Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Day Twenty-Five... Christmas

So, Christmas was great. I'm really slow getting this up and going again. We had a lot of fun with B's family. The boys had a great time too and Santa brought them both just what they wanted (with a few modifications for cost purposes). I've always kind of had this tradition of making a goal on Christmas. Something I can give to Jesus. This year I'm going with a scripture that always gets stuck in my head. I think it's when Nephi & Lehi (Helaman's sons) are in prison nevermind... I'll look it up! It's Helaman 5:30, "And it came to pass when they heard this voice, and beheld that it was not a voice of thunder, neither was it a voice of a great tumultuous noise, but behold, it was a still voice of perfect mildness, as if it had been a whisper, and it did pierce even to the very soul-" I keep thinking that if I could just use a still voice of perfect mildness that maybe my boys would actually listen! I default to the voice of thunder way more than I should. So that's the gift this year. I'm really going to work on that one... Hope your holidays were all you wanted and more! Enjoy the Journey!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Day Twenty-Four... Nativity

Tonight we acted out the Nativity. A&J's family played Joseph, Mary, and baby Jesus. Little C had a hard time deciding what he wanted to be. In the end he had a shepherd's jacket and a wiseman's crown and he spent the entire story with his family. He was really cute! We also continued our family tradition of opening up a gift (a new Christmas book) and reading it before bed. This year it was Mr. Finnegan's Giving Chest. We listened to Dick Van Dyke read it. He is such a great reader. I'm glad we got the CD with it! After we got the little men to bed we did the last of the wrapping and finally made it to bed praying that they wouldn't be up too early! Enjoy the Journey!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Day Twenty-Three... More Family

We will be spending the next few days in Cedar. Today our activity will have to be listening to R & P's ward choir Christmas program. It was nice. I was sad to miss ours though. We also had an early Christmas dinner with K&M's family. I'm sure glad that we were able to see them and that our kids were able to play while they did. Enjoy!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Day Twenty-Two... Mick's Family Party

Really, this was a lot of fun! A&R were in charge and they did a super great job. We played a few really fun games... We had a gift wrapping race/contest but the twist was that we partnered up and each partner put a hand around the others back and we were tied together (i.e. three-legged race only minus the middle "leg"). Then we had to wrap the gift. Thankfully I was the right handed one and B had to use his left... I think we had an unfair advantage because his hands are so stinking big they covered the entire gift! We weren't quite the fastest, but we were the fastest pretty one. Next we had to hold a piece of paper above our heads and draw a Christmas picture as it was told to us... Draw a floor, now draw a Christmas tree on the floor, now draw a fireplace with a mantle, now put a fire in the fireplace, now draw a star on the tree... etc. Then we got points for things like, does your tree touch the floor? 2 points. Is the fire in the fireplace? 2 points. 1 bonus point for each decoration (besides the star) that you put on your tree... etc. Lastly, we divided up into two teams (boys against girls) and we had to line up in order tallest to shortest as fast as we could. Blindfolded. This was hilarious! It was so funny watching the guys all try to muscle everyone else around because they had a plan... they each had their own plan. There was no talking allowed. Boys against girls was smart since it would have been very uncomfortable for one of the guys to grope one of the girls! So, that + good food + cute kids + great family = fun times! Mom passed out the family yearbood that we all contributed to. It turned out awesome! Enjoying the Journey!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Day Twenty-One... A Little Wrapping

And I do mean a little... The little guys wrapped their gifts to each other and I wrapped the gifts to the Grandpas and Grandmas. It was a short and sweet project. Just getting ready for the bigger/fuller days ahead. Enjoy the Journey

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Day Twenty... Bah Humbug

Today the plan is to pick up my "neighbor" gifts. I am anti neighbor gifts so when I say neighbor I don't really mean it. Today I plan to pick up a bunch of suckers at Pebbles... they are my favorites and they only have them at Christmas time. The flavor? HUMBUG. That is how I feel about neighbor gifts... so, lucky ladies... you just might get a humbug sucker, if you've been really nice and if you remind me when I see you! I think I'm done with Christmas. I've been there for a while. All this fun stuff to get me in the spirit... it's not working. I think next year I'll take my "need a little Christmas" box and do it myself as needed. That would be more in the spirit of doing less, not more. Enjoy the Journey!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Day Nineteen... Do Nothing

