Gift ideas that are low on cost but big on imagination!

Today Emily was re-reading one of her favorite books and it gave me a great idea.  I wanted to share this with you because it’s a perfect budget friendly gift idea that would be sure to please most young kids.  With Christmas coming, I thought it was the perfect time to share this.

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The book is called Christina Katerina & The Box and is written by Patricia Lee Gauch.    (You probably already see where I’m going with this…)

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As the story goes, Christina Katerina and her mother are both excited when the new refrigerator arrives in its large brown carton, but they are excited for very different reasons. Christina quickly claims the box, where she creates a castle, a clubhouse, and other fantastic playthings with her friend Fats Watson.  Every time her latest creation gets messed up, she simply turns it into something new until one day the box gets wet and Christina’s mother is all too happy to finally throw the box away.  That is, until Fats brings over 2 new boxes from his mother’s new washer and dryer!

This book is full of the imagination that should play a huge part in every child’s life.  Seeing something plain and simple and being able to turn it into something grand is a skill many have forgotten.  It is truly refreshing to see children get excited about something that doesn’t light up, make sounds or use batteries.

Back to my idea…

As parents we always joke that kids would rather play with the box the toy came in than the toy itself, right?  So let’s just skip the toy and give them the box!

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to pair this book with a huge cardboard wardrobe box as a gift for a child this Christmas?  Yes, I’m serious!  Give them a box.  I would bet that most children under 12 with any sense of imagination would love to have a HUGE box as an empty canvas for their creativity!  I know my 9 1/2 year old daughter would love this gift idea – if she didn’t already own the book, that is.  She’d still love the box!  If you really felt the need to dress up the gift, you could include a package of markers or crayons, but don’t go overboard.  The idea is to keep it simple.  Let them use their imagination to create – and re-create – new adventures. 

So skip the battery operated, noise making, video game playing gadgets and instead get to the dollar store for some extra wrapping paper.  You’ll need it to wrap that huge box.  Read the book together and turn them loose to see what they create.

 

My daughter, Emily, has always loved to play with boxes.  She has made everything from row boats to castles and race cars to animal shelters – all from cardboard.  She still tries to keep every empty box that makes its way into the house.  I hope that continues for years to come! 

Here are just a few of our favorites!

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Check out another one of my low on cost, but big on imagination gift ideas:  A Homemade Detective Kit!

Christmas Blog Carnival – Day 2

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The topic for Day 2 was my “Favorite Christmas Dessert”, and we were supposed to share the recipe.   I don’t have a specific recipe, but I do have a dessert tradition that is definitely my favorite to share with you all!  Every year at Christmas, we make a “Happy Birthday” cake for Jesus and sing Happy Birthday to Him.  Every year we choose a different flavor or shape to keep it interesting.  One year was a chocolate cake, another year was a white-chocolate layer cake with fruit, and a few times we’ve used a fun tree-shaped pan I have.  I think we need to try a brownie or cookie cake, or maybe this popcorn cake! Doesn’t that look fun? 

Lovebug and any other kids that are around get the job of decorating the cake.  We use icing, and then an assortment of decorations – sprinkles, chocolate chips, candy coated chocolate candies, coconut – all fun for little hands!

Here is our tree-shaped cake from a couple years ago!

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It’s a special tradition and something we all look forward to every year.  I love watching my daughter get so excited as she helps me plan and prepare for the most important birthday party of the year!

 

Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday, Jesus!

Christmas Blog Carnival – Day 1

This week Wives of Faith is hosting a Christmas Blog Carnival! I loved participating in this last year and am excited to do it again because it’s a great way to meet other wives through their blogs.

Today’s topic is: Favorite Christmas Movie

It’s so hard to pick just one favorite, so I’ll have to give you my top 3.

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I love to watch this old classic movie every year with my husband!  It’s a great story about a man who thought the world would be better off without him, but he was shown how untrue that was.  He realizes that even though his dreams for himself didn’t come true, he truly had a wonderful life!

 

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This is just a great classic that I love watching with my daughter.  I love the story behind the misfits and the lesson of loving each other for who they are.  Plus, it has Burl Ives singing!

 

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This is a fairly new movie, but I love it! It shares the story of the real Saint Nicholas without telling kids that there is no Santa, so it doesn’t “ruin it” for those that still believe.  My daughter doesn’t believe in Santa – she just asked so many questions that she learned very early that he wasn’t real, but we love the real story of Saint Nicholas and how the modern Santa is a way for people to carry on Nicholas’ tradition of giving gifts to others anonymously.

