Our Gang

Our Gang
Jason, Deacon, Kennedy, & Me ~ March 2012

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Santa's Sending You to Disneyland?!?!?

The crazies are obsessed with lots of Disney things right now.  Obsessed.  Minnie might as well be my third child.  Mickey makes his way into my bed every night.  We all know the Doc McStuffins theme song & sing it when we get an oowie.  I limit how much television the crazies watch daily but even on a 1 hour limit they choose Mickey Mouse clubhouse every time.  And Friday Night Family Movie Night has been taken over by Disney.  So, when we decided to stay on the West Coast & have Christmas here, Soldier Man & I knew what we wanted to do for the crazies -- have Santa send them to Disneyland.  We aren't huge on just having more toys & sometimes Christmas can turn into that.  We LOVE to travel & wanted to "get in" Disneyland while we live so close -- 2 hours.  We also knew age-wise that they are at a stage where they will LOVE to meet the characters.  
We got the plan underway & I cannot wait to see their expressions or reactions tomorrow morning!!
We did hire the help of a friend to plan the trip for us -- not only does that take alot of time, but the crazies are great at coming to the computer right when the biggest images are up.  So having someone do the planning assured me that I could not ruin it for them.  From hotel to character dinners to when to be in what line, he has done the work & we just follow an itinerary.  He also knew ALOT that I would not have known otherwise.
I got busy & ordered them some Mickey attire -- the shirts & bows & Disney themed pajamas.  Just some clothing items that they can use there to spice up our trip.  I also made them their own bags to put their snacks & Disney water bottles in as well as a frame matte & pen to collect signatures from the characters that they see!
And to present it all we sent off for some personalized post-cards from Mickey & Minnie & all of their friends.  Each crazy has a card that reads "I cannot wait to meet you today!"  
It should be pretty fun & certainly special for both of them.  Again, I am eager to scoot to bed to hurry up the morning so we can see their faces.  It doesn't hurt that Soldier Man & I are Disney virgins ourselves so we are curious to know what all of the hype is about.  
I am sure I will post what happens after Christmas morning once we return as we are bags packed out the door as soon as the trip is revealed.  I will let you know how the happiest kids enjoyed the happiest place on Earth!

Our Santa letter telling the crazies that he has arranged for them to go & meet Minnie & Mickey

Their shirts & goody bags

The personalized post cards they got from Mickey & Minnie

Their stockings are ready -- K will LOVE these Minnie bow clips & D got some gear for Crocs

  The Mickey & Minnie Cookies Santa left for the crazies in return on the cookie plate

Santa brought Mom & Dad an ornament since they buy one for each place they visit or vacation

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Our Cali Christmas Eve

We are having our first Christmas as our own family.  Ever.  The Soldier Man & I have been married 9 years & this is our first time doing this holiday alone.  It wasn't some goal we set out to meet or anything, but living on the West Coast & having family on the East Coast just started to get very pricey on top of usual holiday costs of Santa, gift-buying, & everything else.  We thought about it alot.  ALOT.  Prayed about it too.  Then when we found out that this would be our one & only California Christmas (that we know of) we knew that we should stay here, save money, & have our Christmas in California. It is hard.  I am missing my family like crazy.  I hate that we cannot be at all of our usual holiday gatherings seeing all of the people we love, but I am enjoying not being in the hustle & bustle & just celebrating as a family of 4.  I got the last of the packages in the mail last week so I truly am taking in the season loving on my crazies, cooking, crafting, & really dwelling on the reason for this season.  
By doing a California Christmas, we have chosen to give the gift of travel from Santa to our crazies.  We are taking them to Disneyland!!!  They have no idea & will not until Christmas morning, but we are celebrating a little bit early & making up our own "Christmas Day".  Being military, there are special rates that we get, but they also come with blackout dates that happen to fall on Christmas.  So, to get around that we are grateful for kids that can't read a calendar yet so we can make Christmas whenever we want!
So, tonight we had Christmas Eve.  Soldier Man read the Christmas story from Luke & we sang Christmas Carols -- some kid ones like Rudolph & some adult ones like Silent Night.  The crazies got out the cookies & milk for Santa as well as carrots for his reindeer.  They put the special Santa key out front so he would have a way in since we lack a chimney in the desert -- imagine that.  Lastly, we read the Soldier's Night Before Christmas to remember the service men & women not at home with their family this season.  The crazies have dozed off & Santa better get busy, but these little blessings of mine are making the holidays not "at home" bearable & amazing!!

Reading the Christmas Story

D setting out the cookies

Getting the carrots out for the reindeer  -- "can they reach them here, Dad?"

