Monday, December 31, 2007

We have been making slime!
Here's a mystery. Why was I able to post on a some-what regular basis during all the chaos of the pre-Christmas preparations but now that it is over I feel like I don't have much to post about? Well at least I don't seem to be alone, I have noticed a lot of my friends are a bit quieter than usual this week. But today we did do something fun. We made slime! And this is all you need:

Borax, elmers glue, water and food coloring. I posted a pic of the Borax because finding it was the hardest part of the whole project for me.

So first you combine in one bowl 2/3 C of white glue and 1/2 water. Add food coloring to this bowl if you desire. Then in another bowl stir together 1/2 C of water and 1 teaspoon of the Borax. Then pour the Borax water into the glue water. The reaction is pretty fast

Stir this lumpy stuff and then knead it a little.
It sort of changes its pliability and stretchiness. But my kids had a great time bouncing it, cutting it, stretching it and making bubbles in it. They played with it for about an hour and a half and that is pretty good for us. The site I found it on says you can keep it in a ziploc bag in the fridge. As for the mom rating, it was less messy than playdough or the moonsand we got for Christmas but it was a little cold and hands were slightly colored when we were done. All in all, I would make it again. Great project for those of us getting a bit of cabin fever!
So my friends, anyone have any great traditions or ideas for New Years Eve or Day? I am at a bit of a loss this year. Hope you all have a great New Years though!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Everyone was Happy!

Well, as you can see, all the kidlets were happy Christmas morning. It was definitely a Webkins Christmas and we have even finally managed to get through to the website to play with them now. As you can see Matthew was very happy to have a Dalmatian to be friends with his beagle and Brittany was happy with her Koala too.

And look at this kid, we have taken this Diego and his car EVERYwhere the past few days. Thanks to our family who sent such fun gifts! We are still sorting out all the chaos and trying to get back to real life(that means laundry and the like!). Hope you all had a great Christmas Day. I think I am going to be like my friend Tif and celebrate until 12th night. For me I think that will mean avoiding as much housework as possible and playing with my kids toys!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

A New Variation on an Old Tradition
So in Utah every Christmas it is a pretty universal tradition to go see the lights at The Salt Lake Temple. Since we can't do that this year we took the kids to the Oakland temple to see their light and nativity display.
It definitely wasn't the same, but that doesn't mean it wasn't still a great experience. The display at Temple Square is breathtaking. But it is also very crowded and very cold. The Oakland temple just seemed so much more laid back. We pulled right into the main parking lot, strolled around in jackets without gloves, hats and winter footwear and just had a really nice evening. Oh, and there were a fraction of the people, a very small fraction!
I do have to admit there is something very unique about a palm tree with Christmas lights on it though. Isn't this pretty pink rose bush with lights on it pretty in front of the fountain and palm tree?
And really, I am not the only one having fun here, it just looks that way!

And they had a really nice nativity. It was a great little activity for our family this Sunday before Christmas. I think it helped blow Santa out of our heads for at least an evening and help us remember just what we are celebrating this week.

I hope to post again before the big day, but just in case I want to wish all of my lovely blog friends a very Merry Christmas. I know as women we all tend to work really hard to make the holiday special(I have visited your blogs and have seen some of the things you girls do!), so I hope all of those marvelous plans turn out just the way you hope and you all have magical, wonderful Christmas!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Watch out Rudolph!

Have to give Matthew equal time on here! Isn't that just the cutest hat ever! I am really going to miss this age when boys are still willing to do fun, silly, cute things like this! He had a great program and party at school today that was terrific. We just had to show you all that if Rudolph should fall ill we know someone willing to substitute--and he knows the song too! Hope all your preparations are going well, the day is almost here!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Have you ever seen a flock of more beautiful Angels?!
Here are the much awaited pictures of Brittany as an angel in the Nutcracker! Aren't they just beautiful? Brittany is on the back row on the right.

She holds a candle (which she is pretending to hold here) as she comes onstage in dim light, there is a live orchestra and swirling smoke from a dry-ice machine. Then the sugar plum fairy comes out and the circle her. She is then joined by her handmaidens.

See that angel hair? I worked hard for that! Circe's tips were really helpful. Doesn't she look like she is having fun? I have to say, after a difficult rehearsal when I doubted whether doing this thing was a good idea after all, and battling a killer urinary tract infection to get her here, I think it was worth it after all and I almost think we should do it again next year because now I know what I am doing!

