Today we GO!
(lets not talk about when we get there…)
I have spent the past few days chipping away at the pile of things that need to be done as well as getting in a few things that would be harder to do later. My NOT procrastination totally paid off because Lars and I were in HomeDepot, the 6th shop for the day, on a fact-finding mission about suites of appliances and we happened to see a fridge-sized box with a price tag of $160. I dismissed it, figuring it was some odd special thing or something that needed to be part of a larger, much more expensive, system. The sales lady just mentioned to us “hey, you guys need a fridge?” and we are like “um… yes?” Apparently, the warehouse missed this one and now it had to GO because they couldn’t inventory it anymore (or some such inventory reason) so we got a fridge originally priced $860 for $160. We have been working with our tiny fridge in the garage for extra milk but this will be way better. I see it as our reward for #1 checking out appliance prices for the house months in advance and #2 already have a clean car ready for travel that all we had to do was move car seats. #3 I just happened to have organized my ‘car bin’ of useful things including tie-down straps AND put it back in the car that day so we were able to fit the fridge in, and, tie the back gate down since it was just a little longer than our cargo area.
Don’t you just love a deal?!?
At this point, I have lists about my lists but we are near the end of them all. All trip stuff and clothing is assembled and job #1 today is to pack. People talk about ‘packing’ like putting things into a bag is hard, that is the easy bit – finding all the things you want for 5 people and a dog is the hard part. There is one load of laundry to do, final dishwasher load to run for today’s things. I need to make up the guest room for the house sitter but since we have guests often that is an easy thing. Books reserved at the library for pickup, food ready for prep for the trip. Lots to do but I’m in the last bit and positioned well. Thank you yesterday self for NOT falling into the new book you just downloaded and have waited for a year, You can read that tomorrow as a reward.
Teacher and friend gifts are ready for delivery, already delivered, or ready for when we get back.
I think I’ve completed all the things I NEED for Christmas and I packed supplies for cooking and final projects at my parents. Driving may mean 2x travel time but it also means I can bring more ‘stuff’. The kids are so used to a second Christmas when we return that they asked about it so we made the decision that all the things that the kids picked for each other and us can stay for mini Christmas.
I’m writing this at 7:30 in the morning and our go time is 3:30 so I have time to do what I need to do as well as go to my birthday massage appointment. I’m getting in the spirit here, things are looking good. This is the first year in YEARS my sisters will both be at my parents so I’m excited to see everyone. I hope to avoid the panic of leaving last minute and so far so good. Time to get breakfast, school lunch, kids to school. T-7h to takeoff.
Every year I’ve tried to do a little something handmade for Christmas. The kids have caught the bug and love to make things for people. Sometimes the results are questionable … but I’ve found that I can really impact the quality of the product by providing good materials. In fact, if you just give them good supplies and no guidance you sometimes get some really creative things.
The theory is – if they can string pasta on yarn, they can string pretty beads on a nice chord. Understandably this is a choking hazard for little little kids but if you can trust them to not eat the goods, you can give them good things to work with.
I started with Oriental Trading Company online looking for some cool bits and pieces for them to create into gifts for teachers and friends. Oriental Trading is my go-to, not just because they sponsored this post but because the prices are fantastic for the quality AND it isn’t the ‘same old stuff’ you find in the craft area of WalMart or Joanns. By virtue of being online, they can have a million things for Christmas or charms for any hobby where a store has to limit what is on the shelves. Niamh actually helped some this year and selected a cute bunch of snowflake charms, a winter mix of charms, and a solid style bracelet. I supplemented with a specialized ‘teacher pack’ and per Zoe request something ‘with a dog and best friend’.
It all arrived and the kids could not contain themselves. I had to hold them back from instant creation because we were about to eat Thanksgiving dinner and that is NOT the time to bust out the beads. When things mellowed out the got to the organizing side of things, sorting out all the different things into our ‘upcycled’ craft organizer – egg crates.
The rest I left up to them. Niamh went classic with an arrangement of charms on a bracelet, she even made a custom on for her snow hating teacher.
Fiona went a totally different way and used almost all large beads and then put the whole thing on a necklace and it looks pretty cool like a big pendant.
Niamh actually did way more on the bracelet, adding spacer beads etc but just in case her teacher is reading I’ll keep some details a surprise for Christmas!
I love that they feel confident that people will love what they create, I love helping build that confidence by giving them the tools to actually make quality things. And by ‘make’ I mean like how I ‘make’ a cake from a nice packaged box and some eggs and water – There is no way I can make as good from scratch in as little time with as consistent results.
No people, no explanation – of my world
The day I’m confused about my culture more than normal because I’m not ‘allowed’ to do or like things NOT in my culture of birth but everyone can be Irish if they feel like it. I also don’t especially know if I’m all that Irish. However, based on my research from my Irish cousins and FancyPaperBlog there is very little difference beyond some vocabulary from my life here and their lives there. (except for the president… I can’t guess the current president of Ireland and I can only name one; Mary Robenson, and our presidents seem to get more international notoriety) So I am Irish and so are you, unless you super identify with some other culture.
