Tuesday, November 29, 2016

4 Day Thanksgiving Weekend

Thanksgiving weekend. One of my favorite weekend's all year long that has my favorite day of the year in there too. We were busy, but we also kept things NOT completely booked so we could sleep in (a bit), take naps, and do some Christmas decorating (I say some because there's two buried Christmas bins in the basement that I haven't had the courage to dig them out after seeing a monsterous spider in that area).

We began our weekend with a pizza and movie night.....and dealing with dad's broken phone. After the minis went to bed (way later than planned by the way), Hubs and I did some online phone shopping and found some great early Black Friday deals. We now finally have phones with decent cameras (and I'm totally in love with my Galaxy S7, in case anyone is looking).

The minis were more upset about "Dad's broken phone" than we were!

Hubs and I were woken bright and early Thanksgiving morning to extremely excited minis: "the parade is on soon! What's for breakfast again? When are we leaving? After today it's Christmas!!!" My minis are not parade lovers. When we go to parades, they ask to leave within the first ten minutes. However, they were ecstatic to see the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade and watched the entire thing as they jumped excitedly in front of the TV.

For those interested our breakfast was a delicious Butter Braid, courtesy of a school fundraiser.

Simple Thanksgiving mornings are perfect for us, considering the rest of the day was a bit crazy.

This year we ate a feast at Hub's parent's house and a feast for dinner at my parent's. It was a little much.....five days later and my stomach still hurts. It was great to see everyone and very thankful both sets of parents only live minutes from us. However, going to both houses and eating big meals with three younger kids was a bit much for us all. It was pretty much an eat and run and both family's sadly. 

We came home for a quick (and MUCH needed) rest in between Thanksgiving's. The three minis quickly fell asleep, I turned on my favorite Friends Thanksgiving episodes while Hubs snored loudly on the couch.

Gobble Gobble Gobble! The beloved turkey hats.

The minis opened their Christmas jammies from my parents and then got a super surprise from their Aunt (my sister). They learned they were going to Disney On Ice the next night! They were sooo excited! They had been asking to go and I had to act like we couldn't go because I knew my sister had bought them tickets already! It was the perfect early Christmas present!

 Elizabeth finding out she's going to Disney On Ice.

Unfortunately, I ended Thanksgiving with a migraine me and went to bed. Friday morning I woke up in tip top shape. I got up early (early for me at least) and went to the grocery store. Then the fun started. The minis woke up to Christmas donuts and watched a Christmas movie. Then we made our annual gingerbread men cookies and the minis decorated them (they also ate quite a bit of the candy toppings). We decorated for Christmas, read Christmas books, had a Christmas themed lunch, and took naps.

The day after Thanksgiving has long been my favorite day of the year. It's always been somewhat of a lazy day for me, but I have fond memories of when I was younger, decorating the house and our tree for Christmas. As an adult, I've kept the tradition of decorating for Christmas on this day. A few years ago, the minis and I added our own touch by baking gingerbread cookies and decorating (although in the past we've decorated a giant gingerbread man, but the minis wanted smaller ones this year). Hubs has always had to work so it's always been just a special day for Mom and minis.

Big tears when the cat came along and sat on a gingerbread cookie. Big tears from me as well because he got gel frosting (that crap is sticky!!) all over my floor. He got a bath.

The minis (and even me for a bit) took looonnnnggg naps. Thank goodness because we had a late night at Disney On Ice! Aunt Jenny spoiled them with souvenirs and pizza, popcorn, pretzels, etc. We loved Disney On Ice! The minis loved the music (of course) and sang and danced along.

Such a fun night!

After Disney, we came home and got into Christmas jammies. Hubs surprised them with new movies.

Saturday morning was probably the laziest of our days. While we woke up early, we laid around most of the morning and watched one of the mini's new movies (Ninja Turtles 2). We finally got around to getting ready and we were greeted by a sixty degree day! We went to the zoo, out for lunch, ran a couple of errands (surprisingly the stores weren't incredibly crowded), and then treated the kids to a drive through Jolly Holiday Lights.

The baby rhino was waking up just as we walking through the doors! Talk about good timing. We're excited to put a name into the drawing later this month for baby rhino naming rights.

