Monday, December 29, 2008

Salvage Yard Shopping

Tom's Christmas gift from me was an overnight date into Seattle. To start out we went Salvage Yard Shopping (yes, very romantic!!!). I have been wanting to do this for awhile, as I had a photo framing project in mind that needed old window frames. We had no idea what we are walking into but WOW what a treasure land it was. I wish I had brought my camera to show all the amazing finds. Tom and I could have spent hours looking at all the cool things but I focused in on the windows and found some great ones. Here is the one that will work for my photo project.
I will be cleaning it up and blowing up a photo to mat and place in the large square in the middle.
Then we also found two of these leaded pane windows.

They won't work for framing a photo but they just seemed too amazing to pass up. I am considering adding hooks to the bottom and hanging them in our entry way as a coat hanger. Or just displaying them somewhere on a wall.
My goal is to have them cleaned and hung in 2 weeks so I hope to have an after photo to share soon.
And just so you don't think we are totally crazy, we DID have a nice romantic dinner at The Wild Ginger, a wonderful evening at the Andra Hotel and fabulous room service for breakfast, finished off with shopping at Pike's Market!!!!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas Celebration

We had such a wonderful Christmas. Tom's parents braved driving through the snow to be with us and his cousin, Jessica, made it up from Portland. We had a very calm and quiet day full of eating, playing and laughing.
I think the highlight for me was having a true white Christmas. We had many inches of snow on the ground with huge flakes falling through most of the day. In the afternoon we all went out and built a Christmas snowman.The girls had a great day. They got lots of games and books to entertain us all. We especially enjoyed Madison's new game of Blokus. It is quite addicting! Check out just a few of our book highlights over to the right. A few of the toy highlights were Magna-tiles, Leggo beach house, Play-dough ice cream set and a learning globe.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Children Were Nestled.......

The treats for Santa and his reindeer were prepared.

Christmas stories were read.
Sleep-over in Nora's room for Christmas Eve. The cinnamon rolls are in the fridge ready to throw in the oven in the morning, company has all arrived, the stockings are hung and we are off to bed. I am sure the girls will be waking us up way to early in the morning. Merry Christmas to ALL and to all a good-night!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

'Tis The Season

Over the month the girls have been making all sorts of fun ornaments. The cinnamon-applesauce ones are always a crowd favorite. Though I don't think I got the dough quite right, so they are very delicate and I don't think will be able to be preserved past this year. And Madison has perfected her skills at making God's Eyes. She made this one for Nora and wrapped it all on her own for a special gift. She also made one for her classroom teacher.

Nora made these adorable ornaments at school that pretty much sum up why I love her preschool so much. Give a three year old a paper plate and bottle of glue and allow them to adhere as many noodles as they like. Then take them outside and spray paint and cover with glitter. A three year old's paradise! And the amazing Mrs. Brown (who I will be writing another post on soon) allowed them to make as many as they want. I have to say that Nora is a bit of a minimalist with her art compared to many of her classmates. I think some of the "ornaments" will make better paper weights!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Snow Days

We are having crazy weather out in the Northwest. A day of snow here or there is to be expected over the winter season but we are going on day 10+ of ice and snow with only a few brief reprieves. Last week for school, Madison had 3 late start days and 2 cancelled days. Over this past weekend we go 6-8 inches of snow. Thankfully the bad winds that were predicted never arrived (after we bought a generator, just to guarantee nothing bad would happen!) I haven't had the camera out much in the cold and snow but here is a sampling of the past week.

We are loving the snow fun and I am thrilled that all my shopping was done early but I think a few more days of this and we are going to be getting cabin fever! The forecast for the next few days is light snow showers so hopefully we will be able to dig out from this by the New Year!

We have really been enjoying the new sled hill in our neighborhood. Last spring, a family built a home at the end of the cul-de-sac with this huge, steep driveway up to the top. Perfect for sledding and even better that they have kids to go sledding with!!! It has helped get us out of the house without getting into the car.

Wishing you all a White Christmas and happy celebrations!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Neighbor Treats

This years theme was all about SIMPLE and KID DONE!!!! All our treats were ones that the girls (or at least Madison) can do with minimal help and still look edible as an end product:-)
Aren't these plates adorable?? I figure that is a little gift in itself to either keep for your home or use to regift your own plate of cookies. You have to love Target!
Here is our assembly of treats. See? I told you it was simple!! And all thanks to Hershey's. Chocolate kiss pretzels and peanut butter cookies. And mini hershey's bars turned into snowmen! Aren't they the cutest? Madison made a batch for her classmates and they were so cute we couldn't stop making them. We used large hershey's bars for the teachers to make big snowmen.
The girls are excited to deliver the goodies and are planning on caroling at the neighbors' doors as an extra special treat! IF they can agree on a song choice!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Cookie Exchange Entry

Here was my contribution to the cookie exchange party a few weeks ago.

