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The last day of school…

It’s the last day of school before the holiday break, and so the whole school is having a pajama day.  Everyone looked super cute, and as we were waiting in the class for the bell to ring, the teachers and administration gathered in the hall to sing carols.  It was so much fun.  I’ll admit, quite openly, that while I am excited for the break I am sad to know we are losing one of our two fabulous teachers.  Miss Begg is an intern, and is finished her time with us.

Unlike many interns, who find themselves overwhelmed, and stumble through their internship Miss Begg came in already ready to teach.  She so clearly has found her place with these kids, and has been such a wonderful addition to their class.  We were already super excited to have Ms. Jackson – who is one of the most amazing teachers I’ve ever known – but then to have added Miss Begg to the team?  It’s been absolutely fabulous, and I’ll be sad to see her go (as will the kids).  I’m also excited for her too, as I know wherever this journey takes her she is going to touch so many little lives.

Anyway…

Because tomorrow is Yule, we brought gifts for both Ms Jackson and Miss Begg today.  Normally it’s about a month before Yule and we start to plan.  We’ve made scrapbook pages, blown up pictures, given plants the girl propagated herself (wrote “thanks for helping me grow” on the planter)…  but only a few weeks into this year Lily-Ann told me she wanted me to make tutus for her teachers.  So that’s what I did.

The tutus I’ve made for Rhonda get borrowed and passed around between all the teachers.  They all just adore them.  And I’m thrilled to report that the two newest tutus were equally well received.  Lily-Ann and I both got big hugs, and I’m so glad to have made Ms. Jackson’s and Miss. Begg’s day.  The put them on immediately and began showing them off to the rest of the staff.  LOL  Lily-Ann was just tickled (as was I).

After putting on a Disney Christmas movie for the class to watch, the four of us headed into the hallway to snap a quick picture.  Everyone in their PJ’s (and tutus) next to the tree:

No-one in a kerchief, none in their cap,  but tutus and smiles, and my iPhoto app.

None in a kerchief,

none in their cap,

but tutus and smiles,

and my iPhoto app.

And because this is during the 30 Days of Disney…  Lily-Ann is wearing her velveteen Cinderella PJs.  😉

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Mickey on the Brain

Lily-Ann is making Mickey pancakes on her breakfast app.

Lily-Ann is making Mickey pancakes on her breakfast app.

Clearly I’m not the only one in the house with Mickey on the brain.  The girl made Mickey Mouse pancakes while she was playing on her breakfast app.  And while yes, this kind of post would be more appropriate on a “Wordless Wednesday” let’s just call this one a “Tired Tuesday”.  😉

I am SOOO ready for the Holiday break!  I don’t know who I was trying to cheer up more when I said to the girl “only three more days of school until the break”.

I’m at school all morning tomorrow, and then I have an School Community Council meeting at lunch.  On Thursday we have the Saputo lunch at school.  Friday is PJ day.  Saturday is Yule.  Sunday I have a wedding to photograph.  Monday I have a family photo session to do, and some Yummy Rummy egg nog to make.  Tuesday is the annual Christmas eve party.  Wednesday is Christmas with my siblings and parents.  Thursday is boxing day, when the extended family will all gather at my parent’s place.  Friday I have a hair cut and a night out with my man.  And Saturday I can kick back and do NOTHING with the kid.  Maybe.  I have a friend in town and we’re either going to have a little mini-high school reunion on Saturday OR Sunday.  LOL  The point is, on Saturday or Sunday next week I get to kick back and do nothing.  LMAO  Yay!  Oh!  I still have one teacher present to make and a gift for one of the Brides.  Yikes!  Tack those onto the to do list for the next day or two.  I do love the holidays, but I am looking forward to a day with NOTHING.  Oh!  Still about eight presents to wrap too.  Gotta get those done.  Am I missing anything important?  Grocery shopping.  Right.  Hard to have a merry holiday pig out without food in the house.  LOL  Anything else?

I’m so glad Yule falls smack in the middle of it all.  While it will be a day with lots going on, it’s ALL just for us.  And I’m so looking forward to seeing the girl’s reaction to the news that we’re heading back to Disney World in mid-January.  😀

Blessed Be!

Wishing you all a Yule filled with love, hope, and wonder.  May the joy of the season remain with you through the darkest days of Winter and carry you through until the sun returns to warm the Earth.  Merry meet and blessed be!

Preparing for Yule!

The girl, her face all filled with light and wonder, as we prepare to decorate the tree.

Filled with Wonder!

I figure it’s about time that I shared a few pictures from December first, when we decorated our Yule tree.  It’s our first year with a big (six foot) tree.  I’ve posted before about our little half-a-tree that we normally hang on the wall.  Well, in our new house we actually have room for a regular sized tree – so when Grampa offered us his (he was switching to a table top sized one) we gratefully accepted!

