Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Marden's Find

Check out my Marden's find! I got these super cute Christmas gloves for $1.99 I keep them in my purse, and when the kids and I have to wait in the car or in line somewhere, I dig them out and do a puppet show.

There's Santa and Mrs Claus, a reindeer and even a little elf. Usually Mrs. Claus is trying to force-feed Santa because he's too skinny. The elf is freaking out because he is overworked and underpaid, and there's no elf-union, and Rudolph is dealing with some self-esteem issues of his own.

They're super warm. The only bad part is that Mrs. Claus' hair is too long and keeps getting caught in the door when I leave the house. Ah well. You can't have everything.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Our Nativity Scene

I looked all over for a nativity scene the kids and I could craft up. I wanted a simple, free, printable project and I couldn't find one! Then, 2 days before Christmas, I stumbled across one online.

Here it is, a very realistic (?) example of Jesus' humble birth.

Mary, Joseph and little Jesus.

The donkey that carried Mary over all those miles to Bethlehem. Poor donkey. It looks like I feel.

In Maddie's opinion, Mary should have ridden a cow to Bethlehem. According to Mad, cows are much faster because they can run. Hunh.

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

You thought I'd forgotten about Christmas, right? Curiously, it's been absent from my blog. That wasn't on purpose. This year Christmas was a bit more tame than usual, and we went very simple in our partying.

We did decorate, put up a tree, bake a Birthday cake for Jesus, send out cards (well, okay, a handful), buy some presents and all that stuff, but it was noticeably less than the last few years. Perhaps it was lack of funds or energy, but, it was what it was.

Just to show you that we didn't totally skip out, the next few blogs will present some Patterson Christmas pics as proof.

We had our First Annual Stocking Race.

It quickly turned into our First Annual Stocking Tackle.

And our First Annual Stocking Meltdown.

'Tis the season!

Monday, December 21, 2009

'Round Town

Enjoy a few pics of downtown San Juan del Sur.

A view of palm trees lining the sidewalk by the beach.

The beach of San Juan del Sur. The water is so warm, and the sand is fine is beautiful, no pebbley like in NB. You can see the gigantic statue of Jesus on the hill overlooking the town.

Men repairing the roof on one of the beachside restaurants.

Fruit vendor on a bicycle.

Next to this Nicaraguan horse, our Canadian horses are lazy and overfed... he certainly earns his daily meal.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Putting the Kids to Work!

I'm a stay-at-home-mom, and because I'm a SAHM I often fall into the trap of feeling sorry for myself and the mountain of housework I do everyday. The problem isn't even so much the amount I do, but that the kids go behind me and un-do all the work. After all, cleaning my house while the kids are small is like shoveling the walk before it stops snowing.

But then I realized that I was doing it wrong. I wasn't using all the natural resources I have in my home. What natural resources, you ask? My children! Children are, after all, our nation's most precious resource. So I'm learning to delegate.

For example, you don't have to be big to help around the house. My two year old is a fantastic picker-upper. Toddlers can easily handle throwing their toys into a basket, and all they need as a reward is lots of cheering and hand clapping.

They're also great at throwing things into the garbage....scraps of food, wrappers, cell phones, etc. Careful with this one!

Kids love to help in the kitchen. Depending on the age and maturity of your kids, you can show them how to peel veggies (with a peeler). If you trust your kid to be responsible, you can even show them how to use a paring knife. Obviously, some kids are ready for this and some aren't. If your 5 year old can't sit still and has a habit of waving his hands when he talks, then cutting veggies isn't the chore for him. In Maddie's case, she can handle that. Eva, not so much. Graedy, definetly NOT!!


If they aren't quite to the peeling and cutting chore, they will definetly enjoy stirring and cleaning up icing bowls.

Kids love this next chore. All you need is a sock and non-breakable items. Show them how to run your socked hand over tabletops, windowsills, TV screens and you'll have the dusting done in no time. You might have to do the higher furniture and photo frames but it keeps them busy and they'll gradually get taller.

