Tag Archives: Christmas

Fairfax Symphony Orchestra’s Christmas in Black & White

I entered a contest at Beltway Bargain Mom earlier this week and won tickets to see Christmas in Black & White, presented by The Fairfax Symphony Orchestra.  Four silent Christmas movies, all in black & white and over 100 years old, were shown in the Angelika Film Center in Fairfax’s Mosaic District.  The Fairfax Symphony Orchestra played during the movies and, in between each movie, members of The National Broadway Chorus sang Christmas carols.  Three of the films were created by Thomas Edison!

There were couples, groups of adults and families in the audience.  However, the conductor, Luke S. Frazier, mainly spoke to the children throughout the performance.  He really engaged B and the other children during his introduction as well as while describing each movie and its individual musical arrangement.

Mr. Frazier told the children that during one movie, A Winter Straw Ride, they were to have a snowball fight in the theater when they saw one start on the screen.  It was cute to see the children form imaginary snowballs and throw them at their siblings, parents or a complete stranger a few rows back!  B would bend over to the floor, “gather” snow into a ball, peek over the back of his seat and spy his target.  Then at the right moment, he popped up, threw his imaginary ball while whispering, “Wah-BAP!” and then duck back down quickly to avoid being hit with one himself.  LOL

B’s favorite movie was The Adventure of the Wrong Santa Claus; he laughed and laughed during that one and the loved that the hero saved the day.  Even though these films had simple plots, were short and contained no dialog, the children knew what was going on.  They cringed, laughed and cheered, all at the appropriate moments.

Not only was B exposed to a movie genre he’d never seen before, we had a clear view of every member of the orchestra.  B and I were both impressed with one woman who made up the entire percussion section by herself!  The instruments she played that B and I could actually identify were multiple drums, triangle, xylophone, tambourine, chimes, sleigh bells and either a woodblock or a guiro.  However all the musicians were close and B could see their instruments, how they worked and pick each one out as they played.

I was surprised how easy it was to get in and out of the Mosaic District during rush hour traffic.  Parking was easy and plentiful and we grabbed dinner and browsed through Target before the performance started.  We kept saying that we can’t wait to go back and show the hubs what a great center it is.

B and I had a great dinner-and-a-show date last night and I’m so glad we won the tickets!

B Made a Christmas Memory Journal Ornament This Morning from The Library Adventure

The Library Adventure has this great free printable ornament for kids, a Christmas Memory Journal.  B completed the ornament this morning and we really like it.  It was simple to put together, thanks to the instructions.

I just wanted to share these two pages with y’all.  B is thankful for NERF, Apple, Family, Food and Friends.  And I just love what he wrote and drew on the What I Want to be When I Grow Up page – a movie maker.  His drawing of a director is so adorable!  But I am kind of prejudice…  ;o)

B’s Letter to Santa

Two nights ago, B couldn’t get to sleep.  He said right before he falls asleep, all kinds of ideas and thoughts come into his head but he never remembers them in the morning.  He wouldn’t go to sleep that night because he didn’t want to forget something.  He felt compelled to write Santa a letter and asked the hubs to bring him paper and pencil so he could do so.

He finally read the letter to me this afternoon before mailing it off.  I asked him to let me scan it first.

In case the picture is not clear, here is what he wrote:

“Dear Santa,

Thank you.  Just plain old thank you.  I thank you for all you’ve done & not just for me but for what you’ve done for others & being a true symbol of Christmas spirit & joy.  Kids depend on you & believe in you with all their hearts.  Do you know what some people would give to have that?  But Christmas isn’t about giving or getting.  It’s love, joy & peace & the hope we give & the love we share. So have a Marry Christmas!!

Love,
B

Halloween’s over; time to tackle Christmas.

I can see the eye rolling and hear the sighs and groans already.  “But what about Thanksgiving?!” y’all cry. I don’t ignore Thanksgiving.  In fact, it’s my favorite holiday of the year!  Food, family, giving thanks, counting blessings – that’s what I’m all about!

