Christmas Tang.

Beware of the Christmas unicorns. They’re flying all over this post, and you’re going to have to bat them off with a big stick.

So get a bat; prepare to swing.

Evidence A:

Photobucket
Christmas in the Park, Bonita Springs, Tuesday night

B:

Photobucket
Snow! Snow! Even if it’s mechanically shot out of a street light blower.

And C:

Photobucket
Gary found the Naples version of Christmas Light Holy Grail

I can sniff a Christmas unicorn from, like, miles away. And I feel it is my duty to share.

*****

We snuck out of the house in our pajamas the other night to go searching for Christmas lights. Gary found the muthaload at Flesher Farms, not too far away from our house. It’s so grand, they have a parking assistant flagging people in. And then you get out of your car and tour the property.

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Nice, eh?

And they have reindeer disguised as horses.

Photobucket
I think this is Vixen, evident from the strong snout and chiseled jawline. His alias is Skip.

You like Christmas?

Photobucket

How ’bout them Christmas apples?

Upon being smitten with Christmas wonder in the form of piped-in country Christmas tunes and a garage transformed into the biggest Christmas village ever (and watching my girls’ eyes get all twinkly), I did what any good friend would do–I called Heidi and told her to throw her kids in the car, STAT, and meet us. She was on the way home from a Christmas preschool program and her responsible husband insisted they needed to go home; school night, and they had homework. So she put me on the phone with him and made me convince him (I’m good at this). I was this close to breaking into a warbly, theatrical performance of “Fahoo For-aze, Dahoo Dor-aze,” but turns out I didn’t have to. Ten minutes later, they showed up.

Photobucket

I’m beatin’ a dead unicorn here, but holiday memories rock. Cross stitch it on a pillow and never forget it.

*****

Christmas Unicorn, take two.

If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. I cracked because everyone was doing it, and they’re saying the kids are loving it…

Meet Elf on the Shelf who made his debut, swingin’ in on a candle this morning.

Photobucket

You’re supposed to name him first. I wanted a cool name–like Frank. Or Winston. Or Cornelius the Third. This elf’s going to be with us for years, and his name goes down in family history. But as I was reading the book last night, Lainey smiles and blurts out that she wants his name to be Elfitty. “Elfitty?” I smiled, validated her suggestion and began to cleverly steer her toward more names–other names. Brett was secretly listening though and he interjected from the kitchen, “Kelle, don’t you dare!” I knew he was right. I knew he was right. Let go of the reins–it’s her creative, not mine.

“Elfitty. That’s beautiful. Perfect.”
So his name is Elfitty. Alright, I confess, it was really Elfitty Happy Santa, but I cut the “happy Santa” and she hasn’t noticed.

Fahoo For-aze, Baby.

*****

I catch moments like these and, literally, I get a rush.

Photobucket

They make each other laugh in the wagon. Lainey squeezes Nella’s cheeks to make them into a funny face, and they both start cracking up. I freaking love it.

Photobucket

*****
We’ve been making plans to return to Bob & Judy’s U-Pick Citrus, and they kept falling through. So, it was come hell or high water today, and the weather happened to lay out the red carpet.

Photobucket

Photobucket

My friend Rebecca and I drove a little ways on I-75, then a lotta ways on a long country road, then a little more ways through a tangled grid of dirt roads until we landed in God’s country. Horses, goats, cows–and Bob and Judy who open up their citrus haven home for public picking.

Photobucket

It was all kinds of lovely.

Photobucket
The orange “inhale.”

We ate snacks under the shade of an orange tree, lured the resident cat into our laps (didn’t take much work), participated in grove races, and stopped to eat our oranges right then, right there because that’s when they taste the best.

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Lainey and Beckham loved the game of pull, snap and fall.

Photobucket

Photobucket

And Nella was happy to be in the middle of it.

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

This is Florida, at its best–sun spilling starbursts through pockets of leaves and oranges and branches, the air thick with the ripe scent of tangy citrus, blue skies and the December crispness–not too hot, not too humid. And friends and cats and Bob and Judy’s charming grove.

Photobucket
Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Toto, we’re not in Naples anymore.

Photobucket

On the way home, we found an off-the-beaten-path country store. And, by country, I mean Country. We bought water and lollipops and stayed for an hour. Country store happens to come with a little bonus–an open field, a friendly tree, a tire swing and a homemade wooden amphitheater where the kids performed and danced for an audience of two.

Photobucket

Photobucket

At the end of the day, we were happy. I thought a lot about homeschooling today–how much we learned, what we experienced, how good it felt to be out, doing, seeing, learning and how good it felt to be with her while it happened. There are days I think it might not work out and days like today when I think…it could happen. There are pros, there are cons, there is a bit of time before we need to decide.

Until then, there are adventures. And a frickin’ elf named Elfitty Happy Santa who needs to find a hiding spot.

*****

Congratulations to the I Dream of Toffee $30 gift certificate:
Comment #175, Baby by the Sea: I love the look of lights on a palm tree. As usual, quite a pleasure reading your post…

Baby by the Sea, please send your contact info to kellehamptonblog@comcast.net with the subject TOFFEE GIVEAWAY WINNER, and you’ll soon be richer in the delicious caramel corn department.

*****

Ya’ll (I had a country day, I’m in the mood) remember that awesome t-shirt company, Okllo, that offered those great historic American tees? There is so much I love about these shirts–their message, their quality (nice thick cotton), the colored sleeves and collar. They’re back this month in sponsorship with those same great shirts and some new art products for kids.

Photobucket
The Abe shirt–seriously. I love his face all front and center. And give it up for Mama with his quote: “All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.” Lainey’s sweet purple-sleeved shirt: Sakakawea tee

And their art supplies? I have a new crayon obsession, and I know a good crayon when I see it (I’m usually still coloring long after Lainey’s left her coloring book).

Hello Stocking Stuffer, Stockmar Beeswax Crayons (available in blocks–great for O.T. beginners–and regular sticks).

Photobucket

Okllo has an additional selection of quality art supplies for kids (we love our new kid scissors!) as well as their one-of-a-kind Great American tees, and they are currently offering FREE SHIPPING! Plus, get an additional 10% off using code ENJOY10. One lucky commenter on this post will be randomly selected to win a $35 gift certificate, courtesy of Okllo. Happy Shopping!

*****

Oh, it is late. Happy Dreams!

Photobucket

Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. oh gosh I haven’t been first to comment in months, yippee!! :)

  2. I thought a lot about homeschooling today–how much we learned, what we experienced, how good it felt to be out, doing, seeing, learning and how good it felt to be with her while it happened.

    YES. This is exactly why we homeschool. Some days I am just flat out MAXED, but it is always always worth it for this very reason!

  3. Elifitty is awesome! love the name. In our house everything gets named “fluffy” so count your blessings, Kelle :)

  4. We have been resisting the Elf on a Shelf thing too, but I can feel myself coming over to the dark side. Elfitty is a perfect name!

  5. Elfitty, I love it :). From someone knee deep in snow, I must admit to a little twitch of jealousy when I saw the orchard pictures. Snow is wonderful and generally I love it, but my sweet has been sick and we have been inside for a week.

  6. I love your Christmas spirit…and I think Elfitty would be good friends with our elf on the shelf named Belf! :)

  7. I’m new on this whole Elf on the Shelf thing…and then I started to watch the videos…

    Might I add, very jealous of your orange hunt. Here, close to the North Pole, it was -25C with a windchill of -42C. Might I add, that that’s cold. Enjoy your sun!

  8. How you like them Christmas apples?!! Love it; you are high on life Kelle, it’s infectious when reading your posts! L x

  9. Elfitty Happy Santa is a great name! Maybe she’ll forget it by next year… ;o)

  10. Oh, do I have some fun things for you, Ms. Kelle!! First, I hope you have Pinterest because there are OODLES of ideas for Elfitty. This is my all time favorite board for ideas and I. CANNOT. WAIT! until next year when my son is old even to understand EoaS a little better!

