Monday, December 31, 2012

My Favorite Things 2012 Edition

How was your Christmas?  Did you survive?  We had a great time that I'll recap later but man, we had a lot going on!  Lots of family, friends, Jesus, presents, and celebration!  And we continued the tradition of our family getting sick over the holidays too, all of us this year!  So not cool.

Since we've all been sick, I've been able to catch up on our DVR while folding laundry, disinfecting everything, and "resting" while listening to my child cough a lung up.  I can't express how happy I am that Oprah did a Favorite Things this year, and for military spouses, tears the entire episode!  So, of course, I'm continuing my tradition of My Favorite Things!  There are no giveaways but my list is so practical!  Here are my lists from 2010 and 2011, always a good read!

I've listed items in no particular order, I promise!

1.  Leggings:  So cute, versatile, and they go with everything!  I love pairing my leggings with a cute flat or boot with an adorable top!  Love!  Please fashion kings, let leggings stay forever!

2.  Pilate's and Working Out:  Since moving away from our beloved Katy YMCA, I've had to adjust my workout.  Apparently the Y in Katy is one of a kind because there is nothing like that here in Kansas.  Price-wise, class-wise, childcare-wise, children's classes-wise, etc.  How I miss my some Katy Y!  I did find a Pilate's class that I really enjoy, I started doing Jillian Michael's 30 day shred (maybe I should actually do it though?), and I have a Groupon for a Pilate's place close to my house.  I will get back into the swing of things as soon as we're all healthy, I promise!

3.  My Household Binder: Love, love, love it and don't know how I would organize everything without it!  I hate filing and when we were moving, I couldn't carry with me a filing cabinet, but my household binder was there with us through every step!  I have added a new binder for bills and our budget, too many papers and clutter in my original household binder!

4.  Kids Teachers and Schools:  Have loved all of our kids teachers, we have been truly blessed with educators dedicated to teaching, knowing our children, and pushing our children to the highest potential of learning!  Our new school is great and our kids have made the transition from "new kids" with ease!

5.  Crest Pro-Health Toothpaste:  I have sensitive teeth and Crest Pro-Health toothpaste has saved me and my teeth!  I can enjoyably brush my teeth without any pain or discomfort!  Sensodyme is great too but costs a lot more, Crest Pro-Health does the same thing as Sensodyme, which makes me happy!

6.  Wine:  I love wine!  It makes me happy, taste delicious, and such an adventure trying new ones.  I look forward to one or three glass at the end of a crazy.  Thank you wine!

7.  Breaking Bad:  Eric and I are usually a few years behind the coolest things.  I-phone, Eric just got one and I still don't, we joined Facebook a few years after it was cool, got our Wii last year, what is my point?  Yes, Breaking Bad.  Eric's brother Todd told us to watch Breaking Bad and so we did and fell in love with the series!  Holy wowzers!  Such an intense, deep show that Eric and I both enjoy! I truly didn't think I would enjoy the show, but I love it!

8.  Pinterest:  Can I be more obsessed?  Wreaths, dinners, decorating, birthday parties, holiday ideas, I think you get the idea!  LOVE IT!

9.  Hot Glue Gun:  Sort of goes along with number 8!

10.  Blue Valley Rec and Johnson County Parks and Rec:  Both organizations have so many wonderful sports, activities, and events in our community and all for a reasonable price or free!  Gymnastics for Molly, basketball for Jack, soccer for Will (should be adorable), and Touch-a-truck, plus future swim lessons and baseball!

11.  HEB:  I can put HEB on here one last time and if I were ranking things, this would be for sure number 1!  How I love and miss the HEB!
Dear Grocery Stores that are not HEB,  please go the HEB and do exactly what they are doing and change everything in your grocery store just like HEB.

Thank you.

12.  Chapstick:  An essential, everyday in my life.  I have chapstick in my purse, kitchen, car, and in my makeup bag.

13.  Old Episodes of Friends:  Friends makes me so happy and I love every episode!  And guess what I'm watching right now!

14.  Friends:  All of our new friends and old friends, from church, school, neighborhood, playgroups, and all over the country, love you all!

