Saturday, December 31, 2011

Christmas Craftin'

Hi, my name is Joelee and I am addicted to ... Pinterest!
It really has just replaced the way I used to use my Google Reader to save blog posts that I liked.  The added bonus is that I can see what other people are saving too, and then steal repin their ideas.  I also like that when I go in under my account, there is a picture of each specific link - I am such a visual person!  I also appreciate being able to sort the ideas under like categories.
I do admit that Pinterest can start to make me feel like I need more time in the day... that other people are so much more creative than me... that I need to quit my dayjob to craft at home with my kids... that I need to work day/night to implement all of the amazing educational ideas into my classroom...  Ahhh, I just have to keep it all in perspective! ;)

One of the very first things I pinned were adorable feet trees, and I knew I had to make our own.  I wasn't a big fan of the red toes that the original had on it, so I had Quin make two sets.  I much prefer the all green trees.  I also had my kids each use their first three fingers for the trunks and added a foam/glitter star.  I love the way they turned out!
I also loved the ornaments that used a child's hand and then used the fingers to make individual snowmen.  A few weeks ago, Jason was out of town for the week.  When he is gone, we tend to do more crafts (I need a plan when he is gone!).  I didn't have plain ornaments, so we used the same idea on a plain blue piece of paper.  When it was dry Quin added the faces/hats/buttons to the snowmen, and the triplets added the cotton ball snow and glittery snowflakes. 
We had a mistake, but Quin wanted to make it look like a flying snowball... I have to say she has quite the imagination!
The following weekend our nanny from last year came and spent the day with our foursome while Jason and I did some Christmas shopping (it was a wonderful gift - thank you again Vickie!).
I had not hung our finger snowmen up yet. 
I was so surprised when we came home and found these:
Aren't they too cute!
My last pinspiration was fingerprint candycanes...  We whipped up a few and used them for gift tags.  Not thinking too much about it, I cut them out and added the to/from on the back.  If I were to make them again, I would cut them out in a rectangle and add the to/from next to the candycane.  Ahh... I live and learn ;)

Our Special Visitor

The weekend after Thanksgiving, when grabbing the paper, we found this present on our porch ;)  After opening it, we figured out that it was a special delivery straight from the North Pole - from Santa himself!  Inside of the package contained a book, a note and some Santa pictures (more about those at the end of the post).
Santa sent a note encouraging our children to be on their very best behavior, as well as a book that told us all about our special visitor.  Christopher Popinkins was already 'hiding' in our house, waiting for us to find him {Christopher is the less creepy, slightly cuter, version of his cousin 'Elf on a Shelf'}.
Each day, Christopher sat perched in a special spot around our house - watching and listening to our kiddos.  At the end of each day, he would 'zoom' to the North Pole to give Santa an update, and then he would 'pop' back into our house in a different spot for the following day. 
It was a hoot to watch the kids search the house each morning!  His spots were always too high to reach him because if kids touch him, he loses his special powers. 
On Christmas, Santa took Christopher home with him... but we look forward to his return next December!
Have I told you about my sassy, stubborn, line-pushing daughter?!?!  Good golly, I do love my Quiners, but she has an attitude that is all her own.  She does really well at school, but let's it all go when she is at home. (Believe me though - I would much rather that, then have her be an angel at home and a stinker at school!)  In hopes of transferring some of her good behavior home, a few months back I made a stop light.  She is really the only one of the kids who grasps the concept, but they all have a clothespin.  She gets a warning first, and then if she needs to be told again - she has to move her clip to the yellow (I have also done this in my classroom for years... but that didn't matter until her preschool teacher had one!).
So... that clever Santa sent pictures of himself to add to our stop light, to help Christopher know what to tell Santa each night.  Did it help, you might wonder?!?!?  As you can see, she was still on the yellow many times, but it helped keep her off of the red more than a few times!  Overall, I am calling it a success for her :) 
Now that Christmas is over, and the Santa stoplight has been put away until next year, I have added purple stars for each of the kids (a little more positive reinforcement).  If it works wonders, I will let you all know!

Sizemore Christmas 2011

The weekend before Christmas we headed over to Jason's mom house to celebrate Christmas with his mom, both of his brothers, their wives and our two nieces!
My kids were so excited!
Jason's mom left some of her 'unbreakable' ornaments off of her small tree so that the kids could help decorate.

