Friday, December 20, 2013

School Talent Show!

Each year there is a Talent Show at Anthony’s school. Children in 2nd-5th grades are invited to try out.  This year 17 acts made the talent show, and Anthony was one of them!  He played his piano recital piece from June, and he did a great job!

Here’s a link to his performance!

Anthony was really nervous, but he still did a great job!  We are so proud! 

Today is Anthony’s last day of school until January 13th - LOVE the 45/15 schedule and all the time we will have together over the next couple weeks!

Monday, December 2, 2013

The Return of Elf on the Shelf!

Elf on the Shelf Returns by MomsGonnaSnap
It’s that time of year again!  Last year was the first year we had an elf.  I wrote a letter (thank you Pinterest for the ideas!) and Santa sent him the elf as a package.  You can read about his first arrival here.  Anthony didn’t know he wasn’t supposed to touch the elf until he read the letter…

2012-12-01 (1) 2012-12-01 (12)

As we began planning for his return, I put together a quick review of some of the mischief that our elf, Clyde, got himself into last year.  It’s going to be tricky coming up with a bunch of new ideas, especially since we are not a fan of elf messes….

We decided it would be fun for Santa to mail the elf each year, so once again a package arrived for Anthony from the North Pole this year! 

Clyde couldn’t wait to get out of the box to find Anthony!!  He was bursting with excitement!  (Sorry, I couldn’t help that one!)

2013-11-25 (12)
We were out of town for Thanksgiving and when we returned home Anthony found Clyde's box by the Christmas tree in his room as he was getting ready for bed.  He was THRILLED that Clyde had come back to him!  His response was amazing. Worth every single minute we will spend on Elf on the Shelf over the next month. 

Quick note about the tree – it’s decorated completely by Anthony, with ornaments mostly from his birth-grandma and godparents.  He has picked up a few ornaments here and there, and LOVES having his very own tree in his room!

Here’s a few quick iPhone pics of the big discovery.

2013-11-29 Elf1
Carefully trying to open the box without touching Clyde.  We assured him that it was okay if he accidentally touched him!

2013-11-29 Elf2

Anthony was so excited!!  Here he’s giving him a kiss (kissed his fingers and pretending to touch Clyde’s mouth) – Too cute!!

2013-11-29 Elf3

Reading Santa’s letter.  Yes, those are Lego’s in the background.  Just a few…(!!!)

2013-11-29 Elf4

Blurry pic, but you can just see the love he’s giving Clyde as he tucks him in on a bed of tissue paper (that we slid him from the box down onto, without touching him!).

2013-11-29 Elf5

One last photo with the elf!

2013-11-29 Elf6

Clyde, our elf on the shelf has returned, and Anthony couldn’t be happier!!  He talked and talked (and talked and talked and talked) to Clyde that night.  He told him about books, and money (what it looks like, how to use it, etc), his parents, his room, his cats, etc.  He truly BELIEVES and wants Clyde to know everything.  In fact, the next morning when he found Clyde hanging by an ornament in a different Christmas tree (yes, I have a problem!) he was convinced that Clyde had put the ornaments on the tree (we hadn’t decorated that tree yet).  I even caught him getting dressed in front of the tree, telling Clyde all about his clothes, including the purpose of the opening in the front of his boxers!! HILARIOUS!

Two years ago, when Anthony was in kindergarten, he came home and said the big kids on the bus said there was no such thing as Santa Claus. I was so sad! How dare those big kids ruin Anthony's fun. We worked through it, and he kinda believed, but he just wasn't sure. The seed of doubt was planted. We began using the phrase, "You have to BELIEVE to RECEIVE" whenever he asked us if Santa was real. This year, all it took was watching The Polar Express a week ago and bringing back the elf.  Anthony is truly a believer and we are sure going to enjoy it while it lasts!!