Christmas Advent

December is upon us (did that seem to sneak up on anyone else?), and we are now in the season of Advent.  Advent is the time of waiting and preparing to celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ, on Christmas Day.   In order to count down this period of time, our family uses a wooden calendar with little doors that are opened one at a time each day leading up to and including Christmas Day.  It was a gift from my parents years ago and one that we treasure still.

We’ve hidden all sorts of things behind the doors – candy, ornaments, pieces of paper with activities to do, pieces of a LEGO set to put together on the last day – all great fun! This year each box holds a mini ornament for Lovebug’s Christmas tree in her room and a piece of paper with a scripture for us to read from her Bible.  A few of the days might hold a candy or activity surprise, too! 

Lovebug opening door #1 on December 1st:

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If you haven’t already started an Advent calendar, it’s not too late! If you don’t have one, you could even make one with envelopes in a basket, each numbered with the dates remaining till Christmas. 

If you are interested, here is our list of Bible verses that we are reading each day:

Day 1 – Read Isaiah 7:14 and Micah 5:2

Day 2 – Read Matthew 1:18-24 and Luke 1:26-33

Day 3 – Read Luke 2:1-7

Day 4 – Read Luke 2:8-14

Day 5 – Read Luke 2:15-18

Day 6 – Read Luke 2:19

Day 7 – Read Luke 2:20

Day 8 – Read Luke 2:21

Day 9 – Read Matthew 2:1-2

Day 10 – Read Matthew 2:3-6

Day 11 – Read Matthew 2:7-8

Day 12 – Read Matthew 2:9

Day 13 – Read Matthew 2:10-11

Day 14 – Read Matthew 2:12-15

Day 15 – Read Galatians 4:4-5

Day 16 – Read Ephesians 2:8-9

Day 17 – Read 1 John 4:7-16

Day 18 – Read Ephesians 2:12-22

Day 19 – Read John 7:37-38, and 14:6

Day 20 – Read Matthew 28:19-20

Day 21 – Read John 8:12

Day 22 – Read John 9:4-5 and Matthew 5:14-16

Day 23 – Read Psalm 98:1-6

Day 24 – Read John 1:1-3, 14 and Romans 6:23

Day 25 – Read Psalm 100, Revelation 3:20-21

 

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

Black Friday: Where greed prevails over decency

I am in shock.  I’ve been watching a few videos online of Black Friday footage shot by people right in the middle of the chaos, and I am in complete shock.  I know this isn’t the first year this has happened, but I just can’t get over the lengths people will go to and the depths to which people will stoop just to acquire more STUFF.

I don’t mind the people who camp out ahead of time.  If you don’t have kids or if you have someone to watch your kids, and you want to make a day out of it, have a good time hanging out in your camping chairs with friends, & score a great deal then go for it! If they’d let you bring a grill it wouldn’t be much different from tailgating, and I think it could be a lot of fun.

Or maybe you are a night owl (or early bird) and you want to enjoy a day of shopping with your siblings, friends or spouse – then by all means, have a great time! If you can enter the store calmly, get what you want, and get out without accosting anyone or putting your own life in harm’s way – why not?

However, those are not the people I’m referring to!

The 80s song Material Girl by Madonna comes to mind, and 25 years later things are so much worse!

In one Wal-mart, a lady PEPPER SPRAYED her fellow shoppers in an effort to get an edge on the competition in the electronics department.

Seriously? She came to the sale armed with pepper spray!

In another report, I read that impatient shoppers “the next aisle over started shouting and ripping at the plastic wrap encasing gaming consoles, which was supposed to be opened at 10 p.m.” because they couldn’t stand to wait another 5 minutes.

At one Toys-R-Us location, “Employees attempted to hold back the scrum of shoppers and pick up merchandise even as customers trampled the video games and DVDs strewn on the floor.”

TRAMPLED?  They just walked all over the very items they were there to purchase.  I wonder how much money the store loses in damaged items on this day every year.  Whatever happened to having respect for other people and their property? Common decency seems to be a thing of the past, and it’s terribly disheartening.

And here in our own city of Fayetteville, shots were fired at the local mall.

One of the videos I watched shows a crowd of Wal-mart shoppers tearing into a stack of waffle irons like they were starving people who had just received a shipment of food.