Lily-Ann, all wrapped up in garlands, ready for Yule!

All wrapped up!

We really did love our little half-tree-thing…  but this?  Watching the girl’s face light up, getting to pick out and buy new ornaments, as well as hanging some that Grampa and Gramma Joan gifted us?  It was pretty amazing.  Lily-Ann had the most wonderful time and it did my heart some good to be a part of it all.

Kid Kid decorating our Yule Tree, our first year with a large tree!

Trimming the Tree!

After it was all decorated, I put out the bags for her Advent Calendar, and she dug through them looking for bag number one…  thus beginning a wonderful new Yule tradition in our wonderful new home.

ready to open bag number one from her advent calendar.

Advent, Day One!

With that, here’s wishing you all a Joy-filled Yule!  One packed full with wonderment and delight.  Take time to be childlike!

Dicken's Christmas quote about how good it is to experience life through a child's perspective.

 

 

Looking Back

There are times when everything is so chaotic in our lives that it can be easy to idealize the way things used to be.  Of course, the truth is people’s lives were full back then too…  but it is nice to envision a fairy tale simplicity; the not-quite-accurate bygone days.  There are times though, when you stand still long enough to realize our lives really aren’t that much different.  Our values are the same, as are our priorities.  Okay, so that may not be true for all people, but it is for us.  Family comes first.  And we do everything we can to give Kid Kid as amazing and rich a childhood as we can.  The holidays just tend to put the focus there, even for those who normally are too busy living to really notice.

an aged black and white photograph, digitally enhanced to appear so, of the girl with Santa.

A quiet moment with Santa.

Craft Crazy!

This time of year I tend to be on crafting overdrive.  Far too many projects and not nearly the time needed to comfortably complete them all.  I love it anyway though.  🙂

MLP ATC

A My Little Pony Artist’s Trading Card for the Trading Post. The theme was “holiday specials”, which is why Frosty is stuck in the corner – clearly I didn’t feel adventurous enough to sketch him myself.

It used to just be me, crafting all by my lonesome… but now that Kid Kid is five, she’s in it right along with me.  It’s awesome to see how well she’s doing to, in so many mediums.  Embroidery, sewing, painting, drawing – and that’s just today.  We still have planting, baking, decorating, packaging, more painting, more embroidery, more drawing, and a buttload of sewing still to go.

paint covered pants

Paint covered play clothes. Crafting is a dirty job, but somebody’s gotta do it.

I wish I could share all the projects, but some of the folk who are on the receiving end of our efforts may stop by the blog, so we gotta keep it all under wraps.  I gotta say though, as artsy fartsy as we are, all this creative work is absolutely exhausting.  It is with great relief that we welcome bedtime tonight.

falling asleep on a bed full of stuffies

The girl and Sweets (the old man chi) drifting off to sleep as Daddy reads… a bedtime well deserved after a day of working hard.

DIY Thrift Store Advent Calendar!

This year, our first in our new home, I figured we should do something different, something special for the holidays.  So I decided to put together a thrift store (second hand or previously enjoyed) advent calendar.  Thus far, it’s been a really big hit!

We’ve all had those store bought advent calendars with the icky pieces of low quality chocolate behind each window, counting down the days to the holidays.  Well, the thrift store advent calendar may count down the days to the holidays, but it’s WAY more fun, and really wasn’t all that expensive either.  It may be a little late for you to make one for this year, but I’ll talk you through the process anyway.  I have a feeling it may be one other kids would enjoy too.

Step One:  Collect the Goodies!

Every kid, or kid at heart, has something little they really enjoy.  For Lily-Ann I knew I could find a ton of little My Little Pony and Littlest Petshop items in thrift stores and from my fellow collectors at the MLPTP (an online forum).  Used toy cars, and other collectibles would also be great, and for the bigger kids in your life I’m sure there are all sorts of things you could find – think about their favourite things and just go from there.

Step Two:  Decide on Packaging!

You’ll also need packaging for your advent calendar.  We went cute and inexpensive with these little craft baggies.  I actually found them in the baking section at Michael’s, and they were only a few dollars a pack.  I bought two packs, one in red and the other in green.

Step Three:  Organize your Finds!

Next I poured all the goodies out on my bed and grouped them by theme.  In the picture above you can see that a bunch of the LPS items actually made a pretty good “camping” collection.  You can see how easy it would be for the girl to pretend that a kitten and a hamster head out for a weekend retreat with everything they might need.  Arrange and rearrange everything you’ve purchased until you’ve got 24 (or however long your countdown will be) piles of goodies.

Step Four:  Label the Bags!