    Second, your photos of the house lights remind me of Peacock Lane, which my family will be experiencing for the first time this Friday when they are all lit for the first time this season.! SQUEE!!!

  11. our elf…Richard marx????? dont know where the heck that came from i am trying to convince them otherwise:)

  12. Those babies need a cat! Catitty?

  13. I have been wanting to do “elf on the shelf” with my daughter. As much as I hate to jump o any bandwagon, I think I may go ahead and do it! I cant wait to see what Lilly names him.

  14. When we visit the grandparents in Florida we go picking- citrus, strawberry and tomato!
    Great give away- My boys would love the tee’s.

  15. Where is this great citrus farm? I must go!

  16. I love you’re words, you’re photos and you’re girls! All so wonderful, so enjoyable to see all the beautiful sparkly lights too. I love taking my kids out to see the lights, such a big – yet small joy in a childs life. :)
    xx

  17. Oh Gosh! The one of Lainey squeezing Nella’s cheeks made me cry. I shit you not!

  18. This comment has been removed by the author.

  19. Who knows, perhaps you can convince Lainey Elfitty sounds better when it’s pronounced El-Fitty, like if you were saying P-Diddy. Then he’d be a pretty rockin’ elf.

    I’ve heard, but haven’t really tried too hard to find out for sure, that we can’t get the real “elf on the shelf” over here in Australia, and I’ve had a look for a plain ol’ elf but came up with nada, so so far our elf has only caused mischief but is yet to be caught! It’s great cause it means he doesn’t have to do something new each night {cause we never know when he’s here} and so far it has cost me ZERO dollars! Mind you, I’ve only done it once, but hey, it’s a start isn’t it? Our cheeky elf switched all our jocks around, putting one of my sons’ in my drawer, mine in one of the other’s, his in my husband’s and my husband’s back in the original son’s. What I do really love about this particular tradition, is that it really can cost you nothing.

  20. Lainey looks soooooo much like her dad it’s uncanny. The older she gets, the more she’s becoming Brett’s mini-me. Nella is precious. Those blue eyes can melt hearts. I think I’m having oranges with my breakfast tomorrow. Thanks Kelle!

  21. I’m a sucker for Christmassy unicorns too! In our city, there is a street in which almost every house decorates up large with Christmas lights and things – so pretty to drive down at night! Oh Christmas Christmas Christmas…

    p.s. fell in love with your Christmas party – feeling very inspired to hold one of these next year, thank you!

  22. We have an Elf that is new this year, and his name is “Arfur”, as in Arthur:) By the way, the sibling pinching of the cheeks happens in our house too, and I can’t help but almost cry when I hear the laughter it brings! Such sweetness!

  23. Oh, yay! Hip-Hip-Hooray!! You mentioned homeschooling. So hope you will do it, try it. You will be good at it, especially with what matters. And a shout-out to Patti — well said, thank you for what you wrote!

  24. I love how you just spontaneously do things with your girls and your friends. You inspire me! And those crayons looks awesome – must investigate more :)

  25. We will start Elf on a Shelf next year, I hope I can keep up with it. And my 21 month old would LOVE those crayons. So pick me! pick me! pick me!

  26. I love your pictures and the Christmas atmosphere that you are shoting !!!! I am impressed how many things you girls do in a day!!!!!!!!

  27. Oh Lainey’s hair in that last pic!!! DIvine!!!

    Also homeschooling, tricky choice. I’m a teacher in Oz and i also am questioning.. Experiences with me vs Being able to not only ‘cope’ in the hustle and bustle of a not-so-perfect system, but to thrive and succeed within it with my help.

    Loved the US country pics, our Oz country is WAY different!

  28. I may start taking notes on these posts – you are my mama-spiration (for the kids I have yet to have!).

    Cxx

  29. it looks so cool :) Im waiting for snow, here in UK but I would love to have a one in hot place.
    Greetings from Yorkshire.

  30. Love the reindeer in disguise! And you caved to the Elf… I keep saying I won’t, but maybe I should pick one up after Christmas before my kid is the only one with no elf to visit!

  31. Loving the unicorns! :-)

  32. Just to let you know, sometimes those Elves forget to move. Just tell the girls that he was either too tired to move, or he really just liked the spot he was in, or they were SO good that day that he didn’t have to go to the North Pole to report to Santa. You’ll need something to say, I promise :)

  33. First time I comment, but I look daily to see if you posted! My oldest daughter (I have 2 like you :) who just turned 5 has Aspergers and the little one is 19 months old, so far NT… I love your blog, your attitude and your girls. You inspire me to be more patient, more creative and to just ENJOY my girls more… Thanks!

  34. Can!t wait to read this post on my computer, the iPad is misbehaving. But the pics I saw, leave me wanting to find an orange farm (not likely in chilly Tasmania). by the way, I forgot to say how much I loved seeing a beach “oh” in your last post., and Nella speaking just cracks me up!!

  35. You’re always an inspiration to help me be a fun mom. THank you!!

  36. Excellent photos, you guys are such good parents. Merry Christmas guys, you deserve it!

  37. We boarded the Elf train this year too. I’m having so much fun with it Here’s my pinterest board for ideas: http://pinterest.com/kathleenn/elf-on-the-shelf-ideas/

  38. Those crayons make me swoon a little bit, as do your precious girls. Love me some Christmas unicorns…that’s kind of what we’ve got going on in our house right now. And I do mean IN our house. No FL sunbursts up here in the cold, rainy KY! Enjoy!

  39. love the fact it’s december and your in an orchard… I love the fact your thinking about homeschooling and I really love that you got an elf……

  40. I love the adventures you have with your kids. It inspires me to hop in the car with jammies too.

  41. Christmas is oozing! Woohoo!

    I had a feeling that you were going to homeschool route. It’s a commitment for sure but can be really the right choice for you and your family. Take it a day at a time. OMG, another ball for you to juggle girly!!

    Peace,

    Jennifer

  42. Loving your red boots Kelle! And all your Christmas Cheer :)
    Oh, and of course, your unicorn filled posts are my favourite….this world sometimes lacks MAGIC…so I know I never have to look too far when I need a pick-me-up, coz your posts always deliver :)
    x

  43. I always smile while reading your posts and the photo of Lainey pinching Nella’s cheeks extended that smile from ear to ear. I think we will have to call in an elf to our home soon too! Elfitty rocks!

  44. Such a good post. We have to secretly love that we can be wearing sweaters one day here in Florida, and the next we’re in short sleeves, pickin’ oranges and ridin’ tire swings. And p.s. homeschooling is so much cooler today than back when ๐Ÿ˜‰

  45. As a 60 year old Florida native, I loved the orange grove photos … just like the old days. Btw, my granddaughter’s Elf is named Lippmann, the name of her neonatologist.

  46. Kelle, that picture of you and Nella is my favorite. As my grandma used to say, “I could just eat her up!”

  47. We don’t have an elf yet ,but I am hoping to name ours Adam :)

  48. The Elf on a Shelf is great! I too questioned it, but one look in his diection when the girls are acting up & a quick “remember the elf goes back to tell Santa how you behaved today” & it’s a quick turn around :)

    Oh…and our elf is called Hildabrandt – husbands! So Elfitty is not so bad :)

  49. OH, BE STILL MY HEART!!! The pic of Becks with his arm around Peyton & Lainey? How freakin’ cute is that? They all look so grown up! Beautiful! Love plaid on kids at Christmas!
    You: warm nights & Christmas lights? Me: Slick roads & soggy decorations. You: orange groves & sunshine? Me: Heavy clouds, swollen with rain & freezing temps…Me thinks you win!!!

