Monday, December 6, 2010

Happy Saint Nicholas Day

A new tradition for the Nelli Family! In honor of St. Nicholas, we have been reading all the beautiful stories and legends from the St. Nicholas Center website and from the books we have at home. The most famous story is of how St. Nicholas saved a very poor man from losing his daughters (they were going to be sold into slavery) by secretly throwing gold coins down his chimney. The family found the gold coins in their stockings which were hanging by the fireplace to dry. The family then had plenty of money for food and enough for the daughters to have dowries so they could marry. From the idea at Shower of Roses, I made these beautiful St. Nicholas chocolate coins.Before the kids went to bed, I told them to leave their shoes out for St. Nicholas and maybe he would stop by with some treats for them. They moved pretty quickly to do this. ;-) And after they were in bed, I filled them up. I thought it was kind of gross to put chocolate directly into their shoes so I lined them with a napkin.

So, of course, they were excited to find their treats on Monday morning. Here is Emily posing with the "real Santa Claus".... St. Nicholas when he was the bishop of Myra.

And yes, we had chocolate for dessert after breakfast!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Early Christmas with Nana and Grandpa

Nana and Grandpa came over for an early Christmas gift exchange because they are leaving for their vacation to Hawaii soon. The kids were very excited to open up presents, of course..., but they were also excited to give gifts to their grandparents too. Here they are, posing for their camera-happy Mommy.

Grandpa had lots of help opening his gifts.

And Nana loved the bracelet Emily made for her. You can see it on her wrist. Emily strung beads in all shades of blue because it is "Nana's favorite color, of course!"

While we got dinner ready, the kids and Grandpa did some coloring. I heard Lia giving her Grandpa directions as to what color he should use on their Hello Kitty coloring sheet. He worked hard coloring for his grandchild! And let me tell you, that kiddie picnic table is not made for big people. It is true love to sit down and do any work there. ;-)

Didn't he do a good job?

Merry Christmas Mom and Dad! We will miss you. Have an Awesome time in Hawaii!!!

Saturday, December 4, 2010


We went to see Santa at the YMCA today. The big kids were interested... but Lia didn't think sitting on his lap was a very good idea.

She was, however, interested in Ms. Claus, because she had...

And then we did some playing!

New Vacume Cleaner

My vacume cleaner broke about a week ago and I ordered a new one. It arrived on our doorstep on Friday and David asked me excitedly, "Mommy, Can I help you put it together? Can we do it now?" We had all sorts of stuff on Friday but I told him yes, he could certainly help me. So here we are on Saturday, assembly instructions in hand, and ready to go! It said "Easy Assembly". How difficult could it be? I have an engineering degree and a 5 year old helper. Piece of cake.

Emily, by the way, was hanging out with the boy next door and his friend digging in the mud. She didn't think vacume assembly would be very interesting. Oh well. Her loss.

So here we are. All the parts are laid out and we're ready to go!

2 long screws and 5 short ones. No big deal. Righty Tighty, Lefty Loosey... except my kids still can't figure out their left from their right. Oh well, if you do it right, the screw goes in. If not, it comes back out.

And in about 20 minutes time, a fully assembled vacume cleaner and two children very proud of "helping" Mom with this very important job.

And it worked when I plugged it in. Good thing too because my house was very dirty. This vacume has the dust container visible so you can see how quickly it fill up. David couldn't wait to push it around and see how much dirt he could get. Well, he didn't have to work very long to fill it up. So do you think he'll continue to vacume for me every day? And be excited about it?

Fun at the Park

After the bowling, I thought we'd try something a little more low-key. On Thursday, we had beautiful weather so I packed up a lunch and we took the bike, the big wheel, and the stroller and walked/rode to the park. The park we had chosen was about a mile away so we got some good excercise and felt like we earned our lunch once we got there. After lunch, the kids played and I spent some time reading in the sun. I am working my way through The Everlasting Man by G.K. Chesterton and I am finding the dictionary on my Kindle to be extremely helpful for this book!
David was taking Lia down the slide on his lap. It was incredibly sweet and I kept hearing them say, "Let's do it again!" as they climbed back up. Then they just got sillier and sillier as you can see in my pictures!

It's good to be on vacation!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


I took the kids bowling today. It was pretty funny to see their eyes light up when we walked in the place. They all enjoyed learning to play but I think David had the most fun. There is something very satisfying (for a boy) about knocking things down with a ball.

The kids' hands just weren't big enough to fit in the bowling ball holes for a traditional hold... so they each came up with their own technique. Lia set the ball down and gave it a good push. Emily rolled it in a sideways fashion and David mastered what I would call "Granny Bowling". He would spread his legs out and swing the ball between them and then let it go. It was pretty funny. And yes, we put the rails up so the kids wouldn't get so many gutter balls. Some of David's attempts did a kind of ricochet effect down the lane. All good fun though.