Tonight I fell asleep on the couch at 7:00 p.m. The boys wanted to watch Frosty the Snowman again... but the TV broke. At 7:30 p.m. Daddy came home from helping with tithing settlement and Mom went to bed. Yep, that's right... Mom went to bed at 7:30 p.m. and we did nothing Christmas related. Bummer! Enjoy the Journey!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Day Eighteen... Christmas Orange

Tonight we watched the story "The Christmas Orange". The boys really enjoyed it and of course it made me teary-eyed. Does that to me every time.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Day Seventeen... "Gingerbread" Houses

Tonight we got together with some friends and made "gingerbread" houses. We actually used graham crackers, not gingerbread, but the kids all loved it anyway. We hot glued the houses together because if you use frosting to "glue" them you have to start a few days ahead (honestly, who thinks that far in advance?). While I was looking for a recipe for royal icing at allrecipes I came across a comment that said you can melt sugar in a pan and it will act just like hot glue... so if any of you'd like to try it just click on this allrecipes link and it will take you to a recipe and the instructions (it's the first comment) for melting the sugar... or you can just hot glue them. As for the icing, I used a different recipe because our friend is pregnant so I skipped the recipe with raw egg whites and found one with meringue powder. Something important about the icing... I'm not sure if the five minutes of whipping is long enough. It should be until peaks form. Then the icing will be thick enough to hold the candy until it dries. When I made ours it took about 10 mins. of whipping at low speed. Also, I just noticed that the first recipe doesn't say anything about keeping the icing moist. It's important to keep a damp towel over your bowl so it doesn't dry out... especially if you make it ahead of time. Enough of the explainations... here are some pictures. I think it's fun how much the dads enjoyed the project too! Enjoy the Journey!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Day Sixteen... Santa Jar

Today we visited Norm and Lill. I had talked to Lill after choir practice... the boys had asked, "can we go visit Norm and Lill? We haven't seen them for a long time!" I laughed and said, "except for when you went over there yesterday, and the day before that, and all the days before that to beg for cookies!" So I talked to Lill and we went to visit. She had a Santa cookie jar filled with wafers to give to the boys. Jar and all. So, lucky me... today we had Santa come to visit and I didn't have to do a thing! Enjoy the Journey!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Day Fifteen... Nativity

Tonight we had our Ward Christmas party. The Primary did the Nativity story and the little men dressed up as Wisemen. They loved their costumes and I will try to get a picture of them to post later. I didn't take my camera since I was leading the music for the program... Little man #2 was funny. He just couldn't get it that he wasn't in the program, he was just dressed for fun. He sat down in front of the stage with me, "Mom, is it my turn yet?" approx. 1,000 times (only a slight exaggeration). I tried to tell him that he was just going to stay with me, but when the other three wisemen came on stage he said, "Mom, it's my turn!" and went up the stairs to join them. Cute little man! Oh well, I hope everyone else thought he was cute too. They also got to sit on Santa's lap and tell him they want Bumblebee and The Flash for Christmas. Hopefully he'll get that right! It was a good party. Yummy food, great company, and the program went well too. Can't complain about that! Enjoying the Journey!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Day Fourteen... Wow!

Seriously, a busy Christmas day, but the little men probably don't even know that we had a Christmas activity... I spent the day sewing a Wise Man costume for the ward Christmas party tomorrow night. LM#1 was originally assigned to be a shepherd (which would have been much easier... we have towels!) but then they changed him to a Wiseman. (we don't have little robes). So I decided to make life hard and "do more" (as opposed to the "do less" that I am supposed to be doing this year) I am making a costume that can be used by future generations! The trial run with muslin took approx. 30 minutes. I thought that was acceptable and started making one with a Chinese looking brocade cloth (shiny like a king should be). It didn't go as smoothly and ended up taking 2+ hours. Way too long. But, now I'm done and it's very cute. I don't know if I'd say worth it, but definitely cute. Later, *B* and I had his work Christmas party. It was fun. They played 1 vs. 20 (last year it was Deal or No Deal). We had to bring a bag of canned goods for Dixie Care and Share to be able to participate in the game. **Did you know that the food banks always need peanut butter? That is what they announced in our ward when they did a food drive. There is never enough peanut butter. Just in case you have a food drive coming up! So *B* and I both spent time as contestants in the Mob... I stayed through 3 different contestants (because I'm so smart and knew all the answers... and the lady who put the game together was behind us and kept helping), but no money for the mob. One time the person got the question wrong but there wasn't any money in the pot yet. That was too bad! It was fun though. The highest paid contestant went home with almost $375.00... I wish I had been a contestant! Enjoying the Journey!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Day Thirteen... The 12 Days of Christmas Lesson