 

WAFFLE IRONS, people!  These are NOT a necessity of life. They were on sale for $2.84, and were regularly $17.  A savings of $14 that I would have gladly paid to AVOID that chaos even if I wanted the contraption, which by the way actually has awful ratings & reviews online.  All that effort for a waffle iron that probably won’t even work right.

I just can’t imagine.

 

I would much rather my friends and family give me a dozen homemade cookies on a plate from the dollar store as a gift.  I’ll take a gift from the heart & made with love any day over a gift that was gained by pushing, shoving, and clawing over other people.

Here is another video showing some of the chaos.  I have no idea what these people are so desperately trying to get their hands on, but I can think of NOTHING materialistic that I would act like that for, even if it was FREE.

 

Then, let’s assume that you get in the store and manage to get what you want without causing physical harm to yourself or anyone else.  Then what?  Then, my friend, you get to wait in line to check out.  At this point, you better hope you brought a battle buddy with you because you WILL need to use the restroom at some point before you are done.  With all that coffee you had to drink before heading out, I guarantee it, and if you think these people are going to save your place in line then I have some ocean front property in Arizona to sell you.

And this is the line you will be waiting in:

 

I just don’t think there is an amount of money that would make entering Wal-mart on Black Friday worth it to me.  Some of the smaller stores, sure.  If we were planning to buy a flat screen TV anyway and we could get one for $199 instead of $800, then ok, I can see leaving the kids with friends or family and giving it a shot.  In the end though, if I don’t get it – so what? Nothing except saving the lives of my husband or daughter are worth losing life or limb over.

For the record, I stayed home and shopped online in my jammies! I ordered a few small gifts and bought an outdoor trampoline online for not a whole lot more than Walmart’s “in store” price.  I even paid $9 extra to have it shipped to me so I didn’t have to go to the store and pick up the 2 heavy boxes!  It’s not even a Christmas gift, but just a family gift we’ve been planning to purchase for when Daddy gets home – something for us to all enjoy together, and I was able to get it on sale!  The rest of my in-store shopping will take place next week while most people are back at work and the crowds are smaller – I hope.

Let’s don’t forget, as we are out shopping, what this season is truly about.  It’s not a time of year to collect more belongings.  It’s not a race to see who can get more toys.  It’s a time for celebrating the birth of our Savior & King by showing love to others and bringing peace to a world that so desperately needs it.

As you watch those videos, is that how you would want people to celebrate your birthday?

“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” 1 Tim 6:10-11

Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against wanting to have more and more things. Life is not made up of how much a person has.” Luke 12:15

“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Eph 4:32

“Don’t do anything only to get ahead. Don’t do it because you are proud. Instead, be free of pride. Think of others as better than yourselves.” Phil 2:3

Christmas Gift Challenge: Give more, Spend less

Yes, I know it’s not Christmas time yet, and I’m all for waiting until after Thanksgiving…but, I know many of you will be doing some big shopping the day after Thanksgiving, so I wanted to get this posted before then.

Last year I wrote about my Top 10 list of low-tech, low-cost gifts that kids will love!  A couple  years ago as a family we made the decision to cut way back on the gifts we gave each other so that we could focus more on giving to charities and families in need instead.  Our daughter was our inspiration as she has one of the most generous spirits I’ve seen in a child.  Christmas is about celebrating Jesus’ birthday, not our own, so we want to celebrate in a way that honors Him.

This year, I extended the cut-back to the grandparents by way of a “Christmas Challenge”.  Here is the challenge that I sent to them:

Christmas Challenge & “Wish List”

Ok, grandparents! We have a challenge for you that we hope you will accept.   In keeping with our family’s “motto” around Christmas – we like to focus on “Giving more, Spending less” and this year we are focusing on spending less money, but getting things that are meaningful to people. 

Our challenge to you (and it’s one that we are doing as well), is to give Lovebug a gift that costs $10 or less (not counting shipping).   Yep, just $10!!! You can do it!  It can be one item, or a few items, but just $10 TOTAL.  I PROMISE you that there are a ton of things she absolutely LOVES that cost less than that.  In fact, most of the things she enjoys the most are inexpensive (like cardboard boxes and sticks!).  We have so many toys, many of which never get touched, so we really don’t need any more unless they are the few small toys listed below.

