Saturday, December 31, 2011

Glorious Christmastime

Despite all of the pre-Christmas crafting, I tried to keep the perspective that my kids will probably have more memories of the Christmas SEASON than of the actual day & gifts.  I tried to keep things fun and not stressy.  Here are some pre-Christmas memories from this year.

Santa hats.  Bought at Michaels as a bribe...that is THE WORST store to take my kids to.  I'm not sure what makes it so much worse than other stores.  Anyhow, the Santa hats worked pretty well for that trip.

After we decorated the Christmas tree (or put "decorations on the decoration tree" as Monkey puts it) the kids wanted me to take their picture...while wrapped in blankets.  Don't ask me, they do their own styling.

By the way, when the tree was first decorated 75% of the ornaments were in a line at Monkey's eye level : )  Thankfully the tree kept getting rearranged over the next week or two, and the ornaments were more evenly dispersed by the big day!

Christmas morning before the chaos.  I got the idea to hang the Christmas cards on a strand of lights from Pinterest, and LOVED it.  L.O.V.E.  Next year I want to mod podge some christmas deco papers onto clothespins to hang them, but for this year I just taped them up and called it good enough.
(The good news about this picture is that I'm reasonably happy with how my home looks.  except for the ceiling.  Will it ever get done??!!!)

This picture is pretty terrible, I know, but I haven't installed photoshop on my new computer yet.  But there are three fun things here: 1. My new table runner (I also bought a second one to give as an exchange game gift) that I got for 90% off of the Bed Bath & Beyond retail price : )  And I needed a table runner for that table, and I LOVE this runner.  2. What looks like a haphazard collection of toys and such is actually very careful staging done by Chick.  Arranged just so, for Santa who was coming that night.  And 3. is even more obscure: the three duplo blocks in the center of the table?  It's "Singing in the Rain."  boy, girl, boy, like on the cover of Singing in the Rain.  Kids are so random.  Whenever we have two of one thing and one of another, it gets arranged "boy, girl, boy" and it becomes "Singing in the Rain."  I'm sure Santa picked up on the nuance, though.  He's very in gamba*.

*Sorry for the probably obscure use of Italian, but it's ridiculous-- I've been home from my mission for over 10 years, and still some words or phrases in Italian work better than those in English.  "In gamba" means "on the ball."  Somehow Santa is more "in gamba" than he is "on the ball."

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Homemade Christmas

I made (or helped the kids make) lots of presents this year. 
Now that the holiday is over, I'll show you what I did.

I saw a Living Social or Groupon deal for framed artwork of letters found in nature.  I couldn't really see spending as much as they charged, but figured that I could make my own.  So I did.  It was fun going on a hunt in my yard looking for letters.  (sorry, the picture isn't very good...)

I found a boxed "build a birdfeeder" kit at the thrift store for $1-$2, and let the girls build it for HH.  Then all three kids painted it  (I helped).  I love how it turned out : )

Dave brought home some scrap cuts of wood, so I painted them in a rainbow of shades and put numbers on one side and dots on the other for Moose.

Rainbow hairclip for Chickadee.  (idea from pinterest)

Chick's preschool made these felt bird ornaments as gifts for their Mama.  They are scented with peppermint stuffing, and each child drew on the side and then stitched up the edges.  I was actually the teacher that time, but Chick just told me not to look while she was working on it : )

I found a big bag of these wooden beads, and my aunt was getting rid of the storage container, so I just designed some sequence cards and laminated them for a simple sequence kit for Chick.  I don't know how she likes it...we haven't had a chance to play with it yet.  She likes that kind of activity, though, so I think it'll be fun.....

Another thing I saw on pinterest was a button necklace.  I tweaked it a little (added extra buttons on jump rings between the stitched ones), and used it as one of our exchange gifts for the big family exchange game at my brother's Christmas Eve party.

More buttons.  more pinterest ideas.  We did a monogrammed button D for my aunt. 
She hung it above her sewing area and it looks really cute : )

Peg family for my SIL's family.

 My awesome visiting teachers have an annual craft night for the December visiting teaching. 
This year we made cute sock snowmen.  (the order of them is: Chick, Moose, Me, HH, and Monkey)

Something that I saw on a blog somewhere or other, was a build-a-fort kit.
I loved the idea, and figured that since we had a family with 4 boys for the Christmas exchange gift it was a perfect time to make one. 
My favorite touches: the ribbon in the centers of the sheets says "experience the adventure,"  and I like the custom-designed label for the outside of the bag. 
I was going to do a freezer paper stencil for it, but was running out of time, so instead I printed the outlines onto the fabric and then hand painted inside the lines. 
Also included in the gift was headlamps for each boy.
I told my other SIL about it, who also has lots of boys & whose name we have for next year's exchange, and she requested the same gift.  Chick will be getting a kit for her birthday, as well.

(notice that our peg family is a work in process).

I did also make a bracelet for Monkey, but she left it in the car, and it's cold and rainy, so maybe I'll take a picture some other time.

Also I made flannel jammie pants for Moose and HH.  They're matching, and my guys look super handsome and comfy in them : )  I was going to do nightgowns for the girls too, but ran out of time...maybe for Easter.

I think that's it.  I was super productive in the last few weeks. 
This week I am a slug, but at least I'm starting to blog again!!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Family Photos

A while back, my awesome friend Heidi took our family pictures at a nearby park. 
 I'm thrilled with how they turned out.  Thanks, Heidi!

I think we do a pretty good job of not looking cold and wet, despite the horrible weather.  Heidi's family was supposed to be there that day too, and we were going to play photographer for each others' family...but they chickened out : )  And to add to the fun, Monkey had an accident in the car while waiting for us to get things set up in the second location...she was SUPER whiny and clingy after that.  I don't blame her-- it was cold enough without being soaked from the waist down!  But sometimes you have to grin and bear it, and I wanted my family pictures!!  We went home and had hot cocoa to recouperate.

OK, true confessions time: the top photo is pretty much as it was taken.  The bottom photo is HEAVILY photoshopped.  HEAVILY as in Moose and Chick's entire bodies were taken from other photos, and Monkey's head is from a different (yep, that IS the best picture there was of her!), and then of course the usual cropping and lighting changes.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Letters to Santa

Wow, I've been MIA from the blogging world for almost two months now!  I have so much to catch up on!  I'll start with something short (because I need to get to bed).

It was looking like we wouldn't see Santa, so I suggested writing letters instead.  Chick opted for emailing them.

She didn't want any help on hers, but I did end up adding spaces between the words.  Here's hers:

dder sca cloz,
i want sam papez and dogz and ristacats

(translation: "Dear Santa Clause, I want some puppies and dogs and Aristocats.")  I think she could have spelled Santa more closely, but I think she got distracted while she was typing it.  And what she's asking for is stuffed 101 Dalmations and Aristocats.

When I asked Monkey if she wanted to write Santa a letter, she said, "Yes, I want to write the letter B, because I start with B."  So she typed that, but was having fun pressing buttons, so she wrote lots of other things too.  Lots of 8's because for her they're B's as well.

b- kol0048b8888b8b8b8b--*9847411210
bnn fffffffddddddsa


It's ok that Santa won't know what she's asking for--she just wanted a candy cane, and I think that's pretty standard fare from Santa.