Christmas 2011

2 days and 4 Christmas celebrations, countless friends, family and good food.  Christmas 2011 was a great weekend.

everyone survived......

well almost, a least after a little mid morning nap or rest.

One of my favorite things, that doesn't always turn out that great but at least we give it a try, is the annual kids picture.  All the kids are in one place so you try and get them together for a Holiday picture.  Shouldn't be too hard right?  Guess again.
This is last year:

And then another attempt this year:
Can't say we didn't try

Hard to believe it already came and went-- and soon we'll say the same for 2011!  Cy's on winter break from school, I'm about to start a new job while still at my current position with a couple days off to be with the kids in between and Sean has a 4 day week.  Here's to hoping we make it to Saturday knowing who, where and when we're suppose to be somewhere. 

Then it's ringing in the new year with a quiet weekend at home.  Yes it's come to that I guess you know when you're old or at least a parent-- when you look forward to staying in.


Christmas Countdown: Co-Worker Gift

MMMmm.... Slow Cooker Pear and Apple Butter from Martha Stewart.  A couple months ago my mom gave me 2 years worth of her Martha Stewart Everyday Food mini magazines, along with a lot of tasty dinner ideas I pulled this easy version of apple butter. 

Perfect for an easy homemade gift, it didn't take too much prep and once you got everything together you could kind of forget about it for awhile.  Boy did my house smell delicious for a few days. 

Here's a link to the full recipe but basically combine equal parts pears and apples with about a cup of brown sugar, a cinnamon stick and pinch of salt.  Cook on high 4 hours, take out cinnamon sticks and process in blender, pour back into slow cooker and cook on high lid off for 6-8 hours.  Mixture will be thick and dark brown when you're done.  Pour into containers and freeze or refrigerate.

There  you go this year's DIY co-worker gift enjoy everyone!  Side note I had to remember to post this at the end of the week not to give away any secrets to this year's gift- it's so much better when you don't know what you're getting.  I am not a Christmas snooper until some others in my house. ( I wasn't going to go there but not a Christmas pooper either!) 


Christmas Countdown: 2011 Christmas Photo

Here's a hint at this year's Christmas photo.

But first a look at Christmas past:

3 years ago, Christmas in Toy land with Cy the little Toy Solider

The Night Before Christmas, Cy in his "smoking jacket" with his (bubble) pipe

And then last year, my little baker and gingerbread man

So for the big premier.......
Our 2011 Christmas Photo:
Family if you haven't gotten yours yet it's because I literally put them in the mall today.  Oppps.... consider this a preview.

Merry Christmas Everyone!


Christmas OH MY!

4 more days till Christmas: presents to still get, presents to wrap, food to make, house to clean..... OH MY! This all leaves you a feeling a little like this:

Yeah we're with you Sage.......

getting ready to start pulling out your hair??

Yes we want to yell.....

or hide and cry.

Hang in there it's almost done.......


Christmas Countdown: Teacher Gifts

We found some Christmas Mugs, $1, and some holiday treats all around $4 for Cy's Pre-K teachers.

And they're all wrapped up ready to go for his Christmas Party Thursday! Quite the exciting week for a four year old- Wednesday is pajama day and Polar Express Movie with hot cocoa, Thursday class party and oh of course this weekend..........CHRISTMAS!

And a little update... Cy's present for the kids in his class: DIY chunky crayons  received some packaging.  

Now only if I was this prepared with the rest of our gifts!  Time to get to work, hope you enjoy a few short posts this week while I finish up alot of last minute projects and wrapping.  Merry Christmas Week!!


Homemade: Kid's Felt Cookie Playset

Every year I make the kids, mine and the cousins, a homemade Christmas present.  You can give them so many toys but something homemade really comes from the heart.  So this year’s present started a few months back with one of Cy’s book orders from school.  I got each of the boys a Pirate Gingerbread book and my niece The Gingerbread Girl book. 

I knew I wanted the present to be something along the line of cookie making, but honestly didn’t think this was going to be their homemade gift.  I was leaning towards mixing bowl, cookie mix and oven mitts, something that would be a fun project for them to use.

But that changed when I saw this post from Dana on her Made blog.  She has a great, well followed blog filled with original, fun ideas and patterns not to mention awesome photo shoots of projects and her kids.  This post was the Cookie Jar post, a tote bag with a vinyl “cookie jar” on the outside for an assortment of homemade felt cookies.  At first sight I knew my kids would LOVE to play with those cookies.

So this year’s homemade kid’s present was born: Felt Cookie Playset.  Each set of kids gets a canvas bag with a felt “cookie jar” on the outside holding felt cookies, inside is their book, a cookie pan and cooling rack with a spatula. 

I made the canvas bags with canvas material I had from a throw tarp (get and a lot cheaper when stretching your own painting canvases), I didn’t really measure it just made sure the pans would fit inside.  The straps are red ribbon to match the stitching on the “cookie jar” and to be a little festive.  After the bag was sewn I hand stitched the “cookie jar” white felt and the black felt lid on, leaving the mouth open to put the cookie in.

The felt cookies were the fun part to make, thinking up all sorts of favorites and how to make them.  We definitely needed a gingerbread man to go with their books, classic chocolate chip, peanut butter, heart sandwich- jam cookies, chocolate “oreos”.  I stopped there because I needed to make 6 of each kind so each set could have 2 of each cookie.  (My kids have already lost their chocolate chips and a jam cookie so I think my job will never be done)
The cookie pan, cooling rack and spatula were Dollar Tree finds.  They have a great assortment of kids baking items in the kitchen section- and you can never go wrong for $1.  
 There you go this year's DIY kid's present.  Cookie time!


Parenting Thursday: Christmas Poopers

Christmas is in full swing at the Jones house, along with some season bugs.  I think I've finally recovered to an audible tone but then Sean caught my germs and has been coughing non stop for a week.  Well next up is Cy who I've kept home from school for 2 days now.

Sage asleep thanks to a long car ride
We've been trying to recover with some rest and if we can find it sleep.  The other night I fell asleep getting Sage to sleep, which isn't anything new I usually fall asleep laying with Cy when he goes to bed.  But the only thing different is I fell asleep sitting straight up on the couch for two hours holding him as he slept to.  We definitely pulled a daddy on that one.

In other news Christmas has taken over to house and everything we do.  Cy was so excited the other day we found Christmas lights to put on the boys' little tree.  We finished un-decorating the parts Sage hadn't gotten to and Cy redecorated everything with his lights.  The little things that mean the world to a four year old!

Cy was so excited they were colored lights because him and daddy had a big discussion the other night, while we drove around looking at Christmas lights, that colored lights were the best and white lights are boring.  Sorry boys, white lights all the way for Mommy- which they are kinda stuck with because our big tree is pre-lit.

Along with Christmas lights and decorations there have been a lot of Christmas carols.  One of Cy's newest favorite things is singing,  usually it's whatever the new song is from school but he's got a few more options during the holiday season. 

Cy a couple years ago on his little potty, he has since graduated but we've spared him of anymore pictures!
One of his favorite places to sing?  The bathroom while he's pooping.  Yes, it is, Cy will sit up there all by himself (for quite awhile because he is sooo like a little man up there) and sing at the top of his lungs Jingle Bells, Wish You a Merry Christmas and Rudolf to name a few.  Until he yells I'm done and then we argue back and forth that he can wipe his own butt. 

He is not the only one that is in the Christmas spirit while popping.  Sage's new popping location: in front of the Christmas tree.  While he oooss, aaaas and takes off ornaments you also get a few little grunts to give away what he's doing.  

So I not only have a little Christmas Snooper I now have two little Christmas poopers.  This is the Holidays with two kids under 5.  Now if I get my act together I have a great post to share friday, my homemade kids present this year-- inspired by Dana at Made's cookie jar project


Christmas Snooper

A snooper is born.  Christmas snooper that is.  My four year old, Cyrus, has done for the first time what all children do, snoop for their Christmas presents.

Sean and I made our annual last minute Santa run, thanks to my mom and dad for watching the boys.  Later when we got back home I had some presents for my niece and nephew out.  First Cyrus was quite upset that there wasn't anything for him, then he launches into a Christmas interrogation. 

"Did you get me anything?  What did you get me? Can I have a present now? Where are the presents?"

I thought I had answered each question respectfully well and adverted any melt downs.  But then while I was making dinner someone slipped past me yelling I'm getting something from downstairs.

"Cyrus what are you getting?"
Long pause..... response," ummm.... I'm getting something."

As I followed behind him to flip the laundry, I catch him running around scanning every corner.

"Cy stop snooping".
"I'm not, I'm sniffing", moving his nose up and down like a little bunny.  "I have the sniffies".

So it's official he has learned to snoop for his presents.  Next year we've got to step up our game and find a few new hiding spots.  Not that he found anything, but there are two large black, garbage bags stashed right in the first spot he looked, the basement.

I saw this a couple of days ago on facebook (don't want to name drop you but thanks this was cute), I completely agree --with one suggested addition A Christmas Snooper Section!

The Christmas countdown pursues, almost into it's final stages!  I'm not quite sure how we made it into the middle of December.  That reindeer that ran me over left some tracks.  Today was the first day in a week I could speak and be heard, thanks to a bout of laryngitis and a slight cold.

So as I posted I had a few ideas for homemade presents and organization posts to share.  I am aiming at the most to get through the latter.  I'll hold out to January to get it together enough to pretend like I am organized.  The days to come I've got some fun homemade presents I've already finished and more on my list along with some tasty treats that need to be made.  

Boys waiting for Santa this year, Sage untied the snowman's scarf
I'm still hanging in there if you'd like to grab a branch and join me, 12 more days to make it through!!  Here's to making wonderful, lasting memories with the kids and Sean over the next week and a half of craziness.......


Explore Art: DIY Chunky Melted Crayons

This project has been done before, and I'm sure you've seen tutorials all over the internet.  But to be a true craft, art or family blog- you've got to have this, it's kids fun 101.   So here we go:

Melted Chunky Crayons
I love this DIY crayon project, I've used it in several ways through the past 4 1/2 years as a mom.  This year we made chunky, muffin tin crayons for Cy's Pre-K class Christmas presents.  It's an easy project, great way to use up broken pieces of crayons and kids can help.

You need crayons, muffin tin and your oven.  You can save up and use all broken pieces that accumulate over time.  Cy has actually been taking really good care of his crayons and Sage hasn't gotten into to many- so I got out some boxes of Crayolas from September when they were 20 cents.

Peel the paper wrapped off all the crayons.  You can use scissors to slice down the side and get them off easier.  Note if you use you're husbands pocket knife and he tells you its sharp, chances are it is.  Nice little knick out of my thumb, don't worry I didn't use that crayon! 

Once they are peeled break them into little pieces, anywhere from an inch to three inches.  This part I let Cy do and he had a lot of fun.

Preheat the oven to 275 and drop the crayon pieces into the muffin tins.  Your choice if you want different shades of blue in one or a little of everything like we did.  Fill almost to the top.  

Once they are all filled pop the muffin tin into the oven for 8 to 10 minutes until you can see all the crayons are melted.

When they came out melted Cy took a BBQ skewer and swirled the tops.  This is optional.  Either set them aside to cool or put in the fridge/ freezer to speed up the process.

And there you have it.... a dozen chunky melted crayons!
These are fun for any kids to use but really great for little kids.  It's easier for them to hold on to, helps with hand coordination.

So we're not quite done with our DIY Christmas Class presents we still have to think of how to wrap them but stay tune and I'll let you know....... 


Where'd the Weekend Go?

The weekend came and went before I really knew it was here.  Friday night was the annual down town Christmas parade, which all the kids look forward to.  But I felt like I was run over by one of Santa's reindeer after the parade. 

I don't know if it was a cold, the flu or weeks of not sleeping but I was out for the count Saturday.  I caught a nap while Sage took his.  Only to wake up and find Cyrus playing up in their room.  I said Cy you woke up your brother.  He responsed, "no I didn't he did that on his own".  Just for clarification I guess.   

Cy was full of good ones this weekend as most of Saturday I watched them play from the couch.  I told Cy I was going to go take a nap and he could babysit Sage.  At first I got no response, but then a look like is she really serious, did she just say want I thought she did?  Finally in true Cy fashion," NO WAY, I AM NOT THE BABYSITTER!".   Good to know.

The kids did end up having a good weekend.  All the cousins were together, little and big, for the parade.  Although only a select few adults made it to the end, outside.  It was 2 hours long and as the crowds thinned it got a bit colder.  We caught the last half hour inside from the bakery windows. 

Saturday night was the Jones annual Korv party.  Sean's grandparents host, you bring your own meat to make Swedish sausage.  Cy and Sage entertained themselves with their cousin Hugo.  In a bit of a haze I didn't take any pictures this year,  but think some cousins got some good ones in of the boys before they had too much glogg.  I'll have to update.

Here's some pictures from last year.  Hard to believe how little Sage was, we laid him out on the blanket while the big kids played and tickled him.  Not this year, he was in the mix of it running around.  My apologizes to Gigi and Bumpa's living room, I have a feeling you will be finding potato chips and lego pieces in various spots for weeks to come. (the other picture is Sean in my "swedish" apron, sorry had to tease you with this photo one more year :))

So we kicked off December..... still a lot more to come.  We've got to go find Santa, finish up cookies, shopping and presents!  Stop by tomorrow to see what Cy and I made for his Pre-K friends' Christmas presents.

This is how Cy ended his weekend, we all felt the same.  He fell asleep in the backseat on top of his big chex mix bag he was eating after we left Sam's Club. 


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