Sunday, December 23, 2012

Visit to Santa (Bass Pro Winter Wonderland)

 
 

Snowman Breakfast (North Pole Breakfast)

Many folks welcome their Elf on a Shelf with a breakfast, but our family does just the opposite. We have a farewell breakfast with our Elf each Christmas Eve. 
 
I have to admit, this year I have not been as organized as in the past, so I rushed to put it all together (with a huge thanks to Pinterest!), but was still happy with results.   Here's what my kids will see when they awake tomorrow morning:
 
 
 
I found the tablecloth and napkins on clearance after Christmas last year at Walmart and held on to it!  I was just lucky to find similar paper plates at the Dollar Tree last week!
 
 
What kid doesn't love marshmallows! 
Snowman Poop printable:
 
 
Melted Snowman (Water bottle label):
The labels are made for the regular size water bottles but I only had the kid-sized bottles.
 
 
(Sad I didn't have white mugs to coordinate my table)...
Snowman Soup (aka Hot Chocolate):
 
 
And of course, breakfast is snowman donughts!...
 
Our Elf decorated the entire house with paper snowflakes! I think he's missing the snow.
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Ouch: Eyebrow wax burn (or reaction)


Yes, this is my eyebrow 20 minutes after a wax!!!  The cosmetologist said one of my skin care products is making my skin extra sensitive and thus reacting to the hot wax.  (As a note I went to a trusted spa, not a cheap nail service place)  Lovely.  I have put on aloe vera and antibiotic ontiment, and am praying for no scarring. 
Has this every happened to you??
 

 
The next morning...still red and now swollen!
 
 I will be wearing sunglasses all day to wide this!!!
 
Update:
Well I went to the dermatologists; and apparently, one of my face creams has “retinoids” in it, so I shouldn’t have used wax…who knew!?!  I am supposed to stop using the cream for seven days prior to waxing!! I had no idea.  She gave me a RX for Bionect (which is very expensive, like $200+!!), but it will give quicker healing. 
 

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Christmas at Disney's Hollywood Studios

Each December, we do a "family night" at Hollywood Studios.  We have a nice sit down dinner and then stroll through the Osborne Family Lights.  Staying with tradition, last night was our night!  It was get a warmer-than-normal night (70 degrees) but we did our best to into the Holiday spirit.
 
I had found the kids matching shirts on etsy...and we purchased the hats at Disney:
 
 
We had dinner at Sci-Fi Drive-In theater.  (Brings you back to 1957!)
It was my kids' first time there and they loved it.
 
We got to see a few Disney characters:



And then time to see the lights!

Santa Goofy is new this year!!

 
 

Friday, November 23, 2012

Gus the Elf Arrived - with huge surprises!

Our "elf on the shelf" Gus arrived on Thanksgiving morning with a huge surprise, a 40" HD Samsung TV!  (I don't have a media center yet, so had to put it on an old cedar chest!! ha)...
 
 
Here's our silly elf! 
 
And on morning two, we all got new pajamas!
 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

40th Birthday Celebration

Hubby and I met a several friends on Saturday night for my 40th Birthday Celebration.  We had a blast, and I appreciate all who showed up!!  I still can't believe I am turning 40 this weekend! wow.


Friday, November 16, 2012

Anyone else want to pass on Thanksgiving this year?

Bah humbug!  I am over Thanksgiving this year.  Usually, it's my favorite time of year, but our plans keep changing over and over, and I am just...well, kind of over it. 


You see, each year we usually travel to see my parents in Louisiana, but that changed last year, when my kids started school.  My kids only get 3 days off school, and it's just such a LONG trip for only 5 days.  So last year, my parents came to see us in Florida.  It was nice.

So on to this year.... 

Plan A. My parents promised to come back this year, but at the last minute their plans changed.

Plan B.  A friend and her family (including 3 kids) were coming over.  I had crafts planned, and was looking forward to visiting with them. However, they decided to go out of town to see her parents.

