Back to life, back to reality.

After a busy fun holiday season, I am ready to get back on our usual schedule. I LOVE the holidays but we need a set routine to keep sane around here. So before we dive back into our normally scheduled program, here’s a look at some of our holiday fun, in no particular order:

Christmas Eve pjs!
Christmas program put on by our church at the local FAC. It was awesome! We had a great time!
Celebrating Nana’s birthday…fiesta style!
My sweet baby girl, Hazel, all prettied up and ready to party!
Fun Christmas activities…they especially like this edible one.
Making Christmas cookies!
A baby’s FIRST Christmas!
Elf Fun. 
Gingerbread houses!
Nathan was home with us all day, every day for TWO WHOLE WEEKS!

a LOT of hot cocoa!
More cookie/pretzel fun!

Gingerbread truffles…made family style!

New Year’s Eve card games.

A fun run for Mom and Dad!
Christmas Cookie Decorating party complete with crafts, popcorn, hot cocoa, and A Charlie Brown Christmas. We had over 40 kids at our house!!! It was awesome!
Celebrating it all with my love!
New Year’s Day trip to the ER…and five stitches!


We had a lot of holiday fun…minus the ER trip. Made many memories. Enjoyed each other’s company. And tried to slow down…at least a little bit. 🙂

We’re working at getting back to normal this week.  The teen is back in public school. The hubs is back to work. The littles and I are back to homeschool. I am working on decluttering the house. My New Year’s resolutions are to get rid of the excess and only allow positive words come from my mouth. Both are proving to be a challenge but I’m loving the results so far!

Business as usual at our house…..until SPRING BREAK!!!

Happy holidays!

The rest of Buddy’s visit!

Finally showing down long enough to post the rest of our new friend’s visit! The boys LOVED having Buddy around….once they adjusted to him. 🙂

Just as I stated in the previous post, some of these are straight copies of pictures I found on Pinterest, others are ideas that I tweaked to fit our family, and a few are my own original late-night-gotta-move-the-elf ideas. 

The pictures are terrible…from my phone. Ugh. My camera that I took in to be fixed in September STILL isn’t fixed. But let’s not talk about that touchy subject. Let’s just move right on to the pictures, shall we?

Buddy opened a present a few days before Christmas. To the boys, this is a HUGE no-no. They know that any gift opened before time will be returned. We decided since Buddy didn’t know that rule, we would forgive him and have a game night. 🙂
Hiding in the *jungle*.
Peek-a-boo, I see you! Buddy left the boys a message telling them that he was playing peek-a-boo with them…and when they found him, they would get a sweet surprise. Hot chocolate!
*snowball fight* with Santa Claus. I was afraid all night that our dog would eat the marshmellows so I set the alarm to get up before the boys to make sure she didn’t and then went back to bed. Ha! 🙂
After spending the whole previous day baking and decorating sugar cookies, the boys found Buddy sitting on top of one of the cookie tins…with a guilty cookie smile.
Movie Night! Gabriel was amazed that Buddy ate all of the popcorn. “That’s a lot of popcorn for a little guy!” 🙂 Buddy left the movie at our house for the boys to watch thata afternoon.
Swinging from the ceiling fan!! They actually left him up there all day.
Christmas Eve morning. Buddy reminded the boys of the real reason for the season. He left them a note that told how much he loved being at our house and how fun they are. He also told them about Jesus and how much He loves us all and how He watches over us every day.

We were all sad to see Buddy go. I had just as much fun (if not more!!) than they did. We can’t wait to see him again next year!

You can see all of Buddy’s antics right HERE.

Our new elf friend, Buddy.

An Elf on the Shelf came to stay with us this year. He was so excited to spend the holiday season with us but the boys have been less than thrilled with him for the most part. Ha! They just don’t share his sense of humor I think. He’s promised to tone down the pranks if that will make them happy.

Day One: He was found dangling outside on one of my hanging baskets on the front porch. Poor guy stayed out there forever before one of the kids saw him!  Kaleb was a little leery of a tiny elf peeking in the window. He spent the day asking if we could just sent him back.

Day Two: The elf brought the boys a yummy sugary breakfast straight from the North Pole! Snow covered donuts, hot chocolate full of marshmellows, and  fun Christmas CD. He even dug out their chocolate advent calendars so they wouldn’t forget about the first day and left them a personal note on their plates.
The boys hadn’t named him yet so he asked that we figure out a name. Three of the four boys voted for Buddy.
You can see that Kaleb decided maybe Buddy was a good elf! 🙂
The rest are in no particular order. I’ve been sick with a fever so I can’t remember exactly which we did on each night.
One night Buddy made himself some chocolate milk.  He left a note saying he had made more than he could drink and asked the boys if they could help him out.
Of course they said yes!