But seriously, does Thanksgiving preparation take up the entire month of November?  No.  And if it does for you, I’d suggest reevaluating your Thanksgiving plans!  We host my parents and brother for the Thanksgiving meal.  We all know what we’re having every year – turkey, stuffing, rolls, potatoes, veggies, gravy, desserts; we all know on what day it occurs; there are no presents to buy or wrap.  Not a whole lot to do.
This year we are actually going to New England to spend Thanksgiving with my dad’s side of the family.  My Nana is 96 years old and as much of the family that can is getting together to celebrate since we haven’t done that since before B was born.  But still, a little clothes packing and hotel reservation making is all that has been added to my Thanksgiving planning this year.
But Christmas?!  That’s a whole different ballgame!  Decorating, buying presents, wrapping presents, baking goodies to share with friends and neighbors, sending Christmas cards.  Then there’s the fun stuff to do – make sure all the traditional Christmas specials on TV are watched, go caroling, drive around and look at Christmas lights, visit Santa, attend our 1st office Christmas party in well over a decade!  And only 24 days in which to do it?  Not for me!
I want to make sure I can not only do all that fun stuff but also enjoy it without watching the clock, my mind racing over a long list of things to do.  That is why I start tackling Christmas on November 1st.  Actually, the hubs has been buying Christmas presents since the beginning of the Summer, not only spreading out the cost of Christmas, but also eliminating things off our “to do” list already.
I got the idea years ago from The Fly Lady.  She “Cruises Through The Holidays” every year.  She said to pretend that you are departing on December 1st for a 3-week cruise and you need to make sure everything is done for Christmas before you leave.  That year that I followed her cruising to a “T” we started around October 15th.  Each day there was a “mission” to do – planning, making lists, shopping, wrapping, writing cards, etc. – all spread out over 6.5 weeks.
By the time December 1st rolled around, I was finished!  Everything that needed to be done was and I got to relax during December!  Invitation to a holiday party?  I was there because I didn’t have to go shopping in the evenings after the hubs came home to watch B.  You want me to sit and watch the Grinch show with you, again, or you want to help me with my holiday baking?  Sure!  I had time to watch that show and plenty of time to have a baking helper, no need to stay up all night frantically baking and getting a half-assed result.
Now, I haven’t gotten everything done by December 1st since then, but it opened up my eyes that enjoying the month of December is a heck of a lot better than working through it for everyone else’s enjoyment.  Therefore, I start November 1st, I make a plan and I get as much done as I can.
First of all, the hubs and I sit down to make the gift list – who’s getting a gift and what ideas do we have for those gifts.  The more ideas the better because things tend to run out this time of year.
Secondly, I decide what I’m going to bake and/or make, who’s going to get something homemade and what supplies I need.  Each year that B gets older, he can help more and more with these items.
Thirdly, I set up my portable Christmas card station.  I get a box or a box lid and fill it with everything I need to send Christmas cards – cards, envelopes, stamps, address book, list of recipients, pens, lap desk.  Then each day, usually after dinner but anytime I find a few minutes in my day, I’ll work on the cards.
Some years I’ve done a few cards a day, from start to finish; some years I’ll do them in stages.  For example, I may go through the cards, pick out the appropriate card for each recipient (some are happy to receive a religious card, others prefer to receive a seasonal one), put it in an envelope and just write their name on the front of the envelope.  I may do some of them or I may do all of them in one sitting, depends on how much time I have or if I get interrupted.
Next time I sit down to work on the cards, I’ll decide what personal message I’m going to write inside.  I’ll come up with 1 – 3 appropriate messages and write them down so I don’t forget.
Each day I’ll do a little more.  Write my message and sign the inside of some cards or address some envelopes or do some cards all the way to sealing the envelope or some days all I have the energy to do is stick on return address labels.  I used to handwrite our return address on each envelope, but last year and this year, we’re receiving those free self-adhesive labels from a magazine to which the hubs subscribes.
By doing this, I usually have all of my Christmas cards signed, sealed and stamped by Thanksgiving and I mail them between December 10 – 15.
After getting the turkey in the oven on Thanksgiving morning, the hubs gets the tree out of the basement and sets it up in the living room.  While I open up all the branches, he brings up the Christmas decorations.  After our meal, my parents, brother, the hubs, B and I go for a walk.  The fresh air and smells of all the meals are wonderful!  When we get back to our house we decorate the tree and house for Christmas.  Many hands make light work!  Once we’ve decorated, then we have dessert.
The weather gets colder and the days get shorter, so November is a perfect month for B and I to get our craft on and create our homemade presents.  Then our house stays festive in December with the aroma of baking.  This year, I intend to sign up for the 1 month free trial of Amazon Prime from Thanksgiving to Christmas and do as much shopping on there as possible.  The full, 1 year membership is on my Christmas list.  :o)
OK, I’ve gone on long enough!  I hope you give it a try this year and get whatever you can done early so you can enjoy December as much as possible.  Let me know how it goes!

