New Year-New Me?

12/31/2011 08:00:00 PM Posted by mommy2twincesses

Here it is New Year's Eve and I can't stop wondering where in the heck 2011 went. The old saying goes, "time flies when you're having fun", so I must be having more fun than I even realize.

Though I'm not usually a fan of the whole New Year's resolution hoop-la, mainly because I have enough time sticking to something for a week much less an entire year so why bother. However, I've decided that perhaps it's time to give a shot. I just had to figure out a way to keep myself acountable-check out my handy little paper chain that not only made a perfectly simple toddler paper craft, but also serves as a visual reminder of what I hope to accomplish.

My list isn't purely resolutions, some is more what I'd call wishes, but nevertheless, this is what I hope 2012 will bring me:

1. Slow down, spend more quality time. (This goes for everyone and everything I enjoy doing. So many times I find myself too preoccupied to really enjoy individual moments. Whether I'm busy taking pictures or just running through my to-do list in my head, I want to learn to slow down and truly savor my time.)

2. Become more involved at church. (This one seems easy enough especially since we're currently discussing revamping the Sunday School program to rotate teachers and I've signed up for that!)

3. Go on a Disney Cruise. (See, I told you some were more wishes :oP I actually did clue DH in on this one tonight and he definitely didn't seem against the idea so *shrugs* we'll see!)

4. Fit comfortably in a size 8 no matter the brand or size. (Sure, I could set myself up a number goal or promise myself to go to the gym X amount of times per week, but that would be setting myself up for failure. An 8 is what a FEW of my jeans are currently but I'm pretty sure they're just "made big". I want to be healthy. I'm a mom of twins. I *think* I have finally faced the music that I'm not getting my teenage body back no matter what I do so I just need to learn to love myself regardless.

5. Get on the road to publishing. (This one is a bit tricky too since I basically know squat about the professional writing world. What I do know is that writing has been something I've enjoyed as far back as I can recall and I've finally realized that no matter what life throws at me, no matter how old or busy I get, I still have a passion for writing. I'm pretty sure it's one of the things I was put here to do.)

6. Get my home, life, and "school" organized. (This totes quite a heavy note too :/ But no matter what, I am and will continue to take steps to get things in true order.)

7. Learn more about photography. (I like learning. I like taking pictures. I figure it just makes sense to study a bit to find out how to maximize my skill.)

There you have it. That's it. These are my grand plans for 2012! Hopefully by this time next year there will be nothing left of my paper chain :o)

Lovable Elf on the Shelf Ideas

12/16/2011 08:31:00 PM Posted by mommy2twincesses

We LOVE, LOVE, LOVE our "Elf on the Shelf", Herbie. My sweet MIL bought him last year for the girls and though I sat him out they weren't really old enough to get into or understand the whole thing. But this year?! That's a whole different story! They LOVE Herbie and are so excited to find him in the mornings!

I have browsed several sites, stalked plenty of friends with elves, and came up with ideas of my own to compile a pretty hefty list of great "Elf on the Shelf" ideas.

I love my kids and all the excitement that comes with the elf but I am a far too busy mom to be dishing out major elf messes for me to clean up, nor do I have tons of time to set up/carry out ellaborate schemes, so if you're looking for over the top, look elsewhere. These are simple but cute, down to earth, and doable ideas for your elf.

Before I share my list with you, let me share a little background info about how things generally work around here with the elf.

First off, (in case you don't have the book) our elf comes for the first time the night of Thanksgiving. This year I just sat him out in plain sight for them to see when they got out of their bath. Since they can't read yet it didn't cross my mind to write a note saying how much he missed them and how happy he was to be back or anything, but I saw where a friend of mine did that and it was cute, so I WILL be stealing that for next year and it also inspired me to write notes from our elf here and there-when needed.

Secondly, our elf doesn't do something grand every single night, plus it wouldn't take long to run out of ideas and energy if you did it big every single night. In fact, our elf is a pretty mellow guy at first, and gradually starts getting trickier as it gets closer and closer to the big day. The actual 7 days of Christmas week, he'll go nuts! That's when I'll pull out the big guns (as big as my messaphobia guns get)! And, if I can tie him into our day's planned activities than I'll do that-for instance one day he was lying across the top of my rearview mirror because we would be in the car for the better part of the day just running errands and such. He also is a great avenue for giving small stocking type gifts (see #4).

