Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

But the angel said to them,"Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You wil find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in the manger" Luke 2:10-12. Merry Christmas! I hope everyone has a great day. I know I will.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Holiday Tradition Q&A

 I found this over at Kelley's blog Brixton Makes Three. I love the holidays so any excuse to share them them is exciting!

1. Egg nog or hot chocolate? Hot chocolate, hands down. I think I am the only person in my family who doesn't like egg nog.

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?  Wrapped. Half the fun is the surprise.

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white?  For me, colored lights on the house and tree. But I love all Christmas lights.

4. Do you hang mistletoe? Nope. But maybe I should...

5. When do you put your decorations up? I don't really have a set time. Right now the outside has been decorated for about a week, but the inside is not.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish? I don't really have a favorite. 

7. Favorite holiday memory as a child? Every year my sisters and I would wake each other up and gather in one of the bedrooms, watching the clock until it was 8 am. That's what time we were allowed to wake our parents. 

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? I don't really remember. I have always been a reader, so I feel like I might have read it in a book.Being the oldest, I just pretended like I didn't know. But we still get gifts from Santa under the tree.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? Well kind of. We play a game on Christmas eve- we call it the present game. But that is a post for another day. :)

10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree? With lights and ornaments... is there another way?

11. Snow! Love it or dread it? Love, love, love. And we have hardly had any this year. It is so sad. :(

12. Can you ice skate? That is a loaded question. Yes, I can ice skate, but I am not sure if I can this year because of my knee injury. I am not sure if I'm healed enough yet.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift? My most recent favorite was my nook that I got last year. It was such a surprise.

14.  What’s the most important thing about the holidays for you? I love everything about the holidays. The lights, decorations, Christmas music, but especially spending time with my family. And I love buying gifts and seeing people excited when they open what I got them.

15. What is your favorite holiday dessert? Cookies. Especially peanut butter blossoms (the ones with the Hershey Kisses). 

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? I have a couple. One is the present game that we play on Christmas Eve. I also love making Christmas cookies, a different kind with each Grandma. With my Grammy (my mom's mom) we make cut outs and then frost and decorate them. We just did those today. And my Grandma on my dad's side always makes Cuccidatti's (Italian Fig Cookies). That is a tradition going back to my great grandparents, maybe farther. We helped out with those on Thursday night.

17. What tops your tree? We have three different tree toppers; a star that lights up, a snowman, and an angel. Which one we use changes each year.

18. Which do you prefer: giving or receiving? I love giving gifts. It takes me forever to shop because I put a lot of thought in to what I get someone. But I won't lie, I like getting gifts too. Who doesn't?

19. Candy canes: yuck or yum? Yum! I like the regular ones, but there are chocolate mint ones my mom gets sometimes (I think they might be Hershey's) that are great too. I am not huge on the fruity ones though, they have to be minty.

20. Favorite Christmas show? I like all the classics- Rudolph, Frosty, the Grinch, It's a Wonderful Life. Every Thanksgiving we watch National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation- usually on Christmas too. It is so funny. Mikey hates it. But I do not like A Christmas Story.

21. Saddest Christmas song? Blue Christmas by Elvis

22. What is your favorite Christmas song? I have asked that question so many times in the past week or so. Julie and I are making CD's for everyone at daycare with everyone's favorite Christmas songs on it. I chose Trans-Siberian Orchestra's Christmas Cannon Rock for mine. But that is only one of my favorites.

23. Do you peek at your gifts? No, never! That's no fun, I love surprises.

Some of the best gifts...

...don't come wrapped.

This Tuesday was my birthday, and as birthdays go, it was pretty low key. But I don't mind it. I spent Saturday night with my family. My parents made birthday dinner (steak and baked potatoes) and my mom baked a cookie cake. I got some awesome gifts- very cozy sweat pants, some books, tickets to a concert, and the script from the taping we saw when we were in California- to name a few. But what was even more awesome was the time spent chatting, and my awesome spit take while watching something funny on TV (don't drink things while watching comedy- it doesn't end well).

On my actual birthday I worked. My morning didn't start well, but I don't even remember why because the rest of my day was awesome. My mom brought me to Manhattan Bagel, and we bought bagels for the whole staff (and I got a special one). We had my birthday lunch- I chose sandwiches and chips- and my mom made another cookie cake. I went back to the preschool room for the afternoon, and then I got two of the best gifts. One of my preschoolers woke up from her nap, and the first words out of her mouth were, "Happy birthday, Jenny!" And she ran across the room to give me a hug. I almost cried. I don't even know how she remembered. Later, another one of the preschoolers gave me his (half eaten) cookie that he was saving for his snack. Kids really know how to make you feel special sometimes.

I got out of work early to go to Kissmas Bash, which is a concert put on by our local Kiss (Top 40) radio station. My sister, Julie, got me tickets for my birthday.We had a great time together. We got to see Demi Lovato in concert for a second time, and I found a new band to love- We the Kings. I got a new Santa hat- it is blue with blinking snowflakes, and some tinsel in my hair. It is so sparkly and festive, and I may be getting more.

The only thing I didn't get for my birthday is snow. But it is coming. Soon. I hope.

P.S. No pictures today, but I may be doing a Christmas picture scavenger hunt. Keep a look out for it!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving Revisited

I really wanted to write this post before Thanksgiving, and when that didn't happen, right after. However, I have been sick. Not stuffy nose, a bit miserable sick, but full blown, I hardly got out of bed for two days, sick. But I better enough now to actually think in coherent sentences.