"The Latke Who Couldn’t Stop Screaming, A Christmas Story" by Lemony Snicket

Until yesterday, I had never read a Lemony Snicket book.  Do you read any of his books to your children or do your children read them?  After B’s gymnastics class yesterday afternoon, we stopped at the library to pick up a book I had placed on hold.  B wanted to peruse the children’s section, so we headed over there.  I found this book, The Latke Who Couldn’t Stop Screaming, A Christmas Story, on display and decided to check it out – it was short, I was intrigued and B kept laughing over his own attempts to pronounce the word “latke”.  I read it as soon as we got home and we were both laughing hysterically!  Fun way for children to learn about Hanukkah and why it’s celebrated.  I recommend you check it out!

I absolutely LOVE practical gifts!

I am a practical girl.  I don’t like to shop and don’t have any purse or shoe addictions.  I got lots of Christmas gifts that fed my practical side this year – kitchen utensils, gift cards to movie theaters, the grocery and warehouse stores, mega packs of toilet paper and facial tissues and this  – an 11 pound, boneless pork loin.  :o)  I hacked it up into roasts and chops last night and I just had to take a picture of them.  Aren’t they beautiful?!?!

I got one, what I would consider luxury, item that I didn’t even know existed.  The hubs got me this tape that goes into the car’s tape deck and has a cord to plug into my phone so I can listen to my music in the car!  (Yes, I have a car that has a tape deck and I’m proud of it.)

We also got lots of my favorite gift of all – experiences – this holiday season, but I’ll be blogging about those later.  I hope y’all received at least one kind of gift that you treasure the most!  {{hugs}}

"I’m tired of looking at those peppers!"

That’s what my brother told me last week when we were on the phone.  He didn’t really yell at me; there is rarely any elevation in his voice.  But I took creative license b/c the title of this blog post would not be as effective nor eye catching if it had a period instead of an exclamation point.  ;o)  So, I’m writing a new blog post just for him, so he does not have to look at the Philly Cheesesteak Stuffed Peppers at the top when he visits my blog.

We bought a twin sized blowup mattress 6 years ago because we were tired of sleeping on Ben’s floor when he was sick.  We also bring it out when someone sleeps over.  My brother is our most frequent sleepover guest.  :o)  We blew up the mattress and put it on bedroom floor Friday night because, after what happened in Connecticut, the hubs and I wanted us all together.  B and the hubs slept in our queen size bed and I slept on the blowup.  I love that mattress; it’s so comfy!  Just like a select comfort bed, I adjust the air to the squishy level I like, I lay down and stay in that position all night long.
B has never slept on the blowup mattress so we let him sleep on it Saturday night.  And the hubs let him sleep on it last night, as well.  I woke up around 2am this morning because B was moaning.  I went over to wake him, thinking he was having a nightmare.  He wasn’t.  He was already awake and moaning because he felt like he was going to throw up.  He also said that he felt that way the night before but never said anything to us.  We got him up to put him in our bed and he started to gag.  I got the trash can and he gagged again, but nothing came up.  He laid down in our bed and the hubs and I started going through everything B ate to find a common denominator that would make him sick 2 days in a row.  After a minute, B said he felt much better and a few minutes after that he felt all better and fell back to sleep in our bed.  Then the hubs figured out what it was: B had gotten motion sickness from sleeping on the blowup mattress!  He gets motion sick so easily.  SMH
B said 2 things yesterday that I want to share with y’all:
  1. God makes the weekend, but our family makes it fun!
  2. If I ever propose marriage during Christmas time I would get down on one knee, hold out the ring and say, “(Insert name here), with your love so bright, won’t you guide my life tonight?”

Upcycled, Children’s Christmas Crafts

Yesterday was supposed to be the November meeting of our homeschool group’s Craft Club.  Unfortunately I had to cancel the meeting because B was sick.  But that did not stop us from doing the crafts, ourselves, at home.  We had 2 crafts to do, making gift boxes and pencil cases out of cereal boxes and making an Advent calendar.  Both crafts took a lot of time, but we had nothing but, so we put on the Christmas carols, spread everything out on the family room floor and had a great afternoon together.  B was really upset that I canceled Craft Club.  He didn’t think everyone needed to be disappointed just because he couldn’t go.  He asked me to leave him home and go do the crafts with the other children without him.  Such a big heart on that boy!