I thought they were delicious but they didn't win the prize. There is always next year. On a up-note the ornament I brought was a hit and was stolen many times! The wrapped gift is in the photo but I didn't get a picture of it on it's own. It was a beautiful mercury-glass cone, very antique/vintage looking. I am wondering why I didn't pick one up for myself too!!!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Gingerbread Fun

The girls made their gingerbread house last week with great success. I have to admit that we went with the Costco kit this year. My ideal thoughts on gingerbread house making is creating the dough from scratch, unique architectural structure, amazing decorations...... But then reality enters the picture: to-do list a mile long, impatient children, the attempts to get the frosting the perfect consistency to keep the house together longer than 5 minutes..... So the Costco kit it is. Hopefully in a few years time we will be ready to venture onto bigger and better but I think this was a good (and quick) house for this year.

The girls had a great time and there was plenty of house to share. Nora seemed to have a 3 to 1 candy ratio. 3 candies in the mouth to 1 on the house!
Another item on my project list has been a flannel gingerbread project. Madison has been eyeing the stack of flannel asking when we were going to do it. Finally today we found some time. I envisioned myself cutting all the pieces with lots of fun embellishments. But Madison has turned into a cutting expert lately and wanted to do the creating. So I cut the men and house and Madison did all of the embellishments and Nora placed them on the house. Great teamwork all around. Somehow we have made it all this time without a flannel board and I didn't have any big pieces of flannel to make one so we ended up just taping them to the easel for now. With the success of this project, I am thinking a flannel board may be in our future. The possible activities are endless and I am wanting to research if my cricut die-cut machine could cut flannel. If so I am envisioning some crazy flannel doll projects!!!

Snow Fun

The girls had a great time playing in the snow we got today. It was SOOO cold though. 27 degrees with a cold wind. They didn't seem to notice, but I did! We got the benefit of new neighbors who built a house at the end of our cul-de-sac this summer. They have a long drive-way that goes up a steep hill so it was the perfect sledding spot!! Nora did take one big spill into the trees but they had alot of fun!!!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Oh Christmas Tree

This year I pretty much gave up complete control and let MY tree become the family tree. In years past I liked the majority to be burgundy and gold, with star and teardrop type ornaments with the family ornaments scattered throughout. But with the girls typically getting 3-5 new ornaments a year, I now have no more room for MY ornaments. So this year I kept most of them boxed up and allowed the girls to take control in the tree decorating department. I think they did a fairly good job, though it takes all my will-power to not fix the beads.

One tree tradition that we have is the girls have their own special ornament boxes. Each year they get ornaments from the grandparents, us and other friends and relatives. I make sure to mark them accordingly and then they get placed in their special boxes.
This is the first box for each girl and now I have had to add rubber-maid type ornament boxes for the growing collection. Each section of the box has a label that gives a description of the ornament, the year it was received and who gave it to them. (yes, I know, I have horrible handwriting but lets not focus on that detail!)
The girls really enjoy taking each ornament out and finding out when they got it. This year was especially fun with Madison, as she remembered certain ornaments before opening the box and went searching for those specific ones. The first ones she had to find were the lovely wooden Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus ornaments that she received a few years ago from Grandma and Grandpa. Nora was just thrilled with them all and had fun unwrapping the tissue paper off of each one, like a brand new gift.
I look forward to their collections growing over the years and continuing this wonderful tradition until they are able to take their boxes to their own homes when they are adults to decorate their own trees.
BUT I am also looking forward to going shopping the day after Christmas to find a cheap tree to purchase so next year I can have a tree all of my own!!!!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The children were nestled......

To kick off the holiday season I always bring out the Christmas P.J.'s I know that many people have the tradition of delivering these on Christmas Eve but I prefer to have the kids enjoy them for the entire month of December. Plus, it allows for fun photo sessions. Many years the girls will do most of the tree decorating in the Christmas p.j.'s which is lots of fun.
This year we got a special addition to help the girls have sweet Christmas dreams. Grandma Peggy sewed these fabulous pillowcases that the girls are LOVING!!! I have a feeling that it will be hard to part with them when the season is over. Grandma made Christmas quilts last Christmas that have stayed on the bed for the entire year.

Rudolph For Breakfast


Check out Little Nummies for many, many more fabulous and fun food ideas.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Christmas Books

It is always fun to get out the Christmas book collection. There are definite favorites that get read over and over and over during the month. Each year I like to add a book or two to our collection. This is this year's addition.
It is a series of letters between a girl and Santa. It is fun to actually pull the letters and little goodies from the envelopes (like the classic Jolly Postman).

More of our favorites have been added to the sidebar.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

After Santa holiday fun

Our Santa visit was so much fun, so we decided to extend the fun for the entire afternoon.
Next on the list - the holiday carousel in downtown Kent. Not the most fancy or elaborate of carousels around but the girls didn't seem to care. AND the rides were free!!!
Then we needed some hot chocolate and a warm fire to warm up, although half of Nora's drink ended up all over my pants.
And we ended the afternoon with a concert by Recess Monkey at the Black Diamond Library. We have seen them twice now and the girls were singing their songs all night long. They are like the Seattle version of the Wiggles (but not as annoying for the parents!).
Nora was a bit exhausted by the end of the day, so this is how she arrived home.
And this is what Tom was doing while we were having our fun girls day out.

