First Annual Gingerbread House Party

As part of Advent each year, we always make gingerbread houses together. I even threw a Gingerbread House Party for several two and three year olds when Sam was that age. It was so much fun. We never forgot it!

This year we’re in Virginia with family so I thought it would be fun to host a family gingerbread house party! We set the date and told everyone to bring 3 bags of candy per family. We provided spaghetti and meatballs for dinner and the other two families covered salad and bread.

After dinner we got to work on our gingerbread houses. The only rule was that everyone had to make one – even Big Papa! Mark and I assembled the houses beforehand for each person so there were no, “my house won’t stay together” moments. Plus this made it easier for Timmy and Sam since they are much younger, allowing Mommy and Daddy to participate too. I also made sure there were enough icing bags for each person to have, and we all just passed around the colors.

If you want to throw a party, or just make gingerbread houses without paying a fortune, check out this post.

candy cane sensory fun-4

First everyone filled up mini-muffin papers with all the various candies. I’ve found this easier than sitting the candy on the table and passing it around. Eventually, we pull the bowls over, but mini-muffin papers are perfect!candy cane sensory fun-5 candy cane sensory fun-6 candy cane sensory fun-7

This boy has been asking to make gingerbread houses since December 1st. I think the countdown to today has been just as exciting for him as Christmas Day!candy cane sensory fun-8 candy cane sensory fun-9

Timmy’s house stayed mostly bare. It took him quite a while to get in on the decorating. He was perfectly content eating all his candy. candy cane sensory fun-11

candy cane sensory fun-12 candy cane sensory fun-13

He finally asked me to help him put a candy cane on top. He really wanted it to stand up straight, but we couldn’t get to stay. candy cane sensory fun-15

The works of Uncle Ray Ray in the front. candy cane sensory fun-17

Timmy’s is on the left. Mark’s is on the right. candy cane sensory fun-18

Daddy’s meticulous work. 🙂

candy cane sensory fun-20

I think this might be Grammy’s. I’m already starting to forget which was which! They were all really good. candy cane sensory fun-21

Emmy’s house. candy cane sensory fun-22

Sam’s very, very meticulous work. He didn’t ask for help a single time. He knew what he was doing and he thoroughly enjoyed himself. I think it was all he expected it to be. 🙂

candy cane sensory fun-1

Timmy’s finished work!candy cane sensory fun-2

A better look at Daddy’s house.candy cane sensory fun-3

This one is mine. Merry Christmas!

candy cane sensory fun-16

When we were all finished, everyone voted for their favorite gingerbread house. The only rule was that you couldn’t vote for your own. Once the count came in, we had a four way tie. So we all voted again on those four houses.

It was a tight race, but Jackson pulled away the winner and he walked with $20. He’s the one who really thought he’d lose. He said when he found out we’d all be voting at the end, “Mine always turn out horrible.” I’m always up for an underdog win. 🙂

candy cane sensory fun-19I think it was the snow that won it for him!

I really had no idea what to expect when we started, but what a great time we had! I can’t wait for the second annual gingerbread house party!

Candy Cane Sensory Fun – A Yearly Tradition

I started putting this candy cane sensory activity together for Sam when he was two years old. Sam loves sensory bins and had been begging me for a “smell good sensory bin” all week. I’ve finally been feeling well enough to comply, and set this up for them to find.

It’s just baking soda, vinegar, food coloring and peppermint essential oil. I added a couple of plastic candy canes to help them make the association with the peppermint smell.

candy cane sensory fun-1

I gave Timmy a dropper and two small measuring spoons to use. Sam got a dropper and medicine syringe thing-a-ma-jig. candy cane sensory fun-2

This was Timmy’s first time taking part in this little activity and with the peppermint essential oil smell added to the vinegar it made it a very aromatic experience for all of us. I just sat and watched and enjoyed the aromatherapy. 🙂candy cane sensory fun-3 candy cane sensory fun-4The syringe was a huge hit with Sam. It allowed him to really squirt the liquid a little more forcefully giving the explosive effects more pizzazz.

thumb_IMG_9719_1024I loved watching them process and experiment. candy cane sensory fun-6 And of course it always ends with getting a little messy! Who doesn’t love a little gooey texture between the fingers every now and then.

