Tuesday, December 24, 2013

4, 3, 2, 1 Days Till Christmas

I’m going to be honest here.  I didn’t run out of ideas to celebrate Christmas, I ran out of time to execute them.  I have been sick myself or had a sick child home with me all but 6 days since Thanksgiving.  That makes getting anything done extremely hard, especially when during those days you have to work or have doctors appointments.  Plus it makes leaving the house to do family activities extremely hard.

This was my sick child yesterday who wanted to nap in the laundry basket.


I tried my best to fill some things in, but the majority of my original list is going to have to be postponed until next year.

Today is Christmas Eve and we are just hoping everyone feels good enough that we can make it to church and then do our family present exchange tonight.  And of course Santa will come and deliver present overnight for the kids in the morning.

Oliver originally asked Santa for Candy Canes, and now he is saying he wants presents.  So apparently this year he will be pretty easy to please!

This is the gift we received from Oliver’s school.  I just love it and think it’s a great idea, they turned it into a magnet.


We hope everyone has a Very Merry and Healthy Christmas!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

5 Days Till Christmas

Bella’s big gift.

It is very difficult for us to come up with good gifts that Bella will enjoy.  We are both originally from Nebraska and the majority of our family still lives up there, so we always head up around this time of year.

I did some research and found out that Omaha does have an indoor water park/hotel.  Since Bella loves to be in the water, I thought that might be a great present for her, plus it would provide a great activity for the whole family.

I meant to take pictures in the water park, but we were continuously wet and busy either running after one child or holding the other one, so no pictures happened.  There were plenty of smiles from both kids, so it was definitely a success.  And it was big enough with enough to do, that even the adults had fun.

I did get one smiley picture of Bella once we made it back into the hotel room.  One happy girl!



Although the water park was a success, the stay in the hotel was not so much.  Oliver had a cough and when everyone is staying in the same room, it kept all of us up.  Both kids were exhausted from the swim park so they wanted to go to bed at 6:30, and both Jesse and I had nothing else to do but get in bed too.  Except as I mentioned continuous coughing happened and pretty much kept everyone up until 1am.  Then finally with Oliver in bed with me and Jesse in bed with Bella we got everyone to fall asleep.  And surprisingly slept until 6:30am, which is decent in our book.  But still left everyone exhausted the next day.

So hotel rooms might not be totally out of the question, the coughing was just bad timing.  We might be smarter to get a hotel room that has separated rooms or a sitting room so that we can have a little more space!

Friday, December 20, 2013

6 Days Till Christmas

Mom may have accidentally left the closet open where she was hiding the Christmas presents.  Someone named Oliver may have come into the room and immediately spotted a box with Thomas the Train on it.  He then threw a fit because he wanted it.

Since it wasn’t a huge gift and we hadn’t done anything yet for our advent day….today belongs as a fun game for Oliver.


It should hopefully be a good game for him.  It has Thomas the train as I already stated and it’s about learning colors and numbers (up to 3).  His attention span only lets him participate in the game for about 3 turns and then he wants to take it apart and play with the trains.  But maybe sometime soon in the future we can actually sit down and play the game together…at least that’s my hopeful thinking!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

7 Days Till Christmas

Visiting the crazy Christmas house.

I’m sure everyone has that one overdone, over decorated, crazy Christmas house.  Which in my mind is absolutely great (except maybe if you were their neighbor!)

We call the house near us, the penguin house.  They have hundreds upon hundreds of inflatable Christmas decorations and most of them involve penguins.  You can park and walk through their yard where they are all set up.

We found an evening that the weather was decent and we all set out to walk through.

I didn’t get very good pictures.  I meant to grab the good camera and then forgot, so the phone camera had to fill in.


Oliver absolutely loved it and didn’t want to leave.


Bella looked around and seemed to enjoy it, which is a good sign in our book.


Can you believe they actually had a blow up movie screen where they were projecting a movie for all to watch?