She also had some fun name/winter decoration placemats for all six kids to do. 
Easton and Uncle Mike worked well together!
The best picture I could get of all six!
Of course, all four kids were spoiled  -  Thank you for all of their presents!
Gianna loves her new stroller - her only problem is which one of her hundred babies gets to ride ;)
Jason's mom baked almost all of her sugar cookies, but left a small batch of dough for the grandchildren to roll and cut.

The highlight of the day... frosting the cookies.  I was impressed with how well they all did.
Look at that concentration!
Gianna frosted maybe two cookies, but I think she licked enough frosting to cover five or six!
Easton started out strong....
until he spotted the sprinkle containers.  The boy can stack anything!
A huge thank you to Barb for organizing a fun packed day!  All four kids had a fabulous time, and slept well all the way home!


We let the triplets in on our Santa Visit traditions this year!  Both last year, and the year before, we took Quin out to eat at a local hibachi and to visit with Santa.  The triplets loved it there (as did the rest of us)!
Ellery did a really good job using her chop sticks!  We kept trying to get her to use her fork, as it is a much faster way of eating, but she stuck with the sticks.
Easton loved dipping his steak in the white sauce - YUM!
Our chef left behind his mini-twist-hand-drum-thing-a-ma-jig for my kids to play with...  All the kids loved trying to get it to beat.  If the other people at the restaurant didn't love us before this point in the meal, I am positive that they did after the drumming ;)
Because I had no idea what they would do during our visit with Santa, we went to the Holland Mall again in hopes that there would be a short line.  We were in luck, because there was only one family ahead of us.  It was good that we could watch another set of kids sit on his lap, because I think it helped reassure my kiddos that he was alright.
I was shocked!  Ellery was the first one to hop up on Santa's lap - there wasn't a moment of hesitation on her part!  Not wanting to be outdone, Quin did the same.  Gianna and Easton both sat near him...  It didn't last long, but long enough for me to snap one picture.  All four kids were good - but only Quin talked to Santa.  The triplets just kept watching his every move, but they were happy to give him a high five and accept the candy canes when we left.  Yay for no tears!
All four pose quickly with their new hats and candy canes.
(Sidenote:  The sweater Ellery has on just happens to be the same sweater Quin wore two years ago when she visited Santa...  Sigh... why do they have to grow up so fast!)

More Than a Tree

A few days after Thanksgiving we packed ourselves up to go pick out this year's perfect Christmas tree.  I was very disappointed with our tree last year (it was a fire hazard by Christmas day!).  This year we went to Post Family Farms (we picked our pumpkins there last year).  From the information in the paper, I thought they had 'cut your own trees'.  I was mistaken, but we had a great time anyways!  We have had great luck with our tree this year!  It is beautifully shaped and has kept most of its needles.  The cutie patootie guy who sold us the tree, was more than happy to take our family picture.
They have THEEEE BEST donuts - straight from the oven... YUM!  They also had complimentary hot chocolate.
Gianna gave both a thumbs up!
While waiting for the horse drawn ride, we took a self guided tour of the animal pens/barn. 
Easton is such an animal kid!
When it snows they have horse drawn sleigh rides (I would love to go back and try it out!).  When there isn't snow, they have horse drawn trailers :)  My kids loved it. 
They let Ellery pet the horses when the ride was finished - oh does she love horses?!?!
Our tree adventure took us so long, that we stopped at a local pizza place for some pizza and chocolate milk.  I LOVE that my kids are getting old enough to actually sit and eat in a restaurant - woohoo!
We decorated the tree the following day, and all four kids loved helping.

The weather was also warm enough for us to put out all of our outdoor decorations in one full swoop.  Easton even decided that he needed to come out and vacuum up all of the pine needles that fell off of the tree.  He cracks me up - bare feet and all!


We had a wonderful Thanksgiving at my parents house!  My sister and her two kiddos, my brother and his girlfriend, my grandpa, my Aunt Shelley and my Uncle John were all able to join us!

There was lots of yummy food, and lots of laughs!
Easton, Lincoln and Jason
Easton carried on the age old Aquino tradition of putting black olives on each finger before popping them into his mouth!
Quin gave Isadora lots and lots of lovin'!
Ellery even stopped playing for long enough to give Isa a few kisses.
Any family get together with Uncle Nate isn't complete without some rough housing with Easton and Lincoln.  Boys, boys, boys...
Gianna didn't stray far from Popa and Isa :)
Ellery and Great Grandpa spent a lot of time together - I just love it!
The weather was beautiful!  Ellery and Grandpa played catch.
Easton, Ellery and Lincoln played in the leaves with Grandpa also!
I have sooooo many things to be thankful for, and my family definitely tops the list!