Thursday, December 30, 2010

10 Things Thursday

10 things about Christmas vacation.

1. I love it. I love not getting up to an alarm clock other than the one that says, "Hey, mommy," over the baby monitor.
2. We put our Christmas tree up the Friday after school got out. I know that seems late to some people, but it's perfect for me. It's a great way for me to officially declare that I'm ready for Christmas. And it was so much fun to decorate with Julianna this year. She loved looking at all the different ornaments and putting them on the tree. She has also given herself the job of turning on the tree lights every morning as soon as she gets up since she and I are usually the first ones up.
3. I had a great time making Christmas gifts. I made two clocks, 6 frames, a snack tray, a cup cozy, a pen holder, a ribbon shirt with hair clip to match, a treasure box, 5 calendars, peppered pecans, and 3 batches of strawberry jam.
4. Christmas Eve we went to church with my parents and my sister's family where we sang and prayed together. Then back to mom and dad's for West Virginia sandwiches and homemade fries and lots of yummy desserts including homemade cream puffs, no-bake cookies, birds in a nest cookies, lemon bars, rice crispy treats, and buckeyes, which is the official name for this particular dessert. Then we got new jammies. Which I love, love, love.
5. Christmas morning was wonderful. The boys know the routine and were great teachers for Jules. When we got up and were walking down the hall, Adam said, "Mom, is dad going to read the Christmas story before we open our stockings?" "Well," I answered, "he could do it after we open them." "NO. He has to do it first. That's how we do it." Adam wasn't asking to try to put off the reading of Matthew. He was asking to make sure we were sticking with our tradition. I loved that so much. And we did read the wonderful story of Jesus' birth before we opened any presents.
6. There is nothing better than Christmas with a two year old. The boys are still fun and still get excited about their gifts, but oh my goodness, Julianna was sooo excited. She loved every present and wanted to play with everything before she opened her next package. Arrty could hardly keep up with her as he took each baby doll and the tiny pieces that went with them out of the boxes. And how much did I love playing babies with Julianna? I've done Legos and cars and Bakugan and Transformers. And this year I got to do babies and Littlest Pet Shop! Woo hoo!
7. Christmas day afternoon we were back and mom and dad's to open more presents with them and my sister's family. We tried to do one present at a time. That worked for one round I think. Then the kids, especially the girls, couldn't wait. The homemade gifts were a hit again this year. It's a great tradition. As is our new tradition of prime rib for Christmas dinner. Mmmmm. Especially with Ada's loaded mashed potatoes and cream corn, mom's green bean casserole and cooked carrots, and my pink stuff and homemade crescent rolls. I could go for a plate right now, as a matter of fact.
8. After the busy week before Christmas, I was looking forward to a relaxing second week of vacation. And that's what it's been. Reading and movies and playing with the kids. (Except for Monday when I was sick with some kind of stomach bug. Ugh.) I can't count how many hours I've played games with the boys and followed Julianna around doing whatever she wanted to do. I have loved spending so much time with her. She is growing up so fast. Turning into a little girl right before my eyes. A little girl who says things like "actually" and "of course" and "let's pretend..."
9. And speaking of growing up, she has also been potty training. One thing about being of advanced maternal age is that I'm way relaxed about things like potty training. She wasn't interested during the summer so we waited until now. And she is doing really well. She is so proud of herself and loves all the clapping and cheering I do to encourage her. Could I have pushed her earlier? Probably. But why would I want her, my very last baby, to grow up any faster than she already is. Her last diaper, or pull-up, will be my last one, too.
10. Did I mention that I love vacation? I do. I really, really do.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

I'm still here.

Still recovering from Christmas. And snowed in at the moment. But here, none the less.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas Eve Eve

Just thought I'd check in this morning. It's been a busy but wonderful first 3 days of vacation. Monday was spent cleaning house and taking the boys to the dentist. (No cavities! Woohoo!) Tuesday we celebrated my lovely sister's birthday with dinner, cake, and gifts at mom and dad's. And I had another good day yesterday watching movies and visiting with some more of my favorite people in the whole wide world. Today will be spent finishing (hopefully) last minute Christmas crafts and wrapping the gifts hiding under a blanket in my bedroom. And hoping that the boys' big gift gets here in time for the big day.

Hope you have a great Christmas Eve eve.

