Monday, December 31, 2012

Christmas Day 2012

Ashlin with her new purple ipod shuffle that she wanted.
 Our family is very fortunate that we do not have to travel for Christmas.  Both sets of grandparents live within an hour drive of our home; therefore, our kids always wake up on Christmas Day in their own beds dreaming of what Santa has brought them overnight.  Christmas Day at our house is a day of doing what you want to do, relaxing and playing with your gifts that you received.
 Erica received a new lava lamp for her room.  Plus, Cara gave her the fuzzy zebra stripe blanket for Christmas.
 This is Cara explaining to Keith what her iHome electronic device is used for.  She was excited when she opened this gift.  It wasn't on her list which was a surprise for her.
One excited Justin when he opened the box to find Nebraska pajama pants and a Nebraska shirt.  He will be all set now with Nebraska gear to wear on New Year's Day when Nebraska plays in their bowl game.
Ashlin scored a Wii uDraw to play with over the Christmas break.  The girls were excited when Ashlin received this gift and they also got Just Dance 4 for the Wii.  The Wii will be played quite a bit over the Christmas vacation from school, especially if it stays this cold outside.
This was on my Christmas list - a new clothes drying rack.  The kids broke my last one because they played with it quite often.  This rack is bigger and much sturdier than my previous one. 
Justin holding his new Dream Lite that he requested.  One day in Walgreens they had a huge display of these and I refused to buy him one because it was so close to Christmas.  He loves sitting in his room in the dark with his new puppy Dream Lite on.
Erica requested a camera for Christmas.  She wanted a camera to take on her 4th Grade field trip to Lincoln in the spring.  Her siblings are already tired of her snapping their photos around the house.
Cara received many new clothing items.  She is growing upward so fast and nothing fits her.  Her pants have to be in long length due to her legs being so long.  She received some new clothes from her favorite store Aeropostle.
Justin's facial expressions may have been some of the best when he was opening his gifts.
Santa left one large gift by the fireplace marked "Leader Family" and inside was a new laptop computer.  We have needed a new computer for awhile so this was a blessing that Santa knew what we really needed and wanted.  Know I need to figure out exactly how to use this new laptop with Windows 8.
Yes, a bomb of wrapping paper and boxes went off in our living room.  We cleaned up after everything was opened.

Take care,

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Leader Family Christmas

 On Saturday, the 22nd, we loaded up the car and headed to Grandpa and Grandma Leader's house to celebrate Christmas with Aunts, Uncles and cousins.  First, Grandma made everyone young and old draw a slip of paper stating what job you were on for the day.  Keith was on putting food away and I was on putting away tables and chairs.
 After everything is put away from dinner, we all head to the basement to start unwrapping presents.  The younger kids all draw names and exchange gifts.  Each grandkid had to draw a card from Grandma to determine in what order to open presents.
 Erica received a Now 44 cd which was just what she wanted.  It has been listened to already many times and at a loud volume.
 Sam received a toy that makes noise from Cara in the gift exchange.
 Justin took his job of picking up wrapping paper very seriously.  He would clean up paper after each gift was unwrapped.
 Cara received a head band and an iTunes gift card.  Just what she needed and wanted to buy music for her ipod touch.
 Ashlin received an "A" journal and a Carly Rae Jepson cd which was on her list of wants for the Christmas season.
 Justin received a set of monster trucks - just what he wanted also.
 Uncle David picked Keith's gift in the adult Chinese gift exchange.  It was a box of chips, jars of various salsa, and nacho cheese.  Unfortunately, David did not get to take the gift home since it was stolen by Mike.
 Keith got a nutcracker dispenser of M&Ms which Justin guarded with his life.  Whenever someone got close to him or mentioned stealing the gift Justin held on tighter and said "NO".
 Jodee's camera made me laugh all day.  Kamree did something to it and the display only shows a 1/4 of the photo.  She kept snapping away all day without a clue what she was really taking a photo of or if she was cutting off heads.  What a laugh!  Hopefully Santa brings Jodee a new camera for Christmas.
 Grandpa and Grandma Leader gave each family a scrapbook for the last four years which is priceless with all the memories inside.  We also received Relay for Life cookbooks.  The kids received fleece sweatshirts and other clothes.
 We gave Grandma Leader this decorative plate and a Hobby Lobby gift card to buy more Cricut supplies.  Grandpa Leader received a renewal subscription to the Nebraska Life magazine and gift cards to Cabelas from us.
After the gift opening the grandkids and adults enjoyed playing bingo for prizes, eating snacks, playing cards, visiting and just hanging out.

Take care,

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Playing in the Snow

 Our first real snowfall of the year was last Wednesday night the 19th.  Norfolk got a little over 3 inches of snow.  On Friday, the neighborhood kids spent many hours outside playing in the snow since it was the first day of Christmas vacation.
 Keith got a workout pulling Justin around the house on his sled.  Justin got to try out his new winter gear of coat, hat, mittens, boots and snow pants that he got for his birthday.  He had a smile on his face the whole time.
Take care,

Friday, December 28, 2012

Preschool Christmas Party

 Thursday, December 20th was the last day of school before Christmas break.  It was a full day of school, but the classes pretty much party all day.  I attended Justin's preschool party that morning.  The room parents did an excellent job of planning the party and the kids had a great time.
 The first game the kids played was a candy cane relay around the circle.  Each student was given a candy cane and they then had to pass another candy cane around the circle only using their candy cane and not their hands.
 Justin caught on to this game pretty quick and used lots of concentration.
 The next game up was a marshmallow toss into a cocoa mug.  The students were divided into groups of five.  It was a relay race with the first team to five winning.  Justin's team did not win, but he had fun.
 Next, up was a game of musical chairs.  This game was interesting with some of the parents really getting into the game pointing out empty chairs and cheering on the students.

