Monday, November 30, 2015

Making Christmas Presents

About this time every year I try coming up with ideas for things the kids can make to give family. I saw a really cool idea for coasters that we decided to start with. I bought the plain coasters and trivets from IKEA for a great price.

 I put painters tape on them in Geometric patterns, making 4 sections on each.

 The kids painted 2 sections on each one color and the other two sections another color. I did tell them what colors based on the decor of the people that would be receiving them. Here you can see she is working hard.

It looked like a factory, but it really only lasted an hour and they loved it! Once the paint dried fully (a couple of days for how thick they painted), I pulled off the tape.

These were for Grandma.

These were for Papa T and Oma.

These were for Uncle B, a big OU fan!

I think they turned out great. They were cheap, fast, and look nice. The kids were proud they made something and it was useful rather than just "stuff".

Friday, November 27, 2015

Santa Philosophies

After Thanksgiving, I bring out the Christmas books and Christmas decorations. This leads to many conversations. Here are the kids' philosophies on Santa.

Sweet Son: So some people believe Santa is real?
Me: Yes and we respect other people's beliefs.
Sweet Son: They think Santa visits them Christmas morning to fill their stockings.
Me: Sometime between Christmas Eve and Christmas morning, yes.
Sweet Son: It's Winter so the nights are longer. (pause)
Sweet Son: It's Summer in Australia though.
Me: That's true.
(long pause)
Sweet Son: Wait! Not everyone's a Christian, so that will help. (pause)
Me: (snickering)
Sweet Son: But still, it's not just improbable, it's impossible!

I'm not sure I picked the right time of year to do the lessons on probability, but he does clearly understand the concept.

And what does Sweet Daughter think?

Sweet Daughter: If we tell people what we want Santa to bring us those people buy gifts for us. I don't care if the tag says Santa or not.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving (American)

We usually go to see my family for Thanksgiving. Here are some fun photos from the trip.

Building with blocks and talking to Great Grandma C

This was the first time we were able to meet this sweet girl. Sweet Son spent most of his time playing quietly with her. He showed her how to build and would talk and explain things to her. It was so cute!

My grandmothers! (The kids' great-grandmothers)

While Sweet Son was entertaining the baby, Sweet Daughter was in the middle of everything. This is not a metaphor, she loves to be the center of attention.

Sweet Daughter and Great Grandma C looking at a magazine.

Great Grandma W reading to both kids.

Feeding the ducks with Grandma.


Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Petting Zoo

Here are the photos from the petting zoo at the town's pioneer days.

Sweet Daughter holding a bunny in a hat.

Sweet Son with a much more calm bunny.

 Sweet Daughter tries petting a duck.
Sweet Son found a very tired pig.

They both enjoy brushing a mule.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Pioneer Days

Our city has an event called "Pioneer Days" every year. This was our first year attending and the kids loved it.

Sweet Son is learning how to weave.

They enjoyed this so much we later ended up buying a loom for home.

Family photo riding in a horse drawn carriage.

Watching a blacksmith demonstration.

Tomorrow I will show photos of the petting zoo at the same event.

Friday, November 20, 2015

School Work

Here are some examples of school work that we are doing at home. Right now the kids go to a private Kindergarten at a Montessori school in the mornings. In the afternoons, I do school work with them. These are specifically examples from what we are doing at home with Moving Beyond the Page and various science kits.

The writing assignment was to write a paragraph about visiting a fair.

Translated: I want to go round and round. I want to go up and down. I want to go to the ring the bottle. I want to hang on the web.

Translated: I want to go to Ferris wheel. I want to go to zoo. I want to go to pet animals. I want to go to see a cow.

They are watching this experiment closely.

We love our Magic School Bus science kits. Here are just some of the things they made and experimented with in the weather lab. I bought them on sale at Educents if you are interested.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Edible Cornucopia

This year our contribution to Thanksgiving was an edible cornucopia. The kids loved making it and it ended up turning out great. I think this will become and annual tradition.

First you make a foil cornucopia. Be sure to loosely stuff the inside so it doesn't collapse when you add the bread sticks.  Spray everything with non-stick spray.

Using bread sticks from a can, start from the tip and just wrap around and around and around. While the kids did that, I braided 3 sticks for a decorative touch around the opening.