I hope you will consider this a FUN challenge and enjoy it rather than be upset with it.  We are really working with Lovebug this year to pick out a few things for $1-2 for some of her friends too, so we’re talking a lot about how you can get really fun, meaningful things for very little money!   And she’s already expecting this from family too since we’ve been talking about it.  I PROMISE you that she doesn’t care about opening a huge box, or unwrapping lots of things.  She really doesn’t.  She gets so excited over a couple little things, that actually if there is too much some of it just gets ignored. 

So, here is a list of ideas or things to choose from. Feel free to add your own.

· Small (beanie baby size) stuffed animal – especially if of an unusual animal. 

· Shovel, or any digging tool that can be used in the backyard

· Stickers

· Ornament

· Books – the Dollar Tree, or Dollar Spot at Target have lots of cute little board books she still loves

· Foam craft kits – Joann’s or Walmart usually have them, sometimes holiday themed

· Punch balloons – in the party section at Walmart, the ones you blow up and they have a rubber band on the end so they can “punch” them – she loves these! Great for sensory input, and playing outside

· Balls – any balls! Bouncy ones, ones with glitter inside them – Target always has a lot in the kids area

· TOOB sets – These are the little sets of hard animals/people sold in plastic tubes.  They sell these at Michaels for under $10.  She loves these and collects them.  ANY of them are good, even if we end up with a duplicate, she’ll use it.  We only have a few sets, so you’d be good with any of them.

· We do NOT need candy! We have so much already we are getting rid of.  Good ideas, that she loves for treats are: boxes of raisins, individual packs of unsweetened applesauce, or Gluten Free granola bars

· Sensory toys – those squishy balls with “hair” – not real hair, but little plastic things sticking out all over them.   Or bendable/posable toys (think like gumby/pokey – we have those, but things like that), pipe cleaners

· Can of playdough, or package of Model Magic (Michael’s sells individual packages)

· Cute straws

· Fun shaped or holiday theme post it notes

· Silly putty

· Packages of glow sticks, bracelets, etc from the Dollar Store

· Sidewalk chalk – we use up a TON of this and you can get it at the dollar store, we don’t need the fancy kind

· Hot Wheels cars – just the regular, little ones that are sold at Walmart for .99 – she loves those!

· Recycleables! You could send her toilet paper tubes, egg cartons, and blue painters tape and she’d have a blast

 

(As I read this list to Lovebug to make sure it was all things she would enjoy she added, “They could even send me a GIANT cardboard box with nothing in it, and I would love it because I could make things with it!”) – What a great kid!

There’s a good list to get you going!

 

You all do not need to get anything for the grownups, but if you really want to, here is our “Under $10” list.  We’ll save the more expensive list for our birthdays! Ha Ha! (I included this one because my mom’s love language is gifts and she loves to give something!)

  • Coffee Mug, either for at home or a travel one (Not sure you can get those cheap anymore though)
  • Chocolate covered espresso beans (Hubby loves these!)
  • Puzzle
  • Candle – we love any of the food scents
  • Ornament
  • Soft, fuzzy socks for me

 

If you are looking for a great way to give to a good charity, then please choose something from this online World Vision Gift Catalog and buy something for people that need basic food and clean water.  This is a great organization that we have been supporting for a long time with our “adopted” child in a village there.  We will be choosing something from this catalog to purchase as a family.  Will we get a goat? A couple rabbits? A duck? Hmmmm.

Handling the holidays with special needs

We’ve had a lot going on lately, and sometimes it’s hard to manage Lovebug’s sensory needs in the middle of all of it.  I’m still learning so much about her, what she needs, how to be proactive, and how best to help her.  We’ve been dealing with this at some level for years, but we didn’t know for sure what we were dealing with until just a year and a half ago.  Sometimes I feel like I’ve got it down and it’s smooth sailing.  Other times I feel like I’m such a newbie at all of this.

Some of the other blogs I follow have done such a great job at giving tips for making the holidays easier on our kids, and on ourselves.  Like this post by Hartley’s Life with 3 Boys.  It’s an awesome post that I wish I had read before Christmas! I definitely need to catch up on my favorite blogs.

Over all, we did try to manage Lovebug’s sensory needs, but I definitely could have done a better job in some cases.

Things we did right:

* At the beginning of December, we wrote out all the fun activities we would be doing that month, so she was prepared.  We do this every month, but December was particularly full of activities.  I also let her know which ones were mandatory, and which ones were flexible in case she needed an “at home day”.

* We limit the transitions by having Christmas lunch at my parents house, along with the in-laws.  No driving from place to place or rushing – we just all gather together in one place!

