Monday, December 31, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!  We've been busy celebrating the Christmas season.

Here's our little tree. 
Photobucket 
Guy went with dad to cut it down and he wanted one his size.  And mom didn't want to deal with decorating it with breakables.  It might be a little Charlie Brown-ish but that little tree did him well just like this one worked for us.  Guy was constantly making new decorations for this tree.  I liked that.

Nels gave Guy a pirate eye patch.  Guy told Nels he didn't like it.  We have a long way to go on this being grateful stuff.
Photobucket 

Nels got a new chair and book.  He had a hard time unwrapping presents because he'd get so distracted.  Good for him.
Photobucket

We are such fun parents.  Our gifts to the kids were Camelbaks and flashlights. 
Photobucket 
They really do like them and are using them as much as their actual toys. 

Friday, December 21, 2012

Unique Nels

Nels is a curious little guy and has to watch that crayon closely. This could explain why he only draws tiny drawings and not big scribbles (unless he's covering a wall).
Photobucket
















He has special techniques to get closer to the paper. 
Photobucket

Thursday, December 20, 2012

My Favorite Boxes Thus Far...

I know...I know... who needs this stuff?  Not me.  It just seems like when I get a surprise around the house it's finding a moldy piece of fruit under the couch.  Then I can never understand why anyone likes surprises.  I get it now. 

Love With Food December Subscription Box
My referral link. $12/month (Use code ECOMOMGIFT for $5 off) for a box of gourmet-ish food.
I signed up during the right month because I got a box full of candy.  I couldn't even take a picture without a cookie getting swiped by Nels. We enjoyed the treats immensely.
Photobucket
The box also came with a $10 credit towards ecomom.com - so I used it on free shipping day for a free puzzle for Mr. Nels.  I figured it would be good for teaching him his colors and numbers while being manly.
Photobucket
I'm not sure how I'll feel next month when the box isn't all gingerbread and chocolates and free puzzles, but I'm staying signed up.


POPSUGAR December Must Have Box
My referral link. $35/month (Use REFERFRIENDS to get $5 off)
This one is pretty spendy and I was kind of worried I wasn't trendy enough for it.  But I thought it was awesome.  Tea and bar soap?  Hooray!  I read on a message board how people are canceling their Popsugar subscriptions because this was "old ladyish".  I guess I'm old and may not be their target demographic.  I'll stay on for another month and hope old ladies prevail.
Photobucket

My favorite things from the box.
Cutest tea bag ever.  Look at that wee little leaf!  Cool cup too.
Photobucket

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Gift Exchange

My husband had a gift exchange at work so he made this super incredible beverage carrier.  Not only do we like it, Guy asked multiple times if he could have it.

Photobucket 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Christmas Candies

I spent the weekend making Christmas candies.
 Photobucket

I made caramel cups, milk chocolate truffles, white chocolate truffles, eggnog truffles, peanut-pretzel balls, and a couple of peanut butter cups made with just Reese's peanut butter.  I was lazy and had extra chocolate cups to fill.  My favorites of course are milk chocolate truffles.  I think those are the only thing I consistently make year to year because I like to eat them. I think I used too much white chocolate this year.  Nothing wrong with white chocolate - it's just not as good as chocolate.

As of tomorrow I will have all the chocolate distributed and can stop getting sick from eating too much sugar.  I don't know how many people will be getting candy from me this year because I dropped all my packages in a puddle at the post office.  Thankfully I must have looked pretty desperate because a couple of people helped me get them out and carry them into the post office.  I was just going to kick the boxes into a bush and pretend the post office lost them all.  But now the post office can legitimately lose them since the addresses are illegible.  I have a picture to prove I tried.  (It was a frustrating day but only because of my own bad choices.  Many thanks to the post office and the nice folks there.)

Friday, December 14, 2012

Nels Included in New Obsession

My Citrus Lane referral link.   Citrus Lane is a $25/month subscription box (use code HALFOFF to get 1st month 50% off) and is geared towards newborns to 3 year olds.  You tell them your kids age and gender and they pick out stuff they think your kiddo would like.  This is our first box.  I was able to get a spectacular Black Friday deal on a 6 month subscription so we'll be getting at least 5 more.

Nels dove right in...
Photobucket

The best thing in the whole package!! (It's made out of recycled milk jugs to add to the awesomeness.)


And the rest...
Photobucket
All stuff we can use.  $15 ecomom.com credit*, music CD (kids like it a lot, Guy asks to listen to it), photo album (think this will go on Nels' bookshelf once I put pictures in it), and snacks.  I laughed at the dark chocolate they threw in there for a baby but later read it's for mom.  Yay for me! (Update: worst chocolate ever.  Kids wouldn't even eat it.)

 *Update: I was able to use the ecomom.com credit towards a set of baby washcloths.  I had to pay $5 after the credit but well worth it since new washcloths was something I was planning on buying for the new baby anyway.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Yo Ho Matey!

