Sunday Stealing: The Meme Of Today
Saturday 9: Christmas Carols

Advent-ures 2012, Days 7-12 (Yeah, I Know...)

First, let me say that our wrapping paper roll candlestick craft has still not been completed, because the glue took forever and a day to dry, and then when I brought it out tonight to finish, guess what? Jack decided to pour more glue on it! Aghhhh!!! So, it's drying some more. Awesome. Let us move beyond that little incident, though, shall we?


On the 7th day of our Advent activity, the paper strip read: "7. Visit Coleman’s Nursery Winter Wonderland @ Monumental UMC, corner of Queen & Dinwiddie Sts. Free. Open ‘til 8 PM." 

Rob took the girls to this activity, while I stayed home with Jack, who was napping fiercely. I mean, homeboy was knocked OUT. And I was 'meh' about it, so that decided things.


Apparently there were a bunch of these things, which I kind of hate, but the kids love, so here are two more:




I just don't have much to say about these things.  In this case, for me, the picture says about three words: Bo-ring-a! ;)


I'm not sure what they are looking at here, but this reminds me: Don't buy poinsettias if you have cats & dogs; they're toxic to your animals. I saw some when we went down to the Outer Banks last weekend, or was it two weekends ago? Anyway, I wanted to grab a couple, until I remembered we house six felines who might, ya'know, die and stuff. And several of them are known to nibble on non-food items, so there you go. No poinsettias for us. Ahem. Back to Advent.


I have yet to determine - and Rob wasn't sure either - whether that Father Christmas was a real person dressed up, or some kind of dummy. It creeps me out a little bit. Can I say I'm glad I didn't go? Rob sent me a picture of a scary clown, too - and I am decidedly NOT afraid of clowns at all - so, yeah, it was a weird scene. Just... weird.


Sophia did find some penguins to pose with, which made her happy, as she is the world's foremost lover of all things penguin!


Now this picture, even though I wasn't there, speaks to me. Lots of words could be said, but I'll just let it stand as it is.


You can't see it too well on the lady-babies, but on the ground, you can spot the "snow" that was being made there. The girls had fun playing in that for a few moments in time.


My beautiful Chloë with snowy hair

And then, just like that, it was over, and home they came, before I accomplished a thing, I think. Like I said, I'm glad I didn't go! But I appreciate that the girls had fun, as you can tell by their smiles, so I suppose it was somewhat worthwhile.


Oh, and just to throw a little Jackiness in here, the reason he was so tired was because I woke him up much earlier than he's used to lately, for his dental surgery pre-op check-up (which we have to repeat, because ugh, that's a story for another day), and there was all kinds of running all over the hospital. He needed to have labs drawn, but he cried buckets, so I have put that off for another day. Maybe when Daddy can take him. Ha. I kid. Anyway.

On the 8th day of Advent, our activity was supposed to be: "8. Olde Town Holiday Music Festival along 1stSeven Blocks of High St, 12-6 PM & TowneBank Circle of Smiles on High St, w/ free crafts, hot choc, Santa pix, At 5:30 PM, be at Court & High Sts to watch Santa’s arrival parade!"

We were supposed to meet mi amiga Stephanie and her sons, Luke & Vinnie, for the festival, but ah, we did not go. We did none of that. We were all just so damn tired and lazy, so our activity for the day turned out to be: "excessive napping." Lame. Oh well. Can't win 'em all.


Our 9th day of Advent paper read: "9. Children’s Christmas Shoppe, where only kids can shop, @ Trinity Episcopal Church, 12:30-4 PM (500 Court St) – Shop for presents in Robby’s memory to donate!" however, the fundage wasn't there for said shopping, so we put that off for a later date and decided to tag along with Stephanie and Sons, heading up to Hampton to go to the Bass Pro Shops Christmas-related activities up there. Eh, whatever, why not?


We didn't get to visit Santa for our free "studio-quality photo," because they have this, um, lame (can I say that twice in a post? Too bad; I just did) policy of giving out a limited number of tickets to pose with Ol' St. Nick, and we missed it by about a quarter of a second. Whatever. My kids know the real deal, and Steph's kids had already 'done' Santa a handful of times, so it was really no big deal to miss it. We headed for the carousel instead. 