Buddy was very naughty one night and the boys were NOT happy with him at all!!


Buddy was naughty yet another night.  Gabriel said it was “a waste of perfectly good toilet paper! Have you ever been stuck on the toilet with NO toilet paper?” Drake was equally upset. Ha! I think Buddy was beginning to see these guys didn’t think his pranks were as fun as he did.

Budddy redeemed himself by spending a little time doing one of the boys’ favorite things….hunting! The boys were very excited to see that Buddy had found the Michael Waddell doll’s bow, and they thought it was hilarious that he was using a toothpick for an arrow. What else is an elf to use?
In case you’re wondering what exactly Buddy was hunting….well, it IS deer season!!  I wonder if elves need a hunting license…
Lastly, another fun night for Buddy. Ziplining from the tree into a bowl of marshmellows! Thankfully nobody has attempted to copy Buddy’s little stunt.
There were a couple more fun mornings of Buddy but I’ll have to share them next time. I’ve sat up as long as this illness is going to allow…time to nap with the baby!
Buddy is getting used to our family and understands that the boys aren’t especially fond of pranks. I think he has them figured out now so the rest of his visit should be a lot of fun. 🙂
All of Buddy’s antics can be found HERE. 🙂

Christmas FUN!

After Thanksgiving, I put together a list of fun Christmas activities and thought I’d link what we’ll be doing here in case anyone else is looking for some things to do. 🙂

  • We did a Santa beard a couple years ago and the boys LOVED it so I thought we’d do another this year.  Found a free printable HERE.

  • I made an Activity Advent Calendar, using ideas from Activity Mom’s Advent post and filled in with some of my own. Some of these are a little young for all of my boys, though.  Fun stuff for a toddler or preschooler!! I don’t have a list of 24 simply because we won’t get in one activity every day. Weekends are busy, illness happens, unexpected things come up, AND I want to leave room for spontaneity.  Whatever we don’t get to this year can go on next year’s list.  Also I don’t have them listed in any kind of order. I’ll just pick one that fits our day.  The only dated activities are the movie nights {ABC Family channel}, the party, and the reindeer food activity. Here is our list of activities: {those marked with an * are from Activity Mom’s blog…the printables can be found there}
    • M&M wreath *
    • tree maze
    • Bow Painting *
    • Elf Movie Night-dinner of pancakes, syrup, pasta, coke, and marshmallows (thankfully my boys don’t react to sugar like some. Give them some artificial sweetener and they go bonkers. Sugar? Nothing!)
    • Glue Snowflakes *
    • Cinnamon dough ornaments
    • Christmas Party for the Kiddos!!! {details below}
    • Christmas Tree Fork Painting *
    • Peppermint Candy Craft *
    • Polar Express Movie Night {using these fun ideas!}
    • Ice Cream Cone Trees *
    • Pop Up Christmas Tree craft *
    • Make Gingerbread houses
    • Egg Carton Snowmen*
    • Finger Print Candy Cane*
    • Rip and Glue Christmas Tree*
    • Christmas Light Scavenger Hunt {using this printable}
    • Paper Bag Reindeer Puppet*
    • Grinch Movie Night {we may change this one as the boys just watched it after I printed out our activity schedule…}
    • Ride the Christmas train at a local park
    • Make Reindeer Food*

  • Elf on the Shelf. This is SO fun!! Google ideas, check out Pinterest, or read about our elf here!

  • Christmas Party for the Kiddos!!  We’re going to watch Charlie Brown Christmas while eating popcorn and drinking cocoa with friends. Also there will be a cookie decorating station and two craft stations. I’m thinking of having one of the crafts be card-making, and then taking all of the handmade cards to a local nursing home.

  • We picked up some chocolate Advent calendars for $1 each at Aldi. Who doesn’t love a little chocolate first thing in the morning?

  • And of course there will be baking. Lots and lots of yummy Christmas baking.

There are just TOO many Christmas ideas out there! I really had to limit myself so we don’t over do it. We’ve had so much fun already and it’s only December 4th! I’ll share pictures of our fun in the coming weeks.  Hope you all are having some fun this holiday season as well!!

Merry Christmas!