Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Santa Knows

When Cynthia Leitich Smith found out how much A loved Santa Knows, she linked to my blog entry that discussed A's reaction to the book (See A Young Reader Believer Story on the Santa Knows site). But, that's not all. Because A thought that the Leitich Smiths were elves, Cynthia sent an autographed post card for A's stocking.

When A pulled out the card, she said, "Oh, this must be a letter from Santa." She had written a letter to Santa the night before asking Santa to find her missing stuffed animal, Lammy. She ended the letter with, "I will always believe in you."

She opened the envelope and pulled out the card. She read the card, "Merry Christmas from the elves." She shrieked. "They're real. They're real. They're real elves!"

She finished looking through her stocking and was thrilled with sunscreen, hand sanitizer, goggles (all things the girls will need in the coming weeks :-) and her double dutch jump rope. All this time, S was quietly looking at the contents of her own stocking. A looked at the coffee table and saw the note from Santa. "Oh, here's the note from Santa," she said before she read Santa's letter aloud to the rest of us. Santa thanked her for the cookies and milk and the reindeer treats we threw in the front yard, and for the cheese for Santa Mouse. * He told her Lammy was in her closet, to do her homework and to help clean that messy room (since that was how Lammy disappeared!).

Then...she got down to the part that said, "I hope you enjoy your iPod. Please remember to share and to take good care of it."

She frantically looked around. "What iPod? Where is it?" Then she saw it. Right on the table next to the spot she picked the note up from. "That wasn't there! Santa made that appear just now! That wasn't there before!"

"An iPod! An iPod!" Now S was screaming too!

It was a very special Christmas at home! The girls (and hubby and I) enjoyed waking up in our own home on Christmas morning and creating our own holiday traditions. It has always felt weird to me because our holiday tradition has always been to travel on Christmas Eve and run around to all the relatives homes eating and exchanging presents.

Happy Holidays! I wish each of you a joyous and prosperous New Year.

* Do you know about Santa Mouse? Santa Mouse was my favorite Christmas book as a kid. I found a copy for $5 this year. At my brother's house, stocking presents are from Santa Mouse. The girls thought Santa Mouse sounded like a pretty cool mouse, so this year, stocking presents came from SANTA MOUSE at our house too!

Friday, December 08, 2006

Jump Ropes

I mentioned the new Disney Channel movie, Jump In, in an earlier post. In that post, I also told you where to go to get your double dutch fabric (come on...you know you want new flannel jammies or maybe a pillow!) HINT: Austin illustrator Don Tate is now a fabric designer!!!

Now, here's where to get your double dutch jump ropes: The Jump Rope Store.

I bought ropes for S, A and K for Christmas. These are the old-style gym class ropes. You can choose the length. AND, you can choose the bead colors. A is getting a pink and purple rope. S will get blue, green and purple. K gets a smaller rope in purple and pink. The price is a reasonable $16.95 + shipping for a double dutch (less for smaller ropes). And, mine arrived in just two days!

Yep, we'll be doing double dutch in the garage on Christmas Day!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

All Partied Out!

Looking back on October and November, it's a wonder I got any writing done at all. We hosted a lot of parties: Halloween work gathering, Hubby's surprise party and S's pirate birthday party. I still have the neighborhood hayride with Santa. It starts at my house, but I no longer plan it. (See....I CAN say no!) And, we still have the 3rd grade winter party that I'm one of three room moms for (That one will be easy!)

My neighbor reminded me of all the parties when I mentioned another party opportunity. I briefly considered hosting a Jump In party. (Until I remembered that we'll have A's b-day party that month. One party a month is definitely enough, even in my book!) Disney Channel has a new original movie, Jump In, staring Corbin Bleu (one of the boys from HS Musical) and Keke Palmer (the girl from Keelah and the Bee). It's a jump rope movie with what appears to be a hot soundtrack. I predict this will be bigger than Cheetah Girls 2.

So... I'm buying double dutch jump ropes for Christmas and I'll be picking up some of Don Tate's flannel and fleece when it's available. Don has just licensed some illustrations for a fabric line and one of those will be double dutch jump ropers! (I'll make something simple like pillows or scarves, as I'm not much of a seamstress!

Pick up Don's fabric, get a jump rope and start the year with what will be the hottest old exercise around!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

How to Host a Pirate Party -- Part 2

We used my pirate manuscript as the "script" for the party and came up with games to fit the situations the pirates got themselves into.

Keep in mind that it was 16 degrees in the Midwest today, and we had 20 kids!

The kids batted around balloons while they waited for the other pirates to arrive. Most of the kids came in pirate gear. We had pirate bandanas for everyone. We divided them into two teams and put color-coded name tags on each kid so they wouldn't forget which team they were on.

We covered the door to the basement with craft paper and decorated it to look like a ship. This was not a fancy party in terms of the decorations. I wanted this to be simple (and in terms of my manuscript, I want it to be something everyone could execute whether it's for a story time or a party.) We had two laundry basket ships! How's that for fancy!?

I read a few stanzas of the story, then we took breaks to play games. After each game, they sat and listened to the story to see which game would come next. A few of our games: canonball fight, walking the plank, swabbing the deck and sword fighting with Captain Chris.

How to Host a Pirate Party

How to Host a Pirate Party

1. Start with the invitations. Our invitation consisted of pirate lingo printed on tan paper. We tore the paper to make jagged edges, rubbed the edges with a dab (just a dab, no more!) of water, placed them on a cookie sheet and baked at 200 for about 10 minutes (until the paper started to curl). I've also heard of people dabbing the edges with a wet tea bag before baking, but I prefer this look.

2. Wear your pirate garb.
3. Write a pirate story. Oh, you don't have one? Well...I just happened to write one! Wouldn't it be great if some brilliant publisher made it into a picture book? (I have sent it out as an exclusive submission to one publisher. Crossing my fingers and biting my nails!)

More details coming soon!