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

8 Days Till Christmas

Teacher Gifts.

Every year I struggle with what to make or give for teacher gifts.  We have a lot of teachers that are a part of our kids’ lives, so that makes for quite a few gifts.

This year I decided on Christmas pillow covers.

I made 20 covers for the kids to give as gifts.  I had them pose for the personalized gift tags I made to go along with the pillows, and they were each in charge of delivering the gifts.


Merry Christmas to all the teachers, you make the world a better place!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

9 Days Till Christmas

Going to see Christmas lights.

We got everyone bathed for the night and into their pajamas and we headed off to go see Christmas lights.

We even made some coffee drinks for mom and dad, and hot chocolate for Oliver.

Oliver loves to say “Cheers” and clink glasses!


For some reason Oliver had it in his head that when we said we were going to go look at Christmas lights in other neighborhoods, he thought we were going to another neighborhood to park and get out to look at the lights and trains.  We never mentioned trains, but boy did he cry about it as we were headed home.  His exact words over and over were….”go park, we park in the neighborhood to look at lights and get out to see trains”.

He was really bawling by the time he recognized his own neighborhood, and realized we were headed home.

He did really enjoy the lights at the beginning of our drive around.  At the end I think he was too busy crying to really pay much attention.

Hopefully we can do another holiday activity where he gets out of the car to look at lights!

It would probably also help if he would have napped that day, I think any activity was probably doomed from the start.

Bella also enjoyed the lights, even though she is still getting over her sickness.

Monday, December 16, 2013

10 Days Till Christmas

Watching the Reindeer.

This was an activity I had in reserve for those days we really didn’t have time to do anything else.  I had heard about the reindeer cam where you could watch the reindeer and at certain times Santa would come and feed them.

Reindeer Cam

If you don’t happen to get online when Santa feeds the reindeer, you can google it and there are YouTube videos that  will show it at any point.  I will warn you that I think this particular Santa is a little cheesy.

We did go to the website and Oliver thought it was pretty neat.  We also watched the taped video of Santa on YouTube, because we of course didn’t get our timing right.

Then I found this website.  Animal Planet Reindeer Live


We really liked this website.  The graphics were clearer, and at the bottom they have links to a bunch of different live animals you can see around the world.  We spent quite a bit of time clicking on each one.  Oliver loved viewing all of them, but he is a huge animal lover.  This website also has a Santa feeding time, but it isn’t quite as often. 

I definitely suggest checking them out if you get a chance….for the kids of course!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

11 Days Till Christmas

Making Christmas treats.

Daddy and Oliver decided to whip up some almond bark covered pretzels.

Dad was in charge of making the pretzels.


Oliver was in charge of adding sprinkles.


Although Oliver mostly was in charge of eating them all faster than they could be made.


They were delicious…so I was told!


Saturday, December 14, 2013

12 Days Till Christmas

It was inevitable that a day would get missed.  And with everyone being sick (flu and colds), we had a day that passed before we realized we hadn’t done anything for our Advent Calendar.

We also had some plans for this weekend that had to get scratched since we can’t really take sick kids out and about.

So in it’s place you get to see a new Christmas wreath I made this year.  And it was completely free.

Did you notice this wreath over the dresser?


I made it using paper and some old ornaments.


I went to a website to print off free music sheets.  The one I used is listed below, but you can easily google and come up with other examples.  Thank you to the people who create these for free!

Christmas Tree Music Sheet

christmas tree music sheet

First I cut out a small cardboard circle to use as my base. 

Then I printed out the sheets of music and folded them into a cone like shape.  I taped them onto the cardboard to get a fan pattern that I liked, then I hot glued them down in different places to make it more stable. 

Lastly I had extra Christmas tree ornaments that I was not using and hot glued them in the middle, which also covers up all the tape pieces I used for the paper.

I put a small hole in my piece of cardboard so I could hang it up on a nail.


