Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Vacation

I have never really understood people taking "blogging breaks" and especially the part about making an announcement about it.  Just blog or not, I always thought.

But the open-ended blankness of days (or weeks!) -old blog posts sitting here on my own blog leave a sense of guilt and stress hanging over me.  

The blog has ceased to become fun, and has become a burden.

Therefore, I am officially declaring myself on blogging vacation, to enhance my enjoyment of family and the holidays, without the obligation of blogging about it all.

Wishing a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and yours, and I'll see you all back here (I think) in January!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Great Christmas Countdown

We're trying something new this year, and so far, it is a raging success!

I like success.

I searched long and hard for an advent calendar that 1) was cute, 2) was quick & easy, 3) would be a good visual for Alan for how many days were left until Christmas, 4) would contain a surprise or surprise activity for each day.

I finally decided 3 out of 4 ain't bad and went with this:

The cute scrap-booky number squares came as a free download (that I would really, really like to share here but haven't been able to find it again anywhere! :-( Sorry.).  They printed 6 to a page.  I printed them on cardstock, glued each one to a piece of solid green paper, then laminated them.

You could do anything you want with them.  I chose to arrange them in this tree shape and tape them to my refrigerator.  

Every day we take down that day's date, switch the tape from the green side to the number side and tape it back up. 

By the time Christmas day rolls around, we'll have a solid green tree on our fridge!  Ta-daaaa!  And hopefully we'll get around to making a big yellow glittery star for the top before then. :)

So... item number 4 - "contain a ... surprise activity for each day".  I couldn't figure out how to link those two together, so I didn't.  Making them separate just adds to the fun, right?

Beginning December 1, the first thing the boys do every morning is check the "surprise stocking."  It's really catching on big time, so much so that this morning Dale came and asked me while I was still in bed if he could check the stocking.  It's like  Christmas morning every morning!  Dale has mentioned several times how much he loves it and asked if we can do it again next year.  

And what is in this stocking?  Here's so far:
1 - A handful of ornaments. We put the boys' tree up in their room this day.

2 - Hot chocolate packets, with Christmas mugs sitting nearby. Breakfast treat!

3 - Two jingle bells and two lengths of yarn, with Polar Express book (from Library) sitting nearby.  Made jingle bell necklaces and watched The Polar Express on tv that night.

4 - Two big Christmas bulbs.  Put up the outside lights that afternoon.

5 - Box of old fashioned peppermint sticks and two forks, with Little House in the Big Woods storybook "Christmas in the Big Woods" sitting nearby.  Read the book and had 'pancake men' for breakfast just like they had in the book.  (They also received peppermint sticks in their stockings in the book.)

6 - Various spices and a recipe.  Made ginger cookies.

7 - Peanuts Christmas books.  Read the books and watched A Charlie Brown Christmas movie (borrowed from Library).

8 - Measuring cup, food coloring, glitter. Made Christmas playdough. (With glitter!)

9 - Six piece clue puzzle I made and printed from the computer.  The answer to the puzzle: We're going to Daddy's Christmas concert at school tonight!

It's been so fun putting a little bit of Christmas into every day!  Seeing what we've done so far, I definitely want to put in more nativity activities (ooh, that's fun to say! ha!) and more book-related fun, too.  Any suggestions?

How are you celebrating the season?

Monday, December 6, 2010

He picked out the hat himself.

This afternoon just before we went out the door to go out to the post office I looked at Alan - really looked, and saw he looked like such a little ragamuffin!

It struck me as really funny, and I wondered if anyone at the post office noticed how much like a little street urchin my boy looked.

We decided to take a few pictures when we got home.

You can see he was feeling a little camera shy.  (Yeahhhh, right.)

Then we traded places and he took a few pictures of me.

In this order.

I didn't crop anything.

He did that for me when he took the pictures.

Street urchin ragamuffins don't make the best photographers, apparently. 

But they sure are cute!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Did Cinderella have a swiffer?

My Grandad has been batching it for several weeks as my grandmother has been back and forth between the nursing home and the hospital.  

I went out to their house this afternoon to "help" him get ready for an aunt and uncle that are coming in for a quick visit. 

I say "help" all quote-like because there really wasn't much for me to do.  The dishes were all washed.  The laundry was all folded.

I swept a few crumbs out of the floor and did a couple of other light jobs, but I was obviously there more for moral support that physical labor.  Never mind the fact that the boys went home with pockets full of bubble gum and a ziploc bag full of cookies, and I had several newspaper inserts and coupons stuffed into my purse.  

It wasn't until I got home to my own crumby floors and dirty dishes that I realized: My 70+ year old grandfather is keeping a neater house than I am.

I'm not sure if this says more about his housekeeping skills or the fact that 2 boy-kids and a baby inhabit this house.  I am also not sure if I want to investigate that thought any further.

And with that, I am off to bed.

May your sleep be sweet and your house be clean!