Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from our family to yours! We pray that you have a blessed holiday and remember to keep Christ first!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

A Christmas Gift for Nana!

If this little girl calls you Nana, quit reading...NOW!
Is she gone?
Today I wanted to share what my sweet little girl made for her Nana for Christmas! I can't even begin to tell you how proud I am of her and this little project. She worked so hard on it and I honestly didn't even know she was capable of creating something so beautiful!
Nick and I have been teaching Addison about Christ's birth this year and so I wanted to have her color a nativity scene. I found the perfect one here.
I was so impressed with how hard she tried to stay in the lines. There were a few times when she let her crayon go a little wild but most of the time, she was trying her darndest to stay in those lines! I did guide her a little when it came to choosing some of the colors for the skin and hair tones but other than that, she did it all by herself!
After she had finished coloring it, I cut them out and taped them together for her. She was so excited to see the finished product and kept saying "I give it to Nana." 
We set it up on the table together so that she could see exactly what it should look like. She loved moving each piece around to the perfect spot.

Isn't it beautiful? I am so very proud of her! I actually wish I could keep it for myself but I won't be selfish! :) I have kept it up on display until it comes time to wrap it though. There's no reason it should sit in a dark box until Christmas when we can be enjoying it too!

**If you want to create something similar like this with your children, I have a few recommendations. First of all, print them out onto card stock. We just used regular computer paper and I've found that just the slightest movement of air will send them all tumbling down. To fix this problem, I actually taped popsicle sticks to the back and added some alligator clips to the seams. That has kept them standing!

Friday, December 20, 2013

5 Months

This sweet girl is 5 months. Man that month flew by fast! She actually crossed the 5 month mark a little over a week ago but better late than never!
Here's a little bit about Cora's developments and experiences over the last month. It has honestly been pretty uneventful as far as accomplishments are concerned.

At 5 months, Coralee:
-Had her first baby shower
-Celebrated her first Thanksgiving and met TONS of people
-Puts EVERYTHING in her mouth
-Started cutting teeth (one started to break through the only to disappear again)
-Wears only 6-9 month clothing
-Has discovered her feet (and is always taking off her socks)
-Is still exclusively breastfed (woohoo!)
-Loves pulling her sister's hair
-Usually takes about three 2-3 hour naps a day
-Is starting to sit up by herself
-Has yet to figure out how to use the jumper correctly
-Still HATES tummy time
-Will ALMOST roll over (that's how much she hates being on her tummy)
-Has discovered that she can make all sorts of noises with her mouth

She is such a happy baby and our love for her grows deeper every single day!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Our Funky Homemade Ornaments

Addison and I have been spending a lot of time doing crafty things this holiday season. It was something I always loved doing with my mom so I want Addie to have those same experiences! I plan on blogging about a few of the them so I hope you don't mind reading about it! :) 

I always love unique Christmas tree ornaments so when I saw this blog post a couple of years ago, I've been wanting to try it! 

The directions are actually in Danish and I did things a little bit differently so I will tell you how we made them! 
First of all, you will need metal or silicone (make sure they are oven safe) cookie cutters. You will also need some Perler beads (you can usually find them in the craft section of most stores), cooking spray or vegetable oil, parchment paper, a cookie sheet, and a bowl of lukewarm water.
To get started, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Lay parchment paper on a cookie sheet and oil down the inside of your cookie cutter. There are two different ways to do this. You can either spray the inside of the cookie cutter with cooking spray, or you can rub vegetable oil all along the inside. 
**A side note: The cooking spray actually seems to work better but it does discolor the outer beads a tad. We ended up using olive oil but it took a little bit more force to get the beads out of the cookie cutter after they were cooled. 
Next, create a single layer of beads inside the cookie cutters. Make sure to get them into the nooks and crannies or your ornament will look a little wonky. 
Place the cookie sheet in the oven and wait about 10 minutes. You will want to check them around 7 minutes or so to see how they look. The longer you leave them in, the more they will melt so it depends a lot what you want the final ornaments to look like! 

We liked the bumpy look with lots of holes so we chose not to leave them in too long. It's all a matter of preference though! :)

Once they are done melting, take them out of the oven and let them cool for a minute or so. Then, using kitchen tongs, carefully peel them off of the parchment paper and drop them into a bowl of lukewarm water. This part is very important if you plan on removing the beads easily! 

After a few seconds of them sitting in the water you may remove them and pop them right out of the cookie cutters. Easy peasy! :)
String some bakers twine through one of the holes and you have yourself an ornament! :)

You can also turn these into sun catchers...
Or even fridge magnets!

We also made some Christmas gift toppers that I will try to show later!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

A DIY Kid Friendly Nativity!

A few years back, Nick and I decided to make Addison her very own nativity set to play with so that she wouldn't be as tempted to play with my pretty, fragile set! I never had a chance to share it with you here on my blog so I am going to do that today!

I had seen some ideas around the blogging world but nothing really stood out to me, so Nick and I put our heads together and came up with our own version. Obviously we didn't want to complicate things too much so we decided to create a block nativity set!
To create the nativity, we found a bunch of adorable clip art pictures online. I printed each picture in the size that I wanted and then wrote down the dimensions for Nick so that he could cut a block for each. After he cut them, he sanded down the rough edges (and rounded the corners but that is not necessary), and then spray painted them white.

I then cut around each picture so that they would fit onto the front of the blocks and I used a thin layer of Mod Podge to attach them. After they dried, I then added two more coats of Mod Podge to the top of the blocks so that they could withstand lots of play time!
In order to keep the blocks from getting lost or separated, I also sewed a cute little drawstring bag using burlap, muslin, and cotton fabric pieces. You can find the pattern for the bag, here. I changed the dimensions on the bag so that it would be large enough for all of the pieces. I also wanted to make sure it was obvious what the bag was so I printed the nativity picture on a piece of iron transfer paper, and ironed it onto a small scrap of muslin fabric and then sewed it to the front of the bag.
Addison absolutely LOVES playing with her nativity. She loves when we break it out every year and she literally will play with it every day until it's time to put it back. The great thing about it being in block form is that not only can she set it up like an actual nativity but she can also stack them up to create a tower, or line them up to form a "choo choo train". The possibilities are endless!
I can't find the exact website where I found our printables but here is a source that has most of the same clip art pictures. The only difference is that the animals (except the camel) are different. I found them from this source. I really love the idea from Happy Home Fairy of introducing each part of the nativity every day. It's a great way to tell the story of Christ's birth to your children! I think I may try to create my own version of it and introduce it to her that way next year.

With Christmas as commercialized so focused on materialistic things as it is, we've really tried to make sure to teach Addison what Christmas is really all about this year. She's definitely at the age where she can understand it and we don't want to give her the impression that it's about presents and Christmas trees and pretty lights.