Thursday, December 22, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Well, we're finally ready for Christmas around here. Gifts are bought, wrapped and under the tree. Santa's cookies have been baked (Santa is coming tonight to our house this year). We've made salt dough ornaments, snow globes and paper gingerbread men. We've had Christmas parties to throw and attend and goodies to bake for neighbors. All this on top of our everyday lives. It's so easy for the real meaning of Christmas to get pushed to the side. Easy to forget about the sacrifice Jesus made to bring us truth, love and hope. Last night at church, we sang Oh Holy Night which is on my top 3 list of Christmas songs along with Silent Night and Mary Did You Know. "A thrill of hope. The weary world rejoices. For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn. Fall on your knees." Beautiful words that probably don't even begin to touch the night when Christ was born. Praise God for sending His only son for a broken, hard and cruel world. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Apple Cider Bar

We had a church party last night and I was wanting to make a cider bar. Of course, Pinterest helped me pull it off. I wanted to share this idea in case you're looking for the perfect cider set-up for your Christmas get together! I wish I had taken a picture before the party when I had more cups stacked on the counter below the "cup tree" and my pot of cider sitting there. Also, there were more apples stacked on the plate before my girls got into them. : )

Here is the link for the cups:

Monday, December 12, 2011

It's a Pinterest Christmas

Thanks to Pinterest, I have gotten extra crafty this year. I think that's a good thing......
I wanted to share some links to the tutorials I found this year.

These thrift store glass vases were painted with white enamel glass paint. Tutorial here:

My iphone camera takes terrible pictures, so I apologize. But these coffee filter trees were so easy. Pin some coffee filters onto foam cones, hot glue some buttons and you're done. I will warn you that the foam cones are not cheap, so bring your 40% off coupon if you're going to buy them. Tutorial here:

I loved the idea of this rustic, Pottery Barn-ish wreath for the front door. Once again, cheap coffee filters play a part in making the cute, ruffly flowers. Tutorial here:

No, I did not sweep the crud off my front porch before taking this photo. As much as I love to look at all the perfect blog photos out there, I do not often have the time it takes to make a photo session for one blog picture. : ) These JOY pots were very easy because good ole Wally World had the plants in red pots already, so no spray painting there. I just got glued the ribbon and JOY letters (from Hob Lob) on and stuck those babies out there. Easy peasy. Inspiration here:

This is the worst iphone picture of all. See above comment on my feelings about the subject. Ha! My first picture in this blog has a better photo, although farther away. This is a book page wreath. I love, love, love the way it turned out! However, the blogger with the tutorial stated it took her a little less than an hour to complete it. I call foul. It took me over FOUR HOURS. I may be a bit slower than her, but not that much surely. At least I love it and have let my family know that it will hang on our wall forever and then I have instructed them to put it on my grave when I pass. Tutorial here:

Monday, November 14, 2011

Goodnight Moon Party

Elise's favorite book is Goodnight Moon. In the weeks before her 2nd birthday, her big sisters quizzed her repeatedly on what kind of party she wanted. They offered Dora, Barbie, Wonder Pets, and any other show or book she has ever liked. She was firm in her decision on Goodnight Moon. : )

As a book lover, it warmed my heart. As the party planner, maybe not so much. I knew I wasn't going to be buying the party supplies at any store. But, with a LOT of help from my artist sister, we pulled it off pretty easily.

Goodnight Bunny in his bed

My sister made the 3 Bears Sitting On Chairs

These popcorn bowls turned out so cute. They looked like little kitchen hats. I took 2 coffee filters and wrapped them around a plastic cup, tied the ribbon on and folded down the edges, then slid the plastic cup out.

I made another Dollar Store tiered tray tutorial here:

My sister made the quiet old lady out of panty hose and a stuffed rabbit. Brilliant! Notice the Cow Jumping Over The Moon picture on the wall that she made also. I copied the kittens onto cardstock and propped them up with clothespins glued to the backs.

The window was made from poster board and the stars and moon were made with white tissue paper.

The birthday girl having her moment. None of my girls like to have the birthday song sung to them. Ha!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

An Afternoon at Philbrook

We love Philbrook with a capital L. We can easily spend an afternoon there, which is what we did last week. This is where homeschooling is right up my alley. Creative learning outside the classroom. Sigh. It's wonderful. If you haven't been to see their gardens, you really should. The colors are incredible! Here are a few of our pictures.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Plastic Tablecloth Petticoat

So, Halloween is around the corner and we were not happy with Elle's pink sailor costume from Target. It was baggy and saggy and not much like the picture on the front of the package. I realized that the girl in the picture must have a petticoat on under the sailor skirt. So, I started pricing petticoats. Not wanting to spend another $20 (at least), I decided it was time to get creative. I researched on the internet and could not find a homemade petticoat that didn't require sewing. Then, it hit me! Remember that tutorial on making ruffled party streamers out of a cheap plastic party tablecloth? Yep. That's right. It also makes a super-cute petticoat! I just cut the tablecloth into the length and width I needed and then used as many layers of tablecloth as I could. I probably got 20 layers out of one tablecloth. I lined them up as evenly as possible and stapled all across the top to hold them together. Then, I took blue duct (duck?) tape and put it across the staples, front and back so they wouldn't be sharp. Then I gently pulled each layer to create ruffles. Tutorial here:  I duct taped ribbons onto each side to tie the back together and we were done!

