Monday, December 31, 2012

Rudolph Pancakes

I saw this idea on Pinterest and I had to make it for N2!  I used raspberries for the nose and fried up some bacon.  I used chocolate chips for the eyes.  N2 LOVED it and keep asking for more but I don't have any more raspberries and I don't fry up bacon that often.  I used 3 slices of bacon for 2 rudolphs but I think 4 slices of bacon would have been better!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Teacher Gifts

I know it's after Christmas but I wanted to show you what we made for N2's teachers.  I bought them boxes of Frango mints (who doesn't love Frango mints??) and I bought some Frango mint hot chocolate to put in the hot chocolate snowmen we were making.  I found this great idea on Pinterest to use paint swatches to make Christmas tree gift tags.  Here's what they look like.  I found these paint watches at Ace Hardware-they are really long.
We made hot chocolate snowmen for their teachers.  Empty out some baby food jars and clean them out.  Peel off the label.  To get the sticky stuff off, put some Goo Gone on it and let it soak for 30 minutes or so.  Then it will just rub off so easily!  Fill one jar with hot chocolate mix, another jar with mini marshmallows and another with peppermints.  Cut out a circle out of black paper and cut a smaller circle out of the center (make sure it will fit around the top of the jar). Put the brim on the hat and then put the lid on.  Cut a black strip of paper about 3/4 of an inch tall and wrap it around the jar lid and secure with glue dots (this part came off quite a bit so you may need to use a lot of glue dots).  Punch circles out of black sticker foam for the buttons and the mouth. I used a regular sized hole punch.  I cut out a carrot shape from orange foam and used a glue dot to adhere it.  Find a scrap piece of fabric and use that for the scarf.  It's a very simple and fast project!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Final Elf on the Shelf

Our elf was kind of naughty (well, REALLY naughty according to N2) so he behaved himself the rest of the time he was here and N2 forgave him for being naughty.  Who would think that 3 year olds wouldn't have a sense of humor????  He also promised to behave himself next year.  Peanut wrapped some presents for N2 (new water bottles) and got caught up in the wrapping paper and tape!  He also sat on Noah' gingerbread house which Noah was not a fan of and he told Peanut that he was NOT allowed to eat any candy!

Peanut helped Mommy finish up making N2's Christmas ornaments for this year.

And THIS is what made N2 so mad.  One night the laundry was out and Peanut grabbed all the underwear and hung it on the Christmas tree (I thought it was funny and I thought N2 would find it funny).  I was gone when they discovered it and Brian said they were beside themselves.  Noah practically ripped the Christmas tree down trying to get the underwear off.  They were both very concerned that mom would be upset.  They yelled at Peanut and told him that they were going to ask Santa for a new elf because he was TOO naughty. Their reaction made me giggle!  Here's what Peanut did (he's also in the tree up towards the top).

The next day Peanut came back and was ashamed at his behavior so he hid deep in the plant we have.  He also brought candy canes and wrote a letter of apology asking N2 to keep him and not ask Santa for a new elf.  N2 forgave him.

The last day Peanut made N2 elf sized pancakes and put them in the fridge. He took a picture of himself with the pancakes, printed it out and left it on the counter next to him.  Natalie ate 1 elf size pancake and that was it!

I let them give Peanut a hug goodbye.  Natalie gave him a kiss goodbye too.  They seemed to really enjoy him for the most part this year.  Peanut is going to have to think about how he can be tricky but not appear to be naughty!  They asked about him the other day but they seem to understand that he won't be back for a while!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Gingerbread Houses

We finally got around to decorating our gingerbread houses last weekend.  We were supposed to decorate them the weekend before but then Natalie got sick and Brian wasn't home any evening.  Just a word to the wise, the icing isn't as good after it has sat for a week even in an air tight container.  Towards the end of the first night we just had to pick up the icing and stick it to the candy.  I didn't realize how bad it was until I made more icing the next day an it worked so much better!  N2 loved to decorate their houses!  They spent probably 1.5-2 hours between 2 evenings decorating.  They asked the following night if they could finish even though they told me the night before they were done.  I said no because I had thrown away the rest of the frosting and I was ready for them to be done!  Here they are decorating their houses.

They both insisted that their people be on top of their houses.  I couldn't get the people to stand on the ground-I wonder if they were too big.  Noah used his on the sides of his houses. They loved to make paths and have quite a few paths going around in front of their houses. They also LOVED trees so I had to make 4 trees for Noah and 3 for Natalie.  When they were done, I used frosting to cover the aluminum foil and sprinkled coconut for snow.  Noah loves to go over and pick a little snow off and eat it!  Guess he likes coconut!  Here they are with their finished houses.