I happened to be running out of ink on my printer, so I only printed out the music sheets on one side of the paper.  If think it would look better if you printed the music out on both sides.  Or you could get really creative and paint the portions of plain white paper you see with a coordinating color of paint.  I might add some silver or red paint at some point….but I’m sure that won’t happen this year.

Friday, December 13, 2013

13 Days Till Christmas

Watch a Holiday movie together.

I’ll admit we have actually been watching quite a few holiday movies.  Oliver has been requesting Rudolph since before Thanksgiving.

I had the idea in my head that everyone would like “Home Alone”.  I hadn’t seen it in years.  I had forgotten how sassy Kevin is to his parents in the beginning.  Hoping we didn’t put any new ideas into Oliver’s head.  At first Oliver wanted nothing to do with watching the movie, but then he started to get into it and even requested “that boy movie” the next day.

home alone

I would say this year Oliver’s favorite holiday movie is “The Polar Express”.  There is no end of “All Aboard” being said around this house.

Do you have a favorite holiday movie?  Does it change year to year?  Do your kid’s taste in movies change as the years go by?

I wanted to watch a new movie this year for myself.  I found “White Christmas” on Netflix and the kids and I watched it.  It was mostly just me watching it, but Oliver clapped after a couple of the dancing numbers.

There is only about a million holiday movies to choose from, so I’m sure we will keep watching them as we lead up to Christmas.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

14 Days Till Christmas

Remember to take a moment to enjoy the season.  You are especially lucky if you can see the world through a child’s eye at this time.

Last night the kids and I were traveling to church.  I made sure to leave a little early so that we had time to drive by a few houses lighted up with Christmas lights.

I simply enjoyed the ride listening to my son.

“Look look over there, Christmas lights!”

“Mommy, Mommy, look the house more Christmas lights!”

“Bella look see the Christmas lights!”

“Bella look now they are over there, do you see them?”

We were listening to a Christmas station and The Little Drummer Boy came on.  I started singing along and shortly after I started, Oliver said.  “Stop Mommy, no signing, I sing it”.

And even though he hadn’t really heard much of the song, he tried to sing “Pa rum pum pum pum”.  After a little while I forgot I wasn’t allowed to sing, and started signing along again.  I got a quick response.

“No Mommy, you don’t sing, I sing it”.

Besides listening to music in the car, we have also been singing a lot at home and getting out our instruments.  It’s an activity the whole family enjoys, especially when we are singing Christmas songs.


Little Drummer Boy
Come they told me, pa rum pum pum pum
A new born King to see, pa rum pum pum pum
Our finest gifts we bring, pa rum pum pum pum
To lay before the King, pa rum pum pum pum,
rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,
So to honor Him, pa rum pum pum pum,
When we come.
Little Baby, pa rum pum pum pum
I am a poor boy too, pa rum pum pum pum
I have no gift to bring, pa rum pum pum pum
That's fit to give the King, pa rum pum pum pum,
rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,
Shall I play for you, pa rum pum pum pum,
On my drum?
Mary nodded, pa rum pum pum pum
The ox and lamb kept time, pa rum pum pum pum
I played my drum for Him, pa rum pum pum pum
I played my best for Him, pa rum pum pum pum,
rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,
Then He smiled at me, pa rum pum pum pum
Me and my drum.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

15 Days Till Christmas

The Season of Giving.

We are blessed to be able to give our kids presents and to enjoy the holiday season with lots of activities.  But we also want to teach our children to share their blessings and that not everyone is as lucky.

Each child had a different opportunity to give to others.

Bella’s school was doing a Gingerbread Man Giving.  They had anonymous families in her school that were in need of items. Those items were listed on a gingerbread man.  Each student had the option to sign up and pick out a gingerbread man.  Bella may not have known what was going on, but we still wanted to participate as a family.  Bella brought home a gingerbread man that listed girls pajamas. So one day after school Bella and I went to the store and picked out a couple of pairs.

Bella getting ready to head out to the store.


