Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Quite the Week

This will probably be one of the hardest posts I’ve written to date. Sigh…it makes me sad and I haven’t even begun.

Last April (‘09), my current roommate Hope was my co-worker and friend who invited me to her family’s house a few hours north of here for Easter. I ended up getting the flu that previous Friday and went but didn’t eat much. Aside from meeting her mom & dad, brother and his family, various aunts, uncles and cousins, the thing I remember most about that day is Hope laughing later as she recalled that her mom said I was quiet and didn’t eat much- the poor woman didn’t realize I’d been sick! Over spring break, Hope and I stayed with her Grandma in Florida for 4 days or so- the woman is well into her 80s but hysterical and all there. A few months ago, Hope’s sister and family came into town for the day and I enjoyed getting to know them as well. Her best friend came to celebrate Halloween with us this year and I finally met her. In essence, I’ve met all of her family.

Fast forward a year and a half, plus a bit. Last Wednesday I bid goodbye to Hope as she headed off to work at school and I to work and then home for the holidays. We wished each other a Merry Christmas and said, “See ya Sunday!”

On Sunday, I was driving back from my parents’ house and my phone rang. At that point I was still in the middle of nowhere but saw that it was Hope and figured she was calling to see what time I’d be back in BC. Once I was on the highway and had cell service, I called her back.

Hope’s Dad died.

On Christmas Day.

As soon as she told me, my heart just dropped. We had talked a little bit in the past few months about how he was doing less and less well, but he was still getting out and about with the help of his wife and they didn’t realize he was that close to death.
Sad smile

So, the last three days (gosh, is that all it’s been?) have been a blur. The evenings have been quiet and lonely, especially since I had been enjoying the rowdiness of 9 people at my parents’ house for a few days. Having Hope on an unplanned extended home trip is not fun! I worked Monday and Tuesday and both of the days spent some time talking to old co-workers about who was going to what service and making sure that everyone knew what was going on, especially since the school is on Christmas break. As it turned out, my old boss and one of my coworkers went up last night for the calling hours. Another coworker was hoping to go with me but has had strep throat since Sunday and was still just feeling awful. As much as I didn’t want to go alone, I knew I’d kick myself for NOT going later.

So, I spent today in the northern part of the state.. I saw Hope as she walked into the service and she had been crying. I could see her best friend from where I was sitting and tears were streaming down her face before the service even began. Hope’s dad was like a second dad to her. It was a nice service…just so sad, of course.

After the service ended we headed to the gravesite. I wasn’t sure if I was going to go or just head back to BC but figured I should at least try and say hi to Hope, so I went. Once we were there, she saw me and waved a teary hello…after that they had a luncheon, so I hung out with Hope, her best friend and another high school friend, who I’d never met. We all ended up at Hope’s mom’s house for the afternoon and it was low-key but nice.

Hope will be back here in BC tomorrow if all goes as planned, and I’m sure she (and I!) would appreciate some thoughts and prayers through the coming days and weeks.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all of my lovely blog readers! I hope you all have a fantastic day with your families and loved ones- I’m blessed to have you all in my life Smile


Picture from here

Friday, December 24, 2010

A Social Network Christmas

I saw this posted on another blog and thought I’d share- it’s interesting!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

To Check Out

First, a few more Formspring questions I answered:

What was your favorite toy to play with as a child?
I don't really know that I had one. I enjoyed reading more than anything, that and playing outside. Climbing trees, bicycling, swinging on our tire swing, pretending to pump gas from the (real) old gas pump  and exploring the broken-down 100+ year old barn in our backyard are among my favorite memories. Smile

What’s your most cherished possession?
Hmm...probably my photo albums from Europe. They are holding a lot of good stories!

Describe your ideal wedding.
I'll elope and marry on a beach in Rhode Island with two witnesses, or whatever the lowest number is you can have!

Keep asking! The box is to the right Smile

~

Now that we have that out of the way…you guys HAVE to check out this website. It’s called “When Parents Text” and it is HYSTERICAL. Open-mouthed smile Here are a few of my favorites—I literally can’t stop laughing when I read the site. My thoughts are in bold.