Labeling the bags is the next step, and while there are lots of cute ways you could do this, I’m about keeping it easy.  So if you feel up to it you can use glitter and glue, beads, or stickers, stencils or cut outs, and any number of wonderfully crafty-good items…  but I simply grabbed one of the girls markers and wrote right on the bags.  As long as you have one bag for every day of your countdown, you are good to go.

Step Five:  Fill the Bags!

Deciding what goes in the bag for each day is a fun part.  Well, at least I know I enjoyed it…  I staggered things so every few days there would be a toy, and it would alternate with a crafting item, or maybe a dress-up item for one of her ponies, or collector’s cards.  Of course, you could just dump any old thing in any old bag in any old order, but I had fun with it.  LOL

Step Six:  Close and Place!

Then all that is left is taping the bags closed and putting them around the tree, leaving them out to be pondered over and opened with relish and the joy of discovery.  Enjoy your countdown!!!

December is Almost Upon Us.

I don’t know about you, but I could use another couple of weeks before December.  YIKES!  How on Earth did it jump from November 10th to November 25th so quickly?  Way too many holiday projects are about to become due in no time flat.  I had plans to make our own little advent calendar for the girl, but I’m now wondering if I’ll have time to do all the sewing I’d planned to.  I may just have to cut some corners and find little pre-made baggies to put each days “treasure” in.  LOL  Well, either way, I’ll get something put together.

For now I intend to put on some super comfy warm holiday themed PJs, pop on a show, grab a puppy or two, something yummy to snack on, maybe my husband, and cuddle into the bed.  The temperature drop today definitely says “holiday’s a’comin”, and rather than pump the furnace into high gear just yet, I’m retreating for the coziness of a very full bed.  😉

Night!

Goodbye Christmas!

Well…  looks like the holiday season has come and gone.

First we bid a goodbye to Yule.  Then it was so long Christmas Eve.  Followed by a fare thee well to Christmas.  A “don’t care where ya go, but you can’t stay here” to Boxing Day.  Then today it was our family feast of leftovers…  See ya next year!

It was a gooder, full of fond memories (and some crummy breaks too – gotta love a holiday car accident).  The holiday season of 2011 will be generally looked back upon with joy.  And here’s a little scrapbooking layout sharing a wee bit of our Christmas morning:

digital scrapbook layout featuring most of the Yandt clan on Christmas morning.

 

Pictures, beginning at the top left, are of:  Riki, Jewles and the kid,  Ron, Wilson and kid kid, my Dad and Lily-Ann, Lily and Marie, my Mom and her grandgal, and finally Steven and Lil’.  Not pictured but also present (get it? present?) were myself and Damon.  Not present, but loved none the less, my brothers Aaron and Earl.

 

Penguin 1st Christmas kit by Peekaboo Designs, available at Polka Dot Plum here:

http://www.polkadotplum.com/shoppe/product.php?productid=19470&cat=0&page=1

Keeping Secrets is Tough!

Gifts are a funny thing to get your head around when you’re four.  There’s a whole lotta rules associated with them.  Including the dreaded “must keep it a secret” rule.

Keeping something of that excitement level from someone you love is flipping hard!  A fact evidenced by my daughters level of secret-keeping when it come to her father.  A gift for anyone else?  No problem.  She can keep that secret.  But a gift for her Dad?  Not on your life.

I had thought we were doing really well.  She knew back in November what she wanted to buy Damon for Yule…  and I knew it was something we’d never find locally.  So we began our online crusade for this holy grail.  We hit big chain websites, we hit small merchants, we hit etsy, and ebay…  all the standbys.   And we found exactly what she was looking for.  We actually spent about a week browsing through online shop after online shop – and she kept it a secret during all that time.  We ordered the item, and waited for it to arrive.  And still her secret she kept.  She did great!  Right up until the day the package arrived.

“Daddy I got you something to hold toothpicks!”

Damon returns this announcement with shocked silence.  Me on the other hand?  I burst out with “Lily!?!?  That was a secret!”

“It’s okay Mom, I didn’t tell him what colour it is or how it works.”

ACK!

And then today, when we got back from picking up a piece of what I’d been planning for the last month…  she lets that surprise slip too.  We had picked up a couple other pieces we’d had printed at the same time, and with her Dad right there (and knowing the third item was a Yule gift for him) she asks “…but Mom, where’s the other one?”

“Lily-Ann…  shhh…  the other one is a present for Daddy.”

“…but where’s the one of us all where we look like pirates?”

Again Damon greets this with stunned silence.

ACK!

So, like I said.  The politics of presents can be tough to master…  especially when the gift is something you find really exciting and it’s for someone you love.

Sorry Damon.  Guess the cat is out of the bag, on both accounts.

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