Monday, December 31, 2012

Calendar Journal

I've always wanted to be a person who kept a journal.  Over the years I've tried several times.  I've bought pretty bound books and opened them with satisfaction to that blank first page but after just a few days or weeks, my journal went by the way-side.

Almost a year ago when I finally joined Pinterest, one of my first pins was for a hand-written calendar journal.  Now, finally, as January 1, 2013 quickly approaches, I am ready to begin.

The idea of this journal is to keep one index card for each day of the year and to write only one line each day.  Then, when 2014 begins you start over on you January 1 card and write another line.  During the year you can insert a postcard describing a trip you took on a certain day or maybe a show ticket or something like that.

The first year isn't that interesting of course but how fun it will in subsequent years to look back on fond memories from the year(s) before.

All you need for this simple journal are 365 index cards, a pen, and some sort of box to contain your cards.   On the top right hand corner of each card write one day of the year:  January 1.   On the first line write 2013.  You can do them all now, or as you go.  Very low-maintenance.

For some other ideas and visuals, like using a date stamp, check out the blog where I found this amazing calendar idea.

Here's what I have so far:

And a few postcards that I got from trips we took last year:

I just need the perfect cute little box to store my cards in.  The original pin used a small fruit box but my cards are bigger so that won't work for me.  I'm just going to bide my time and wait until the right sized box comes along.

It's not much right now but I think it could be the beginning of a treasured journal project.  I'm looking forward to getting started on it.

Have a safe and very very happy New Year's Eve!  Best wishes to you and yours for 2013 from the 4 Pears  family.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Christmas Recap

Christmas is over and I must admit I feel a bit adrift right now!  I was just so busy cooking, crafting, playing and celebrating for so long that now I'm not sure what to do with myself!  I figure I'll write a little recap of our Christmas and then get to working on some new things to share with you.  :)

We had a very fun month and Christmas itself did not disappoint either.  Mr Pears and I got to attend Mass on Christmas Eve without two rambunctious toddlers thanks to Grammy and Grandpa.  It was so nice.  Then we came home and did our Santa duties and placed all the gifts and stockings under the tree with care. (and ate the Santa cookies of course)

The boys were a bit surprised to see the Christmas tree the next morning!  I had been telling them that Santa was coming but I don't think they were expecting such an extravaganza, lol.  It took us all morning to open gifts.  The boys loved their presents and wanted each one taken out of its packaging so they could play with it right away before moving on to another.  It was cute.  We tried to encourage them to open things at first but then just decided to let them go at their own pace.  It was fun enjoying it all over the course of a few hours.

In addition to Cozy Coupes the boys got a teeter totter, dishes and play food and a shopping cart for their kitchen, a toy Dyson, some really great Melissa and Doug wood unit blocks, puzzles, a giant bean bag chair....I can't list them all.  But, with the exception of the Dyson which does turn on, none of the toys make noise or require batteries.  Most, if not all, have great learning potential and lots of room for imagination and pretend play.  My little guys were truly spoiled by all of their family and I'm sure we'll have lots of fun with all the awesome gifts they received.

And of course we also had lots of great food!  I made cute little donut snowmen to munch on with our coffee during the gift opening and then Alex made some amazing Eggs Benedict for brunch a bit later on.  For dinner we had prime rib with cauliflower puree, brussels sprouts, creamed corn and yorkshire pudding.  For dessert I made individual Mexican spiced chocolate puddings.  Delicious.

It was great spending so much time having fun and visiting with family in December and January is sure to be just as fun too.  Our nephews are visiting next week, my best friend a week after that and then Grandpa!  We might even sneak in a visit to Disneyland!  I'm really looking forward to everything.

No plans for New Year's Eve yet.... I'm sure we'll figure out a little something or other soon.

I hope everyone reading had a wonderful holiday; best wishes going into 2013!