I showed Maddie (almost 6) how to do laundry. She loves it! It's a multi-step chore, but fairly simple. The first step is explaining that you need to separate the clothes by colour. It helps if you have this kind of gadget:

Then, you show how to load the washer by colour, adjust the settings, pour in the soap and ta-da! Clean clothes! If you have a lot of delicates or dry-clean only clothing, then you'll need to be extra diligent.

Obviously, use your common sense. Some things kids can handle, and some things they can't.

Good kid chores = sock dusting, folding facecloths and towels, watering plants, clearing their spot at the table, feeding the cat, sweeping the deck, etc.

Bad kid chores = stocking the furnace, chopping wood, bathing the baby alone, changing the oil in the car, washing knives, etc.

Chores that need extra help and supervision (and you MUST USE YOUR JUDGEMENT DEPENDING ON THE KID) = cutting soft fruits and veggies, peeling veggies, loading dishwasher, doing dishes (glass, knives, food poisoning, etc), cooking, babysitting, etc.

Good luck and use those resources!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

The H1N1 Primer for Pregnant Women

This is a very interesting and well-informed article about H1N1 and pregnant women.

Pelican Eyes Resort

Our villa...

View from the balcony off our bedroom...

The pool, overlooking the Pacific ocean and the village of San Juan del Sur...

Pelican Eyes has a program where they rescue hurt and stray animals. Here's one of their monkeys...

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Leaving Managua

Here's the road leading away from Managua, Nicaragua. We were heading south toward San Juan del Sur. I wish I'd taken the video 10 minutes earlier. The scenery on the video doesn't really show what Managua is like. We were warned repeatedly not to leave our hotel in Managua. Supposedly, the streets are not safe to walk in, alone or otherwise. We were picked up by the hotel shuttle at the airport, for which we were very thankful! In Managua, the buildings are shacks made of old tin, pieces of wood, or cement. All the yards, windows and doors are gated and barred. The houses are stuck together. It's not a very pretty place, by our standards. Animals wander in and out of the street, and it's the quick or the dead when it comes to traffic. When we were picked up at the airport, there were other families there to pick up their loved ones. They all just piled into the back of pick up trucks and rode down the highway to home! I've never seen that in Canada, but it was pretty cool. Make do with what you have, right?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Nicaragua Day 1 - We Arrive!

The two girls who went on the Nicaragua trip and I were going to pool our pictures together so that we'd have a more complete photo log of our voyage. However, I've been waiting a month and those pictures haven't shown up! So, you'll have to make do with my attempts at amateur photography...sorry!

We flew out of Boston on Halloween morning. Our stop-over was in Houston, TX. Nobody called me ma'am. I was disappointed. What didn't disappoint was the airport! It was huge, with a mall inside it bigger than the one in our hometown. We ate at a restaurant and were served by a waiter dressed up as Thin Lizzie, complete with zebra print pants and curly blonde wig.

Did you know they have plastic knives in airport restaurants? I'm thinking 9/11.

We flew into Managua late at night. It gets dark at 4:30 pm year-round in Nicaragua. Rather than have us travel the roads at night, our organizers put us up at the Camino Real. It was beautiful! First thing we did? Swim!! The water was just like bath water, but still refreshing, since the humidity hovered around 97% and the temp was in the mid-high 30s.

This hotel (and most buildings in Nicaragua, it would seem) was built semi-open. The rooms were enclosed, but the hallways from one part of the hotel to the next were breezeways. When we woke up the first morning, it was pouring! Thank God for the breezeways.

Our first breakfast was buffet. It was delicious. They had all the "normal" stuff, but the Nicaraguan stuff was a bit heavy. They had fried plantain, deep-fried cheese slices (yummy!), a sort of breakfast casserole with loads of cheese, tomatoe sauce, pasta, etc., whole milk, and lots of beans and rice.

I liked this statue. I think it's a Nicaraguan mama and her baby. I thought it was very breastfeeding friendly, don't you?

Foliage. I thought this was a vanilla tree, and the guard said, "Si, si!" when I asked him. I don't think he understood the question, though, because it turns out it's not a vanilla tree at all.

I'll have more pics soon - stay posted!