  50. Could you do a post about your sweet dog? what kind? how old? and how long have you had it? ADORABLE

  51. This post was a blast, thanks for sharing!

  52. some serious marrow sucking in this here post! Lainey & Nella – you are both growing into adorable little darlings. Perhaps Ellfity can ride in on a unicorn one morning? Merry December. xoxo

  53. some serious marrow sucking in this here post! Lainey & Nella – you are both growing into adorable little darlings. Perhaps Ellfity can ride in on a unicorn one morning? Merry December. xoxo

  54. I envy your weather! It’s freezing here, but the ground is too hot for snow to stick…so in my opinion, there is no point in the cold!
    I enjoyed your Christmas unicorns! Goodness knows they’re flying around my house, too.

  55. Our Elf’s name is “Joey”. =)

  56. Love the Elf on the Shelf Effitty! Very nice! We too have an Elf on the Shelf and his name is Ollie!
    Love your Christmas light pictures!

  57. Bring on the unicorns Kelle! I love a good unicorn-filled post, ‘specially when it’s a Christmas one! Love your girls in the wagon. I need to sign off before I decide to have #2…oh man, those sweet sibling pictures!

  58. Smiling Nella always makes me smile. Lainey’s happiness is just so obvious. And Elfitty is cracking me up. You can call him Sir Eldridge French in your head.

  59. Rock On Christmas Unicorn!

  60. Awesome name for the elf!!! My son wants to name him Larry :) great pictures looks like so much fun. Those crayons do look great for OT, I need them!!!!

  61. Homeschool? Yes, do it! I’m in year four, with two boys, and I love it! Not that it isn’t hard on some days but I wouldn’t trade it for anything! And you’d be a fantastic teacher!!

  62. Sounds like you all had a grand time. I so enjoy your blog and EVERY.SINGLE.PHOTO!!

  63. Whoa, there is so much on that site my kids (ok, I) would love! Thanks for the opportunity to win!

  64. have you seen the blog post floating around about someone whose children named their elf, “dick”.
    ohmyhilarious.
    also. i’m totally jealous of oranges. the lake superior sign! awesome … we love love LOVE camping there.
    your love of the holidays might actually be making me a bit more excited this year. i’m kind of having a bah humbug year.
    so. thanks.

  65. Lovely post as always. We finally got our tree up last night, and we started our first year of Elf on the Shelf. Adam named him Chip.

  66. I LOVE the Abe quote! SO cute! I’d love to win :)

  67. I’m always looking for different mediums for Addy to experience, never heard of Okllo!

  68. Loved your post- you summed up perfectly what drew me to homeschool…….it’s a scary leap but has been SO worth it for so many reasons in our sweet little home.

    I need to go eat an orange now:)

  69. KELLE! You made me smile and giggle through this entire post. You are a hoot. I also held back a tear when you talked about the interaction between the girls. So pure and adorable.
    Fahoo For-aze for-sho!!!

  70. I like those block crayons….how cool.

  71. Hi Kelle! I’m your Flint native, Randels fellow classmate! Love your post. Our Elf’s name is Snowy. He has been with us for 4 or 5 years! My boys are getting older and still seem to get excited every morning to see where he turns up. Plus, I was at Barnes and Noble yesterday and they had a gift bag from your Elf. It was great. Had to get two! Just in case they are starting to think Snowy has lost his touch!

  72. Those girls are beautiful!!
    As always great post! You always make me smile! :)

  73. I am so jealous of your coat-less December weather! But it wouldn’t be a Chicago Christmas without the white stuff Christmas morning. Inspired by your Christmas spirit… I added extra snowflakes to my holiday decor. I’m pulling it from wherever I’ve got it!

  74. do the t’s come in grown up sizes??? because my 15 year old son NEEDS that Abe Lincoln t!!! jus’ sayin’…

  75. We’ve been doing elf on the shelf for about 6 years now with a vintage elf that was mine when I was a child. We never named ours though and this year the 8 and 9 yr old asked me if I was the one that was moving him. Enjoy these years and even the goofy elf name!

  76. the photo of the christmas lights… man, how do you do it? Are you hand holding, or do you have a tripod (or monopod) with you at all times, too?? You rock!

  77. Santa’s watch cracks me up!!
    Thanks for sharing your day of adventure – you do get around! We can all FEEL your enthusiasm – it’s palpable.

  78. I am in LOVE with the elf idea! You have givenus inspiration to go out tonight seeking the christmas lights in our negihborhood!

  79. The shirts are great- as are the Christmas memories, especially the unicorns! :)

  80. Love the Christmas unicorns, I see them too :)

  81. We got our elf on the shelf this year to start practicing for when baby girl gets home :) My husband has been less than amused with my antics!

    Brooke
    http://www.TheAnnessaFamily.blogspot.com

  82. I’d never heard of Elf on the Shelf until this year- lots of friends of mine w/ kiddos have been participating and taking pics. What a fun idea :) And I just love her creativity in naming him Elfitty– too cute!

  83. Our elf is named Buddy, because my hubby LOVES “Elf”…LOL. I LOVE the sister pics, so beautiful!

  84. Going orange picking in a wonderful orchard reminds me of being a little girl in my grandmother’s apple orchard, only picking up the one’s that had fallen to the ground!

  85. This post makes me want to move to where it is still warm. Truth be known, I am in TN and it was 67 last week. This week, a few flurries have been spotted. Love those historical shirts…going to check out the site now!

  86. This post makes me want to move to where it is still warm. Truth be known, I am in TN and it was 67 last week. This week, a few flurries have been spotted. Love those historical shirts…going to check out the site now!

  87. I wish I could go citrus picking! That is something we don’t get to do in my neck of the woods.

  88. I had grand plans for the name of our elf as well. In fact, ones that are similar to your choices. Until our 5 year old decided his name would be AB. No, like ‘look at those rock hard abs’, but just like it’s spelled Eh-Bee.

    Why you ask? Because she can spell it. And that makes it all the better for her to write notes to the elf. How could I argue?

  89. Elf on a Shelf is frickin awesome…ours is named “Granville” i can just see my girls doing it with their children when they are older. I love Christmas traditions..new and old…and like you, I am freaking obsessed with Christmas…those crayons will for sure be in my girls’ stocking!

  90. When I look at the pictures of your girls together I can see the love. Nella will teach Lainey a great many things and you know Lainey will have Nella’s back forever!

  91. Literally laughed out loud at the “pull, snap, and fall” of Lainey picking her citrus! Ha! I love it! :)
    As always…could have read your post 10 times over and smiled every time!

  92. Great post! We have the same elf, and actually DID name ours Frank… at my 3-year-old’s insistence, of course! :)

  93. our Elf is “Fluffy Ice…” and its a boy. So I feel your pain

  94. I LOVE that you are thinking about homeschooling!! I am in my 2nd year of homeschooling my 5 kids, which include a set of 4.5 year old triplets. Is it challenging? Yes. But is it totally worth it?? YES!! I love the fact that you were homeschooled, and would love to hear more about your experience – from the student’s perspective! No matter what you decide, your kids will grow up to be amazing member of society, because you are an AMAZING mom!! :)

  95. Our elf is named Elfy. ELFY! I was so disappointed. But I had to let it be.

    I also keep forgetting to move him each night. He’s just REALLY REALLY comfortable hanging on the stair banister sweetie! Haha!

  96. I absolutly LOVE how you can just call your friend and she and her family come to join you! Such great memories you are making with your girls!!

  97. Our Elf on the Shelf was named by my 2.5 year old. His name is very creative “Elf” got to love a literal 2 year old.

  98. 1. I LOVE that your hubby stepped in and let her keep the name for the Elf! My girls still want the Elf even though they are 10 & 11!