This post is linked to:  Multiples Monday on Capri +3

Thursday, December 20, 2012

More Toddler Christmas Fun

Two is my favorite age so far.  The boys are finally starting to talk and play, really play, and they are just so much fun.  They are still mostly well behaved (no tantrums!) and still contained in their cribs.  They are just the right mix of baby and little boys. I still call them "the babies", not sure when I'll stop.  They sleep from 7pm until 7am with a two hour nap at noon.  Some days, like today, I hear them on the monitor laughing and jumping around for a half an hour but luckily they settle down on their own and go to sleep after they are tuckered out.  The calm before the storm?  I hope not.  :)

I also love that now, at two, while they don't completely understand holidays and haven't got a huge vocabulary with which to express themselves, they are enjoying our activities and are (very) active participants in our family activities and traditions.  Here are some of the fun things we've been up to this past week or so since I last posted.

A visit to Santa...  We went for low key Bass Pro Shop over the crowded outdoor shopping district this year and I'm really glad we did.  No line, free photo, a train table! Lot's of things for the kids to look at and enough room to let them explore a bit on their own (with a parental shadow of course).  Aaron happily sat on Santa's lap while we did everything we could to convince Alex to sit still for a photo.  Finally we got him to sit on my lap with a candy cane, so Mama's in the Santa picture!  I just wish Daddy had stepped in as well.

We made gingerbread men.... Aaron LOVES to help me make cookies.  Every time he sees me pull out the stand mixer I see this:

He drags a chair right over and climbs up to help me out.  This would be tough with both boys but typically Alex isn't interested so it is some nice Aaron and Mommy time.  Usually, after he finishes dumping in my ingredients, I give him his own mixing bowl with some flour and water and let him mix up his own concoction.

Candy Cane Bath Time...  This was super simple to put together and the boys had so much fun!  I bought a can of Barbasol shaving cream ($1 at the Dollar Store) and put in a few drops of red food coloring and a few drops of peppermint extract and swirled it around with a wooden skewer.  (I found this idea here)

The boys had a blast smearing shaving cream all over themselves and the bath tub.  The water even ended up looking like a candy cane!  Pink with white foam, lol.  Very fun and it all just rinsed away when bath time was over. Though there were a few tears when bath time was proclaimed over.

Sticky Christmas Trees.... I got this idea from Twodaloo.  As soon as I saw it I knew I had to add it to our advent activities.  To get started, I bought 1 large sheet of green poster paper from the dollar store along with a roll of sticky clear contact paper.  Using the largest circle I could find in the house that fit on the paper (a little tikes table) I traced a large circle, folded it into quarters and cut it out and then in half.  I rolled each semi circle into a cone and secured it with some tape.  Next I wrapped each cone in the contact paper, sticky side out.

When it was time to play I gave each boy a "tree" and set out some bowls of sequins, pom poms and foam pieces and let them go to town.  The both had a lot of fun decorating their trees and tossing sequins around the living room.

Whew!  Lots of fun.  I'm so grateful to have my happy little boys (and their Daddy) to share such a wonderful Christmas season.

This post is linked to:

Artsy Play Wednesday with Capri +3
Hosted by Multiples-Mom and Caution! Twins at Play

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A little quiet reflection

I'm having a bit of trouble posting, I apologize for that.  We had visitors last weekend and celebrated Christmas a little early with one set of grandparents, a great grandmom and a favorite cousin.  The boys received Cozy Coupes and they have been driving them all around the family room, stopping only to watch the occasional Dora episode drive-in style.  I've also been sick, again, yuck.  Currently I have no voice which is super awesome when trying to keep twin two-year-olds in line.

I'm also really upset about last week's tragedy in Connecticut and I've had a tough time moving past it to think about posting all about how great things are around here and oh yeah that awesome pot roast we had the other night....  Ugh.  I don't really know what to say other than my heart is hurting for the people of Newtown.  Also, that I really want there to be change here in the United States when it comes to gun control. I don't want to live in and raise my children in a society that fights gun violence with more guns. I don't want to live surrounded by people who believe that their "right to bear arms" is more important than the lives of innocent children and the people who were trying to protect them.  I want to see some real changes instead of more shootings, but I am disheartened because I don't really expect that to happen.

