Friday, December 23, 2011

The Boys' First Christmas Pagent!

Last Sunday, Jack and Harry were in their first Christmas pagent, organized by Clarice, the awesome children's minister at our church. Much like t-ball in the summer, few things are more nostalgia invoking than a children's Christmas pagent. (Erica and Kurt Adam: Do you remember being the three wiseman in the DANK Christmas plays? Erica and I wore the green and blue velvet gown things, and Kurt wore a purple tunic. Then one year they decided everyone would be shepherds. We wore the same costumes and were the best dressed shepherd's Bethlehem had ever seen. And the whole thing was a poem we recited in German; we were never really sure what we were saying! Wasn't everyone a member of a German-American cultural organization?)

Jack was a wiseman, and Harry was a shepherd. The whole thing was completely adorable. All the kids walked somberly down the aisle toward the amazing set, except, of course, for Harry, who ran the whole way. As everyone laughed at him, Jack started towards the set, and thought everyone was laughing about his belt that he was suddenly self conscious about :( But other than that it was perfect. The kids sang songs like "Take Me Out to the Stable" to the tune of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame," and "Mary had a Baby Boy" to the tune of "Mary had a Little Lamb." All the kids did a great job, and Jack and Harry proved what little hams they are once again!

Here are some pictures!

I had to throw in one picture of Addie in her pretty dress!

Monday, December 19, 2011

A Catastrophe of Elfin Proportions...

As we were rushing around the house on Friday to try and get out the door for our annual pilgrimmage to see Santa and eat at the Walnut Room, disaster struck our elf, Fred. Fred was perched on to of the chalkboard in the kitchen, where he had left a message: "Fred was here." Jack decided he wanted to write a message back to him. Half way through the "F," the chalkboard wobbled, and Fred plunged to the floor, but not before bouncing off Jack's shoulder first. Jack was devastated. Amidst his sobbing and giant tears, I learned what happened. As I tried to calm him down by explaining that it was just an accident, and that I was certain that Fred had not lost his magic when Jack accidentally touched him, Cory was giving me the signal to not say anymore. It turns out that Fred's leg had broken off and was m.i.a. As Fred was quickly hidden before the kids noticed the missing limb, I swept the kitchen floor hoping to catch the leg. While I was doing that, having told the kids that Fred was probably hiding because he was shaken up from his fall, Jack went and got a jingle bell ornament. He shook the bells saying, through sniffles, "Maybe if he hears a Christmas sound, he'll want to come back." It was simultaneously adorable and heart breaking. I was starting to panic internally about the leg when Harry piped up, "Hey! I found Fred's foot!" (Or, if you know Harry: "Hey! I thound Thred's thoot!) As he didn't seem upset at all, I thanked him for the leg and hid it in the palm of my hand. In the meantime, the bells not working, Jack remembered that in the Elf on the Shelf movie, the elf got hot chocolate as medicine to make him better. When I reached into the cabinet for a mug, Jack was concerned that it was way to big for Fred. Knowing that Addie had a little porcelain tea set in her closet, (Cory got it for her birthday,) I used that opportunity to sneak Fred and the glue gun upstairs while I looked for a suitably sized mug. The hot chocolate (and me hiding in the upstairs bathroom with a hot glue gun) worked its magic, and soon Fred was "drawn to the scent of the hot chocolate," according to Cory, and was sitting on the window sill waiting for his mug of chocolatey goodness. Jack left a few cookie crumbs, and when we got home the next night, Fred was sitting at a different window with an empty mug. And all was well with the world.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The much anticipated arrival of our elf!

For the past couple years, I have heard people talking about starting their "Elf on the Shelf" traditions. While I thought it completely charming, I thought Jack was probably too old to start a new tradition, and that he probably wouldn't believe. Happily, it turns out I was wrong.