Here’s the letter from Santa explaining Clyde’s return-

December 1st, 2013
Dear Anthony…you are still one of my favorites!
You are so very special! I know that you are filled with love for your parents, all of your family and your friends. I know that you love Jesus too and so do I! That makes us especially special!
Once again I have sent you something special for this Christmas season. Do you remember my dear friend, Clyde? He is an elf from my workshop and he wanted to help you get ready for Christmas again this year.
Do you remember that Clyde tends to be a little naughty? I know that when you continue to make good choices, you will help Clyde learn to make good choices too!
One important thing to remember about Clyde…elves are not exactly the same as humans. He will stay still during the day and because he is magical, you shouldn’t touch him, for fear his magic will leave him. You can talk to him and tell him stories about you and your family – he will hear you and love you. While Clyde is quiet during the day, he loves to play at night after everyone else is sleeping. That’s when he gets in trouble, so you’ll have to watch him carefully!
When I told him that he was going to come and stay with you again, he was so excited! He really loves hanging out with boys – he likes to play rough, and will love to hear about all of the fun things you do.
Have fun, and I’ll be back to pick him up on Christmas Eve when I come to drop off some extra special surprises for you!
I love you very much!
Do you have an Elf on the Shelf?  What is your favorite elf “trick” to play?

Friday, November 15, 2013

The Last Few Weeks {InstaFriday}

Here’s what we have been up to the past few weeks – I’m MomsGonnaSnap on Instagram if you want to follow along!

We took a few Super Hero family pics in October – thanks to our friends J & E for helping!  I also got to take a few photos for them that day too.  They have a super cute little boy – love taking pics of him!


Anthony and I met my parents for lunch and some fun in LaCrosse, WI.  After lunch we went up Grandad’s Bluff to check out the view.  Then off to Anthony’s favorite place – Cherry Berry!

2013-10-17 (1)

The view really is pretty impressive!

2013-10-17 (2)

The next day, Anthony and I went to a local apple orchard and picked out some pumpkins!  Hubby was working in San Jose, CA that week, so he missed out on the fun!

2013-10-18 (1)

They had a teeter-totter set up at the orchard – we spent a LOT of time at the playground!

2013-10-18 (2)

We also went on a wagon ride through the orchard.  We didn’t pick any apples (maybe next year?), but we did buy some from the shop before we left.  Fresh apple sauce and apple crisp that week!


Our official pumpkins.  Superman logo and a ninja.  Love the paint job!


Heading out for trick-or-treating.  This guy LOVES ninjas!  And candy.


I chaperoned a 2nd grade field trip to a local science/nature center for some science lessons on dirt soil.  As part of the lesson, we went into the cave (made of limestone), so we could check out the sand in the cave.  In case you wondered, 29 second graders is a lot!


We have been waiting to adopt #2 for 3.5 years (UGH), and decided that (once again) we should update our letter that the birthmothers see.  We went with bright, fun colors!  Here’s to hoping that we get picked soon. We are so ready to expand our little family…


Leaves!  No need to say anything else here…


We woke up to this on Monday morning.  Yes, we live in Minnesota, but still…  In my future, I foresee that I will be doing everything I can to have the opportunity to escape the cold winter season!  Hubby, we better start saving!


Tuesday night. Eight 2nd grade Cub Scouts came over to use hubby’s tools to build display stands for their Pinewood Derby cars and fulfill some of their skill requirements. It was amazing. And frightening. No lost fingers! In fact, there were no injuries!  It was a big success!


Went to Target one morning this week, and came home with an overloaded cart. Our Christmas tree has been giving me the business and hubby actually wants to be able to put it back in the box, so it was time for a new one. I don’t like to spend much on trees, and like the idea of using it over and over. Why not a real one? Honestly, I have never had a real tree (I know!!), and I had hoped to get one for our basement this year. But… I just found out I’m allergic to pine trees, so I’m not going to bring one into my home. I also picked up a few home d├ęcor items. Way too much money gone as a result of that trip.  Definitely a love/hate relationship with Target!

2013-11-14  (1)

The Cub Scout wreaths have arrived!  Too early for the front door?

2013-11-14  (2)

Made this for dinner.  Yes, those are pickles on top!  I’m not a big casserole fan, but this wasn’t bad, and I loved the pickles – the more the better!

2013-11-14  (3)

What have you been up to?

Linking to: Life Rearranged, Lauren Elizabeth

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Planning for our Elf on the Shelf

Elf on the Shelf by MomsGonnaSnap
Last year was the first year that our family had an elf – we avoided it for a few years!  As we gear up for the upcoming weeks of elf mischief, I decided to review many of the ways our elf, Clyde, had fun in our home last year.

You can read more about our elf’s first arrival and the letter he came with here

2012-12-01 (1)
One of the things we quickly learned about having an elf was that every mess left behind by the elf must be cleaned up by someone. Sometimes Clyde left a mess that Anthony could help with, sometimes not.  This led us to be very selective, mostly choosing mischief that required very little clean-up afterwards! 