At first, I took Steph's son Vinnie onboard the ride, because she gets nauseous on them or even watching them, but he was Not. Having. It. and we had to stop the ride. No big whoop. Instead, I handed her the baby and took blurry pictures of my own cadre of offspring.


After the ride, there were a few more activities set up, such as this duck-shooting game with rubber darts and a bow. Rubber arrows, whatever. Chloë had a hard time shooting them, so I let another little girl help her to leave me free to Instagram this photo for the world to see. I'm a great mom like that.


Jack was all about driving the electric train, until it died. Then he moved on to the remote-controlled cars, until they died. He scurried over to another RC set-up, and those whatever-vehicles-I-forget were dying, too. Wow. Can I say "lame" ONE MORE TIME?!!!


My girls are not too girly to drive the RC cars, too. Sophie had a turn, and then Chloë did:


... but you can tell by the look on her face that they were pretty much dead by that time. Fun stuff, right? And no one was around to help. Where were the elves with all the AA batteries?!


There wasn't much else to do - the craft station was closing, so we picked up our crafts-to-go for later - except pose in this giant cupcake scene. Sophia hopped right up there without help and had her 'sweet' moment, if I may be so silly.


Chloë, ever the delicate little pixie, needed mucho help getting up into the cupcake. Sophie to the rescue! She pushed that tush up there, and all was golden. ::snap, snap::


Jack wasn't too interested in this business, so once again, you're privy to the "take the damn picture and let me out of here" smile that I love so much. Not.


It wasn't until I uploaded this picture of a bear, who beheaded one camper before being shot to death by his tentmates, that I saw the unfortunate positioning of Chloë's hand... Ha.


There are Stephanie's boys - Luke, on the left, is the spitting image of his father - with my girls peering out of a "tree" that was in the middle of the store. Not sure where Jack went this time, but I think he was off looking at things with Rob!


After that, we decided we'd had enough of the store and were going to head off toward home. First, a picture of the five kids. Hm, sour pusses from Sophia and Jack. If memory serves, they still wanted to explore inside and weren't thrilled to be leaving. However, they shortly cheered when we let them scamper all over the quads and 4x4s, etc.


There were about eleventeen ATVs and whatnot outside, and they each climbed behind the wheel of every one of them before we finally parted ways and headed home for the night. After all, it was a pretty decent activity for the kids, so I'm checking that one off in the WIN category.

No Photo Available

Ha. I use the above notation in my mystery shopping on occasion. We were supposed to go see the lights at the Botanical Gardens on the 10th day of our Advent calendar, but again, no funds, so we postponed yet another thing and... did nothing. I can't remember exactly why, but I seem to remember crashing early that night...


Our 11th day of Advent activity read: "11. Backwards day: Have breakfast for dinner!" but I decided to mix it up a little bit more than even that. I have a lot of Jewish friends, including my three cousins, so I decided that we'd go totally "backwards" and celebrate Hannukah for one night, instead! Plus, I really had a craving for latkes, which I've had but never made before, so that was a bit of the impetus for the change. Sophia helped me grate some of the potatoes... but not much. She was afraid to catch her fingers!


I kind of made up my own recipe for the latkes, drawing upon several sources for inspiration. I threw in a half a 5-lb bag of grated Russets, some baby carrots I shredded, a couple large diced onions (and was glad I'd chosen to put my glasses on instead of contacts that morning, because these were a couple of real tear-jerkers!), some crushed garlic cloves, half a dozen eggs, a dump of flour (I didn't measure much; just played it by feel), and some spices I chose sort of willy-nilly, including salt (not enough, it turned out in my book) and pepper. 


My very first homemade latkes, frying up in some nice EVOO! I was very excited. About ¼ of the remainder of my family felt the same way, and that would be Chloë. The Littles were sort of nonplussed about the whole Hannukah-immersion-night I had planned, whilst Rob was, to my utmost surprise, rather incensed at the whole thing. I don't know; maybe he'd had a bad day at work, but when I told him about it after he came home from work to latkes frying on the stovetop and a whole mini-unit worked out, well, agitated and irritated are the words that come to mind. I don't understand the closed-mindedness he exhibited and would rather not dwell on it here and now, so we'll move along quickly...


