Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A 'Leybas' Christmas

This year was the first year that I didn't go home to Arizona for Christmas. My married brother Kyle also did not get to go home either so the Sunday before Christmas all the 'Leybas' children that were in Utah got together and tried to have our usual Christmas - including our traditions. We had a lot of fun. It was a nice night. We missed our parents and little brother... But here are some pictures of what went on.

We have a tradition of making tamales every Christmas Eve morning. My father is hispanic and that is something that we have always done. Every Christmas Eve morning the assembly line forms and we mass produce about 6 dozen or so. So Christmas doesn't smell like Christmas to me unless there is the scent of tamales cooking all morning. So that's what we did. I home made (thats right!) the masa and the meat. I was very proud of myself. Then when everyone got there we put the tamales together and got them cookin!

Here I am checking the water levels...


They turned out REALLY good!


Mason mashing the refried beans. Thank you so much for the recipe Emily - they turned out delicious! (This is the face I usually get when I pull out the camera for Mason)


The appetizer while the tamales were cooking...

Mason and Kyle doing the dishes...


Kyle's sweet little Stacy, Ryan and Carli waiting for the tamales to finish...


Ryan and Carli...


All the presents under the tree! I was surprised at how many there were! They weren't all for Mason and I... after everyone left we felt like there was nothing left... oh well.


Now this video may seem common to all of you viewers out there but I must preframe this before viewing... The Leybas' have NEVER, really, NEVER before gotten together and sang a Christmas song. There is usually so much sacrasm and boys being wild that there is never any chance for anything other than insanity. So when Carli - Ryan's girlfriend suggested that we all sing a Christmas song I was more than delighted. Ryan was the ONLY one who opposed so he was out-voted and we sang some songs while Kyle played the guitar. Thank you Carli... maybe his insensitivity can be changed after all!

video

After dinner we sang some songs, opened presents and then played Cranium. While we were playing the game we watched the Leybas tradition of 'Monsters Christmas' (don't worry if you haven't heard of it that's because it hasn't aired on TV since 1981... some things never die in our house) and of course 'The Christmas Story.' Then during the game we decided that whoever lost had to take their shoes off and go running through the snow. Ryan and Carli lost... here is what happened. When you hear the click at the end of the video it was because I thought I had turned off the video but really I took a picture... so us walking back in the house is an accident. Oops.

video


It was a fun night and I'm so happy that everything turned out so well.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Caramel Apples

Mason and I have started this yearly tradition (this being year 2) of making these DELICIOUS caramel apples. They are so good that we usually end up eating about 5 of them. It's a great way to kick start that holiday chub!! We make these to hand out to all the neighbors and people at work.

It's so simple too! Here's all you do. My secret recipe:
-Granny Smith Apples
- Caramel (I like the 'Peter's' brand)
- White chocolate
- Crushed graham crackers!!
Yes - it's that easy and YES it's that delicious! Everyone I give them to love them!


Step 1: This is the hardest and messiest part. But this year I had Mason to help me spin the caramel off.

But then again... this is what I also got:


Step 2 & 3: Dip in white chocolate and roll in graham crackers! Yuummmmm!


Then I wrapped them and made them all pretty. And ate a some myself...


Messy and fun!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Letters

I hope that everyone had a wonderful Christmas. The snow outside was absolutely beautiful and it brought a peaceful spirit to the holidays. I have a couple of Christmas posts that will be coming after the holiday, but I'm sure you can still enjoy.

In class about two weeks before school got out we wrote letters to Santa. In these letters the kids could write whatever they wanted. They could ask for things for Christmas. We brainstormed a lot of questions that we could ask Santa. I love hearing the questions that they come up with. Some of the questions that I can remember that they came up with were: What is your favorite type of cookie? What happens if one of the reindeer get sick? Does your sleigh run by magic or engine? Why is your name Santa Claus?

