Thursday, December 30, 2010

The kids have this whole week off school and we don't have a single thing on the calendar. I was worried that we might start getting on each other's nerves with all this uninterrupted togetherness, but this week has been really delightful so far.We've had lots of time to use our new Christmas presents. My grandma gave Noah and Emma these gingerbread kits and they were really excited to put them together. Noah and Allie started decorating the train, but then pretty soon they realized they could eat the candy instead, so most of the candy went in their mouths instead of on the train. I guess bowls filled with colorful little candies are just too hard to resist! Once they had finished eating the candy in the bowls, they started in on the train, and by the next morning it looked like this:Emma's house has fared a little better, although every day it seems there is a little less candy than the day before.That sweet little girl pretty much just sits and works on projects all day long. We gave her a potholder loom for Christmas so she has already made several of those,and she also got some oil pastels that have been keeping her busy. She just blows me away with her artistic ability. At six years old, she is better at drawing than I have ever been.She also just comes up with random crafty ideas and then will spend hours working on them. Today she has been busy making an elaborate New Year's Eve banner. Yesterday she asked me for some aluminum foil, then drew and cut out a bunch of stars and a moon. She wanted me to hang them on the fan in the living room, "to set the mood", she said. For what, I'm not really sure, but I do think they look kind of festive.I am going to be feeling sad next week when she goes back to school!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

We have been busy making so many things here. I think my kids are at the most fun age for Christmas. They are so excited about every single aspect of Christmas, particularly the gift-giving one. Noah brings me his toys all day long, wanting me to help him wrap them for Emma and Allie, and Emma is hard at work pretty much every spare minute, making cards, ornaments, and presents for everyone she can think of.One of the things we have made so far is marshmallows. I made simple little baskets for Noah's teachers with hot chocolate, candy canes, and the marshmallows.They were really fun to make, and I think they turned out pretty well. Just one more reason to have more hot chocolate around here!

Monday, December 13, 2010

It is cold, cold, cold here! We had some snow Saturday night and yesterday morning the kids insisted on going outside to play. I think it took about an hour to drag all the snow stuff out and bundle everyone up. Allie took the longest because she slapped on a hat and some ski pants and insisted she was ready to go, refusing to put on anything else for quite some time.Once they got outside, I think they lasted about three minutes. I snapped this picture of Noah through the window, safe inside the warm house. Doesn't it look miserable out there?!

Thursday, December 09, 2010

This year I participated in the the same ornament swap that I done for the last five (or is it six?) years. I almost opted out this time, mostly because I don't do much crafting these days and I didn't know if I'd have the time, but now that it's over I'm glad I did it and I'm already thinking about what I can make for next year's swap.

I made these little cupcake ornaments, and I think they turned out pretty well. I had an extra one that I made for myself, but I ended up giving it to someone else. I'd like to have one to keep, but I'm pretty sick of making cupcakes, so I don't know if that will happen!As always, I got some pretty adorable stuff in return. It's always fun to hang the new ornaments on the tree.Since I was already doing the ornament swap, I went ahead and did another swap that included making something for four other friends. I made them each a set of four cloth napkins.In exchange, I received a Christmas plate, two knitted washcloths, a hanging kitchen towel, and a decorated canvas that is now hanging in our living room.For both of these swaps, I am happy to say that I used only items that I already had in my basement. My goal was to not buy anything new, and it isn't as fun as going to pick out new fabric, etc., but I did it. There is so much fabric, yarn, and other random crafty stuff in my basement that I could probably do swaps for several years and still never have to buy anything new!

Last week I was reading through some of my old blog posts, and feeling sorry that I haven't blogged nearly as often in the last two years. I am feeling a little more inspired after reading old posts, so now I'm going to try to blog at least once a week. In the past I always tried to have pretty pictures on here, but now it seems like whenever I take pictures with the intent of using them in the blog, it just doesn't ever happen. The pictures sit in my camera for weeks and never see the light of day. So, I am hopefully going to be blogging more, but be warned that most pictures will likely be those of the crappy cell phone variety. Since I can take those and immediately email them to myself, I am much more likely to actually blog about them!

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Christmas season is officially in progress around here! We had promised the kids we would put up our tree the weekend after Thanksgiving, and they were seriously beside themselves with excitement. I wanted to put up the little tree again, but I was outvoted 4-1. Sunday afternoon, we set up the tree and then immediately discovered that very few of last year's lights still worked (doesn't that always happen?) so we had to pause work on the tree for a run to the store. One store turned into two and then it was time for dinner and then we remembered that Emma still had homework to do, and before we knew it, it was time for the kids to go to bed.

They were pretty upset so we let them each pick out four ornaments to hang on the tree, with a promise that we'd finish the tree as soon as Emma got home from school on Monday, along with some hot chocolate and gingersnap cookies. We still had the cookies left from when I made them for Thanksgiving, but I immediately regretted offering up the hot chocolate. We don't ever have hot chocolate here, and I don't even really like it much, so I wasn't relishing the idea of a trip to the store just to get some.When I talked to my mom the next morning, she suggested I make it from scratch. Ah-ha! Why didn't I think of that, or even realize it was possible? So that afternoon, we had a fun time decorating the tree while munching on cookies and drinking some really really delicious hot chocolate. (It probably didn't hurt that I added some Bailey's to mine!) It was so easy to make, and so much tastier, that I will certainly not ever use the powdered stuff again. I actually made some more that night after the kids were in bed, just for Steve and myself. Yum!

Now that the tree is up, I am glad we ended up going with the bigger one. It hasn't been knocked over yet, although we've has several ornament casualties already. I thought I put all the breakable stuff at the top, but apparently the kiddos can find a way to break even non-breakable things!

And this is totally unrelated, but I got some new slippers and I am so in love with them. If you see me this winter, you can probably expect me to be wearing these slippers (and likely drinking hot chocolate as well)!