Here we are having a good old-fashioned Hannukah fry-up, as one of my Jewish friends corrected me when I thought we were having a Seder. Hee! We had a bowl of (canned) tropical fruit salad to replace the apple(sauce), and rather than honey, applesauce and/or sour cream to top our latkes, I put out what I had: salt (necessary), strawberry preserves, and Ranch dressing. No one chose the Ranch, which I agree would have been ickypoo, but both Rob and Chloë (and, the following day for lunch, moi) enjoyed theirs with the preserves. I just had extra salt on mine, and it was okay...for a first effort. There are definitely things I'd change, but I think they turned out well for my first time, especially since I made up my concoction. Kind of bland, but one can always fix that. Jack didn't like his at all, but choked down about half a one in order to get more fruit salad, whilst Sophia was caught shoving bits of hers onto the floor under the table when she was telling us she had eaten it! Stinker. 

{Pepper, our kitten, liked what he was being fed, though. Talking of him, he's doing so much better, and is quite the li'l stinker himself these days!}


On Wednesday, because Tuesday, after all, I fell asleep right after dinner and didn't finish our immersion anyway, we started working on our Hannukah lapbook. Sophia's writing on one of the "petals" of our first mini-book for the lapbook here. You know what? I admit, my kids' writing is pretty atrocious. They're all bad. We're going to spend some time doing copywork until their hand-printing improves. I'm not so concerned about cursive, honestly, but I want their printing to be, well, nice. And... it's not. Their father's is chicken scratch, while I have very nice writing, if I do say so myself, and I'd rather them emulate my skillz in that regard! But anyway, I digress.


The lapbook was slow-going at first, because each one did some cutting, some research, and some writing, while the others pretty much had to sit around and wait. When each of the first few mini-books was done, I'd have them read back what was written there, so they really got to understand the meaning of the menorah, the oil, the story of the Maccabees, and so forth. I learned quite a lot, myself, that I'd never known before. I found it fascinating. Chloë was really into it, while I kept having to tap-tap-tap The Littles to keep their attention going.


I love the look of concentration here on Jack's face... After the first two or three mini-books were complete, I was able to spread out the tasks pretty rapidly amongst the three of them - and me, too - to get more of them done quickly. We haven't even finished yet and have built up quite a pile of them! We'll work on it more tomorrow, I hope. I'm having fun and can't wait to see the finished product - and show it off to y'all and my Jewish friends!


At this point, things were getting busier, with each of the kids working on separate mini-books, including Chloë looking up recipes for a traditional Hannukah feast for a pocket mini-book full of recipe cards. What fun! I love lapbooking and wish we used it more often. From now on, I think we will. It's more hands-on than the way they've been learning this year, which is proving less effective than last year. Blah for that!


After several hours, they needed a break and were clamoring for something else. The 12th Advent activity was: "12. Make Cardboard Box Christmas Tree & Ornament craft!" We were just starting on that when Daddy came home, so we enlisted his help with the tough job of cutting a tree out of a cardboard box. He snatched one of the Wüsthof knives out of the drawer, shocking me, and made quick work of the project. Argh! I buy him those as gifts and hate it when he treats them like utilitarian pocket knives... hee. But they're his knives after all, so so be it.

Shipping-Box Tree - Image Collection

This is where I got the idea for this craft. Haven't decided yet whether or how we'll do the garland...


Sophia got straight to work, decorating her pile of ornaments after cutting them out with her non-lefty scissors. ;)


Jack's ornies turned out looking like potatoes, I thought, and I probably told him so, because I have no filter. I think he didn't mind. It didn't matter, anyway, since each ornament should be unique.


Chloë, a Virgo perfectionist much like me, worked hard to make her ornaments just so.


Sophia, looking rather shaggy now that she's decided to grow out her bangs, was so happy to break out the glitter and glue for this project. Chloë, too. The girls LOVE arts and crafts. Jack is more "meh" on the subject, but even he really got into this one.


A final look at the kids decorating the ornaments for their cardboard Christmas tree, many parts of which are now drying all over the kitchen, such as it is, for finishing up tomorrow. I'll show you that, too, when it is complete. 

Ahhh.... this post took forever. Hopefully it was an interesting-ish read! ;)

Thanks for visiting.