Jack came home from school the other day with big news he was VERY excited about. When the kids got into the classroom, Santa had sent an elf! It was sitting on the clock, waiting for everyone to get there. He told me all about how the magic doesn't start until you name the elf. He wanted to name him My Best Friend, but Benny was the name that got the most votes. In an awed voice, he explained that if you touch the elf, the magic will go away. He spent about ten minutes, with Harry and Addie paying rapt attention, telling me every detail about the elf, and shared his conclusion that, "The North Pole is the only on Earth that still has real magic." It was the most perfect moment of childhood wonder and enchantment. I hope my kids can hold on to that for a long time.

He concluded by telling me that, to his amazement, Santa had actually sent elves to two kids in his class already. He said that he really hoped that Santa would decide to send one to our house. It turns out, that he needn't have worried, because, in the midst of his story, I decided we had to have an elf. He didn't notice, while he was talking, that I had flipped open the laptop and ordered this little guy. However, in true mom style, I told him that I thought that an elf would probably want to come to a house that was all decorated for Christmas. I then added that we couldn't finish decorating until the house was clean. He decided that he would work hard over the weekend helping me get everything ready so that, hopefully, an elf would come. I'm sneaky like that, and I think this situation is a win/win ;) (And, according to my tracking number, he would actually have until Tuesday. Way to go Amazon for getting it here a day early!)

After bath time, and before bedtime last night, our elf arrived! He was perched above Harry's bed waiting to meet everyone. (Upon retrospect, not a good move on my part, because they did NOT want to go to sleep after that. Every time I checked on them, they were both just staring up at the elf.) He is very little and has a book, so Jack has concluded that he is probably an elf-in-training. Since this is his first year, he needs the book to reference the elf rules, in case he forgets. We decided on the name Fred. Jack, again, wanted to name him My Best Friend, but as that was a little lengthy, I suggested Friendly. That made Jack think of Fred, which Harry agreed was a wonderful name! They have also determined that Santa sent him yesterday to help prepare for St. Nicholas Day. When they woke up this morning, they were delighted to find that St. Nicholas had also left a treat for Fred, and even more thrilled when they got home from school to find they Fred had eaten his chocolate :) Their excitement was contagious, and a new tradition is born!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Crunchmaster Winner!

The winner of the yummy case (twelve bags!) of White Cheddar Crunchmaster Crackers is... entry number 2, Erica K. Congrats, and enjoy your delicious prize. If you only eat a bag a month, this would be a year's supply, but they are pretty tasty, so they probably won't last you that long ;) I will get your address info to the company in the next week, and hopefully your prize will arrive soon!!! Thank you to everyone who entered!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Crunchmaster Cracker Giveaway!

Recently, thanks to the nice people at Moms Meet and Crunchmaster Crackers, I was given a chance to try some super yummy Crunchmaster crackers. They sent me three varieties to try: Sea Salt, Roasted Vegetable, and their newest flavor, White Cheddar. The crackers were not only yummy, but also a healthy snack that we all enjoyed. Not to sound too much like a commercial, but here is some info about the crackers!
*Oven baked with a unique, crunchy texture and multi-grain taste
*Wheat free and certified gluten free
*21+ grams of whole grain per serving and a good source of fiber
*All natural
*Cholesterol and saturated fat free
My family tried and loved all three varieties of the crackers. My favorite was the sea salt. Sea Salt Crunchmaster Crackers + shredded cheese = awesome nachos!!! The kids loved the white cheddar flavor. They thought it tasted just like cheddar cheese popcorn (This was my mom's favorite flavor too:).) I brought the veggie flavored crackers to a Mom's Night Out for playgroup. I served them with a pepper jelly and cream cheese dip. Everyone loved them! I think Cory ate at least three bags of the crackers himself! They have a light, crispy texture that is almost chip-like. They are seriously delicious, and they are a snack I feel good about giving to the kids, which is good since they loved them. They come in resealable bags, which made it easy to keep them fresh even after they were opened. Overall, thumbs up from the Yeager family (and all of our friends that we shared them with!)

