Thursday, December 13, 2018

6 Easy Presents for Parents From Daycare

It's that time of year when daycare's all around are working hard on a little gift or two for children's parents. Typically gifts are sentimental that capture this time in a child's life (think handprints, pictures, etc.). Some daycares do the same gifts year after year. Me? I like to change things up. I do enjoy doing the handprint ornaments with Model Magic every year, but in addition to that, I like to give parents something the kids actually made AND that looks cute.

I call these Parent Presents, not to be confused with Parent Pleasers, which is typically a work of art that was clearly not done by the child themselves. They're cute, but I assure you little Sally did not draw a perfect reindeer and color in the damn lines at 2. Sorry to burst your bubble, but your child's daycare provider or teacher did that for them and who has that kind of extra time?

I'm a fan of Parent Presents. They're not always pretty and they do require some guidance and overseeing from myself, but for the most part, the kids do the presents themselves. There's some I like better than others, but I mostly still have my kid's own Parent Presents that I sentimentally set out on display year after year.

Here's 6 easy, cute, and perfect presents for parents from the exhausted at Christmas time provider:

1.) Handprint wreath

2.) Hand print Christmas tree canvas painting

3.) Finger print Christmas lights

4.) Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer foot print ornaments

This one included a parent's favorite: footprint, handprint, a thumb print, AND a picture

5.) Decorate a glass plate. Be adventurous and let kids wrap them in Christmas wrapping paper, stick a bow on, and those bad boys are ready to go.

6.) Make your own ornament. Keep it easy with salt dough or buy a clear ornament and do something simple like this (the kids shoved cotton balls inside and I drew a face on):

This year's Parent Presents are wine glasses decorated in Metallic Sharpie markers (that will likely wash off....and probably should be washed off quite honestly), mini bottle of cheap wine, cookies for the family, and a hand print ornament to take home.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Something New This Holiday Season

Looking back over the past five years at our holiday season found us at every event possible. We've taken train rides to the "North Pole," we've eaten breakfasts, pizza, and drank hot chocolate with Santa, we've ridden horses and in sleighs to Santa, we've waited with penguins to see Santa at the zoo, we've done every tour, open house, and sang Christmas carols with Santa. We've been lucky enough to do all of those big events our wonderful community offers.

With the minis getting older, some of those events aren't as appealing as they once were (for the minis at least). I've been racking my brain to think of something new we could do for the holiday season. Last week, as we prepped our living room for our Christmas tree, I was astonished at how many movies we've accumulated. I've spent hundreds and hundreds of dollars on holiday movies we rarely get the chance to watch, not to mention all of those delicious holiday movies and shows piling up on our watchlists on Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime. I made the comment to Hubs that it's been years since we've watched some of our Christmas movies. We just never have time because this time of year is always so busy.

Then it clicked. We had nowhere we had to be for 8 hours on Saturday. That left us pretty much an entire day with nothing we had to do. So, I declared Saturday Christmas Movie Day. We decorated the Christmas trees in the morning, sang and danced along to White Christmas, laughed our way through Home Alone 2, and wished for our own reindeer while watching Prancer.

The proper way to decorate the tree is to get out every single ornament and lay it out on the floor. Then you have to tip toe around them. Some end up broken though.

Three of my favorite ornaments that fits our family perfectly: a deer jaw bone Harrison found at the tree farm last year, white water rafting Snoopy for all of our adventures, and the Starbucks ornament (because, ya know, Bucks).

Picnic lunches while we watched Home Alone 2.

I love doing new things with the minis. While I looked forward to our weekends out of the house and exploring, this was such a simple and memorable day, plus we got some use of our rarely watched holiday movies. I loved this day just as much as any event we could have gone to instead.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

A Night At The Theatre

The minis have taken in many shows and plays over the years, but this was their first Broadway musical! Aunt Jenny (my sister) surprised the minis on Thanksgiving with an early Christmas present with tickets to see Aladdin. We made an entire night out of it. We had dinner at Fong's Pizza, walked down Court Avenue, and saw Aladdin at the Civic Center. The minis LOVED their night!

I had to get off of work an hour early to make the night work, but it was so worth it! We had a great time at dinner and it was good for the minis to get some energy out before the show.

Green bean casserole and mac and cheese pizzas for the delicious dinner win!