Saturday, December 18, 2010


I survived. I made it through the week before Christmas vacation with kindergartners. It's not easy, let me tell ya. They are always on hyper-drive, but this time of year they are on double hyper-drive. Everything is Santa and presents and candy canes and tinsel. They are doing all kinds of fun, exciting holiday stuff at home and the energy carries on into the classroom. But after so many years teaching kindergarten, I'm ready for it. And we all made it through and had some fun on the way.

I also had the pleasure of teaching Bible class this week. (We combine preschool through 2nd grade and have one big Bible class with four teachers taking turns teaching.) I was glad to get to teach the story of the birth of Jesus. Most of my students have heard the story so many times that they could teach the class. They know all about the angels and the shepherds and Mary and Joseph and baby Jesus. So I tried to make it fresh. I used picture cards to tell the story the first time and then reviewed the next day adding more to it. But as we reviewed, it went something like this:

"Then the angel came to Mary and said, 'I have good news. Your pizza is here!'"
"NO! She's going to have a baby."
"Ohhh. That's right. A baby. Then Mary and Joseph headed to New York for the census."
"NO! Bethlehem!"
"Bethlehem. Right. When they got there they started to look for McDonald's."
"NO! The inn."
"Oh, yeah. The inn. They found the inn and they had lots of rooms left."
"NO! There were no rooms!"
"Oh, that's right, no rooms. So they had to stay at the mall."
"NO! In the stable!"
"The stable. Right. Then baby Jesus was born and they put him in a nice, warm crib."
"NO! The manger."
"The manger? Really?"

The kids thought it was great fun teaching the teacher. And hopefully they got the idea and don't go home telling their parents that Mary and Joseph went to McDonald's.

We also had our school Christmas play this week. Adam was Joseph and Josh was a donkey seller. The cutest Joseph and donkey seller ever, if I do say so myself. It was really cute. My class was angels and we only had one angel robe over the head and one lost halo. Not bad. The parents love it, and that's what matters.

Then yesterday we had a little party for our class. There were lots of treats and goodies. It was fun to share in the excitement of the season with my class who love it so much.

And last night when we got home, we decorated our Christmas tree. I like to wait until school's out for vacation to decorate. I'm just never quite ready until then. The kids have been wanting to put up the tree since Thanksgiving, so we told them we'd do it the last day of school. And that's what we did. Julianna had so much fun looking at everything. The rest of us have seen all the ornaments before, but it's the first year she's really been able to join in the fun of the tree. And it's lovely with all the hodge podge of ornaments and snowflakes and icicles.

So here I am today, with a semi-short list of things to do and a whole Saturday with absolutely nothing planned. It's the perfect start to a two week vacation.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Today is National Cupcake Day. Who knew? If I would have known yesterday, I would have made cupcakes for you all. But since I didn't, this one will have to do.

Happy National Cupcake Day!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Santa Mode

So this morning Kathy walked into my classroom and it was kindergarten chaos. I had just asked them to line up and well, they weren't listening. Instead they were chattering and bouncing. She gave me a look that said, "What's going on in here?" Or maybe, "I thought MY class was bad." "Watch this," I said. "Who put up your Christmas tree this weekend?" 8 little hands shot up. I knew it. I can tell when the tree goes up at home. Might as well start vacation now. They are in Santa mode.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Catch up

After 30 straight days of posting, I guess I needed a little break. I started a few posts but just wasn't in the mood. So in case you're wondering what I have been up to, here's a synopsis of my week.

Saturday--School craft fair. Sold some Avon. Went home and crashed.
Sunday--Church. Chinese food. Church children's Christmas party. Cookies. Crafts. Santa. Almost hit a deer on the way home.
Monday--Memorial service for an amazing 93 year old sister in Christ. Soup and salad for lunch. Took a nap (ahhh). Cleaned the house. Bible study group at our house.
Tuesday--School. Costco. Mom and dad's house. Home.
Wednesday--School. After school care duty. Bible class. Home.
Thursday--School. After school care duty. Target. Home.
Friday--School. Movie party for the entire student body. (Who's bright idea was that, anyway?) Cleaned up popcorn and Skittles. Helped make curtains. Costco (again). Dollartree. Mom and dad's house to pick up the boys. Home.
Today--Up at 6:03 with Jules. Sears. McDonald's with my sister, niece and nephew for breakfast and playland. Downtown. Figpickles. Gingerbread houses. Back to Figpickles. Dropped off nephew. Home.

