Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Seventh Day of Christmas

We spent today preparing for a New Year's Eve party hosted by friends. We brought these tasty dinner rolls and shared a very delicious meal with about a dozen 5 month-3 year olds and their parents! It was a family party, so we rang in the new year promptly at six before hustling all the kiddos home to bed. It was a loud, rambunctious group (kids and parents!) and we all had a ball!

Some of the party animals getting ready...

Happy New Year!

A blessed, happy, and healthy 2009 to all of you!

Sixth Day of Christmas

Another wonderful day!

We went to our MOMS Club Breakfast Bunch in the morning with our cinnamon rolls. It was only a small group, and the boys both had fun with our friends!

The afternoon brought a visit from Grandma and Aunt Whit with some new books for the Sixth Day of Christmas and the boys' "Month Day" (12/29).

M. played outside with Grandma while Aunt Whit, the baby, and I looked through my new Joy of Cooking cookbook (we both were gifted one for Christmas!) and then taught Auntie Whit how to lanolize a wool diaper cover. We all made pizza to end the afternoon. What a great visit!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Fifth Day of Christmas

Besides being the Fifth Day of Christmas, today was a big day in our house because our older son turned 2 1/2 today and the baby is five months today as well! The little boys and I went for the baby's four-month well-child doctor's visit (we're a little behind!) this morning. He's doing perfectly (but we already knew that!) and weighs 16 lbs. 15 oz., has a head circumference of 43 cm., and is 27 inches long. He is a good sized baby, but much smaller than his older brother was at that age! He absolutely delighted the doctor with his smiles and grabbed her hand the instant it was in reach to show off his biting prowess. (He cut his first tooth about 10 days ago.)

We also ran into Target to pick up a birthday present for a friend's daughter and picked out a newborn outfit on clearance for M.'s baby as well as a stacking toy for both boys. I'll try to post pictures soon-- when there's some light!

When we came home, it was time to make cinnamon buns for our MOMS Club Breakfast Bunch tomorrow morning. Yum!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Fourth Day of Christmas

We didn't follow through with our plans for today. Cranky children and several brief power outages preempted our plans to take a long family walk (though that may have helped with the crankiness!) and make a batch of Snickerdoodles. We have plans tomorrow morning, but I'm hoping we can catch up with the baking in the afternoon. The cookies are a special request from my husband and I don't want to disappoint!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Third Day of Christmas

Today one of my dearest and oldest childhood friends came to visit! She's settled in Boston now, and it was wonderful to see her! She hasn't had a chance to visit in a year (I think?) and this was her first time meeting our new baby. She spent quite a bit of time here and we were able to catch up and share a good lunch of potato soup and maple gingerbread.

Before leaving, she left a treat for our boys: puppets! Our older son loves, loves, loves puppets and was immediately taken with these! The cow and lamb are the perfect addition to our collection, as we have a pig and a horse! She also gave them an assortment of finger puppets that I tucked away for a bad weather day when we need a pick-me-up. Thank you!

Second Day of Christmas

We ventured out into the crazed after-Christmas crowds today to pick up a few items at the mall, and to treat ourselves to our favorite ice cream from Coldstone Creamery.

I picked up a book a friend highly recommended (I love it, thanks!) and my husband needed new insoles for his shoes. While he was doing that, I popped into a toy store and thanks to a damaged box, was able to pick up this doll for a discount! I've been eyeing it for our son for close to a year, so I was thrilled! Never hurts to ask, and now this baby is a beloved member of our family! He's nameless so far (when asked what his name is, M. replies, "Doll!"), but is sporting "hand-me-downs" from both of our little ones. Sweet, no?

When we arrived home in a snowstorm, we decided it was the perfect afternoon for our annual Christmas movie. We do not allow our children to watch any television or movies except on Christmas when one is permitted. Last year we chose "A Charlie Brown Christmas" and this year, since How the Grinch Stole Christmas is a favorite read-aloud, and we were gifted a Grinch ornament for our tree, we had to choose this classic! M. was intrigued-- so much so that it reinforced my commitment to our TV-free lifestyle!

First Day of Christmas

Merry Christmas!

As you can see, the Blessed Mother and St, Joseph completed their journey around the Advent Spiral...

This year, we are celebrating the 12 Days of Christmas with something special each day: a trip, a small gift, cooking or baking special treats, visits with friends and family... My plan is to blog each day for you! As you can see, I'm already a little behind, but I'll catch up!

The first day of Christmas was a wonderful time spent with family! Our tradition has become to have a large brunch rather than "dinner." Here you can see my brother-in-law, my sister, and my husband manning the potatoes, waffles, and meat. I was in charge of omelets as well as running interference with the boys and grandparents. We also feasted on an Edible Arrangement my sister brought for my parents, apple crisp, and more cookies than we could count!

We shared some wonderful gifts:

A refrigerator for the play kitchen...

A special doll for cuddling and teething...

