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!

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.

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.