Santa Claus is coming!!!!

The girls and I had a wonderful day celebrating the season. We started off by going to get our Santa pictures taken to add to our collection. If you got a close look, you would notice a number of years that ended up being family photos! They are probably the most professional family photo we have ever had taken. Madison was fairly terrified of Santa until last year. In concept she was always excited to go see him but once we came face to face with him it was a different story. The first year she was young enough and the photographer snapped the photo quickly before she realized where she was. The second year was NOT going to happen. She was 18 months and at the height of stranger anxiety (which she had a horrible of case of to begin with) and we hadn't figured out the family photo solution. So that year's picture is of Micah, our dog, and Santa. For some reason I don't have that one in a frame, I will need to go track it down.

So last year was the first year the girls were willing to sit with Santa on their own. SUCCESS!!! I think one of the reasons is we finally found a FANTASTIC Santa. The first few years we did the REI family holiday party which was always lots of fun, but just a staff member dressed as Santa and they were primarily doing dog/Santa photos (you know those REI folk!!!). Then one year we did the YMCA which was a small step up but not great. THEN last year we went down to Kent Station and found the REAL Santa!!! First of all, they have a special house built for Santa and everyone lines up outside so when you go in, you get Santa one-on-one in a calm and quiet environment. Just look how it is decorated!!
And then you get to spend 5+ minutes just chatting with him. The girls were asking all sorts of questions and you never feel rushed or hurried. Madison wanted to know all about the reindeer and where they stay for the rest of the year. Santa gave such a thorough answer, that even Madison was satisfied. And Nora brought along a "Little Pet Shop" book to specifically show Santa what she wanted (much to the horror of mommy!) Then they finally get you sat down on the nice couch and take MANY photos to get the best one. The photo we got last year was so good, I think it is one of the best photos I have of the girls together. I wish I could keep it up and framed all year!

And then the final step is the "nose test" that Santa does. He presses on the girls noses and if it squeaks then he knows they have been good! Of course, the girls got the squeaks they were hoping for.
So, if you live in the area and haven't had your Santa visit yet, I HIGHLY recommend going to Kent Station. The only down-side is the possible wait. We only had 9 families in front of us but waited close to an hour for our turn. But it is so worth it, because you know that the kids are going to get quality time when it is their turn. And the girls were able to run around the plaza area while waiting having lots of fun.
BUT I would not recommend going if it is raining out, since there is no covered area for waiting. But maybe you would luck out and not have a line because of it!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Attempting the Perfect Photo

A "tradition" of mine that happens yearly about this time is the attempt for the "perfect photo" for the Christmas card. It usually results in lots of bribes to the girls to still not get close to what I was hoping for. Of course, they can take lovely photos other times of the year but somehow they know when mommy is looking for THE ONE and the faces start appearing. One year I even photo-shopped a smile onto a different photo! How desperate is that?
So here are some of the attempts at this year's shoot. I all ready had a family photo we were using but wanted one of each girl on their own to add. Madison was in a very cooperative mood, but the smiles and poses were so cheesey I couldn't even handle it. Nora was pouting because she just wanted to swing. And she can NEVER look straight at the camera, what is with that?
Want to see the winning photos? Well, you will need to be on my Christmas Card list for that one!! I would hate to give it away now.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Holiday Happenings - Entry 1

I had such a wonderful time with the Daily Thanks challenge that I have created my own for December. It seems so special to track all of the daily events in our lives. I think when I look back on albums in 10 years that these will be the most memorable layouts. Remembering how Madison was obsessed with the salamander (named "Yellow Stripe) that they caught Thanksgiving weekend will seem more special than our posed family photos that don't translate our activities, loves, interests and happenings.
So for December I am going to do Holiday Happenings and take 31 photos of all of our little traditions, projects and events to celebrate Christmas. I have to admit I am like a kid in the candy store at this time of year and have so many hopes and desires of what I want to accomplish, but we will see how much gets done. So for day one, my photo is my "want" list of things to do for the month. Make sure to note this is NOT the "to-do" list of Christmas cards, shopping, mailing, wrapping but the WANT list of fun things to do with the family. I keep seeing all sorts of great ideas in magazines, blogs, stores that I think I want to do so I am going to try and keep all the ideas on one list with print-outs of photos or directions in a folder to keep organized (ha, ha - like that will happen!!!).
On a scrapping layout note: I am going to crop my holiday photos as 2x3 rectangles since my November layout will be 2x2 squares to keep it a bit different. I am hoping to give a little "tutorial" on my trick for printing the squares to get 6 squares onto one 4x6 photo to save on printing expenses and cropping by hand.