Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Homemade Gifts

I thougth I'd post some more of our homemade gifts I made with the help of my children.
The kids and I started making watch bands for their school teachers last year.
For Christmas we made them a watch band along with the watch face. Then later in the year for birthdays we made another watch band to go along with their Christmas gift. The teachers loved these. This year I decided to do it again. One afternoon with Madelyn and Emily's help we made 7 watch bands. I let the kids pick the color they wanted to make and then helped them lay it out. Madelyn is old enough that she can string the beads mostly by herself.
It was a fun afternoon that we girls spent together.
Here are just 4 of the watches we made. The others got wrapped before I could take a picture. I really struggled on what to get for the grandparents this year. About a week before Christmas I came across this book mark idea. I don't remember where but somewhere out there on blog land. I decided to copy her idea. I had some recent pictures printed out to walet size. Walgreens prints them out 4 to a sheet and charged me $.19 per sheet. I ordered one per child. 2 days before Christmas the kids and I sat around the table and put them together. I let them choose their own paper with coordinating ribbon. We made one for both grandparent's and then both sets of great grandparents. This way we used the whole sheet and didn't leave me with any left overs.
I think they turned out cute.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Morning

As I mentioned in my next post Hunter had gotten up at 3:41 (this child of mine is very specific lately) Christmas Eve morning. He then didn't go to bed that night until about 9:30. Being he is and always has been our early bird we told him not to get up until 7. He chose to sleep that night in Aunt Hanna's room. We gave him mom's cel phone and told him to call dad's cel phone at 7 to wake us up. They girls are our sleepy heads. It is not uncommon for us to have to wake them up on school days so we were pretty certain we'd end up waking the girls up at 7 after Hunter got us up.
It's Christmas, 7 o'clock isn't too early to be woken up!
Hunter woke up at 6:45 and very patiently waited until 7 to call us. For some unknown reason the call would not go through. Grandpa seeing the delima up stairs brought him down stairs for us and made sure that Santa's suprise wouldn't be spoiled. I had been awake for some time and so had the cel in my hands waiting for Hunter to call. I couldn't believe it when my clock said 7:05 and I still hadn't heard from him. Good thing Grandpa came to the rescue!
It didn't take much to wake Madelyn up. One word about Santa having come she was up and going. Emily on the other hand.... Could have used a little more sleep.
She chose to lie on the floor in wait of everyone using the bathroom before we led them into the front room. When the grand entrance was made, this is what was discovered...

Brayden and Hunter

Madelyn and Emily
Santa always brings one big unwrapped gift along with a puzzle or book to go in the stockings. This year Santa had a surplus so brought both a book and puzzle. However most of the puzzles and books were to large for the stockings this year.

Hunter was quite pleased with his gifts this year. Santa brought him a remote control jeep to be played with outside. Our family tradition has always been to give the kids 3 gifts each. So this year we gave Hunter a box of pcp pipe along with a few T's and 90's and of course a bag of mini marshmallows. All these pieces created 5 marshmallow guns. This was a great homemade gift to give him and cheap too. Hunter is soo into that cheap, inexpensive small toys. He loves the cheap dollar isle of Wal Mart. We gave him what he asked for, a robot grabber and a disc shooter. I tell you this cause I felt a little gulilty being we spent less then$15 on the gifts from mom and dad.
Hunter putting his mm guns together.

Showing Grandma how his marshmallow gun works.

Hunter telling his dad to give it back.
Madelyn was my tricky one this year. Madelyn is always such a big help in the kitchen. She loves helping me cook/bake and even volunteers to wash the dishes.
Even though the other kids are still around, being in the kitchen gives us a chance to do something with just the two of us together. Which brings us to what she wanted from Santa this year.
Madelyn wanted Baking Stuff.
I was looking at the Easy Bake Ovens and just couldn't justify a "glorified shoe box that bakes by a sophisticated light bulb". To top that off the prices that I would have to pay to replace the baking packages after the ones brought by Santa were gone. The whole project would be way over our budget. So Santa brought her...
her very own mixing bowl, a new apron, spatula, mixing spoon, whisk, mini cup cake pan, and several packages of cookie, brownie and muffin mix. This big girl of mine was thrilled.
Mom and dad bought her a cd player, a jewlry box and the covered composition books that she can write stories in. Madelyn loves Taylor Swift and so Aunt Hanna downloaded 2 of her cd's for her. Then Aunt Sheri cut and pasted a little book with all the words for all the songs. This way she can sing along knowing what the words are going to be.

This is Aunt Hanna showing her the title page and how all the pages our numbered. These 2 listened to and sang along with Taylor Swift all morning.