The little men learned a hard lesson tonight and I didn't even plan it! We got a knock at our door about 7:30 p.m. tonight... when we opened the door there was a huge sack full of presents sitting on our door step. Little man #2 was asleep on the couch, but LM#1 was so excited he started digging all the stuff out. I noticed tags with numbers on each gift so I told him to stop and let me take a picture... learning about the Twelve Days of Christmas would make a good Advent activity (see how excited he is!). After the picture we lined up the gifts by day. When we got to the bottom of the bag there was a tag that said, "To the Barry Perkins family". I kid you not. Someone had delivered a huge bag of gifts to the wrong house!

Now I had to explain to LM#1 that these gifts were for someone else (he said that they brought them to us so they are ours). We know the Perkins Family so it helped being able to point to different things, like a box that obviously had clothes in it, and say, "see, this has clothes in it. The Perkins have a baby and a little girl. We don't have either so we can't use these clothes... but they can." We repacked the bag and loaded up in the van and went to play Santa for someone else. LM#1 was still having a hard time with the whole idea of giving up gifts that had just been delivered to them. I told them that it was very nice of them to take things to the people they belonged to so we would stop by the manger and they could put straw in the Baby Jesus bed for doing something so nice. That helped.

Enjoy the Journey

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Day Twelve... Homework

Hee-hee... I seriously took the easy road today. We have a monthly calendar with a homework assignment on each day. The kindergarten kids are supposed to choose 3 assignments to do each week. This months calendar has a whole bunch of Christmas'ish assignments on it. So... we did Christmas homework. They drew pictures of our family ice-skating, we made "hot chocolate with an adult", and Little Man #1 wrote our address (necessary for sending a letter to Santa and even for sending Christmas cards... which we haven't done). Not bad for a days work! The plan for the day was to clean up their room and have them pick a few toys/clothes to take to the D.I. it's one of the ideas in my "need a little Christmas box". We got their room cleaned, and we talked about them choosing things to take, but by the time we finally got done... Well, lets just say we really were done. I found some vintage Christmas postcards on Flickr and printed them out so I can get my J.O.Y pails done. Maybe by the end of the week I'll have something cute to share... Oh! Almost forgot... I got a special delivery today. My painting came with Lexi's drawing. I have to tell you, even the package is cute. I think it deserves a photo...

How can you not love a big brown envelope with a stamp that says, "hooray! Mail for you from the Black Apple"? I know, it's just too easy. The craziest things make me happy!

Enjoy the Journey!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Day Eleven... Candy Cane Stirring Sticks

Tonight I'm going to keep it simple and have hot chocolate with candy cane stirring sticks. It's been a very long day. Hopefully I can get the little men into bed early... and myself shortly there-after. I picked up some Christmas paper at Pebble's to make J.O.Y labels for my tin pails that I have on the counter. I'll post a picture when I get them done. I want the letters to be sparkly... I just can't decide what color will work best. It might take a few trys. Enjoy the Journey!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Day Ten... Family Gifts

After FHE we decided that it would be a nice activity to get our family gift shopping done. We took a little trip to Target and divided up into teams. I took the boys first and railroaded guided them into an acceptable gift for Dad. Then, while Daddy took the two little men to shop for me, I wandered and found the gift LM#2 is requesting from the Jolly Old Elf (Ha ha... maybe we should start calling him Joe!). Then we divided into teams... LM#2 and I were really fast. I knew what big brother wanted and again railroaded guided the little man into a wise choice. Daddy didn't have so much luck. Big brother knows way too much what he wanted so of course little brother wanted it too. Poor Daddy got a huge dose of Little Man #1 on this trip. While they were shopping for me it was the same story. Too many things that he wanted. There was a pair of Transformer sunglasses... "Dad, how much is this?" "look on it... what does it say?" "$5.99" "So, it's six bucks plus tax." "Do you have that?" "You're not getting the glasses." "Fine, Mom's got money." "Isaac, you're not getting the glasses." "I'll tell you what Dad, you get me these glasses and I'll give you seven dollars when we get home." "You're not getting the glasses." "Fine then. I'll give you two dollars... that's it." Stinkin' kid thinks everything is a negotiation. Enjoying the Journey.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Day Nine... Battle of the Choirs

