Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Family Fun in January!

We have had an action packed first month of the first year!

Every year, the Cub Scouts go to a local park and have a fun night of inner tubing. This year had temps in only the teens, but the kids bundled up and headed out for about an hour and a half. I stayed inside the warming station to help with snacks and hot chocolate. In the photo the light at the top of the hill gives off a greenish glow, which is odd since it was a bright white in person.

The kids had a day off of school, other than the few snow days, so we were able to head out to visit with a brand new baby cousin. Both L and D just LOVE holding the new babies! It was all they could talk about since he was born. Added bonus was to be able to play and visit with the other little cousins!

D and I have discovered and fallen hard for Jamberry nails! I have been a life long nail biter/picker, so I was hesitant at first. Would these really work on my tiny no nail? Determined I tried to stop for the week leading up to them arriving in the mail. I have to say that it has now been a month, and my nails have never been this long in my 35 years ever! We are having fun with these designs, and D (age 7 1/2), can pretty much do this all by herself. We watched a few videos on how to before we set up.

I have been working on learning new crochet techniques, and so I was determined to figure out how to make this adorable fox hood/cowl. I had made it for myself, but have since determined it was just not for me. Oh well, I was able to make it and that is all that matters.

One Saturday, Adam had decided we just needed to get out of the house. We had gotten a large amount of snow during the month, so we headed out to the mall and a few ethnic grocery stores to find new things to try. While driving past Krispy Kreme we noticed the light was on signalling they had hot fresh free doughnuts. We headed in, the kids love watching the process, and Adam bought us coffees. We got in the car and realized that the lid of his coffee looked like an over-caffeinated monkey screaming! What are the odds.

That night we also decided to try our hand for the first time making pork pot stickers. They turned out amazing, and we can't wait to make them again.

Adam had wanted to take us ice skating but of course that was a warm spell and not great outdoor skating weather. So determined to do a fun family thing, we headed to the old school skating rink. Occasionally on Sundays they have a family skate special. For $25 up to 5 people can rent skates, entrance to the rink, a large pizza and a pitcher of pop. We were all a bit wobbly at first, I hadn't been on skates in about 20 years! The kids get to skate in gym class every year, but it had been a year since they were on skates the last time. After about 30 min, we had all gotten the hang of it, and even the kids were zipping around. We had all fallen down at some point while there, and we all just laughed it off. Of course Adam and I really felt it the next day.

D had come home one day from school bummed because she was not allowed to check out a Harry Potter book from the library. She had wanted to get the 5th book, and they said she had to read them in order, and of course that book was out. I told her not to worry, we owned all the books and would they like to start reading them together. Both kids screamed yes! So every day either after homework or before bed, we all take turns reading a chapter out of the first book. I never read them when they originally came out. I'm the kind of person that if told I just have to watch a show, or read a book because everyone is, will just refuse to do it. I have watched all the films and really enjoyed them. A few years ago I thought about reading them, but decided that since the kids were now school age, I would just wait for them to be ready and we can all enjoy it together. So far so good!

My kids are less and less likely to do crafts with me anymore, and my house has fewer holiday decorations these days. While it sometimes bums me out, it just means that I get to do more myself! So when I saw this project on Pinterest, I just knew I needed to try it.

One of the last weekends of the month, we found out that the library was having a few fun free classes. The kids and I headed to a seed class while Adam went to learn about keeping urban chickens. After the seed class, we headed in to check on Adam, and got to visit with the chickens!

And lastly, D put together a wooden bird house pretty much all by herself. Here she is brushing on wood glue to the top to make sure there is a nice seal.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Annual Chicago Christmas trip

If you have been reading this blog for a few years, then you know every year at Christmas time we try to head to Chicago for the day. This started as a variation of a tradition I enjoyed as a kid, I then introduced Adam to it, and now the kids beg to go every year.

I so enjoy driving to the big city. It takes around 2 hours to get there plus a time change for us, but it is well worth it!

 After parking in the underground parking garage, our first stop if always Grant Park to see Cloudgate/The Bean. As soon as it was in sight, the kids took off running. We knew exactly where they would be, always on the underneath, shoving themselves as far in as they can.
 A family reflection selfie?
 D had decided this year to bring along her sketch pad and journal our trip with quick drawings of the sights along the way. They have added so many fun and interesting art installations over the years, and these were new to us.

Just had to say hello to the festive lions in front of the Chicago Art Institute. While we love going to look at the art work, we didn't stop in this time.

Next up was a walk across the street to hop on the cow in front of the Cultural Center. I used to frequent this amazing building when I went to school a few blocks away. The kids always have fun sitting on top. This year, we decided to take the kids inside to check it out.
 Both kids were blown away at how beautiful the building was, and they both picked up on clues that the building was once used as a library.

 D sat down in the middle of the room so that she could sketch the dome. I turned around and saw this fantastic shot.
 Then it was off to Marshall Fields/Macy's to look at the windows.

It wouldn't be a visit without waiting 2 hours to see the Big man in red himself!

Then it was time to bundle up again, although the weather was perfect, and head a few blocks west to Daley Plaza to check out the German Christmas Village.  We always get a few things to eat, and the hot spiced wine to drink out of the special mugs.

 Every year we also all go to a specific shop and pick out a glass ornament for the year. This shop has a glass ornament in just about any shape you can think of. While we wait in the line to get in, D has to get her photo with this same Nutcracker every year.
 It was then that we headed back to Grant park, stopping to watch the ice skaters and one last visit to Cloudgate on our way back to the car.

 We had to of course make a trip over to Trader Joe's to stock up, and then a kid requested dinner of Italian beef sandwiches at Al's before heading for home.

End of the year review in pictures!

I know, I know....why the heck has it taken me this long to post about things that happened in November and December. Honestly, I don't know. But here is a quick run down on the last 2 months of our 2014.

Our first really good snow fall of the year. (a few more have come around since)
 D had another ballet recital. This was her first session of Level 2 instruction.
 Magic Tree House reading club at the library. They learned about the first Olympics.
 D made an Enderman from Minecraft in Lego Junior Squad at the library.
 L was the highest popcorn seller in his cub scout pack
 L always makes scenes that have stories behind them in his Lego Squad at the library.
 I hosted a "My favorite Things" party for my 35th birthday

D received a beautiful teacup and saucer from her Grandma, so we HAD to have a tea party.
 Setting up the tree is always a magical time
 The kids have fun putting up their own trees in their room
 Fred, our elf on the shelf returned, and his hijinks ensued.
 Visiting the large tree downtown
 Tree cookies to eat with friends
 Friends over for a craft day after school
 I got to help all the 2nd graders in D's class make these!
 Our Christmas card photo
 L and his den did a skit and sang songs at an assisted living home
 Tea Party with friends
 Cub scouts and younger siblings singing at the Pack Christmas party
 L received his prizes for selling all the popcorn. A stomp rocket set, and a new Lego set.

Gingerbread House time!
 Shopping for each other

Family time

 Lot of time spent playing with all the fun new things!

I hope you and your family enjoyed your holiday season! I know we sure did. Looking forward to what this next year may bring us.

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