Now comes the fun part for you! Crunchmaster has graciously sponsored a giveaway for my readers. One lucky winner will win a case (that's twelve bags!) of Crunchmaster White Cheddar Crackers! I will draw one winner a week from today (December 3rd) using To enter, follow the blog, and leave a comment on this post saying you want to win. (If Blogger is acting like it hates you, and won't let you comment, let me know. I will add a comment for you!) Crunchmaster will be sending the prize out, so after the drawing I will need to get the winner's address to them. Good luck!!!

Here is some legal stuff: Disclaimer: I received this product for free from the sponsor of the Moms Meet program, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meet blogger, I agreed to use this product and post my opinion on my blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC or the manufacturer of the product.
This giveaway is open only to U.S. residents.

P.S. Be sure to check out Crunchmaster's Facebook page.

******Giveaway closed on December 3, 2011******

Friday, November 11, 2011

I remember Halloween

Halloween was almost TWO WEEKS AGO, and I haven't had time to share all of our fun yet! I really love Halloween, so we pretty much do every Halloween thing I hear about. This year my kiddos were all super heroes, (though I think this may have been the last year I could coerce them into a theme. Sigh.) We had lots of fun at two trunk or treats, a playgroup party, and school parties, and cousin fun at Boo at the Zoo with Elora. We also went to the Carlinville Halloween parade, (it's the longest night time parade in the state, people. Be impressed.) with the added bonus of getting to see Uncle Kurt :) And we trick or treated around town with friends! (A little side story about that: When I told Jack and Harry that they got to trick or treat with Aidan and Adrienne, Harry said, "Oh good. Adrienne is my best fwiend." When I commented that almost 11 year old Adrienne probably does not view three year old Harry as her bff, he scoffed saying, "I'm thwee and a HALF!) We had a really great Halloween week :) Now here are a bunch of pictures of my sweet babies!

One more thing!!!! I am going to do my best to get a super yummy giveaway posted by next week, so be on the lookout for that! The prize is pretty great!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Cub Scouts, pumpkin patches, and giveaway winners, oh my!

As promised, the anxiously awaited (by my parents) glimpse into Jack's first month of being a totally adorable Tiger Cub. Let me start by saying that we have done A LOT of Cub Scout stuff in the past month. I am one of the leaders for Jack's den. So far, he has had three meetings, gone on a campout (with just Daddy and him, so that he thought that was kind of a big deal,) and gone to Bobcat Bootcamp. (True story: Every time I tried to say that fast, which was way more times than you would think, I accidentally said Bobcat Boobcamp. Moving on.) The Bootcamp was his favorite. He got to shoot bows and arrows, sling shots, and the Holy Grail of Christmas gifts, a bb gun. He has really been enjoying it, and it's really family oriented, so Harry and Addie have had a lot of fun, too. Here are some pictures of various Cub Scout things.

Last week, we took a couple of pumpkin patch trips. The first trip was just Jack and me. We went to Pumpkin Works on a field trip with his class. Neither of us had been there before, and we had a lot of fun. Jack's favorite part was Pete the talking pumpkin. My favorite part was during the hayride when the farmer gave a long and pretty elaborate explanation of how the wetlands on the farm purify water. (Can you say pollutants, boys and girls?) It was informative, but maybe a little complex for six year olds!

A few days later we went to our favorite pumpkin patch, The Great Pumpkin Patch. It was a playgroup trip, but Cory took the day off work so he could come too! It was a beautiful day, and the kids had tons of fun. Addie was old enough to actually participate this year. She was pretty proud of herself for saying "duck" when she saw the ducks (and the chickens... close enough.)

Some pictures of our pumpkin fun!

And finally... I drew the three winners for the Renuzit Fresh Accents Holiday Air Fresheners. The winners are Jessie B., Holly P., and Stacy E.!!! Holly, I will get yours to you this week. Stacy, I will send yours asap. Jessie, please email or Facebook message me your address, and I will send it to you asap. Enjoy, ladies :)

Monday, October 3, 2011

A surprise giveaway!