DAD: I’m wrestling with a big decision. Should I put an electric blanket on your bed or would your prefer just your comforter. So I thought I would ask.

--

MOM: How do you spell your middle name?

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MOM: are there any other dvds you want for christmas? i decided im not getting you Conception- it sounds too adult (this sounds VERY familiar)

--

DAD: great day snowboarding. hit a deer on the way home, state trooper shot it in the head. bummer. love, dad. (if this was my dad, he would have been bummed because HE didn’t get to shoot it, the trooper did. Hahaha!)

--

MOM: we got the tree do u want to decorate on monday with everyone or should i do it? there is no right answer we all need to be honest

--

DAD: Ana, yoiur mom and I are drunk ahahahahahahaha, coukld you pleasde come picjk us up at the dinnber pplace. ill fax you the directionbs  (if I ever got this one from my dad I would just die… never going to happen!)

--

ME: I don’t know if mom told you but check your email I sent you something.
DAD: Is this about being friends on face book?
ME: haha no I’m going to run a 5k and i need donations.
DAD: Can not hear you, bad connection

--

ME: Have you left yet?
MOM: Dad found a nest of five baby rats in the garden and had to kill them with a shovel, gross. Just leaving now. (If my parents texted this is the type of text I would expect. Yes, my parents live in the middle of a field. Literally.)

Seriously…go CHECK IT OUT! (and then come back and thank me for introducing you to the site. Haha!)

Open-mouthed smile

Monday, December 20, 2010

ONE THOUSAND!

When I started this blog way back in 2006, I was nannying in Massachusetts. I didn’t realize that 4 years later I’d still be at it! I have all of you to thank for your support reading and keeping me sane. Here’s hoping I am still blogging when I hit post #2000!

For this post, I decided to do a quick overview of the past year Smile but I only have Jan-Feb-March done so far!

January
The beginning of 2010 inevitably brought snow falling softly on the trees, eye squirrels in Cincinnati, softly burning candles, playtime with kiddos, ice cream treasure hunts, penguin crafts, ribbon-braided hair, and papers frozen to the bottom of my car. Apparently nothing really exciting happened in January!

February
In February I spent some time with my family, which is where I encountered a leaning snowman! I took my younger sister on a winter park hiking/sledding trip, crimped my hair, celebrated my birthday and the Chinese New Year, and enjoyed awesome sunsets Smile

March
Ahhh, March! Judging from the photos above, I’d say it was an awesome month! I began the month with a weekend visit from Sharon, during which we ate delicious food as a late birthday celebration and a trip to the piano bar to visit my wish-he-was-mine boy. St. Patrick’s Day rolled around at school, bringing with it a little boy who pulled out ballet shoes to wear during naptime! Winking smile My current roommate, who wasn’t my roommate at the time, and I took a trip and ended the month in South Carolina. Good things were coming for sure, because spring was on its way in!

Part Two coming soon! Smile

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Serenity

On Friday, I had the day off and planned to spend it just reading and chilling, but I ended up going stir-crazy (as I usually do when I try to have a quiet at home day haha!).

So, I headed to the snowy park and took a hike! It was actually very pretty Smile

Of course the first thing that greeted me was this sign…

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Curious, I checked the temperature—a thrilling 8*
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I did not let that deter me though and traipsed through the woods for a bit. I spent about an hour just enjoying the quiet and made a few squirrel friends too!

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And as a country girl, I had to eat some of the fresh snow! It was quite tasty Smile

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We got some ice before the snow and that was evident
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Eventually the moon rose and I decided to call it a day- what a great, peaceful time it was (not to mention FREEZING!) Smile

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The next post will be #1000! YAY me!

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Thursday, December 16, 2010

200th!...and almost ONE THOUSAND!

Well thanks to that Formspring thing, I quickly reached my 200th post for the year. Whoops! Scroll down or click here and here for my "real" most recent posts. In other news, I am getting very close to 1,000 posts!!!! That's a little exciting! Any ideas of what I should do (this is post #998 if that helps...)

What was the worst job you've ever had?

