Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Beginning of Advent~

Prepare the Way for the Lord~

This morning after mass I brought together my family and we discussed over our lit purple candle the beginning of Advent.  "The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light! (Isaiah 9:1-2) I shared with my kids (6 and 3). and we talked about preparing the way for Jesus' birth!

We are making sure that our children know the meaning of Christmas and keeping that at the heart of all that we do.  We discussed some things that we can do for each other to help others out who may not have what we have and we decided to join in some efforts this year.  I am so proud of my 6 year old for wanting to join in!

Preparing for our Celebration~

This weekend we began preparing for our own Christmas celebration.  The family helped to put up our Christmas lights out on the house and in the yard.  Each year we add one more thing to our display.  For me it is the wonderful feeling that the twinkle lights bring when you squint and see them all a blur in your mind.  We talked about the excitement that searching for Christmas lights on houses brings, the songs we sing in the car and all of the other Christmas sounds we hear!

Kids took silver Sharpie pens and colored in the pre-placed stencils
Once our Christmas lights were up on the house, the tree, bushes and the nativity and deer were up we left them lit, so that after dinner we could go outside and see them a glow! Next the kids were a bit antsy so we opened our first Advent Daily Countdown bag hanging on the frame.  Our first activity as a family! Today we were to make Tin (mason lids) ornaments. See below.  What fun we had! Super easy for the kids (a bit of prep work for Mom) but fun all together.

Even my 3 year old got the hang of it!


Cork cut outs with sticky backs ready to put in the tin lids.

Now to add the baker's twine with a hot glue gun!

The final lid rustic ornaments for the kid's tree!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

When it goes ALL wrong!

Perfectionist? I think...maybe?

I love it when things come together.  Love events, planning, hosting parties, and most likely am the person that will host Thanksgiving each year, or go all out on creating crafts.  I love Pinterest. I love the ideas that I get especially when it comes to making  things that look expensive.  A few years ago I found several frames on sale at my local Craft Warehouse.  I bought a few.  One I used as a photo prop with our family photos and then I saw something on Pinterest.   It was this framed piece of art which had a deer in chalk on the glass that had been painted with black chalkboard paint. I loved the look but didn't want the chance that the chalk would get rubbed off.  So I came up with a different idea (hoping it would come together). 

I took the glass and sprayed it with black matte spray paint. (let it dry for several days).  Then I took the silhouette stencil I made with my Silhouette Cameo machine and placed it over the top.  It was then I think I should have done something differently. Like maybe use the non-painted side to place the sticky stencil.  I left the project for a day or so (life got in the way as it should :-)).  I had my husband find at our local Bi-Mart some gold and silver glitter spray paint (I love that stuff).  I covered the outer part with plastic bags to protect the black painted part.  Then I sprayed!

It was covered in silver glitter spray paint!

I was careful to pull the sticky stencil off of the painted glass but alas a large chunk of the spray paint pulled off.  So I decided to take some black spray paint again and cover it.. NOT a HUGE mistake.  Immediately it crackled and became worse.  I tried it again.  UGH (wouldn't you learn the first time?) Not me. 

I so want to add a RED nose (could be a cute Rudolph)

So here's what I have.  It will look good in the frame.  BUT I HATE it because I don't like the mistakes. I am still trying to figure out how I can save this.. Hmm or I guess I could just start over!  What do you think?  Share with me your ideas.. Can it be remedied?

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Kick Starting our Holiday's

The Polar Express

I could not share with you the excitement I felt when the movie The Polar Express (with Tom Hanks) was released to the big screen a few years ago! It has always been one of my all time favorite books and for it to come to life in movie format and done so well was fabulous. The book has always been part of our family tradition's even without the movie and so this was just one more thing to share with  my kids.

This year I felt it was worth it and a great time (age wise) for my kids to experience a live Polar Express!  I actually planned it out and purchased my tickets early as they tend to sell out well in advance.  What a wonderful way to kick start our Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday season.

