Friday, December 23, 2011

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Christmas Goodies

I love to bake during the holidays.  This year, we've made a few goodies so far (mainly for teacher's gifts) but I wanted to share the ideas with you.

White chocolate party mix.  Corn chex, pretzels, Cheerios, peanuts and m&ms all covered in white chocolate.  Yum!

These little gems are so festive.  The original inspiration came from here.  My friend over at Phillips Phamily Phive also put a tasty spin on it with salted chocolate caramel pecan treats.

We made our first batch with candy cane kisses (my all-time favorite) and Christmas M&Ms. 

We made the second batch with plain chocolate kisses and the M&Ms.  The plain kisses took about 2-4 minutes longer to melt than the others.  It would also be good with peanut M&Ms.   

And last, but not least, the salted caramel chocolate shortbread bars.  These things are RICH, but very tasty.  I found the recipe here

Most of these things were bagged up for preschool teachers and Wednesday night choir teachers' gifts.  We will finish off the rest of it.  Enjoy!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Christmas Kids

The kids after church Dec. 4th.  I love Christmas outfits!  You will see these outfits a lot this Christmas season since this is the only year they will all 3 fit in them. 

And saying that David's outfit fits is stretching it a bit.  It's a 2T.  He's 3-1/2 and wears a 3T.  The pants are still fine, but the shirt is barely too short.  I think we can tough it out for a couple more weeks.  No growth spurts between now and Christmas please.

And this is me trying to use my camera in manual mode.  That is one of my New Year's Resolutions ... to learn how to use my camera for real! 

Above is a good setting to take photos of your Christmas tree with the lights all sparkly.  However, it is not the best for photographing a child in front of said tree.  As you can see below, the tree and lights look great, but there is not enough light on the kids faces and they look kind of grainy.  (I actually added some fill light to these pictures in my editing software ... without, it was hard to see the kids at all.)

As you can see, even though I've had my camera since Feb. 2009, I still have a lot to learn.  Up until now, I've shot everything in automatic mode.  I see a lot of Internet reading "how to's" in my future.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Cheap Entertainment

All three of my kiddos are great at entertaining themselves with everyday household items.  Luke, for example, is a big fan of the Tupperware cabinet.  After a few times of cleaning up this mess, that cabinet is now locked up tight.

He likes to pull everything out of the cabinet and climb inside.  He won't be able to fit in there much longer.  Sniff, sniff!

Claire and David are both big fans of the cardboard box.  They talked Daddy into cutting windows and doors into this one from our new water heater purchase. 


In addition to cabinet climbing, Luke is also a big fan of drawer sitting.  (This is at my in-laws' house.  He loves their cup drawer.)


All 3 of my kids love playing with laundry baskets.  Luke is pulled around in one often.

When the laundry baskets are full (which is all too often in my opinion), you can always find another box of some type to sit in.

Or trap yourself in the laundry basket cage.

Button Art

We made this button branch back in the fall.  I'm not gonna lie ... it was a long, drawn-out project.  The kids had fun though and now we have pretty pieces of ART to display in our house. 

The canvas are 11x14 flat canvases with a hard back.  I think it was $6.99 for a 3-pack at Hobby Lobby.  The buttons were a bag-o-buttons from the scrapbook section of Hobby Lobby.  These colors looked fall to me.  Buttons were $4.99 per bag.  We did not use a full bag for both projects.  I used Tacky Glue to glue the branch and buttons onto the canvas.

The hardest part of this project was gluing the branch to the canvas, because, guess what?  Branches aren't typically flat.  It took me the better part of a day to get the branch in place, glued and dried. 

I let the kids arrange the buttons on the canvases and I glued them down.  This took a long time.  We worked on it over the course of several days because Mama can only glue so many buttons in a sitting.

David's project.  This art matched our blue dining room walls perfectly. 

Claire's project.

My inspiration.  I love the fall colors, but I love our spin on it too. 

 This cute project is linked here: 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

It's a Christmas Miracle!

We visited Santa.  Nobody cried.  Everybody smiled AND looked at the camera. 


All joking aside, I know that Santa has nothing to do with the real meaning of Christmas, but it is always something fun that the kids look forward to each year.  At least they do now.  See our visits with Santa of past here, here and here.

"Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!"

Monday, December 12, 2011

Menu Plan Monday: December 12

I must say that this is the most boring meal plan ever!  I'm trying to avoid the grocery store and just pulling together leftovers and stuff I have in the freezer.