Here is how my day went today. I dropped Harry off at school. It was class picture day today, and he mysteriously woke up with a scratch down his cheek. Then Addie and I went to the first day of Project Step, (running late of course,) in Mattoon. (Which was really fun!) After going back to pick up Harry, I decided to go back to Mattoon to go to the salvage store before doing my regular grocery shopping. As I pulled into the parking lot, I remembered that the store is closed on Monday. Hoping to not have made the drive for no reason, I called Cory to meet for lunch. While waiting for him, I took the kids to a park. About ten minutes later, my phone alarm went off reminding me that Harry needed to be at speech back in Charleston in fifteen minutes. Blah! So we ditched our lunch plan with Daddy, and booked it to speech, with Harry not having eaten lunch. Then we had a looong grocery shopping trip because I hastily threw together a list in the parking lot.

But the entire day has been redeemed! When I got home from shopping, I found a surprise package on my front porch from Purex Insiders. Inside were two Renuzit Fresh Accents Holiday Air Fresheners!
So festive looking!
They come in two scents. The green one is Festive Snow, and has a really fresh smell. The red one is Winter Berry, and I think it smells like cranberries. And guess what? They also sent three coupons each good for one free air freshener!
So.... three lucky winners will each get a coupon good for one free Renuzit Fresh Accents Holiday Air Freshener. These will be in stores soon, so even if you aren't thinking about Christmas yet, you will be when it is time to redeem your coupon :) I will draw 3 lucky winners on Friday, October 14, using All you need to do is follow the blog (publicly or secretly, whatever) and leave a comment saying you want to win. (U.S. residents only) Renuzit brand provided free samples of Fresh Accents air freshener so I could review them. However, all of the opinions expressed here are my own.

***Also, to those who are anxiously awaiting it, (my parents) I promise I will post soon about Jack's first month as the World's Cutest Tiger Cub Scout. And, I will hopefully have a few more giveaways in the next few weeks. Yay!***

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Kashi Winner

The winner of the Kashi bars is entry number four, Elise! Email or Facebook message me your address, and I will send them to you ASAP!!!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Kashi review and giveaway!!!

Thanks to the nice people over at Moms Meet and Kashi, I was given some kid friendly goodies to sample, and best of all, share with you! I even "attended" my first webinar, which pretty much makes me a Kashi expert. Right now, they are having a two bite challenge. This means that they are so sure that your kids will love their healthy, all natural snacks at least as much as "other" snacks, that it will only take two bites to convince your kids! It worked at my house!

I was sent three different products to try. The first thing we tried were strawberry cereal bars. These are definitely Jack's new favorite snacks. He is a picky eater, and he totally loves these things. (The rest of us like them too!) They have 3 grams of fiber and whole grains in every bar, but no artificial ingredients. (Yay!) Jack asked if he could have one for dessert tonight. Really.

The next thing we tried was the Cinnamon Harvest cereal. This has become Addie's favorite finger food. She loves them! An unfortunate side effect has been her trailing shredded wheat through the house, but that's not really Kashi's fault ;) It probably has more to do with her eating (smashing) technique.

The last product we tried was the super yummy Peanutty Dark Chocolate Granola Bar. This was my favorite. It is not so little kiddy, that you are embarrassed to be seen eating it, but not too grown up that the kids won't like it. Good for everyone! Here are the kiddos enjoying trying them for the first time!

Now for the part you were waiting for! One lucky person will win six of the Peanutty Dark Chocolate granola bars. (That's like a whole box, but they didn't come in a box. So you'll just get a big handful of granola bars. Sorry if the lack of box bothers you. They still taste good.) To win, just become a follower of the blog and leave a comment on this post saying you want to win. I will draw the winner on Friday, September 16th, using Good luck!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Yay for school (and a super scary Harry moment)

This week saw all three kids officially go to school! Jack started about three weeks ago. Harry and Addie started this week. So far, all three are loving it!