They loved it and spent nearly half an hour exploring. I love creating memories with these two boys!

Color By Number or Shape By the Christmas Tree

thumb_IMG_9698_1024I continue to feel better with each passing day. Thank you second trimester! I’ve missed our intentional learning times together these last several weeks. Samuel continues to be a self-starter and teaches himself when I’m not able, and Timmy is getting to the point when focused learning time is just FUN!

We spent one morning doing some fun coloring worksheets I found online for free. I remember Sam doing the color by shape ones. Now, it’s Timmy in my lap growing leaps and bounds while Sam sits across from me coloring all by himself. I’m always so impressed with how much they know that I don’t even realize!

Trimming the Tree

We trimmed our tree and put out several of our Christmas decorations today. We decided to get a fake tree this year after many years of real ones. We love it!

thumb_DSC_0537_1024

I am pretty sure Timmy never wears clothes when I plan to take pictures of “memory making” moments. He was dressed the same last year too. This year we had to keep telling him that the ornaments weren’t balls. thumb_DSC_0538_1024

Sam knew what he was doing. He looks so big!thumb_DSC_0540_1024

Cutie patooty!thumb_DSC_0542_1024

Timmy didn’t believe us about the no ball thing. Sad moment…thumb_DSC_0550_1024 thumb_IMG_9665_1024 thumb_IMG_9666_1024

I love having a fireplace, even though we don’t use it for a fire. haha!thumb_IMG_9668_1024What a peaceful sight!

Homemade Halloween

One of my favorite things about where we live is the town events. Halloween is one of my favorites. It’s always fun with family because there is a lot of thought that goes into the costumes.

This year I am pregnant and in the throws of first trimester, so coming up with a costume idea was hard. I put it off and put it off as I listened to Sam rattle off ideas. We talked about David and Goliath, dressing up as S’mores, and countless other things. But Sam eventually settled on a rocket ship. When I asked him what Timmy would be, he said, “Moon and stars, of course.” Oh, well, duh then.

I tried to sway him in another direction. How was I going to manage two homemade costumes when I couldn’t even get off the couch? But it was the night before Halloween when all through the house the children were bathing, and my time was running out. I asked him again, and he said, “Rocket ship, Mama.” I looked at Mark and said, “We’re going to make this happen.”

So we set to work when the kids should have been in bed and built the bones of the costume. We finished it the next day after a harried trip to Wal-Mart for a few supplies to make Timmy’s, and in the end, I’m glad we did. It turned out cute and the boys were excited!

thumb_DSC_0199_1024

The helmet for Sam’s costume made it. Thanks, Daddy! thumb_DSC_0204_1024

Look at those happy cuties!thumb_DSC_0210_1024 thumb_DSC_0216_1024 thumb_DSC_0220_1024

We also made a cute hand print pumpkin. thumb_DSC_0245_1024

We joined the cousins for some trick or treating through town. The donut and slurpee was amazing too!thumb_IMG_9529_1024 thumb_IMG_9530_1024

That light was a hit! Of course some people thought he was a flashlight, but who cares. 😉thumb_IMG_9535_1024

A very happy moon and stars!

What a fun night! Love this tradition.

Thanksgiving 2014

We spent Thanksgiving in Steamboat again. It’s just too much to try to fly out this time of year, and the thought of alternating families just sounds awful. Even though we miss family on this special holiday, we’ve managed to make it fun and have found that we (Mark and I) really enjoy preparing the feast together!

DSC_0150_1024 DSC_0153_1024 DSC_0156_1024 DSC_0162_1024 DSC_0180_1024

IMG_3734_1024 DSC_0187_1024 DSC_0192_1024 IMG_3723_1024

Learning About Moses

IMG_0675_1024We read about Moses today and I wanted to share the little activity I put together for Sam to help illustrate the story. It was so easy. I want to remember it to repeat with Timmy when he gets a little bit older.

After reading the story, we took ribbon strips and weaved it through the basket our play food came in. This was a great fine motor activity for Sam as we wove our basket for Moses. Then we placed our baby Moses in the basket and acted out the story. We don’t have dolls in our house seeing as I have two little boys, so we just used what we had.

I was surprised how much Sam enjoyed this story and activity. So simple but so rewarding.