Yes, that's what I said... Battle of the Choirs. In our Stake every year they ask each ward to prepare a Christmas song for a fireside. It is "lovingly" known by some as "Battle of the Choirs". B was cracking up because the organist for the opening song had on a jacket that looked like a referee's shirt. Nice... The fireside is a nice idea it just brings back nightmares of eternal band and choir concerts from school. Every group has to get their two cents in and it just keeps going and going... It's just so... boring. Don't get me wrong, I love Christmas music... even in great quantities, but... well, lets just say I don't love the fireside with two little boys and 12 wards singing songs that all sound the same. Enough said? Enjoy the Journey!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Day Eight... Gumdrops

Yes, we finally got it done! The boys loved it. It was fun to see how their personalities came out in their art. Both very intense. LM #1 changing his plan three time in process. LM #1 very focused and driven to get in as much as possible. He wanted all of the gumdrops. I was glad that *B* decided to join in the fun too. He said it was tedious and only covered half of his cone. That is totally his personality too. I made one as well... Yes, I am still too much of a perfectionist. I hated that we had ugly gumdrops (that is also the reason behind the black and white photos). I took a photo of them all lined up, but it just didn't do them justice. Instead you get the process...
  1. Gumdrops, toothpicks, and styrofoam cones.
  2. Stick 1/2 toothpick in gumdrop to create a "push-pin".
  3. Stick "pushpin" into styrofoam cone.
The hardest part of the project was getting to it! As you've probably guessed, the boys have already begun to dismantle their trees. Oh well, at least we did it... and I took pictures so they'll remember it.

Enjoy the journey!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Funny Story... Not Advent Related

On Wednesday the boys were outside chasing each other around the house. I could hear them circling. Then they stopped and spent an unusual amount of time in one place... I looked out the window to see them both absolutely naked and in a mud puddle they had created with the hose. My first reaction was to laugh. Second, beat them with a stick... it was freezing outside. How was I supposed to get them cleaned up enough to come in and take a bath? I went out and told them to turn the water off and get as much mud off as possible. I went back into the house (so as to avoid beating them with a stick). A few minutes later the 14 year old neighbor boy came over and told Little Man #1 to get in the house and get some clothes on or he was going to tell his mom. Little Man's response... "She already knows!" Smug little stinker. I had to laugh at the too. So, after I chilled out for a few minutes I decided that they were probably already popcicles and spraying them off with the hose might get the point across... by this time they were completely covered with mud. Poor little guys. I really felt bad for them. It was one of those, "this hurts me more than it hurts you" moments. But then again, I still wanted to beat them with a stick! I didn't take a picture... I wanted to, but I couldn't let them think I thought it was worthy. Enjoying the journey!

Day Seven... Frosty

So, I went with the simple and we counted Frosty the Snowman as our official activity for the day. I think it's funny that I'm the only one keeping track. I don't think the boys know they're participating in any kind of Christmas countdown. B is just smiling and along for the ride... participation optional. Maybe I'll have to stop worrying about them and just enjoy it all myself. I found these countdown boxes I put together for a Y.W. activity a few years ago and it has some really good "need a little Christmas" ideas. Most are too advanced for the boys, but they're great for me. Yesterday's gumdrops didn't go either. I never made it to the store. Day Six post has been modified. Gumdrops to be featured later. Someday when I have the patience to let my guys make a mess... I do have the gumdrops now. Enjoy the Journey!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Day Six... Gumdrops The Chipmunks

We'll see how this goes, I saw gumdrops on a blog I like... hula seventy her advent activity for the day was making gumdrop trees. I thought, "hmm... that sounds like fun and the boys would love it!" So, I think we'll give it a whirl. I'll add photos and some other notes when I have them. I also found felt Christmas trees. When we were watching Rudolph I couldn't get over how cute the Christmas trees were. Then the crazy black apple lady had felt trees on her blog and I thought, "hmm... the trees on Rudolph were a lot like that and cuter"... maybe we'll make felt Christmas trees some time too. The boys would love that as well. Just a thought. Go looking at the links if you'd like. I lied. I never made it to the store. No gumdrops today. Today we broke out the Christmas music and the boys rocked to The Chipmunk's, "Christmas, Christmas" they crack me up. Oh yes, and finally... a new quote!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Day Five... Shopping!