So I'm still here, and we are still enjoying our holiday season and all of our fun advent activities.  But in the quiet times, the times I have to blog, I've just been resting, praying, and thinking about this crazy world we are living in.

My prayers are with all of those affected by this tragedy, which I think just might be all of us.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Play School: Christmas

Due to our Advent Calendar, we aren't actually doing organized Play School this month.  Instead we are doing an advent activity each day as I've talked about before.  The boys are having a great time with it so far and they are eager to "do the calendar" each day.  :)

Many of our calendar activities make for great "play school" though.  Here are a few we've done this month so far.

DIY Build a Indoor Snowman - This snowman is made of craft foam I bought at the craft store.  I just traced the circles and cut them out along with a few other snowman features.  See the full tutorial where I got my inspiration here.

Aaron in particular loves any activity that involves a spray bottle so this is right up his ally.  The boys just spray our large sliding glass door in the kitchen with the water, spray the pieces, and stick them right up.  This toy is great for identifying body parts, shapes and size sequencing.

Insta-Snow Sensory Tub - oh my this was a hit.  Since we live in sunny Las Vegas snow is quite the rarity here.  I decided to buy some Insta-snow for the boys and they love it!   The stuff is just cool.  One little scoop mixed with 2 ounces of water immediately puffs and fluffs up into a very snowy looking substance!  It feels slightly wet and cold too, very neat.  The boys played with it for a long time the other afternoon.  So long, in fact, that Mr Pears and I got slightly less vigilant about supervising only to find two little boys covered in "snow".  Luckily, with the help of the vacuum, clean up was super easy too.  Since this stuff supposedly lasts a while I am looking forward to bringing this one out for the boys to play with again soon.

Decorating the felt Christmas Tree - The boys are very good with shapes and colors and love showing off their skills while decorating their own little tree.  

To make the tree I just bought a large piece of green felt from the craft store and a pack of smaller felt pieces from the dollar store.  I cut out the tree shape and stuck it to the wall in the living room with some double sided tape.  I cut different colored shapes out of the smaller felt pieces for the ornaments.  I found inspiration for this here.

Handmade Clay Ornaments- I want to make a tradition of the boys making a Christmas ornament each year for Grandparent gifts and for our tree here at home too.  I want the ornaments to really be made by the boys (not me!) so our options this year were limited. Luckily the classic "salt dough" (we used this clay) ornaments were perfect for them to do almost on their own. 

 Aaron and Alex both dumped in our ingredients (just baking soda, cornstarch and water!) and mixed up the dough.  Mommy cooked the dough on the stove.  Then the boys helped roll and cut the dough into trees.  I baked the ornaments and then the boys painted them the next day with tempera paints. Once they were dry I wrote their names and year on the back and sprayed them with a sealant to help the paint stay nice.  I also added a string to hang the ornament on the tree with. I think they came out really well.  It is so sweet to have our first child-made ornaments hanging on our tree.  I think the grandparents are going to love them too.

So that is about it for now.  We are visiting Santa tonight...I have no idea if they will actually sit with Santa but we'll see.  

Sorry for the abundance of kid posts and lack of new recipes lately.  We aren't starving over here or anything but our focus has definitely been on the holiday season and we are having a great time.  I promise to try and post something yummy soon!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Christmas Cookies

It just isn't Christmas without cookies, is it?  Ok, I know I know, Christmas has nothing to do with cookies but I like cookies, a lot.  And Christmas is such a great excuse to explore as many new recipes (and old favorites) as possible.  You can share them with visitors, give them as gifts, eat them yourself....

Last week this guy made his way back onto my kitchen counter, just waiting for his belly to be filled with cookie yumminess.