Elizabeth (6) moved between her seat and my lap. She did great at the show, minus me looking down near intermission and noticing she had taken off her shoes and socks! She had them back on when I returned to my seat from grabbing treats and drinks for everyone.

The minis had some late night energy after Aladdin. They talked about their favorite parts of the show. Elizabeth said the Genie was her favorite, with her favorite line being, "uno, dos, three." She's used this line on her dad, who did not see the show, numerous times and then she cracked up. The joke is completely lost on him, but she has yet to notice.

When we got home from the theatre, there was a big surprise waiting for the minis: our Christmas tree! Between Hubs work schedule, Elizabeth's dancing rehearsals and recitals the first weekend of December, and other obligations, we weren't sure when we'd have time to go cut down a Christmas tree. Hubs decided to surprise the minis that night, so we could still have our real tree, but not have to worry about having time to get one.

The cat was the first to use our new Aladdin blanket.

It was such a late night that the minis got to have a stay home day on Wednesday. Wednesday's are early out days anyways, so they were only missing a few hours of school. They got to watch Christmas movies, take naps, and chill in jammies all day long. I told them not to count on stay home days after we see late night musicals in the future, but for their first time, it was all a memorable experience.

Coffee and cuddles. Daycare kids were happy my three were home and watching movies because that meant they got to watch them too.

We're four days past their first Broadway musical and they haven't stopped talking about it! They've been re-enacting the musical and listening to the soundtrack nonstop. I'd say it was a very successful night that they won't soon forget!

Friday, December 7, 2018

First Weekend In December

Typical holiday weekend for us: go, go, go with a big dance performance at the end!

Saturday was scattered. I was at the Museum, the minis were at home getting the house Christmas tree ready (this involved cleaning and NEW living room shelving as we begin our living room transformation), and Hubs was designing the new living room. Big projects ahead before we start on the even bigger projects! 

I had just enough time to get home from the Museum and get Elizabeth ready for another dance rehearsal.

 The cat was confused about who the make up chair was for.

We dropped Elizabeth off and then had a whirlwind three hours to get a lot done. We did our weekly Trader Joe's stop, furniture shopping, a big trip to Walmart to get things for Christmas donations, and grabbing take out for dinner.

At the check out we came across a huge display of Mentos. Harrison: "wait, you can eat Mentos? Wow!" We've only ever used them for science experiments!

When the youngest mini had been picked up and dinner eaten, we still had gifts to go buy for donation. We were unsuccessful at finding several of the items on the family's list that we wanted them to have. The minis had a blast picking out numerous toys (they may have done a little looking for themselves as well).

I was so happy to be able to do this with my minis. In the past, we've always gone to Toys R Us one afternoon for a big shopping spree and dropped it in the Toys For Tots bins as we left. The minis have always loved it and I have too. Obviously we didn't get to do that this year since Toys R Us is closed. We donated to the local food pantries around Thanksgiving and had plans to purchase things to take to local shelters for Christmas, but my mom messaged late in the week asking for any donations for their Christmas Basket families.

You see, my old high school I attended (and where my mom works currently) does Christmas Baskets every year. They receive requests from local families and each group of kids has senior leads. They are in charge of making sure their families have everything they need. I had my mom send a list of everything her office's family needed and shopping we went! 

I know the minis don't fully understand what they're doing each year, but I hope it just becomes a habit for them each December for the rest of their lives. 

 Some of what we bought and donated. 

We had such a busy Saturday that a relaxing Sunday morning was quite welcomed. Although it wasn't too relaxing as Elizabeth quickly made her way outside to "eat some of the snow." She ate it off the leaves in our yard. At 8 a.m. We were the only ones in the neighborhood up.

Then it was off to the Mall for another Christmas recital! The boys were stoked her recital was in the mall food court so they could get their favorite tamales (I had pho) while they watched Elizabeth perform.

Elizabeth had a fan club section watching her.

I was able to catch this sweet moment of Harrison's hand on Elizabeth's back guiding her through the crowds of people.

To celebrate a job well done for her recitals, we got to do some shopping at the mall afterwards. We came across a train store. After years and years of nonstop Thomas the Train, I was curious about the new model train store in the mall. Now that I know a thing or two about trains, the boys are now uninterested. Story of my life.

Elizabeth's Christmas recital was the perfect way to get into the holiday mood (not that we need any help with that). While she's already got her eyes on next year's recital, I have my eyes on the next few weeks of celebrations!