Oliver’s school was doing a Toys for Tots drive.  He was very interested in the box that was in the lobby and how it kept having different toys in it.  I explained to him that we could go and purchase a toy to put in the box so that someone who didn’t have any toys would be able to receive a present for Christmas.

This time we took the whole family along and let Oliver play in the toy aisles to pick something out.  He had absolutely no concept of picking out a toy for someone else.  He was too busy playing with the toys.


While we were all at the store we also had each kid pick out something to give to each other as a sibling gift.  Bella didn’t even want to hold her head up to pick anything out and again Oliver was too busy saying he wanted everything to figure out what to get for Bella.

Maybe next year…sigh.

Although Oliver did do a great job putting in the two toys Mom and Dad picked out for the Toys for Tots.  He looked at them and then dropped them right into the box.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

16 Days Till Christmas

Another round of pajamas.

This was supposed to be Bella’s day to receive pajamas.  I love Christmas pajamas but hate that they can only be worn for one month out of the year.  So this year I was careful to select fun “winter themed” fabric that could be worn all winter, but still looked cute for Christmas.

Bella got penguins and snowflakes with a red shirt.


You saw Oliver’s original pajamas on yesterdays post, his print was a woodsy theme with reindeer, foxes, and raccoons.  Sorry the picture is a little blurry, if you remember he was running the whole time I was trying to take pictures.


That was going to be the end of the pajamas.  Except I was purchasing fabric online for a different project and ran into this print.

christmas santa farm print

A Santa print on a farm.  Absolutely perfect for Oliver.  So while it was on sale for black Friday I picked up a yard (it is now currently sold out on fabric.com).  I ended up deciding to make another pair of pajama pants and a pillow case for Oliver out of the print. 

After he opened the presents he grabbed them and said “I love it”.  Who teaches this kid this stuff?  Cracks me up.  Again he immediately wanted to put his new pajama pants on.

I asked him to lay with Bella and say cheese for the camera.


He would not stay still.  He really wanted to crawl on daddy.


I am officially done with pajamas for our advent calendar.  A certain little boy might be getting more for his actual Christmas present if I find the time to make them.

BTW – the pillow is a toddler pillow I made years back for Bella from an old McCall's Pattern.  The dimensions are about 12” x 19” and I used 3 pieces of batting in between to make a comfy but flat toddler pillow.  Then its super easy to make an envelope pillow cover out of any print you like and change it up as you wish.

Monday, December 9, 2013

17 Days Till Christmas


He opened the present….excitedly named all the animals on the pants, immediately asked to put them on, and then told me “I like them mommy!”

And apparently they are great for running.


His reindeer shirt is from a pajama set we bought last year, it’s a tad too small, but he wanted to wear it with his new pajama pants because they have reindeer on them too!

I whipped these pants up in under 30 minutes using my favorite pants pattern for skinny and tall boys Dana Made It - Basic Kids Pants.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

18 Days Till Christmas

Our Church has lots of different Christmas programs.  Last night was the children’s program.  We planned to take the whole family into the church to enjoy the program.  It lasted all of 5 minutes and Oliver really wanted to go into the nursery to play. 

I didn’t take any pictures while at church.  Instead I thought I would show you our decorated house for the holidays.

Here is our advent calendar that I made a few years back.  I pretty much exactly copied one from Pottery Barn Kids.


Our entry way.


The living room holds our big tree.


And lastly our family room which has the mantle and our smaller more personal kid friendly tree.


Saturday, December 7, 2013

19 Days Till Christmas

Have a Christmas Party!

This particular day just belongs to the adults….but sometimes you need that.

We have an annual Christmas Dinner and Game Night.

Here was the dinning room all decorated for the party.


Once our dinner was over the fun began.

First we wanted to get a group shot..which turned into this.


Then everyone decided they wanted to play awkward family photos again, except this time taking all our own pictures.  I don’t really think I should share most of the photos taken, but I will share the winner of “most awkward photo”.


I might be one of those…you have to be there to get it.