Plan C.  Mother in law and two sister in laws coming over.  And a person actually offered to deep fry our turkey.  Great, sounds perfect.  Well, that only lasted a few days.  Now, one sister in law is heading out of town, and my turkey fryer is going out of town as well.

Seriously, I don't even want to celebrate this year.  I don't even like turkey anyways.  Sorry to be such a downer, when I should be thankful...but I am just sad that everyone keeps changing their plans...and deep down, I really just want to be in Louisiana with my folks!  

Thursday, November 15, 2012

I LOVE Curious George, and had to share this research!

NEW CONCORD EVALUATION GROUP STUDY FINDS THAT CURIOUS GEORGE EPISODES AND TV TIE-IN BOOKS LEAD TO SIGNIFICANT GAINS IN SCIENCE AND MATH SCORES FOR KIDS 4-5
 
 
 
Report also shows that parents who read or watched CURIOUS GEORGE with their kids became more confident about supporting their children's science and math learning
 
(Concord, MA, November 14, 2012) A new study conducted by the New England-based Concord Evaluation Group (CEG) has determined that children who watched episodes of the Curious George PBS KIDS television series or read books based on the Curious George PBS KIDS series were positively impacted in terms of their knowledge about the science and math concepts covered.

The study also found that Curious George TV tie-in books prompted children to use scientific habits of mind, such as making predictions, making observations, asking questions, and hypothesizing. It also indicated that parents who read or watched Curious George with their children reported feeling more confident about exploring science and math with their children and reported they were more motivated to do so.

"Science, math, and engineering sound scary, even to adults," said CEG Senior Researcher Christine Paulsen, PHD. "As preschoolers, it's a very different thing. They're learning how to explore, they're learning how to be curious. Across all platforms, Curious George is an educational winner for kids."

The long-running, top-rated PBS KIDS television series, which airs weekdays on PBS stations across the country (check local listings), is designed to inspire kids to explore science, math, and engineering in the world around them in a fun and entertaining way. Based on the best-selling books published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, the TV series and tie-in books encourage inquiry and curiosity, promote hands-on exploration, and show parents and caregivers how to support children's science, engineering, and math-related play.

STUDY METHODOLOGY:
CEG's study employed the use of a rigorous, experimental research design to evaluate the impact of the Curious George TV tie-in books on children's (ages 4-5) knowledge of science and math concepts such as measurement, hibernation, colors, and weather. CEG also studied the impact of the Curious George television episodes on children's knowledge of buoyancy, sound, sorting, and plant life. Content for the book group and television group differed, so no comparisons can be made between how the two groups performed.
Families were recruited from preschools across the country and eligible families were randomly assigned to one of two treatment groups or a control group. Study participants included 155 families representing 31 different states. Families received books and/or episodes on DVD for their participation. Families across the treatment and control groups were equivalent in terms of the children's age, gender, ethnicity, household socioeconomic status, parent education, prior exposure to Curious George, family interest in science and math activities, and children's curiosity about science and math.

KEY STUDY FINDINGS:
  • Children who watched the Curious George episodes and read the Curious George TV tie-in books scored significantly higher on science and math concepts covered.
  • The study found that children who watched the Curious George episodes scored better on a test of the science and math concepts covered (i.e., buoyancy, sound, sorting, and plant life) than children who did not watch the episodes. Children who read the Curious George TV tie-in books also scored better on a test of the science and math concepts covered in the books (i.e., measurement, hibernation, colors, and weather) than children who did not read the books.
  • Curious George enabled parents to become more comfortable helping their children learn science and math.
  • The majority of parents whose children watched the episodes (86%) or read the TV tie-in books (84%) reported that Curious George helped them feel more confident that they could help their children learn about science and math.
To access the complete study findings online, including an executive summary, please visit pbskids.org/curiousgeorge/research