This is the scene that was behind her. This picture actually turned out better than I thought it would, wish I'd taken one when she was still onstage. That is the sugar plum fairy(who was pink as all sugar plum fairies should be) and the handmaidens. And that little head bump you can see silhouetted is my Matthew who surprisingly was entranced by the whole thing and is still mad at me for not getting a ticket to the "real" performance because I didn't think a five year old boy would want to sit through the Nutcracker. "You should have asked me Mom!" So maybe he will be a man of culture after all! That is your little tour of our Nutcracker, thanks for your interest, and tolerance!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Santa Came Back!
Well, for those of you who saw my "crying baby meets Santa" picture I wanted you to see Joshua has learned to like Santa! Sunday night we were visited by carolers, Santa and Mrs. Claus! It was so fun, he brought his magic snow globe and we all looked to see if our name was in there. Good news, we were all on the list! This time Santa started with a candy cane and Joshua decided he was alright after all, although he did not linger on his lap!

I finished these little boxes yesterday to put some little gifts in. I liked how they turned out so I thought I would show you. Well, I am off to make my last trip to the post office today, wrap some gifts and probably make MORE candy!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Yummy Peppermint Candy

So in between Nutcracker performances and doctor visits this has been the candy weekend. I have been trying to get all my candy made this weekend so I can package it up all cute to give away in the next week. This is one of our favorites and it is so easy you won't believe how yummy it is. This is all you need: a package of candy canes, I think there are 12 in there, a package of white chocolate chips and about 2/3 of a cup of semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips depending on your preference

This is great candy to make if you have little helpers around like me. Brittany is unwrapping the candy canes(while her hair is trying to think curly thoughts for the Nutcracker), Matthew is crushing the candy canes after they were put in a freezer bag, and Joshua is of course, eating one of the candy canes. This recipe is nearly perfect, but its flaw is the mess that is somehow required while making it. Even when I have made it without kids it is really messy. But trust me, it is worth it!

Great concentration is required for the crushing!
Once your candy canes have been pulverized into a fairly fine powder it is time to melt the chocolate. Empty your whole bag into a glass bowl and microwave one minute at a time at 50 percent power. Stir after each minute. After about 3 or 4 minutes it should be melted and smooth.
Add the crushed candy cane and a few drops of food coloring. My kids have an ongoing debate about whether pink or green tastes better! Mix it all together and then spread it on a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil. It is actually better to line your cookie sheet before you start any of this because you do need to work quickly or the chocolate will cool.

Then take the milk or semi-sweet chips and melt them the same way. Drizzle over the top and then run a knife through to make it look pretty. If you skip this stage it will still look pretty but will look unappealingly like barf. If you live where it is cool just stick it outside to set up, if not the refrigerator works. When it is cold and hard you just peel it off the aluminum foil and break into small pieces. I promise if you give this as a gift or take it to a party people will love you! And the best part is it is done start to finish in about 30 minutes and costs about $ 3 a batch! Let me know if you try any--and if you think pink or green tastes best!

Friday, December 14, 2007

What a day!

I hope you haven't all given up on me. I have been caught up in pre-nutcracker craziness. We have just come home from our last dress rehearsal and I am feeling pretty good about things. Considering the day started with my ballerina having a raging urinary tract infection that I was sure would be the end of our Nutcracker plans that is a pretty good statement. After having found a new pediatrician which I hadn't had to do before and struggling through a really ugly morning of sick-kidness the medicine kicked in and it was like a miracle. We made it to rehearsal and I think she will be okay for tomorrow's performance. So I will have lots of pictures of that this weekend(you have been warned!) So it is really nice to have something fabulous like this to look at! My sweet girlfriends in Utah had their Christmas party last week and they all sent me a care package of goodies. They are just the best. We have all know each other forever, most of us since grade school. They even called me from the party so I wouldn't feel too left out. Thanks girls! And Miss Tiffany sent me a new lovebox for my collection and isn't her packaging amazing? And there are all sorts of other goodies int here too. Only Tiff could find Hello Kitty bandaids!One of these days I am going to photograph my collection because I am telling you, it is amazing! Well, Happy weekend. I hope you all get lots of Christmasing done!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Karla's having a party!
My friend Karla is having a Christmas party today to celebrate the things you like about your home at Christmas so pull up a chair and maybe some hot chocolate and I will show you a few of my favorite things.
This is an angel I painted last Christmas. I was sort of obsesses with Kimberly Hodges and she is sort of a compilation of some of the pretty ladies she paints. I like her bright colors. As much as I love some of my blog-friends soft pastel hues it just doesn't fly with the mister around here. So it is all bright colors for us.
These are my precious stockings. My mother-in-law started this years ago. My hubby is the oldest so I think she made his stocking first out of the siblings and then proceeded to make one for herself, hubby and six children. Then I came along, married the oldest and she made one for me. Lucky me! Then we had children and she made a bit simpler version for Matthew and Brittany. She has done this for all of her grandchildren I think, and there are a bunch of them now. You may notice Mr. Joshua is a bit of place there on the end. I think it is my turn to finish this great group of stockings,especially since I do know how to cross-stitch myself!
Here is the detail on mine. Isn't it gorgeous. I have always loved dolls, so this is a toy room full of dolls. And that is petit point on the little wall hangings, that is done over one thread folks! Isn't she the best Oma?!
This is one of my nativities. I love nativities and I have a gorgeous one my parents gave me when we were first married but I am afraid to get it out this year with Joshua around. I do collect them now, especially unique ones. I found this one in a thrift store and I like how different it is. I also like that it has a shepherd girl!

