Saturday, December 31, 2011

11 Reflections on 2011

Scouring blog world I came across this fun Linky Party over at Teeny Tiny Teacher to reflect on 11 things in 2011. It seemed like fun so I thought I would have a go at it...

11.) Favorite movie watched:
It is between The Help and Harry Potter: Deathly Hallows #2. The Help is such a great and well written story and the acting in the movie didn't disappoint. Harry Potter is simply because it is the end of an era.
10.) Favorite TV series:
So I must admit I am a total TV junky, it's pathetic. So my ultimate fave is most likely Psych & Bones. Some of my other must-watch shows are Castle, NCIS, Glee, New Girl, Terra Nova, Archer, .... Oh My, see I am pathetic!

9.) Favorite Restaurant
Since I am moving back to Anchorage shortly my favorite restaurant there is Ramono's Italian Restaurant. Here in Portland my favorite restaurant is probably El Indio Mexican Restaurant or Nicholas Mediterranean Restaurant. A family stand-by is The Old Spaghetti Factory and Five Guy Burgers

8.) Favorite new thing I tried
I went on a cruise with just my mom and it was an amazing trip of trying once-in-a-lifetime type things. We went cave-tubbing in Belize, played with Spider Monkeys in Isle Roatan-Hondurus, we danced and kissed dolphins, took an airboat ride in the Everglades, and my favorite thing was swimming with stingrays.

7.) Favorite gift you received
For me my two favorite gifts are my Nook Color from my hubby on Valentine's Day and a Christmas Ornament my sister in Japan sent of all of our memories inside. Another favorite gift is my mother-in-law made matching dog sweaters for my two dogs and two matching sweaters for my sons-they make me happy just thinking about them.
On the strips of curled paper are memories
6.) Favorite thing I pinned
Holy cow! I just discovered Pinterest this summer. I am obsessed. I have pinned so many things I couldn't narrow it down. Looking at my boards may give you an idea. 

5.) Favorite Blog Post
This summer I participated in the Smart Summer Challenge and it was just a great summer to kick off blogging and doing some super great educational activities with my boy. One of my favorite blogs (which I have many) is my Urban Nature Scavenger Hunt. We looked for nature in Downtown Portland and kept our eyes out for curious gardens. Then we went home and made our own urban landscape with an architecture stamp set. It was truly an amazing day!

4.) Favorite Accomplishment
Running in a 5K! I am an overweight girl (to say the least) and last January I trained doing the Couch to 5K and ran in the Shamrock Run on St. Patty's Day. I did it in 45 minutes...not super great time. But I set a goal, worked for it, and achieved it! I was really proud of myself!

3.) Favorite Picture
Any picture of my two boys being sweet and cuddly with each other is my favorite. I love to see them grow up to be pals and the love they share for one another. Times like this make motherhood worth it!

2.) Favorite Memory
I would have to say probably the recent vacation to Cabo San Lucas and Los Angeles with my husband and two boys. It was our first family vacation since the baby has been born. It was really great for us to bond just the four of us and experience things through my son's eyes.

1.) Goal for 2012
Graduate with my B.A. in Elementary Education. I start Student Teaching Jan. 3rd. I am scheduled to graduate then end of March. It is truly my passion and joy to teach, in particular upper elementary grades. I will be starting a classroom/teaching blog called, Nurturing the Learner Within. Not only to graduate but getting a job would be super. That is one of the reasons we are moving to Alaska, so that could even be a remote possibility. Lastly, I would like to exercise more! 

Christmas Highlights 2011

I am ashamed how little I have written this month. I had the best intentions of crafting, teaching, cooking, and all other fun festive Christmas things, just didn't happen. My boys were sick most of the month and I wasn't really in the Christmas mood with the hubs away in Alaska. That isn't to say we did have some fun, family memories being made. Here is a highlight of some of our Christmas memories.
"B" found the corner behind tree was his favorite hiding place
Ornaments constantly thrown through out the house to be sucked on and played with
Family tradition of walking the Fantasy Trail
Polar Express Train Ride
Golden Ticket
Daddy is home!
 Santa threw up in our house!
My mother-in-law made match dog sweaters=LOVE!

The boys got matching sweaters as well!