Well in first grade there are a variety of writing levels. You will have some kids who are amazing at writing, have beautiful handwriting and can write complete sentences already. Then there are the select few that won't write a sentence to save their lives. I have one of these little guys in my classroom who everyday for writers workshop just sits there wasting the time away while I try and persuade him to write and we will usually get one sentence the whole hour. Well the day we wrote these letters I happened to be wearing my African skit with giraffe's on it. He kept asking me about it all day. Now keep in mind that this particular little boy is the 'one' that i have this year that gets in trouble every recess for bulling and stealing things from other kids backpacks. He is hard, but it's usually kids like him that turn out being my favorite and I remember most each year. Well this is what his letter said. It made me cry:

*Dear Santa,
Can you give the poor people toys?
Thank you,
______


This was one of those moments that made me stand back and be thankful for my job and these wonderful children that I have the opportunity to be around daily. He didn't ask for anything. And a sentence like this coming from this little boy is HUGE. I didn't have to help him once.

Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Christmas Decorations

I feel like the only things I blog about lately are my holiday decorations and my classroom events... I suppose I need to have some children to spice up my blog a bit. I could blog and blog about Mason... but I don't really think you want to read about that either. So here is yet another blog about my decorations.

Here was our living room BEFORE...


And here it is AFTER...


I got some new things this year mom. You can't really see it but I got a really cute table runner that I love. I also love having a fire place with a mantle to hang our stockings on.


Someone gave us these stockings as a wedding gift. I just got these stocking holders at this darling boutique called "Dear Lizzy" in Alpine that I love but hardly ever go to because it's so stinkin' expensive. Here's our tree:


And this is the nativity I got in Africa. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this nativity. It is hand crafted out of mahogany wood. They are beautiful. I wish the picture showed them more clearly.


The only other decorations is my front door. Being we live in a basement apartment we can't really do the yard... so I did the door. I love it. It makes me feel all warm and cozy when I'm coming home. It snowed two days ago so this is one of the first times I have been able to see Christmas lights in the snow. Every other year I've been up here it hasn't really snowed until after Christmas. It's so pretty!!


I promise my next blog won't be about my classroom Christmas party... hopefully. :) Also, don't miss the blog below asking for your addresses!!!

Christmas Cards

Tis the season for...

Christmas Cards!!!!

So please send me your addresses. My goal is to get them done this weekend. We'll see if that actually happens or not.

Email me at: allisons01@hotmail.com with your mailing addresses.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!


It's Thanksgiving morning... Mason's out playing football in his yearly turkey bowl with his friends and I'm sitting here in front of the fire watching the Rockette's in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. We have watched this parade every year since I was a little girl. We always wait for Santa Claus at the end - that's how we knew Christmas was here! I just talked to my mom who is fighting my brothers at home for the TV to watch it... It's a good day. My first holiday away from home. I am excited to be spending it with the Lefler's. This will be my first Thanksgiving not eating my mom's cooking. I'm excited to see what their family traditions are. I'm so thankful for both of my families - my new one and my old. I'm thankful for this season and I'm so thankful for my wonderful life where I am so blessed.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Pilgrims and the Indians

Yesterday we had our little Thanksgiving feast. The whole week before we learn about what the Pilgrims did for work and how it was when they first arrived. Then we play some games and write with feather pens (and paint - not ink). And on the day before school gets out we re-inact the first Thanksgiving. I let the kids choose whether they want to be Pilgrims or Indians. Then then make their costumes and they each bring in something for the feast. This year I pushed all the desks together and made one huge table. They thought that was pretty cool.




I love my job.


I'll tell ya, these kids don't get much cuter.



















Thursday, November 13, 2008

$26.34

It has been a long time since I have spent only $26.34 on gas.

