Saturday, December 25, 2010

Wii had a Marvelous Christmas!

The big day finally arrived. It actually arrived in two installments. We decided to open the Wii on Christmas Eve. My Husband had the day off and we didn't have anything we had to do. So the kids found the boxes for the Wii and all the different accessories under the tree on the morning of Christmas Eve. They were so excited to finally get to open their gift that we had been talking about for so long.
So we spend the entire day (except for a little snacking and one hour outside riding bikes to enjoy the sun while it lasted.) playing Wii Sports Resort. That is the only game we had. We didn't open any of the other games. They were coming on Christmas day. But Sports Resort was enough for all of us to play and play all day long and not get bored at all. Henry is particularly good at the cycling. Papa loves the golf. Sophie loves the creative process of creating Mii characters. We now have, along with our family's Mii, the cast of the Harry Potter books as Mii. It is sort of fun to shot arrows as Hagrid, he is my favorite.

With the big gift already behind us you would think the kids were not going to be quite so excited about Christmas Morning but we were wrong. First we couldn't get them to bed last night. They were up past 12:00 singing Christmas songs together and then taking turns to coming and tells us that they couldn't sleep. But finally the house was silent and Santa could finally make his appearance.

But Morning came way too soon.

Notice the dark outside those windows. Yes they were up before the sun to see what Santa left in their stockings. 5:00 a.m. is a little early to be awake but there was no stopping them. Before we even knew what was happening they had all the lights on in the front room and their stockings were dumped out.
 Molly made it one more hour before the ruckus from the kids woke her up and she found out that she too had a few things in her stocking.
Each of the kids got a new Webkinz. This was important. It was on each of their lists but none of them got the exact pet they had requested. I guess Santa brought whatever he could find and didn't worry too much about their specific desires. They had changed their mind several times in the last month anyway. They were all happy.
Molly's favorite gift was the stroller from Grandma. She pushed toys, books, dolls and whatever around in it all day.
Auntie K made the kids each their own library bags. They are very cute!
Pop guns from Grandma were a hit with the boys.
Sophie helped Molly play with her new kitchen supplies.
Grandma fulfilled Sophie's request for a party dress for her American Girl Doll.
She made a few other outfits also. This hat and coat were particularly nice. Thanks Grandma for taking the time to sew for Sophie's doll. Those clothes are so great!

And that is Sophie's new charcoal cat which she named Minton because it looks just like Grandma's cat. There isn't a happier girl than Sophie today. She got the stuffed cat she has wanted forever (a few months) and some new clothes for her doll.

The boys pretty much spent the day playing Mario Kart, Lego Indiana Jones and anything else Wii. They are a bit possessive of those controllers. I don't think I got to play much at all. But I had dinner to make and a house to put back into order before my in-laws came over for dinner. I actually baked a turkey and roasted brussel sprouts, along with all the other items we feasted on and will again get to eat tomorrow since there are so many left overs.

Oh and I squeezed in some time to make this.

It doesn't look like much. It is just one of the many Amazon boxes that our presents arrived in but with a little cutting and duct tape it became a little fridge with shelves for Molly's new dishes and food. She spent a good amount of the day cooking on her new little stove top.

Everyone is happy. My husband has put the kids to bed, where I hope they will sleep long and hard, and is now playing 18 holes of golf on the Wii.  So far he is right on par.

Christmas has been lovely.
Thanks for the new George Foreman grill, the popcorn popper and quilt for our bed. It is always nice to receive the things on your wish list.

I hope everyone has had a wonderful day full of family, food and fun.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Christmas Traditions

This month has been busy but I think we have are almost finished with all our traditional outings for the season. Tomorrow is my band Christmas Concert and that I believe ends all our commitments and activities for the year. After this one last event there is only normal life and a week of excitement as we  count down the days, minutes and seconds until it is finally Christmas day.

We attended the Christmas Creche exhibit which is always fun and took with us another family that is new in the area and had never gone so it was more fun to have friend there to share it with. We also ran into quite a number of our friends that also decided to visit the exhibit and attend the Children's Marionette show.

We went to a nursing home to sing with our ward's primary kids. (We visited another nursing home to sing yesterday also with our co-op too. )This is becoming a annual visit for our kids.
And of course we decorated cookies after, which is always fun. Licking off the frosting is always the best!
Especially if you pile the frosting on really thick!