Later that afternoon Madelyn got to use her Baking Stuff.
She got to pour the ingredients (oil and craking of an egg), mixed it, put the dough on the pan, put the pan in the oven and then take it out of the oven ALL by herself.
She was one proud baker and LOVED every minute of it!
Here is a picture of the marker/colored pencil roll's I made for the girls.
I made one for their cousin Carlaya too. These 3 little girls sat at the table and colored and wrote for many hours at Grandma's table this weekend. They weren't hard to make but were a little time consuming. I was pleased to see them enjoying their gift with each other.

Santa brought Emily a new baby with real hair. She also came with 2 outfits and shoes too. She was very pleased with Santa this year.
I had the most fun this year with Emily's gifts. All of her gifts from mom and dad were carefully thought out and were homemade.
For my 2nd Christmas my Grandparents gave me a rocking chair with my name on it. I remember using it as a child and also my little sister who is 7 years younger then me play with it. When my sister sheri got too old for it my parents took it a part and put it in a box to save it for me. In a box it has been for the past 15+ years. I always had the intentions of putting it together for Madelyn but she didn't seem to play with baby doll's for that long. Then Emily came along and oh my goodness! This girl eats, plays and lives for her babies. This Christmas was definetly centered around her and her baby dolls. Being Emily is my last girl I knew I needed to fix the chair soon or I would loose the chance of passing it down to posterity.
So a few weeks before christmas I pulled the box down. Kory and I made sure all the parts were still together and then I got to work. I sanded it down. Painted, painted and painted. Had Kory put it together, painted some more and a little more. Being it was a dark brown it took several coats to cover all that up even after being sanded. I have a friend that has a vinyl machine so I asked her to help me out with some of the decor...
Ta da.....the final project!
The front
the back.
I love it and she loves it!
I decided at the last minute to make a coushin for the chair. I wanted it to be comfortable for my "little mommy".

A while ago I mentioned the baby doll diapers I made for her. A few days after I had them made a friend mentioned a blog from another mommy who had made a diaper bag and wipes for her little girl. What a cute idea! So I decided to copy. She is in love with her very own diaper bag and to have diapers and wipes (made out of felt) to put in it too. She is in heaven.

Brayden didn't have a single thing that was homemade this year. Oh well. Next year I'll do better. Brayden loves to shake/wiggle his body to music. We have a Fisher Price Little People Air Plane that we've had since Hunter was a baby. This has been Brayden's favorite toy. He carries it all over the house dancing to the air planes music. Santa decided to add to the collection of Little People by bringing him the bus, that also plays music. He loves it.

He was also given a puzzle. In 3 days he's about mastered it!

Brayden loves his new toys, and his sister's too.
For 3 days now Kory has been teasing me about getting this BOY some boy friends to play with. He's obviously hangen' out with the girls too much.
Emily has been such a big sister in sharing her new doll with little brother.
The second Emily put down her doll Brayden would pick it up and not give it back. He wasn't teasing her but wanting to play with her. He'd sit in her new rocking chair and rock the baby. She has shown him how to feed the baby with her new bottles and how to change it's diaper. He's trying and it's hilarious to watch! We were finally able to get him to give Emily back her newest baby and have him play with a different one. For 2 days now he's been attached to this little baby. He even insists on taking the baby to bed with him. During his naps and at bed time.

Thanks to daddy's teasing the kids are now saying Santa messed up. He should have brought him a baby doll too.
We had a great Christmas this year. It has been 5 years since we've been home for Christmas. It was great to be surrounded by family during the holiday season. As I'm sure with most parents it can sometimes be hard not to get caught up with the commercialism of Christmas. It's not always easy to remember the real reason for the season. It seems like each year as it gets closer and closer to Christmas I start feeling like we aren't giving our kids enough. We don't have enough under our tree. That we are somehow depriving them by only giving them 3 gifts. Long beofre I was married when I was working for a dentist in Las Vegas a co-worker (not LDS) told me that she always gave her kids 3 gifts. These 3 gifts represented the 3 gifts that were given to the Christ Child. After I was married my mom mentioned that a friend long ago had done something similiar. They always gave 3 gifts too; something to read, something to wear and something to play. I guess I have tried to do something similar. Quantity doesn't and shouldn't count. What matters comes from the heart. I have often heard of other families choosing to do all homemade gifts for Christmas for each other. That has always sounded a little daunting. This Christmas I did more homemade gifts then in years past. The majority of our gifts this year were homemade, for our kids, grandparents and teachers at school. It was fun. It was time consuming for me. I could not have done it if I had waited until 2 weeks before Christmas. I started compiling ideas in October. I started going through my scrap fabric and started making projects before Thanksgiving. It took some time and effort but it was fun. It makes me want to say that next year ALL of our gifts to others will be homemade but it scares me to say that. It still costs money to make homemade gifts but not nearly as much if we were to buy from others. Did you know you can buy a marshmallow gun? They cost about $10+ a piece. We made 5 for under $10. I could have bought all of Emily's gifts too. But instead I made them out of scaps. I did have to buy some pink paint for the chair from Wal Mart for $3 but the rest I had on hand. I won't say next year I'll do ALL homemade but maybe I can challenge myself to do even more next year then I did this year.
I am not depriving my children by giving them no more then 3 gifts for Christmas each year. My children our enjoying each of their gifts. They are playing with and loving everything they were given each day. They appreciate what they have. My brother taught his kids something this year. Do you know what Santamas is?
There's no such thing.
It's called CHRISTmas.
I hope that next year I will be better at remembering this. There is no need for me to worry about what little my kids might get for Christmas or how others are getting more material things then them. I just need to do my best at making them meaningful gifts. Years from now they will not remember the Fisher Price Little People set or the remote control car. They will remember the time they got to help pick out the fabric to little sister's diaper bag. They'll remember how they helped me iron and pin the fabric together. They will remember the excitement little sister showed when she opened her gift knowing that they helped create that excitement. I hope they will remember CHRISTmas.

