Elf on the Shelf 2013: The Final Farewell

How on Earth are we already at the end of another holiday season?  The month of December absolutely flew by this year, despite my desperate attempts to slow it down.  Our Elf on the Shelf journey ended, as it always does, on Christmas Eve.  That morning, Lily located Oboe sitting in her brother’s crib.  As our family rules go, on Christmas Eve, Lily may touch Oboe without fear that he will lose his magic.  You see, he needs his magic to fly back to the North Pole each night.  OH!  But on Christmas Eve he hitches a ride back up north with the jolly guy in red.  No magic needed!

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Lily had a grand old time parading Oboe all around the house that day.  She talked to him like they were old chums (which, technically, I guess they are) and took him on a tour of every toy she has, every picture she has drawn, you get the idea.

By some amazing occurrence, my nieces’ elves, June and Carol, made a surprise appearance as the family gathered for dinner at our house that night.  The elves appeared under our tree and brought the kids some floating lanterns (which unfortunately we could not launch that night due to crazy strong winds).

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Goodbye, Oboe!

Thank you for another year – see you in ’14!

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Christmas Day Throwback: When Your Kid Asks for a Toy Made in 1984… and it’s 2012 (AKA I Hope Santa Shops on Ebay)

I had high hopes of posting this one yesterday for Throwback Thursday.  But as is all too often the case, the day got way ahead of me and the post never happened.  Until now.  So here is my Throwback Thursday post, on Friday.

The year was 1984.  Big hair, larger-than-life video cameras and He-Man were all the rage.  I was a young little sprout at the ripe age of 4 and this was my one and only year in nursery school.  As you will see in the poor quality, ripped-from-VHS film clip below, Santa Claus made a special visit to our class that year.  And in this 1 minute and 39 second video, you are going to be able to observe several things:

The fact that Santa nearly forgets to call ME up to sit on his lap.  That’s a traumatic happening when you’re 4.  If my mom hadn’t been at school that day, recording this movie on our larger-than-life camcorder and whispered to the teacher, Santa would have up and left without hearing my innermost desires for Christmas gifts that year.  Pity.

A girl who defines hyperactivity and among other things, announces to Santa (and the entire room) that while her dad has plenty of ties, what he really needs are PANTS.

A little boy who proclaims to everyone that HIS MOM BRING HIS PRESENTS. Fortunately Santa takes the outburst in stride and the rest of us kids are too hopped up on candy canes and holiday cheer to pay him much mind.

Here I am, sitting on Santa’s lap, asking him for the most important items on my list that year.

So the 3 things that I asked Santa for that year were: Care Bears, Rainbow Brite and Starlight. These toys were all super popular in 1984 and I’m sure they topped many many MANY other kids’ lists that year.

care bears heart house rainbow brite and starlight

I did indeed receive the coveted Rainbow Brite and horse Starlight dolls under the tree that year.  I remember how excited I was to open them and these toys saw many many hours of play over the years that followed.

Let’s fast forward to quite a few years later.  Let’s say 2011.

Lily was 3 and was loving some of the same shows/movies that I used to watch on streaming Netflix.  At that time, one of the original Rainbow Brite movies was available and Lily watched it all. the. time.  She fell in love with the movie and, more importantly, with Rainbow Brite.

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The problem with falling in love with Rainbow Brite in 2011 is that you’re about 30 years late to the party.  Unfortunately Rainbow Brite has not (at least not yet) received some of the redesign/rebranding new life that some of the other toys I grew up with are enjoying (Care Bears, My Little Pony, Strawberry Shortcake to name a few).  My Rainbow Brite toys are long gone thanks to multiple floods and high humidity in our dungeon of a basement where they were packed away.

So what the heck is one to do when at the exact same age as you were, your kid asks Santa for the exact same doll that you had when you were little.  I was going through old pictures and found one of me unwrapping that amazing Rainbow Brite Doll back in ’84.  I thought it would be fun to show the picture to Lily and figured she would get a kick out of it.  Well.  A kick she did – she fell in love with the doll and kept INSISTING that SANTA was magic and would be able to find her this exact same doll.  Oh boy.