    2. I keep recommending the book Big Sister Little Sister, my girls LOVED it when they were little and yours are the PERFECT age to read this book! and maybe re-enact the photos and make them their VERY OWN Big Sister Little Sister book! they would LOVE IT!

    3. I homeschool my girls. My 6th grader just decided she wanted to go back to public. Homeschooling is NOT for every personality and it certainly was NOT for her! Maybe if she had done it from the beginning though, not sure about that since she only did it in 4th grade. She was not thriving like she should have at home! My younger one though LOVES it and says she never wants to go back! do your research on it NOW and decide so you can start early, better to do it from the start! (my opinion)
    4. LOVE LOVE LOVE the orange grove idea & photos! similar to an apple orchard, only better really!~

    5. LOVE your Christmas posts!
    tara

  99. This post is so full of magic and fun, I can’t stand it! The orange grove looks beautiful… I can almost smell the citrus now.

  100. Our elf is named gnomie because the kids had just seen gnomio and juliet. Sigh. Oh well, you can’t win them all!!

    I am so buying those color block crayons for my little almond eyed angel !!!!!

  101. I absolutely LOVE reading your blog. You are such a talented writer. I really enjoy seeing pictures of your smiling beautiful girls. I commend you on making holiday memories with your girls and traditions that they will always remember. That’s what the holidays are all about! You have really inspired me to make family traditions with my little girl. You are truly an inspiration. BTW – I absolutely love the block crayons! What a great idea!

  102. Love seeing those 2 sisters. Its amazing how sisters communicate. Enjoyed the post as always!

  103. Our elf’s name is “Freddy”, and I know what you mean about wanting him to have a cool name. I threw out all kinds of ideas, and after it was all said and done I was still thinking of cooler names than Freddy. haha So far he has been in the tree, reading a Christmas book, eating the candy from the Christmas parades, coloring a Halloween picture, and a few other random shelves and hooks around the house. He has been a lot of fun, but my daughter touched him the other day. I had to put him back in the “special mailbox that would send him back to Santa” aka the box he came in. And then the next day after making salt dough ornaments and painting them, Freddy was feeling the Christmas cheer again and made it back it us. lol Have fun!

  104. I love the idea of homeschooling but have never known anyone who has done it before. I would love to read a post sometime on your opinions and experiences with homeschooling… and for the record, I think you would be great at it. You would give those kids an education they would never forget. But who am I kidding? You already do!

  105. Orange grove!

    We so love those crayons. All we use and they don’t break! Ever. We’ve had ours for over a year and they pretty much look the same.

  106. My baby is 3 this year and I’m loving everything about the Holidays more than I ever have before! It’s magical to see it through there eyes!

    I’m also considering homeschooling for that very reason. I think I’m convinced I’m doing it even for just a few years… those precious few years when all they really need to learn is that there is a big wonderful world they can be part of.

    My husband also reminds me that these days there are so many more homeschooler’s it’s easy to find a support group/teaching co op, and then the burden is shared among like-minded parents.

    Your girls are cute as always! I love getting my inspiration fix from your blog!!

  107. If it helps at all, our elf is Ballz Fireplace TheElf. I mean really. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  108. Oooooeee! I love me some Okllo Goods!

  109. Our Elf’s name is Man. Yes, Man. Elfitty would be a vast improvement. :)

  110. I hear ya on the naming of the Elf. Our 6 year old son went with Ormint – “because he looks like an ornament.” Like you, I was really hoping for a Walter or something befitting our hipster elf. When I protested the name and made other suggestions my husband shot me a glance in the same way that Brett yelled to you. They’re right though, this is their moment. Let.It.Be.

  111. Elffity? I like it! Ours is Max Jelly. “Max” was chosen by the 4 year old last Christmas…”Jelly” by the 2 year old. I love that it forever freezes that moment in time. Love me some Holiday memories…

  112. Great Post. I grew up in Florida and the property behind our house use to be an orange grove. Your pictures brought back happy memories. Thanks for sharing. I got “elf on a shelf” for my house and my grandkids houses this year. My husband named ours Benard “Barney”. My grandson’s is Zimbabwe and my granddaughter’s is Jack. We think Elfitty is perfect.

  113. Lainey’s orange-picking outfit…. LOVE!!!

  114. As always, beautiful!

  115. Oh by the way, one of my biggest regrets is that I didn’t homeschool my kids.

  116. Love it! I am a Northern Girl tried & true, but the idea of skipping through fresh citrus at this time of year fills me with a bit of longing for some Florida sun (& warmth!) Looks like an absolutely fantastic day!

  117. Love, love, love your blog. I am now trying to be in the moment and enjoy the small things. I love Christmas too.

  118. My parents have a place in Bonita Springs, they are here in Portland for Christmas this year but if we are there next year? I want to go to there.

  119. Love those crayons! They would be perfect for our one year old!

  120. My little boy (3) is so familiar with your pictures that every time he sees it up on my screen he says “you lookin at pretty girls mom?” Ha! he is as much in love with your girls as I am.

  121. My then 2.5 year old son named our elf Walter. Not sure where it came from, but I love it.

    I’ve never commented before, but I’ve been reading your blog for quite a while now. Thank you! It has brought such inspiration to so many parts of my life and some understanding to what my brother and sister-in-law experienced when their daughter was born with Down Syndrome. But mostly, I love your photographs and how you treasure every moment with your family.

  122. It looks like Nella is feeding her shirt frog that orange–cute!

  123. I am going to buy those crayons now, although I have no doubt little Fin will still eat them. I think we also need the Abe shirt.
    Just reading this post, I could smell the tangy scent of an orange bursting open.

  124. Okay, I just HAVE to have the ABE shirt for my 14 month old girl- my husband’s name is Abraham and I would love to win some $ to spend on it!!! That way she can have something representing her daddy and her “angel mother” on the same shirt! Ha! If not, I just might have to splurge on it anyway! Cheers!

  125. Such cute pictures of all the kids together. You have so much fun. I’d love to win some crayons for all my kiddos.

  126. Those crayons sound devine. I love how you make the most of everything with your children and how no matter what you do the love shines through!

  127. I love those shirts! I wish we had an orange grove around here. My kids would have so much fun!

  128. i LOVE those crayons! and i love your blog. inspiring, as always!

  129. This is exactly why I’m leaning towards homeschool too. But we have a little longer to decide. I just like the idea of experiencing instead of fill-in-the-blank papers.
    Looks like they had a blast!

  130. Love the Elf on the shelf and Home schooling is Awesome!!!

  131. Love the Elf on the shelf and Home schooling is Awesome!!!

  132. When reading your posts, I always wish that I had been there with you.

  133. I love the pic of Nella eyeing Lainey’s ice cream…reminds me so much of my little ones.

  134. It’s been so long since green and growing happened up here in the frozen tundra of SD…your oranges made me drool.

  135. Oh, beautiful, Kelle. I love love love days like this with the kiddos. I don’t get them very often. But I love when the weather and the kids’ moods line up just so to equal a perfect day of nothing much.

    I really need to practice more with my camera. I’m taking my first class tonight!

  136. Your post may have just pushed me into getting Elf on the Shelf for my son. I never had one growing up, but I see them everywhere now. With how much Lainiey loved your Elf, we may just end up with one soon!

  137. I think I’ll cave into Elf on the Shelf next year. My daughter’s 15 months now so I think a bit too young!

  138. Elf on the Shelf… I’ll have to remember for next year. I love the traditions and want my girls to experience all of them too :)

  139. I love Nella feeding her shirt! So cute!!

  140. I don’t think orange picking has ever looked so fun.. maybe because it is so COLD here.

  141. Wait…are those PINK DOCS on Lainey’s little feet?!?!?! Be still my heart. Looks like you had a fabulous day. So many unicorns, so little time.

