Friday, December 31, 2010

House Fires

The week after Christmas, we went to watch the fire department, which H is a member of, burn an old house. They do it for practice. The children really enjoyed it. I thought it was interesting but quite scary. It will certainly make you think about your own home. This particular house was very old, and older houses do generally burn faster, but the speed and ferocity with which this fire spread was very upsetting. H has been on the fire department for four or five years now. There have been a decent number, too many, of homes completely lost. Several people in our area have perished in fires, including children.
Here are several things I've learned since H joined the fire department. First off, most house fires start with the clothes dryer. I never run our washing machine, dryer, or dish washer once I go to bed. In fact, I make sure their cycle will finish before the time I want to be in bed; otherwise I wait until the morning to start it. And, I try not to run the clothes dryer if no one is home. I don't always stick to this, but I try to do it as little as possible.

Another thing that is good to know. Have a hammer or ax hidden outside your children's windows. That way if you can't get to them through the house, you can still get to them. If you have bedrooms on a second story or your windows are high off the ground, you also need to have a ladder outside so you can get up to bedroom windows. You can find rope ladders for sale that would facilitate a second story escape, but you still need a way to get up from the outside if you need to.

Another thing I've learned is why you don't ever put water on a grease or oil fire. Everyone knows not to do that, but sometimes I think it is interesting and even helpful to know why. This is how I understand the why: If you were to throw water on an oil fire, the water would sink to the bottom of the oil, stuck there. Once the temperature increases enough, the water basically gets so hot it explodes out of the oil, thus spraying all the hot oil and water everywhere. Very scary.
Finally, we have just introduced the beginnings of a fire plan to our children. We have told them if the fire alarm goes off at night, they need to sit under their bedroom window and we will come get them. We will add to this as they process. The next thing we will add is for them to shut their door and then sit under their window. But, we didn't want to overwhelm them.

I hope this has helped and given you some things to think about. Fires are very scary for parents to think of, but to have a plan and for parents to be on the same page does give peace of mind. Here's hoping none of us every has to deal with a house fire.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Christmas Crafts

This season the three and I did several Christmas crafts; I'd say more failed than were a success, but we did have a good time.
I tried to make more gifts this year. For the gifts--like bean soup mix and chai tea--that we gave in jars, I had the children color squares of fabric to tie around the tops. They enjoyed this, and I thought it added to the appeal of the gifts.
The babes really love snow globes, so much so that they've broken all the glass ones we have had. The one plastic one we have they have learned to take the stopper out of. So, I thought it might be fun to make our own snow globes. I learned a few things. I think we'll try again next year, making a few changes. There are two main two things I'd do differently. One is buy cheaper glitter. I just grabbed some Martha Stewart stuff and it was very fine. I think that courser, heavier glitter would look better. Also, I would attach the lid by itself and then once the hot glue had cooled, screw on the ring. I tried to attach and lid and ring at the same time and it was hard to get them on in a timely manner. Elliott's I never was able to screw on tight because the glue adhered while the thing was all caddywompus*. The only other issue is getting the Santa (or other) figurine to stay stuck to the lid. They came apart after a while in the water. I need to research a better glue, and I also think I should have glued the figurines and let them sit before putting them in the water. We'll try this again next year though.
For the employees that work with H, the babes and I dipped and decorated pretzels and, along with a packet of hot cocoa, put them in decorated bags. This was a lot of fun and I feel like went well. I thought they turned out to be nice little, simple gifts.

Our colossal failure of the season was the gingerbread house. First of all, we didn't get to them until the 26th. Second of all they did not stay put. We ended up making gingerbread cookies. As with the snow globes, I think it would have been better to do the project in stages. Let the icing holding the house together set up before turning three pre-schoolers over to it. (Obvious, I know.) I find it hard, though, to gear up for a project--get them excited, get all supplies ready, find chunk of time, etc.--and then not complete it at one sitting. But, they are getting older and I am (maybe) getting wiser. Next year I really want to do this early in the season so we can enjoy the gingerbread house all season. We went to their teacher Miss Debbie's house the day before Christmas to take her a gift. She had the most elaborate gingerbread houses that she had done with her children and grandchildren. She does them every year. I thought it was so neat. It was obviously something she really enjoys doing and then enjoys throughout the holidays. She inspired me to make more of an effort. I think LEM are getting to the age where we can really get into the project and, hopefully, we can put the houses out to enjoy and them not torment me to death trying to eat all the candy off them. We'll see!

