Wednesday, December 30, 2015

A visit with Mumsie

We were happy to host Spork's birthmom for a few days before Christmas.  A lot of the local holiday stuff had wrapped up, so most of our time was spent cozy at home, reading stories, getting into Playdoh, and watching Christmas specials. 

 Mumsie got to read this book to Spork about a zillion times!

We also took K out to our little kids' museum.  Tater insisted on dressing as Minnie Mouse!

Lastly, we went mini bowling and the boys rode go-karts. Spork loves to show off for his Mumsie!

December's End

It was a memorably warm Christmas.  So warm, in fact, that Tater got to test out her new roller skates...outside!  I spent most of Christmas afternoon walking behind this blissful child in rainbow pants, as she stuffed my pockets full of "beautiful leaves for Daddy" and told me the latest preschool gossip.

The day after Christmas, we left for a celebration of my sister and her new husband!  Pictures of that happy event to come. But for now, the Nugget discovered a new future career - hibachi chef.  He also loved playing air hockey with cousin Cabbage and anyone else willing!

 Spork spent hours in this ball pit at the science center.  He immediately went to the oldest boy in the pit as if reporting for duty on a construction site, "What we doin?  What I can do??!"  The foreman put him to work cranking the wheel while the others filled buckets on the conveyor belt.

Tater discovered the delight of ice cream made with liquid Nitrogen, though was temporarily traumatized by the scientist/educator joking that she was going to eat it all.  Most of her tears had dried by the time I snapped this picture ;)  She was similarly thrilled with the ball pit, especially the suction tubes that carried the balls upward to the giant scoop overhead.  She fled the pit before the scoop dumped each time, giggling maniacally.

And our Nugget was so overjoyed by everything the science center had to offer, that he would have very happily moved in.  He settled for a membership, so we are sure to come back on our next visit.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Eve 2015

 We got our act together and dressed the kids, packed the bags and got to church this year.  Little family photo shoot to celebrate that miracle.  Golly gee, I have a good lookin' family!  I can say that with humility since I had no genetic input in the matter.  Also, our power went off just as we were leaving the house.

Then things started getting silly, which was probably an omen of how Mass was going to go. Haha! 

 We were very thankful the Christmas tree had re-lit itself by the time we got home, which allowed for dinner as planned, the annual pajama picture, and our family gift exchange.  Tucked some excited little ones into their beds tonight.  Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Santa House 2015

Back downtown today for the usual Christmas festivities!  We had a dusting of snow this morning, but it was gone by the time we headed for the Santa House.  First stop, a photo of the Nugget with his school tree.  The children made the decorations (finger crochet chains and perler bead ornaments), which gave it a nice happy hippie vibe.  

Tater started doing this funny faux shy face for group photos, so I had to go behind Daddy and give him antlers and other silly things to make her crack a smile.  Might have overdone it a little for Spork though.  And the Nugget needs a haircut.  Oh well!

 Spork ran into a buddy, and they immediately started running in circles.  We rode the trolley (now a full sized bus so not as photogenic), and did take pics, but they were all blurry.


 Cookie decorating, balloons, and electric trains inside.  Tater could not resist trying to touch the electric trains, so Daddy had to take her next door to play.  The boys stayed enthralled with the trains for nearly an hour. The "engineer" had them spot Santa and his reindeer to win a shiny new marble.

Monday, December 14, 2015

The Nugget's Farm Party - belated post

Invitation - Shutterfly

The Nugget's favorite chevre from our local cheese shop.  He has expensive taste.
Aged cheddar
Summer sausage from the Farmer's Market
Berries and watermelon
Lemonade, iced tea, water
Cups of dirt - instant chocolate pudding with crushed Oreos on top and gummy worms served on the side.  I prepped the pudding ahead and portioned it into Bell jars for transport in the cooler.  The Oreo crumbs I brought separately in a plastic container and topped the jars.  If I do this again, I will use the mini jars, as most kids only ate a few bites of pudding.

Die cast tractors from Tractor Supply Co.  I did have to go to two stores to get enough.
Lindt chocolate frogs purchased on Easter clearance. 
Tied up with twine, of course!

