Thursday, November 27, 2014

Pre-Thanksgiving Feastings

I may not definitely am not cooking anything for the next 2 days but I did have some baking to do a few days before to get the kids in the turkey mood…. 

E had turkey homework again this year… If you have forgotten last year's check it out. I pretty much stayed out of this homework project - except for cutting the pipe cleaners (a turkey has two belly buttons???) and demanding that the glitter glue be spread out from the massive globs that were around a wing and the feet. And this is what you get when you leave a 4 yr old to her own devices with craft supplies...

When she turned it in the teacher put her name on the back and I told her why bother, because no one else would claim a turkey like that! : )

On to my part of the bargain here. So I did these turkey cookies last year and they were a hit. Pretty easy for as complicated as they look. So ding rounds two and three for our 4 yr old and 2 yr old parties. Except this year I had some severe peanut/tree nut allergies to deal with. Those things are for REAL y'all. E's class has a quarter of the kids with an allergy so I was reading labels like a crazy mama. Some sugar cookies have macadamia nuts in them, yeah I know. Who knew?!?! Also, Jelly Belly candy corns specifically note that they come from a peanut FREE facility - and I got the last bag so I was short on candy corn for my 4 yr old batch - you'll see why this is crucial.

The directions say cut each roll into 16 cookies but I only did 12 because my cookie sheet was small AND I had a limited number of candy corns.

Yep Lee had the girls cups out already - at 5:30 AM… How am I going to survive the mornings in the summer???

So my cookies came out massive and in squares and weird shapes because I should have reshaped the cookies before baking. PLUS with my candy corn shortage I couldn't compensate for the massive cookies with more candy corn around the edges.

Trust me… the 4 yr olds REALLY cared : )

E got to present her homework. The teacher asked if the homework was a "family activity". E said no she did it by herself in 2 days. Sweet… score one for the good parents in front of all the other parents…  Don't worry we're probably the most irresponsible people alive.

So the next day I took the plus/delta chart from the day before - did not have a peanut allergy to contend with - and was ready to make some more aesthetically pleasing turkeys for the twos...

Rolling the cookies and cutting the cookies into 20 instead of the recommended 16 was great

I did run out of black gel for the feet so some turkeys have blue feet. That gel is not the easiest stuff to try and make little feet with either! Candy corn abounded (that was made in a peanut (filled) facility).

I didn't get the cold shoulder at the party this time! (and she's wearing the same dress as last party)

And this is all the beautiful art that came home this week…



Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Celebrating Advent - Week One

My hope for this short series of posts is to help/encourage/prove that celebrating Advent is doable even with little ones. One might argue it necessary to teach kids about seasons and times of preparation and times of celebration - but I'm not in an arguing mood : ) 

Veni, veni Emmanuel 
Captivum solve Israel!
Qui gemit in exilio,
Privatus Dei Filio,
Gaude, gaude, Emmanuel
nascetur per te, Israel.

So Advent started off with a bang. No not really. We are preparation our hearts and our home for the celebration of Christ's birth by doing the following:

1. Daily - The Jesse Tree
2. Daily - unless I've had a rough morning corralling people out the door then I usually cannot bring myself to sing it but I'm working on it, I promise - O Come Emmanuel
3. Weekly - Act of Service/Charity - you get the point

Let's start off with the easiest one - for the kids: This week we filled 2 shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child. We hit the street and went to Target.

Later in the week I realized that I did not have any appropriately sized shoes boxes but fortunately the local OCC drop off location is where the girls go to preschool. They had extra shoeboxes - excellent - and the lids detached from the base because remember last year, yeah not doing those fancy lids again.

So with shoeboxes in hand...

Wrapping paper,

And scissors, we started. 

2 yr old + scissors = you must pass the scissors test in 3 yr old class… sorry!

R taping up the boxes

M was mildly interested but more into the slinky

Filling the boxes with our loot from Target. There was lots of Hello Kitty stuff - socks, stickers, coloring book. There was also the infamous calculator just like the one we put in last year that I think St. Nicholas brought her one and she loves 'calculating' things on it. 

We really could have used bigger boxes. We have already asked Papa to save his work boot boxes for us for next year

Ahhh yes… I had 2 brand new, never worn or washed soccer jerseys left over from this season so what to do with them? How about send them halfway across the world? Don't know if I supposed to do that with the extras but it seems like a sweet idea.

After school we headed up to the office to drop the boxes off...

And there were lots of boxes

"Going to kids who won't have a Christmas" is the line I've been saying all week

Deposit box… Get a sticker

Tractor trailer trucks full of shoeboxes : ) 

Okay so it was a success. R didn't totally get it and happily left her box but keeps talking about some of the stuff inside and wanting to play with it. E gets it lot - which is a motivating factor to keep doing this. She somewhat understands that there are kids who would not have Christmas presents unless we wrapped some up for them. On the shopping trip, there was not a lot of "Oh I need this" or "I really want that" - awesome. This activity is a keeper. 

Now onto the Jesse Tree. Or the Roddle (similar to throttle) of Jesse Tree as E calls it - (Rod of Jesse - see next week's Oh Come Emmanuel verse). The Jesse Tree is a FANTASTIC visual teaching tool that can go with each day of Advent. 

And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots. Isaiah 11.1

Each day we have a new ornament and new Bible passage to read. Even Papa has been impressed with it not being some water-down, hokey-ness. So we have been tracing the genealogy of Jesus back to Adam and Eve. Then to Noah and Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and Joseph (with the colorful coat - seriously you should reread that - he kept his brothers 3 days in prison (NT reference, anyone?) and it is such a great story of unconditional forgiveness) and now we are up to Moses. 