Here is an up close look at Natalie's house.  She really covered the roof!
Here's the back of Noah's house which has much more candy than than the front or sides.  He made a sleepover in the back.  Each candy was a family member (although he must have used more than 1 candy for all of us)!
They keep asking me when they can eat some and I keep saying after the holidays.  Trying to decide when we can break into it!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Our Christmas Tree

On the 8th, we continued our tradition of going to Richard's Farm and cutting down our own Christmas tree. I decided this year to get a Scotch pine rather than a white pine.  For some reason I wanted my Christmas tree to be more like a typical Christmas tree!  We headed out early as Brian had afternoon commitments. It decided to start rain/snow as we were driving there so everything was quite wet!  Grandma and Grandpa Weidner come with us to help with N2 while I find the perfect tree and Brian cuts it down.

N2 had a lot of fun running among the trees and posing on top of the stumps like angels (I didn't capture this well as I was looking for trees and had the camera on me.  Here's Noah as an angel (although he wasn't on the stump like they were doing earlier).

I finally found a tree although it was a little fatter than I wanted but I couldn't find a skinnier one that I liked.  I did find much taller ones that I liked!  Brian got down to cut the tree down and N2 did as well.  They were so DIRTY when we left!  We got the tree back on the wagon and then enjoyed some donuts and hot chocolate.

We decorated our tree the next day after running around to stores trying to find lights for the tree-all of our strands had gone bad (over half the strands weren't lit and we didn't have replacement bulbs-nor did we want to try to find the bulbs that were burned out).  Home Depot and Menards don't even care incandescent bulbs anymore.  Luckily Target does as I hate LED lights on trees (although I think I found some at Target that would be OK).  N2 loved to hang ornaments on the tree although they liked to have ornaments on the same branches.  They also weren't great about hanging the ornaments on sturdy branches-they tried to hang them from the end of branches!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

St. Nicholas Day

St. Nicholas Day has always been celebrated in Brian's family.  Traditionally on the night of the 5th of December, the kids leave their shoes outside and St. Nicholas puts presents in their shoes.  Brian's parents came over on the 6th to give N2 St. Nicholas gifts prompting Brian to want N2 to put their shoes outside their door on the night of the 6th (just a day late).  Since I was going to the store already, it was up to me to purchase the gifts.  It turned out to be quite a late evening of shopping.  So glad the stores stay open late during the holiday season!  I was on the phone with Marcie the whole time and she convinced me to buy some quite strange gifts from St. Nicholas.  Brian asked for me to get "tape, socks and pears or oranges" but then told me really anything small would be fine.  Marcie and I had quite a fun time picking things for their gifts and trying to make them really wacky.  Here's what we ended up with:

Noah: pineapple, tape, socks, jingle bell necklace, craft project
Natalie: mini bananas, tape dispenser, socks, jingle bell necklace, craft project

I had some of the items for stockings so I just repurposed them.  N2 were actually quite happy with everything (as was Brian and thought that the pineapple was truly inspired as was the tape dispenser-Marcie and I thought perhaps this was too much and in the future Brian would take care of buying the presents but apparently I did a good job)!

More elf on the shelf

Peanut, our elf, has been having some fun!  Fishing for some goldfish (N2 made me put the fish on the end of his pole for him), hanging out in the guitar, building a block tower around himself, sitting on a cactus (ouch!  Noah told Peanut that was not a good idea-he hypothesized that cactus don't grow in the North Pole so Peanut didn't know that he shouldn't sit on it-smart boy!), cutting paper snowflakes after N2 had done the same with Grandma and Grandpa (Natalie came down in the morning and tsked Peanut for leaving a mess.  She immediately cleaned up all the paper and took Peanut's scissors away from him), hanging upside down in the wind chimes, and sitting in the salad spinner right next to N2's plates.  Peanut has also been found in the bathroom shelf with all the shells.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Elf on the Shelf

Our Elf on the Shelf arrived the Monday after Thanksgiving because N2 were quite anxious for him to come.  Thank you Aunt Mary Jane for sending us an elf!  Over breakfast the first morning N2 tried to figure out a name for our elf.  Someone suggested peanut butter (I'm sure because I was spreading peanut butter on toast-names around here are given because of what they see) so I suggested we shorten it to Peanut and they both agreed they liked that.  But Noah also was very insistent on Tristan (really not sure where that one came from!)  So our elf's formal name is Tristan but his nickname is Peanut.

The first couple days they were somewhat interested in finding Peanut but not too excited.  After a few days, they would head downstairs before getting dressed or coming to ask me if they could play with my ipad to go find where Peanut was hiding.  They are quite excited about him now!  Natalie likes to give Peanut toys too.  I think she may have touched him already (which is a big no no) but she won't admit to it.

Peanut has been having fun hiding around our house and causing some mischief.  N2 like when he causes some mischief although they are quick to tell me that you shouldn't do that!  They even tell Peanut he shouldn't do naughty things!  Peanut has not done too many tricks because he thinks N2 are a little young for a lot of the more creative ideas he has.  Here are some places Peanut has been hiding.

He got mixed up with the cookie cutters in the cabinet and knocked over the colored sugar (at least the cap didn't come off, phew!)  It was hard to remember not to close the cabinet door on him!  Another day he knocked over the paper towel roll when he got on the spice rack.

