Thursday, December 15, 2016

A Real Tree and Double Lunch

We've had an artificial Christmas tree for the last seven years or so, but half the lights stopped working last year so we decided to get rid of it and buy a new one after we moved.

When December rolled around this year, Phillip decided it would be nice for our kids to have the experience of getting a real Christmas tree.  We braved the forty-something degree cold last evening and came home with a six-foot spruce.

The kids and I decorated it this afternoon (saving some of Daddy's favorite ornaments for him to put on later).

Today was also the day when parents can have a Christmas feast at school with their kids in K-2nd grade (the older kids got a Thanksgiving feast last month).  I knew Anna wouldn't like most of the feast food, so Todd and I brought some snacks to munch with her, then we came back an hour later to feast with Daniel (and we were so busy feasting that I forgot to take a picture--oops).

Monday, December 12, 2016

Joy's Creepy Cake

Joy turned ten years old today!  I'm trying not to think too much about the fact that my baby is more than halfway to being a college-bound adult. O_o

As usual, Joy wanted to make her own birthday cake, and not just any cake, either.  This year she found a Minecraft-themed cake online, and decided it would be fun to recreate it.

We made the cake using chocolate sheet cake, green buttercream icing, Krispy treats, and a cake decorating gel pen for the water.  Joy printed out, cut out, and taped the Creepers.  Pretty cool, eh?

There were plenty of cake pieces and Krispy treats left over, so rather than stick a bunch of candles into her cake we put them in the odds and ends instead.  As always, Daddy is a model of maturity . . . and not taking life too seriously. :)

Happy 10th birthday, Joyful!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Literacy Night and the Queen Bee

We attended our school's Literacy Night this evening.  As we walked to the school, Phillip asked what, exactly, Literacy Night involved.  I told him I'd asked several people and read the announcement twice, and I still wasn't really sure . . .

. . . but they were serving pizza so I figured it was something fun.

It turns out Literacy Night is a school Christmas party where they give out free books (and free pizza), and the teachers host little Christmas-themed activities for the kids (like making reindeer food--apparently reindeer eat glitter, just like Aunt Heather :).  

We also got to see the kids' wintry art projects adorning the halls.

Speaking of art, Anna's homework today was to decorate a gingerbread boy or girl.  She asked for my help creating a gingerbread princess.  I offered some suggestions and cut out the purple butterfly, and Anna handled the rest.

In other news, Joy won the fourth grade spelling bee at her school today!  Go Joy!  She and the second-place winner will go on to the county spelling bee next month.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Nativities and Nutty Treasures

The First Presidency Christmas Devotional was this evening, and to get our family in the Christmas spirit . . .

. . . I put away our autumn decorations last night . . .

. . . and got out our Christmas ones.  Anna loved playing with our kid-friendly nativity set.  Alas, we can't seem to find our grown-up ones anywhere.  I sure hope we didn't leave them in California when we moved.

I also put up our advent Santa, with a mini ornament in each pocket  (the kids take turns putting an ornament on our little artificial tree each morning until Christmas), and we set out a Christmas puzzle for the kids to work on during the devotional.  They made some progress on it, then I was pleasantly surprised that they came over to the couch to watch the rest of the devotional with Phillip and me.

It's also a Christmas tradition for us to buy whole nuts to crack together a few evenings in December (no specific dates--just when we feel like it).  When I instructed Anna in the proper use of a nut cracker, I explained that a nut shell is like a treasure chest, and you open it to get the treasure inside.  Every time she managed to crack open an almond she yelled, "I got the treasure!"

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Holiday Clay Class

The three big kids and I attended a pottery class at our cool library today.

Anna and I followed the teacher's demonstration for rolling out clay then cutting out Christmas ornaments using cookie cutters.

Daniel preferred to use a more free-form approach for his ornament . . .

. . . then he spent the rest of the class time helping everyone out by cutting clay into little bits in case anyone wanted some.

Joy, of course, did her own thing completely.  She sculpted a fruit bowl (the rim says "BOUNTIFUL"), along with a banana, orange, apple, and a pineapple with the words "BE Thankful" on it.  I guess she still has Thanksgiving on her mind.

After we finished sculpting, Joy and Daniel played a rousing game of tag before we headed home.  The teacher will fire our creations in her kiln during the week, then we'll get to paint them next Saturday.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Frost and a Different Sort of Nerf Gun

December has arrived in Conway.

The kids were amazed to discover frost on our lawn this morning.

This evening, the Christiansens invited us over for pizza.  Todd learned that Davea has some sweet toddler flipping skills.

The Christiansens also informed us that PVC pipes make great blow guns for Nerf darts.  Here's Daniel trying to get some suction cup darts to stick to a folded table.  He got pretty good at it after a while.

I gave it a try, too.  It's tougher than it looks.

Daniel discovered that it's also tough to bounce in a Jumperoo if you're older than 18 months.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Free Advice from "Lucy"

The fourth grade students of Joy's school put on a musical program this evening.

The theme was "Friendship: The Best Gift Ever." 

Between songs, some of the kids played the roles of Peanuts characters (Charlie Brown, Linus, Snoopy, etc.) to teach about friendship.  Joy was Lucy, probably because she has a very strong and decisive personality.

Here she is dispensing some advice to a kid who wants to make some friends: "If you want a friend, you need to be a friend!"