Friday, November 30, 2012

On the first day of Christmas...

Okay, so I’ve been a mom now for 7 years. The first year we had Jack, Trav worked so we really didn’t do much. Every year after that, it just seemed to get bigger and out of hand. Kids were constantly whining about when it would be Christmas, and Advent calendars always made it difficult to keep them from opening all of the countdown days while my back was turned.
Conclusion: We needed something else.
One problem was the cost. I shop year-round for birthday and Christmas gifts, so for me a budget is critical. We didn’t have a LOT of money to spare, so what could work?
Cue the Red Box.
In truth, the Red Box is nothing more than the 25 Days of Christmas that is confined to a box. Each day I put a new “clue” into the box, and when the kids open it they have to figure out what we’re going to do that day. I know some people who do this will put little boxes on the tree with numbers or little stockings with numbers on them. For me, that wouldn’t work. I knew I could do one per day and make it work. A $5 box from Hobby Lobby transformed the event from 25 Days … to Red Box!
SO last year we gave it a go. Trav wasn’t even too keen on the idea…until he saw how well it worked with the kids. Those kids went from crazy, gift-obsessed kids to actually caring about others. We went Elfing (basically ding-dong-and-ditch with holiday goodies). We played games by candle light. We make cookies, garland and snowmen. In the end, we were sad to see it go, and both kids started to mention their excitement for THIS year’s Red Box starting earlier this spring.
Here’s what we did last year:
Day 2 – Cars 2 (gift)
Day 3 – Santa
Day 4 – Toys 4 Tots
Day 5 – Red Day
Day 7 – Blankets (gift)
Day 8 – Garland Making
Day 10 – Plaza
Day 11 – Walter shopping
Day 13 – Green Day
Day 14 – Snowman Day
Day 16 – Penguin House
Day 17 – Elfing
Day 18 – Christmas Lights
Day 19 – Game Night
Day 20 – Cookie Making
Day 23 – Ice Skating
Day 24 – Pajamas (gift)
Day 25 –  Scavenger Hunt
What will we do this year? You’ll just have to tune in starting tomorrow!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Detective Audrey

Thanksgiving was a great time for many reasons, including Audrey's discovery of a magnifying glass! She loved that thing!

There are just so many things to examine.

And find.

Zoey was suddenly interested in what her cousin was doing.

Who knew a $2 toy could be so much fun?

Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Christmas Kitty

Walter really has been a great cat, but Christmas is something special for him too. It's the year that we place new toys everywhere! From the garland to the pearls to the temping ornaments, he's in hog heaven right now! In fact, we have placed a bet on whether or not he brings down the tree this year.

It's been up for less than 24 hours, and he's already made his interest known:

Yeah, we weren't fooled by him.

Yup. There's my sly little tree destroyer.

You see, this is Walter barely tolerating Trav's affection.

He gives a warning glare before...


The BOYS' tree

So now that you've seen the "good" tree in the living room, you can understand why Trav first described the tree in Jack's room as...well...ugly.

At first glance, it's a normal tree with lights in an interesting pattern:

But then, looking closer, you can see that it's the Emperor gracing the top of it! 

A true Star Wars tree for a Star Wars fan!

The GIRLS' Tree

Last year Jack showed little interest in our tree:

So this year I didn't think twice when Jack showed little interest in the tree. Z and I pilled on the lights and decor. This year it's a red tree. I wish I could say it was symbolic, but it's because the only other lights we had were red. Thus the red tree.

Here's Z admiring her creation.

Look! Jack joined us too!

But really Jack wasn't just doing something else. No - he took all of the Star Wars ornaments to decorate his own tree (read: Trav's old, 2" tree from college).

Friday, November 23, 2012

*Insert Christmas music*

That's right - it's time for Christmas decorations to be dusted off and placed around (and on) the house! I don't decorate for many holidays, so this time of year means that the house get decked out with all of the holly, mistletoe and lights I have!

Yesterday before the Thanksgiving guests arrived, we took a moment to put up our lights. After all, we had a 70 degree day, compared to the 40 degrees today.