He found a Christmas book to read the day that we brought them out.  Natalie gave him a marker to play with. Luckily he didn't do anything with the marker!  Another day he got mixed up with one of my nativity scenes!

What a naughty elf he was on this day!  He found the bags of Halloween candy and started to eat a bag of Skittles.  But since the candy is so high up, he dropped a lot of Skittles on the floor.  He was holding on to Natalie's bag of peanut M&M's and she was NOT happy about that.  We had to pull the candy away from him because she couldn't stop talking about it and saying that she did not want him eating her candy.

 This is where he is today.  It's not a good spot because he falls every time the door opens and closes!  I had to tie him on after asking him if it was OK that I touched him to put him back in the wreath.

He got cold one day and tried to adjust the thermostat but instead decided to take a nap with a blanket on top of the thermostat.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Dance Classes

N2 are almost done with their dance classes and they seem to like them although the teacher has mentioned that Natalie doesn't want to leap.  Strange.  Today I finally got some pictures of them at home after class.  Natalie is showing me her plies from first position-they call it butterfly feet (even though she is sticking her booty out!) and Noah was showing me his I don't know what it's called.  If you know, let me know!

They decided they don't want to continue dance and what they really want to do is rock climbing.  Lucky for them the Y offers it once they turn 4 so once the first winter session is over, they can will be 4!  Before that they are going to take a sports class that does basketball (what Noah has been asking to do), t-ball and soccer.  Both wanted to do this so we're going to try.  They might want to continue tumbling but I have to think about that as I haven't been really satisfied with the classes through the park district.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Spirit of Giving

My kids have gotten in the spirit of giving this Christmas season.  It started with me telling N2 that we would pick tags from the Christmas tree at the YMCA after swim lessons and give things to kids who don't have things.  They each decided they wanted to pick out pajamas for a boy and a girl and get them in N2's size (that tag said any size).  They each picked out a pair of fleece footy pjs and we delivered them the next time we went to the Y.  Then they told me that they wanted to buy stuffed animals for kids who don't have any.  Then I told them that we were going to buy some things at the grocery store to buy things for soldiers because my physical therapy office was collecting stuff.  They talked about that for a long time!  When we were leaving the store there was a Salvation Army person ringing the bells.  So I gave them some coins to drop in the bucket.  That was last week some time.  Today after Natalie got up from her nap, she played "Salvation Army" person.  She went around with one of the handbells and a bucket and asked us to donate money.  I wish we could give more but I'm going to make sure that the next time we give something, I'm going to involve them in it!

Yesterday we went to Kohls to get stuffed animals for Toys for Tots.  Both N2 picked the same reindeer and carried it around the store and played with them in the car.  They got kind of attached to them but I kept reminding them that the reindeer aren't for them, they were for kids who don't have toys.  We stopped by Jewel because they usually have a bin for Toys for Tots.  They didn't :(  I knew Grandma Weidner's school had a bin but it was being picked up on Tueday.  So we went there after dance and found out (well N2 didn't find out because Grandma told me very quietly) that the bin had been picked up that morning.  Grandma said that she would get the toys to the kids.  N2 gave the reindeer away very willingly and very proudly!  They had to show everyone the toys for the kids who didn't have any.  I'm so proud of them!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Visiting Santa

On Saturday, Wauconda had a Christmas walk in their downtown.  They closed down Main Street and had activities and stores that had booths.  There was a gingerbread house contest that you could see and vote for the winner.  They also had Santa Claus on a float in the middle of the street.  I waited in line while Brian took N2 and wandered around.  This event was packed even though it had just started 15 minutes before!

Natalie was quite willing to go up and sit on Santa's lap (last year she wouldn't sit on his lap but she stood by him).  Noah did not want to even go up to Santa but Brian carried him up there and set him down next to Santa.  He stayed there!  A photographer from the newspaper was there and wanted to get pictures of N2 with Santa.  Finally after a minute or two I finally asked N2 to tell Santa what they wanted.  Natalie said "paint dot markers" and Noah said "stuffed animals for kids who don't have any and clothes for baby bear."  Mrs. Claus had a wipe a tear from her eye after Noah talked and complimented me on my children!  I am so blessed to have children who are so giving and caring!

 Here they are telling Santa and Mrs. Claus what they wanted.  I was kind of disappointed in Santa because he didn't really say anything.  I think Mrs. Claus did more talking and I had to ask them to tell Santa what they wanted.  I didn't want to be rushed off the float before they had talked to Santa!

After seeing Santa we wandered around and they had their face painted (although I think Noah's skin reacted to the face paint (don't worry Marcie-he hasn't had a problem with the crayons) so there was some crying and I had to wipe it off).  They also got temporary tattoos (which are perhaps the worst tattoos ever-they didn't last through 1 had washing).  They made cinnamon applesauce ornaments (they put glue and glitter on premade ones).  They colored pictures and wrote letter to Santa.  We had a fun time!