A Christmas Hack

This may be the easiest Christmas hack you will wish you were already doing.  We have been doing this for a few years at our house, and it has allowed us to sit back and relax while the children open their presents.  When the kids wake up on Christmas morning, they open their stockings first to find out what wrapping paper is theirs.  Santa gives them each their own wrapping paper, and then there is a wrapping paper for group gifts.  With a warm cup of coffee and a cinnamon roll, I savor the moments while my kids take turns opening up their presents and cleaning up after themselves.  Wait!  What?!  You may be wondering how we managed to get them to do that.  I know when I was little, it was my dad’s official Christmas job to stand guard with a trash bag and collect the massive amount of paper flying everywhere.  Growing up as the oldest of four, I know how hectic and crazy Christmas mornings can be with a bunch of little ones.  This hack will take five minutes and I promise you won’t regret it.The Easiest Christmas HackWith four small children, I am no stranger to online shopping.  I can usually count on at least one oversized box around Christmas.  Instead of putting it out for recycle, I give it a starring role in our present opening time.  Using a coordinating wrapping paper, I wrap the oversized box.  This is where I might lose you.  As daunting of a task it may seem, it is actually very easy.  You don’t need to wrap the bottom.  Your edges don’t need to be crisp and you don’t need to use a roll of tape to secure it.  Wrap around the sides in whichever way works for your box and the design of your paper.  I leave a few inches over the top of the opening and cut slits down to the corners.  Then I fold the paper over and tuck it into the box.  It is so easy!  Now relax because you earned it!Easy Christmas Hack

Merry Christmas!

American Girl Pop Up Grand Opening

Last Saturday marked the grand opening of the Philadelphia area American Girl temporary store.  Located in King of Prussia mall, the store is just a short drive away from Center City.  This is the first American Girl store in the area with American Girl Place in New York City previously being the closest.  The King of Prussia American Girl store is slated to close on January 28th of next year, which gives you plenty of time to handle Christmas purchases and exchanges at a retail location.

We arrived at 9:00 am knowing that they were handing out tickets, but not exactly sure how that process would work.  I later found out that the tickets each had a group number on them and there were 50 tickets in each group.  They ran out of tickets after 26 groups, so they handed out 1,300 in total!  We ended up being in group 15, so there were approximately 750 people in front of us in line.  The first two groups were granted immediate access, while the others were encouraged to shop the rest of the mall.  We got our tickets at around 11:00 am, so we decided to walk around and then grab something to eat.  We were excited to see that our number was on the board when we returned.  We lined up in the standby area and anticipated a quick entry.  Here’s where things got a little tricky.  If your number was lower than what was on the board, you were to get into a different section to gain entry before the group that was in standby.  Based on the timing of everything and the size of the other section, it seems like the earlier numbers flew by because many people were at lunch or elsewhere.  We ended up spending an additional two hours in the standby line since they allowed the earlier numbers to go in first.  I feel as though it wouldn’t have been so bad if they had alternated the earlier numbers with the current standby.American Girl Philadelphia American Girl Philadelphia American Girl Philadelphia American Girl Philadelphia American Girl Philadelphia American Girl Philadelphia American Girl Philadelphia American Girl Philadelphia American Girl Philadelphia American Girl Philadelphia American Girl Philadelphia American Girl Philadelphia American Girl Philadelphia  Check back in a couple days to see more pictures from inside the store and see what the freebies were at the grand opening.

First Day of Dance Class 2015

After a two month break, Micah and Maeby are back to dance class.  Micah’s classes have been extended by half an hour, as he is picking up intro to jazz.  We are currently in the waiting room while Micah has class, and I have already heard him ask his teacher if they are doing jazz this week.  He is definitely excited about learning a new style of dance.  They will each be performing tap and ballet routines in this year’s recital, so we will have four songs to listen to nonstop starting in January.  I get asked if Abram will be taking dance soon, since he is now three years old.  He loves dancing and singing, but since he doesn’t always love listening we will be reevaluating in January (when the midyear class starts) or next September.  Last year I wrote about the skills my kids have been learning since they started dance classes.  You can read it here (and see how much they have grown compared to this year).

2015

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Homeschool 2015

We now have over a week of school on the books.  After defining individual objectives for the year, we dove right into studies.  Maeby wants to learn to read and spell this year, Micah wants to be able to read an entire chapter book by himself, and Abram wants to work on the alphabet and writing.  We had a summer filled with what seemed like nonstop conversations about science and geography, and we are continuing those conversations with a more academic approach.  Micah is already becoming well versed in state facts and abbreviations, and can be caught reading maps randomly throughout the day.  I enjoy being able to adjust our lessons to focus on what my children are excited about learning.  It definitely cuts down on the amount of protests.  We already have a list of ten field trip ideas, including a trip to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty (tentatively in the spring, so we have some time to adjust to traveling with baby #4).  I know that we will face our own share of struggles throughout the school year, but we are happy to be on this journey together.  Without further adieu, photographic proof of how much my children have grown in the past year.  abramhs1 abramhs2maebyhs1maebyhs2micahhs1 micahhs2A look back on homeschool 2014.

Summer Squeeze List

I have no idea how I have made it through three summer pregnancies, because this autumn pregnancy has been taking its toll on me.  I have been trying my hardest to rest frequently and drink plenty of water, but that hasn’t done much to keep the contractions at bay.

Now that the dog days of summer are coming to an end we can plan more outdoor activities without fear of jeopardizing the baby’s or my health.  I came up with a list of our favorite summer pastimes so we can make sure to squeeze as much fun as possible out of the rest of the season.  I also threw in a couple new activities, like messy Twister, that I know the kids will love.  Our list is ambitious for the short amount of time we have left, but we are determined to check everything off before we start up with school again.

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