  142. This is our third year doing “Elf on the Shelf”. Ours is “Herbie”. The kiddos LOVE him. Even my youngest who is two runs from his room in the morning to find him! Glad you have joined in on the fun.

  143. I love everything about this post :)

  144. Where on Earth can you get a healthy dose of both Christmas spirit and orangey Florida sunshine? Here at EtST of course! :) I love it!

    We have an Elf on the Shelf, too, and his name is Elfis Andus, named after Texas Rangers player Elvis Andrus. The first morning of his appearance, he was playing a game of baseball with the Toy Story gang. Woody hit a fly to center, and Elfis was found sliding into second. Baseball rules at our house!

  145. We got our first Christmas tree (free!!). So we are getting in the mood over here too.

  146. Love that it looks like Nella is feeding her orange to the frog on the front of her shirt!

  147. We’re doing Elf on a Shelf for my son and niece at Nanny’s house. They named him Cocklebell, and he’s currently perched on top of a table lamp, watching them play nicely together.

  148. What a rich experience for all of those children (and their mama’s!) in the citrus orchard.
    Love those shirts, and now great crayons to boot! I’m the one playing play doh and coloring after the kids have lost interest too : )

  149. Ha! My daughter named our Elf ‘Ja-anna Christmas Santa':) Cracks me up.

  150. Those crayons look like something MAYBE our 1 year old won’t eat! ๐Ÿ˜› I am loving the Abe Lincoln shirt, too. The sun flare in the orchard? Bliss.

  151. I love Elfitty! lol And I love that Brett had to reign you in… that’s something my hubby will have to do in the future, I’m sure.

  152. Jealous of your sunshine and oranges! I’m feezin’ my butt off in UT.
    Our elf Timmy didn’t move last night either… oops.
    Love your blog, I read your 1st post ever the other day and it’s fun to see how much your blog has changed. It’s inspiring as a fellow blogger and as a mom.

  153. Elf on a Shelf rocks! Ours is named “Bernie,” and the kids love him! Elfitty is a fabulous name! :) Anxious to hear what you decide on homeschooling. It has crossed my mind a couple time, but I don’t know if I am cut out for it.

  154. PS I really loved Lainey’s North Pole party :)

  155. this post makes me wish i lived somewhere warmer. Yes, here in KY, things are very cold and Christmas like, but you all get to actually enjoy looking at lights without freezing!
    BTW, we made the home school plunge this year, LOVIN IT

  156. Thank you for a Christmas pick-me-up, unicorn style! And for reminding me that all the tough homeschool days are worth it. Going to take my homeschooled kiddos out unicorn hunting today. : )

  157. Can I just say that Lainey’s red boots are killing me? KILLING ME. They are just so stinkin’ cute!

  158. I really love those historical shirts! Just darling.

    Thank you for the Christmas Unicorns.
    I promise to never grow up and to never stop loving Christmas.

  159. So fun! I bought my son the Ben Franklin shirt and I love when he asks, “Momma – where is my Ben Fwankin shirt?” So cute!

  160. I love days when we can put a little gravel in our travel!! And that tire swing…Love it!! We live a few miles from an apple orchard and we are so there every September!! Such great fun for the kids!!

    Tina J

  161. We’re hitting the lights in town this weekend. Can’t wait.

  162. Love.

  163. You don’t even know how much pleasure I get from reading your adventures while I am desk bound in a stuffy office! Thank you!

  164. It’s good to know that I’m not the only one that has to make a conscious effort not to need things to be just right and instead allow them to do it their way. I’d love to dress my girl my way but I let her put on what she likes because really, who does it hurt? I want her to be confident in herself and her choices. (letting her help me decorate is another good example of learning to let go!)

  165. You always inspire! We are currently homeschooling one of our 4, it’s a trial…and even though there are some days it’s like pulling teeth. I have to admit…I love it!

  166. A few things here…

    Kill all the unicorns you want, if it means you’ll keep bringing us Christmas cheer. I love it.

    We started The Elf on the Shelf last year; ours is named Sammy. He appeared the other night. You should TOTALLY YouTube some videos… “Elf on the Shelf caught on tape” and other such searches yield crafty videos that people have caught of their elf moving around their house at night. Seriously, it’s howls. We watched some with our girls last night and our 22 month old was freaking out (in a good way).

    Lastly, where is this video of Nella walking that you promised us oh so long ago? Give it up! I wanna see sister strutting her stuff!

  167. Thank you for bringing some sunshine and light into my day. Two sick kids, cold weather (though today, finally, some sun), and it has felt like a dreary week. Seeing the sunshine pics and kids in orchards makes me long for spring–or for a trip down south. Thanks for sharing the light!

  168. I’ve never commented before but I just wanted to share that my brother is actually named Cornelius the third, haha!

  169. your pics remind of summer as i sit here in 15 degree weather:)

  170. I am so jealous that you can wear tank tops and summer dresses in december!

  171. Elfitty is perfect! Ours is Johnny. Now I just have to remember every night to move and hide him in a different spot. By the way, I love, love your Christmas spirit.

  172. I love the name Elfitty. It’s perfect. :) Also, love those block crayons! They’d be perfect for my just learning to color little girl!

  173. Your life is beautiful. ♥

  174. Our Elf showed up this week, too. His name is, Sparky, and so far he’s scribbled all over the bathroom mirror and borrowed my camera to take pictures of himself. ๐Ÿ˜‰ He’s a big hit.

  175. Kelle-

    Elf on A Shelf (aka Jingle Bells) made his grand debut in our home last year when my boys were 8 & 3. He was an instant hit. Both Nathaniel & Matthew really believe that Jingle Bells flies back and forth between the North Pole and our home to report whether they have been naughty or nice. They also love to wake up in the morning to find our where Jingle Bells is hiding in the house. I am sure Lainey and Nella will love the new tradition you have started. Happy Christmas!

  176. You know what I love about reading your blog? First it was Christmas – lights, decorations, the Elf and I could almost imagine it was here…you know, the Midwest where people wear coats this time of year and it snows. They you take us to the fruit orchard and we see sun, short sleeves, warmth and citrus…I realize it’s not the midwest. You almost had me taking off my coat! Love your blog and all the seasons, rolled into one post!

  177. Elfitty… love it! And, oh la la! We love us some Stockmar crayons… what a treat!

  178. Your outlook on life in infectious and inspiring. My daughter’s chunky little hands would love those crayons! Hmm, looks like a great stalking stuffer!

  179. Our elf is “Nick Sparkle” – we call him Nick :) I had the worst mom moment ever the other night,…forgot to move Nick…make sure you move him before you have a glass of wine! I have to say, you seem like the best friend a girl could have…your friends are lucky to have you! Fun memories!! I have always gone back and forth on homeschooling – I used to be a teacher – my girls are in first and K…but they love going to school and it makes me nervous to be their teacher – with their studies! I do have a lot of friends who do it and love it. Its always in the back of my mind. You’ll make the right choice when the time comes!

  180. I love Elfitty :) You inspire me!

  181. LOVE those block crayons…I’ve been looking for something to give to my fine-motor challenged son. Those will do the trick quite nicely! :) Thanks.

  182. Looks and sounds like such a fun day you all had picking fruit. Can’t wait til my little is interested in these things.

  183. Christmas memories AND orange picking- too good to be true! Love the pics as always. You’re inspiring new traditions over here!

  184. I have wondered if you might homeschool, I think about it too b/c I love the learning adventures we go on but I wonder about Sam(he has DS) and what is best for him, Still trying to figure it all out. Good luck in your decision. Our adventure this afternoon take all 4 kids under 5 with my friend and her 4 kids under five to see the Festival trees at a fancy hotel. GOOD LUCK to us!