A nanny job a few years ago where the dad worked from home even though he told me he didn't and the older child was a complete brat. That's the short of it.

Ask me anything

Are you more of a talker or more of a listener?

I think it depends on the situation. A person once referred to me as a "leading follower" and I find that to be true.

Ask me anything

If you were offered the job of U.S. president would you take the job?

No thanks. I don't think I'd enjoy that stress...

Ask me anything

What TV show makes you laugh the loudest?

Friends :)

Ask me anything

What was the worst concert you went to?

OAR. We got free tickets and didn't know the opening bands. OAR didn't play any of the songs we knew!

Ask me anything

What's the most unselfish thing you've ever done?

Mission trips, probably. I really enjoy them but they are also very hard!

Ask me anything

Formspring Question #1 & More

Someone (I guess anonymously because I don’t see a name by it) asked me a question on Formspring:
"Which of your debts do you feel was most worth it?”

My answer-
I feel like I should say my school loans because they did educate me, but I'm going to go with traveling. I've never regretted a trip I've taken, even if it ended up on a credit card. That said, I've also taken a few trips debt free and they are more enjoyable! ;-)

What would be your answer to that question?

~~

A Thursday wordle
Wordle 12.16.10
(I love the font…it’s just a random one. Apparently Christmas, kids, and people are forefront on my blog. Good to know!)

~~

One of my favorite Europe pictures that I found today
Pari
(Oh, how I would love to go back…Maybe after I pay off all that debt, and get a new car…)

~~

Some anagram fun from this site. Way too fun…

Anagram for my whole name: A Cab Thinner When Zesty
First/Middle/Confirmation: Men Adaptable Beneath Ninety Horn (hehee)
First/Middle: Banyan Then or Bathe Nanny (some of my friends call me Nanny B so that’s close!)
~~

I’m on a bit of a work break. I have five days off, including the weekend. Today was the first day and although it was snowing, I gathered up my courage and hit a few stores for random items. I also mailed my godson’s Christmas present, had ice cream with an old co-worker, and hit up a coffeehouse this evening to listen to one of my favorite piano bar artists. I have a babysitting job, a birthday party and a football/sports bar to keep me busy this “break” but hopefully I’ll find some down time!

13 Things I’m Excited About

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I haven’t done Thursday Thirteen in a long time! I was thinking about it today and realizing that I’ve missed it, so here goes!

1. Ice cream with an old co-worker later today. I haven’t seen her in over three months even though we live in the same city.

2. Seeing my favorite piano player perform at a coffeehouse tonight

3. My friend Stacy’s birthday party on Monday.

4. Seeing Bug this weekend. I’m going to give him his Christmas gift. Smile

5. Seeing two of my old students on NYE day- technically I’ll be babysitting but still, I’ll get to see them!

6. Christmas Eve with the familia…always crazy but fun. But then again, after church they party and I go to the quiet house and watch Christmas movies and just enjoy the tree and lights. Quiet is hard to come by with nine people in the house!

7. Christmas Day, even though we usually don’t start opening gifts until afternoon due to my family’s partying the night before/morning of.

8. Michael W. Smith is coming to perform in February, and I’m hoping to go. I’ve seen him before, years ago, and it was phenomenal!

9. My friend Marie is due with a baby any day… boy or girl, we don’t know, but I can’t wait to meet the little one at some point. They live a good 6-7 hours away but I’ll make the trip to hold a newborn baby!

10. Two more people I know are pregnant- one due in March and one due in August. Babies to hold = a happy me!

11. New Year’s Eve. I’m not sure what my friends and I will do yet, but we’ll find something, I’m sure!

12. Discovering new places for the kids and I to explore as we arrive in 2011. Wowww has this been a year!

13. Spring. Yes, I know it’s still pretty far away…but a girl can dream…

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others’ comments. It’s easy, and fun!
Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

View More Thursday Thirteen Participants

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Formspring

I've added formspring over to the right- Formspring is a program where you can ask me anything. Eh, why not...this blog's been in the ravine lately! I have a 5 day break coming up starting Thursday so hopefully I will have time to visit my friends' blogs and post some of what we've been up to :)

Anyway, go ahead and use formspring to ask me anything. I've seen it on other sites and you can ask questions anonymously too. :)

Netflix

Years ago, I used to have Netflix and really enjoyed it. I got rid of it because I was moving in with my family and didn’t really need/want it anymore.

