December 27, 2011

Target Practice

We made our own target out of hay bales, burlap, and brass paper fasteners. It was so easy. You can read more about how it was done over at my Zombie blog here

We spent quite a while at target practice on Christmas Day. The boys got a pellet gun and a compound bow for Christmas. Joshua got a bb gun from my brother for Christmas.

The weather was beautiful the next day, so we headed back out for a longer practice session. You can see our target improved as time went by.

The girl came out to shoot with us. Her brother helped her. He even pet her to show his affection. 

This is quickly becoming one of my favorite past-times with the kids.


December 25, 2011

Christmas Day

Many might be surprised to learn that Leon is the first one up on Christmas Day. He gets everyone up before 5am. Few would be surprised to learn that he makes everyone clean their rooms before heading downstairs. haha.

We always start with the stockings. We go through them one at at time. Then we spend a few minutes relishing our goodies.

Then we open presents, one at at time; stretching out Christmas as long as we can.

After all, we're in no hurry. We have all day to relax and enjoy each others company.

I always love the inspired homemade gifts the best. Although it was a close call to the professional Kitchen-aide mixer that I've been hinting about all season. 


Jeremiah has a new impersonation. He calls it: Elvis, The King. I told him he need to work on his lip curl just a little bit more. ;-)


December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve

In keeping with family tradition, the kids got to open a present on Christmas Eve. It's usually a family oriented gift like a board game or movie.

Then Leon and I send the kids off to bed so we can stuff stockings, wrap presents, and place everything "just so". We also take a few minutes to do any pre-dinner preparations.

This year I overbought for their stockings...and for future reference: books don't fit in our stockings very well. So I had to improvise.


December 22, 2011

A Christmas Story

Every year we celebrate Christmas with my side of the family at some time during the holiday season. This year we met at Mom's house a week before Christmas.

The kids pretty much fill up the table nowadays.

Look, quick! It's a teenager! And she almost cracked a smile!

There was a lot of cousin sillyness going on. I wish I had taken more pictures of these two.

My brother gave Joshua a Christmas Story to remember: an Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle! (the movie is an all-time family favorite)

Then he took all of the boys outside and gave them shooting lessons and shared his own memories from his first bb gun. 

It made the night absolutely priceless.  One I hope the boys never forget. 


December 20, 2011

Random Holiday Fun

We have been some cookie making fools!

We made lemon sandwich cookies, sugar cookies, and gingerbread men.

While rooting around the freezer the kids found a growth of ice crystals in a container that probably reached it's maximum storage potential. The crystals sure were pretty to study, the picture really doesn't do it justice.

The boys have been learning how to make survival bracelets. 

We hope your season has been just as bright as ours has been. 


December 19, 2011

The Forest of Hands and Teeth

I can not say enough good things about this young adult novel by Carrie Ryan. My daughter handed the book to me one day and said, "You have to read this book." Out of love for my darling girl, I cracked it open. I was spellbound from that point on to the very end. It was well written with enough suspense to keep me on the edge of my seat. I could not put it down. It was pretty intense. The description on the cover does not do it justice. Out of fear of giving anything away, I'm just going to paste the cover synopsis here.

"In Mary's world, there are simple truths.

The Sisterhood always knows best.

The Guardians will protect and serve.

The Unconsecrated will never relent.

And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village. The fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth.

But slowly, Mary's truths are failing her. She's learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power. And, when the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness.

Now she must choose between her village and her future, between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded by so much death?"

If you really want a good feel for the book, watch the book preview video (a relatively new way to promote books to young adults):

My sheepish, toe-shuffling confession: I was very angry after reading this book. It ended on the edge of a VERY large cliff. I railed against the author (unbeknownst to her), I may have gone as far as calling her a sociopath for leaving me high and dry with no answers. "How could she??" I felt stranded and so alone. So I did what any good and decent person would do in such a case, I told my friends to read the book so I could have company.

THEN! I found the 2nd book. I almost didn't even read it. It's labeled as a "companion" and that lead me to think it wasn't truly a sequel. I skimmed through the first few pages and didn't see any characters I recognized. I thought, "What's the use? I can't take any more unanswered questions!" I ran out of books to read when I saw this one still sitting on my night stand. Reluctantly, I cracked it open.

The Dead Tossed Waves 

And it was even BETTER than the first book.

"Gabry lives a quiet life, secure in her town next to the sea and behind the Barrier. She's content to let her friends dream of the Dark City up the coast while she watches from the top of her lighthouse. Home is all she's ever known, and all she needs for happiness.

But life after the Return is never safe, and there are threats even the Barrier can't hold back.

Gabry's mother thought she left her secrets behind in the Forest of Hands and Teeth, but like the dead in their world, secrets don't stay buried. And now, Gabry's world is crumbling.

One night beyond the Barrier...

One boy Gabry's known forever and one veiled in mystery...

One reckless moment, and half of Gabry's generation is dead, the other half imprisoned.

Gabry knows only one thing: if she is to have any hope of a future, she must face the forest of her mother's past."

I just found out there is a 3rd book available. I can not wait to get my hands on it. Rumor has it, there will be a movie in the near future.  IMDB has a teeny bit of info on it.

Carrie Ryan is a North Carolina gal. She graduated from Duke University (right up the road from most of our ZAS members). She was practically our neighbor at some point. I'm always eager to support North Carolina authors and artists. Carrie Ryan has a great voice. She knows how to keep her audience coming back for more.


December 12, 2011

Dirty Santa Dinner Party

I love playing Dirty Santa. The game can be so much fun.

Especially when you throw in a few gag gifts for fun.

My new favorite part about dinner parties is the games.

When was the last time you've laughed so hard your belly ached?

That long? Yeah, you definitely need to get together with friends and play group board games.


December 8, 2011

Gingerbread Mini Village

The kids really wanted to do a gingerbread house this year. It's been a few years since we tackled the project, and this year I didn't get any sudden burst of free time. So I bought a Wilton mini village kit.

I was very pleasantly surprised by how easy this kit was to put together. 

I assembled the houses and the kids did all the decorating. 

They turned out amazing.

This was a great family project that I will most definitely do again next year.