Below are a few of the fun ways that our elf caused trouble at our home last December -
(The majority of the photos are iPhone photos taken in poor evening light, so I apologize for the poor quality!)

Every good elf loves a Christmas movie with popcorn!  Don’t forget the root beer!

Elf on the Shelf by MomsGonnaSnap (1)
Enjoying a bowl of cereal with an extra big spoon while sitting on recently delivered packages!

Elf on the Shelf by MomsGonnaSnap (2)
Reading some books.  Lego books have been a huge hit this past year!

Elf on the Shelf by MomsGonnaSnap (3)
Riding one of our many reindeer decorations…

Elf on the Shelf by MomsGonnaSnap (4)
Checking out Anthony’s stocking!  This photo definitely was taken in very poor light – our woodwork is a dark brown, not orange!

Elf on the Shelf by MomsGonnaSnap (5)
Having some fun with our first formal family photo, taken just a few weeks after we brought Anthony home!

Elf on the Shelf by MomsGonnaSnap (6)
Sleeping in Anthony’s bathroom.  A cotton ball makes the perfect pillow with a washcloth as a blanket!

Elf on the Shelf by MomsGonnaSnap (7)
Oh you know, just listening to Anthony’s iPod!

Elf on the Shelf by MomsGonnaSnap (8)
Enjoying some hot chocolate at the table… (just a cup FULL of marshmallows!)

Elf on the Shelf by MomsGonnaSnap (9)
Getting some exercise in the office – it was the perfect size for him!

Elf on the Shelf by MomsGonnaSnap (10)
Messing with a new sticker book…

Elf on the Shelf by MomsGonnaSnap (11)
Hanging out in a lantern…

Elf on the Shelf by MomsGonnaSnap (12)
Climbing to the top of a tree…

Elf on the Shelf by MomsGonnaSnap (13)
Climbing to the top of another tree!

Elf on the Shelf by MomsGonnaSnap (14)
Opening a package the night of Dec 23rd…

Elf on the Shelf by MomsGonnaSnap (15)
Each morning from December 1st to December 24th, Anthony enjoyed the hunt of finding Clyde and seeing what kind of trouble he had gotten himself into.  Sometimes he thought Clyde was really funny, and other mornings he was really mad when he saw what Clyde had gotten into.

What are some things your elves have done?

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A Month in Photos {October}

October 2013 b

October was a full month!  The weather was perfect!
Work on the basement
A trip to the apple orchard
Cub Scout meeting
Visiting Grandad’s Bluff in LaCrosse, WI
A 3-week break from school - If you know our family, you know that Anthony attends a school that follows a year-round calendar or 45/15 calendar. I have written about that here and here.
Flag Football and Karate lessons
Picking out pumpkins

**Want to see more photos? I’m @MomsGonnaSnap on Instagram

Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Simple Things

Most of the leaves have fallen off the trees so the boys decided to take on the task of cleaning up the yard.

Then this happened:

The laughter… LOVE this!!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Halloween {Digital Scrapbook}

Sahlin Studio and Brittish Designs just released their latest Project Mouse collab kit, and I couldn't resist buying it right away this weekend while it’s still on sale. I downloaded it last night, and tried to print the cards for a paper Project Life page, but I couldn't get my printer to work. Hubby just completed some computer upgrades on my laptop last week and thought it was working when he left for California for the week. He came home today (YAY!), but I haven’t put the pressure on him to set my printer back up yet. Since I was anxious to use the kit, I tried it out on a digital page tonight, using Halloween pictures from last year.

Halloween 2012 Harry Potter B
I bought the entire kit here.  Even though the kit is part of their Project Mouse collection, I don’t think most of the elements are specific to Disney – just a fun all around Halloween kit!

Go here to see some of my other digital scrapbook pages.

Linking to: Simple as That

Friday, October 18, 2013

A Month in Photos {September}

September 2013
       September came and went and I really didn’t take too many photos. How did that happen?!?  In fact, as                    I write this, I just realized that I snuck 2 photos from October into the September collage.  Oops!

Camping in northern Minnesota
Celebrating hubby’s birthday
Water balloon fights
Fall Festivals
More camping
Projects at home

Sunday, October 13, 2013

The Simple Things

Some of our best friends came to visit last week. With the addition of our children, our lives have sure changed! I’m sure we had no idea when we met, that 18 years later we would still be great friends and spending our afternoons playing with our children in the backyard.

2013-10-05 (170)e