Lights On Parade

So the other day, Breanne, Janey and I went to a quick parade (we actually only made it for the last few minutes, thankfully... it was FREEZING!), which was followed by the "lights on" ceremony for our city. Although we were all very, very cold, I think we each had a good time. If you ask the girls what they saw, they'll tell you--Snow Princesses (our city's royalty), llamas(!), a firetruck, and Santa. They were pretty excited about it all, and I loved watching the wonder in their faces as the city lights started to come on--this holiday season is shaping up to be so wonderful already. I love living so close to the center of the city--we were able to walk to the parade and party in less than 2 minutes (I had the girls in the double stroller so they couldn't wander off, also helped with speed... :)).

Funny story--on our way to the parade, we saw Zippy the Chipmunk (a mascot-sized chipmunk who is somehow tied to our city... I don't understand the connection, sorry) and two elves, who stopped and talked to the girls and shook each of their hands. Breanne was quick to inform me that we shouldn't talk to strangers, even big chipmunks, but I explained to her that in some cases, it's ok to chat briefly with them, as long as we're in a safe situation. Janey was concerned about the 6 foot chipmunk, too, but quickly got over her fear as well. When they were leaving, they wished us a merry Christmas. Breanne was SO excited that it was "finally Christmas!," so I had to explain to her that it's just the Christmas season, not Christmas day yet. She is so funny in all that she is starting to really understand, and what she still gets confused by.

If you care, here is a video of a conversation I had with the girls post-trip, while we were warming up and drinking hot cocoa. The bit between them at the end just cracks me up--I love listening to their little conversations. Funny, funny girls.

Advent Calendars

So that fabric?

It was destined to become an Advent Calendar.

(Oh yes, I did just hang that crookedy on my dusty blinds... I haven't figured out how to put it up somewhere more practical yet--that will have to come tomorrow).

A couple of weeks ago, I went to a meeting with a few women where we talked about starting up good traditions with our families. Mirjam, the woman who was leading the group, talked a lot about her family's advent calendars--she has one for each of her children, to be filled with little treats and toys, and then one for the whole family that is full of activities. I loved both of these ideas, and immediately started planning out how I'd like to implement them in some way in our own home. For each girl, I came up with a pocket calendar, in which I'll be putting little treats, toys, books, and other fun things. We already have a calendar I made a few years ago that is just a big Christmas tree with little ornaments you place on it--I plan on putting an activity we'll be doing in with each ornament this year, and letting the girls pick them out every day. Several days I have crafts planned as our activity--on those days, the treat in their pocket will be the supplies to do the craft. Lest you think I'm totally insane, be assured that some days the activities are very, very simple, like building a fire in the fireplace, visiting friends, and attending parties we'd already be going to, regardless of whether we had the calendars or not. It just gives me more motivation to do fun things with the girls, too, like making cookies, cupcakes, garlands and ornaments.

So, I've made 3 of the pocket/bag calendars, one for each girl. Actually, to be honest, it's currently 2.5, because after sewing something like 68 little pocket bags, my sewing machine jammed up, and I have no idea what's wrong with it, so it'll be heading to the shop tomorrow... sigh. But I'm excited to see how the girls like them, and I know that they'll be a wonderful thing for all of us--I am really looking forward to having something positive to do planned for each day. I do so much better at providing good days for the girls when I plan ahead a bit. I am hoping to really make some positive memories this year.


How Many Have You Read?

Do you ever think back to the days of memes? When everyone was constantly tagging each other? Don't you miss them?

Yeah, me either. However. I just saw this on a friend's facebook, and I know I've posted it on there before, but I don't think I've put it here, and I thought I'd bring it over. You know, because I like showing off that I've read some stuff. :) Too bad I don't care so much for Brit lit, definitely takes me down on this list.

Have you read more than 6 of these books? The BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books listed here.

Instructions: Copy this list. Bold those books you've read in their entirety, italicize the ones you started but didn't finish or read an excerpt. Tag other book nerds. Tag me as well so I can see your responses!

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling (read the first three and lost interest. Been considering picking them back up again... we'll see).
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma -Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe - CS Lewis (isn't this included in #33?)
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - A.A. Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Inferno - Dante
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - E.B. White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

So I've actually read 25, and started or read excerpts of 14 more... not too shabby, right? Just gotta figure out a way to get into Dickens and Austen...