Here she is with Santa last year.  Can you hear what she asks for?  Yep.  RAINBOW BRITE.

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One quick search of the interwebs proved fruitless, barren, VOID. There were no Rainbow Brites (or specifically not the 1984 Rainbow Brite Doll manufactured by the Hallmark Company) to be had. I started to worry as this was, afterall, the “BIG TICKET ITEM” on her list – the ONE thing that she wanted above all others.

What’s a mom to do?

I turned to Ebay.

And there I actually found several dolls for sale. I had to make a decision – pay more for a mint, never opened, perfect condition doll? Or pay a bit less for a lightly played with doll that still came in her (albeit beat up) box. I went the cheaper route. This was, afterall, still for a 4 year old and I wanted her to be able to play with the doll instead of stare at her through the box window.

The day the doll arrived, I ripped the box open in excitement and grabbed the picture that had inspired this whole ordeal. Oh, she was beautiful. I felt like a kid again as I remembered how much I had loved this little doll.

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Christmas morning dawned. Hopeful Rainbow Brite energy buzzed in our house. Lily opened gift after gift, but no doll. Until she finally got to one package that had a letter attached to it.

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Shrieks ensued. Paper flew.

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Screaming began, “I KNEW SANTA COULD FIND ONE!!!!!!!!”

Bob and I heaved a deep DEEP sigh of relief because we knew the madness had been worth it.

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We opened the lovely yellow box and Lily spent the rest of the day hanging onto Rainbow. I even caught her gazing back and forth between the doll and the picture as if she couldn’t believe she had really received it.

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That day I was thankful for many things. My family, of course. For a quiet day together and a wonderful dinner feast that night. I was thankful for the magic that Christmas brings and for the chance to see Christmas through the eyes of a child. I was also thankful for Ebay.com: a website wonderland full of vintage toys from yesteryear that might, just might, help even Santa Claus out of a pinch.

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Elf on the Shelf: Week 3 in Review

It’s hard to believe, but Elf 2013 is drawing to a close!  Tomorrow night Oboe will catch a ride with Old St. Nick back to the North Pole where he will stay until next year.

This week has been a fun one with our elf.

First he was up for some ziplining fun, scaling the space between the cabinets and our dining room table.

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Christmas stories were on tap the next day as Oboe left Lily and Landon a few Christmas books to enjoy.

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I guess Oboe never got around to ordering his Christmas cards this year, so instead he simply mailed himself!

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The next night a midnight binge on sweets seemed to leave him down for the count.

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Then of course, was the completely awesome morning when he left ingredients for growing a MAGIC CHRISTMAS GARDEN… only to come back the next morning to show off the magic!

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The next morning found him, you know, just hangin’ around!

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Which leads us to this morning…   seems Oboe got a little thirsty last night, but, a silly elf would never just drink right from a cup!  He got a little creative!

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Easy 5 Minute Appetizer – Caprese Bites

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It’s like summer in a bite – and you can enjoy it all year long!

This recipe is the essence of simplicity – and makes a fantastic finger food at any event.

Only four ingredients to make these: mozzarella balls, cherry/grape tomatoes, fresh basil (cut in ribbons), olive oil

Simply throw the mozzarella and tomatoes on a toothpick and arrange them on a plate or platter.  Drizzle olive oil over the top.  Sprinkle basil over the olive oil.

Enjoy!

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Elf on the Shelf: Make a Magic Christmas Garden

Christmas Garden

Over the years, I have seen various examples of magical Christmas-y gardens, many of them involving the Elf tradition.  A majority feature planting candy which “grows’ into something else by morning.

The other night, I finally pulled myself together enough to set the stage for our own magical garden.  I made the poem (that’s a stretch) up myself and just incorporated material that we had around the house (star confetti, heart confetti, glitter, etc.).

Lily had a blast putting everything together and she talked ALL DAY about what might grow in the garden.  The next morning she shrieked with delight when she saw that the round Starlight mints that she planted in the “dirt” (oatmeal) had grown into some candy canes!

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