Christmas Advent Calendar

I have been wanting to make an advent calendar for a long time but couldn’t decide on the overall format: fleece, paper, pockets, booklet…then I came across a set of magnet boards. And the Echo Park Times and Seasons collection. Inspiration struck.
A magnetic, interchangeable advent calendar:
We’ll count down the days to Christmas with numbered cards that can be put up each day. The two flower magnets can be rearranged according to where the number was placed:
The actual magnet board without any of the goods:
Two magnet flowers:
The goodies: number cards, magnet flowers, and embellishment cards:

The paper made this project. I loved the colors and patterns and non-traditional red and green.


No need to tell me. I know. Our boys are very spoiled. I did some shopping. The husband did some shopping. Tyson had a very Thomas Christmas:
Jake had a puzzle, Little People Christmas:
The aftermath… toy manufacturers take security precautions to the next level. Those dang wire twisty things are no joke. My fingers were numb and my nerves frayed after unwrapping/untangling all the toys:
Tyson LOVED his Thomas set. He had been wanting (read: asking a million times for the last month for Thumper, Rocky and the boulder):

Jake’s Christmas Morning favorite was a super cool hide and seek puzzle. You lift the doors of the puzzle and there are animal magnets under each one. He loved having me move them around and then asking him to find each one:

Tyson has always loved puzzles. This Thomas set was no exception:

Then we had to wrangle the kids out the door to make the drive to Nana’s and Papa’s House. Jake was excited to pack his new pak-pak. He picked his Buzz Lightyear (which had no off switch. The was made extra special with his musings: “The universe needs our help. Let’s go. Zooooooooom.”):

The whole.entire.rain.and.traffic.filled.THREE.HOUR drive:

Despite the long drive, we all had an amazing time visiting with family. The boys were entirely too spoiled. It was a two day Christmas extravaganza. Lots of love, family, and laughter. The boys are at the perfect age to make the holiday truly magical. Their excitement, their smiles, their laughter…priceless. Pure magic.

Christmas Eve

We hosted Christmas Eve this year. The Grandma, Grandpa, Great Grandma, Uncle and Auntie made the trek out for the afternoon. Tyson was beside himself with excitement: more so for Grandma’s arrival than the impending visit from Santa Claus. After waiting so very patiently for everyone to eat, the boys ripped into their gifts. Tyson was a present opening tornado of mass paper destruction:
Jake was much more laid back about it all…
And done after the first present: a set of Handy Manny tools. Tornado Ty happily opened the rest of Jake’s gifts for him. And everyone else.

When I was little my mom used to take my brother and I to the fabric store, let us pick out our own fabric and made us each a blanket. Mine was always double stuffed because I ran cold and I still have my very loved Strawberry Shortcake blanket. This year, Jakey got his very own double stuffed blanket. I am way jealous.

Uncle D had just as much fun with the toys as the boys did:

Tyson was so in love with his new construction site set that we literally didn’t hear a peep out of him all night:

He played and played and played and played…

And eventually suckered his Uncle into a game of Candy Land. I can’t play with him anymore. He wins. All.the.time. And cheats. I can’t take it.

Jake LOVES his tools. He carries them around. Sings. Dances. Does this little move:

Dancing with his Chuck Truck:

Grandma, Uncle D, and Tanya made Santa his cookies. The boys were very spoiled. Very much loved on. And had an amazing night. Tyson and Jake each picked out a cookie for Santa and celery for the reindeer. And quickly zonked out for the night…

Turkey Crafts

A rainy Sunday + First women’s basketball game of the season = The boys and I were on our own all day = Perfect opportunity for some crafty fun. A few weeks ago, I picked up a craft kit at Michael’s and broke it out this afternoon. The boys LOVED it. It was a simple turkey making kit: paper plate, foam pieces, and you add glue. I made a quick sample for the boys:
Handed each kiddo a full set of supplies:
Washable glue from Lakeshore made this activity entirely possible. Jake was intrigued by the sparkle:

It didn’t take long for both of them to go to town:

Jake was ALLLLLLLL about the glue:


Tyson was much more particular about putting his turkey together:

He quickly figured out that dipping some pieces was faster than using the popsicle stick. Smart boy:

Turkey making machine:

I will say that the glue washed off incredibly easy and as much as I feared the clean up and mess…it wasn’t bad at all. More glue. Never enough. Apparently:

Happy boy:

Jake’s finished turkey:

And as he began his second…he decided he was done in true toddler fashion:

Tyson happily took over. One of Ty’s three finished creations:

Ty’s turkey line up:

Our finished flock:

Pumpkin Carving

The Daddy-man has been super duper busy with work so he and Ty had some special Daddy-Ty time carving pumpkins while Jake napped. Tyson was really excited and ready to go:
Daddy and Ty time:
Super excited and ready to go…until you asked him to put his hand in there. You want me to do WHAT. Ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww. Yucky, he says:

The answer: a pair of gloves. And he’s back in the game:

LOVED his little gardening gloves. Good thing, cause this Mama doesn’t garden and he’s not likely to get much other use out of them:

And then the camera battery died. No finish photo. Will have to re-stage Halloween pictures another day. They’ll never know. Right?


Tyson digging into his Christmas goodies delivered by Santa:
And playing with each toy:
After opening and playing with presents we headed out for a family coffee run. Tyson LOVES his “kids mooka” or “Tyson’s coffee”…and the girls at the coffee shop love him. They always put a little extra sticker on top or sprinkles…whatever his little heart desires:
A surprise hit of the morning- the harmonica:

Jakey’s favorite toys, he loved everything, but seemed to love his musical instruments the best:

Both boys also LOVED their name trains from their Great Auntie Susan. Isn’t it gorgeous:
*I shamelessly took advantage of every opportunity I could to use my new camera*

Enjoying his new trampoline the next morning (aka once all the other toys were cleared off of it and he realized it was even there). Note the trains in his hands…I don’t think they left his hands for at least two or three days following Christmas:

If you were to ask him what his FAVORITE toys was that he got for Christmas he’ll tell you Cranky the Crane:

I can’t wait for next year when Jake will likely be more aware of what’s going on…

Ty’s First Christmas PART 2

FUNNY STORY: Ty’s great grandma has an end table by “her chair” where she keeps the remote and all her “special” stuff. Of course, whenever we visit Ty goes right to the table and climbs on top in an effort to knock all her stuff to the ground. She is constantly telling him “no”…so, my little smarty pants walks up to her, grabs her hand, and utters “UH UH.” Hehe. Now we call her Great Grandma UH UH.

The Marathon Day aka CHRISTMAS:

Our Christmas day began at …4 am. After having been up every two hours. UGH. Christmas morning Ty played with his new toys from Santa and Mark and I packed up the cars. We had two cars and needed every inch of space. We headed to Mark’s Mom’s house where we visited and saw all of Ty’s cousins. Nana Cindy bought all the boys personalized sweatshirts…SO CUTE.

Solomon, Elijah, Nico, and Ty

Joined by Nana Cindy and Selah…

THE UGLY: It took Ty all of a minute or so to discover Nana Cindy’s beautifully decorated tree and go for the ornaments. In the blink of an eye, he had a bulb in his hands and before anyone could do anything he bit into it. It burst into a gazillion little pieces and cut the inside of his mouth- there was blood everywhere. He had little cuts on his cheek and hands. After washing his mouth out with water and letting him chew on an ice cube wrapped with a washcloth, he was quickly back in a festive mood and ready to play with his cousins. It was definitely more scary for all of the adults than for Ty…but we all learned our lesson about tree decorating for next year.

After opening presents and visiting, we drove over to Autie Phyllis’ house. It was then off to Papa G’s house for dinner and more presents. Ty managed to stay up and in good spirits until we left around 10 – 10:30. We pulled into our driveway around midnight.

A long day…but a day full of love, laughter, and family. There were a number of priceless memories made today…