 Justin almost won this game.  It was down to him and one girl in the class.  Justin sat down on the chair first, but got up so that Kolby could sit down and then she won.
 One of the mom's made these for a snack for the party.  I thought they looked so cute and the kids loved eating them.
 Pretty soon it was time to clean up the party and head off to daycare at Lynne's house for the next party.  Justin had a day of parties on Thursday.
Take care,

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Neighborhood Giving/Receiving

 Each year during the holidays, I bake cookies, bars, candy, bread, etc. for the neighbors.  Each year what I bake varies depending on how much time I have to spend on this project.  One year I baked four kinds of quick bread and cut them and passed them out to the neighbors.  This year I baked four kinds of cookies, a no-bake cookie and a pan of bars.  Then I attach our Christmas card and the kids go out delivering to the neighbors. 
Our family waits anxiously to see what goodies will be delivered to our home by the neighbors.  The trays of cookies, breads and candies then start to arrive at our house.  This is the stash we had on Christmas Day on our counter.  It all tastes very delicious and will be gone in no time.  Thanks to all our neighbors for thinking of the Leader's during the holiday season.

Take care,

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Cookie Extravaganza

 The 2nd Grade and 6th Grade were teamed up for Advent service projects this year.  They adopted three families in our parish to buy gifts for and the then they had to decorate and frost cut-out cookies for the Soup Kitchen.  A woman in our parish bakes the cookies and then the students frost and decorate.
 Every time I have a 2nd grader, I get put in charge of the cookie extravaganza event.  I have got this event down to a science with what is needed and how much of everything we need.  I send out letters to the parents and get some moms to help with the event.  This means the room moms don't have to worry about this event.
 This year I was lucky and I had both a 2nd grader and a 6th grader.  This year the students frosted and decorated between 800 and 900 cookies for the Soup Kitchen.  It takes us about an hour to set up the room, an hour to frost and decorate and about 20 minutes for clean-up.  The Soup Kitchen picks up the cookies later in the day after the frosting has had a chance to dry.
 Each student is given a plate of four cookies to start with, a plastic knife, a paper towel and one pair of plastic gloves.  The students are divided at the tables so that the older students can help the younger students.  After a student finishes a plate of cookies, they are given another plate of four cookies to frost.  Cara and Ashlin even picked to sit at the same table which made it easier to snap photos of the event.

 The finished cookies looked so pretty on the trays.  We had quite a variety of colors of frosting and many containers of sprinkles for the students to work with.  Now I will have a few years off from organizing the event until Justin reaches 2nd grade.  He will then be my last 2nd grader to complete the cookie extravaganza event.
Take care,

Thursday, December 20, 2012

A Time for Giving

Each class at Sacred Heart Elementary completes a service project during the Advent season. This is a way for the students to understand how much they have to be thankful for and how many less fortunate people there are in our community.  

Our family usually picks a few children's names off the Salvation Army tree to buy gifts for or one of the bank's has a tree with nursing home residents on it that need gifts.  But this year with all four kids in school, we donated a little more to each of their class projects to help out.

Justin's preschool class is donating money to the Good Neighbors Fund in our community.  Anyone that needs help with food, rent/utility payments, or gifts may go to this group and get help year round, not just at Christmas time.  Justin took his donation to school and put it in the money jar for these people in need.

Ashlin and Cara's grades worked together and adopted three families in our parish.  The classes will be supplying gifts for these three families.  We purchased a nice sweater for each of the mother's in these families.

Erica's grade donated pairs of children's pajamas for the Salvation Army to hand out this holiday season.  Erica took a pair of pajamas for an older child to help out.

My children have no idea what it is to go to bed hungry or cold, but they are getting old enough to realize that other children do live in this kind of situation.  Sometimes they don't want to donate and we tell them that we have the means to help in this small way for each of their these causes.  We also tell them that they should want to help others because you never know when you may need help yourself.

Take care,

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Preschool Art Projects

I can tell already that Justin is going to be a saver.  Every day he brings home papers and art projects from school and each art project has to find a spot on the refrigerator.  These are Justin's art projects that are currently on the refrigerator.  From left to right:  the Christmas tree project that he made at Lynn's house, St. Nick, and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.  We do a lot of projects in preschool, so he will make many more before his preschool year is over.

A cute story about Justin.  One day not too long ago Justin did not want to get up school.  He was tired and would not get up or get dressed.  Finally, he got up, but as he was getting dressed he said to me, "I don't want to go to school today, but I will.  You better not sign me up for Kindergarten though because I'm not going!".  I just laughed and told me that he had to go to Kindergarten next year because he would be too old for preschool.  He did not agree with me.

Take care,

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Spirit 2012

This photo came in the mail the other day from the photographer that was taking photos of guests at this year's Spirit at Norfolk Catholic Schools.  Keith and I were not going to attend the annual Spirit fundraiser for the school this year, but at the last minute decided to attend with our friends, Stan and Karen Johnson.  We had a great time as usual, but we did not purchase as much this year.  This year we purchased a VIP package sponsored by our Home & School Association, a six pack and a pound (one a month for a year) from Taco John's, and a free family session and canvas wrap from Digital Dreams Photography.

Keith and I both thought that this was a great photo of us.  We rarely get dressed up and go out just the two of us, so this truly was a rare photo of us.

Take care,