We couldn't improve on the beauty of nature, but I used a chalkboard banner and slate from the Target Dollar Spot (I think Spritz still makes them at a higher price point) to mark our little picnic spot and brought a cow print tablecloth.  I also decorated the birthday boy in a tractor t-shirt.  It's surprisingly hard to find a non-babyish looking tractor tee, so off to Etsy I went to find this gem!  It's quickly become a favorite in his wardrobe.

Farm Activities
Rope swing
Hay loft fun
Animals galore - I had not anticipated that Daddy would be jumpy around the loose goats and chickens, but now I know.
Pony rides
Tractor ride

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Warm and Cozy

We've enjoyed a very mild December so far.  We have had tundra-like winters as of late, so it's a pleasant exchange.  Some of our more recent adventures included:

Jan Brett illlustration demo!

 Cookie decorating with friends

This boy helped with the tree, like really helped this year, not just the "getting in the way and causing extra work" that we parents generously dub helping for our younger folks.  He also gave me a helpful albeit odd statement about ornaments that sounded as if it were taken from a Christmas textbook or an old documentary. "Ornaments don't have to be glass balls.  They can be wood, fabric, or any material.  They can be different shapes and sizes."

We've been ice skating as a family, twice so far this winter.  Spork is also getting lessons through preschool, so he's gaining independence from the skate aid. "I not need da green thing."

We decorated our gingerbread house.  Last year, I got cocky and bought a "some assembly required house", but as it turned into the gingerbread house of despair as rooftops and walls kept tumbling down, I went prefab, and it was indeed fab.  I reminded the children that decorating the house was actually a practice in peace and cooperation skills.  I think no tears were shed during the creation of the house this year, so we are all learning together!

The Nugget had his choir concert.  Always a head above his peers, so he's easy to spot.  I spent a lot of my childhood as a sidelines sibling, so I like to snap pictures of my little tagalongs too.  Here, Spork waits for the concert to start with some little rubber rodent buddies.

Sunday, December 6, 2015


St. Nick came!  Here's how he filled the stockings this year and some ideas on how he may have saved some dough.

The Nugget
Tree Tops - last year's Christmas clearance
Music Box 
Ice Cubes gum - he's been coveting this in every checkout lane all year long.
Mini yarn balls - Target clearance
Giraffe print duct tape - Dollar Tree

Magic Ink book
Instant Snow - last year's Christmas clearance
Magnetic Racer 
Mini tape dispensers - Dollar Tree
Paw Patrol bagged puzzle - Tuesday Morning, but here's a similarly priced one on Zulily

Wobbly toy for her baby - included free from an ebay seller
Whale purse - Gymbo clearance + coupon
Bathtub finger paint - Target dollar spot
Small tin container - Dollar Tree
P'kolino Mess Eater Travel Pal - Target clearance
Mini tape dispensers

For all
Punching balloons
Chocolate coins

Tater's Dance Party

Winter birthday parties for children are a bit challenging in our climate.  Last year, we used the gymnastics center, but this year I asked my friend who teaches at the dance studio if they would be interested in putting on a mini class for her birthday.  I was thrilled to get a yes, and bonus, they offered to do a craft with the kids too!  Moral of the story is don't be afraid to ask for what you want if there doesn't seem to be a local offering.  A lot of small businesses will be happy to work with you!

I had to go with pink and black (Tater's favorite color!) for the color scheme.

Invitation - Tiny Prints
I admit I do sometimes splurge on invitations, because they become a keepsake for the scrapbook.

Menu - I always go with healthy-ish kid favorites.  This menu is basically a repeat of what we did for her party last year.
Veggie Straws - pre-portioned into paper cups
Baby carrots, snap peas and ranch
Clementines and strawberries
Marshmallow Ballerinas
Water, chocolate milk, and Honest Kids pink lemonade pouches

Glitter 4 from the Target Dollar Spot

Milk Straws in chocolate and strawberry- her newest obsession is chocolate milk, so these seemed a fitting take-home treat
Ribbon Wands

Font: Ballerina Script from dafont. Acrylic diamond scatter here.