Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Floorplans, Legos and Wood Blocks

Ever since I can remember, my son Aaron, has been a builder. First I noticed he had a knack for drawing floorplans. That's right, floorplans! My toddler wasn't drawing the sun and the flowers and cars, he drew our house floorplan! I couldn't believe it!
He continued with this little talent of his and soon started building bridges out of his cardboard "bricks". One day when he was about 3, I walked into my bathroom and there was this cardboard brick bridge that spanned about  6 feet, with columns at just the right places for support. I couldn't believe it! I thought someone helped him. When I asked he said "just me mama". I wish I took a picture of that.
Well then he entered kindergarten. And one night, at meet the teacher night, I sat down at his little desk to see what they had been working on. Lo and behold I opened up his sketch book to find the floorplan of the school!! Complete with fire escapes, everything! Again I asked if this was some sort of project they worked on. "No", he said, "just me." :D
So now he is 8 years old. His "buildings" and floorplans are getting more elaborate. Now, I've heard of art prodigies ( my 19 y.o. daughter Ellison may be one,she has already sold several of her pieces; I'll have a post dedicated to her soon, too), musical prodigies, etc, but a floorplan and architectural prodigy??? I think I may have one :)
So following you will see some of his creations. Some of them with legos, which is pretty standard for a kid, but most are done with things he finds around the house, like empty pill bottles (???), scrap wood, checker boards, and anything else he may find. You say your kids are out playing soccer, basketball and football? My kids are always inside CREATING :) and that's just fine by me ;).

                                                    {Sketching}
 He's got lots of sketch books and pens, pencils, markers, etc. I like to encourage him.
                                 Tower made out of stuff he finds around the house
                                 It's his little details that I love!
                                 He even used the left over Camo Easter Eggs!
                                     His "fire escape plan" of our house

                            This was a "quick" sketch he did in his bedroom chalkboard


 These are the cardboard bricks I was talking about. If your kid doesn't have these then
I suggest you get them for him/her. They are the BEST investment in a toy I have ever made. Ellison had them too! They are SO durable. You can find them here. Your kids will play with these for HOURS!! From babies to big kids.

Here's his "Chinese Temple" he worked on tonight:








                                   Notice again, the attention to detail and the use
                                 of different "mediums" such as dominos!
Here's one of my favorites:
 







I feel it's very important to encourage our kids, even if they're not "technically" yours, to be the best they can be. If I see a child who is interested in art, writing, sports, dance, whatever it may be, it's important to encourage him/her. I get my children things that will inspire their creativity, books that will take them to different worlds, sketch pads that will be their drawing boards for "magic" and anything else I see they take an interest in I'm right there behind them.

Next, I will post about my very favorite girl :) Who, at age 4, started creating "magic" with pencil and paper ;)
Stay tuned!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Lights

On Christmas Day our family usually has a very laid back and easy day. After all the festivities of the previous night, the Martinezes just chill on Dec. 25th.
So after waking up around 9ish we eat whatever there is left over from the night before, cake pops, tamales, pozole, cupcakes--it's an all you can eat smorgasborg of food ;) and my kids love it!
We always go watch a fun new movie and this year it happened to be the new Tron movie in 3D. I have to say the special effects were awesome but the story...meh..not so much. The kids enjoyed it (including Sergio hee hee) and that's what matters. After that we came home and I made some hot chocolate while the guys watched Sergio's new AVATAR DVD. Then we went for a drive around town to look at the Christmas lights.
We ended up in a nearby town shopping center where they have cool lights and a water light show! We arrived just in the nick of time to see it. It was awesome. If you haven't been, you must!! It will be going on until Dec. 31st at the Village in Fairview. It's kinda behind the Macy's. The shows are at 6:15, 8:15 and 9:15 nightly. I took some video and pics of it.

 The water shoots up high and changes colors with the music!
 Here they are in short squirts of water...
 Beautiful trees and lights right around the corner. I must go shopping there more often.