HALLELUJAH!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Emotional Roller Coaster


I had a number of emotions run through me this morning... normally my emotions aren't that crazy , but this time I felt like the rapidness at which they changed is understandable:

6:45 am - Grumpy because my alarm is going off
7:00 am - Happy because Mason actually got up with me today
7:05 am - REALLY happy because I look outside and it's snowing!
7:25 am - Anxious because I should have left the house 10 minutes ago
7:26 am - Awe struck because of how beautiful it is with the foot of snow that has fallen on the ground.
7:27 am - Irritated because I am having to scrape my windows and my hair is getting wet (I know you are thinking - oh wah... but just hear me out)
7:29 am - Regretful because I didn't scrape off all my windows and I'm having a hard time seeing but I'm already late and suppose to be at the school at 7:30 which is 10 minutes away.
7:31 am - Nervous at driving in the snow and sliding on the ice
7:35 am - Annoyed at the man on the radio for telling me it's 7:35
7:35 am - Excited at the man on the radio because he is talking about Obama's win
7:37 am - Fearing for my life as a bus slides through a four-way stop and almost T-bones me. I had to swerve around him.
7:37.30 am - Adrenaline rush residing.
7:39 am - Glad to be at school alive
7:40 am - In denial because as I walk in the door and one of the students says: "Teacher guess what?! We get to have inside recess with you today." Only teachers will understand what that actually means.
7:41 am - Hungry... I forgot breakfast - dang it.


Needless to say I promise that my day got better. I just thought it was funny how all those emotions came to me so quickly. I promise I am emotionally stable (Mason may beg to differ) and not in a bad mood all the time. Some mornings are better than others I suppose.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day In First Grade

Due to the fact that it is Election Day today and the polls were set up right outside my classroom door, we talked a lot about the elections. I had given the kids the assignment to go home and ask their parents who they were voting for and one reason why they were voting for them. So the kids came to school today all excited. We talked about how voting works and how everyone has the right to their own opinions - which REALLY is a big deal in first grade because everyone always wants to force their opinion on the other - which usually gets pretty loud and exciting with 6 and 7 year olds.

So they all came this morning with their choice for President in mind because I had told them we were going to have an election today in our class. We started having a discussion and they were sharing their reasons that they had interpreted from their parents or come up with on their own. Who knows what their parents really said, but these are the reasons that I got for why they were voting for their chosen candidate. If you still aren't sure who you are voting for, perhaps some of these arguments will help you make your decision.

The Real Reasons to vote for John McCain according to a first grader:
- "He the greatest man in the world."
- "He won't steal money from people."
- "Obama wants to kill all the babies in the world."
- "He's smarter."
- "Obama is a bad man. Probably the worst in the world." (STRONG OPINION!! I'll hate to break it to this kid tomorrow when Obama probably wins)
- "Obama won't put his hand over his heart. I always put my hand over my heart."

The Real Reasons to vote for Barak Obama according to a first grader:
- "Because he wants to save the polar bears and penguins."
- "John McCain won't let people have guns."
- "Because he's rich."
- "He is tall."
- "Obama is stronger than John McCain."
- "He's just an old man." (The reason he won't vote for McCain)
- "He wants to bring all the soldiers home."

These were just some of the opinions they had. I wish I would have written them down because they were pretty funny. Of course we talked about how they are both good men... but it was interesting to see how passionate some of these kids were for their President. So I set up a little voting booth in my room and had a ballot with both names on it that they could circle their choice. The kids got to come and vote in private and then I gave them a sticker and thanked them for voting. It was awesome because as they were walking over to our little booth they had on the most serious face ever. They really took this seriously. Then they would walk back to their seats and sit there very proud that they had just voted. I loved it! Some of them talked about who they voted and others said they didn't want to talk about it because it was 'private.'

Needless to say, the results came in and if the world were ran by Mrs. Lefler's first grade class the new President would be John McCain. 20 to 6.

And then of course they were chanting their chosen President's name for the rest of the day... They always seems to take it a bit overboard. Haha!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Trick or Treat!


We had a Halloween party Friday night. We went as Mario and Princess Peach.


We came up with this idea like 2 hours before the party! I'm surprised we pulled it off.