My friend Lyn has Netflix now and loves it- and suggested to me that I try it out. I got a month free trial and I’m surprised how much you can watch online now!

So…any suggestions of shows and movies I should watch? I’m mostly a fan of comedy movies if that helps at all…

Monday, December 13, 2010

In The News

I know that most of the news nowadays seems so sad and dreary, but if you look hard enough there really are some amusing articles being passed around. A few of the articles that have been catching my eye lately…

Students Being Served Grilled Cheese
Being familiar with the area in which this is happening gives me a dual reaction. I don’t think grilled cheese for a few days is going to kill these kids. If their parents have the money to pay for school lunch, the kids can either pack a lunch (ohhh the horror!) or eat the grilled cheese. However, it’s a depressed area and quite possibly the lunch at school *could* be the only meal the kids are eating. If that’s the case, at least add some veggies…

Man Pulled Over For Using Diego Doll As Travel Partner
The last line just absolutely makes me laugh. At least the doll was wearing a seatbelt…haha. Actually the whole article makes me laugh.

Woman Flees From Courtroom, Arrest Warrant Issued
Seriously? Just...seriously? Smart lady….not.

Buffalo Enjoys Ride in Car
I met some of these this past summer, and no thanks…pet or not, those things are CRAZY.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

I Do Not Understand

I do not understand…

…why some people don’t look when they back up. An old lady almost ran into me AT A PRESCHOOL earlier this week because she didn’t even glance backwards once. That’s the last thing I need, an accident at the preschool while I’m working…

…why the company who manufactures this product apparently thinks having this lady on their box will sell more ?sound systems..?



…how someone (who celebrates Christmas) does not like Christmas music

… why people like dogs (I know the majority of mankind does not agree with me on this one and I’m okay with that). They smell. They bark. They are annoying. They get wet and smell even more when it rains. They knock kids down. They get hair all over everything. They bark at everything even when there is nothing to bark at.

…why I live in a place where it snows. By next winter my goal is to live in Hawaii.

…how people spend SO much money that they know full well they don’t have on Christmas. I know my financial decisions haven’t always been the best but I’m trying. Right now, I really really want a Mac computer, and have for a while. Do you see me buying one? Nope. I could also use a different car but until the moment mine finally goes palooey, I’m not doing that either. Say no to car payments! (I hope) LOL. Seriously though, people…we know Christmas is coming every year, it shouldn’t be a surprise. Why don’t we save up throughout the year??

…why people who say they want to hang out with me and will check their calendars to check dates never do. I miss them apparently way more than they miss me, and that makes me sad!

..how I can finish one book in a day, and then have it take me two weeks to finish the next one. That just doesn’t make sense!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Disqus

I decided to add Disqus on here for a while for commenting to see how I like it. For people who don't have blogs (ahem Mom and Mrs. E.) you can just use your name/email under guest

Let me know what you think. I'm not necessarily sold on keeping it, just trying it...

November Budget Review

It’s mid-December and I’m just now getting a chance to do this. How pitiful!

--  I know that one thing that went WAY wayward last month was my gas budget. I’m not entirely sure how that happened because I KNEW I was going to visit my friend in PA, and I KNEW I was going home for Thanksgiving…and I factored both of those in. I suppose the price of gas did go up, but my budget was off by a TON there. Sigh.

-- Technically the money that I paid off in October went through in November, so do I get to count that? LOL…

-- I did well with using cash only in the beginning of the month but went off towards the end of the month. I didn’t really over-spend so that is good. A big change I made to make it easier in December (I swear, I find something that makes it “easier” each month…) is to put ALL of my Christmas gift money/ entertainment money/ food money in one envelope. I use that envelope for anything I’m using cash for, and keep records of how much I have in each category in a cute cheapo little notebook. I’m finding that easier than trying to keep track of three different envelopes (four if you count my nanny fund that the parents give me money for).