So anyway, every Thanksgiving all the children in the day care (except for the babies) gather in one room and we have a big Thanksgiving feast. I thought that it would be really fun for the preschoolers to make something to share with everyone who came to lunch that day, so we made cookies for dessert. Well we ended up eating them for snack that day, but it was fun anyway. Ideally I would have loved to make the dough with the children in the morning, but with my splitting time between the two rooms, I ended up making the dough myself to give it time to set in the fridge. But children did everything else.

They sprinkled the flour and rolled the dough.

Used the cookie cutters to cut out the cookies.

And helped pull the dough away so we (mostly my co-teacher and I) could place them on the cookie sheets.

And the next morning, they got to frost them. I wish I would have been there for that, but I should have planned better and done them before the day before we needed them.
This was so much fun, for the kids as well as the teachers, we will definitely be doing this again. I plan on giving the kids even more control next time.

The next fun thing we did was making turkeys from those giant marshmallows. That was truly a collaboration between my co-teacher and I. It was her idea to use the marshmallows and food coloring to make the turkey bodies, but she was having trouble thinking of what make the feathers out of. We wanted to make the whole project edible, so actual feathers were out. Then I came up with pretzels. Add some squeeze frosting and a jellybean for a nose, and you've got some of the cutest edible turkeys ever. At least I think so.

Even we teachers got our hands dirty and made our own.

So that was Thanksgiving with the preschoolers. Some of the best projects are edible.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

My Thankful Post

Happy Thanksgiving!

This year I am thankful for...
Mikey, my amazing husband
Finn our puppy
My family and friends
Hilarious game nights
My knee surgeon, physical therapist, and everyone else who had a hand in fixing my knee
My new acl
Everyone who reads this blog- you are a small group, but an awesome one

And to finish up, here is a picture of the turkeys we made yesterday. I forgot to mix up the frosting, that is why my turkey's face is green.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Pumpkin Time

So I had all those pumpkins from the farm, so the next step of course was to carve them. I did three, one with my toddler room (AM), one with my preschoolers (PM), and one for home.

The first one I did was the one with my afternoon preschool class. I had a few of the children help me cut the top off and then I scraped the insides out. I put them in a couple of bowls at two tables for the children to play with and separate the seeds, and I took those who didn't want to get messy at a separate table and they helped me with the face. I had six children, so I let each child draw one of the facial features, including ears. The result was one of the cutest pumpkins I've ever done.

The I did the pumpkin with my morning toddler class. Most of them were less then interested, but I had a few helpers point where we should point the nose and mouth (though I did have to move the nose down a bit because there was no room where they wanted it right between the eyes). But we ended up with an adorable sideways mouth.

Then I did my pumpkin for home. This is the pumpkin I wanted to do last year, but just ran out of time. It is a bit fancier then the ones I did for work, and I am very proud of it. Meet my dog, Finn!

And the inspiration behind the pumpkin...

I can't wait for everyone to see my pumpkin when they come trick-or-treating tonight! Maybe I will bring my work pumpkins home too.

And her is a bonus picture of the ghosts I made with Nutter Butters!

Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Girls Day Out

One of my favorite fall traditions is a fairly recent one. For the past three or four years, a few weeks before Halloween, my family makes a trip to visit Kelly and to go to a pumpkin farm. This year it was a girls only trip (because our significant others didn't want to go).

 Julie, Mom, and Kelly on the hay ride
My sisters and I

First we stopped to see the animals, but I only got pictures of the alpacas because I got distracted by the 6 week old kittens that they had there. They were so cute, and it is probably a good thing I am allergic because we might have had a new housemate. And then I'd be in trouble. 

An alpaca (not a llama) 

Then we went through the corn maze. Last year they had local school names to unscramble throughout the maze, this year they had two paths, nursery rhymes and U.S. presidents. We started with nursery rhymes, but it was too easy, so we switched. I was always at the end of the line because I kept stopping to take pictures.

 Baa Baa Black Sheep
That's my mom!

And we went on a hayride. There's not much to say about that, but I did get some good pictures. So enjoy it with me.

This is one of my favorite pictures from the farm.

But of course the main attraction was the pumpkins. One of my favorite things about this farm is that they sell pumpkins they call "misfits" for 50 cents. "Misfits" are basically pumpkins that are flat on one side, or are bumpy, have no stem or something else that makes them not "perfect". They are the best kind of pumpkins to get, especially for the day care because the kids don't care if a pumpkin is perfect. Since we went a little later this year, the "misfits" were on the smaller side, so I ended up buying one pumpkin that was not a misfit because I had a plan for mine at home. I think we ended up with 6 "misfits" and my bigger one.
 This was one of the biggest pumpkins they had there, so I had Kelly pose near it for size comparison.
Apparently that is also tradition. Notice the date. :)

After we left the pumpkin farm we headed over to the Boardwalk Market at the Dunkirk pier. I love the little shops with their handmade and unique merchandise. I only wish that it was closer, and open nearer to the holidays. Almost all the shops are closed, or close at the end of the month.

We finished our girl day with lunch/dinner at our favorite local restaurant, and then Kelly taught us how to make the most adorable little origami stars.
Yes, the picture is blurry. My camera hates close ups.

So even though it wasn't a beautiful day weather wise, with the fun times we had, I didn't even notice the lack of sunshine. We made our own that day!