Wednesday, November 30, 2011

It's Beginning to look a lot like Christmas crafts!

Someone really oughta tame my Yuletide fever, it's not even December yet.

Nah, scratch that, I'm gonna wave my festive freak flag and wave it high.

Grab your green pipe cleaners and red cotton poofballs people, it's Christmas Craft Time!

I'm the kind of mom that saves every piece of artwork, every scribbled-on napkin, anything that my kids have created you can bet makes its way into their art bin. I'm a sucker for crafts that can take a small snapshot of where the kids are at on this journey of theirs. Which is why, when I stumbled upon paperbag minibooks, I knew it would be awesome.

The end result is a super easy, totally adorable Christmas minibook made out of paper lunch bags and some Christmas crafts.

To make one minibook all you need is 2 paper lunch bags, Christmas embellishments (stickers, decals, stamps and festive ribbons) photos, paint, markers and some modge podge to seal all of it. In fact, I made a point to save all the Holiday cards we received last year and repurposed them for this craft. You can get so many cute labels and embellishments from leftover cards!

To make the book structure, I followed all the instructions from this website. Next I gathered some of our best Christmas photos, shrunk them to about 1-2 inches and printed them out. I didn't even need to print on glossy photo paper because you'll ultimately add a layer of glossy Mod Podge, so it didn't matter.

Then we proceeded to make a huge mess all over the table as we cut the pictures and stickers and began gluing all over the pages.

I ended up having to do this project in stages, mainly because I don't have that much patience. 
Did you see that mess?

 Sooooo, after a short sanity break, we painted around the pictures.

The final stage was having the girls write down what the pictures made them feel. 

I adore that Bella wrote comfy. See that above picture with the sweaters? In that moment they were singing the Old Navy jingle "I love my comfy sweaters" from 2 seasons ago :) 

Since there are two bags for each book, there are 2 little pockets that are perfect for a little surprise. Here I have a little string with the letters J-O-Y taped on the inside that can get tucked back in. Cute huh? You could put anything in there, a little note, another picture. So many possibilities. 

For added durability I painted glossy ModPodge all over the pages. They are perfect coffee table books for this season and for many more to come!

Happy Holidays!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Yo Gobble Gobble!!

Thanksgiving Jeopardy ya'll, here we go:

Turkey noodle soup, turkey adobo, turkey wraps, fried turkey and potato pancakes.


What is 'all the mother lovin leftover food that I have consumed in the past 72 hours' for 1000 please?


Thanksgiving was pretty great this year. My mom cooked another fantastic meal, as always. The prep work began early morning when she taught the kids how to "dress the bird."

They look forward to this part every year. 

Chance was having a ball. A butterball.

And of course it wouldn't be complete without a Thanksgiving Day serenade and a turkey smackdown. I swear watching the kids touch the turkey makes me want to twitch. 

I have vivid memories of "dressing the bird" with my Great Aunt Nor when I was as a wee one. These simple family traditions have such deep meanings for me. I am so grateful that we still carry them on.

Another Thanksgiving tradition was when me and my siblings would get out of my mom's way and hit up our local movie theatre for a two hour getaway. Last year we took the girls to see Tangled and this year we ALL saw The Muppets Movie. I say "all" because we were so excited to take Chance to his first movie. He had so much fun!

It's quite possible that the popcorn was all gone by the time the movie started. Previews in a PG movie are RIDICULOUS! There's like 9 of them. 

By the time the movie was over, the bird was on the table waiting for us. 

And as we went around the table sharing what it is that we were thankful for, I realized just how much I love my family. The one I grew up with, the one I joined and the one I've helped create. 

Life is good.

Happy Thanksgiving

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Decking My Halls

Before Thanksgiving? You bet! Although when I pulled the Christmas tree out last weekend to get things organized Eugene made me promise to close all the blinds so that the neighbors can't see what kind of Christmas whack-job lives here. I can't help it. 


Cue the choir.

From the moment we wake up, the Christmas songs are playing. And they're playing seconds after we've walked through the door and they're playing for our pre-bedtime dance party. ALL DAY LONG. And I gotta admit Christmas Pandora is pretty good, although they don't play nearly enough Johnny Mathis. 
For me, Christmas isn't Christmas without A Yuletide Johnny. 

This album was my childhood and that's TOTALLY fake snow. But you sure do rock the ascot!

There's also a ton of Christmas crafts that I've browsed on Pinterest that I'm excited to do. From cookies to homemade ornaments, I'm all game this year! And I'll even take pictures to prove it.

But the best part? The very, very best part of our Chrismtas excitement? 
Our little Filipino Elf on the Shelf!

I have been waiting patiently these last 11 months to unpack my handy sidekick. This little guy works wonders! Bribery at its finest. I've haven't layed out the details of his entrance yet, but it will be grand. Oh yes, it will be grand. My kids are SUCH suckers. What a bummer it'll be when they figure it out one day.

 Happy Holidays!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Blackboards, memba' those?

Seriously guys, I love chalkboard paint. Like love it. I just bought a quart of it
for a simple project and now I want to lather everything I own in it.

Here's the closet to my kids' room before:

And here's the closet after a $9 quart of chalkboard paint

Isn't that fun? The kids are already having a blast with it. 

Bella and Mia took turns drawing pictures of Cindy Lou Who and The Grinch. And then Chance blew me away with his artistic skills as he scratched some white lines over and over again :)

But for my section I figured a calendar (that we can mark off the days) would be a perfect 
little daily activity for them. 

The darn blue painters tape didn't stick as well as I would have liked in the upper left corner, so I'll have to go over it with some white paint to fix up the edges. 

All in all, a cute inexpensive project huh? But if they learn to scratch their nails down it, 
then it's all over. Mark my words.