* Made sure to pull her aside from time to time during the festivities to give her a break from all the noise.  Even when she’s surrounded by people she loves, it gets overwhelming listening to 10 people all talk at once.

* Asking the grandparents to limit her gifts to one package to open.  By the time she gets one from everyone, it adds up.  Most of the time once she’s opened one thing, she just wants to focus on that and play with it.  She gets over-stimulated with too many things to open at once, and then gets confused about what she should focus on and play with and that frustrates her.

* I relaxed on her clothing.  I didn’t care that she wore snow boots instead of dressy shoes to Christmas Eve services at church.  In fact, I thought it looked super cute!  I didn’t buy her a new Christmas outfit for Christmas Day because I just wanted her to be comfortable and happy, not cute and miserable.

* We put sensory chew toys in her stocking so she could use them right away.  We also gave her food treats that we were ok with her eating right away instead of a lot of sugar that would cause bad reactions, or get taken away right after opening – neither of which is a fun option.

Things I need to improve on:

* I didn’t bring a “chew toy” or gum for her to Christmas at my parent’s house.  We finally managed to round up some rings for her to chew on when she was feeling the need, but it was almost a major problem.

* I went to visit some friends for a couple days this week.  Lovebug was having such a great time playing with the other kids, and I was having fun chatting with my friend…that I ended up letting her go 5 hours without eating!  She didn’t even ask for food, which is unusual, so I didn’t even realize the mistake until the meltdowns started and it was too late.  Thankfully, some isolation for a few minutes and some protein fixed the problem.  We recovered, but I should have been proactive and made her take a break for a snack so that never would have happened.

* I tried once again to give her Christmas PJs on Christmas Eve. This was once a tradition when she was too little to tell us her preferences.  This is a tradition that ends this year.  Next year, we will start a new one that works with her needs.  I thought I had found a great pair of PJs that would work for her, but nope!  So, she gets all excited about opening the present, only to be disappointed that they weren’t comfortable.  Good thing she was perfectly satisfied to go put on her favorite jammies that she “wears every single day in the winter”! There is just no point in beating a dead horse and trying to make this work.  I need to choose one that works for HER.

* I need to notice when she is needing proprioceptive input sooner.  I find myself saying “calm down, let’s get control” or something similar way too much when what I really need to do is go throw her on the bed and tickle her for a few minutes, or have her carry a heavy box into the other room for me.  Once the light bulb goes off and I do these things, it makes a WORLD of difference.  I need need to catch myself sooner.

I’m sure there are many, many more things I could put in each of those categories.  We are still learning, and trying to figure it all out.  She hasn’t been in any sort of therapy this past year (couldn’t afford it with our insurance), but we are hoping to change that.  Ideally, once we move and get settled we will get her re-evaluated and hopefully start some OT.  At the very least, I am going to continue to learn all I can about her SPD and increase our therapies at home.  What we do works, and helps a LOT, but I know there is more I can be doing.

Now, to focus on how to manage the transition of moving across the country with her.  Thankfully, she’s excited about the move, but we will spend 2 days in the car, a night in a hotel, then 10 days living in temporary housing before moving into our new place.  WHEW! That’s a lot of change.  Will definitely need to manage the SPD and ADHD during all of that!

Lovebug’s New Toys

We did a great job at keeping it simple for Lovebug this year, and she ended up with some great things!

We filled her stocking with sensory appropriate goodies, and she loved them all!  Dye-Free bubble bath, stickers, chew toys (oral needs), a new vibrating toothbrush, some organic yogurt covered raisins, and an apple.

Other than the stocking, she received ONE gift from us.  Just one.  It only cost $10 too 🙂  It was the one thing she told me over and over that she wanted.

This LEGO set:

I don’t know what about it she found so interesting, but she had been talking about it for weeks!  I was going to order it online, but it was backordered, so I took a chance and went to the LEGO store at a local mall.  I got the last one!!!  Praise the Lord!  I don’t know what I would have done if I couldn’t find it.  It was the one thing she was fixated on.

Needless to say, she was THRILLED Christmas morning.

From the grandparents, the LEGOs kept coming, and she couldn’t have been happier!  She is so excited about her new obsession and I’m just starting to think about how we are going to store all of these.

My parents got her a set of minifigures.  She loves the Lego people, and she almost drooled when she saw this set in the store.  I promptly told her to save up her money because I wasn’t buying it (I’m a mean, cheap Mommy!).  She was happily surprised when she opened this!

