Thursday, December 20, 2012

School Christmas Treats

For the record, I did NOT plan to do treats for school this Christmas. Really. Wasn’t going to do a thing. Between being sick, having sick kids, running around non-stop, working 90 hours a week, and all the other things I already had to do for school – bringing in wrapped books for Santa to give to the kids, Christmas plays, Christmas parties, making costumes, etc., having to make something for 2 classes, and everything else going on I just didn’t have the time. Or the energy.  :)

Then one day as I was sitting in the floor sorting through various things that needed to be picked up, put up, donated, or just plain thrown away it occurred to me I had a ton of stuff left over from various parties, favors, and a miscellaneous hodge podge of things I had bought and for one reason or another (not quite enough for everyone, too big, too much, etc.) and ended up not using. In fact I had a whole slew of Lightening McQueen stuff I had collected before the boys’ Lightning McQueen party for party favors before it occurred to me that little girls would probably rather have little girl stuff instead of Lightning McQueen stuff.  :) And since we hadn’t moved to this school until after that party I had a whole new audience who would likely appreciate it.  :)

And luckily because there were 2 classes with as few as 7 or 8 boys or girls in one class and only 14 or 15 boys or girls in the other I was able to take advantage of those things I only had 10, 12, 14, or 16 of vs. having a whole class set of 25-30. While the classes got essentially the same things, one class got toolboxes, while the other class got lunch boxes. One class got reward stickers, the others got glitter stickers. One class got pencils, one class got pens. Etc.  And I didn't have to buy a thing, except candy.  Though I did end up giving away some hotwheels I will probably miss come birthday party time sometime I am sure as I only had 7 or 8 actual LMQ cars left

As it turned out I had exactly enough lunch boxes, but was two short in the class with the toolboxes.   Luckily enough that also happened to be the class with two of the kids that we knew from before we moved to this school who had come to the boys' party and already had toolboxes.  So they got the "lockers" I had picked up as "just in case" when I was scouring Walmarts looking for more toolboxes or lunch boxes after Valentines day - 2 years ago?  Win, win!

Same thing with the girls – as I was making past Christmas treats, or was planning to make future treats and saw things here and there I picked them up to add to my stash.    So the girls got quite an ecclectic collection of things from stamps, and pencils, to pulles, coloring books, and cups.

Though the packing really wasn't up to my typical standards.  In fact the ONLY  Brandi like packaging was the pencil sets – which I actually drafted Kevin into making much to his chagrin when at midnight I was rounding up supplies and realized that despite the fact SOMEWHERE IN THIS HOUSE there are a MILLION Christmas themed erasers I couldn’t find them. Though I did manage to locate a package two days before to make a sample. Someday I will discover them in the most unexpected place and run screaming madly though the house “I FOUND THEM!!!” 

Though despite my example showing everything perfectly straight, Kevin managed to get them in the package with much less attention to detail, and much more focus on “just getting this crap done!” and at 2:30 am when I got home after having searched two stores to no avail I didn’t even notice, and even if I had I wouldn’t have cared. My thanks at his having helped for the first time that I can remember in my treat packaging madness was quite heartfelt. I did however find another set of Christmas erasers though not the ever elusive originals to include the last 11 packages which I finished up just in time to see 3 am roll around.  :)

I had planned to assemble the girls' treats simply in little gift boxes that I picked up at Target last year.

Given the precarious packing and lack of space left in my oversized bags, floor, and car I opted to leave the girls’ unassembled to be finished at school just before putting them in the kids’ cubbies.

As it was it was a miracle I managed to get in the door at all with just 2 of the giant bags.  Not to mention two giant store bags carring the last odds and ends of the girls' stuff that aren't even pictured.  Needless to say it too me several trips.  And being loaded down like a pack animal I was anything but inconspicious.
It was funny as I tried as unobtrusively as possible to sneak back into the kids’ classes and put the boys’ treats in the cubbies. This school actually seems to breed precocious, inquisitive, and talkative children. Particularly the girls. And several of them came over to see what I was doing. I shooed them back to their work and after putting the last of the boys’ boxes in tried to sneak back out the door. Two of the little girls headed me off and asked ever so politely if I needed help carrying anything else in, as their cubbies still sat auspiciously empty. I assured them that I had not forgotten them and would be back in a little while with their treats, too. Once all the girls’ treats has been assembled and put in the cubbies I was heading out for the last time and Ellie, one of the little girls in Ryan’s class came over and asked sadly if she was going to be getting a treat, because there was still nothing in her cubby. Her cubby had been filled to the brim and there simply hadn’t been room to put anything in it so I had put hers up on the very top and mentioned to the teacher as I was leaving that 2 in fact had had to be put on top as there just wasn’t room and to please mention it to the kids’ parents at pick up time. When I told her that of course she was getting a treat, and pointed it out up on top of the cubbies she was estatic. I actually manged to pick the boys up slightly early (i.e. before the nick of closing time) and there were still several kids there. Ellie came running up beaming and drinking out of her snowman cup to thank me again, for such wonderful treats. It was so sweet I almost cried.  :)

A few extra special friends also scored the last of the left over penguins from the boys' 3rd birthday party instead of stamp sets. Of course I got called to the carpet by one of the other little girls who noticed quite astutely that I seemed to have forgotten her penguin.  :)   Now I remember why everyone is supposed to get EXACTLY the same thing!  :)

Monday, December 3, 2012

Elf on the Shelf Arrives - North Pole Breakfast 2012

Elfie outdid himself this year.  Seriously.  WOW!

