Sunday, December 31, 2023

2023 Elf Recap

I'm sneaking in one last post for 2023!  I realized I never finished up elf series for the year.  My kids love our elves so much.  It's become one of their favorite holiday traditions.  I always ask them after Christmas if they think the elves should return next year and without any hesitation they say YES!  So I'll be collecting elf activities all year to use next December.

The kids loved having elf pets to take care of for a few days!  I found these Barbie pets at Dollar Tree for $1.25 and was so glad I didn't buy the elf on the shelf pets for $20 each.

Elf kisses!  This one was really fun to set up.  

Elf Story Time.  I grabbed some Christmas stuffed animals and Christmas books that we already owned and set this up in Olive's room.  The kids loved it.

Surprise Christmas Road Trip to Santa Claus, Indiana.  We had the best day with my parents and the kids have already asked to do this again next year.

Jesus is the reason for the season.  My friend was selling paintable sugar cookies for Christmas so I grabbed some nativity cookies for the kids.  They really enjoyed painting them and said they preferred mom's cookies over the royal icing cookies.

Mini rubber duck hunt!  This was a huge hit!!  Everyone was so excited to hunt for these tiny ducks.  I kept them all downstairs to keep things a little simpler and they loved it.  They found and rehid ducks all day long.  Then they played with the ducks, sorted the ducks and counted the ducks.  I'll be repeating this next year and maybe will hide them upstairs :)

Naughty or Nice?  While we don't really focus much on the idea of the naughty or nice list from Santa, these naughty and nice candies were fun.  The sour patch coal was delicious and my kids love tic tacs.  Five Below candy for the win.

Let's have some FUN and craft today!  We made ornaments and played with stickers.

My Croc loving kids LOVED finding this in their bath tub!  We made plans to go to the zoo with friends and had a blast.  The animals were busy on the cold day.

It's MOVIE NIGHT - Let's go see WONKA!  The big kids got invited to a birthday party so I used the elves to remind them of our fun plans.  I used candy we already had for Christmas and plans we'd already made.  We had a great time and loved Wonka.

It's COOKIE DAY!  Help Mom make Christmas cookies on Christmas Eve.  I rarely make cut out sugar cookies and this was such a treat.  It was a tiny bit stressful baking with so many little hands, but it was worth it.  The kids were so proud of their cookie creations.  I think this might just stick around as a Christmas Eve tradition.  I was done baking for Jordan Bakery Box so the timing was perfect for the 24th.

And then our elves left a note thanking the kids for a fun Christmas season - reminded them to be kind, be helpful, be good listeners and be generous.  They said they were headed back to The North Pole and would be back next year.

2023 was another great elf year!

Friday, December 29, 2023

Christmas Highlights

Happy Friday, friends!  I hope you had a wonderful Christmas with the people you love.  I wanted to squeeze in a Christmas recap before the end of the year.  We had a really nice Christmas.  We saw almost all of our favorite people and ate a lot of good food.  The kids loved their gifts and we loved all the extra family time.

The best parts of our Christmas were:

1. Christmas Eve

We got all dressed up and headed to our church's candlelight Christmas Eve service.  The big kids loved the real candles and Leo will be sticking with a flashlight candle for several more years.  We spent Christmas Eve with Kevin's family and had a great time.

Olive and I love dressing festive for any occasion.

Kevin and I were happy to celebrate getting engaged 20 years ago on Christmas Eve.

2. Sugar Cookies
Our elves invited the kids to bake Christmas cookies with mom and we had the best time.  It was a tiny bit stressful to bake with so many helpers, but we got it done.  Our cookies turned out so cute!!  They were delicious!  The kids were so proud of their pretty cookies.  I rarely go to the trouble of making cut out sugar cookies, but this might be a Christmas Eve tradition for us.

3. Christmas morning!
The big kids were up bright and early and we woke up Leo at 7:30 to open gifts.  He wasn't thrilled about that, but he warmed up quickly to the idea of opening gifts.  Santa came!  Stockings were full of fun things and everyone loved their gifts.  Kevin surprised me with jewelry and we were happy to wake up at home on Christmas.

We surprised the kids with a ping pong table.  Leo calls it a bing bong table and makes us all laugh.  It's portable so I'm not sure where it'll land.  Maybe in the family room up stairs, maybe in the garage, maybe on the patio when we have company or maybe all of the above.

The Christmas morning mess + iced coffee.

