Monday, December 24, 2012

Have Yourselves A Merry Little Christmas...

I'll be back sometime after the holidays - you know, when I finally find a home for a billion new toys and household items! Hope you & your family have a wonderful time together.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Noodle Fight

The weather outside has been fantastic the past few days - sunny and in the 60s. Yesterday, the girls enjoyed playing outside with their cousin Lily. They found our pool noodles and decided to run around beating each other, or pretending to ride on sea horses. I enjoyed them running around and promptly passing out at bedtime!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Candy Cane Play-Dough

A few weeks ago, I signed up for the treat bags for the girls' holiday party this Friday, for their class of 10 students. I spent some time searching for treat bag ideas that wouldn't fill them up with sugar, would be fairly inexpensive, and might possibly me look like one of those moms who is able to spend hours making awesome crafty stuff with their kids (which is a total lie - glitter and glue make me feel nauseous).

Anyway, my co-worker sent me a link to a blog that made candy cane mason jars. My first thought was, "my children would be the first to throw their jars, pick up shards, and decide to play tea party - making glass shards their crumpets". Negatory, ghost rider. After a bit of modification, and cutting costs (score!), I came up with a treat bag for a class of 10 that cost me (drumroll, please....) - $6.50. Yes, $6.50 total. Thank you, Dollar Tree & Hobby Lobby. 

Treat bags - $1
Pencils - $1
Erasers - $1
Play-dough containers - $1
Ring suckers - $1
Cookie Cutters (Hobby Lobby) - $4.99, on sale for 50% off, and I used a 40% off coupon - $1.50

Luckily, I had all of the ingredients necessary to make our own play-dough. If you don't, most are things that you'll end up using in your kitchen anyway. My co-worker also made the play-dough, and shared the peppermint oil that she bought (I think for $8 at Earth Fare). 

Here's what you'll need to make a batch of play-dough. This was more than enough to fill 10 - 3oz containers, and left me with two sizable containers to keep at home. I recommend making the white play-dough first, and then the red. That way you can use the same pot & spoon. 

Candy Cane Play-Dough - White:
2 cups water
2 cups all purpose flour
1.5 cups salt
1.5 tbsp cream of tartar (not tartar me)
4 tbsp vegetable oil
Glitter - as much or as little as you like
5 drops peppermint oil

In at least a 2 qt pot, heat the water, salt, oil and cream of tartar over medium. Add at least 1 tbsp (or more!) of glitter (I chose silver) and about 5 drops of peppermint oil. Slowly stir in the flour. In a few minutes, your play-dough will start to solidify and pull away from the edge of the pot. Dump out on to your counter, and allow to cool. After a few minutes, kneed the play-dough and make sure there's enough glitter. Feel free to add more. Set aside and make the red batch. 

Candy Cane Play-Dough - Red:
2 cups water
2 cups all purpose flour
1.5 cups salt
1.5 tbsp cream of tartar (not tartar me)
4 tbsp vegetable oil
Glitter - as much or as little as you like
5 drops peppermint oil
Red food coloring

Repeat the same instructions as the white play-dough, this time adding red food coloring to your mixture of water, salt, oil, and cream of tartar. As you add your flour, add more food coloring if necessary. I actually used about 1/3 of a container of red food coloring - and would have used more, but we ran out. I prefer to add the coloring to the mixture, instead of the final product, because I'd rather my spoon turn red, than my hands. 

After you have both batches complete, fill whatever containers you have with alternating colors. I actually let the girls do this (hence no two containers are exactly alike). You could even go all Martha Stewart and twist the play-dough into actual candy cane shapes. I added a mini cookie cutter to the play-dough, and had a cute, fun, non-sugar laden gift to hand out. Using child labor, we assembled the treat bags in no time!

Holiday Traditions

Now that we have children that are of an age where they're going to remember things, I'm big on holiday traditions. In the Fall, we've gone apple picking, and to the pumpkin patch, visit Halloween festivals, and made holiday cookies. And this year, I'm finally getting into doing Christmas traditions.
See, my birthday is December 1st, and unless you have a December birthday, you don't know how not fun Christmas can sometimes be. Have you ever received a birthday gift wrapped in Santa paper? That you know was probably part of your Christmas gift? Now that Christmas has completely taken over Thanksgiving, flown into Halloween, and even bombarded Labor Day - it's hard to escape. I'm big on respecting the pumpkin, turkey, and my birthday. So for me, the Christmas season doesn't start until December 2nd.