He decked the table and left us a scrumptious breakfast of strawberries, raspberries, and cinnamon rolls.  Though he himself was no where to be found...

He pulled out our favorite place mats, silver chargers, santa plates, and reindeer cups.

And red and white straws of course.  He tried red and white silly straws first, but they were just a tad too big for the cups and kept falling over.  :)

He set just about everything up the night before so that he didn't have to get up too much before the crack of dawn.  :)

He searched high and low trying out a variety of cake plates and pedestals before he finally remembered where he put these and the missing ramekins in the bowels of the cabinets.  :)   He made sure all the ramekins fit on the pedestal, and made sure there was still enough room for his friend "Snowflake" and his book, too, so that all he had to do in the morning was wash the fruit and pour it into the ramekins, and pull the cinnamon rolls out of the fridge and pop them into the toaster oven and hit start.  He even told the boys in his note that he may or may not have time to cook the rolls before he had to head back to the North Pole so we might need to to pop them in, hit start, and wait until our noses and the bell told us they were done.  :)

Though of course this was the ONE day that the boys slept late.  We ended up having to wake them up which of course left them bit cranky and out of sorts.  They are not morning people on any one's terms but their own.  :)

They weren't sure what to make of Snowflake at first and wondered where Elfie was and what was going on.  But once the sugar hit their system and we read Elfie's note explaining that Elfie was helping Santa out at the North Pole and his friend Snowflake was an elf in training and would be helping him out for a few days keeping an eye on the boys they warmed up and told Snowflake what they wanted for Christmas and everything was back to normal again. 

And they thoroughly enjoyed themseleves and scarfed down breakfast, and seconds, too.  :)

Elfie is missing

Call 991, or 911, or whomever it is you call when your elf has gone missing.

Operator: "What is your emergency?"
Us: "Our Elf is missing."
O: "Your ... elf... did you say?"
U: "Yes.  Our elf.  His name is Elfie."
O: "And Elfie is an ... elf?  Like from the ... North Pole?"
U: "Yes, an elf from the North Pole. But he was supposed to come stay with us until Christmas.  He never made it."
O: "But you are sure he left... the North Pole?"
U: "Well, no... He doesn't call ahead or anything, but he should be here by now."
O: "Because elves from the North Pole come to .... visit.... you often?
U: "Of course he does.  Who else is going to tell Santa if we are Naughty or Nice??"
O: "Because this missing ... elf ... from the ... North Pole... tells ... Santa... if you have been Good or not."
U: "Yes.  But he's missing!"
O: "Well, when did you last see him?"
U: "Last Christmas Day when I frantically shoved him at my husband and said "GET RID OF HIM!  QUICK!  Before the kids see him!"

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Christmas, already!?!

I am sooo not ready.  Elfie still hasn't been located.  The advent tree is empty.  There has been no North Pole Breakfast.  Not a single book is wrapped.  And not a single Christmas decoration is out.  And I found out today I have one week to make a moon costume for the school's Christmas play. 

As a complete fluke however we did run into Santa at the mall, got to sit in his lap and tell him EXACTLY what we wanted for Christmas and even got some pictures taken with him.

Wasn’t crowded at all – they let the boys sit and talk to Santa for probably almost 5 minutes. Took multiple pictures until I approved a good one and had a great Santa with a real beard. Gotta love small towns!

Had to bribe the boys to sit and smile, though… I am pretty sure it wasn’t a fluke that they picked the corner right next to the cookie co for pictures.

They also had an amazing ginger bread area that was all decked out with a GIANT gingerbread house (20 ft tall maybe?). Wish the boys as been more cooperative there – it would have been a great place for pictures. If I had thought to actually BRING my camera! Luckily Kevin & my mom had their cameras.

They also had a train the kids could ride. Connor rang the bell for the entire 5 minute ride. He LOVED it.

And some day when they are older we will have to let them skate at the ice rink. 

In the meantime, guess I had better get cracking on that Christmas to do list...


I fully appreciate that NORMAL people would run for the hills screaming bloody murder when faced with something like this. 

 It's 4 INCHES LONG. Let me say that again - FOUR INCHES LONG.

And had it been alive I would have been plowing over innocent children to get as far as humanly possible from it.  But it was just grossly fascinating - in the it gives me the heebie jeebies, but I just can't stop gawking at it kind of way.  In the we HAVE to take this to show and tell kind of way.