Jack is having a great time in first grade. He says his favorite subject is science, and I see why! They are doing a pretty cool unit right now on monarch butterflies. Just today he excitedly told me that they have four chrysalides (plural for chrysalis, thanks Google.) He only knew one kid in his class before starting, but he is getting along well with his tablemates, and has been playing with a few boys in his class. I am hoping in the next few weeks that he will start to make more friends in his class. (He can never seem to remember anyone's names, which is probably a dealbreaker as far as friendship goes. ;) ) He is always excited to see his friends from other classes at recess. Also, new this year, he is riding the bus home. He thinks this is a pretty big deal! The highlight of the ride is that he gets to sit with some of his friends from outside of school. I'm pretty sure that this is a major rite of passage into being a "big kid." He's in a motor vehicle, without his parents, and gets to choose where and with whom to sit. Next step: driver's license.

Harry is back at the same pre-school he went to last year, with the same fabulous teachers, in a different, but still wonderful, location. He also has many of the same classmates as last year, including his BFF Ave (or Aba, as he says.) He is not very forthcoming with information when he talks to me, but from what I can gather by eavesdropping on his conversations with Cory, he really enjoys when they do the "caterpillar walk." I think it is pretty much just all the kids walking in a line, but he thinks it's pretty great. The program he is in really great, and I am so happy he gets to go again this year!

Even Addie is going to school! She goes to the baby lab at the college two mornings a week. (This means that, after drive time etc., I have THREE HOURS a week WITHOUT CHILDREN. Granted, I will likely spend some of that volunteering at Jack's school, but still...) So far, she seems to really like it. They have all sorts of baby friendly things for her to climb on, and climbing is definitely one of her favorite things, baby friendly or not. She also thought it was a pretty big deal that they had tiny tables and chairs for her to snack at, instead of sitting in a highchair. She got up, more than once, to help herself to more snacks and juice. I'm pretty sure she thinks she is a big kid too. (Though I insist that she's still a baby...)

The other big event during the past week was the start of kettle corn season (also known as football season.) While at the first game, one of the most terrifying moments of my life as a parent occured. I was getting the price board all ready for the kettle corn booth to open. I told Jack and Harry to go over to the bounce house that is literally right next door to the kettle corn booth. Only one other family was in that part of the stadium, as the game had not yet started. I looked up every couple of minutes to see four little blonde heads bouncing. After about ten minutes, my mom went over to check in with them. She came over panicked, and said that Harry wasn't there. Not seeing how that was possible, I checked for myself. (Turns out the other family had three blonde boys.) I felt panicked as well as we dashed around looking for Harry, but as I mentioned, the game hadn't started yet, and the stadium was still pretty empty. The had the horrifying realization that he must have wandered out of the stadium to the still very crowded tailgate area (I squelched thoughts about him wandering into the street to help me attempt to keep my cool.) My mom flagged down a police officer, and I seriously thought I would barf as I gave him Harry's description and listened to him radio it out the the other cops. It turns out, Harry had gone to the bounce houses in the tailgate area, where he was confused because he "couldn't find my brudder." Some "army guys" found him (ROTC kids, I think,) gave him a piece of Double Bubble, and took him to the ticket stand where I, filled with relief and the feeling of being The Worst Parent on the Planet, picked him up. He told me, "The army guys tooked care of me." ( Humorous side story: About three days later, at bedtime, Jack said, "You care about Harry more than me because he got lost and got gum, but I didn't get gum.")

P.S. I should, hopefully, have a yummy give-away to post tomorrow!

Monday, August 29, 2011

So not cool...

Remember when you were a kid and you'd hear an adult say something was "cool" and you'd think to yourself, "Wow. He/She is way too old for that. Awkward." I recently realized I am that lame adult.