Because the house fell apart after a short while, we ended up just making gingerbread...wait for it...cookies. Genius, huh?

We hope your holidays were sweet and that you enjoyed the mishaps along with the successes.

* I cannot find how to correctly spell caddywompus. I probably do not even know how to pronounce it correctly. It is a word my Grandma uses, and I try to use as many of the interesting words and sayings that she uses as I can. Perhaps I should ask her how to spell it. I know she knows.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


We had a fun Christmas this year. We were at home for Christmas for this first time since the babes were just a few months old. It was nice to be low-key and mellow and just enjoy being together. Also, this was the first year since the three were born that I really enjoyed decorating for Christmas. Before it was just too much of a stress.
The two pictures above are of the three at our parsonage's Holiday Open House. The first picture shows them singing "Go Tell It On the Mountain," led by their Nana.

We had a strange phenomenon occur this Christmas. Around the property, random trees were decorated with tin can lids. When we first noticed them I said, "Y'all, look at that tree. What do you think those are?" Immediately Lucia exclaimed "Goldens!" I don't know where she got that from, but that is what we called them from then on out. The three think that Santa, his elves, and their Nana hung the goldens up around our place.
We went down to Nana and Papa's for Christmas Eve supper and exchanged gifts with them then.

Here is our tree in all its glory. While we didn't get all the ornament on the tree this year, we got the most yet on it. Maybe next year we will fill the thing up.
Santa came and was quite good to us. The favorite gifts were a train table and a Dora the Explorer microphone. Both have brought us lots of entertainment.

Mazie especially enjoyed opening her stocking and opening presents this year. She'd have opened everybody's everything if we'd have let her.

For Christmas Dinner we went to the J House. Lots of family friends came and we all ate tons of delicious food.

We hope your holiday was filled with light and love.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Our Elves

A friend in town loaned us some elf costumes to play with over the Christmas holidays. The children looked so cute in them and had a great time dressing up. We even wore the hats when we went to the nursing home on Christmas Eve.

Nothing like three cute little elves to get me in the Christmas spirit.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Disney, Continued

Here are a few more pictures, highlights from our time in Anaheim. The children had fun picking out their Mickey hats and getting their names sewn on the back.

My mom also treated them to their first Build-A-Bear experience. The girls picked out Hello Kitties with Tigger and Piglet costumes. Elliott, after much prodding, finally chose a monkey with a Buzz Lightyear costume.
I skipped out on the Build-A-Bear experience to visit with one of my close high school friends. Keri and I had a wonderful, though too short, time catching up. Definitely one of the highlights of the trip for me.

Here the four are at the base of the beautiful Christmas tree at the beginning of Main Street. Notice how wonderfully cooperative (sarcasm) Lucia is being.

They loved playing on the old fire engine. They got to crawl all over it and play with all its features.

Another highlight was getting to see Buzz Lightyear. The children have loved Toy Story the past year so seeing all the Toy Story characters in the parades and out and about was great fun.
We loved going to Minnie's House. She had a cake baking in the oven, dishes washing in the dishwasher, a laptop they could play on. Lots of fun things to do. She was even home one time we went to her house.

I loved the Dumbo ride when I was little. It was such a treat for me to be able to ride on Dumbo with one of my children. Lucia and I were able to ride on her favorite color Dumbo too--Orange!
Karen treated us to Breakfast with Goofy. This was such a great time; something I would definitely want to do again. Different characters walk around and talk to you at your table while you partake in a huge spread of delicious food. Mickey-shaped waffles, among the treats.

Disneyland was great and we look forward to getting to go back before too too long.