  185. Awesome post. I love Christmas lights and unicorns and such. Merry Christmas.

  186. I wanted you to know that you are one of the reasons I home school!! I was sent Nella’s birth story on one of the most terrible days of my mothering life, by a friend who had no idea what was happening. I looked at Nella’s little face and your writing, “I am not what you expected, but love me..” and it changed me. I was struggling so much with my 3 year old son, we knew something was wrong, but what? After 18 months of tests we finally found out he has a rare metabolic disorder, but that is beside the point. You helped me so much, and Nella helped me see both of my children in a new light. I slowly began to change and now I am a proud unicorn happy, sucking the marrow out of life mommy who homeschools so I don’t miss a minute of this amazing ride. Thank you so much!

  187. Our Elf’s name is Norman. It started out as ‘Fly Guy’ but then it morphed into Norman. It is so much fun watching the kids find him each morning!
    As always, your posts inspire me to be better and do better. Thanks!

  188. That abe shirt is wonderful!!

  189. Everything about this post makes my heart smile….you are creating such wonderful memories for your girls!

  190. Love your post! I’ve captured some of my happy mama moments as a foster mom my blog at onhttp://tammylgerber.blogspot.com/2011/12/ive-got-look.html

    Thanks for sharing!

  191. Elfitty is a great name. Love these pictures! They make me long for warm weather.

  192. Oh my goodness, have to have that Abe tee! Genius!

  193. I love those chunky crayons…wish I had thought of that!

  194. Those crayons are awesome!
    I can’t ever seem to get over seeing your gorgeous kiddos dressed in warm weather clothes in December! My Pennsylvanian brain just can’t wrap itself around the concept. I think maybe I’m just envious!)

  195. Fabulous…
    Off to find that Lincoln shirt for my own little honest abe…love!

  196. I think I want to be your kid! You have so much fun! I feel flawed :(

  197. You would be (and really already are) an excellent homeschooling mom.
    Thanks for the info on Okllo too, there tin box of colors look perfect for little ones.

  198. When I first heard of Elf on The Shelf, I thought it was a crazy idea. Who would pay $30 for a little antique looking doll? Then I saw all the cool stuff people did with their elves. So I got crazy and bought one.

    I wanted a cool name too. But knowing my son, I knew it was going to be either really simple or really wacky. He went with simple and named him “Presents”. Both of my boys love looking for him and finding him every morning.

  199. Ohhh..shiver and shudder! That elf gives me the BIGGEST creeps! Seriously, my children would show him the door! Anyone else think he’s a bit creepy?

  200. LOVE those shirts. Hopefully I will win, but if not will definitely buy one!

  201. They do the Elf on a Shelf at my daughter’s daycare and they love it! We have yet to do it at home, but we might have to as she’s becoming quite the independent almost-3-year old.

    Precious pictures!

  202. We are in the middle of a cross town move and so I haven’t put any lights up yet! Thank you for letting me live vicariously through your Christmas joy and your beautiful littles. Merry Christmas!

  203. I envy you this joy and being with your children :( My boy just started going to kindergarden and there are tears from both of us in the mornings.. Ugh, so hard!

  204. love the warm weather pics…we are freezing up here in Northern IL!

  205. I bought the Amelia shirt for my friend Amelia whose first daughter, Hazel, will be wearing it with pride. Love this store!

  206. I love Lainey’s red dress; do they make it in (big girl) my size?!?

  207. Sounds like a delightfully fun day out picking fruit. Merry Christmas!

  208. wondered where those red boots went? Nice to see ya still wearing them, they look great!

  209. Happy Everything! Bring on the unicorns and Elfitty. It is a magical time of year. Keep rocking it out, Kelle! So inspiring, so fun!

  210. Our elf is Lightning McQueen. Seriously. I feel your elf naming pain!

  211. country kind of days are my favorite :)

  212. My sister has been telling me all about this elf. A bunch of the kids she babysits for has them. Now I have seen one :) How fun! Elfitty is perfect!

  213. I could almost smell the citrus through this post… what a perfect day! It looks like gorgeous weather… I will live vicariously through you… we are surrounded by piles of snow…

  214. My daughters are 10 and 7 and have never been to school. We live in Boston and the girls get to live creatively and purposefully everyday. I see this reflected in the way you “live” with your daughters. You would be giving them such a gift if you homeschooled:)

  215. I love the hidden Elf game. Definitely a fun tradition! I have a farm/house near my home that gets super decked out for Christmas. It is so fun to walk around and take in a little bit of their joy!

  216. well, our elf is named “Sam.” I have no idea why…We home school for some of those very same reasons. There are some HARD days, but I love that we can pick up and go on an adventure (almost) whenever we want to and I love that I get to share each moment with them.

  217. So jealous of the orchard visit in December, we are cold up here in the midwest! Love all of your family holiday traditions, makes it so special for the kids. I am going to have to get myself elf on the shelf.

  218. We started Elf on the Shelf this year, too! My daughter is three-and-a-bit, and she has some speech problems, so she’s not as willing to be creative (poor baby… it’s hard to come up with silly names when nobody can understand what silly name you’re trying to say. It breaks my heart), so her grandpa suggested the name Alphie. After his childhood dog. Thus was christened Alphie the Elf.

    And I can’t tell you how many times since the day after Thanksgiving I’ve gotten her out of bed and then said, “Hey, sweetie, you stay in your bedroom and… uh… take off yor pj pants… I’ll be right back… stay there!” while I sprint, baby on my hip, to find Alphie and get him a new hiding spot. Gotta get better at moving him at night! But I love to watch her look for him!

    -Lela

  219. Oh my goodness…Lainey has gotten so so TALL! And little Nella looks so big walking around. I love the amount of unicorns flying around this post…I had to explain the reference to a fellow who just started reading your blog tonight, LOL. Have a Merry Christmas Hamptons!

  220. You guys have the most amazing adventures! Where do you find these fantastic places? I need to be more aware of these nooks and crannies near my house. Love following your adventures.

  221. “Elfitty Happy Santa” almost as good as Elveeee brownie…my hubby gave me the evil eye too but I wrote it down as L.V Brownie, now if I can remember to move him and come up w/ great ideas for him!!!

  222. What a lovely post! I can smell the citrus from here!

  223. I love a good tire swing. I’ll trade you our two inches of real snow for a turn, mmmkay?

    Maura

  224. You always have such great adventures. I wish we could be friends and I could tag along!!

  225. I love the photo of Nella looking at L’s ice cream! She looks kind of tired in the photos of the “Citrus Outing”! Sweet Girls…

  226. Kelle, I have thought of the wonderful things that I would like to write on your blog for months now. My perfectionist spirit (not one of the Spirits of Christmas (Scrooge was lucky!!!)) has struck again, and – as per usual – it prevents me from doing(becoming) great things…ANyway. I don’t want to keep you from “Elfitty Happy Santa” (a.k.a. Frank) or the unicorns – or your little ladies and three boys. So, here’s the simplest way to say it: Merry Christmas. May you continue to be filled with love and passion, kindness and joy. Thank you for your fun words.

    Very Sincerely,
    Dana Kuntz

  227. My kids LOVE the elf on the shelf. They named ours dokie. awesome.

  228. Love the picture of Lainey with Latte. And that cat is adorable!xo

  229. Now you have me on the hunt for a granny-square blanket, so awesome.

  230. I love Christmas unicorns!

    We have Elfey, the elf on the shelf. Congrats on welcoming, elfitty, into yours. Our has been up to some crazy antics already this year!

  231. Our Elf is named “Zippy” which thankfully even my son with Apraxia can say an approximation of…I wanted to coax a name change out of my kids too and got the “look” from my husband….so now I am off to hide Zippy.

    I love love love your blog!