American Irish, mixed with Pinterest and hallmark, creates a bit of a crazy little holiday focused on green and rainbows. School lunch today was desirable so no cute lunches to pack but I did break out the special ‘rainbow’ cereal for snacks. They left an entire beer * and some soda bread for our resident leprechaun, Mr McCabbage, who ate and drank it all, leaving a spill of gold wrapped chocolate for them to find. The tricky guy also dyed the milk green and also poured some on the floor **
Tonight we are having soda bread and soup, good for lent and all that. When the kids asked why we didn’t celebrate more since this was ‘our’ holiday I gave them my dad’s answer that this is day to go to church in Ireland…
Still like celebrating things that have no more sress then what you personally choose. I celebrated by doing my part of the tax prep and taking a short nap all while looking like an Irish Ari flight attendant.
*Lars thought someone loved him since that ‘door’ is right above his office so he drank it
**Lars also accidently spilled a dish of cereal and Niamh saw him cleaning it up and deduced that the tricky leprechaun had made a mess.
Edit – I googled the president of Ireland and he is also on twitter. To support my Irish side, I’m following him now. You also get to be president of Ireland for 7 years, thats a long time…
This year, I’m not sure if because it is a Tuesday or what, I’m not doing as much as usual. I’m actually not even going to see Lars because tonight is the SCA kids practice and also my PTO meeting so we will be in opposite directions until about 8:30. After that we plan on a nice take out sushi dinner but really, I don’t doubt his love in general.
I did have fun with valentines for the kids. I took a cue from all the cute photo strips we have as favors from recent weddings and decided to DIY one. The internet is full of other people who thought of this first but this is how I did it;
- Took a ton of pictures of each girl holding a dry erase board where they wrote each part of the message. Take A LOT because half of them will be too silly or full of frowns
- cropped them to be square in my computer
- used the collage option to line up the 4 pictures in a strip. I choose to have white borders on a pink background. You can also do this in excel, sometimes it is easier in excel!
- Sent the image to our local UPS store and then talked to them so they knew what I wanted, and, printing is one of those things personal attention is worth doing.
- Paid a whole $10 for 35 strips (2×8 if you are looking for dimensions) for each of the kids. That is $10 for 105 strips total.
- Cut up some pretty washi tape so the kids could tape on pencils (totally optional)
- They wrote names and taped pencils no problem and it only took about 20min
I love that getting them printed is so economical because I figure I would have spent $3 per ‘kit’ at walmart and I would have needed 4 at least since they are usually only 24 so I’m saving money, and, it is something I get to keep and love. I know, there is a ton of time involved between taking pictures and edits but for me, that is the fun part. This didn’t even need hot glue so I consider it an easy one.
Finally, I must add a new addition to the valentines traditions. Apparently, as they get older, the valentines box becomes homework, and Niamh had her heart set on a Giraffe valentines mailbox. It is a STEM school and I like that they described this as a building project and include the design-refine-spend time method. I talked her out of having the mouth be the mail slot because… engineering… but I do like the final result. It could be better but she procrastinated until yesterday afternoon to even start and I refused to do it without her (because I wanted her to do it over the weekend when we had time).
So I hope you all have nice days and nights and a pleasant February 14th in general.
Oriental Trading is known for many things, but, for me, there will ALWAYS be rubber ducks. When Niamh was a little little girl and I had night classes a friend watched her, to ‘pay’ I sent a duck with Niamh every week to give to her daughter who was 2.5 and not into sharing her mom. That started my duck collection because I couldn’t just send the same duck each week, I needed variety!
Then I had friends with kids with allergies and I learned that there are more options than candy on Halloween. I got ‘spooky’ ducks and they went first, everyone wanted a duck more than candy.
When I found out there was actually a HOLIDAY for rubber ducks I could not let it pass. Oriental Trading partners with bloggers and I’m lucky enough to be one of them and they gave me ducks in return for this post. (fair trade, I’ve already given them tons of money for ducks).
I decided that for duck day, I would share the love of ducks. I ordered 11 dozen ducks with the goal to give them all away. Ok, I’m keeping some, there are some cute ones. So I’m giving away 10 dozen ducks! This is easier said than done and it is going to take a while but since I got them last Friday;
Sunday we went to the MN Science museum and I handed out ducks to any kid I saw being nice. I also sent the kids out to hand out ducks too, nice lesson in random kindness.
Tuesday I saw an acquaintance in the grocery store, I handed him a duck and while I said it was for his baby, you know who is going to be playing with that duck.
Yesterday and today I didn’t actually leave the house much other than the gym so operation #ducktheworld was on hold and since tomorrow is the day I thought I should get this posted so if you feel so inclined to celebrate tomorrow, you have adequate warning.
My pocketbook is stocked with ducks and my plan is to give them away to good kids (or sad kids). I like to reward good behavior and now I have stock to do so.
If you have any cool rubber ducks, post them tomorrow #ducktheworld and I’ll be joining you too. If you don’t think you need any, consider adding them to your holiday table or basically any occasion since there is a duck for just about everything.
Edit to add- I just got an awesome direct link to some coupons. Enjoy!