About the Concord Evaluation Group (CEG)
Concord Evaluation Group (CEG) is a small, woman-owned, consulting practice based in MA providing independent research and evaluation services to organizations that create educational TV shows, outreach campaigns, curricula, informational websites, and educational technology applications. CEG's mission is to use its research expertise to have a positive impact on individuals and society. CEG routinely evaluates projects funded by the National Science Foundation and the Department of Education as well as state education agencies and private organizations.
Curious George and related characters, created by Margret and H.A. Rey are copyrighted and trademarked by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and used under license. Licensed by Universal Studios Licensing LLP. Television series: ©2012. Universal Studios. All Rights Reserved.
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Apparently, I'm Pregnant

Well, apparently I'm pregnant.  My sweet 7-year old daughter had nothing to share during prayer time at school this week, so decided to announce, "My mama is having a baby!". 

She knew it was not true, and decided to tell me after school.  However, it was too late.  Classmates had already gone home and told their parents, and the rumor mill had begun. 

Pretty funny, in hindsight.  I did make my daughter apologize to the teacher, and I think she learned an (embarrassing) lesson on telling lies.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Crhistmas Sweepstakes: $500 gift card

 
The "Be the Hands and Feet of Jesus" Christmas Sweepstakes is an opportunity for constituents to promote Operation Christmas Child to their friends and also win a $500.00 gift card plus Focus on the Family resources for their family, and name another family to receive the same Christmas blessing (gift card + resources). 
 

Monday, November 12, 2012

My Skin is going NUTS right now: Rosacea or Acne??

derma e Tea Tree & E Antiseptic CremeAbout two weeks ago, my face started breaking out with little tiny whiteheads.  I would wake up to find 10 on my chin, and now it's gotten worst.  I wake up to about 30 tiny white pus-filled pimples on my face everyday. Yes, gross, I KNOW!  (I haven't changed any facial cleaners, makeup, detergent, hairspray, etc).  My husband also noticed that my neck and chest constantly looked red and sunburned.

I went to my primary care doctor who said it was probably a bacterial acne, and he prescribed Tetracyclicne antibiotics.  But they gave me heart palpitations/flutters, so I only took them for 4 days.

I am not sure if I have adult acne (maybe hormonal), Rosacea, or an allergic rash! I have been searching online to self-dx but can't seem to find an exact answer.  (And I can't see dermatologist for another two weeks!) I did get some relief from Hydro-Cortisone cream over the weekend, but I know I can't use that long term, so this morning I ran to Whole Foods and found this great homeopathic cream, derma e's Tea Tree and E Antiseptic Creme

Immediately out of the store, I put some on my chest and neck...and WOW, it's so soothing and my skin is looking better already.  The only downside is that for the first few minutes, I smelled like a medicine chest (ha). 

Anyhow, I am pleased to find something "natural" and sure hope it continues to give me relief! I had not heard of this brand (Derma e) but definitely plan to buy more of their products.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Sneak Peek of the New Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom

We were so fortunate today to be able to attend a "dress rehersal" at Disney World's New Fantasyland. This is a great new area for Belle and Arial. (It doesn't officially open until December 9th, I believe).

The new "Be Our Guest Restaurant"  - but good luck trying to get reservation as they are filled up for months, but the menu looks devine!

 Gaston's Tavern
 
Gaston and my son showing their muscles!
 
Unfortunately my camera battery died right before entering "Enchanted Tales with Belle" but the kids really enjoyed the interactive story time.
 
 
Outside of "Under the Sea" - Little Mermaid New Ride

The seats are "clam shells" (similar to the NEMO ride seats at EPCOT)

 The end of the ride/last scene...the ride is SO CUTE, great music, just FUN all around.
 
Arial's Grotto - photo time

 
It's just beautiful - and MAGICAL - in the new area. My kids loved it. 
I can't wait to go back again soon. 

New "Circus Theme" Characters at Magic Kingdom

My kids were off school today so we hit Magic Kingdom.  We were able to do several NEW things today, including a visit to "Pete's Silly Slideshow".  Basically four of Mickey's best friends--Donald, Goofy, Daisy and Minnie--are dressed up in magical costumes. Very cute. 
 