There you have it. And in case you're wondering, I've also been mitzvahing.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Thank goodness it's Friday

I am exhausted. I've had a really long week and have had a sore throat for the past three days. When I get finished with work tonight, I will be setting up my booth for tomorrow's craft fair at our school. Then I can go home. And then be back at 8:00am tomorrow to hopefully sell a lot of Avon. If you're in our neighborhood, stop by and say hello and do a little shopping.

Today's Mitzvah: My class. We did lots of fun things today and played to learn. And they had free time after show and tell to play with what they brought.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

10 Things Thursday

I had this "10 things on my Christmas list" post going for today and then got to #7 and couldn't think of anything else to add because I was thinking about all those people who would love to make lists but can't because they aren't going to be having much of a Christmas this year. Sometimes I have days when I feel sorry for myself because I have to work and my husband only works part time and can't find a decent full time job. Poor me. I have to get up every morning to go to work. But I have a job. Poor me. We barely make enough to pay our bills. But we pay our bills. Poor me. I can't go out to dinner this week. But I have plenty of food to cook at home. My poor kids. They're not getting that expensive video game they want for Christmas. They're only getting 3 gifts instead of 4. Poor, shmoor. We have a roof over our heads and working heat. We have a month's worth of food in our pantry and fridge. We all have warm coats and boots and gloves. And my kids have more toys than will ever get played with enough to wear them out. We are not poor. Not by any stretch of the imagination. Do we have financial struggles? Yes. Do I have to watch what I spend? Yes. Every day. Do we have everything we need and many of the things we want? Yes, yes, yes. We have been given so much over the past few years. This year I want to be a giver. So I'm not going to post a Christmas list today. I'm going to post "10 things I can do to give to others this Christmas season."

1. Donate to the food bank or food boxes at church.
2. Help wrap and deliver gifts from our church's Giving Tree.
3. Look around my house for unopened toys and gifts to share with others.
4. Choose a name for the Giving Tree to give to.
5. Join together with others (at work, at school, at church) to support a needy family.
6. Skip my weekly lunch out or trip to Dutch Bros. and give the savings away.
7. Encourage the children in my life to be givers.
8. Encourage the grown ups in my life to be givers.
9. Share what we have, whatever it might be, with those less fortunate.
10. Pray. Pray for those who need jobs. For those who are discouraged. For those who are in need. Just pray.

The great thing about this list is that YOU can do many of these things, too. Join me in finding a way to give.

Today's Mitzvah: Julianna. Today is her half birthday. She is two and a half years old. So I am going to give her a little pair of Dora socks (she loves socks) and a pair of purple, sparkly slippers (she loves shoes, too). Happy Half Birthday, Sweet Girl.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Chain, chain, chain

For the last several years I have bought the kids these little cardboard advent calendars. You open one door each day to get a little piece of chocolate to count down the days until Christmas. They really liked them. But this year I didn't see them when I was shopping so didn't think to buy them. Until last night on my way home. But it was sort of a blizzard and I had a half an hour drive home so I wasn't stopping for anything. (Except a chai latte. My yummy new friend from Dutch Bros.) So last night as I lay in bed, I was thinking of how I could make my own advent calendar with treats each day. And I had a great idea. (Many of my great ideas come while I'm trying to fall asleep. Hmmm.) I thought that I could make a construction paper chain with numbers 1 through 24 on one side and a riddle or hint written on the inside leading the kids to somewhere in the house where their treats would be hidden. Fun. Free. (Because I have enough treats stashed in the pantry and at school to give 3 each day and not even notice.) Brilliant. So this afternoon while my students were having rest time and watching Toy Story (again), I made my chain. And much to my relief, I was able to think of 24 places to hide treats and 24 clever hints to lead to them. After dinner tonight, I introduced Josh, Adam, and Julianna to the chain. They loved the idea! Woohoo! Here it is.

And here's today's hint: Some people say I'm slow, but I can win a race even against a rabbit.

Any guesses?

The more links I added, the more excited I got about this little activity. (I also started making a list of the hiding places in order so that I didn't have to try to remember what I was thinking for day 22.) I hope it is as fun as it has started out to be. And I really hope I remember to hide the next day's treats every night.

By the way, this was today's mitzvah. My something special for someone special.