I remember spending many hours in a bowling alley as a kid because my parents bowled on a league. I remember in the good ol' days, they had to keep score by hand and it was projected up on the wall. As a teacher, I noticed what good math skills can be practiced in keeping score manually. Alas, the computer does it all for us now. I was also well educated in bowling ettiquette - so I was able to teach my kids about waiting till the person next to them has bowled before they should approach their lane. They did great.

Travel Envy....

My kids can find Kuala Lumpur on the map.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

We're on Vacation - Ice Skating Adventure

We are officially on vacation from homeschool! I can't completely let it go... so we are doing Holy Hero's Advent Adventure but the kiddos like it and it is easy for me. We're busy making the ornaments for our Jesse Tree, learning about Advent and the traditions or our church, and even praying a decade of the rosary each day to prepare for Christmas. Other than that, we are doing some fun things that we wouldn't normally do... like ice skating!

A nice man took this picture of our family. It's amazing how well the kids pose when someone else takes their picture. This is a giant Christmas tree on our local "trail of lights."

So... I'm not sure what I was thinking when I came up with the idea to take 3 kiddos, ages 7 and under, to the ice skating rink... It was something along the lines of, "Well, we get two for the price of one on Mondays, so if it goes really bad at least it won't be too expensive." Regardless, I had some doubts about my decision when faced with 3 pairs of ice skates that needed to be laced up to get us going... but it ended up being a lot of fun. We had a ball! Emily went ice skating last year so she knew the basics and was independent enough to go out on her own. David had never been ice skating but as my sweet middle child, he had a good attitude about the challenge and went out by himself with his walker and tore up the ice. I was so proud of him! And Lia, as the baby wanted to do it all because her siblings were doing it... So how did I get her on the ice? Well, it wasn't pretty but she hung on to the walker and I skated behind her, while also hanging onto the walker but hunched over, almost at a 45 degree angle. I didn't get a picture of it... but I can imagine I looked pretty silly. Lia did amazingly well and we managed to scoot around the ice rink really well. It was slow going of course and all the kiddos fell down a lot but everyone agreed it was really fun and they want to come back and do it again with Daddy when he comes home.

Look at my big boy!

Here is Lia when she decided she was ready to do it "all by my own self!" The wet bottom is telling of all the falling down. But by goodness, she kept getting back up. And she kept telling me, "Let's go around again!"

After skating, we checked out the light display. David and Emily liked the gingerbread men.

And this one was Emily's favorite. She had dance practice earlier in the day and told me she wanted to wear it to the ice rink because she'd "look pretty" on the ice. And she did!
The next adventure is bowling. Stay tuned.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Happy First Sunday of Advent!

We were very excited to see the first advent candle lit at church today and even more excited to bless our own advent candle wreath at home. Emily collected all sorts of greenery and pinecones for our wreath and she led us in singing, O' Come, O' Come Emmanuel like last year.

Happy Thanksgiving

My cousin Tony hosted Thanksgiving again this year and we had a BIG turnout as usual. I didn't do the best job of taking pictures because I was too busy visiting with my family... but I did manage to get a few pictures.
Lia, David and Max

Sweet Lia with her Nana

Aunt Linda, Aaron, Cousin Nichole and Aunt Elaine

Making Christmas ornaments with Leisa - Fun!


Saturday, November 20th, we spent many hours at the International Festival. We camped out at this stage and watched Irish dancers (as seen below), a sampling of the Nutcracker ballet, Japanese dancing, and twirling baton performances to name a few! Emily enjoyed this very much. David and Lia put up with it... but found other things they liked better at the festival - keep reading...

Like this monster slide! There goes David. He only did it once.And the balloon guy. He made Lia this sweet butterfly and David got a fishing pole with a fish attached. The fish popped after about 30 seconds but the fishing pole lasted most of the night.

And of course, Santa made an appearance. The big screen showed him coming in live on the Waterway. Once he arrived on stage it was pretty crazy with all the kids going wild.

And then we found Emily's friend Elle. They were very excited to see each other.

And one of the coolest performances of the night was a pair of dueling ice sculpturists. We watched them carve a snowman, a christmas tree, and a pair of candy canes out of three blocks of ice. It was very impressive!

Alphabet Critters

The "Alphabet Critters" are still David's most favorite part about school. He asks to do these every day. I try to do them once a week but it is hard to say no. We have made it to U for Unicorn... and we're still going strong! Here is David in front of "his" wall where he proudly displays his work.

Lia has a wall too.
The little ones hard at work...

Emily likes to join in too.