So  a few recommendations for others as they might want to plan their Polar Express Trip! We live in the Pacific North West. So I am not sure if there are other train excursions like this except in our neighboring state Washington (North from us).  So first do some research to see if there is one near you! For us.. it is the Mt. Hood Railroad that puts on The Polar Express excursion.  It is a little expensive so when you are ready and I would recommend kids ages that you feel they would remember such a magical event.   My boys were 3 and 6 when we did this. But I noticed older kids and their parents as well as many young babies (they really couldn't participate in all of the activities or understand what was happening so some babies seemed scared.) 

Secondly I recommend having the kids dress in their pajamas as part of the full effect.

Third, read the story or watch the movie or both prior to the event.  We not only did that but we did not share with our kids that they were going on the excursion until the night before! What a surprise that was for them.  And built some excitement for the drive up.  For us it was a 2 hour and 15 minute drive from our home.  (Some of you might live closer to the train depot that may put this on.

Finally, be prepared with a camera because you will get a personalized visit with Santa!  We did and it was amazing.

The experience included: a personalized ticket (just like in the movie), chef's serving cocoa and cookies, elves, Santa and the "hobo" from on top of the train (like in the movie).  We received mugs, and the kids were given the bell for believing! It was magical!

One last note: for our particular train ride it was super rocky so if you are susceptible to motion sickness come prepared with your Dramamine or whatever pill you might need.  If not sit back, relax and enjoy the ride!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Creative Christmas crafts

One of our kid Activities for Advent

I am trying some new crafts in preparation for my advent activities with my kids. Here is one and it is super easy and relatively inexpensive.  Cookie cutter ornaments. I was searching my Pinterest boards and came across the Martha Stewart cookie cutter ideas and instructions.  

I loved the chevron printed paper.  I purchased a packet of rustic Christmas paper packs which included some chevron printed paper seen here from Craft Warehouse our local craft store. 

I then purchased a few cookie cutters in various  colors.  I had thought I would spray paint them a shiny gold or silver for my tree but for the purposes of the kids advent craft activity I left the colors as is. 

I traced the outside of the cookie cutter and cut out the shapes. On a random note you could photo copy photographs on cardstock and do this activity as well. Next I used Elmer's white glue an added glue around the edge finally placing the cookie cutter on top.  I felt I needed some weight on top while  it was drying and it worked well.

Next I took some bakers twine I had handy and put a dab of hot glue to the back and placed the twine in it to act as a hanging apparatus.  Super easy and something I think depending on the age of your kiddos easily done. They could do all or parts and you could have all or parts prepped before hand if you so chose.  

Fall Birthday Fun

My youngest son has turned 3!

I am not quite sure where the time has gone but I do know that he has grown tremendously in the past three years.  In fact many think he is older because he is taller than what most would think a 3 year old would be.  I am curious to see where he falls on the charts but considering he comes up to my oldest son's shoulders (he's 6 going to be 7 soon) I'd say he is taller.  Which is great because quite frankly we don't have a ton of height in our  respective families.

That being said I thought it would be quite nice to have a birthday party at a farm. We have some friends who have a "Pumpkin Patch" farm and have an indoor hay maze, slide, big tire, wheat box (ie. like a sand box) and more tunnels to climb through. It is the perfect size for a bunch of kids and adults to have a party.

We were able to celebrate his birthday on the day of his birth which most often does not happen, but it fell on a Saturday.  We went to Green Bridges Gardens in Jefferson, Oregon. It is a great place! Honestly I love their produce store along with  the fresh apple cider.  So every time I go I pick up a gallon or two. 

The kids all had fun running themselves ragged.  They were all over the place, running from here to there, sliding down slides, or pretend playing in the wheat box.  Two hours of running, all the boys were exhausted and it didn't matter that it was cold outside. The first of many cold days to come.  It was a great inexpensive way to host a fall party.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Blog Rekindled

Hello all! I know I have taken a little vacation from this blog but now I am back! I have lots of things to share since the last time I posted! So let's get to it!