-Fil-A coupons for getting a peppermint milkshake, (another activity).  But, once again, I decided it would be too much.  At least I am more ready than ever for next year!  And, I am doing Christmas activities for our “Try-it Tuesdays.”  Yesterday we made homemade marshmallows… (and hot chocolate to go with them, of course!)

marsh 1

I was so excited when I remembered my mom had gotten me a candy thermometer recently.  This is a must for making marshmallows.  Actually, they are quite simple if you have one.

marsh 2

marsh 3

marsh 4

We experimented with various small cookie cutters.  As long as they were dipped in our corn starch/ powdered sugar mixture first, they turned out great!

marsh 5

To be honest, it was a little sad watching them melt in the hot chocolate after waiting 4 hours for them to harden.  But, they were really yummy!  We all agreed on that!

marsh 6

marsh 7

After making several “cute” ones… then eating them… we just cut up the rest and put them in a ziplock.  They are still yummy tasting today!  I wonder how long they will last?!?!

marsh 8

If you would like the instructions, here they are as we wrote them in our science journals:

marsh 9

And for the real recipe, just Google Alton Brown’s marshmallows.

It’s Monday.

What is it about starting a new school week after having a week off that is so… daunting?

mon 1

Today is Monday.  By 7:30am, we had already had a few set-backs.  It began with a very wet bed.  Some days I think my 4-yr-old will be in pull-ups at night until she is twenty!

mon 2

Follow that with an explosion.  I decided to make some Nordic pancakes for breakfast and all that was left to do was to turn on the blender.  I checked to make sure it was on its lowest speed, as I always do.  However, I neglected to note that the “variable speed” setting had been switched to “high.”  It was straight out of a movie — so bad that I actually had to laugh.  In my hair, all over my pajamas, and everywhere you could think of in my kitchen.

mon 3

Next came the finding of a dead lizard next to the couch.  Eow.  At least it wasn’t the dead bird from yesterday when my husband was home to take care of it.  Silly cat.

mon 5

 We dropped the big girls off at piano and headed to Target for a quick trip.  On the list — jelly for p,b, and j at lunch today.  I got home and opened the jar to find it had already been opened once upon a time, and was several shades of white and green hairy mold.  (Sorry for the graphic description.)

mon 6

By now you are certainly thinking I am having a bad day.  And, it’s true that I wasn’t exactly thrilled at what was happening.  But, at the same time I felt a sense of peace through it all.  I think it started when I was able to laugh at my blender blunder.  Oh, why can’t I have that kind of an attitude more often?  God has such grace for us crazy mamas, doesn’t he?

mon 7

Tonight after supper, instead of doing dishes I somehow ended up chasing the kids around the house with a banana peel.  You should hear how loud 3 girls and a toddler boy can scream.  I think the game went on about 45 minutes.  Even when it was over, Sierra went down the stairs, into the trash can, and returned with the peel and said, “Here Mom – come chase me, again!”

mon 8

From there, we played beauty salon and I had  two kids massaging my feet with lotion, while two brushed my hair and “painted” my nails.  It’s a game I’d highly recommend after a stressful day.

mon 9

Right now the dishes are still on the table and stove.  Remnants of this mornings explosion are still being discovered, (like in our fruit bowl).  My to-do list still has many boxes to be checked.  But, my heart is full.

mon 10

On a side note, these are just some of the pictures of the last few days as we took down Thanksgiving and transformed this place into a Christmas wonderland.  Actually, we have kept it pretty simple.  Not every ornament is up; not every decoration out.  But, it feels great to be done already.  And, it brings me such joy to see the little ones enjoying this season.

mon 11

Now I think I’ll go sit by the tree and have another look at that to-do list!