I think it turned out pretty darn cute!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Great Learning Craft

My mom bought the girls a boxed craft at the Hob Lob. It turned out to be a great learning craft and I would highly recommend buying it! It is a foam sticker mosaic, so they are learning math patterns, colors, shapes, and fine motor skills. My girls aged 2 through 7 all loved this one.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Alphabet Cookies

I have seen variations on alphabet cookie games, but I decided to make my own. I wanted larger cookies that would be easily held by little hands. And I wanted bright, colorful alphabet letters.

First I made the cookie jar. I covered an empty oatmeal container with construction paper, even cutting a circle to cover the lid. I cut a slit across the lid after covering. Then, I printed a cute label from Martha Stewart here. I enlarged it to 150%. And I found a vintage cookie label here and also enlarged it.

Then, I found an online photograph of an M&M cookie, blew it up to the size I wanted and printed 26. I didn't save the link, but there are tons of cookie images on the web.

I found the alphabet letters I wanted. I chose to do uppercase on the front and lowercase on the back. I glued the letters on with a glue stick and laminated the cookies. The girls love sliding them into the canister through the slit on the lid!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Rainbow Rice and Pasta

This is a great activity to make for texture bins and so easy (although messy) to make.

Dry Rice or Pasta
Several Drops of Food Coloring
2 Tbs. Rubbing Alcohol

Place rice or pasta in plastic baggie. Squirt in several drops of desired food coloring. Add 2 Tbs. rubbing alcohol. Seal bag and shake to distribute color. Pour onto paper plate to dry. Voila!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Coal Mining

Of course, I had to follow up yesterday's post with some pictures of the actual coal mining.

Here is my little coal miner, ready to enter the mine.

I was so dedicated to her learning experience, that I took my perfectly organized coat closet and made it into a jumbled mess so it would be more authentic. ; )

Not sure why my camera did that funky thing with the flashlight. I need a photography class stat!


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Painting Coal

So I've been standing in the kitchen for the past 30 minutes painting pieces of dough black to look like coal. I first tried a large sponge brush, but it wasn't getting the black paint into the nooks and crannies, so I had to go find a small paint brush to finish the work. And as I was standing there with black paint on my fingers, making these coal pieces for a lesson (involving a mining activity) on coal tomorrow, I wondered, "Why?" Why was I spending so much of my precious time mixing and baking and painting dough coal? If I had to put a price tag on my time right now, it would be around $100 a minute. Is a lesson on coal THAT important? Do I even remember learning ANYTHING about coal in school? The short answer? No. Sure, there's a 1% chance one of my girls will become a geologist and I can point to this coal lesson as the spark for their geology passion. But, chances are, they will not become geologists. So, I had to search my heart to find the answer to why I was standing in the kitchen apparently wasting my time. And then it came to me. It's not about the coal. It's about sparking a love for learning. It's about showing my girls how to dive into any subject and enjoy learning about that subject. Something I hope will last them a lifetime. At least that's what I'm telling myself. : )

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Random Thoughts......

Does anyone else agree that Bavarian Cream is just a fancy word for pudding?

I swear that Elle (3 years old) has more than two elbows. Every time I lay down with her, no matter how I try to protect my face, she is sure to elbow me in the nose.

Women are waaaay too hard on each other.

It would be so much easier not to discipline kids, try to teach them anything, or have rules of any kind. Truly, mothers are some of the strongest and most brave people on the planet.

Pretty sure my one year old has PMS.

Her PMS seems to coincide with my PMS.

It's tough to blog about random thoughts with a 3 year old on your lap and two others running around screaming. ; )

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

School Days, School Days

We started our adventures in homeschooling today. It went very well!.......apart from Elise climbing on everyone and generally distracting the girls for the last 20 minutes. : )
But, other than that, the girls were very excited to learn. We did a warm up song/dance called Tootie Ta. Very silly and fun! And we did an alphabet song. Then, we worked on the calendar and weather. Maps and Geography came next. Then, we finished up with Emma working on her handwriting and Elle working on cutting and pasting. Elise did Tot School with sorting and coloring for her activity of the day. I felt very teachery. I hope it lasts!


Wall Poem


Desk Work

Tot School

Reading Castle

Monday, August 15, 2011

Easy Message Board

For this board, you just buy a frame in the size you want and fill it with the fabric or paper of your choice! In my case, the larger frame I bought at the Hob Lob was stepped on and broken as soon as we pulled into the driveway. But, I found an old frame I wasn't using and rolled with it. : )

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

School Is In Session

What better way to start the school year than with preppy desks?

Sunday, August 7, 2011


Ever have days where you feel like dum da da dum da dum "Supermom!" and then the very next moment, you're more like Mommy Dearest? Well, that has been my weekend. One moment, I'm rocking the Martha Stewart vibe, doing crafts with the girls. The next thing you know, I'm yelling and my head is spinning around because someone scratched her sister for the umpteenth time that day. I'm thinking a little more balance in myself might be a good thing to reach for...... : )