I think that’s really it. I did “ok” this month. Money that I made babysitting (not a whole lot, only about 40 hours over the entire month) went toward that dang gas thing. How’d November look for you?

Thursday, December 09, 2010

WDYT?

You can ignore this and scroll down...
Password protected post


It’s THURSDAY!

Ahhh…I am so thankful to see this day arrive. Last weekend I thought I’d be able to get a lot of organizing and budgeting done- as it turned out, I spent Saturday with my Bug-a-boo and on Sunday my friend Lyn and I went Christmas shopping. That fact alone is laughable as Lyn does NOT like Christmas. She despises Christmas music and shopping, avoids family time if at all possible…we were walking around the shopping center and she announced, “Wow, I really AM a grinch…” Yep. How I’m friends with her since ALL I’m listening to these days is Christmas music I don’t know. Hehe. Do you like Christmas music or am I just weird?

After shopping, I ended up staying at Lyn’s house, just chilling and eventually watching the Steelers game. Youch, Ben Roethlisberger’s poor nose… I’m not a football person so that’s really all I remember about the game…lol!

Anyway, I don’t have time to breathe during the beginning of the week and so today’s my day! I’m finishing up some Christmas shopping, returning a few items that I found cheaper online, probably ordering some library books to read next week when I have an awesome 5 day weekend (the family I nanny for is going out of state for an early family Christmas so I will just work M/T/W and then not again until Tuesday, the week of Christmas. I can’t deny I’m looking forward to that!), doing some cleaning & laundry, and eventually babysitting tonight. I’ll try and schedule some posts for the weekend and next week, but in the meantime I hope everyone has a great day!

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Too Much


So, as I mentioned earlier I had written a whole post about babysitting- why I do it, what the ramifications are, etc. I don't think I can redo the whole thing but I'll try as my blogging has been well, nonexistent lately. The weather has just been so chilly and when I've been home (which is not much!) I've been hunkering down under the blankets and reading Hoda Kotb's book. I'm almost done with it but it's really interesting!

So, anyway. I work four days a week, but 10 hr days. In addition, I babysit a lot. This time of year everyone has christmas parties, work parties, Christmas shopping to do, etc. Last week I worked 65+ hours and had four extra jobs aside from my normal one.

And I'm having trouble saying no to others...some are old students, others are families I don't see often but love to when I get the chance, others are clients from the past two years that I'd hate to disappoint.

Why I enjoy babysitting (for the people who ask why I do it!) 1) the money allows me to pay off debt earlier, buy Christmas gifts, and put money aside for emergencies etc. 2) it keeps me busy and keeps my mind off the past and sometimes the future 3) I can pretend to be a mom 4) it's a flexible schedule.

This time of year though, I sometimes wish I had an easier time saying "no". I'd have time to read, shop for gifts, watch a Christmas movie or two...

So where is the line with you? How do you know when what you are trying to do is just too much? When you don't have time to clean? (check!) When you don't have time to blog? (check!) or read blogs (check!). No social life? (mostly check) Ay yi!
BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

Retraction

Do you remember the program I suggested, called Blog Booster for the iPhone? I'm about to take that back. I've written a post TWICE this morning and it's all gone. Maybe I should write it as a note and then import it? Anyone else use this and have issues???

Argh!!
BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

Friday, December 03, 2010

All Will Be Well

**Warning: This post will be a horrible rambling one…but it’s what’s in my head**

Last year, this week was easily the longest and hardest of my life. My grandpa was dying in New Jersey and I made the difficult decision not to travel there until he died (due to all that was going on at work at the time, finances, and the fact that I knew I’d be taking a week or so when he went. I didn’t feel like I could do both). Not only was I dealing with the emotional toll of my family all being there and knowing I couldn’t be, I was dealing with car issues, my debit card had been stolen, I had Jessa on my plate (or the lack of her presence at work, I suppose) and I think the roommate drama was starting then too. All I remember is that I didn’t have a car, didn’t know how I was going to pay for a plane ticket to New Jersey when my grandpa died…on that Friday, I took a break from school and just walked around the neighborhood to try and collect my thoughts, work through my emotions, etc.

