Category: Holidays

Christmas Scouting Mission

Every year I take the kids on what we call a “scouting mission”.

Kraus House Mom

This is when we go to the toy store and look at all the toys and take pictures of or point out anything that they may possibly want for Christmas.

It doesn’t matter what it is, they can take a picture of it.

As it gets closer to Christmas, they need to narrow their choices down to the top three items they want to put on their list for Santa, within reason.

Right now, Stella has about twenty two things on her list.

There’s a reason they only pick their top three items. In their top three items, they know that Santa doesn’t bring them electronics or elaborate gifts.

One, Teddy and Maizie both have birthdays fairly close to Christmas (November and December).

Two, because of what I do, they get a lot of toys sent to them anyway.

And three, they know that Santa needs to make sure that he gets gifts to the less fortunate kids before them.

Because of reason number three, my kids know that Santa won’t bring them electronics or anything expensive. If they get something like that (tablet, game system) it will be from us.

We have done this for several years and they love it.

When we go see Santa and he asks what they want for Christmas, they can tell him without hesitation.

This way everyone can have a Merry Christmas.

How do you handle super long Christmas lists?

Stella’s Leprechaun Trap

I keep a list of ideas for You Tube on a white board near my desk. A few weeks ago I wrote a bunch of St. Patrick’s Day and Easter ideas on it. Included on the list was a Leprechaun trap.

Kraus House Mom
Stella’s trap made of pure imagination and determination

Stella read it, asked what it was, and flipped out. She was spewing out ideas like an erupting volcano. She couldn’t wait to build a trap. This was right up her alley. Especially once she found out once you catch a Leprechaun he has to give you his gold. Besides building, she is also a big fan of money.

If there is something to be created or built, Stella is your girl.

Kraus House Mom
Putting on the finishing touches

Last weekend I took a nap. When I woke up, she had come up with a plan, gathered her materials and built her trap. She planned out how to lure him and how to trap him.

She even found out that a Leprechaun is about the same weight as an apple. So, when she made her stairs she made sure they could hold his weight by field testing them…she put an apple on the stairs to see if the would hold up. They did.

Now all she has to do is wait for St. Patrick’s Day and see if her trap worked. I did make sure to tell her that they are very tricky and hard to catch.

Here’s Stella presenting her trap to the world…look out Leprechauns!

Good luck Stella-Blue!

The Christmas Countdown

Wow, all of a sudden it’s December and the countdown is on, I’m somewhat ready.

I’ve wanted to make an advent calendar for the kids the past couple of years, but next thing I know it’s November 30th and I’m out of time. Now I do get my kids the “24 Chocolate Days” as Stella calls it, the advent calendars where you open it each day and eat a piece of chocolate. But, I wanted something bigger and better.

Stella and her 24 Chocolate Days
Stella and her 24 Chocolate Days

This year I started my efforts three weeks ago. I knew what I wanted to do, but I couldn’t find what I needed to make the advent calendar I pictured in my head. (I get real fancy in there.)

I did find a great alternative, and guess what? I didn’t cost me the $42 it would have for my “vision” advent calendar. I found it at the Dollar Spot at Target. It was actually $3, but that’s still $39 less than I would have spent if I went with my original plan.

Kraus House Mom
My Target Dollar Spot find, perfect advent calendar

Now to come up with twenty four things to do with my kids. Let’s face it, I’m pretty lazy. Doing things once or twice a week is no problem, but keeping up with something everyday is going to be a challenge, but it is the holiday season.

Here’s what I came up with, many of these things we do every year and some of these things are new.

  1. Decorate the house
  2. Make a wreath
  3. Decorate Gee’s tree (my mom)
  4. Go to a tree lighting
  5. Cut down our tree
  6. Do the Jingle Run (this is mine)
  7. Celebrate Maizie’s Birthday
  8. Deliver our Elf gifts
  9. Pancakes and cocoa for dinner
  10. Write out cards
  11. Look at light displays
  12. Go to Winter Wonderland
  13. Kids shop for each other
  14. Make a gingerbread house
  15. Visit Santa
  16. Go to La Salette Shrine
  17. Make giant snowflakes
  18. Make Christmas trees
  19. Make Christmas cakes
  20. Movie day
  21. Make cookies and fudge
  22. Put out all the presents
  23. Make reindeer food
  24. Go to Auntie Sally’s House

Some of these things are subject to change. Teddy is having his surgery on the ninth and that may throw some things off, depending how well he can see. Not to mention this is the time of the year that the yak attacks seem to hit us.