Well, not really... yes, really. But, I am going to do something else with the boys. Just don't know what yet. Little Man #1 wants to set up more decorations. I did do a little shopping. There's this crazy lady who sells paintings and drawings on Esty and I don't know why, but I get the biggest kick out of them (and I say she's crazy but I also get the biggest kick out of her blog. I think she is totally random and I love it!). Anyway, there's one that is a pen drawing and the ends of the girls hair says "I love everything in you that hurts". I know it sounds wierd, but take a look. When I saw it I knew Lexi had to have it. That was months ago, but I've finally gone and done it. I also got one for myself. Mysterious Genevieve. I wanted one just to remind me that it's okay to do what I want to do. My stuff doesn't have to be super great or anything. If I like it then that's good enough.
Well, tonight I've also got a R.S. Christmas party... and I get to sing with the other primary teachers, "When Joseph Went to Bethlehem". I've got a busy Christmas day ahead. Now... what to do with the boys? Enjoying the Journey!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Day Four... Rudolph

Yes, that's right. Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. How many of you remember watching that on tv every Christmas? I grew up in the days when you couldn't buy it... only wait for Christmas to come around again. I loved it. Now that I'm older and know that it can be bought it doesn't seem like such a novelty... I don't love it so much anymore. I think that I will not be a purchaser or this movie or any of the others that came to be family traditions in my mind. I will let my boys anticipate the movies... one time per season. And, by the way... they loved it! Frosty will be playing on Friday I think... Enjoy the Journey!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Day Three... Straw

So, I am a big liar, but I wanted the dates to correspond with the advent day. Anyway, tonight for FHE we talked about service and that doing nice things for people is like doing them for Jesus. A family in our ward puts out an empty manger box every year and the people in the ward/ community can put a straw in when they do something nice for someone else. Then on Christmas eve they put up the rest of the nativity scene with the baby Jesus in a hopefully nice and cushy bed of straw. The boys thought this was cool and spent some time thinking of something nice they had done that day then we went up to make our contributions. The manger wasn't there yet! The little men were so disappointed! I told them maybe they take it down at night so someone bad doesn't steal it or something. We'll check back later...

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Day Two... Christmas Devotional

Today the plan was to watch the First Presidency Christmas message. It didn't come on at 6:00 like it was supposed to. I guess you had to go see the brodcast to get the 6:00 showing. I watched the 8:00 re-broadcast and little man #1 joined me for most of it. He really didn't want to go to bed tonight. I love Elder Eyring! He said something that really struck me during the devotional. I went looking for a piece of paper and pen so I could write it down but by the time I got that task completed it was gone. I was hoping to get transcripts off of lds.org but they don't have it. You can download the broadcast to watch though. I might do that later just so I can write down what he said... maybe it'll be my new quote. We all know it's time for a change! My little man #2 is insane! He is a true morning person and he wakes up ready to go at approx. 4:00 a.m. (did I mention insane?). He realizes it's really early so he comes in and wants to lay by me. That is unacceptable because he is so incredibly wiggly. Then he asks if it's morning yet. Not quite yet, bud. Then he says he'll just sit on the chair (we have one by our closet to take our shoes off and generally pile junk on) and wait for morning. At about 6:00 he starts asking for breakfast and we can't put him off any longer. Crazy little man. Cracks me up every time. Enjoy the journey!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Happy December

So, I'm a little crazy and think that it's important to do some "invite the spirit of Christmas" activity daily in December leading up to Christmas. Usually I plan a little in advance and fill up this awesome advent box I picked up a couple of years ago at Robert's... so far this year I've been shooting on the fly. Today we did an old stand-by and read The Polar Express. The boys love it. They're crazy about Santa Claus this year. Maybe I'll get with it and fill the box... then again, maybe I won't and every day will be an adventure. Who knows! Enjoy the Journey!