I'm not usually one for "whimsical" decor....but this snowman is just plain cute and I have to make some concessions for my two 2 year-olds.  And those boys know where the cookies come from.  They can't say "cookie"  yet but they can point at the pot-bellied snowman just fine. :)

So here is a round up of my current favorite cookies, and some links to some I want to try but haven't yet.  I hope you enjoy them.  Feel free to leave me a link to your favorite cookie recipe in the comments, I'm always hunting for more great cookies!

Ginger Cookies - my all-time favorite, these stay soft and chewy for days...if they somehow manage to stick around for days....

Cherry-Almond Crinkles - I adapted the recipe from BHG leaving out the candy center which I though was a bit much.  I just scooped the dough onto sheets and flattened them slightly before baking them for 10 minutes.  They are so good!  I love the almond flavor with the sweet cherries and they are very pretty too.  Perfect for gifts.

Lemon Crinkles - soft and lemony but not too sweet, delicious and very easy to make.

Cocoa  Thumbprints - (they are pictured above with Frosty the cookie jar) these are light and airy and so pretty with festive sprinkles or candies on top

Classic Sugar Cookies - these have a touch of almond in them as well which I think really makes them so flavorful.  I can't wait to decorate some with my boys this year!  PS. there is also a link to a great Royal Icing tutorial in that post.

New recipes I want to try:

Gingerbread Men - another one I think will be fun to do with the kiddos.  The recipe I linked has a ton of good reviews on and I am looking forward to trying it out.

Peanut butter Reindeer - Click the link and tell me, how cute are these?  And they look so easy to do too.

So that's it!  Happy Baking... and eating...

Monday, December 3, 2012

Advent Activities

So our month of Christmas fun has officially begun!  Ugh, that rhymed.....oh well, it just conveys my overall optimism and cheeriness towards the whole thing.  It is only Day 3 after all.

On the first we started sharing our Advent Activity calendar with the boys.  They don't really get the whole idea of a countdown until Christmas yet but they can't help but enjoy the fun things the calendar brings.  The first day was "open a present" so they had a great time ripping the paper off the new Christmas pj's I got them.  They were pretty excited to find Mickey Mouse on the jams too. :)

Yesterday we "Read The Christmas Story and set up the Nativity".  As a family we read a great book about the biblical Christmas Story, and then opened our Little People Nativity set.  The boys had a great time today playing with the animals, Baby Jesus and his Mama.  We are going to leave the nativity out on a table in our living room for the boys to play with and talk about all month.  It is hard to find interesting ideas to talk to the boys about the real meaning of Christmas so I'm really happy the boys are into their Little People.  I wish I could share a link to the book since it really is a great one but I can't seem to find it on Amazon.

Here is how Aaron placed the figures for the first time.  He did pretty well all on his own....except for that cow on the stable roof of course.

Here he is giving Mary a hug.  And wearing his Christmas pj's from the night before.

And here are the rest of our activities, in random order because Mr Pears is hogging the iPad with my behind the scenes calendar on it.

3.  Visit Santa!
4.  Decorate your own Christmas Tree  (I made the boys a felt Christmas tree, more on that later)
5.  Make Christmas Tree Ornaments
6.  Paint Ornaments
7.  Watch a Christmas movie as a family
8.  Drink homemade Hot Chocolate with Homemade Marshmallows (I'll post a recipe I promise!)
9.  Sing Christmas Carols  (these boys love to sing with their Grammy so this should be fun)
10.  Visit the Magical Forest
11.  Make Gingerbread Men
12.  Visit with Grandma, Grandpa Doug, Great Grandma Ruth, and Leah :)
13.  Play with Snow!  (Since we live in the desert I bought this stuff, I'm excited to try it out)
14.  Play with our Christmas Sensory bin (I'm sure I'll post this one in more detail)
15.  Decorate Sugar Cookies
16.  Candy Cane Painting in the bath tub!
17.  Visit the Holiday Spectacular at the Springs Preserve
18.  Have a Holiday Play Date
19.  Make a Snowman in the living room  (we are going to play with this foam DIY snowman on our patio door)
20.  Go to story time at the library as a family
21.  Visit Ethel M's Chocolate Factory and see the cactus Christmas lights