So that giant box that showed up was perfect for Guy's pirate ship. It's been a work in progress since that day. It has a sail, wheel, anchor, window, bell, and treasure map.
Photobucket
He still insists it needs a bucket to sit in on top of the sail and a red slide. Good luck with that... Except the other day he told me he was going to make himself hair that looks like Jake.
 
Photobucket
 I told him good luck with that but as you can see from the previous photo, he figured it out on his own. I guess I'm just a boring, old, uncreative stick in the mud.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Cinnamon Ornaments

We used this recipe to make cinnamon applesauce ornaments.

Guy's rolling out the dough.  Nels is throwing cookie cutters on the ground.
Photobucket

Guy's picking out a shape.  Nels is getting cinnamon in his eyes.
Photobucket

Tada!  All done!  Guy wants to add a face to the gingerbread man to see if the gingerbread man will come to life and run away.  I'm sure Nels could make him disappear.
Photobucket

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

December Kiwi Crate Subscription Box

This is my Kiwi Crate referral link.  $19.95/month for super-spiffy crafts.

Antarctic Adventure!  Came with supplies for penguin bowling and aurora postcards, plus it had a penguin shaped ice cube tray just for fun.
Photobucket

Penguin Bowling! Guy even let Nels decorate a couple.
Photobucket

This is my favorite one.  Guy designed it after himself.
Photobucket

Making his postcards.  I think I could watch him draw and paint all day.  Even though the crate came with nifty new oil pastels and water colors we already had some open so I made him use them against his will.  I don't blame him, nothing beats opening new art supplies.
Photobucket

All done!  Guy refuses to mail them.  He taped them up in his room for an "art gallery".
Photobucket


Monday, December 10, 2012

Lowe's Build & Grow

I took Guy (and Nels who slept in the backpack to the soothing sounds of kids with hammers) to Lowe's on the weekend to build a wooden Gingerbread House.  It was our first time to the Lowe's Build & Grow event.  It is free and your kid gets safety goggles and an apron on their first visit to wear back to the next one. Plus once your project is done you get a badge to put on your apron. Pretty spiffy.
Photobucket

Guy did a lot of the work himself - he should have done it all himself. See that nail he is trying to pull out? I put that in crooked. The roof of the house is hinged so you can store your treasures inside. Well Guy's roof is nailed shut. I did that too. Guy kept reassuring me that "It's okay, mom. I like it that way." I think I need these classes more than he does.
Photobucket

A success for our standards!  I would like to go again if he's not too embarrassed by me.
Photobucket

I guess Home Depot has free kids workshops too.  Might have to check that out sometime.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Visit with Santa

Yesterday I took the kids to Scheels to ride the Ferris Wheel and see Santa.  It was Nels' first time on the Ferris Wheel.  You have to be 36" to ride and Nels is right there.  He sat very still but I heard a giggle from him every once in awhile.  I think he liked it.  He didn't dislike it.

With Santa.  Guy asked for a "pirate ship" - he is usually very specific about which one he wants but today he felt like giving Santa a little leeway.
Photobucket

I didn't have Nels stand in line because I figured Santa prefers not to be yelled at.  Well Santa reached out his arms to Nels (who wasn't even in line) and Nels took off running for him and jumped into his arms.  I think he has Santa and candy canes associated together. I like that Nels' belly is showing. It's hard to cover that thing up.
Photobucket

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Saddest Movie Ever!

Guy is a huge "Jake & the Never Land Pirates" fan.  He's been really wanting the movie Jake Saves Bucky so we checked it out from the library and he watched it...
Photobucket
I felt so bad!  I really should have explained what the title meant before I let him watch it because Guy did not think anyone would help Bucky.  Oh well, I like to see him emotional, makes me think he has some empathy in there.

Towards the end of the movie Guy cheered up a little.  I love to see the boys voluntarily sitting next to each other.  Usually they are fighting over who has the best spot.
Photobucket

Friday, December 7, 2012

Lunch with Guy

When we go out of lunch I like to let Guy pick because I simply like all food.  His usual request is a "cheese hamburger with no pickles".  What he really means is a plain cheeseburger.  He likes ketchup but he's recently decided it's too slippery and makes his hamburger fall apart.  His favorite burger places are "old McDonalds" and "Sonic".  He thinks the food from McDonald's comes from Old McDonald's farm and he thinks Sonic is associated with the hedgehog.  I try to shelter him from the truth because I've seen street-smart 5 year olds and they just aren't as cute.

Well he changed it up and wanted "a rectangle burger at the place with 'boy' in the name."
Figure it out yet?  Took me awhile but we got there.
Photobucket
Subway, Sub Boy.  Sandwich, Rectangle Burger.  It's all the same.