Donald Duck

Daisy Duck

Minnie Mouse

And Goofy!

Monday, November 05, 2012

JCP continues to amaze me; Shoes for 25-cents!

Hubby needed some new dress shoes for work, so we headed to JCPenney.  While there I noticed a clearance rack of men's shoes.  There was a great pair of brown leather sandals in my hubby's size on sale for $12.00 (orginally $25).  When the sales clerk scanned the price they rang up for $0.25.  Yes, a quarter.  She said to me, "I have seen shoes ring up for a $1 before but never a quarter!"

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The new VeggieTales movie: The League of Incredible Vegetables

Focus on the Family and VeggieTales have teamed up to bring you an incredible collection of free goodies!

Included are: a discussion guide for the new VeggieTales movie-The League of Incredible Vegetables and fun activities from PluggedIn.com, a music video from the Newsboys, a download of an episode of Adventures in Odyssey, and much more!


Focus on the Family provided me with a free copy of the new DVD for my kids to watch and for me to review.  I was worried my kids would think it was too slow or too "babyish" for them (they are 5 and 7)...but to my surprise they LOVE it and have watched it over and over!!  (I love a movie that holds my kids attention!)  They loved the storylines, the characters (Larry Boy) and the lesson on fear.  And the music, by Newsboys, is catchy too!  Check out this web site for more fun: http://veggietales.com/league/.  (We have since passed the DVD on to my son's Kindergarten teacher as she plans to share it with the entire class this month!)

Read more here or order your copy here: https://focusonthefamily.webconnex.com/veggietales?refcd=128002&refcd=107403&FromSite=FOCUSFB

 
 
 

Miniature Golf at Disney: Winter Summerland Miniature Golf Course

I have lived in the Orlando-area for over 16 years, and ya'll know I go to Disney World all the time.  But, I have never gone there to play miniature golf.  This was a first for us!  And I can't wait to go again.

We played on the Winter Summerland Miniature Golf Course, located near Blizzard Beach.  We had our choice of playing on the sand course or the snow course.  We chose the snow (Winter) course.  The course was  cutely decorated, and there are some surprises along the way.  And, of course, lots of great Christmas music!






Because I know someone will ask....prices are $12.00 per 18-hole round for adults, and $10.00 for children 3 to 9 years of age. Learn more HERE.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A twist on Halloween cookies: Halloween Cookie Pizza

Halloween Cookie Pizza






Here's my version...I added a layer of chocolate frosting on top
of the peanut butter, yummo:

 

I found this great idea today on Pillsbury.com-- it's a Halloween Cookie Pizza!! yummo.

I think it's a great alternative to cut-out Halloween cookies. My kids and I plan to make it this weekend.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Review: Kidz Bop Christmas

Do you know that my son LOVES the Kidz Bop CDs?  He owns several of them, and even listens to the "Kidz Bop" channel on Pandora.  Guess what Santa brought a few weeks early this year?... Yup, the new Kidz Bop Christmas! 

Description: http://razorandtiepublicity.com/KBxmas/images/KBxmas_01.jpg
Description: http://razorandtiepublicity.com/KBxmas/images/KBxmas_02.jpg

This CD has wonderful classic Holiday songs with a bit of a pop twist, but not "overly pop" like the other Kidz Bop CDs.  It's a nice mix for the entire family to enjoy.  My son enjoys that the songs are song by kids for kids. 

There are a couple of songs that are new to my 5-year old son (like Mistletoe and Holly & Christmas Wrapping), and I liked that!  It gives him something new to learn.  (And let's admit it, the 24-hour Christmas station plays the same songs over and over and over, so something new is always welcome in my house!)

And personally, I was glad to hear Auld Lang Syne on the newest CD.  I have always wanted to learn more words to that one!!

Overall: My 5- year old son has already listened to the entire CD twice, and it only arrived two hours ago.