I just got chills thinking about it.

Look at some of these great chalkboard paint ideas:

I love that it's in a bathroom. I think that's so unique.

Pinned Image

chalkboard paint =)

Love the paint on the dresser!

chalkboard paint

chalkboard paint in the lunchbox

Chalkboard Paint on Fridge

Chalkboard paint

Chalkboard paint on a table!!

Chalkboard paint on the door!

My next project? THIS!

Pinned Image

So smart. So smart.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Best $18 EVER!

So this past week I decided to pop into a second hand store in the area. I'm on the hunt for a large framed canvas painting that I could upcycle into something new. Damn you Nate Berkus.

Anyhoo, I didn't find what I was looking for but when I turned the corner and saw this my heart started racing. Suddenly I was taken back in time to Mrs. Hoekstra's 4th grade class on the fateful day when a classmate was out sick and I asked the teacher if I could sit at her desk. You see, in our world there were two types of school desks, those that you put things in and those that you get to lift up. Take it from me, the lift top desks ruled. However, the sad fact is that I NEVER and I mean NEVER got assigned a lift top desk. It was heartbreaking. Every year, total devastation.  But that one day, I'll never forget that one day that I first sat in Sharon's lift-top desk. I obsessively opened and closed that desk ALL DAY LONG. I kept trying to find reasons to open it. Like getting an eraser, or a new pencil, or sometimes for no reason at all other than to stick my head in there and smile. I know, major dork. The best part? Sharon had mono. Awwwww yeah baby! I sat there for 4 days!!! But when she returned it was like some bad break up. Ugggh, the agony. She sat two rows in front of me and I'd catch myself just staring at the desk. And when she'd it lift it up it was like pouring salt into my wound.

But......snap back to reality and what stands in front of me? A lift-top desk! A LIFT-TOP DESK PEOPLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I was so excited I started jumping up and down and threw myself on the desk for fear that someone in the store might want it too. For real, Gina? Holy crap, I knew my kids would love it as much as I did. I envisioned them sitting there and reading or doing homework or playing school.

There was no way in hell that I was passing this up. No way. And with a swipe of my card I was the proud owner of a graffitti'd up 1980's-ish lift top desk!

Eugene, on the other hand, doesn't see it the same way I do. He doesn't think a school desk belongs in a family room. Whatever! It totally does. And the kids LOVE it. Even Chance. I mean look at this? 

Money well spent. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

2 Thumbs Up!

Looking back I realize that I've always really wanted to be a mom. I'm sure it could be traced back to my Cabbage Patch Kids and Pound Puppy days. Sidenote-my first Cabbage Patch was named Jacenth Mitzy. Jacenth? WTH? That name sucked! It ruined my Christmas when I had to explain to every family member that no, her name was not JASON it was JACENTH. Whatev, I gave up. By New Year's her new name was Mitzy and I hid the damn birth certificate.

But, I digress.

I've been collecting experiences and mistakes and memories and ideas and I've put them all in a little box in my head called motherhood. When we found out we were pregnant, I was ready and EXCITED! And then our first child was born. And it was my turn up to bat and I was scared shitless but I looked deep into my little box and knew I could do it. 

But what no book or magazine or advice could teach me was the type of impression my child was going to have on me. I didn't prepare myself for that. In fact, I'm still preparing myself for it because every day that passes my children impress me in new ways. For fairness sake, I should probably add that my kids also piss the shit outta me on a daily basis but for the most part I end the day impressed. 

Especially on this particular day. I opened Bella's folder and found that it was her turn to write a book report for the school hallway. A book report? In Kindergarten? Game on.

Her mission was to write a few sentences about her favorite book. With a grocery list a mile long, I put my husband in charge of her homework assignment and I took off. Eugene busted out his iphone and interviewed Bella about her favorite book. Then they sat at the computer together and transcribed her words into a report. Genius idea, huh? 

In her own words....

"The Giving Tree"

It's about a little boy and a tree who were friends because they did everything together. 
The boy grew older and the tree was all alone. 

The boy cut down everything from the tree. 
She was an old stump and said "come boy and sit down and rest." 

I liked this book because it taught me that as friendships get older they only need one thing: "sitting down and resting." 

And in "The Giving Tree" at the end, it was just the stump and 
you can sit down with her if you relax.

This little girl makes mothering easy.

And fun.
Which no doll could have prepared me for.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Happy Halloween by Dr. Seuss

I think my excitement for Halloween is borderline whack-job. For realz.

I totally take it too seriously and plan about a month (or two) in advance but jacknabbit

But high-fives for me since I was still able to convince all family members to participate in a team costume this year. I didn't think we could top last year's but we sure tried. Whom I kidding, I know damn well that in about 5 years Mia would rather eat rocks than dress up with me soooooo, I'm milkin' it for as long as I can.

In an ode to Dr. Seuss, here's The Grinch, Cindy Lou Who, Thing 1 and Thing 2, The Cat in the Hat and a Green Egg.

Didn't Bella's hair turn out great? Wires. Which is exactly what she told everyone who's door she knocked on. Even if they didn't ask. She would just blurt out "wires" and point to her hair. It was hilarious. She was so proud.

My sister, Thing 2, is so talented! She did all the makeup and hair!

We ended up pulling our kids in the wagon to each house. They're such pansies about walking!

The weather turned out to be perfect and the kids loved trick or treating. Especially Chance who proceeded to dig his grubby little hands into every neighbor's candy bowl.  It was cute.

It was his first taste of candy and the boy went nuts. And then Mia shared her Fun Dip stick with him. Um yeeeeah....there's candy and then there's Fun Dip. Which is basically a sugar stick that you dip in more sugar. A mother's dream.

Happy Halloween!


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