Nels was happy to be there too.
Photobucket

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Christmas Traditions

Nels is in charge of signing of the Christmas cards.
Photobucket

Guy is in charge of the Christmas tree.
Photobucket

Nicely done, boys!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Nature Box Subscription Box

Got another subscription box!  On Black Friday, Nature Box had a coupon code to get your first box for $1.  Couldn't resist.  Usually the price is $19.95/month (use code FB50 to get 50% off). 

Guy was so excited when it showed up.  I'm sure he mistook it as a Kiwi Crate.  I told him it was food but he didn't seem to believe me.
Photobucket

After he got it open he disappointingly said "You're right mom, it's food..." then he walked away grunting. 
Photobucket

It came with 5 bags of snacks - nuts, granola. dried fruit, stuff like that.  It was yummy and the ingredient lists make me happy.  I really liked the dried pineapple. 
Photobucket

I think $19.95/month for this stuff is a good price.  But despite me saying how much I love getting mail, getting something like this in the mail doesn't make me excited.  I get just as much joy buying this kind of stuff at the grocery store and for that reason I already canceled.  No offense to them.  They seem awesome, I'm just not their target customer.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Nels - The Artist

Nels can't let Guy have the title of "Family Artist" that easily.  Nels is getting really good.  I like when Nels draws he draws teeny tiny pictures.

Here he is painting:

I love these paint cups w/ coordinating brushes.  They are for our easel but Nels is good with keeping them somewhat clean and he can use them by himself.  A toddler art must.


Monday, December 3, 2012

Riding the Rails

Photobucket
On Saturday we took the kids to ride the Santa Train in Portola, CA.  This was our 3rd year there but the warmest so we rode outside this year.  We agreed it was nicer outside.

Our boys love trains!
Photobucket

Photobucket

Santa Clause was missing this year but Mrs. Claus was happy to hear all about the "Jake and the Neverland Pirate Ship" that Guy wanted. I have a feeling she'll pass on the message and Guy will get his boat. Nels' only request was a candy cane. That's been taken care of.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Eggnog Cookies

Nels made Eggnog Cookies.  We didn't have some things so we used vanilla extract instead of the rum extract and cloves instead of nutmeg.  I think it worked just fine.

Nels used it as an excuse to catch up on his butter eating.
Photobucket

He thought the eggnog was no good but it was a little better if you add brown sugar.
Photobucket

He refused to even try a cookie.  Guy ate half of one before declaring he didn't like them.  Sorry for serving you kids cookies.  Next time I'll stick with carrots.
Photobucket

I thought they were good.  I'd eat them all if I wasn't trying to avoid gestational diabetes.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Christmas Preparations!

Since it's December 1st I can pretend to start thinking about Christmas.  I will not mention I'm already done Christmas shopping or I started letting the kids wear Christmas PJs in November.

The kids are saying the traditional dentist phrase "AHHHH!"
Photobucket

I made a new decoration this year - a felt Christmas tree.  It's for little Nels who likes to move things around.  Since felt sticks to felt, I didn't need much to make this.  I used about 3/4 yard of green felt for the tree and everything else is made out of the little felt sheets they sell in the kids craft aisles.  I used a staple gun to get it to the wall and hot glue to stick on the presents and the star.
Photobucket

Friday, November 30, 2012

Julep Maven Subcription Box

I got my first non-Kiwi subscription box.  Julep sells nail polish stuff.  I'm not a nail polish enthusiast but they had a deal I couldn't resist.  JULEPVIP or COLOR2012 will get your first box for $0.01 (usually $19.99) + s/h = $4 total.  I'll pay that to get mail of any kind.  Plus I got to take a quiz so they could guess which colors I'd like the best.  I like personalization.

Photobucket 
Photobucket

This was the stuff.  The bottles are pretty to look at.  I'm not messing with glitter though.  They didn't quiz my messiness threshold.  Maybe Guy can make a snow globe with it. 
Photobucket

I won't spend $20/month on nail polish but they let you skip months so I can still say I'm a member without buying more nail polish than I can use.  That's cool.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Subscription Boxes

Guy has been getting Kiwi Crates for months now. Every month he gets a box of super awesome projects to build. I would say "crafts" but that's just not a manly word. And he's only made one apron so far with Kiwi.

Here he is with  most recent - a xylophone.  He also made jingle bell bracelets, plus it had a booklet of 5 or so instruments he could make with cups and straws and such.  He made them all by himself.  I was quite impressed.
Photobucket 
We look forward to Guy's Kiwi Crate every month so I was wondering if there was anything else out there like it. And there is - not just for craft projects, but monthly boxes of snacks, baby clothes, pocket squares, you name it. It's like buying surprises for yourself. And like all surprises you could be setting yourself up for disappointment.  I like getting mail regardless.  I'm going to try some other ones. 

These blogs had a bunch of box reviews:
My Subscription Addiction
Ramblings of A Suburban Mom