We always make our way to the Baptist Church's Bethlehem. The kids usually love to see the sheep and camels and of course the whole nativity story acted out. However this year we must have picked the wrong night to attend or else this event is just getting too popular. The place was too crowded and the kids couldn't see anything going on. They did get to do a few of the things in the booths and stalls around Bethlehem and Sophie of course got to dance with the ladies that travel with the wise men. The rest was a bit disappointing because we just couldn't see or hear much of the story acted out. But Sophie made sure she saw her favorite part. We did get front row standing room to see the Angel come and sing to the shepherds.
Last night we traveled up to Oakland to see the Temple lights and watch a performance of the Nutcracker. It was a bit stormy and wet and you couldn't even see the temple through the fog.
It is hard to tell but there should be a brightly lit temple back behind those palm trees.
The ballet was a success and the kids loved it. Except for one major mishap, the evening went smoothly. Just before the intermission Molly was fussy so I was out in the lobby with her. I thought she was getting to the point where she was going to fall asleep but instead she threw up all over me and all down the front of her shirt. We ran to the bathroom where a nice lady could see I was in distress and helped me. She got word to my husband that I needed help and luckily it was intermission so he ran to the car and Molly and I got cleaned up the best we could and removed the layers of clothing we could do without and that were at their worst. The other kids wouldn't hear of not finishing the show and we had traveled over an hour to get to up Oakland for this, so I sent them back into the show and Molly and I were going to just wait in the car or something. Molly seemed much better after getting cleaned up. We still smelled a bit but we ended up going back in and seeing the last 20 min of the show. Molly loved it and clapped and clapped for each of the dances.
After the show the rain had stopped for a bit and the fog had cleared enough for us to see the lights on Temple Hill much better.
It was cold and wet but it was lovely to see the lights and especially the temple all lit up like that.

It has been a lovely season of celebration. We still have a week left to read more Christmas books and watch a few more Christmas movies. Rain is expected for a much of that time so we will have a nice cozy week with no night commitments or activities to pull us away. It should be a very nice quiet week.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

More Christmas books

I can't say we have been doing a whole lot of school work. We aren't really taking a break but we aren't doing our regular things either.

We get through a good number of Christmas books each week. Here are a few from the last few days.

 The Grinch is always a favorite.  I love the Miracle of Jonathan Toomey (We watched the movie also) And the kids love the story of Rudolph, which is supposed to be the original story. The others were all cute or funny or a retelling of the nativity story. I picked up another 15 Christmas picture books at the library this week so we have plenty more to read through over the coming weeks.

I also finished a great book about Charles Dickens.

This isn't exactly a biography but it certainly made clear what was going on in Dickens's life before and after he wrote A Christmas Carol. Very interesting and a pretty quick read. 

I found an audio book version of A Christmas Carol we are going to listen to next week and I also got the Muppet Christmas Carol movie for the kids to watch sometime after the book is done.

We should have another few weeks of fun Christmas reading.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Wii are in Business.

Many months ago I started making some granola bars. I posted the recipe here back in March. My husband started taking one to work. He often shares with his co workers and soon he was taking 3 or 4 in his lunch. Then someone got the idea to pay me to make them some granola bars. And our bar business got started. Earlier this Fall I quit making them. Even though I loved the cash that came in I just couldn't meet the demand and it was driving me insane to try to keep up with as many bars as people wanted to buy. So I just said "No" and didn't make them anymore.  Some people were buying 12 at a time and with multiple people each demanding numbers like that it was killing me to try to make these in bulk like that.

For Christmas this year we have decided to forgo individual gifts and get a Wii for the family. My kids agreed to this plan a little reluctantly but I think now they are rather excited to finally enter the world of video games. I have many misgivings about having video games in the house and I wont go into them all right now. In the end the pros outweighed the cons and now there is going to be a Wii and all that goes with it under the tree for us to enjoy.  Well, my kids now have this idea that we need games for it. I guess they think Wii Sports isn't enough. I would be happy to just have the sports or possibly the Wii Fit but I don't really want all the other games too. I don't want this to start ruling our lives. But Henry really wants Super Mario Brothers, Ian really wants a Lego game and Sophie... well Sophie isn't that exited about it at all, poor girl. I know she will have fun when she finally gets a chance to play.

Since we already spent so much on the system and a few extras like a router, a charger, and another set of controllers, we really don't have it in our budget to buy any more games to go with this system. So this is where the bars come in. The kids decided we should make and sell bars again so we can buy the games. They happily cut up dried apricots,  toasted oats, measured sugar and such in order to make a few batches of these tasty treats so my husband can sell them at work. He is a natural salesman so it isn't hard for him.

I need to work on presentation a bit I think. Right now they are just wrapped in wax paper and then sealed into plastic bags in batches of 6. I need to come up with a label or something.
Today he took over 60 bars to work and sold every one. We are only about half way there. Since I am mean and make the kids take out the cost of supplies from the cash that came home. Nuts and dried fruit isn't cheep so it has to be factored into the equation when deciding our profits.

So one more day of making and selling bars and hopefully we will have the cash to buy Super Mario or some other fun game. My kids should appreciate that game a little more since they had to do a little work to earn it.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Looks like Christmas Morning came a little early this year.

 This may look a lot like a Christmas morning picture. Ian is wearing his pjs and appears to have been given a gift. But this isn't truly a gift to Ian. He earned it and this morning was the day he was able to claim his prize.
I don't know if he would love it if I elaborated in what he was doing to earn it, it is slightly sensitive in nature. But lets just say he was able to pick out a toy that was equal in cost to a box of Overnights. Since he now no longer needs me to buy them.

I am very glad I got this set a few weeks ago when the price was right. Because I just looked at Amazon and it is not in stock anymore and they are going for about twice as much. I guess Legos are a hot Christmas item.