Oh, yes, we did.  Not only that - we packed it up in a piece of tupperware, dropped it in the top of an open carry on bag, carted it through the airport, and on the plane to bring it HOME with us and then had a fight over WHO could take it to show and tell first.

And oh, yeah, totally forgot to warn the teacher about it.  I can only imagine her surprise as she opened the lid completely unsuspecting.  I hear there was a bit of screaming.  And tossing.  And running.  There might have even been some standing on chairs.

Did I mention they LOVE us?  We always bring the best show and tells.   And life is never, ever, dull with us in your class.  :) 

Some of the boys in the class even pronounced it the COOLEST.SHOW.AND.TELL.EVER. 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

The boys' school celebrated Thanksgiving with a Feast at school last Friday night.  The kids helped prepare the veggies - snapping beans, husking corn, and peeling carrots and potatoes.  Ryan did a whole bowl of beans and then he helped with the corn.  Connor was apparently a master carrot peeler.  They were both so excited to have been able to help.  Ryan told me afterwards any time I wanted to cook green beans that he could do the whole bowl of beans all by himself.  :)

While we were eating Kevin glanced over and happened to notice that the kids had make turkeys and written on each feather something they were thankful for.  This was Ryan's:

It reads:
My Halloween bag
The candy I got at Halloween
The cars my daddy gets
The planes my daddy buys
My house.

Needless to say I had a good chuckle.  Clearly Daddy has been feeding them too much candy, and sneaking cars and planes behind my back (we had an agreement - NO MORE CARS) as our house was being overrun by every hotwheel and Cars car known to mankind.

Connor's made me smile as well. 

Though I suspect he might just have been coached to add one or two of them to the list.  :)  Ryan's no doubt were all his own.  :)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Salt Water Fishing

Kevin has been chomping at the bit to do some salt water fishing since he got a salt water stamp on his fishing license this year.  He and one of the guys in his group have been talking about where to fish, and talking about making a trip for a while now.  They still haven't found a date where they can both go, but this past weekend Kevin drove down to Galveston and did a little wade fishing and caught a couple of Flounder. 

Today he took advantage of the relative quiet at work and took a half day to do some more fishing.  He brought back the limit of two Flounder to show the kids.  They were particularly fascinated that it had two eyes on one side, and no eyes on the other.

And that it was different colors on each side to help it blend in and hide. 

The boys have already started asking when they can fish in the ocean and when they can catch their own Flounder now, too.  Because fish with two eyes on one side are apparently WAY cooler than the catfish, bass, sunfish, and crappie that they have been catching.  And they want to take one to show and tell!  :)

Monday, November 19, 2012


Ryan was a rock star!  He definately brought his A game to our next to last game of the season.

He scored 3 goals all by himself on fast breaks.  He had another goal called back due to an out of bounds after the play was over (Boo!!).  And another ball that both he and another player on his team kicked into the goal but that we weren't entirely certain who kicked.  And he was headed for one final goal until his little legs just couldn't keep up with him anymore and despite the fact he was 20 feet out ahead of everyone else with the goal in sight he tripped and went down leaving the ball just feet in front of an undefended goal.  Poor kiddo.  He played the entire game refusing to ever take a rest and ran like a madman.  We were especially proud of him.  :)

Wink'n & Blink'n

I am not sure who taught my children to smile, but apparently we need to look in the mirror before we try again, because obviously something is getting lost in translation. :)

"Say cheese!!"

Is it any wonder why I get so estatically excited to get a few hidden gems like these along the way?  :)

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Soccer Party

The boys' soccer party was a smashing success.  Not that I bothered to take any pictures... Thanks to Kevin for ast least remembering to take a few!  :)

And for the record I showed great restraint.  Really I did!  I completely fought off the temptation to buy balloons, or make another balloon banner.  Though the thought did cross my mind... :)

As the kids started their second game I took a few minutes and set up the table for the after game celebration.  Each child had their own place setting - marked by their picture frame and customized CDs.

My children were most enthusiastic about the popcorn.  Ryan loudly proclaimed as all the kids arrived and were excitedly looking for their stuff that "We brought the popcorn!!"  :)  Which totally made me laugh.  What surprised me most was how excited several of the kids were about their "own CDs!!"

The kids were also pretty excited about their big shiny trophies.  :)

And "Look!  It turns!"

And given that we had just eaten lunch before the game not too terribly many folks ate the pizza, but the vast majority of them polished off their popcorn, ate cookies, and devoured their cupcakes.

Talk about sugar buzz!!  Afterwards we let the kids run around for about an hour to run some of it off while we visited.  Before the coach left we asked him if he would be coaching again next year. He said he thought he would and a number of us agreed that we would request to be on the same team again.  So while we said goodbye to our soccer friends, hopefully it will just be until next season.

P.S. And while hopefully next season we will get a better color uniforms, I will also remember that while those table cloths matched really well in the package they were a totally different color when I pulled them out - so should have gone with the green underlay!  Next time, next time...


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