I fought December and December won! I realized on November 30th that I was supposed to start the Countdown Clues with my kids *gulp* the next morning!!
Had we decorated?
Was I teaching all day the next day?
We decided to decorate on Sunday and start the clues on Monday. The kids were pretty agreeable. At age 14 they do attempt to be aloof teenagers as much as possible, but I didn't totally believe the nonchalance.
And then Emma got sick. She made it to school just 1.5 days this week and has been very miserable. It just didn't work out with Karl going to school each day while Emma was still in bed, etc. We finally agreed that we were going to call the whole week a wash and start the clues on Saturday.
I simply moved the clue that I had written for Day 3 to Day 8. I got John to send Karl upstairs to fetch something while I quickly hid the money. Then I called to the kids that the Countdown was starting.
They came running! Like, fast! I believe I even heard some squeals and "The CLUES!" as they came barreling down the stairs.
The magic lives on!
Now I had warned them that I would be very sparing with the "gimmes" this year. Emma has become quite the fan of Sherlock, Elementary and Poirot - I figured her detective skills must be properly tested.
We rearranged the furniture in our family room this year and lost our Christmas tree spot so we went for something a little unorthodox and tried the tree in the foyer. It is viewable from my office, the street, the dining room and the family room. Plus, Emma was able to add the new star to the top by simply walking up the stairs! Not sure if future years will find it here, but for this year - we like!
For those of you who did not follow last year's clues, I should mention that it's a tradition that I started with my kids about 5 years ago. In Colorado I hid trinkets - little Dollar Store toys - and each kid got their own rhyming clue, always sealed with a wax seal and tucked into the little Countdown Calendar. However, when we moved to Texas we switched to money and a single clue that they work on as a team. Each day they are playing for $2 each, half of which is required to go to charity. Last year Emma gave all of her money to charity. Karl gave half. This year seems to be shaping up similarly!
Another thing that is shaping up similarly is the way they read the clue and then speed into action without properly digesting the entire clue. I don't put in stray stuff, yo! It's all important.
KARL: ...or into flames it just might burst . . . the fireplace!
They quickly went to the fireplace and checked all the stockings.
Another little decorating note - one of our stocking hangers came out of storage broken. The little hook at the bottom was gone. Thanks to Pinterest, I simply grabbed a curtain rod and used just two stocking holders to suspend the rod with all four stockings on it!
After striking out at the fireplace, they discussed other places with heat and Karl checked the oven:
Yes, he's wearing shorts, because it's over 80 degrees here, and yes, his pocket is most sloppily untucked. He also didn't heed my request to only search places with uncluttered backdrops. The nerve!
I suggested that they needed to read the clue much more carefully and figure out what the numbers meant. They even recruited John to help them but he wasn't much help. He just looked at me and shook his head and mouthed "I have no idea!"
EMMA: The first is the 8th. OK, so today is the 8th and we're doing our first clue . . .
KARL: The second is twice the first, so that means the 16th.
They checked those doors on the Countdown Calendar.
ME: Oh! That's just a coincidence about it being the 8th of December. This clue was written for earlier in the week. The date has nothing to do with it.
They were really stumped.
JOHN: Well it's somewhere hot - we know that.
Before they took off checking stoves, microwaves and hot water taps, I figured I'd better give them all a clue.
ME: The alphabet is involved.
It took a few minutes, but then it dawned on Karl.
KARL: Emma, what's the 8th letter of the alphabet? A - B - C . . .(continues) . . it's H.
EMMA: OK, and the 16th is (uses her fingers and counts out the letters) . . . P.
KARL: So "H" and "P"
EMMA: Karl! It's the hp!
They ran to the dining room.
KARL: But how could she hide it there? I was on the computer all day!
Truer words never spoken!
Also true - the hp could heat the house. It runs hot - always has. In fact, I'm fairly certain that heat is what ruined two previous hp's. Somehow Karl keeps it running, though, and could probably grill a cheese sandwich on it to boot!
So today was not their finest detecting, but there's always tomorrow!
The Countdown to Christmas continues . . .