15.  Eric:  I love this guy so much!  He is truly my rock, best friend, and strength.

16.  My Kids:  These three are the best kids, and they are also my rocks.  My life is complete with them and I'm honored to be their mom!

17.  University of Kansas:  We love our Jayhawks, love being close to the KU, and seeing so many other Jayhawks around!  Is was so cute when we first moved here, the kids were so excited to see so many Jayhawks!

18.  Our Church:  We had an amazing church home in Katy, I couldn't imagine a better place!  Now that we have a new home, we are still in search of a new church home.  We are praying to find one that our whole family loves!

19.  Coffee:  The only reason I wake up in the morning, and I'm so serious!  I can get through potty breaks, breakfast, getting everyone ready and out the door because I know I will soon be drinking coffee.  I love me a few cups of coffee, and on a nice day, I may even get to read the paper and enjoy my coffee.  Crazy!  As a special treat, I go to Starbucks and either get a Skinny Vanilla Latte or Caramel Brittle Latte!

20.  A good deal:  This is very vague, but I love me a good deal on a great find.  I got a great pair of black boots for $10, my floor pouf for $30 marked down from $70, I've found adorable shirts at Kohl's for less then $5, saving money on groceries, coupons, anything where I can save money makes me happy!

Thanks for the inspiration Oprah!  What would you put on your list?

Happy New Year's Eve!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas

Many Christmas Blessings!  Joy to the World, Our King is Born!  

Merry Christmas!

Love, The Brew Crew

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

We Caved In

There has been a trend that we refused to give into over the past few years...The Elf on the Shelf.  I've seen those pictures on Facebook and Pinterest, read the blogs about the crazies, and just really didn't feel like doing one more "thing" at Christmas.  Plus, I have a hard time with all the lying towards my kids about Santa and felt as though the Elf was just adding to the lies.

And, we got away with not doing The Elf on the Shelf for several calm years!  Whew!

Enter 1st grade and Jack's 1st year teacher.  Jinx the Elf is staying in Jack's classroom until winter break.  She sent home a note introducing Jinx and his role in their classroom.  Jack was excited and told us all about Jinx moving around the classroom all day, can you believe it, he only moved when they were away!  I started getting a knot in my stomach knowing what Jack was going to ask.  And he did.

"Mom, why hasn't an Elf ever visited us?"
"Um, I think you need to write a letter to Santa asking for one."  Here I am, lying to my child.
"Oh, lets write one right now!"  Gets out paper, pen, and starts writing his little heart out.  He even mailed it.

So, I go buy an Elf, not THE PREMIER ELF, but a cute one, a cousin of Jinx, since they don't look exactly alike.  The first day our Elf appeared, he brought with him Christmas plates and bowls, along with a note from Santa.    The note is one I found on Pinterest duh and tells more about why we have Christmas, Jesus' birthday, and being like Jesus through the holidays and all year!  Ding, ding, ding, ding!  Exactly!  We named our Elf Elliot the Elf and I hear the E.T. voice every time we say Elliot and the kids are liking this new adventure.  Not sure if it's really working in behavior areas, but Elliot is not a miracle worker!

The kids thought he was the coolest ever being up there!  Dinner was interesting because they kept wondering if he would jump down!
Hanging out by our sink today and doing some stretches!  Oh Elliot!
Eric promised to help me and has done a great job moving Elliot nightly!  We are not going to have a naughty Elf, that's just too much!  Now, who has any ideas about where to move him next?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Advent Calendar Ideas

The Christmas season is in full swing at our house!  Almost every room has some sort of Christmas decor, which I love and seriously want Christmas to get here NOW because I think I'm more excited then our kids!  I love seeing their excitement and joy with every holiday song, book, card, present, and movie (we're a little addicted to Christmas movies here!).

The one thing I'm lacking on this year is our Advent Calendar.  Last year, I did awesome and had an activity, present, or something special for each day of Advent.  Not so much this year.  I had good intentions but in addition to my excitement for Christmas and the holiday season, life is crazy and doesn't seem to give you a break when extras are added on!  We're still changing the day on our Advent Calendar and we'll do extra fun things, but I'm not doing something everyday, just can't this year!  So, I'm going to share with you what we did last year!