We watched the penguins being fed and the seals play around their tank.

She insisted on boxing up her own food.

We were at a stand still for quite a while, waiting to get into Jolly Holiday Lights, so the minis and I played a game.

Well worth the wait! Plus it goes to an excellent cause (Make A Wish Foundation).

Sunday morning we (okay, so Hubs and the boys) put up Christmas lights, the minis played outside, I got some writing done, and then I bolted from the house. Well, not quite bolted. I left pizza money for dinner and went out to see my favorite musical, RENT, at the Des Moines Civic Center.

The boys enjoyed lunch on the front porch, even though it was raining outside. 

4th row seats!!! Before RENT, we went to Gilroy's for pizza (the veggie pizza is excellent!) and Moscow mules (I highly recommend the pear mule and their special holiday mule). I have been looking forward to this night for months, literally eight months! It was excellent and worth every penny!

Now for our crazy holiday season to ensue. We don't have a free weekend until middle of January but we've made sure to pack a lot of fun and tradition into the next six weeks! *Full disclosure, we've bribed the minis with a vacation in February if they hang in there with us through the holiday season....bribery to totally works if you bribe them with the right things*

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Week In Review: November 21 - November 23

It may have only been a three day week, but we filled it with activities! The first two days were relatively quiet, but Wednesday was a "Thanksgiving party" (what the kids called it). The house was FULL of kiddos, we baked pies, cooked a feast, played games, read books, played with new toys, and did sensory activities....all in an 8 hour day!

Here's a look at a few things we did:

At the end of last week, we made pumpkin play dough (salt dough). When the kids were done playing with it, we broke out turkey cookie cutters and made turkey figurines (bake in the oven at 150 degrees for three hours to harden). On Monday, the kids painted them.

Turkey cookie cutter painting

The newest pet that the kids love watching: Casey the crayfish. The oldest mini's class did a semester long research project on crayfish. Last week we received a note that said they had sixteen crayfish to send home with whomever would like one. Of course, we just had to have one, so now it sits in a container on top of the book shelf covered with a dishtowel because it can't have a lid on it, but it likes the dark. More. Than. I. Bargained. For....but a great learning opportunity for all of the kiddos.

The pumpkin "sand" in the water table was played with all week long.

Little photographer taking pictures of the little kids. None of them turned out (no surprise there).

On Wednesday, all of the kids got to help feed the crayfish (in the bin under the towel).

The kids requested over the summer to make Thanksgiving pies, so we made individual mini cherry pies. My daycare helper Silvia and I put the dough in the bottom of each pie pin, then the kids used letter cookie cutters to cut out the first letter of their name (so we could keep track of who's pie was who's). The kids ate all of the cherries out of their pies, but not one of them ate the crust!

The kids got to play with the leftover pie crust dough.

The big kids played with the pumpkin "snow" all afternoon. The littles weren't extremely interested in it (they like the pumpkin "sand" more).

For Christmas each year, I buy daycare new toys (instead of getting each child an individual present to take home, I get new toys that they can play with every day at my house). Starting the day before Thanksgiving, the new presents start rolling in (and one new present is given each week until New Year's). The first round of gifts were a Magformers in Motion set, a Magformer's car, and a dragonzord from Power Rangers. Unbeknownst to me, the Dragonzord moves AND makes noise. A lot of noise. That is definitely a toy that when the batteries run out they won't be getting replaced!

The kids colored turkeys (drawn by yours truly).

The kids got to play one of their favorites: the Find It game. This round of Find It, the kids found our stuffed animal turkey that Silvia hid somewhere in the living room. The played several rounds of Find It before lunch. The toughest part of everyone was counting and hiding their eyes. The hiding place that got the kiddos laughing and screaming was the ceiling fan.

Our yummy, yummy feast included turkey, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, corn casserole, rolls, and pie. The kids "helped" with the mashed potatoes again this year (see how they did it last year here).

One last reading of the Thanksgiving books before they're put away until next year. Their favorites this year include 10 Fat Turkeys and There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Turkey.

This upcoming week we'll start in on our Christmas activities! We'll also be concentrating on our theme of giving for the month of December.