Coat everything in melted butter and cook according to the package directions. Ours took just slightly longer than the package instructions, but watch closely.

Taking it out of the oven. (Please don't notice the messy kitchen.)

 After letting it cool, take out the foil - at least as much as possible. Then fill with something festive - in this case grapes. This made an awesome centerpiece.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Massage Chair

This is not going to be a typical post. I cat sat for a friend while she was out of town. She has the most amazing massage chair. The cats were great and all, but the massage chair is what I still dream about.

Here is a photo of me in the chair. The chair would flip almost fully upside down. It massaged my feet, calves, legs, bum (that was a bit of a surprise the first time), back, neck, head, arms, and hands. After a long run this chair was outstanding. I have considered just calling and asking to stop by and use the chair regularly.

I did look up the cost of owning one, which is why I'm still dreaming about it rather than using it. If anyone wants an idea for me for Christmas, birthday, or any other random holiday (or non-holiday, I'm not picky) I'll take one of these, thanks.

Monday, November 16, 2015

More Football Fun

Before the football game the kids like to play and run around (much like they do during the game).

Here they try to take down Mr. P.

He is trying to pin Mr. P down. She is trying to stretch him. He is grimacing with excitement... 

They got him down. (Right after this he stood up and they both fell off laughing.)

Our favorite mascot.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Community Parade

Many cities have homecoming parades for their local high schools. Where we live they have a community parade. For many years there was only one high school (up until 1995 there were only 4 schools total in the entire district). Then the city began to boom. When they built the second high school they decided rather than having competing parades, they would combine them into one larger community parade. Now the school district has 9 high schools (and more being built - currently 73 total schools in the district). That is a huge growth in just 20 years. We didn't know all of this history when we went to our first community parade. We only had about 45 minutes to watch before we had other plans. We assumed that 45 minutes was plenty of time for a community parade. We had no idea what we were in for.

There are school floats for homecoming court, organizations, bands, cheerleaders, etc. There are firetrucks, police cars, community leaders, etc. There are businesses sponsoring floats, community groups, and on and on. Here the kids wave to clowns.

A local snow cone stand gave out snow balls (you can see one in Sweet Son's hand) which the kids thought was hilarious. Then they saw Frosty and wanted to give the snow back to him so he wouldn't melt. Awwww

We already have the parade on our schedule for next year. We will set aside the entire morning because we want to see more than just 2 bands. I can't even imagine how long the entire parade will be, but I know our kids will love it.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Crazy Playgrounds

I love open ended play equipment because kids get to figure out what they want to do, rather than what the adults think they should do. We found this park which looks really unique and stopped to play. Most kids would climb up the ladders and then slide down in various ways. My kids aren't normal and it's awesome.

Hello, arm strength!

I never did figure out exactly what you were supposed to do on this. The other kids at the park would climb up the ladder and try sliding down it. It is curved and doesn't have sides so that wasn't working for them. Here was Sweet Son's theory.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Cruise versus Reality

Here are a few photos of the daily life on a Princess cruise. A reality check is at the end of the post.

 Our cabin. The kids slept on the top bunks and loved every minute of it.

On deck. Live music that wasn't too loud, swimming pools, and general relaxed life.

Meals. Eating out every meal, plus snacks. In this case we were being served breakfast rather than going to the buffet. No cooking, no cleaning.

This is what we returned to - snow. Not exactly what we were used to on our tropical vacation. Sometimes reality bites.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Chankanaab in Cozumel

We stopped in Cozumel on our cruise. After reading reviews, we decided to visit Chankanaab. This place was great! We did not do a cruise tour. We took our time getting off the ship and took a taxi. It saved us a great amount of money and we didn't have the stress of a schedule or people waiting on us.

 Beautiful entrance sign

There were basic hiking paths to see pretend ruins.

We didn't do the tequila tasting, but the kids loved the statues.

Our family with a statue

Private swimming areas with people cleaning the beaches

 We did not swim with the dolphins, but loved the statue.

We did see the sea lion show and it was entertaining. We enjoyed pretty much everything there was to do here and would go back again. There is enough variety for everyone and activities we didn't even try that would be great for older kids and families. I highly suggest visiting Chankanaab when you get a chance.