Archive for Family Fun

Booking It

For Christmas, our older neighbor gifted my kids something wonderful. She made a date with them to go book shopping. On the appointed day, she handed each child an envelope with a few crisp bills in it and then took them to her favorite used book stores to shop. Together, they explored three stores, chatted, laughed and had fun. They came home with this stack.

This present was most special to me because she gave the kids her time. Sure, she could have just given them her choice of books but she wanted to see what their interests were and open their eyes to some new stuff. And being the retired teacher that she is, she made Oli do his own math when purchasing.

The kids attacked the stack with gusto over vacation. They learned from our neighbor that they can sell the books back to the store when they are done and buy new ones! I predict a few more book hunting excursions in the future. This may become a new neighbor-to-neighbor tradition.


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A Whirlwind Tour

We went for a quick trip to our favorite city — Chicago!

We stayed in a really fun hotel. There was free cocktail hour which my kids loved — nothing like all-you-can-drink Shirley Temples. Breakfast was a big buffet with made-to-order omelets, fresh fruit and lots of good stuff. My kids, they ate pink donuts. We spent a glorious, uncrowded day at the Field Museum. It fills my heart with pride that my kids can be captivated by 100 year old dioramas and much, much older bones. There was no whining or fighting, just rapt absorption of interesting artifacts.

We did a short trip down a very crowded Michigan Avenue.

Then froze as we walked the few short blocks back to the hotel. Our plans to go skating at Millennium Park were scrapped once we got a full introduction to the Chicago winds. Windy City, I love ya’ but I’ll be waiting ’til Spring before coming back.

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Merry Christmas To All!

And to all, a good night!

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Final Preparations

The excitement is building here. My kids got up extra early this morning to practice for Christmas morning.

We went to the dollar store a few days ago. My kids buy presents for each other there. It’s fun to see them giggling and dodging each other in the aisles so they don’t catch glimpses of what the other is picking out. Then we go home and things get secretly wrapped and stashed under the tree.

They get to open these gifts to each other tonight — Christmas Eve. Already they are spinning with glee and excitement (the breakfast donuts, I’m sure, contributed to much of the spinning) — so much so that I wonder if this level of energy can be kept up all day. And there is much more merriment to come — more baking, more wrapping, more parties to attend. There is special music and stories to listen to and special people to see. This is truly the most wonderful time of the year!

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There’s Still Time

I keep coming across more and more fun ideas for presents. Today’s obsession has been making personal coloring books for my kids. I know they will be very happy to color on their siblings’ faces.

These were made at — they have a program on their site called “Lights, Camera, Color!” which converts digital photos to coloring pages. To print the pages, you need to enter a special code found on boxes of specially-marked crayons. I just googled for a code and found one.

This is a program I could play with forever. I keep thinking that a book of less-than-flattering photos would make an awesome joke present.

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A Quick Trip

We just got back from a quick tropical vacation of sorts. The first grade class has been studying the rain forest. Each child picked an animal to research and become an expert on. The animals were carefully recreated in art class and the hallway became a giant, tropical jungle in which to display them. We were all invited for tours. Lucky for us, we had our own expert guide.

This is a project all of my children have done in first grade. It is much loved by us all. Even my big kids were excited to be back in the rain forest.

And on a cold and grey day, I can’t think of a better place to be. I’ll be sad to see this project come down since I won’t have another eager expert to guide me through it next year. I will visit, though, to hear the jungle sounds and see the shining faces of the kids who poured their hearts into this project. And to take my own kids back to visit one of their (and my) favorite projects ever.

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Soaring Singers

Mojo is in a singing group at school. They are called The Soaring Singers. Since school began, they have been meeting 2x/week to practice and prepare for their concert. It was last night.

There was so much energy on the stage that the singers weren’t the only ones soaring. We all were!

To keep Oli occupied during the show (and all the waiting before the show), John gave him his camera to play with. We have done this in the past to successfully stave off boredom. Of course, last time, Oli was in a seat and limited in his range of movement. He started off calmly snapping photos.

But, the excitement built. Next thing we knew, he was hopping all over the gym with the camera.

You can see where this is leading, can’t you? It wasn’t too long before Oli was back complaining that the camera wasn’t working. There were bits of concrete on it and it was looking kind of mangled. He tripped and fell into the gym wall with it. Oli was fine — not a single boo-boo to kiss. The camera, however, will never be the same.

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