Thursday, December 18, 2014 being to finish up

...some holiday gifts.

I knew this little toddler chair had potential...

When I learned my youngest nephew adored 'soft' things...

I envisioned just the thing...

After pulling out potentially hundreds of staples, a little sanding, a bit of staining (as you can see I don't really have any workspace anymore)...

and two IKEA rugs...I came up with this:

I think I would like to cuddle up in it.

Monday, December 15, 2014 find a few

...lost items

Me:  Looking for my phone.  Looking for my phone.  Looking for my phone.  Several hours later...

"Has anyone seen my phone?"

Abbey:  "Yes.  In my pink Bitty Baby backpack, in my stroller, in the living room."

Me:  "Why of course...that's where I must have left it?!?"  Grr.

Me:  Looking for the giant round circle punch.  Looking for the giant round circle punch.  Looking for the giant round circle punch.  Several hours later...

"Has anyone seen the giant round circle punch?"

Audrey:  "Yes.  It's downstairs, in the basement, in the sink, in my kitchen set."

Me:  "Why of course...that's where I must have left it?!?"  Ugh.

Mark:  Looking for his Tiger's hat...looking for his Tiger's hat.  Several days later....

We still haven't found the Tiger's hat, but we are certain it's tucked away in some strange location.

Sunday, December 14, 2014 download

...the photos off of my camera.

This little guy made me laugh.

I think they say the fatter the squirrels are the worse the winter is supposed to be... far (except for one cold snap) we haven't found this to be true.

In the meantime, we'll enjoy the mild days while keeping our fingers crossed for a white Christmas.

Monday, December 8, 2014 continue with

...the holiday preparations and decorations and Advent experiences.

Day 5:  Family outing to Kerrytown in Ann Arbor.

This was such a fun family outing.  The little shops were open 'til midnight, the Farmer's Market was open, there was a children's paper lantern parade, and of course Santa was milling around for the evening.

Day 6:  Cottonball fight.

This event has been postponed day-after-day.  I think this is hands-down the kids' favorite activity of the season.  Unfortunately, Mark has an injury that has incapacitated him for the past few days...and we definitely don't want to do one this without him

The accident:  Mark and Abbey were playing one-on-one basketball after Will's game this past weekend.  Mark went to dribble the ball past her, she shot her arm up to block him, and her fingers...met his eyeball.  He has a 3mm tear on his cornea (about 30% of his eye).  I have never seen someone in so much pain.  Labor seems much more preferable to the torture he has been through these past few days.  And the timing...couldn't be worse.  Mark has his first final this Friday and can't see anything.

Day 7:  Big Hero 6

A good movie by Disney.  I thought it was a little deep for the kids but they enjoyed it nonetheless.  For the record, I don't like sad Disney movies.  This one was a little reminiscent of Up.  A movie I cannot watch without inconsolably crying.

Day 8:  Write a letter to an old teacher or friend.

Surprisingly, each of the kids really enjoyed our activity for today.  Signed and sealed.

Friday, December 5, 2014 start to use up the

...106 oz. can of pumpkin I ordered.

Just for reference most cans are 15 oz.

Ooops.  It's no wonder it was 'a good deal' on Amazon Prime.

That's a lot of pumpkin!

This morning I made chocolate chip pumpkin muffins...

I combined some of our favorite recipes (e.g., zucchini bread, spice muffins) to make these:

3/4 c canola oil
1 1/2 c sugar
4 eggs
2 1/2 c pumpkin
3 cups flour
1 t salt
2 t baking powder
a couple shakes of allspice
a couple shakes of cloves
1t cinnamon
1/2t nutmeg
1 t soda
1 1/2 cups mini chocolate chips

Bake at 375 for about 15 minutes (till very lightly browned).  Cool.  Dust with powdered sugar.

They were a huge hit.

It's a good thing...since I have lots of pumpkin to use up!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014 continue with the holiday preparations

...and there is only 22 days left.

Thanksgiving was a little late this year.  And Christmas is sneaking up a little too quickly.  I took the opportunity over the long holiday weekend to put up our outdoor lights and we managed to get our tree.

I think December is the kids' favorite month of the year.  We try to have a little more focused family time, we read holiday stories nearly every day, and who doesn't enjoy the pretty papers, lights, and promises of presents?

Slowly the house is coming together.  The stockings are hung, the lights are strung, the tree is decorated, and the first round of cookies have been baked.

I think the kids' favorite traditions is running to open the Advent calendar each morning to see what our 'activity' for the day is.  Looking for the Plymouth (our elf) is a close second.

December 1:  Making Christmas cookie cut-outs after school.

This activity required such concentration and so much creativity that Audrey got super hot (and super messy) and had to strip down to her tighty-whities.

I had no idea they would enjoy this activity so much and put in so much effort.  

Kudos goes to Abbey for not even taking one lick!  

(So she insists...I think this photo and evidence of her blue tongue many indicate otherwise.)

December 2nd:  Making snowflakes.

This is another family favorite each year.  And as a bonus it is a quick activity to do on an evening filled with other extra-curricular activities.  We hang them in the windows when they are done.

December 3rd:  Breakfast for dinner.

Sometimes I cheat and throw in really simple things that the kids will think are awesome.  This did not disappoint.  I even let them pick... pancakes or waffles.

Pancakes won.

December 4th:  Hot chocolate bar!  As in hot chocolate, whipped cream, and candy canes.  They'll think it's awesome and we'll be able to squeeze this in after horse back riding and before swimming.

Monday, December 1, 2014 set Audrey straight

...sort of.

Mark paid the kids their allowance yesterday.


It had been a few weeks since we've paid them.  

Some weeks we are better than other weeks about paying them on time.

This is a long winded way of saying Audrey had acquired 'a lot of buck' (this is how she references bills be it a one or a five.) and she was reveling in her good fortune.

I happened to be in her room when she came upstairs to put her money into her piggybank.  This was our conversation:

Audrey:  Oh...friends may come and go...but money is FOR-EVER!! (I think I may have heard her cackle.)

Me:  Um.  Audrey.  Honey.  I think you have that backward.  The saying is:  Money may come and go, but friends are forever.  Sweetie.

Audrey:  Nope.  Friends will die someday.

Me:  Speechless.  

I learned later from Isabella that Audrey picked up this line from a television show she had watched.  Phew.  Thank goodness.