First, our Advent Calendar from my mother-in-law!  I think it's adorable!
Last year I printed off these tags and on the back wrote the fun activity, book, or special treat! The kids loved seeing what their surprise was each day!
Here is a list of what we did or plan on doing in the future!  (I kept my list from last year in hopes of repeating, next year, I promise!)  We really do try to keep the focus on Christ and His birthday, by giving, doing things of service and helping others, but we also mix in Santa!

*Read The Christmas Story
*Bake cookies for our teachers:  Preschool, Kindergarten, and Sunday School
*Dance to Christmas music
*Feed the ducks because animals need special treats too!  May head on over to Deanna Rose for this one, the kids love going there!
*Picnic dinner in front of the tree or fire place (my kids LOVE this one!)
*Make our gingerbread house or trees (love the trees, so easy!)
*Watch a Christmas movie and eat popcorn (Polar Express, Elf, and Mickey's Christmas Carol are popular favorites, but Jack loves Home Alone!)
*Make cards for our teachers
*Create Snow (the kids loved this but now that we're in a colder climate, we'll just play with snow when it arrives!  Hurry up and snow!)
*Make snowmen with shaving cream
*Eat dessert 1st for dinner
*Candy cane name craft
*Invite a friend over
*Write letters to Santa
*Act out the Christmas story
*Unwrap a present early (this is for Christmas Eve, they open pajamas)
*Make reindeer food~oatmeal and glitter mixed together!
*Bake and decorate cookies
*Drink hot chocolate by the fire place and retell our favorite Christmas memories!
*Look at Christmas lights!
*Pay for a strangers meal, drink, or gas
*I wrapped up our Christmas books and let them randomly pick a book to unwrap and that's the book we'll read at bedtime (they love this!)
*Make Santa Snack Mix (don't do it, it's so good) or Christmas Trail Mix (I maybe ate all of this last year!)
*Make our neighbor gifts, this year I'm leaning towards homemade hot cocoa mix! (Hope our neighbors don't read this and can you tell we like our new neighbors a lot?!)
*Pick out annual Christmas ornaments (Eric grew up with this tradition and I love it!  We take the kids to Hallmark and they pick any ornament (within reason)!  They love seeing their ornaments they collected throughout the years!
*Make ornaments!
*Operation Christmas Child (LOVE THIS!  Fill a shoe box for a child, my kids use their own money to buy things for kids their own ages.)
*Adopt-a-family in need
*Make Nativity pictures, usually with stickers!

Ideas for Houston:
*Fulshear Cowboy Christmas Parade, sad to miss this one!
*River Bend drive-thru Nativity (they do an amazing job!)
*Outdoor movie at La Centerra, one or two Saturday's in December
*Monday's with Mommy with Kindermusik with Kathy and Friends (always will hold a special place in my heart!)
*Second Baptist Christmas puppet show, we didn't go last year because they sold out of tickets but this is an amazing show!
*Winter Wonderland near College Station
*Ice Skating
*Visit Santa at Bass Pro Shop

Ideas for Kansas City:
*Luminary Walk at the Overland Park Arboretum, Molly went with Eric's mom last week and she loved it!
*Crown Center and Union Station~both have amazing decorations, trains, Santa, Winter Wonderland, and tons of activities for the kids!  Plus lunch at Fritz's will be a hit by all the kids!
*Christmas lights at the Plaza!
*Drive-thru Longview Lake, one of my favorites!
*Santa at Bass Pro Shop, a tradition we can continue!  Yay!

I'll admit, we haven't done all of these things, but I love all of these ideas and hope to mix it up yearly!

Here are some of the activities from last year!

Making snowmen or snow scenes with shaving cream!

She loved it!

He did too...eventually!

I think he was in shock that I wanted them all to get dirty!

At first he was hesitant, didn't want to show me his smile, and thought this was for "babies"
 One night!

A little blurry, but hot chocolate and glow sticks by the fire!

 After writing this, I'm more excited for Christmas! Didn't think that was possible but I'll take it!  Here's to a wonderful Advent Season!  What does your family do to celebrate Advent and get ready for Christmas?