As the song says, "The weather outside was frightful, but inside it was so delightful!"

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas Tree Decorating Activity

Borrowing an idea from Starry Sky Ranch, M. and I created a mini-Christmas tree this week. Everything "Christmas" at A.C. Moore was 60% off!
The lights stay on, but the ornaments can be removed and the tree decorated over and over again!

We created the ornaments ourselves from bells strung on embroidery floss and unfinished wooden shapes and beads that we painted on a snowy afternoon.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Gingerbread Felt Board Activity

Shamelessly borrowing from Chasing Cheerios, I created this holiday felt board activity for M. last night. The idea is that he has to recreate a design from a photo on the gingerbread man. We haven't tried that yet; I gave him the cut-out and pieces to play with first thing this morning while I was getting organized and dressed (hence the messy bed!) and he's been enchanted with it all day! I made a similar activity at Thanksgiving with a turkey, but this one has already proven more popular. Every so often he runs up to his brother and says, "Look, Nay! Man!"

Here are a few of the designs I printed and laminated for him to copy:

I'm planning a similar idea with a snowman later in the winter.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Monday, November 24, 2008

Commitment to Loveliness, November 23

It's time for another Commitment to Loveliness, hosted by Charming the Birds from the Trees!

Here is my list for this Thanksgiving week:

1. Begin preparations for Advent and St. Nicholas Day next week.
2. Finish sorting baby clothes and put those bins away!
3. Haircuts for the "big" boys.
4. Go to bed early.
5. Pay more attention to my tone of voice. I feel like I've been shrill lately.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Here We Go!

Our not-so-new-or-little-anymore-baby is getting ready to take off! He doesn't appear to be moving, but yet somehow wiggles off his lambskin or playmat every time! I think we're going to see a full-out roll any minute now! This seems so early! Sniffle, sniffle...

Setting up the winter scene...

Friday, November 21, 2008

First "Big" Snow

We had our first real snow of the season Monday. Lake effect bands brought us between 3-6" Today and into tomorrow we're experiencing the first snowstorm of the season. About 3-6" fell during the day today and by the time it's all said and done tomorrow, we'll have another 6-12"! We've been frolicking outside all week and today was no exception!

His hat fits perfectly this year, Kat! His snowsuit, however, is far too small. Hope to remedy that this weekend!

The view from the end of the driveway to the corner.

One of the hosta encased in ice.

See how nice and snow-free the porch stays? That will be one of our playspaces when the snow gets too high to tramp around the yard.

Nothing like hot chocolate to warm up!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Checkerboard Cake

My sister gave my mother a checkerboard cake pan set for her birthday this year, and my mother lent it to me to test out this week. This morning the boys and I gave it a shot. I used one my own recipes and made a two-layer, rather than three-layer cake.

The pans weren't hard to use, but did take a little time to fill since the batter must be spooned instead of poured. It was a little messy, but that's half the fun, right?

Here's what one layer looked like after I finished adding the batter to the pan, but before I removed the divider:

Ready for the oven!

(I experimented with pink and white layers since we're considering using these for a baby shower we're hosting this month!)


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Creating a Child Friendly Environment: Low Shelf

I was inspired recently to keep working on our child-friendly environment. I have toyed with the idea of moving tableware to a cupboard for a while, but wasn't thrilled with the idea of rearranging our cupboards so thoroughly to accommodate such a change. After reading this post at Chasing Cheerios, however, I had a brainstorm! Why not move around my pots and pans and use the rolling shelf for our older son's tableware and some of his other supplies? My mom helped me find new homes for about half of my pots and pans, and we were in business! Our little guy spent time washing windows after I unveiled his new set-up, and happily helped himself to his dinner plate at suppertime!

On the right, you can see I also attached a hook for his apron!

The left side features his window washing/cleaning kit, our child-sized washboard, and his brush and dustpan. On the right are his plates, several bowls and cups (I couldn't fit everything!), and his toddler-sized silverware, courtesy of Oneida Limited. I love these sets: they include a spoon, fork, and butter knife and are not the small baby sets, but not quite full-sized either! Just perfect for preschooler hands!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Playroom Tour

It's been a while, so click to see the "in progress pictures!"

A view of the whole room...
(I would like to point out that I took these photos at 9:30 AM after several hours of playtime and both boys are still in their pajamas!)

(Doorways to the kitchen on either side of this couch.)

(Felt board pieces made by the lovely Emma! DS chose that morning's design...note the leaves that have "fallen" from the tree!)

The foyer or "playroom extension"...
(The cozy corner is opposite this shelf. This is where I keep all our art supplies, DS's musical instruments, several of his Montessori works, and store the supplies for activities that aren't in use.)

(Our four-sided display bookcase also holds puzzles. The doors to the downstairs bathroom and the stairs are to the right of the rocking chair. The front door is to the left, and straight ahead, behind the gate, is the library/music room.)

There you have it! This room and the kitchen are where we spend most of our days!