Afterwards we just drove home and the kids played with their toys. Now, I am up blogging and remembering all the good times we have had this year. Whew! Time goes by fast when you're getting old :( I remember when I was young it seemed like forever for Christmas to come. But now, as I get older it comes in the blink of an eye. And that's why I try to take as many pics and video as possible (even if it does annoy my family). I don't care. I want to hold on to every precious moment before it's gone.
I know my family will thank me in the future. Memories are what we have to hold the past to the present; it's like the glue that holds our family together. We can look back and laugh and cry and remember the good old days :)

Christmas Eve Fun, Friends and Food 2010

Our tradition is to make some good ole fashioned Mexican food such as pozole, tamales (that we ordered from a local lady) and lots of good dessert!
We invite friends (old and new ;)) and family and have a great time. At midnight we open presents. The next day we usually just open up our stocking presents. We give the kids one stocking present from Santa to open on Christmas day.
Soooo, at exactly 6:30 our first guests arrived! The Randalls! They are so much fun and they have the cutest kids! And I tell you that 2 year old Kenzie is the most adorable toddler I have seen in a loooong time. I bet she could dictate to me whatever she wanted and I.WOULD.GIVE.IN. I am not kidding, she's THAT cute! Anyway, after  a prayer we got to eatin' then we had some more friends and our church missionaries show up. I have such a good time when we have people over who provide good conversation. It's like I never want the night to end! Do you feel that way too? Especially when you are just getting to know these new friends. Anyway, Mr. Randall had sooo many amazing and funny stories about his dad...that I HAVE to meet him! So, we told them they need to bring him by when he's in town.
After dinner and good conversations, our guests left :( and we waited for the midnight hour.
At exaclty 11:45 p.m. we started to separate the gifts out by person. So that at midnight we let the tearing apart of gifts begin!!
I love the excitement of the kids and getting their gifts. Except tonight, they were all kinda tired from all the festivities! But we made it through and after they opened all the presents they didn't want to go to bed! Huh?! It figures!
I didn't want to go to bed either. We are so blessed to be able to have a warm bed to sleep in and the ability to provide these gifts to our children. I can't tell you how thankful I am to my Heavenly Father that my children get to have a better life than either my husband or I had as children. It truly is a testament that children sometimes suffer and conquer adversities to triumph in the end-with a HAPPY FAMILY LIFE. And isn't that the best gift of all?
So good food, fun and friends. Christmas Eve was a smash.


                              My grandma being oblivious to me and my camera!

My boy and his video games

                              Sergio got two jackets! Ellison got a cool new phone , a snazzy new camera courtesy of her boyfriend, and other fun stuff :)

                                    Aaron immediately started his "labwork"
                                    I couldn't wait to see what Santa brought me :)
                                       I've always wanted one of these!! He got me the PRO!
I'll be baking up a storm and I'll even try my hand at making tamales now that I've got this baby to help me with the masa!!
A great Christmas indeed!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Eve Party Ideas

The day is finally here, December 24th! Our tradition is to have friends and family over for a good meal and fun and laughter. We usually break open a piƱata, but this year it rained and it was pretty muddy out so we'll have to invite friends over later on to break it open :D Hey, another reason to party. So anyway, I stayed up really late making up a fun new banner, some appetizers and a cool cupcake holder.
So here they are {you can probably do these with your kids for new year's eve}
You'll need :
foam cones
fruit
cheese
lettuce
toothpicks
gummy candies
Basically you take the foam cone and wrap it in lettuce leaves (washed and dried). You simply stick the lettuce leaves with toothpicks. Then you can put grapes and other fruits and cheeses with toothpicks onto the foam cone. Continue until you cover the entire toothpick. My little guy did not do that, and that's ok, but on the cheese and fruit tree I made sure to cover the entire pick with cheeses. The idea is to somewhat make it look like a Christmas tree. With the candy, I did not wrap it in lettuce. I just started sticking gummy candies here and there with the toothpicks. I had a little helper :)
I did not remove the plastic cover from the foam cone. I thought I could reuse it if I wanted to for another project ;) But you can cover it in foil or other decorative paper.
I provided small appetizer tongs so my guests could remove the fruit, cheeses and gummies from the trees. We even cut a star out of cheese for our tree :D





                                                {My crafty helper}



It's fun and easy and can be done for New Year's Eve with your kiddos.
Another thing I did was take an old three tier server that had seen better days. I simply spray painted it white and painted some red swirls and polka dots. I used it as a cupcake tower :)
I also made another banner out of felt (I am really LOVING felt and ric rac) and my Mighty Mend It glue!! This fabric glue holds and sticks quickly so you don't have to use so much. Felt is so inexpensive and easy to work with. I simply cut out the words Merry & Bright with my Cricut out of cardstock. So easy and I can use it again next year. The same can be done for New Year's :) {to see the tutorial go here.}

Two pieces of the three tier server. Here's the finished product holding cupcakes.

 UGH, it came out fuzzy b/c I had it on the wrong setting again but you get the idea.


 Sergio made some salsa and we packaged it up for our neighbors and his good clients. I found a free .svg file of this cute western boot and I cut it with my Cricut and Sure Cutz a lot software (I LUV IT)
We had so much fun getting ready for our Christmas Eve party. Now only the guests are needed ;)

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