My kids got right to work this morning putting the hut together. Molly had to be right in the thick of things too.
 It was a pretty complicated building set.
 but with some help they were able to get everything put together.
 I have to say this is a great Lego set. It has all three of the main characters and Hagrid too. They all have wands and there are owls, Scabbers the rat, Baby Norbert, Aragog and a bunch of pumpkins, toadstools and other things to throw into the cauldron to cook over Hagrids fire. 

It was a perfect set for my lego loving, Harry Potter fan.

Congratulations Ian!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Weekly Report - A Months Worth

I haven't been diligent about writing up our weekly reports. Maybe because there isn't all that much to report so I don't feel motivated to document our lack of academics. But I figure it is time to come clean with our report.

November came and went really quickly. I don't know exactly what happened or what we got accomplished. I know we "did school" each day which means we started with pledge, prayer, scripture, songs and memorizing the Living Christ. (We are doing great by the way! Only 2 and a half more weeks to do....we will make it for Christmas if we keep it up!)

The rest of the days from here get a little sketchy. I know we have done math everyday or at least almost everyday.  Sophie is enjoying decimals way more than she did fractions. Math is "so easy" for her lately, as long as she remembers her multiplication tables.  Ian too is doing well with his math. He doesn't love subtraction and has gotten it in his head that story problems are no hard. He has the habit of asking for help before he even opens the book. I have to remind him that he needs to actually read the problem and think about it before asking me to help him.  I put Henry on hold with Math. He needed me to read everything for him so, just like I did with Ian, I have him just doing reading practice mainly and skipping the math for now.

Speaking of reading.... Henry is getting quite good at sounding out words. He has read all the books in the first Bob Books box. He is now moving on to such things as Hop on Pop and Go Dog Go. Ian too is doing great reading and has almost finished his Explode the Code 3 1/2. He has decided he doesn't need to do any more Explode the code after this book since he can read now. But I am still debating. I can see the benefits of continuing. Sophie's spelling is awful because she never did any phonics training. Ian can spell so much better than she can and I think it is because he has had these books go through some of the rules of phonics. So we will see.

I can't say we have been doing any formal history or science the last little while. My kids have continued to build all the different projects from the Knex Simple Machines kit but I don't know if that actually counts as science. We have listened to the first few chapters of Story of the World. My kids requested it one day. They miss Jim Weiss' voice, I guess. But we did some of the map work to go along with the chapters.  We also read a number of Thanksgiving books. Those count as history, right?!

So now it is December and I have been collecting all sorts of Christmas books from the library shelves and we have been going through them, a few each day.

This was the stash we read on Dec 1st.  My boys love the Snowmen at Night. It isn't Christmas but is a fun winter book.  A wish to be a Christmas Tree was my favorite for the day.  It had lovely illustrations of birds and such as well as a nice Christmas message.

And since Dec 2nd was Hanukkah we read a few books about that holiday. Hanukkah at Valley Forge was especially a good one.

Today we listened to our Audio book a lot. We are listening to When Santa Fell to Earth by Cornella Funke. We are almost finished and my kids really enjoy it.
Tonight we broke out the Christmas tree and the nativities. It is supposed to rain this weekend and even into next week so I figured now was a good time to drag out the Christmas boxes before having to deal with rain and mud.

While the kids played with the Playmobile nativity they asked me to read some of Hark a Christmas Sampler. Sophie evidently has already read through it because she knew exactly which stories she wanted me to read.
So that is some of what we have been up to. Mostly just hanging out reading and reading.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Henry has his mind made up.

This morning Henry came to breakfast and found the Church News sitting on the table. This little newspaper came in the mail yesterday and I had been glancing through it while I waited for the oatmeal to be ready.  The picture on the front was of the newly rededicated Laie Hawaii temple.  I don't know if he actually read the headline that explained where this particular temple was located, (He surprises me all the time with words he reads now) or if he just recognized it from past conversations about temples and pictures. But he knew right away that it was Hawaii. He got very excited and said "Hey, that is where I am going to serve my mission. I will get to go inside there when I am a missionary". He has often said that he is going to go to Hawaii when his time comes to be a missionary for the church.  He doesn't ever use the words "I hope I go there" or "that is where I want to serve". He always just says, in a very matter of fact tone, that that is where he is going to serve.

While he told me all the reasons he wants to go to Hawaii, I got the bowls and oatmeal ready. He was asked to say the prayer and his prayer was all about Hawaii and the temple and being a missionary.  He Thanked Heavenly Father for Hawaii and the Temple. He thanked Him for missionaries and that he would get to serve in Hawaii (not asking but thanking him that he was going to) and then finished off by thanking Him for volcanos. He forgot that this was supposed to be a blessing on the food but at least he remembered the volcanos.

He has about 14 + years before he can go to Hawaii for his mission. It will be very interesting to see where he goes when the time comes. Perhaps his dream mission location will change over the years. He has had Hawaii pegged for a long time though. Some of the Elders in my MTC district went to Hawaii and they certainly loved it.  It is a beautiful place and I bet he would be able to go to the temple while he serves there.