The following afternoon, while I was napping, my grandpa passed away. A few of my siblings called to let me know, but I was ironically napping. A while later, my friend Hope (now my roommate) texted to ask how I was doing, or how my Grandpa was doing…I don’t really remember. I told her that he had passed away less than an hour and then had to shower and get ready to babysit for two kids, ages 2 and 6, in a hotel room for a Christmas party. The party lasted until 2 am and the kids were easily up until 11 or so. I didn’t feel much in a Christmas mood and spent the later part of the night searching for a flight to NJ. I arrived home, packed, and was on an early morning flight in less than 8 hours.

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Cue to 2010. Earlier this week I was driving back from Pennsylvania and assured myself that while the anniversary of Grandpa’s death was coming and would be a hard reminder, my week was busy and I wouldn’t really have time to sit and think about it.

In the beginning of the week, this was easily true. Between Monday and Wednesday, I worked 40 hours. I was able to rest up Thursday, thankfully. Tonight, I sit for the same family as I did last year on the day my grandpa died…coincidence? I rarely babysit for this family, I think this is only the 2nd time I’ve seen them in 2010, maybe the 3rd.

I think my Grandpa is watching me today and just laughing. In the time I knew him and computers were a part of our lives, everything about Grandpa and computers was slloooow. I could do what he could faster, in an easier way, and was more *up* on technology than him.

Today, I think he’s telling me to slow down. I think one day I will look back on this day and laugh…

Around 2 pm, I put the kids down for an early rest time (birthday party this afternoon) and plugged in my phone to read emails, check Facebook, etc. All the sudden it was acting nuts and said I had to plug it into Itunes. I brought in my computer and did so, but no internet connection. Right now it’s 10 pm and I have no phone. Earlier tonight my computer crashed as well and the house I’m staying in doesn’t have (accessible) internet for me to use. The kiddos are in bed and I easily have 3 or 4 hours before their parents come home. 3 or 4 hours to sit and think, think about Grandpa, think about where my life is heading.

As I write this, I just picture my Grandpa trying to use an iPhone and it’s making me laugh and cry. He wouldn’t understand all the apps or the whole blogging thing. He would probably still be running a computer with Windows 98 and floppy disks. His house would be packed and somehow still cozy. The Lite Brite would be in the upstairs bedroom along with old calendars and things he’d think we grandkids would enjoy. There would be no cable, but a few home videos in which we’d be starring, Grandpa behind the camera. Grandpa would alternate his breakfasts, eggs one day and cereal the next. The kitchen shelves, old and dusty, would hold cans of food as old as me, or almost. There would be ice cream in the freezer, always. He’d take us down to the pond and into the cave, show us the beehives and tell stories about the bears he saw. He would explain the flowers to us, as well as the trees. We didn’t appreciate that much as kids, but I remember staying a week or so with him each summer. We’d take trips to the library and the parks, help with the honey stand at the fair (Sussex County, I thought that name was funny even at age 8 or so)…

The last time I saw my Grandpa, a year or so before he died, I didn’t have a clue it would be the last time. I took a weekend trip with my Dad and saw Grandpa on Saturday, maybe Friday night too. By Saturday evening I was struck with a horrible flu and didn’t get to say goodbye because I couldn’t go in the nursing home sick on Sunday. I think my goodbye Saturday would have been different had I known it was truly the last.

I miss you, Grandpa. Keep watching over us.

Bell Countdown

After Thanksgiving the kids and I made easy Christmas countdown bells. One of the teachers from school used to do this and the kids always enjoy it because it’s interactive- they can help fold and cut the paper strips, plus they get to take one off each day/night before Christmas!

(And there is Skippy the Elf, from Elf on the Shelf…watching over those kiddos!)IMG_2704

I got the bell poem from here and made one copy, then copied another by hand for Laney. Derek decided to make his traditional red and green paper but Laney made hers more girly. Winking smile 

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