Tis the Season

Suddenly, it seems, December is upon us. Yesterday, we woke up to snowflakes and MaM exclaimed, as only she can,”This is the best day ever! God made it snow!” It was really pretty, and there is nothing better than watching kids catch the first snowflakes of the season on their tongues. Junior even wore his boots, which is a big deal because he typically only wears his Cars shoes.

Last Wednesday, I wrote the post on how we were approaching Advent, and so far, it’s going really well. The kids are getting ready a whole lot faster in the morning so we can get the next ring down before we walk out the door. It’s been great doing a short project every day, and it’s inspiring me to make a little bit more of a monthly plan to enjoy knowing that we will get to fun things every month with some planning. (Check out this idea from Heather, I love it)

Today’s activity was supposed to be write a letter to Santa. MaM was kind of intrigued, but got distracted and never brought it up again. If she’s ok with that, I’m ok with that. We did have an interesting conversation about it.

“Mom, I know what I can write to Santa!”

“You do?”

“Yes. I will say, ‘Don’t worry mom and dad, I’m out helping Santa,’ ”

“Oh that would be a letter to us, do you think you’d like to ask Santa for something?”

“Well, I’ll see presents when I help him.”

“True. Is there a present you’d like to ask him for?”

“I’ve already asked him for a pogo stick.”

“Would you like to ask him for anything else, in case he can’t find a pogo stick for you? Maybe some books?”

“Books are too boring. I need something else. Maybe a Barbie bath toy.” (last year’s gift)

And with that, she busied herself with something or other.

So here’s the thing. Actually, two things.

1) She’s kind of obsessed this year with “helping Santa”. As in, Santa is going to pick her up on his sled and she’ll go riding with him Christmas night. And that’s why she’d leave us a note so we don’t worry about her. Of course, every time she brings it up, I take the opportunity to tell her it’s not ok to leave with any Santa Claus who approaches her, anywhere, anytime. And if Santa comes knocking on her window, she must come wake us up. Strange, but I wanted to make sure all of our bases were covered. (Last year, she was obsessed with him visiting her on Christmas Eve)

2) She’s also obsessed with getting a pogo stick for Christmas. Here’s the thing, it snowed yesterday. If she were to get a pogo stick, it would sit in the garage for months before she could really use it. Also, her present this year is a Fisher-Price iXL. Have you seen these? I hadn’t even heard of them, until I went to BlogHer. There I spent some time in the Fisher Price booth, and came out a winner of an iXL. I’m hopeful that she’s as excited about it as I am for her. She absolutely loves using our iPhones, but she’ll have more flexibility with this device. There are games and a drawing program, it can play MP3’s and more. There can also be more than one user profile, so theoretically, the kids can share (we’ll see about that). I need to carefully pull it out of the box and get it ready to go for Christmas morning sometime soon. (disclosure: I won the iXL at Blogher. Just like I said. I am not under obligation to mention this fact, but OMG, this thing is cool.)

So that’s what the first week of Advent in our house. How’s yours going?

P.S. Indy friends, if you’re reading this and it’s not 5pm on Friday (12/3) yet, and you need a Christmas tree, check out this Savvy Savings deal for 50% off a live tree!

P.P.S. There are three huge gift guides over at Grown in My Heart, one for donations, one for goods, and one specifically for fair-trade. There are some amazing organizations you can support this holiday season.

P.P.P.S. I’ve got a few gift guides listed over at Persephone, arranged by age. There’s Baby’s First Christmas, Toddlers, Preschoolers and School-Agers, along with some ideas for large families/copious numbers of small children.

Between a Roc and a Hard Place: A Fantasy Chapter Book

For the past five years or so, I’ve been collecting picture books with an adoption theme. With MaM getting older, it’s time to branch out and find some “chapter books” that weave an adoption story line, and it’s also time to find books that don’t just talk about babies being adopted. Enter the new book “Between a Roc and a Hard Place,” by Danny Birt.

ToyBox Books send me a copy of the book to review, and I am so glad that they did. “Between a Roc and a Hard Place” actually starts with a scene that reminded me of the PBS Kids show, “Dinosaur Train” — an egg lands in the nest of  a different, even a predatory, species. The Roc family is surprised that a dragon has hatched in their nest, but they name her and she becomes part of their family. It doesn’t take long for Tephra to realize that she is different from her siblings, but it’s their similarities which bond them together. As Tephra grows, her life takes her in a very unique direction, being the only dragon among birds. Ultimately, her integration has a very positive outcome for the entire kingdom.

Children who like fantasy books will love this book for the magical land that author Danny Birt has created. The process of giving animals their names will enchant, and the plots against humans will entertain. The book is written for children age nine and older, and has recently won the National Parenting Center’s 2010 Holiday Seal of Approval. The adoption theme, and some of the issues adoptive families work through are present, but I wouldn’t classify this as solely an adoption book. It’s available at Barnes and Noble and should delight many a young reader!

Disclosure: I was sent a free copy of the book to review, the opinions of the book are all mine.

My Ode to Coffee

Cow-pee: When MaM was younger, she called it cow-pee. It was super cute. Also? My kids don’t serve tea with the tea set. They serve coffee.

Often: I make coffee quite often — now that I’m home more, I find myself making a pot either before or after the 3pm school pick up.

Friends: Coffee always tastes better with friends, whether we’re in a diner, a coffee shop or around the kitchen table.

Fresh: I love the smell of fresh coffee

Espresso: I’m not really a fan of espresso, my love is for regular drip coffee

Everyday: It’s true, I drink coffee every single day.

My love for coffee runs deep. I start every day with a cup, and if we’re out, it’s motivation for me to go to the store that very day (in contrast to when we run out of bread, and we just eat tortillas or crackers til the next shopping trip). So when I had the offer to have three bags of Dunkin Donuts Holiday Flavors delivered to my door, how could I refuse?

Dunkin Donuts is known for having outstanding fresh coffee in their stores, and I have to say that the packaged version has the same qualities as restaurant fresh. It’s not quite the same, but it’s really close & I don’t have to drive to get it, so it’s a good substitute. What I like about these flavored versions is that the flavor is subtle – it’s not “Hmmm…is there coffee in my vanilla nut drink?” Of the three I sampled — Pumpkin Spice, Vanilla Nut and Mocha Mint, my favorite was Mocha Mint. It hinted at chocolate and it hinted at mint, but wasn’t over powering. All three coffees were smooth, and the right type of mellow for me (these are not bold coffees). Which is kind of ironic, I know, to judge a coffee by it’s mellowness, because coffee has a reputation for not inspiring the mellow in people. But if you ask my kids, I’m sure they’d agree– I’m a kinder, more mellow mommy with a little java in my veins….

Disclosure: “I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central on behalf of Smuckers and received necessary products to facilitate my review. In addition, I received a gift certificate to thank me for taking the time to participate.”