And these ladies never have been put away. They are hanging out in the chair in the living room while they hope for new homes for Christmas. They are still in the shop.

Thank you so much for coming to see me, and thanks to Karla for having such a fun party! Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

This year's gingerbread house!
This is one of the fun things I love about a blog. Before the blog I could only show fun things like this to poor innocent passers-by. And now I can show you all! Last night was the annual gingerbread house decorating night. I have to say here that I bless the person that came up with the gingerbread house kit every year. I love this activity but if I actually had to bake and cut out all the pieces let's face it there is no way it would be happening this time of year. But if all I have to do is buy the kit, fix a little frosting and scrounge the remaining Halloween candy, then we have a great family night. I bought this one at Trader Joe's, which by the way is as good as I had heard. It even came with the cute little marzipan people although we were a bit disturbed, wondering where the father was but the kids decided he was inside paying bills! I have seen these kits everywhere now, the craft store, Wal-mart and Target even. I do recommend them although I really miss that great gingerbread smell!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Look! We made a forest!
Well, Sunday Mr. Joshua was not feeling well so he and I stayed home from church and I thought I would get a craft ready for the kids to do with me when they got home. I don't know why, but this is my favorite time of the year to do kid-crafts. Which is nuts because it is the hardest time of the year to find the time to do them. But I saw this idea over on Miss Emily's blog and just couldn't get it out of my head, plus I thought it would be cute with buttons. Well, I like how it turned out so much I thought I would show you how we did it although I need to first correct myself and tell you it really turned into a mom craft with the kids adding the buttons at the end.
So, I drew a cone shape on card stock I already had. I did tape two pieces together to make the bigger trees.
Cut it out and taped it into a cone shape. Emily built her's on Styrofoam cones but I am too cheap.

They had a remnant of the felt by the yard at my Wal-mart the other day so I used that but I am sure the 12 cent squares would work just as well. I cut it into jagged trees shaped strips.

Then with my handy glue gun just kept wrapping it around the cone(this is where it became more of a mom-craft). The first one I did I cut each strip so I know it would work with smaller pieces too. I just kept going to the top and wrapped it right around the top.

Then I hot-glued the buttons I bought in a package, again from Wal-mart all over and tah-dah! My own little felt forest! I like how they are looking with my snowman nativity and I even think they will store well as they fit right inside each other!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

We Love Santa!
Okay, well at least most of us do! It was our church Christmas party last night and as you can see I am now the proud owner of the classic Santa/baby picture. In his defense he hasn't been feeling all that great this weekend but as you can see he was not too eager to meet the big guy. I have to admit I really kind of like this picture. My other two kids were never afraid of Santa and for some warped reason this picture makes me laugh. And poor Santa, look at him buried under all those kids!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

They are done!!!!!

I did it! I finally finished all my Christmas dolls! There were four more but they have all found new homes so these girls are my finished product and I am so glad they are done! I decided last night I wasn't going to bed until they were. It was a late night but I am glad I did it, now I can move on to other Christmas projects.

That cute girl on the end just wanted to be pink and white, I may still add wings and make her an angel or she may be early for Valentines Day.

And this little lady may still get a bun or something but I kind of liked how she looked like she had a pixie cut.

This one has a little bun.

And Brittany says she thinks this one looks French!

And this is the one who had a makeover from her days as a witch. She got a new hat and skirt!

Well, I braved the drizzle and got a couple of better pictures! These girls are all in the shop now.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

More Favorites!
What is it about this time of year that makes me think of so many things that I love? So I am going to share a couple more of my favorite things. First, this is my favorite Christmas card so far this year. Even though I haven't received many yet I am pretty sure this one is going to stay at the top. My Sister-In-Law gave birth to our new cousin Spencer right before Thanksgiving. So they recreated the cutest nativity ever! Aren't they adorable?! It was so cute I just had to share it.

And this is one of my favorite books. I re-read it just about every year. It is a fictionalized version of Joseph and Mary's story. I used a picture of my own book instead of borrowing one so you could see for your self how much I love it. I do have to tell you though that I gave it to a friend one year and she didn't like it at all. I think she felt it a bit sacrilegious to make Joseph and Mary so real, but I really like to remember that they were real people, especially at this time of year.

And last of all a little bird ornament I did for a swap(I can promise I won't be signing up for any of those next year at this time!). You can't tell in the picture that it is dipped in glitter. I don't know how you girls photograph glitter so well! But I kind of like it's simplicity and that is unusual for me, I usually like more and more.

Oh, and by the way I think I may have found a solution to the men and the crafty christmas problem---photography on etsy!