Reading List Summary, January 2017

Mom's List
Save Me A Seat (Sarah Weeks & Gita Varadarajan)
The Lions of Little Rock (Kristin Levine)
In the Unlikely Event (Judy Blume)

Jack's List
Armada (Ernest Cline)
Pi in the Sky (Wendy Mass)
Rocket and Groot: Stranded on Planet Strip Mall (Tom Angleberger)
The Lions of Little Rock (Kristin Levine)
The Iron Tomb (Peter Vegas)

EJ's List
The Inside Job (Jackson Pearce)
The 52-Story Treehouse (Andy Griffiths)
Mary Anne Saves the Day (Raina Telgemeier)
The Bell Bandit (Jacqueline Davies)
The Best Man (Richard Peck)
How to Capture an Invisible Cat (Paul Tobin)
Save Me A Seat (Sarah Weeks & Gita Varadarajan)
The Double Cross: and Other Skills I Learned as a Superspy (Jackson Pearce)
The Kid Who Became President (Dan Gutman)
Bake Sale (Sara Varon)
The Candy Smash (Jacqueline Davies)
Rocket and Groot: Stranded on Planet Strip Mall (Tom Angleberger)

Olivia's List
Quicksand (Steven Otfinoski)
Binky the Space Cat (Ashley Spires)
Insect Pollinators (Jennifer Boothroyd)
Dominican Republic (Elaine Landau)
I am Jane Goodall (Brad Meltzer)
Follow Me! Animal Parents and Babies (National Geographic)
Robot Dreams (Sara Varon)
Bake Sale (Sara Varon)
Women Who Changed the World (Laurie Calkhoven)

New Year's Eve Shenanigans


I never thought this would become a family tradition.  A few years ago, somebody was sick and there was no way we were doing a night out for New Year's Eve (we'd always gone out with the kids to friend's homes), so I set up a balloon countdown so we would keep busy and the night wouldn't seem like such a bust.  We've done it every year since, and this year, the kids begged to keep the tradition going!  So, I guess it's a win.

This year, I set it up so that the yellow balloons were time specific (out of the house activities, dinner buffet, ice cream sundae bar, and 11pm new year's toast), but the rest of the balloons were waiting for whenever we were ready for them.  We started with the outside the house activities, including geocaching, a shopping visit to American Science and Surplus, dropping boxes of shoe donations for Soles4Souls...

A snack stop for the final giant pretzel of the year (and our last free beers on our 2016 Pub Passes).

We stopped and dropped off some treats and a card for the firefighters at our local station...

And got a mini tour of the trucks while we were there.  The firefighter even let Livie sit in his spot for the night on the ladder truck.

 Before we headed back home, we stopped to drop off some kid's books at a Little Library in the city.  It's on a super busy street and we've seen that it's often empty, so that's why we chose that one.  Matt did the dropping off given that it was already getting dark.

 Back at home, we started with our 2017 Goal Charts.  I couldn't find a printable I liked, so everyone made their own charts.  Lots of reading goals, learning goals, activity goals, and giving goals.  I was excited to see everyone working on ways to track their goals on New Year's Day as well.

Then we did our family toast to say goodbye to 2016 and the girls helped me get everything ready for our dinner buffet on the coffee table in the living room.  It's never anything fancy, but they love it because we NEVER eat in the living room otherwise, so it feels fancy.

Next we made fireworks pencils.  I originally thought to do them with colored cellophane or patterned paper, but I didn't prep anything and was kind of lazy when we got to this one.  So we used aluminum foil instead.  We just folded a sheet in half and cut strips towards the folded edge (without cutting the fold), then wrapped it around the pencil with tape and fluffed it up.  They do make cool sounds when you use them, so that's a plus.

Next was a board game and we let Olivia pick...Life.  Ugh!  We ended up cutting it short because it's a long one, but left it out and finished the game the next morning.

There weren't too many complaints about stopping the game, because we did a build your own sundae bar next and then built our first first of the year (it's been surprisingly warm this year).

A Wii Bowling tourney was next followed by some Mad Libs and a New Year themed word search (everyone used their fireworks pencils of course).

At 11pm, we watched the ball drop in New York City and "rang" in the new year with gummy rings.  We figure better safe than sorry when it comes to Liv (who loves an early bedtime).

After that we played our own version of Heads Up with cards I made myself.  We always play games where the kids don't necessarily know the things the cards refer to, so this time I made cards with every day things, animals, characters from shows/movies/books they like, things they know that Matt & I like, etc.  It was their favorite activity of the night!

We played cards right up to midnight (Liv made it and then went upstairs immediately) and didn't even get to the movie (although Jack and EJ stayed up and watched it after everyone else went to bed).  I also realized that we never did the Minute to Win It games I had planned (so we're going to do them this week because they are always a huge hit).  I know this post is overly detailed, but I'm figuring it will help me out when they ask to do this all again next year!

Happy New Year!