Monday: chicken artichoke lasagna, salad, bread

Tuesday: black bean & corn quesadillas, Spanish rice, salad

Wednesday: breakfast for dinner

Thursday:  Spaghetti, salad, garlic bread

Friday: chicken Alfredo, salad, french bread

The rest of the weekend is kind of up in the air.  We may try to get together with some friends for the holidays or we may just chill at home.  I'll have to come up with something!

Check out Laura's blog for more Menu Plan Monday.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Jingle Bell Run 2011

Will and I both got to run in the Arthritis Foundation's Jingle Bell Run this past weekend.  Last year, he was sick with a sinus infection and sat in the car with the kids while I ran my very first 5K by myself.  Boo!

We ran into my friend Melissa and she took a quick family photo for us before the race.  David was not cooperating.  He was way more interested in eating his donut.

Will before the race. 

Ready to run!  I told Will I was wearing my headsets and his response was "I wasn't planning on us staying together anyway."  Gee, thanks! 

David and Luke watching the race. 

The kids were entertained in the awesome kids area while we ran.  They made necklaces, Christmas cookies, ate candy canes, etc.  They had a grand old time! 

Claire modeling her jingle bell necklace. 

Claire and David waiting for us at the finish line. 

Here I come.  My time was 31:27 which was MUCH improved from my time last year (of almost 37 minutes).  Last year, I had just had Luke less than 3 months earlier.  I was just happy to run the whole race to be quite honest. 

Here comes Will.  Please notice that I finished first.  The pictures are in the correct order.  Ha! 

Will and me after the race. 

Go Team Madeline!!  My friend Claire's daughter (Madeline) who is David's age has JRA.  We ran in her honor.  Such a great group! 

Claire and the Vanderbilt Children's Hospital mascot "Champ". 

Luke just chillin' with my sports drink after the race.  He was so ready to get out of that stroller. 

Claire in her reindeer antlers. 

Me and my friend Claire.  She is all decked out in the Christmas attire.  She chaired this event last year and helped a ton with it this year too.   This event is always a fun way to kick-off the Christmas season! 

Some aDult Fun!

My old bible study group had their annual Christmas get together dinner at a local steakhouse this past weekend.  Good food, good friends and good fun was had by all.

All the gals.  On a funny side note ... the guys left us to pay while they headed to a sports bar across the street to watch the end of a basketball game.  One of us (Heather) forgot her check card to pay and another one of us (Beth) forgot her car keys.  Are we really that helpless without our hubbies? 

Twinkies!  This seems to happen to Will a lot.   

The guys acting silly.  (Chad is re-enacting an uncomfortable moment Carey had in the church preschool department a few weeks ago.  And Will looks like he is riding a horse.  Kevin is just happy to be there.) 

Here is a better picture of the guys. 

Fun times as always!!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Claire in Kindergarten: November 2011

This has been a busy month for Miss Claire!  The reading is finally started to click and I really think the extra sight words activities we have been doing is making the difference!  Thank you to Carisa at 1plus1plus1equals1 for creating the You Can Read program and sharing it with us!
You Can Read Unit 2 activites ... our words were: I, can, me, you.

Some Thanksgiving activities from her Abeka curriculum.

Pilgrim hats (David got the boy hat).

Handprint turkey.  She drew this all by herself.  Even tracing her hand.  (The house was another Abeka project and the gift was a Wednesday night church activity.)

Praise pumpkin patch.  (The turkey was made at church one Wednesday night.)

You Can Read Unit 3 ... our words were:  like, it, is, my. 

We used a new activity with this one ... rice sensory box.  The sight words are on small pieces of paper in different fonts and Claire has to find and sort the words.  She loves this activity and we do it 2-3 times per week.

We used or playdough mats to sort the words. 

Another use for the Bingo cards ... roll a word.  We used our Education Cube printables with our 4 sight words and Claire marked each word she rolled on the Bingo cards.  

Sight word graphing ... another of her favorite activities. 

We always do our playdough activities together ... Claire's sightwords and David's letter of the week. 

I finally got our word board ready too.  Except that Luke pulled off the Q and W.  I'll have to get those put back on!  This is a good way for her to review our past words too.  We take them all off and put them all on each week (new words and old words). 

Making words with beads. 

You Can Read Unit 4 ... our words were: love, mom, dad, at.

We also made this awesome nativity scene as one of her art projects in her Abeka program.  She is super pumped to use it to tell us the Christmas story on Christmas Day.  She mentions it frequently.

You Can Read Unit 5 ... our words were: go, here, up, down. 

Ok.  I think that is about it for the month of November.  I really do some extra number work with Claire.  She can count to 100, but we are having trouble with number recognition.  Any suggestions?

This post is linked up to these great blogs: