Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Craft Show Season

I don't know where the days are going now that we've gotten through Thanksgiving.  My posting time has been limited because the few days before Thanksgiving my oldest son was sick. Fortunately he was well by Thanksgiving. And then we had all kinds of activities going on including my birthday.  So we have been celebrating and shopping and have just been plain busy.  Not that I am complaining. LOL

So tomorrow is one of my favorite days of the year. It is a local craft show I go to every year and I am so excited. DH is taking care of the kids and I get to go and shop in peace.  I'm over the moon excited. This year they are offering a great new option where you could pay extra to go early and have stroller free shopping. I am so glad, because the strollers drive me crazy. They really shouldn't be allowed at the event.  There just isn't enough space and it isn't fair to the kids who are crammed in.  I've never and would never have considered taking a stroller to this event.  I didn't go one year because I didn't have child care. I just think it is a safety issue that if you had to exit the building quickly, you couldn't do it easily with the way the event is set up.

There are certain vendors that come every year that I always seem to find something. One is a great jewelry vendor and another sells unique candies that I always buy to put in dh's stocking.  This craft show is where I first discovered Oka B shoes. I love going because you never know what great things you'll find.

So, my question for you today is do you have any holiday craft shows or bazaar's that you attend?  What do you usually look for when you go shopping?

Hope you are having a great day in your neck of the woods!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Arthur Christmas

This past weekend I had a chance to go to a preview show of Arthur Christmas. My husband won tickets and told me to take a break from the kids and go see it.  So, I went with one of my sisters in law.

I didn't know a lot about this movie, except I had seen a trailer for it a number of months ago when we went to see another movie and I thought it looked like an interesting movie.  The trailer I saw didn't give a whole lot of detail about the movie.

I have to tell you that I really liked this movie and I would recommend it.  I told dh I would go see it again and I can see it being one that we would buy the dvd when it comes out.  This movie would be fun if you and your significant other want to go out on a fun date night. 

Without giving everything away, Arthur is someone who works at the North Pole. He discovers that a present has been misplaced and the movie shows his adventure to get the present delivered before Christmas morning.  The movie has some modern day answers for kids on how Santa can deliver so many presents on Christmas Eve.  It shows the magic and wonder of the Christmas season.

There is a lot of humor that adults will enjoy. The movie has a PG rating, so you can take kids to see it.  I think older kids would enjoy this movie.  This is one I don't see my three year old sitting through.

So those are my thoughts on Arthur Christmas.  Have you heard of this movie and have you see a sneak peek yet, or are you going to see it?  What is your favorite Christmas movie?

Hope you are having a great day in your neck of the woods. 

Blogging Later

I'll be getting up a blog post later today.  This a.m. I'm dealing with a sick kid and preschool drop off.  Oh the joy.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

KRE-O for Christmas and keeping spirits bright

I know that Thanksgiving is next week, but my mind is already on Christmas.  I have already started my Christmas shopping, as well as looking at Christmas decorations. It is such a beautiful and magical time of the year that I can't help but get excited about all the possibilities.

Hasbro and SocialMoms approached me to blog about the great new line of  KRE-O Transformers toys Hasbro has out.  Transformers: Dark of the Moon was the third Transformers movie to come out and it was a big hit this past summer.  So Transformers are hot with little kids and big kids (aka hubbys, brothers, etc. LOL).  If you have a husband who is a big kid like mine, he still likes to get toys for Christmas.  And with having two boys, he is in heaven when we start looking at Christmas presents.  We both have been amazed and delighted to see toys like Transformers come back in popularity since they were around when we were kids.  It is nice to share with our kids some of the things we enjoyed as kids.

The KRE-O Transformer sets are for kids ages 6 and up. They range in price from $7.99-$59.99 and have beginner builders to deluxe sets for pros.  They allow kids to construct one of two models: a Transformers character into a robot or into vehicle mode which offers two different builds in one. Most sets come with a unique KREON figure that adds another level of play to the sets.  I think that sounds like a great way to encourage imaginative play.

KREO bricks are compatible with other leading brick based sets on the market so families don’t have to invest in a new brick system or worry about mixing up bricks and blocks!  I really like this feature.  And I'm sure the kids will as well.  I love the versatility they provide. Connecting different sets together could provide for some really unique Transformers!

Here is a picture of the OPTIMUS Prime KRE-O set.  Can you imagine the squeal of delight when your child comes down on Christmas morning and see's this guy peeking out of his stocking? 

And speaking of squeals of delight, I wanted to share some things that our family does every year to brighten the holidays and spread Christmas cheer.  As I mentioned in a previous post, we participate in putting together shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child.  We also do Elfing in our neighborhood.  This is where you put together a goody bag of things and leave a sign and instructions on your neighbor's porch.  It is a lot of fun.  I usually start Elfing on December 1st so it has a chance to reach as many people as it can by Christmas.  It is a lot of fun to pick out goodies for my neighbors.  I usually find things the whole family can enjoy like some great treats, or fun little game the kids will enjoy. 

The final thing I wanted to share that my family will do to brighten the holidays is go look at Christmas lights.  And when I say go look at lights, we will probably go no less than ten times during the month of December.  We LOVE Christmas lights.  And now our boys are old enough to enjoy the magic and wonder and we can't wait to share it with them.  We of course have a large Christmas lights display in our own yard which I'll be sharing with you in the coming weeks. I hope to video it this year.

So what do you do to brighten the holidays? Have you started your Christmas shopping? 

“I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Hasbro blogging program, for 8,000 My SocialMoms Rewards Points and a KRE-O gift. The opinions expressed in this post are mine and don’t necessarily reflect the opinions of SocialMoms or Hasbro. For more information on how you can participate click here."

Monday, November 14, 2011

Insert Chariots of Fire Music Here

So this weekend my husband ran a half marathon. He isn't allowed to run a full marathon like he did a few years ago, because I told him I can't be a running widow with two little kids. 

He really likes it when we are there at the finish line to cheer him on.  I got a burst of inspiration and decided that we were going to have CARS theme poster.  Our oldest son, Sawyer dressed up like Lightning McQueen for Halloween, so he wore his costume.  I went to Dollar Tree and got one of their math books and cut out the CARS pictures I put on the big poster.  The big poster says, "My dad is fast as Lightning.  Kachow!"  As you can see, I had to pull this together in a hurry, so it was a challenge getting all the letters on there. LOL

The small poster I'm holding says "Pit Stop" and had Guido and Luigi.  My kids love CARS, so they were excited for us to take these with us.  We had to bundle up because it was pretty cold Saturday morning.

Here is a picture of us after the race.

Hope you are having a great day in your neck of the woods!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Getting the Jump on Christmas 11-11-11

Happy Veteran's Day everyone! And happy 11-11-11. What a cool date!  I'm so thankful for folks like my brother in law who keep our country safe, and my grandfathers who both served.  Wishing all the veterans and their families a blessed day.

I know a lot of people don't like it that the stores seem to be getting ready for Christmas earlier and earlier, but I have to admit I like seeing the decorations and hearing the music.  I do feel for those poor folks who are having to work Thanksgiving Day or at the crack of dawn for those who have to deal Black Friday.

But to focus on the positives, I was at Wal Mart yesterday and got a wild hair and decided to buy a Colorbok ornament kit that the boys could paint.  The kit came with 6 ornaments, one brush, and multiple paint colors.  The kit was $3.

My boys had a blast painting.  I didn't have any newspaper to put down on the table, so I pulled out my wax paper and put that on the table.  In a pinch it makes a great cover.  The second thing I did was I had the boys do some finger painting on some other ornaments I had purchased.  I didn't have any disposable containers to put the paint in. Then I remembered a trick my mom told me.  I got out my plastic wrap and put it inside two small bowls.  The plastic wrap provided a protective coating for the bowl. Then clean up was a snap because I just pulled out the plastic wrap and threw it away.

If you see these little Colorbok kits at Wal Mart, I'd recommend them. The paint went on easily for the boys.  Also, the thing I really liked is that I dropped one of the ornaments on my hard wood floor and it didn't chip or break at all.  For $3 I didn't expect much, but this little kit was great and I would recommend it.

I have decided that for the next few years I want the boys to paint ornaments so that I'll have them when they are older. I'm having them paint enough so that one day when they go out on their own, they'll have some of the ones they painted too. 

I also have another ornament tradition I started when our first son was born that I buy the boys each an ornament every Christmas.  They have evolved as they've gotten older, and I've tried to find things that the boys are into at this stage in their life.  A few years ago I used to read "Where the Wild Things Are" to Sawyer.  So that year he got an ornament that had that.  Two years ago I got Logan an Elvis ornament. I discovered when he was a baby that Elvis would soothe him and stop him from screaming in the car.  It still works to this day. He can be in the middle of a meltdown and "the king" settles him right on down.

Here are pictures of the ornaments that the boys painted.

Hope you are having a great day in your neck of the woods!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Operation Christmas Child


Are you giving thanks or thinking of things you are thankful for with the Thanksgiving holiday coming up?  I know that some days feel so hard with all the things I have going on and the challenges I face, but when I stop to take a minute to look at where I am and how God has blessed my family, I know I am better off than other folks.

I'm happy to be doing another post about Operation Christmas Child and how this wonderful charity impacts so many children world wide.

I'm excited that my family has participated in this for the last few years. It makes me so happy to pack these boxes.  As I pack, I pray for the children that will receive them.  I pray that this will bring them joy and that they will know that someone out there loves them and is thinking of them.

I have to admit I had to quickly pull mine together, so I didn't get a chance to take pictures of what I put inside the boxes. But one thing I did this year was save a bunch of the Happy Meal toys we get and I used a number of those brand new toys to pack in our shoe boxes.  Since they are small, you can fit a lot of them in the box.  I also stocked up on school supplies and sent things like crayons and glue. And of course coloring books are always great too.  Here is a shot of some of our boxes in my car ready to be dropped off at my church.

I was sent a link of this Sudanese Boy Gets Football Joy and I encourage you to take a look at this video.  It is really short.  The look on that boys face is priceless. I have to admit that since I have started having boys I try to pack shoe boxes geared towards boys.  I guess I am biased, but I think there are so many things out there for girls, I think it can be a challenge to pack for boys. 

If you want to participate in this wonderful cause, be sure to visit the Operation Christmas Child website where you can get details on how to participate.  This is a great way if you have really young children to have them help you pack the shoe box and to instill an understand of helping others. I also like that it gives me a way to show them that there is a bigger world outside of the area we live.

For your reading enjoyment, I'd like to recommend stopping by Amanda's blog Serenity Now Blog.  She is also sharing today how she packed shoe boxes and she has some great pictures of the goodies she sent. 

Another great read today is Melanie over at The Big Mama blog.  She is currently in Ecuador and the pictures on her blog are incredible.  They will touch your heart.

I'd love to know if you participate in Operation Christmas Child and pack shoe boxes? If so, what do you send?  Leave me a comment, I'd love to hear!

Hope you are having a great day in your neck of the woods!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Good bread for cold nights

Today I wanted to share something new I discovered on one of my weekly Wal Mart runs.  Over in their bakery department where they have the loaves of french bread and other rolls, they sell these packages of bread by Ecce Panis.  They come in ciabatta like I have pictured below, as well as rolls and demi loaves of french bread.  What I love about this bread is that you bake it yourself at home.  It has a wonderful taste.  And depending what one you get, they run between $1.50 and $2.88.  The ciabatta was $2.88. 

I had some of this bread with the home made Harvest Cream Soup recipe I shared a few weeks ago.  We have had a number of these breads with different dishes such as the soup I just mentioned, as well as spaghetti and stew. 

I love it that these breads have a quick bake time, under 10 minutes.  This bread baked in 8.  If you have the Pampered Chef mini bar stone, as you can see the ciabatta is a perfect fit.

So, this is something quick and easy cooking up in my kitchen.  Hope you are having a great day in your neck of the woods!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Catching up

Today is a whirl wind of activity which hasn't left me a lot of time to blog.  But I will be blogging on some great topics later this week including Operation Christmas Child and some ideas for the upcoming holidays.

Hope you are having a great day in your neck of the woods!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Lightning McQueen and Thomas the Tank Engine

Well had a wonderful time Trick or Treating even though it started to rain when we started out.  We were able to go to a number of houses and it was exciting this year to see Logan get into it. Last year he wouldn't go, but he was so happy to be Thomas the Tank Engine.

At one point dh had to go and get the car for us and Logan started to fuss.  He was in the back seat yelling, "More houses. Stop! Stop!"  LOL Needless to say for someone who has only been given a few M&Ms, he picked up real quick that candy is a good thing and got into Halloween.

Here are pictures of the boys in their costumes.  As you can see, we had a Lightning McQueen pumpkin and a Thomas Pumpkin.  The boys loved them and their costumes.

Hope you are having a great day in your neck of the woods.

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