Opening Night for the Blazers (Aiden's 1st NBA Game) 

Keepsake Ornament my sister in Japan made me
She included a list of all of our memories that are in the ornament. So thoughtful!~

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Handprint Art

Every year I do one piece of Handprint Art. This is just such a visual way to see how your child has grown. I love looking at little ones hands and how tiny they are. The side by side comparisons of years can be striking. I am sad for the day when "A" will be too old/big to do our art tradition. His hand is already getting dangerously close to the edges of the paper. This year we did something different with the handprint ornaments, but here are some different handprint/footprint art from years past.

Paper Plate Wreaths

I had wanted to share a really simple craft for your preschooler. As I get older I am really starting to be fond of wreaths. I have my fancy one that hangs outside over the holidays, but why not make some that hang inside as well. Simply take a paper plate and cut out the middle. Decorate the rim, then punch a hole and add string. Viola! The ideas for decorating are endless. Here are two "A" has has made over the years...
What  are some other things you could decorate it with. Hmmm...we may have to make a button one since I love how much our turkey turned out at Thanksgiving.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Max our Scout Elf

With the boys being sick my Christmas festivities have not gone quite as planned. That being said one thing I have been able to keep up with is our Christmas Elf, which came to live us for the first time this year. I think the Elf on the Shelf is one of the funnest way to introduce a Christmas tradition I have seen. We are having so much fun with him in our house. Here are some of greatest memories of Max so far!
Stealing my Supreme Hot Cocoa
Ready for take-off
Composing a new Christmas Carol
Hanging from the chandelier
Doing some caroling
Reading "A Child's Christmas in Wales" by Dylan Thomas with his pal
Going down the firehouse pole!
Practicing snow angel making
Going Fishing!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Christmas Food Gifts

This month my boys have been continously little sickos. It is never ending fevers, coughs, sore throats, body aches, etc. Due to that,  the fact I am preparing for Student Teaching and my hubby is away in Alaska I am going SUPER SIMPLE for Christmas this year. One thing I am doing for loved ones is making some food gifts, thanks to ideas from Pinterest.

#1) Rudolph Hot Cocoa Sets:

You are suppose to take frosting piping bags (but I just used sandwich baggies). Fill then up with some hot chocolate, then tiny marshmallows, tiny chocolate chips, and some Christmas sprinkles. Tie a bow with a brown pipe-cleaner. Add stick on eyes and a red pom. Viola-two cups of cocoa. I would not that I don't like the baggies and will be looking for the piping bags as I make more.

 #2) Reindeer Mix (aka Chex Buddy Mix):

I have had Buddy Mix before but never made it myself. Holy Cow it is easy. The recipe can be found at the back of most Chex cereal boxes. It calls for 9 cups of Rice Chex (less than one big box). Melt 1 cup of chocolate chips, 1/2 cup of peanut butter, and 1/4 cup of butter all together in the microwave (about one minute). Mix them together and then mix it with the Chex cereal. Next add powder sugar to coat them. I then added some red & green M&M's (hence the reindeer mix). After putting some in individual serving Ziplocks I stabled some Christmas scrapbooking paper to make labels. Then if you want you can print Christmas notes to glue on.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Handprint Ornaments

So, I know everyone is making these ornaments this year, but I saw these hand-print snowman ornaments about two years ago and have always wanted to make them. This was the year! I had put it off because I couldn't figure out how to do it exactly. I was totally over-thinking it. All you have to do is paint the entire hand white. Then as you hold on to the top (where you put the hook) you have your child grasp the ornament below. Imagine the ornament is going to be thrown underhanded. That is it-too simple! Then later on add details (like the eyes, nose, scarf, hat, mouth, and buttons). I haven't quite mastered this part, but I hope family appreciates them anyway!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

"Gingerbread" Forest

I have to admit but I have the WORST luck making gingerbread houses. They always fall apart before I even get the candy on. More often than not the boys and I have high hopes of an adorable creation, but out of complete frustration of trying to keep the roof from caving in we just pig out and forget our dream Christmas houses.
Then I came across a brilliant idea on Pinterest to have a cute decorated creation with no worries of making walls stay up. We decided to take sugar cones and turn them upside down to make a forest of Christmas trees. It was so much fun not having to worry if it would break or not. We decorated it the same way we would a gingerbread house. I have to admit they were pretty tasty as well. However, this time we didn't eat them out of frustration but because they looked too yummy to resist!
Some of our supplies
Can't contain the excitement-do you see baby sneaking treats
I had to let him in on the action!