I’m thinking positive and hoping we can get it all done.

Hope you all enjoy this holiday season! What have you got planned?

The Elf is Watching you!

He’s coming, it’s almost time.

Every year he shows up on Thanksgiving. We wake up and he’s next to the Wampa.

Kraus House Mom
Chatting on the phone and catching up with his pal, the Wampa.

Our Elf on the Shelf, Elfel (my oldest named him).

Then the countless nights of hoping he’s going to be somewhere else in the morning.

Kraus House Mom
Stuck in some things

I don’t want my kids to be disappointed if Elfel doesn’t get to “fly home at night”, especially if someone was awake upstairs, causing a ruckus.

The pressure he has of finding a new place to hang out can be intense.

Kraus House Mom
He likes the chandelier…a lot

He wants to be creative, but he doesn’t want to be touched (he is very tempting) and he wants to be out of reach from Alabama.

He also wants to be somewhere he can see everything so he can report it all back to Santa.

Kraus House Mom
He sits on things. Stella sings Wrecking Ball when he’s here.

We have asked him not to make a mess and he has listened.

The kids are getting older, so maybe he can get a bit more daring with his spots.

We shall see.

Does the Elf on the Shelf visit you? Where does your elf hang out?

Random Thoughts This Holiday Season



I have many random thoughts throughout the day (a lot of them are about commercials) some appropriate and some very inappropriate (I usually text those thoughts to Mimi so I can brighten her day or completely gross her out). These are rated G, well one may be PG-13.
Staticy hair doesn’t seem to annoy kids as much as adults.
Give kids a tablet or iPad and they will leave you alone for hours.
Why is it that when people are about to burn something in a fireplace on TV, they stand there and look at the fire for what feels like forever. Just toss it in and be done with it.
If you can’t find something fabulous to make on Pinterest, you’re using it wrong.
I probably shouldn’t have showed (taught) Teddy how to play Mercy.
I am eerily intrigued and equally repulsed by WaxVac. Don’t know what it is? Google it and then tell me if you’re intrigued, repulsed or both.
One would think the set designers for the Clapper commercial would have gotten a better shaped Christmas tree.
Stella gets equally excited opening a box full of presents as she does opening actual presents.
It’s never a good idea to put presents under the tree before the 24th.
Stella can say Happy Holidays up to 73 times a day.
Maizie will only talk to the Santa at Bass Pro Shops.
If you tell a Kraus kid they can open a present on Christmas Eve, they will ask ALL DAY until they get to open it.
If Santa’s plate of goodies is not on the mantle, Alabama WILL eat it.
It takes 17 minutes to open all the presents, but over a week for me to get the house back in order.
The neighbors must think we have a big Christmas fight every year. Our tree is on the curb as the neighbors’ visitors are arriving.  (This year with the tree stand still on the tree.)
Don’t leave Maizie, Alabama and a container of dog treats unattended; no wonder she’s so fat.
I can watch Duck Dynasty all day long.
Do not feed a dog a ham bone unless you want to clean up doggy diarrhea all night (thanks Auntie Rey).
Kids don’t realize that the “Big City” (Providence) is only three minutes away.
The only one truly happy about having her own room is Maizie. The other two miss each other.
That kid who found porn on his DS in probably crying because his dad took it away and he didn’t get a chance to show is friends.
I do not like the way to pronounce tiramisu, especially on the Volkswagen commercial. I purposely pronounce it terra-miss-you.
I don’t think I’d be as annoyed with a cow singing in my shower as the TV family is. I’d be posting videos all over You Tube.
The best time for Alabama to score some cold cuts is if I make a sandwich right after an ASPCA commercial.
The first snowfall is like the first kid, it gets all the attention. A late winter storm doesn’t even get shoveled.