Kisses mice craft

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

These little kisses mice are the cutest little craft to do with your kids, and a fun Christmas eve activity to make waiting for Christmas easier! I made over 70 of these, so the kids lost interest way before we made that many, but they had fun making the ones they did work on. They're super easy, and perfect to put in your cookie plate for neighbors, or in a gift basket for friends, or drop in someone's stocking.

Here are the super simple instructions:

1. Remove the little tag off the end of the kiss.
2. Cut two ears out of pink felt and hot glue onto the bottom of one kiss, then add more hot glue on top and close up with another kiss.
3. Glue googly eyes onto the front.
4. Cut a piece of ribbon about 2 1/2 inches long and glue under the tip of the kiss on the back for the tail.

Clothespin soldiers Christmas craft

We made these adorable soldiers recently with the kids as one of our advent activities. It worked out perfectly to do it together on a sick day when they were all home from school, which gave us more time to get them done. If you're looking for a Christmas craft to do with your kids, this one is perfect!

What you need:
old-fashioned clothespins
red and black pom poms
black felt tip pen
gold paint pen
red acrylic paint
black acrylic paint
white acrylic paint
gold string

1. Paint the legs black or white and the jacket red and let dry. Sliding them onto the edge of a cardboard box to dry works really well.
2. When dry, paint the belt, buttons, and collar on with gold marker, making sure your clothespin is turned to make legs with the slit in the clothespin.
3. Draw the face and arms on with black pen, then paint the hands white.
4. Hot glue a pom pom onto the head and press down.
5. Wrap gold string (or wire) around the neck to hang.

I think I need to make a garland with  our soldiers and hang it in the playroom next year as a fun little Christmas decoration. I signed everyone's name on theirs and dated them so we'll know whose is who's.

In tha hol intir wrold

One of my favorite things about having kids is their artwork. Kids aren't afraid that they're not good enough--they just go for it without reservations. And it doesn't have to be perfect. I love all the quirks in their art. Sometimes the mess-ups are what make it beautiful and give the piece some soul. You can also get into your child's head through their artwork and see what's going on in there.

I have been collecting the kids' artwork and schoolwork since preschool for each of them, and it will be so fun to give it to them when they grow up! Recently I was doing something up in Naomi's room and Mila and Olivia walked in and handed me these cards. It melted my heart. I am the best mom in the hole world, ha ha! The first one is Mila's and the jazzed-up one is Olivia's. She even wrote, "See that gril its momy" (ignore the second line, she says she messed up). I have super long hair and a poufy dress, just like I always wanted. And no neck.

Here are a few more things I loved recently:

A Santa beard advent calendar--genius!


Thanksgiving weekend

Our Thanksgiving weekend started off with a trip to Whole Foods for their delicious pizza by the slice and some cake, then to the park for some exercise. It's always a challenge for me to get out for more than an hour or two with all four kids, but this time was actually quite nice. Naomi took a nice nap outside in the cold winter air, and I got to hit pause on all the things that were waiting for me at home. It's kind of nice to just leave it all behind and spend some time outside. Ben, Mila, and Olivia climbed up the hill all by themselves for the first time since I had to be with the stroller at the bottom, and they kind of freaked me out. My protective mama instincts kicked in, and I didn't take my eyes off them, expecting someone to start tumbling down the sandy hill at the steep parts.It all ended well, however, and they had a lot of fun. They took the long way down, using trails instead of the steep sandy path. Those dots on the second picture are them.

The next day we had Thanksgiving dinner at my parents' house, which looked delicious, but I can't be sure since I didn't eat it. Okay, I can be sure. My mom loves to put a big spread in front of us, it just makes her happy and all her food is delicious. I cheated and ate a few Brussels sprouts since they were right in front of my seat at the table and were staring at me all of dinner, but otherwise I just had to sit and watch. My contributions were salad and cake, and another cake for the in-laws' house. We headed there next and finished off a wonderful day full of family and food.

I had no desire to run out with all the crazy people to go shopping, so I stayed home and had a nice morning in. The excitement never ends over here, however, because Ben's throat was causing him a lot of pain for several days by then, so we went in to test for strep, and it came back positive. So that was basically our day--urgent care and the pharmacy.

This year, not rushing around eating and focusing on the food so much during Thanksgiving dinner, I actually got to enjoy Thanksgiving more than other years and really sit still and reflect on the holiday. These kids that test my patience and give me headaches every day are my biggest blessings, along with their dad. They made me a mother, and I'd do anything for them. God has been good to me, and I am so thankful.


PS I messed up when editing these photos and made the quality really bad, but I'm out of time to fix them all over again so they'll stay this way for now.

Changes to our spaces

Friday, December 20, 2013

I painted Ben's room months ago, and have been majorly stalling on putting the finishing touches on it. I finally made myself commit to an arrangement and hang things on his walls this month, and once we get him a new full-size mattress and I hang his solar system from the ceiling, it will be good to go. Yay to getting things done!

Also, painting the toy room this month has made such a big difference in there, and it feels like my vision for the space is finally coming together seven years after moving into this house. The white walls make it so bright and cheerful, and it's the perfect backdrop for all the colorful toys and art prints. I would love to scout out some cool old furniture for our house on Craigslist and maybe estate sales, but that's one thing that I haven't had the time for lately. I am now working on redoing the artwork on the walls in the toy room to finish the space up.

 It sure was a productive month around here! I even brought order back to Naomi's room this month, which starts to look like some kind of storage room real quick if I don't keep on top of it. I will share photos of both Ben's bedroom and the toy room once I get things finished up. Decorating and making a space my own is my favorite thing in the world--I definitely thrive on it. My poor husband sometimes doesn't understand this about me, and asks me why I'm spending time painting things that don't need to be painted when I have a million other things to do. I just have to. That's all. :)


November on my phone

In November, Naomi had a cold, I found some amazing things at Target, we enjoyed the pretty leaves, did crafts in Sunday School, got new plant friends, hung out with cousins, listened to live music from James Orr while snacking on brownies and hot chocolate, Ben launched his tissue paper balloon (which flew the farthest of anyone's--that boy knows how to build!), went to the library, celebrated Thanksgiving, everyone got sick again, Ben got strep, I put away lots of little baby clothes and got out the bigger ones, had a fun date of pizza and park time, bought more natural beauty products to try, and painted the toy room white. This month it seems was all about bringing order to this chaos that is our lives. And spending lots of money to freshen things up a bit (oops). Isn't that always the struggle for us women? I don't realize I'm spending a lot of money until I've spent it? A lot of little purchases always add up to a big number in the end, so I am always asking myself if I really need it and if I will love it five years down the road. I have found doing that helps me only buy things that are completely my style (which means I am going to love it forever) and helps me stay away from fads and weird trends that I think I like but I realize too late that I don't really.