Thirdly, our elf isn't usually exactly hidden. I tend to leave him in about the same spot, just maybe doing something silly. My reason is that they just can't stand not to touch him if they can, so I've found sitting him on the kitchen counter eliminates this issue. Because he is often in the same vicinity, I've decided that before he comes out next year I'll come up with an "elf door" of some kind to put on the counter to better explain why he is so often there.

Okay, enough suspense already! Here are my favorite Elf on the Shelf ideas (thus far):

1. Set up a set of dominos in a simple pattern to be knocked over-the dominos would keep little ones busy for a while and are great to use in homeschool math (think counting dots, matching numbers, addition/subtraction, etc.)
2. In the shower/bathroom with a message written in steam on the mirror for them to discover at bath/shower time
3. Crepe paper barricade on the bedroom door and have elf sitting somewhere noticable on the left over roll
4. On tub with a message written in tub paint/crayon (bath crayons make a GREAT stocking stuffer so if your little one doesn't have them or is in need of new ones this would be a fun way to give them)
5. Toilet paper the Christmas tree (you don't have to waste the whole roll-a little bab will do ya and get the funny point across)
6. In the candy bowl with a couple empty wrappers lying about and chocolate smeared on his face
7. Eating milk and cookies
8. Lay out clothes for the next day (or jammies if they find him at night) mismatched or the wrong size
9. Leave a message on a snow covered car window or with window paint in cases where snow isn't present
10. Make the beginnings of a paper chain-this would be a fun way to lead into a craft for the day
11. Hang family undies on the tree or in place of stockings
12. Hang from a chandelier or ceiling fan (I think being tangled in a parachute (think little plastic toy parachuting man style) would be adorable
13. Draw silly faces/mustaches on framed photos with a dry erase marker
14. Sitting in a toy car and have a small "race track" laid out in masking tape
15. Playing a board/card game with other toy friends
16. Having a tea party with other toy friends
17. Reading a book, newspaper, magazine, digital reader, etc.
18. Listening to music (think on radio or with headphones on)
19. Playing video games
20. Drawing/coloring/painting
21. Spell out a silly message such as "Elves Rule" or "Good Morning" in gold fish crackers, cereal, whatever you have handy
22. Build a block tower (Ours did this already because the girls left them out the night before.They couldn't have them back all day because we CAN'T touch our elf or he will lose his magic. Needless to say they've been more mindful of picking up before bed!)
23. Leave something silly in their shoes (rocks, bouncy balls, toilet paper, etc.) and the elf close by
24. Hide one shoe of every member of the family and find the elf with the pile of missing shoes
25. Plant "magic seeds". Follow water directions your elf leaves you and within a day or two secretly replace them with goodies that "grew" from the seeds! This one buys you a couple of SUPER easy days-just give new directions of what to do to your "plant". Or perhaps this would be good for if you were going out of town-let the kids do the seed planting and you replace them with goodies (think suckers) after everyone is in the car
26.  If you're planning on making cookies find your elf making a "snow angel" in sugar (flour is MUCH more difficult to clean up and get off your elf)
27. Make reindeer food-find the elf with directions and/or a "please do NOT (with the NOT crossed out) feed the animals" sign
28. Add a few drops of food coloring to the potty and tell the kids that is what color elves pee
29. Add a few drops of food coloring to the milk and leave the elf in the fridge close by
30. Take a few silly pictures of the elf, print them out, and leave them with a toy camera
31. Building marshmallow snowmen in the pantry
32. Sitting by coffee pot enjoying elf donuts "aka Cheerios"
33. Sitting atop a paper airplane-another fun craft for the day
34. In the car and let Christmas music BLARE when you start the ignition
35. Playing sick with a thermometer under his arm, medicine (aka candy) scattered about, tissues, etc. and maybe a note saying how he caught the cold the family has
36. Playing doctor for a sick member of the family
37. With a note of all the wonderful things he loves about your darling
38. Play pranks on mom and dad (hide keys, brush, put bows in their hair or maybe even write a silly note on their forehead-think of how hilarious this would be to a child old enough to read! of course the parent(s) would pretend not to know until the child pointed it out had a good laugh about it)
39. Do ANY noticable chore
40. Hiding in the cabinet under a clear glass with a ribbon leading to him and a "naughty gram" reporting soemthing extremely naughty they did the day before
41. Fishing-in toilet, sink, tub, toy fish bowl (I borrowed one where the magnetic fish swim around)
42. Add something silly to the child's homework (okay this with their teacher first)
43. Making a phone call with a toy phone
44. Drinking sryup through a straw-let this lead to pancakes/waffles/french toast for breakfast
45. Paint on red Rudolph noses while sleeping (mom and dad's noses would be fine if you're afraid your little may wake up)
46. On a "date" with Barbie
47. Playing dress up (mom's makeup/jewlery or any doll accessory)
48. Watch movie with popcorn and remote control
49. Napping on a Kleenex box (one folded as a pillow and one for a blanket)
50. Holding tickets to something fun like a movie or bowling
51. Make a small mess with toothpaste
52. Covered in holiday stickers and leave a sheet for each child
53. Decorating with candy canes
54. Wrap gifts and make it appear that your elf did it-leave some safety scissors, tape, and a few shreds of paper around him
55. Cut out pictures from magazines to create the elf's "wish list"
56. Short sheet the beds and leave elf in bedroom
57. Hang from mistletoe and scatter Hershey's kisses on the floor
58. Hang wet undergarments outside or place them in the freezer
59. Roasting marshmallows over a candle/stove burner/near fireplace-make s'mores
60. Leave candy coal for naughty behavior
61. Fly from doorway/ceiling like Super Elf
62. Leave a message in the snow with "snow paint" (colored Koolaid in spray bottles) and leave the paint for the children to play with later
63. Pin a fluffy bunny tail on the bottom of everyone's pj's in the night (cotton balls will work)
64. Scatter some cookie cutters around and leave the recipe for salt dough and make ornaments
65. Make a big Naughty/Nice list with names of people you know, make sure your child's name is movable
66. Make it "snow" inside by hanging lots of paper snowflakes and spraying the window sills with spray snow (another craft!)
67. Put jingle bells on the kids' shoes
68. Find the elf with a bowl of popcorn, needle, and thread and the beginnings of popcorn garland (yet another craft)
69. Hanging out in the freezer with a toy ice cream cone with real ice cream/frozen yogurt for dessert
70. Displaying a "______ more days 'til Christmas!" banner