  232. the elf is a HUUUUUUUUUUUGE hit here…my kids LIVE for the day he shows up for the holidays. so so so cute. you know there is a movie and workbook that goes with him too, right? ๐Ÿ˜‰

    btw, my daughter named ours strawberry because his hat looks like a strawberry. i really was hoping she’d pick elvin. but strawberry it was, and still is.

  233. Elfitty is a great name! Definitely a classic “my kid picked it” name, but a big step up from “Elfie”. Go Lainey, and go Kelle for letting go of creative!

  234. We also joined the Elf on a Shelf craze, ours is named Jingles – well first she wanted to just call it Elf on a Shelf then she named after her, then her brother but finally she came up with Jingles and it stuck. I just have to find creative places to put him. I am not sure if she belives or not becuase she asked me if I could put him in her room, I had to tell her he decided where to go. She is excited every morning to find him and it is fun.
    Elfitty is a great name.
    The oranges look so good and so does the sunshine.

  235. Oh, so funny!!! I was forming my comment as I skimmed through some of the others and thought, ‘Oh, man…it looks like I may be the only one who thinks the Elf on a Shelf is kinda creepy’….hahahaha! Then I saw a comment just above mine, and she (Jolene) used the same word—LOL!!! My boys would absolutely love it, but I have a childhood fear of clowns that is apparently carrying over to Elves in my adulthood. But I LOVE that Lainey named him Elffity and that Brett insisted on letting it be :)

    Those crayons are definitely in our future! And the wagon pics are my fave in this post….I can hear them giggling. Love.

    Blessings,
    Kelly

  236. My son, Ethan, saw me reading this evening and asked all about your girls. He wants to meet them! Sadly we live in the Seattle area, so getting to Florida is a tad hard. I loved all the orchard pictures, it all looks so peaceful. Then I saw the fabulous shirts and the crayons… I can smell those crayons now! They truly are THE BEST crayons ever. They bring back so many childhood memories.

  237. loving unicorns, properties filled with lights and okllo.

  238. Elfitty. Love the name. Our elf got saddled with the name Awkward. Go figure.
    http://storytobecontinued.blogspot.com

  239. Don’t be nervous about home-schooling; you would be great!

  240. I’m totally going to be using that phrase “cross-stitch it on a pillow and never forget it” now:)

  241. I’ve not commented lately…my sincere apologies.

    I’m in love with your holiday freak flag you are waving. The North Pole Party was fan.freakin.tastic. OMG.

    Your girls and family and friends and their littles are the luckiest!! You rock a party. It makes me want to move to FL to be your neighbor ๐Ÿ˜‰

  242. I adore your Grinch singing. That made my night!!!

  243. I think ‘Elfitty’ is a great name! And I’m glad you were able to bust out your tricked out Christmas wagon again!

  244. My oldest 3 could NOT agree on a name for our elf. So his name is Buford Phineus the Elf.

  245. Elfitty…I love it. Once again your christmas excitement and daily adventures with your girls are contagious. Reading your blog at night is like my glass of wine

  246. Our elf never made it out of the box last year. My then 3 year old daughter said that it scared her, but I love seeing all of the fun things people do with their elves. :-)

  247. Love it. Love all of it, from the Christmas snow to the Florida sun all in December! fa la la la la la la la la… I think I have all of em.

  248. how fun, a citrus romp! we battle with the idea of home schooling too. but we have time. love that abe quote, one of my favorites.

  249. Oh those orange groves look like heaven.

  250. You pack so much fun into these posts!

  251. Love the Christmas unicorn! I need to keep reminding myself that I need to grab it by the horns.;)

  252. The more Christmas unicorns you can provide, the better. I’m in the end of a trying semester and with final exams on Monday I haven’t given Christmas its proper attention yet.

  253. This is my first year of homeschooling, and I love it. Sure there are rough moments, when a shut down occurs, but we can push everything aside, take a break, and go back later. We’re slowing down a bit now, because it’s cold, and it’s been nice to slow the pace. But up until recently, we did so much fun extra stuff. We live near Gettysburg, so we took a day trip, and we did school work sitting on a blanket in the middle of a battlefield. Amazing. Loved it. Can’t wait for Spring, because we are doing it again. There is this amazing story teller at our public library. She makes her own scenes for her stories by painting on cardboard boxes. You should have seen her version of Stone Soup. She even made it look like she was boiling soup by putting dry ice in the pot. Anyway, those are the things I love about homeschooling.

  254. I LOVE Christmas unicorns! hehehe!!

  255. bahaha! Elfitty. love it. Your kids are flippin’ adorable and I’m not afraid to say I kinda sit by the computer for you to post, because ENJOY is my happy place :)

  256. bahaha! Elfitty. love it. Your kids are flippin’ adorable and I’m not afraid to say I kinda sit by the computer for you to post, because ENJOY is my happy place :)

  257. I just discovered Elf on the shelf this year, too. Our elf’s name is Franky. Kind of a cool name.

  258. Kelle

    Love your blog! We haven’t gotten elf on a shelf yet but are thinking about it for next year for our 2 boys! I love the site and am ordering those crayons for my little guy who has a little something extra special just like nella!

    Nicole
    Nmills25@verizon.net

  259. I know you sometimes wish you were home where Christmas is white and cold but sometimes reading your blog I am jealous that you can go out at night in your PJ’s and not freeze your butt off!

  260. Our three-year-old wasn’t too creative when it came to naming his elf this year…Red the Elf is what he came up with after several moments of contemplative silence!

  261. There is nothing more magical than to drive around(or walk if you live where it is warm) and check out Christmas lights. I am a grandmom and still feel like a child when it comes to Christmas Lights.

  262. you’ve inspired me to get out and pick some sweet oranges!

    gotta love abe.

  263. I homeschooled my grandson (who lives with us) for 3 years. We both loved the experience, and have nothing but positive to say about doing it! However he is now in a Tec school and is happy to be back with his peers.

  264. Homeschooling is an amazing experience. I taught for 3 years an we both loved the program! You will love the flexibility!

  265. I named our Elf without help from the kids. I started talking about him Weeks before he came to prepare them and not having a name was too hard. So, he became Alabaster Fluffer-Paws and it makes them giggle every time.

  266. I love seeing what it’s like in Florida at Christmastime. And seeing the wonder in your girls’ eyes over it all is magical.

  267. I so get what you are saying about homeschooling! I was….and I want my kids to have what I had. So we shall see next year when Clarisse is old enough for kindergarten how it goes :)

  268. I love coming here and getting into the Christmas spirit!

    Denise

  269. Definitely keep considering homeschooling. I am the third of eleven children and I was homeschooled all the way through along with my two older brothers. Our younger siblings are homeschooled as well.

    I’m now in my sophomore year of college and so thankful for the education I received — though past a certain point it was more independent.

    If you ever have any questions about homeschooling, feel free to ask me. I’d be glad to share my experience.

  270. I love orange groves, they smell so delicious! I want an Elf on the Shelf, I see them at Target :) I totally love Christmas lights, fa la la la la…

  271. Elfitty… haha! Maybe it’ll change next year ๐Ÿ˜‰

  272. You said it…exactly why I started homeschooling. I never planned to…not religious…no other intention but my selfishness of my children’s experiences and time with them. It started off that I just wasn’t ready to send my son to kindergarten…by the time my daughter started two years later we were still on board with the idea. I found the most awesome charter school that is homeschool based. It allows you to homeschool with a support teacher and provides classes and field trips that you can participate in. It has been the perfect balance for us. The year by year reevaluation about whether to continue or not got us through 8th grade graduation for both our children. My daughter Tatum graduates from 8th grade this year and my son is in high school and at the top of his class. It still amazes me that I was able to successfully get my children to the point they are in their education while sharing their experiences and schooling them. As you probably are aware homeschool doesn’t mean that you are socially deficient. My children have been very active…my daughter just finished her 10th year performing in the Nutcracker. This was her first year to be on her pointe shoes for Nutcracker…it makes me smile to see pics of Laney and remember back when Tatum was at that point.