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Hubby’s mom got the Star Wars LEGOS for our whole family, and I wish I had a picture of her excited face when she opened this.  She hasn’t seen the movie yet, but she’s fascinated with Star Wars because she has all of Daddy’s action figures from when he was a kid.  She has a ball playing with them.  We will have so much fun working on these together, especially Daddy & Daughter!! I love them too, but it’s precious to see them working together on them.  Daddy knows all the characters and Lovebug just eats it up listening to him explaining which ones are the good guys and which ones are the bad guys.

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Other than that, she got BOOKS from both grandparents.  She also got spending money from Granny, which she spent today at Half Price Books.  She made some great choices, and got the best bang for her buck I think!  She loves to read, so she’s just loving it!

Nice and simple.  Legos and books.  It was so nice to see her get things she liked, but also to keep it simple enough that she had lots of time to play with her new toys without being overwhelmed with too many.  She’s already logged hours reading books and playing with Legos, and we will enjoy these things for years to come!

Hubby and I didn’t give each other anything this year.  We were being frugal, and we ended up doing a lot of charity giving instead.  We both decided that while we definitely plan on continuing the charitable giving each year, it’s also fun to pick out a small gift for each other, and to work with Lovebug to make the other parent something like we did last year.  So, we’ll probably bring that back.  Even with a $10 limit or so, it’s fun to give the other person something to open too.  There can be a happy balance.

Christmas Preview

I’ve been spending the last few days enjoying having my husband home, and I’ll be spending the next couple of days hanging out with dear friends, so it looks like the big blog updates are going to wait until next weekend!

For now, I’ll leave you with some previews of our Christmas time as a family!

We spent Christmas Eve at church, with Hubby’s mom & grandmother

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We spent Christmas morning at home, sang Happy Birthday to Jesus, and ate our traditional French Toast Casserole.  We spent the afternoon at my parents’ house eating way too much great food, then burning a little of it off playing the Wii!  Hubby’s family joined us there, and we all had a great time!  We had birthday brownies for Jesus, but somehow I didn’t get a single picture of them.  We were too busy eating them all!

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Hubby, his mom, and Lovebug

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Hubby’s grandmother (“Granny”) & Lovebug

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Here is Lovebug with my parents…..the rest of us didn’t get the wardrobe memo!

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The day after Christmas was spent going to church, hanging out with the family at our place for a little Wii competition, & enjoying Lovebug’s new stash of LEGOS!

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Monday morning, Lovebug helped Daddy make his famous pancakes!  She says “Daddy makes the BEST pancakes!”, and I have to agree!

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That afternoon, we enjoyed a little outside time…

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…then we started taking apart furniture in preparation for our upcoming move.

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We’ve read countless Christmas books, played games as a family, and have had way too much sugar.  But most of all, we had lots of fun together and enjoyed celebrating Jesus’ birthday!

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We wish you a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year!

Christmas on the Square

This past weekend, Lovebug and I went to a local city’s Christmas on the Square! It was so much fun! The entire street was decorated with beautiful lights, programmed to the music (click here for video)

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They had bounce houses, a balloon artist, and a SNOW SLIDE!  First we watched Santa parachute in, which was fun.  Lovebug kept talking about how she got to watch Daddy skydive like that – she was so proud!  Then, we headed over to the Snow Slide to get in line early.  What fun! We would have done it over and over if the line hadn’t been so long.

Here is a video I took of her going down.  I was going down right beside and behind her.  Can you tell she loved it?

We wandered around the square for a while, browsed in a couple shops, and watched the hot air Balloon Glow.  Those balloons were so pretty at night, and we were able to walk right up to the baskets and chat with the people.  I’ve never touched the basket of a hot air balloon before, so that was fun.  I would LOVE to go for a ride in one, but you know those things cost around $250 per person for a ride?  OUCH!

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We attempted to go for a carriage ride, but after waiting in line for 45 min or so, Lovebug desperately had to go to the bathroom! I felt so bad for her.  She just couldn’t wait, and the bathroom was far enough away, I didn’t feel right asking them to hold our place in line.  So, we bailed on the line, went to the bathroom and decided to jump in line for another Snow Slide instead! This time we went down holding hands – me facing backward and her forward.

What a great night!

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Fun with Frosty!!  It still amazes me that she is either completely terrified of these dress up characters, or runs up to hug them.  It’s one extreme or the other, and I never know which way it will go.

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Her HORSE balloon!

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