We put up a Christmas tree, and this year, I have a video of all 4 kids putting up ornaments singing Jingle Bells (ok, to be fair, Corbin was knocking down ornaments and shouting "dadddda!!!"). If that doesn't scream Norman Rockwell, I'm not sure what does. The stockings are hung by the gas burning logs that never get turned on, with care. I have other little decorations set up around the house, and the kids put up those Target $1 gel clings on the mirror in the foyer.

This year, we've made candy cane play-doh for the girls' preschool class party this Friday. I plan on making salt dough ornaments of their hands shaped like Santa Claus. We buy ornaments every year for each of us (last year, gingerbread men - this year, cute monogram initials). We'll spend Christmas Eve at my grandma's house in North Carolina, like I've done for almost every Christmas Eve I've been alive. I keep meaning to buy a menorah and some dreidels for the kids to teach them about Hanukkah.

And Elf on the Shelf. Holy Moses, this is the most amazing behavior tactic ever in the history of mankind. I'm making a MLK, Jr on the Shelf, Cupid on the Shelf, Leprechaun on the Shelf, Easter Bunny on the Shelf - does a month have a holiday? Yes? It's getting a ____ on the shelf. And our elf doesn't do bad things, because my kids get mad at it for tattling on them, and then doing bad things, ha! Where I used to have to count to three with the kids and raise my voice, I simply say "Otis is watching" and BAM - my kids are good.

Christmas Day has always been low-key for my family. Unbeknownst to me, my parents would actually have Santa come to our house a week early, because we traveled to visit family when I was growing up. I actually did this last year with the twins, so they would have time to open gifts before going to their dad's house for the afternoon on Christmas. This year, we'll have Emma from the day school lets out on the 19th, until 2:00 on Christmas. The twins will go to their dad's house around that time for the night, maybe two nights. I'm so excited we'll have all 4 kiddos together. After we are down 3 kids, we'll probably head to Eddie's parents' house for dinner (or supper, I always get confused as to what they call it - I say lunch). I'm used to eating Fa-Ra-Ra on Christmas, because typically Hibachi is the only place open. I'm really hoping we'll get to see Les Mis, too. And Django Unchained. Because I would totally love a double feature of a musical and a Tarantino movie.

Anyway, what Christmas traditions do you have? Do you hang a pickle on your tree? Is Christmas not complete without Aunt Sally and her Santa shaped jello?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A Massive Phone Dump

I realized last night that my phone had like 230 MB of memory left, so it was time to dump all of my photos and videos onto my laptop, and then my external hard drive. So here are a bunch of photos from the past few months, you know, since I've not touched my actual camera in for-freaking-ever.
Natalie is not impressed
I don't even know where to begin with this - except it was in the ladie's room in Downtown Greenville
Emma's birthday at CEC
Mommy & Corbin
Anna & Natalie
Corbin loves watching Wheels on the Bus on Netflix ("Mango!!"), so he got a kick out of driving this bus
All decorated!
Dancing to Christmas music
Perhaps the coolest lunch box ever...
Birthday goodies from the husband!!
Merry Hothmas - and yes, I wear this shirt
Oh yeah, we did Elf on the Shelf - aka, the best behavior control EVER
Creepy little bugger
Like this isn't weird or anything...
Where is Natalie? 
Not impressed
Some battles aren't worth picking - like the flip flops in December & riding in her brother's car seat
3 Mommy Friends & 4 Girl Friends - 2011
3 Mommy Friends & 4 Girl Friends - 2012
At Courtney's surprise party 
We love SC winters!
Someone is Daddy's twin
Go Tigers!
Natalie thought this was appropriate attire for a camp fire
Time to baby-proof
Corbin doesn't play with any of his toys - he just demolishes our DVD collection
What? Does your child not ride on the vacuum wearing his dad's socks?
Corbin joining in on the fun
Natalie: Swiper, no swiping - give me my chair back!
Natalie is speshul
I can haz trucks? 
Chuck E. Cheese - it only took 4 years for them to conquer their fear of climbing into play structures, lol!
not so sure of this stufffed bear
handsome boy
super mom - I should have arms of steel by now!
milk coma

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