    Anyway…I would love to hear about your experinces being homeschooled…

  273. nella looks so grown up in that picture at the orange place.. she’s on the floor while the other kids are on the back. she is beautiful !

  274. So happy to see you out picking oranges with your kids. We go apple picking, strawberry picking…some of my favorite days are spent out harvesting fruit with my kids. Best of luck with your little Elf. Ours is called “Zippy” and I think he’s workin’ some magic on my kids and their extra good behavior for him…you know he’s watching ๐Ÿ˜‰

  275. ok i have totally got to get my son one of those abraham lincoln shirts, after all i did name the boy abraham ๐Ÿ˜‰

  276. Can I come and live with you? I mean really — you’re creativity blows my mind. Your children are so lucky to have you– you guys are amazing. xoxo

  277. My nephew wanted to name his elf “John Deere Tractor”, so they shortened it to John the Elf

  278. Hmm… I’m wondering about that dang Elf now. Maybe I’ll hold off one more year before I crack, too!

  279. I flipping love our Elf on the Shelf (aka Hermey), but our 3.5 year old is freaked out by toys that come to life, so she has to tell me every day that he is “just pretend”. I hope she forgets he’s just pretend next year. Enjoy the tradition – I am addicted to trying to top myself with creative ways to display Hermey every day!

  280. I am orange with envy….I have never picked an orange from a tree, but nothing looks better!

  281. ellfitttty happy santa. i think the happy santa part is sort of hilarious. and COMPLETELY understanding your urge to redirect.

  282. I love it because I can so remember the trip to the orange grove (is that right?) last year… where the pictures told a beautiful story, but the words wove a totally different one. One with red ants and crying and sticky and hot.
    Looks amazing… I’m a little jealous thats not what I am doing in December!!

  283. I have been wanting to join in on the fun of the elf too, but so far the hubby is not on board. It’s okay, the unicorns are still happily feasting on the Christmas spirit at our house too!!!

  284. I love that you let her be creative. After pushing for Oscar and Henry for the dogs, I had to let my daughter name her bird, “Kookooskoos” I had to give in…. we shortened it to “Koo” though=)

  285. Love the Orange groves, the crayons and the picture of the lights.
    :)

  286. Kelle, you just inspire me to get in the spirt of Christmas. I have had a hectic schedule and haven’t done any decorating or cookie baking yet. I have officially decided the Christmas elves are going to be working hard tomorrow to spread the Christmas Spirit in my house. Thanks again!

  287. You are so prepared for any adventure! I thought to myself how cute Lainey’s little red hightops were then there she was again, in a field, in the country, in the same outfit but with her cowboy boots on. Did ya plan that? :) Happy weekend to you!

  288. Yay yay, yay!!! Someone else who puts kids into the car in their jammies and finds what we call “Christmas Magic” in these parts. LOVE.
    I know you get hundreds of emails, but I would so love if you (or I) could share this magical part of your post on my little Friday linky party for the month of December. It’s called “take good care of this moment” and i really, really feel like we can encourage each other through this month with some meaningful moments that we take the time to STOP and SAVOR!!!!
    Thanks for your consideration.
    xoxo
    lynn

  289. Thank you! You made me smile. I’m recovering from surgery, and both my little girls are sick… Good times :-( As usual, you lifted my spirits, and made me smile (and think) I ordered Bloom today, cant wait for April.

  290. I always think of the legacy of amazing, beautiful pictures you will have of your children. When you are a ripe old age, it will take you a month to look at all of the albums/scrapbooks. :-) Love the orchard photos!! I’m just so sad Elfitty couldn’t make it with you to the orchard. hahaha

  291. Kid’s art supplies are pretty much the reason I got pregnant:)

  292. Love the adventures you have with your girls! Can’t get over that warm Florida weather in December though!!!

  293. i think about homeschooling too!!

  294. Love the ot blocks for coloring!

  295. I love, love, love reading your blog it makes me smile ear to ear every time and inspires me as I begin the journey of starting a family!

  296. The truth is…I am so jealous of your sun it is not even funny ; )
    Glad you are Christmasing it up!

  297. LOL at your Elf on the Shelf name, I did the exact same thing when my 4 year old named ours Elfie??? “Really, how about we think of a couple and then choose” but nope she was happy with Elfie so now we have an Elf named Elfie :)

  298. I’m a new reader! Love your blog! :)

  299. It amazes me that the kids can wear sundresses in December. Looks picture perfect!

  300. if you homeschooled your beautiful girls, I would find a way to pay you to homeschool mine (when I have them). Your zest for life is unmatched! I love it!

  301. i’ll try. those crayons are awesome!

  302. I am so jealous of your citrus farms :) It’s far too cold here in PA right now. Have a great weekend.

    Missy

  303. Looks like quiet a magical day! It reminded me of visiting my grandparents in Florida, picking ripe, delicious oranges and eating way too much orange creamsicle ice cream! Homeschool or not, it seems you’ll be making countless adventures where these beautiful girls will remember YOU as the creator of it all! Thanks for sharing, love reading your posts!!

  304. You inspire me with every post:D i love your blog & I love those shirts! One would be adorable on my little guy :)

  305. At our house ‘Timmy Tinsel’ is causing quite the ruckus! On Day 1 my little Orangie(7 yr DD) CRIED because he is going to leave us to go home to Santa…*sigh*

    And today on day 2 we awoke to find that Timmy Tinsel had TP’d our tree!!

    What will happen next? lol.

    ps. I love LOVE reading about your wonderful life. You are such an inspiration! <3

  306. I have been loving your christmas posts. There is something magical about them. Also, where I live in Canada, I’ve always wondered what it would be like to live somewhere warmer for the holidays. Your blog gives me a look into that.

  307. It could be worse. Our Elf’s first chosen name was “Elf.” Fortunately, she reconsidered and named him “Imagine.”

  308. Oh my, I’m jealous of your t-shirt weather. We have been having some frosty mornings here in KY. I really don’t like having to drag coats and gloves out. I would be good with 4 weeks of cold weather then a back to the warmer stuff. I guess that won’t happen unless we head south.

  309. Ummm…yeah….my three year old named our elf Turkey Doctor…

    Seriously,where do kids get these names?

  310. Have you read the post on this blog about The Elf? It had me cracking up and I thought you would get a good laugh from it too!

    http://www.divinesecretsofadomesticdiva.com/2011/12/01/watching/

    Another great post Kelle! :)

  311. Our elf in named Elfy. He was Sir Edgar Frecklebottom for about 10 minutes. Maggie, my 5 year old with an eye for fashion, loves your red boots.

  312. So did Bob and Judy once live in Minnesota because the Lake Superior, Rochester and snowmobile signs all point in that direction. I can’t read the license plates though. (I live in MN so that’s why it piqued my interest.)

    Love the ray of sunshine that is this post, and so funny that it happens in the middle of all your holiday jazz. A contrast to our 3 degrees and no way in heck I’m going out in that elements. ๐Ÿ˜€

  313. I LOVE the name Elfitty! We bought our Elf on a Shelf yesterday and we named ours Elfie! We had planned to use another name, but I kept calling her Elfie. So, when it came time to fill out her name in the book, Elfie was the unanimous choice! :)

  314. So is his elf rapper name “Elfitty cent?” hehehe

  315. I LOVE how much you LOVE Christmas! Your children are the best and I am inspired to be an awesome mom someday because of this blog!

  316. This is our first year with Elf on a Shelf and my kids (ages 2 and 1) chose the name…wait for it….Ginga (Pronounced gen-ga). Pft.

  317. your two little girls are just GORGEOUS :) And so are the photos

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>