My blessings

All ready to feed the big fellow dressed in red

The crazies setting out the special Santa key

Monday, December 17, 2012

Leaving Our Print On Each Christmas

I am a sucker for handprint art.  Or footprint art.  Anything that I can make using the hand or footprint of my babies.  For me, it is like freezing a little piece of them into a little slice of time.  I get to not only have a permanent picture of their print, but I get to make something fun with it.  A keepsake.  Something I treasure.  So, I have turned this into a holiday ritual with the crazies -- making something festive with their prints.  What I also have done, is placed the art we make with pictures of them in their Christmas pajamas of the year that we did it. Just a way to remember who these little people were at the time that they left their mark on something.  
These holiday crafts with the crazies display beautifully with pictures of them & will be something that I treasure every year when I pull them out & hang them up in December.  I, of course, adore them & kids, to me, make the holiday season so fun.  
So what could be better than decorating my house with them?!?

This is my favorite annual pajama pic of the crazies yet -- I found a great deal on some 16x20 & 8x10 canvas prints & LOVE them displayed in their Christmas pajamas right above the plate we made this season.

Our plate with prints from this year

This is last year's display -- our handprint tree with the crazies pictured on either side of it in their Christmas pajamas from that year

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Some More Holiday Fun

We had people over late last night just for fun -- the kids played nicely after we were all fed so the adults started & ended a card game.  That NEVER happens with 6 under 6 so we were thrilled.  The crazies hit the sack at 11:00 & us at about midnight after cleaning up a bit so today was a lazy day where the crazies & I did a few more holiday crafts!

The crazies created their own Santa faces

They were thrilled & wanted to "confuse" Santa by hanging them up!

K wandered into the kitchen with her chair & wanted to help make icing 

They decorated some cookies

K kept licking her decorations off -- don't worry, she ate her own cookie!

D wanted his man to have Army boots -- obsessed!!

K has got the right idea!! Just suck the yumminess right out of the bag!!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Holiday Pretzel Bites

As I've said before, we are taking this month to really review what we have learned already to give us more time in the kitchen baking & at the table doing crafts leaving the weekends open to get out & "do" the holiday stuff in various parts of California.  We have been having a BLAST!!
Today in the kitchen I pulled out my easiest toddler recipe yet & let the crazies go to town.  We have named these treats Holiday Pretzel Bites & you literally unwrap Hersey Kisses, place them on pretzels, bake them, & top them with M&Ms.  I bought the peppermint kisses because 1. the crazies love peppermint & 2. they look pretty holiday-ish with the white & red!  My crazies were master unwrappers & did most of this treat by themselves.  While they baked in the oven at 250 degrees for 2 minutes, the crazies counted out the M&Ms & as soon as the timer went off they were placing those things on the kisses. It was a fun & quick treat & we have all enjoyed snacking on them all day long!

D was unwrapping & placing on the kisses

K was triyng to keep up -- everything is a race these days!

D got his hit to push the M&Ms down without burning his wrist

So proud of their own "baking" (aka: melting) skills

Monday, December 10, 2012

For My BUNCO Bunch!

With the holidays fast-approaching, I was eager to find something fun to make for my BUNCO Bunch.  Most of the gals here at Fort Irwin that I consider my girlfriends are part of this crazy crowd so they were girls I would have wanted to share a holiday treat with anyway.  While cooking them each something was enticing, I found a cute ornament idea on Pintrest & ran with it.  Yes, we have a permanent group of 16 so it would be ALOT of craftiness, but with plenty of time to work early, I could have these ready by our December meeting in no time.  So, I got some clear glass ornaments, some tiny dice that I found in the jewelry/bead section of the craft store, some ribbons, & some paint pens & got to work.  I was super pleased with how they turned out & was happy to know that 20 years when I decorate my tree this fun ornament would remind me of this great group of gals that made the Mojave that much more fun!!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

A-J & 0-9...Reviewing What We Already Know & Holiday Fun

With December here, I'd previously planned to leave the month open to review what we have learned already as well as have more open time to do holiday crafts, cooking, & fun!!  J is for Jesus led us into the Christmas season so we have stopped there to go over what we know so far.  Deacon is spending time writing A-J rather than learning new letters, writing 0-9 to perfect writing his numbers, & doing practice with our coins, planets, states, Presidents, & time.  That has left us with lots of time to do some West Coast holiday traveling since Soldier man's schedule is more open than usual this month as well as Christmas crafts & baking during the time we are here on post.
This week the crazies helped me decorate a batch of sugar cookies.  I like to use the homemade icing, but I gave them the tube icing to do theirs so it would not be such a mess! We made it to the craft building on post where I painted a platter & they painted some ornaments.  We have also done some crafts here to go along with the Christmas story.
It has been relaxing & fun & we are soaking in the season without lots of fuss!

The platter we made... a replica of a a Pintrest craft.  I used D's foot for the manger &
 K's thumb for baby Jesus

Decorating sugar cookies

 Of course they would: D making a camp start & K eating right out the tube

 Soooo yummy!!

Painting popsicle sticks for a manger craft

Assembling their mangers

Baby Jesus in the manger

 Candy cane break

Some nativity coloring by number