The kids came out after taking baths (we had skipped it the night before):

Hi Z.

Hi J.

Jack was especially excited to help Trav.

See? Trav asked HIM to bring up the extension cord.

Want another perspective? Yowsa!

But don't one fell and the house looks great!

We turned the house from this:

In this:

And this:

Into this:

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

From our family to yours...Happy Thanksgiving!!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving...

I'm not even going to try to turn this into a poem. It's the night before Thanksgiving and...

The house is clean (the floors need to be washed and vacuumed, but in general I will call it CLEAN): 

The bird has been cooked (ignore the darker areas...that darn wing wouldn't stay tucked!): 

And because Granny Jo and Pa are sick, we are left with fake stuffing which will be loved just as much:

And for a look at inspiration, here's an assignment Jack did for class. He had to fill in the blank for "eat ____, not turkey."

You know, kind of like the Chick-fil-a campaign.

Well, his choices were... and eggs.

Don't even ask. I have no idea!

Sunday, November 11, 2012


Doesn't everyone dress in a feathery mask after bathtime?

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Jack at 7 Years

1. What is your favorite color? Red
2. What is your favorite toy?  Light sabers
3. What is your favorite fruit? Pineapple
4. What is your favorite TV show? Star Wars: Clone Wars
5. What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch? Pizza
6. What is your favorite outfit?  Tomahawk t-shirt
7. What is your favorite game? Battleship
8. What is your favorite snack?  Fruit snacks
9. What is your favorite animal?  Giraffe
10. What is your favorite song? "Call Me Maybe" (Star Wars version)
11. What is your favorite book?  Chronicles of Narnia
12. Who is your  best friend? CJ
13. What is your favorite cereal?  Frosted Flakes
14. What is your favorite thing to do outside? Hide & Go Seek
15. What is your favorite drink? Sprite 
16. What is your favorite holiday?  Christmas
17. What do you like to take to bed with you at night? Star Wars Blanket
18. What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?  Frosted Flakes and Bagles
19. What do you want for dinner on your birthday?  Golden Corral
20. What do you want to be when you grow up?  Principal

Friday, November 2, 2012

Zoey's (and Jack's) Politics

Did you know that Election Day is Tuesday? In case you've been under a rock, you probably are aware of this fact. To help any undecided voters out there, here is a little advice from my kids and who they are supporting:

Jack: He's my Obama fan because he thinks that Obama is cool. Okay, he is also a fan of Obama just "because." Yeah, try breaking any more information out of him will be tricky. I've been trying to pry out any more information to explain his vote for the current president, but sadly I'm met with a lot of circular reasoning. Such as...

...Me: So Jack, who do you think should be voted president?
...Jack: Obama.
...Me: Why?
...Jack: Because.
...Me: Because why?
...Jack: Because he should be president.
...Me: Why do you think he should be voted president?
...Jack: Because.

See? Not a clear answer.

Zoey: At preschool this week, their Weekly Reader gave a kid-friendly look at both candidates. Romney likes horses and granola. Obama likes dogs and chili. When I took her to the polls with me yesterday, she told me to vote for Romney because "he likes horses." What can I say, she's an educated voted.

Today, when Trav took her with him to go vote, she explained that Mitt Romney was cute, so he obviously needed to vote for him. "AlBama" (Not Obama or Alabama...Albama) was cute, but not as cute as Mitt Romney.

So there you have it - another platform for debate. People think the economy, foreign relations and jobs are important? Yeah, try again. Cuteness and animal favoritism is totally the way to go. (Kidding, of course.)

My kids are actually putting a wager on who wins, though I'm not sure what they are actually betting. Jack just KNOWS that Obama will win (apparently by a margin of 200,000 - 200), and Zoey really, really, REALLY wants Romney to win. I guess we'll find out next week who "wins" and what exactly that entails for the winner of their little bet. Chances are it's for gloating only, but hey - you never know.

(And yes, I did vote early. Yesterday. It took all of 7 minutes.)