I didn't have my camera at the party... When i get the rest of the photos I will post them. We both LOVE dressing up. I loved Mason in overalls. I made him promise me he would wear them atleast once a year and go out and do yard work. He agreed - but only once a year he says.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Pumpkin Carving

These are our pumpkins. Mason is so proud of his! If you can't tell it's Charlie brown kicking Lucy's head. He did a really good job. It's his pride and joy right now. We have them sitting proudly on our porch.


Here are the Leybas'. I'm to the left, then Ryan, my mom, and Kyle at the end. This was last Sunday night while my mom was still here.


And here's the whole group from left to right: Mason, me, Ryan, Carly, Kyle, and then Stacy at the end. My mom was taking the picture. I don't know why this is being underlined.


Here we are making the mess in my kitchen. It was fun carving pumpkins all together again. We haven't done that since we were kids.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Witches Night Out

Saturday night was Witches Night Out at Gardner Village. It was so much fun!! Here I am on the left, my sister in law Stacey, GG (my G-ma in law), Laura (Mason's mom), and my mom. Stacey and I went as cute witches and they went as scary witches. This was right before we left.


Witches Night Out has become a tradition for my mom and I. This is our 3rd year going. It's so much fun because it's an event for women only. Basically all it is is women getting dressed up and having a ton of fun. They have cackling contests, a big dance where they play all the fun silly songs that nobody listens to anymore, they have candy shops, little boutiques, candy apples, fortune telling... it's such a fun time! The fortune telling was awesome... my first year my fortune totally came true and she was right on for this year too... crazy!


Wasn't this stuffed witch awesome?? Some of the costumes that the women dress up in are AMAZING! My hat is huge... I want to get a new one... one that doesn't look like a sombrero. I love this little ruffle/skirt thing I have on... any chance I have to wear it I take... so it works for witches night out.



Monday, October 27, 2008

Cornbelly's

Last Thursday my mom came up to visit from Arizona and we went to Cornbelly's. I love going to Cornbelly's! There's so much to do! Here we are in the corn maze...


As you can tell we like to eat corn in pictures. Check out my new hair cut. I am trying to grow it out.


Like I said... we like to eat corn.


These were giant tricycles. Kyle and his wife Stacey came with us. We raced but I'll tell you what... those bikes give you a work out!! Stacey and I are enjoying it... Kyle and Mason are... hmmm... not quite sure the emotions.



Thanks hun!


It was fun being with Kyle and Stacey. Classic picture guys!


We actually got this rocking chair to rock!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Dancing With The Stars



So I do love this show. I am a HUGE fan! I am sad that Tony Braxton got voted off last week... I wish it would have been Lance...I can't stand him. I really do hope that they don't vote off that darling old 82 year old lady who is absolutely having the time of her life dressing up and dancing each week. She is my favorite to watch! She is having such a good time. Anyway my Grandma sent me this picture today and it was too good to not post. I would LOVE to see either of them on the show. Ha!!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

First Snow

I meant to post this two weeks ago! Two weeks ago I woke up Sunday morning and looked out the window and this is what I saw...




I got super excited and woke Mason up... it was like 7:00 am - the only day we ever get to sleep in. Needless to say he wasn't nearly as excited as I was. There have only been a few mornings in my life when I have woken up and seen that outside... I think it was more of a common occurance for Mason and his sleep was more precious than seeing the snow - but I opened the window for him to see anyway. He loves me.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Photographer...

My brother's wife's sister got married over Fall Break and she asked me to take pictures for her wedding. I was completely excited to do it. I love taking pictures and I have been wanting to take classes and become really good at it so I jumped at the chance when she asked for practice. I did her engagement, bridal, and then wedding day pictures. Here are just a few. You will have to let me know what you think!

As you can see Julie is a beautiful bride and easy to take beautiful pictures of!


























I had so much fun doing this. Thank you Julie and Dave for letting me share this special day with you!