There are also a few boxes with candy inside for my own sanity and/or to allow for schedule changes or additions.  I have to admit, that as great as this project is, it was a bit daunting to schedule something for every day in December in advance.  I know I could have put the activities in as I went along but I like knowing what to plan for in the coming week.  Mr Pears has a ton of vacation time this month too so I am super happy that he will be around to do a lot of these activities with me and the boys.

Looking forward to a fun-filled month and wishing the best for all of you as well this holiday season!

This post is linked to:  Artsy Play Wednesday at Capri +3

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


Hi there!  Sorry I've been so quiet over here.  We had a wonderful Thanksgiving, the food was great and the company was even better.   Now I'm just sort of enjoying the "calm before the storm".  I'm filling up my advent calendar with fun activities to do with the family, working on a few little projects, wrapping gifts!, and reading a book.

December is going to be busy and I'm excited to get started celebrating Christmas with my little guys.  They may be two now but in ways this feels like it is their first Christmas; they are able to participate so much more now and they recognize Santa!

I have lots of fun things planned to do with them, and lots of things to share with you.  See you very soon (like next week, lol).

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Play School - Thanksgiving

Are you as busy as I am???  I should be making a cheesecake right now but I figure I'll relax for a few minutes and write this post instead.  :)  It has been a busy week for us what with cooking for 13 people and all, but I am happy to say I did make some time for Play School, even if my children didn't seem to appreciate all my cute craft ideas for the week....


I had four Thanksgiving books out for the kids to read this week.

I really like Thanks for Thanksgiving by Julie Markes  but the boys both seemed to choose T is for Turkey as their favorite.  They are just really into the alphabet right now.


I made up this button turkey for the boys to play with this week.

It was really quick and easy.  I just used some felt and a few colorful buttons I picked up at the craft store.  I used fabric glue to attach the face and head to the turkey and hand sewed the buttons on.  I then glued a second brown circle on the back to keep the (messy) button stitching away from prying fingers.

I cut a small slit in each of the feathers so they could be buttoned on by the theory.

The boys really loved this turkey and bring it to me several times a day but neither can button the feathers on yet. They do great with the color matching aspect though and are very accurate identifying their colors now.
I got my inspiration for this here and here.

The other activity we "attempted" to do were M&M turkeys.  I found this great printable (4 turkeys to a page) and colored them in a bit myself since I wanted the kids to focus on the candy placing aspect of the activity.  I gave each boy a fun size bag of M&M's left over from Halloween and showed them how to place one candy on each circle.  Great idea for working on fine motor skills but they really just wanted to eat the candy.  sigh.  How can I blame them?  M&M's are just too delicious.


We really failed in the craft department this week too, lol.  First I attempted the classic hand print turkeys.  After watching Grammy demo getting her hand painted and putting it on the paper Aaron was willing to be painted but he didn't want to put his hand down!  So he just smeared it all around.  Sigh again.

Alex was not going to let me paint his hand so he went to town with a brush instead.

The next day I figured I'd take one more stab at Turkey making.  This time I decorated two pine cones with some googly eyes and scraps of felt and tried to get the boys to let me trace their hands on construction paper for the feathers.  Aaron agreed but only after being bribed with more M&M's.  Alex wouldn't even do it for candy!  SIGH.

I made two copies of Aaron's hand just to finish my poor naked second turkey.  They are pretty cute though.

As usual, everything didn't go as intended... BUT we had fun.  And I am very grateful to have such fun little boys.

Have a very Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!!

Artsy Play Wednesday with Capri +3