 The Jesse Tree was new this year and it is a keeper for sure. My only compliant is the crazy Rudolph looking nose on top of the tree (but that was not part of the kit) 

Lastly, Oh Come Emmanuel is going pretty well. I was hoping to sing in the van to school and at night but I only have one copy of the words. So we sing in the van. E must do "Aladin" (Latin!) version because she "likes it best". They are catching the tune of it and definitely do sing some of the English - even R. E's letter this past week was G and she's always up for a good word for circle time so we dissected the song and came up with 'Gaude' - rejoice in Latin - but supposedly she never said it because use forgot - but sometimes I don't get a full report. 

O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here,
Until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice ! Rejoice ! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Just Because I Don't Use Birth Control...

Photo Credit- Michelle Gunton 

Just because I don't use birth control does not make me irresponsible. Someone told me that the other day and I still cannot believe that I was lumped into the 'irresponsible' crowd. So because we have more than one or two kids does that make us irresponsible? We are not in a race with anyone to have the world's largest family. We believe God will give us the right number of children because we are open to His Will.

My husband and I are raising our children to be responsible, productive, God-fearing, and contributing members to our society. We don't rely on government programs (aside from our small Obamacare tax credit since our insurance is through the roof - if you're going to go all technical) and we believe in holding ourselves and our children accountable for our and their actions.

So to the person who thinks that it is irresponsible of me (and really us) for not using birth control... When you get old and wonder who is going to be taking care of you and making payments into the Social Security system so you can get your money (if the system is even around then) you can thank our kids because they'll be the ones with the jobs and they'll be the ones with the values instilled in them to keep our country on the right track!

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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Semana en mi Vida - Domingo

Whew! Made it. Just barely though. Loading up pics from the phone to blogger via the blogger app takes awhile… 

Oh Sundays. Sundays are probably one of our more interesting days of the week (at least in the mornings) - as if you've been bored with Monday-Saturday. I think I've mentioned it before but with Church an hour away - okay maybe 55 minutes on a good morning (Friday afternoons forget it - we plan on about 1 hr 20 min), and Liturgy at 8:30 and Papa have deacon duties that require at least 30 minutes of prep we load everyone up in pajamas, pack breakfast and hope that we have everything else.

This is where we left off.. Clothes collected the night before = less of a chance of waking someone up as I tiptoe into their rooms at 6 am to grab clothes in the dark. Planning is good.

Diaconal duties at home too… 

Dresses, tights, shoes, bows, brush, extra clothes for everyone… 

Milk cups, yogurt in cooler bag and Cheerios are ready (courtesy of Papa)

The ride kinda goes like this… All is well (currently we are listening to The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe) 

Lee and I talk or just enjoy the peace… In this case the fall leaves

Then usually someone gets upset and starts crying about "it taking too long" or "Why is church so far away"

We power through to church and then fight over who needs to get out of the van first - lying, I wish

Everyone feasts on yogurt and Cheerios

And then I'm glad I never put them in church clothes until AFTER breakfast. Getting dressed at home and then eating at church would not end well...

Proof I was there...

Oh yes… Today was the day I was reminded that I really must do a better job packing clothes. One time before this, over the summer, I forgot both girls bike shorts that they wear under their summer dresses and skirts. I remembered when we were about 5 minutes away from the house. We were early so turning around was not a problem - and not worth the crisis, because there certainly would have been one. 

On this day however I did not realize there was a wardrobe malfunction (or two) in the works until we were getting dressed… Well I discovered that a 4 yr old can wear 6 month old socks when stretched. Seriously it was the first time that I forgotten something like that. Fortunately I keep a mountain of socks in M's bag because she doesn't actually keep them on but at least I can pretend she does. E was not overly happy about the situation but it was better baby socks than no socks. 

Now we move onto the second wardrobe malfunction. Please note the rolls and rolls and rolls of tights that M is sporting. Well that's because she's wearing R's tights. Sweet. See some mornings it is easier packing for them to match because then each on has their own set of clothes… Next time I'll be double checking tights sizes.

Also M loves playing with the checkbook. 

We survived the most trying 1.15 hours of my week. Seriously people, church can be hard. Without that second set of parental hands sometimes I have left church totally dejected like - why did we come? E cannot sit still or stand up, R is being 2 and cannot be reasoned with, and M is unhappy about her state in the Beco carrier. Also, M is moving into the 18-24 months stage (okay in a little bit) in which she demands complete reign of her mobility. 

Fortunately, recently we have been having mostly good weeks with the occasional trying child. I have found when E had a music stand and book and is set up in the front row with the choir people she does infinitely better and R does too because she sees E. M is content crawling on the dirty, dirty floor and I pray that she does not contract anything - but holding her the entire time is out of the question. People are rewarded with a donut (or half) depending on behavior. Bribery? No. We reward good behavior that's all - and you know what half the time it works!

Papa's afternoon perch…. because it's football season and he earned his keep : ) 

Everyone loves sitting with Papa...

He reads… ALOT. When we met he did not read like this. I don't think it was until he started studying to be a deacon that he really started reading like he does now.

Post nap snuggles : ) 

Soccer season may be over but we can still practice!

As if you did not think Lee was a rockstar already, how about fried chicken and 

green bean casserole and mashed potatoes for dinner! Yep he's the best...

After stories and prayers and twinkles it was time for bed… I finally mailed M's thank you notes yesterday