So, a few months ago, the radio alarm went off, and I really liked the song that was playing. Later that day, I Googled some words I remembered from the song which led me to the Neon Trees. Despite the fact that I am sure I am clearly fifteen years older (at least!) than their average listener, I quickly added a Neon Trees station to my Pandora account. When I listened to them while cooking dinner, I felt pretty hip. (Me using the word "hip" is positive proof that I am definitely not hip, but I digress...) So anyway, fast forward to me driving the car without the Ipod last week. I was flipping through the radio stations, and happened upon the song I originally heard that made me like the band. Feeling pretty cool, (and that I'd lucked upon a decent radio station,) I left it on said station. All my dreams of hipness vanished when a smooth voiced d.j. came on and let me know I was listening to "Lite Rock 99" or whatever and transitioned into a Michael Bolton song. Michael freaking Bolton. I am lame and old and listen to an old person radio station. But I'm okay with that. Kind of. (Also, I'm telling myself that the d.j. was the rebel of the station. Whatever works. I don't think the band is for lame old people ;) )

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Jack's Sixth Birthday!!!

When Jack came to me a few months ago and said he wanted a Harry Potter birthday, it was one of my proudest moments as a parent. I had been waiting to hear that phrase since becoming a parent. (And the fact that he was planning his birthday party months in advance is further proof that he is truly my son!) I was excited for th opportunity to combine three of my favorite things, Jack, Harry Potter, and birthday parties, into one awesome event! I began planning immediately, and here are the results! (I will include a list of all the websites I used as resources at the end of the post.)

The Menu
There are so many different foods mentioned in Harry Potter, it was hard to narrow down what to make! I decided to focus on the sweets that Jack was most familiar with from the movies and from reading the first book. I made chocolate frogs with a mold from Amazon. I also made pumpkin pasties, cauldron cakes, butter beer, pumpkin juice, and licorice wands. Cory made fruit wands (fruit kabobs) and a great cake with Harry Potter fighting the basilisk. I also served veggies and cheese and cracker (so there would be at least a few healthy options!) and Bertie Bott's Beans (Jelly Bellies.)

When the kids came in, they got their pictures taken in costume (thanks Mandy and Jessica!) in front of Platform 9 3/4. (Awesome printout from Steph and Jake. Thanks, you two!!) I used those pictures to give each child who attended the party a personalized thank you card. (Grandparents got pictures of Jack as thank you cards ;) ) After that they were sorted into houses. I made nametag necklaces with pictures of Gryffindor and Ravenclaw crests (I didn't want to make anyone be in Slytherin. And really, who wants to be a Hufflepuff?) on them. The kids chose them from a hat, which put them into teams for the games. It was really hot out, so we spent most of the party inside, but we went outside to play Quidditch (a relay race where the kids rode a broom and threw balls into laundry baskets. The last kid had a snitch to put in the basket.) We also did a magical creature hunt through the forbidden forest (stuffed animals of dragons, unicorns, etc. hidden in the yard.) Inside, we played pin the sock on Dobby. (Again, big thanks to Steph and Jake for the great printout!) The kids also made wands at "Ollivanders."

My little wizards
Magical Creature Hunt
Making Wands
Pin the Sock on Dobby

Favors and Decorations
The kids took home broom treat bags filled with Bertie Bott's Beans, chocolate frogs, and Harry Potter Silly Bands. (Thanks Stacy!) They also each got a "Care of Magical Creatures" textbook ( they could choose from different books about nocturnal animals, strange sea creatures, snakes, etc.) For decorations, I just printed out Hogwarts and house crests and hung them on ribbons to make banners. I also printed out signs to hang up with names of businesses from Harry Potter ( an Ollivanders sign at the wand craft, a Three Broomsticks sign by the drinks, etc.)

Here is a list of websites I used for ideas, printables, etc.
Most of the recipes came from here.
I found lots of ideas for games, favors, and more at The Hostess With the Mostess.
I used this template for the invitations.
Everything I needed for chocolate frog boxes was found via The Enchanted Tree.

It was an awesome party, and Jack and I are already thinking about ideas for next year! Now only six months until Harry's birthday party!

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