Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Keeping Calm

As an Anglophile, I've always had a soft spot in my heart for the "Keep Calm and Carry On" slogan that King George popularized during World War II.

And its with great joy that I've noticed a huge proliferation of these sayings in the past year. Let's call it the Duchess of Cambridge effect.

Anyway, I've been thrilled to find that some crafty individual has changed them around for pretty much every holiday and posted them online where I can print them out. For free!

I've just switched out my Christmas print for a Valentine's one, and I just love how simple and easy it is to use my same frame for all the holidays.

I have this "Read Jane Austen" one for my new reading room.

And it probably wouldn't take *much* to get me to add this one somewhere in my house...

And I'm toying with the idea of using this at Ryan's birthday party..

Or this:

They have ones that capture all my interests.

And even the rest of Team Danger's interests, as well.

And pretty soon, I may need this one.


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Handprint Snowman Ornaments, Take Two

One of these days I'll wrap up my holiday posts and actually move on to January events...

Back in December, the boys and I sat down to create their annual Christmas ornaments to family members (and teachers). Thanks to my new discovery, pinterest, I decided on a variation of last year's handprint snowman ornaments.

I liked that these weren't on the glass balls (which have a good chance of breaking through the years), and that if someone wanted, they could simply hang it as a decoration rather than as an ornament.

Alex's finished products:

Alex customized several of his. The one for my mom, for instance, included a SnowGranny with gray hair. Alex's were also unique in that many of them had a distinct rock star/zombie feel to them.

Here are Ryan's finished products:

Can you tell I helped a bit on his faces? ;)

We even made special pink and purple ones for Laurel and Audrey!

The only hard part was deciding which ones to keep for myself...

Friday, January 6, 2012

The LEGO Cul-De-Sac

After Christmas, we headed up to Dallas for a few days. Our first stop was the new LEGOLAND Discovery Center that had opened up there this Spring.

We were all excited, especially our resident LEGO expert, Ryan. Here he is taking a picture with his new LEGO camera of me taking a picture of him outside the center.

Despite the fact that we had reserved tickets ahead of time, we still had to wait in line for over an hour before we could get inside. This did not start things off well for Team Danger.

It did give me a chance to admire the LEGO Christmas tree on display, though, and decide that I want to have the boys make these next year as Christmas presents.

Finally, the big moment arrived and we were granted entry to LEGO mecca.

Except... it wasn't quite the LEGO mecca we were all expecting.

I knew that it was just a "discovery center" and not a full-fledged LEGOLAND, and I had done my best to explain this to the boys before we went. But after our visit to the San Diego LEGOLAND 2.5 years ago, we were expecting just a little bit more.

When you enter, Professor Bric-a-Brac engages the kids and teaches them how they "make" LEGOs.

 The boys were excited to participate.
 But in the end, the result was so hokey and so brief that Alex and Ryan were not amused.

There was a cool ride you can then go on.

But it was sort of a low-rent Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin that was over way too quickly, and which you couldn't ride more than once.

Other than that, there was one other flying ride, a giant playscape that really wasn't very LEGO like, and a 4D LEGO movie theater. The boys spent the bulk of the time in the plasycape.

 There were also some cars you could build out of LEGOs and then race down a ramp, and this tower you can build and then shake so you can test how sturdy your building design is.

The best part of the visit was seeing how they had constructed Dallas' big landmarks out of LEGOs. It would have been nice to see some other Texas cities as well, the way that the San Diego and Orlando LEGOLANDs also includes San Francisco, Las Vegas, New York and Washington D.C.

It even included a display of our hotel for the next few nights, the Gaylord Texan.

At the end, Alex commented that it really wasn't much of a LEGO "land.".

More of a LEGO City, I suggested?

Nope, Alex thought it was more of a LEGO Street.

Well, not even a full Street.

Just a LEGO Cul-De-Sac.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

New Year's Time Capsule

One of the joys (problems?) with kids being able to read is that Alex read in a magazine an article called "Family Traditions to Start NOW!" And since he is all about family traditions, we started a new one this year and created a New Year's Time Capsule.

Basically, the boys filled out a questionnaire about themselves listing their favorite things. We're going to pack in away with the Christmas decorations, and then New Year's Day, they will fill out a new one. Afterwards, we'll read their old ones and compare notes.

Some of their answers were expected, like Ryan's favorite color is blue, and Alex's favorite thing to do outside is play soccer. And that both boys listed carrots as their favorite vegetable, since that's about the only vegetable I can get them to voluntarily eat. But there were many surprises waiting for us. Like Ryan wants 108 children when he grows up, and Alex wants to live with us when he grows up. We were also a bit surprised to hear that Alex listed his best friend as Britten, a boy we've never heard anything about. And that Ryan listed Giles (his new BFF this year in kindergarten) and his cousins Connor and Matthew. But neither boy listed each other as their best friend. They also both wrote down they loved to race their brother. Neither Carl nor I could begin to imagine where this competitive streak comes from...

I was glad that Ryan was able to fill out all the answers himself. He needed help reading them, but he felt more than comfortable writing all his own words. They were filled with fun spellings, which I have to admit I kind of love.

Of course, after we did this I found some cuter examples online of what other people have done, so next year I hope to take this to the next level.


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