This is the link to the gift boxes we made.  This is the template for the pencil case we made.

I originally planned to make this Countdown to Christmas Calendar with the Craft Club.  But since B was sick, I hadn’t been able to get to the craft store to get the necessary supplies.  Then I found this Advent “Calendar” idea using toilet paper rolls and I knew this is what we should make.  October’s Craft Club meeting included making these spooky eyes in the bushes and I saved waaaay more toilet paper rolls that I needed to!  So, we made the toilet paper roll Advent calendar yesterday and used up 24 toilet paper rolls.  I still have tons of TP and paper towel rolls left, so I need to keep searching for craft ideas for them…  Inside the TP rolls, I placed a piece of leftover Halloween candy and one of these 24 printable Christmas jokes.  We went through magazines and cut out numbers for the days, 1 – 24, and B still plans do to more decorating on each roll.  He has placed the rolls in our Christmas tree.

I plan to add some other activities to these toilet paper rolls after reading Creekside Learning’s great Advent Calendar activity ideas.  Julie at Creekside Learning has inspired me and I will include the following activities: my dad likes to take B to see Santa every year; my mom has B over to bake Christmas cookies (I do make food gifts for people at Christmas, but not cookies), we’re going to see a holiday performance at a local high school; I found a gift card worth 2 movie tickets so I’ll take B to see Rise of the Guardians one weekday; etc.  As the wise Julie at Creekside Learning does, I’ll put those special activities in each day as the month rolls along, just a few days ahead of time, to ensure it fits in with our schedule.

Decking The Halls

Now that Thanksgiving is over, we’re Decking our Halls for Christmas.  We did half of our Christmas cards on Saturday (although we won’t be mailing them out for another week or two, it’s nice to get them done and ready), with the help of family we put the tree and outside lights up yesterday and this morning, B and I have really enjoyed decorating the refrigerator!  I’ve never decorated the fridge before, but I found this pin on Pinterest earlier in the year and thought it was a great idea.  Unfortunately, I cannot give credit to the original pinner of the idea because the link behind the pin has been removed.  But whoever you are, we are grateful for the inspiration!

We got out the scissors, tape and construction paper, put on the Christmas carols and went to town.  B did everything except the stick arms; I did those.  The hardest part was actually clearing off the refrigerator!  ;o)

Enjoy the rest of your Monday, everyone!  We’ve definitely set the tone for a festive day here by starting our day off with Frosty the Fridge!

 

Some Pictures of our 2011 Holidays

Isn’t B just adorable?!
He received the Rudolf nose and the Old-fashioned goggles in his stocking. He’s pretending to ride a motorcycle.
 I met my in-laws Christmas 1995, a couple of months after the hubs and I got engaged.   As we were leaving, my future FIL gave me his bomber jacket. He was a Navy pilot but this was his Civil Air Patrol jacket and I felt honored and accepted. Although it fit me, it’s pretty heavy, so I did not wear it often. This Christmas, the hubs put it on B for the 1st time. Now his is begging for one of those old, leather pilots helmets to complete this outfit.
B wanted a steel drum for Christmas. The hubs and I thought on it and decided he could have one and let Santa know we approved.  However, there is no professional in our area (actually, no one outside of Jamaica or Hawaii) to tune a steel drum for us over time. So, instead of giving B a steel drum andwelding equipment for tuning, Santa brought a keyboard, with a steel drum sound on it, instead. We think B will get much more use out of this than he would a steel drum.
I can’t wait to hear more concertos of his like the one he created in Vermont last August.
I saw this on Pinterest and put glow sticks in B’s stocking.  He LOVES taking baths and this one in the dark is now higher on his list than bubble baths.
A Christmas ornament B made at my parents’ house with old buttons, cardboard, gold paint and ribbon.
Not looking my best here without makeup and with my rosy cheeks and chin from a couple of drinks.  However, it’s me and my boy, in our sweats, celebrating NYE and I love it.  We were all in the same bed and asleep by 10:30pm.

I hope y’all’s holiday season was full of love and great food and I wish you blessings, good health and love in 2012!

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