Christmas at Opryland was Shrektacular!

12/10/2011 06:59:00 PM Posted by mommy2twincesses

We made it back from our family winter vacation to Gaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville, TN. We had a fantastic time and will definitely be going back at some point in the future.

Opryland is just gorgeous and there is so much to see and do. It is perfectly family friendly and was just all around a pleasure.

I think the highlight of the trip for all of us was the "Ice!" exhibit featuring the story line from Merry Madagascar. It was not only breathtakingly cold (a bone chilling 9 degrees) but even more so beautiful. We were literally in awe of the sculptures and to put the icing on this already sweet cake, the tour ended with ice slides! Yes, you read that right, SLIDES made out of ICE!

The girls enjoyed seeing all the characters (Shrek, Fiona, Po, Puss in Boots, Alex, and the rest of the gang), from a distance that is. They were terrified if we got too close, but always insisted that they were ready to see them again as soon as they were out of sight.

The culinary highlight was by far lunch on the day of our departure. We met the girls' great grandparents for lunch at a picturesque southern plantation style home turned restaurant called Monell's at the Manor. The service was only topped by the mouthwatering southern fare. We're talking the works here people-fried chicken and catfish, homemade biscuits and cornbread, white beans, turnip greens, corn pudding, German potato salad, chicken salad, fried green tomatoes, and banana pudding for dessert! This meal was seriously heavenly!

For our first real family vacation I'd say it went extremely well! That's a good thing too since DH and I both love to travel and plan on giving the girls experiences like this instead of material things that eventually wear out or get broken.

Another Swing at a Fitness Challenge

12/05/2011 08:14:00 PM Posted by mommy2twincesses

I would apologize before hand for the failure that I have become so known for at this kind of thing, but I'm not. This time, I'm on the FOR REAL! I will not only lose the extra poundage, but this time I WILL keep it off!