4. Christmas sickness
Would it even be Christmas if you weren't worried about germs and keeping kids healthy?  We had a mix of ear aches, sore throats, stomach troubles and fevers.  Thankfully they were all short lived and I enjoyed some extra snuggles.

5. Wonka
We went to a movie birthday party to see Wonka with friends.  We loved it!  Who wouldn't love popcorn, drinks, candy and recliners with friends!?  The Wonka movie was good.  I'm a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory super fan so I was extra excited to see it.  The movie is very different from the other two.  It's the story from Willy's perspective.  It's very unique and we enjoyed it.

6. Christmas Breakfast with friends
I hosted some of our favorite friends for Christmas breakfast.  The kids had a blast playing together and we all loved our gifts.

7. Zoo Day
We met some of our friends at the zoo one morning.  The animals were out and active and many seemed to love the cold.  The penguins and otters were very excited to be out and about.  We rode the carousel and loved our cold zoo day.  It was our first zoo trip without a stroller.  I missed having a spot to hold all our stuff.

8. Christmas Cookies
I baked a lot for customers this month so it was fun to do some family baking right at Christmas time.  I love showing up at gatherings with a plate of Christmas cookies.

Kevin's Nana feels the same way about Christmas cookies.  We went to her house for lunch on Christmas.  She makes a fun assortment of Springerle cookies, sugar cookies, fruit cake cookies, butter cookies, caramel corn and more.  Nana is in her upper 80s and is still one of the best hostesses I know.

9. Christmas Cousins
We headed to my parent's house for Christmas dinner.  The cousins exchanged gifts and the adults did a fun gift exchange.  The kids played and we ate some really yummy food.

12. Olive got a really fun bubble rocket!  They've had so much fun blowing bubbles.

13. Fletcher's best cousin buddy turned 10!  They had a lot of fun playing together over break.

14. Christmas Presents
Look at this cute ornament a friend sent me!  It's got the whole family in it!

We've got a few more days of Christmas break and we're in no hurry to head back to school.  We are going to try to squeeze in as many fun things as possible.  I'll see you back here next week.

Linking up with Momfessionals

Friday, December 22, 2023

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday, friends!  We've been in Christmas Break mode over here since the kids have been done with school since the 15th.  I baked a ton and we had a good week with family and friends.  

Did you catch my blog posts this week?

A Trip to Santa Claus, IN

Christmas House Tour

2023 Family Pictures & Our Christmas Card Shot

Here are the highlights of our week:

1. Record Week

When I say that I spent a ton of time baking, I'm not kidding.  It was a record baking week for Jordan Bakery Box.  I baked about 50 dozen cookies for orders this week.  It was a really fun challenge and I'm proud to have it behind me.  I have a few more orders to finish up the year, but it was awesome to finish the year BIG.

2. Dinner & A Game

We met family for dinner at our favorite pizza spot and then the boys headed to a basketball game.  The pizza was delicious.  We had a good time.  And Fletcher enjoyed the one on one time with Kevin.

3. Elf Work

Our elves have been busy.  They brought crafts and treats to finish up the week.  The kids all made cute angel ornaments for out tree and we used their Christmas card picture for the angel faces.

4. Kitty cuddles

It was chilly all week so we had out the blankets.  The cats were thrilled.

5. Winter sunsets

6. Lots of playing outside with friends

7. Neighbor gifts

The kids helped me deliver neighbor treats and cards.  I baked chocolate chip cookie bars and made them chocolate covered pretzels.

A neighbor delivered us a loaf of homemade bread and cinnamon butter!  It was so good.  I love a delicious Christmas gift made with love.

8. S'more Station

We set up a s'more station and Kevin helped the kids make a snack.

9. We played games!

10.  Our cute cousin Addison turned 17!

She had a pancakes and pajamas party.  Everything was yummy and Leo LOVED helping her open gifts.  He was so cute and so animated. 

11. We watched a lot of Christmas movies!

We really enjoyed Family Switch, The Grinch, Home Alone 1 & 2 and a few others.  Along with tons of snacks.

12. Christmas with Friends

We had some fun Christmas celebrations with friends.  I loved how this gift came together.  We got our friends gifts and these ornaments seemed perfect for them.  Sams paper and ribbon for the win.  I love to stock up on cute ornaments when I can find them on clearance and then save them for gift toppers the next year.

I hope you've had a good week and that you have a very Merry Christmas!  I'm not sure when I'll be checking back in after Christmas so hope to talk to you soon :)

Linking up with Momfessionals