Morgalina, over on the WTE site, has issued a brand new Fitness Challenge open to anyone who would like to participate. She is posting suggested workout routines and all sorts of helpful hints.

I have blogged about journeys like this before on Twins! A Mother's Joy and Insanity Doubled, and though I do great while actively engaged in the challenge, I tend to fall off the band wagon shortly after. It's terribly disheartening :o(

I just can't seem to get it through my thick head that I no longer have the metabolism or something I had before having the girls. Before pregnancy I was that girl who could eat whatever she wanted and didn't seem to gain weight.

Now, I've always been athletically built, so I've never been a bean pole by any stretch of the imagination, but I was always had a really nice figure-bikini worthy.

My trouble seems to lie in the "stick with it" part, so I've decided that fad diets and extreme measures of any kind are not for me. I need something I can stick with forever and ever amen.

That's where this new little list comes in. I've started compiling a list of small alterations to make into daily habits that I HOPE will solve my problem once and for all.

For starters, this is my plan (I will probably add new things as time rocks on and all of these things are second nature):
1. have a glass of water before eating-every single time
2. No calorie or real sugar drinks-stick to water, splenda tea, diet sodas (no more than 1 per day), and Crystal Light
3. Have milk only for breakfast (I do this 90% of the time any way. I'm just not normally hungry in the mornings anymore.)
4. Exercise REGULARLY (this I'm having to force at the moment and not doing so great at it :/)
5. Only have bread ONCE per day. (I'm a total breadaholic! I could make an entire meal off of bread-SOOO bad for my thighs!)
6. Nothing but water after 6:30pm. (I had gotten in the habit of eating something sweet after the girls went to bed. That can NOT be helping things!)

So, there you have it. I'm committed. I'm starting right now (which kind of actually stinks since we're about to go on a little Christmas mini-vacation and one of my mottos USED to be "calories don't count on vacation, the weekends, or celebrations).

If you're interested in joining just fall right in! The more the merrier :o)

What Carol Burnett and I Have in Common-3FT

12/01/2011 06:46:00 PM Posted by mommy2twincesses

Three things I do on December 1st (traditionally or just for today): I a wierdo? I have no “December 1st” traditions. Instead today was rather ho-hum. We only left the house to have lunch with DH at a new little cafe a few towns away. The highlight of that was that he won the girls THREE stuffed animals out of one of those quarter toy machines with ONE quarter! LMBO, our exciting life :oP Then he won two more! Yes, we left there with 5 new toys in tow *eye roll*

Three “blessings” I’m grateful I do NOT have: 1. More children.  2. A call to scary ministry like leaving the country or something. 3. I’m drawing a blank now. I had the thought to go cheat off someone else’s paper, like maybe Hanging by a Silver Lining’s (she creates these nifty questionnaires BTW), but the “good girl” in me won’t allow it :oP

Three things I spend waaay too much time doing: 1. I’m a total Pinterest addict. Is there a support group for that?! 2. Making lists. It’s seriously out of control. My lists HAVE lists. No wonder I never feel like I get anything done. 3. Eating. Actually, I don’t think I spend too much time, just way too many calories. Dang sweet tooth! Go swell somebody else up :o(

Three things that Carol Burnett and I have in common: 1. We both know what it’s like to “dripping with little girls”. 2. We both can only half sing, but clearly enjoy it enormously. 3. Both of us dreamed of having a twin sister when we were little. I actually got twins to keep for always, IDT she got that lucky ;)

Three fads I find absolutely 100% ridiculous: 1. Skinny jeans on guys. It’s really not cute. What next? Dudes in bras? Skirts? This whole “equality” thing is really getting out of hand. 2. Big humongous bug-eye glasses. NOBODY’S eyes are THAT big! You look like flies. Take them off! 3. The whole over-the-top green/hug the earth/protect myself and my children to the point of bubble wrapping our bodies..........okay, that was a bit much, but seriously, we’re all gonna go one day or another. Science changes its mind daily. In my opinion the stress of worrying over every little thing is probably more damaging than the faint trace of whatever “they” found on my store bought produce.

First Snow of Winter 2011

12/01/2011 05:57:00 PM Posted by mommy2twincesses

This snowball's for you!