Christmas Eve

Let the festivities begin...
with sugar cookies
and playing with our cousins...
Jamie and Brayden My parents have been doing the 12 Days Of Christmas to an elderly couple in the ward. They have graciously allowed my children to help in the nightly, sneaky, leave it on the door step, ring the doorbell and run event. As you can imagine they have had a lot of fun in doing this. After dinner my parents, my family, Travis and his family and Sheri and her family participated in delivering the 12th day of Christmas. At this couples door step we sang carols and left them with their last gift.

When we got home from our carroling we allowed our kids to open 1 gift (that mom got to choose). This has always been our family tradition taken from Kory's childhood. It was funny to listen to each of them wonder and talk about what this gift may be. I find it funny that they haven't remembered that the gift has ALWAYS been the same in previous years.
It has ALWAYS been a new pair of pajama's.
Why would this year be any different?

Despite the initial disapointment of it being "ONLY PAJAMA'S".
They were excited to have a new pair.
I think they were hoping for a new toy before bed.
My handsome boys.
Hunter is such a good big brother.
My children wanted to stay up "all night". However in the "it's almost Christmas" excitement Hunter woke up this morning at 3:41 and did not go back to sleep. While playing games with his Aunt's and Uncle's he had a hard time keeping his eyes open.
Aunt Hanna and Madelyn snacking during the game.
About 9 my kiddo's were ready to hit the sack. By 9:30 my children
were nestled all snug in their beds;
while visions of sugarplums danced in their heads;
I forgot to take a picture of what was left for santa but I remembered Christmas morning.
The best part was the notes my older two left for him.
I have scanned them into the computer but can't get them to upload so I'll just have to tell you what it said...
Madelyn's R:
Dear Santa.
We didn't forget your cookieses and milk this year.
(Oops! We forgot last year)
Hunter L:
Dear, Santa
I wish that you and your elves will have a merry christmas.
I am sorry for everything I did
Sincerely, Hunter
Does this son of mine have a guilty conscious?

Emily's Christmas Party

Shortly after moving this past summer I was able to put together a little preschool for Emily. From the beginning it was planned that we were going to have the kids put on the Nativity for a family home evening sometime before Christmas.
My preschool group this year is a little different. It's sad to say that the participating 5 families do not know each other. We are all in different Wards and even different Stakes. The Preschool started by word of mouth of someone who knew someone else who may be interested. All the kids seem to enjoy going to preschool and all the mom's are doing a great job. We just don't know each other very well.
One of the other mom's vounteered to host our Family Christmas Party for the preschoolers. I just assumed that we would do the Nativity like I had mentioned and had written on the calendar from the beginning of the year. The beginning of Dec. I was told that this mom still wanted to host the party but didn't feel up to doing the Nativity. After talking to the other 3 moms they all seemed to agree that they didn't want to go all out this year. I understood as one family had just moved, and another family was moving a week before Christmas, but still I was a little bummed. My very 1st year of doing a co-op preschool we had the kids do the Nativity and it turned out so well. I wanted a repeat of that great experience we had. Emily's party was just O.K. After everyone's arrival the kids put together a little bag of oatmeal and sprinkles. They then attached a little note about sprinkling this Reindeer treat on your lawn so that the reindeer would know where to land. After the Reindeer treats were made I thought that maybe our 5 Preschooler's would stand in front of us and sing some of the songs they have been practicing during school. They didn't. They stayed sitting with their families. After about 4-5 songs of everyone singing we stopped and ate some of the treats that were brought to share.
The highlight of the evening was that we got to meet the dad's of the other kids and get to know the families better. I guess it was a start to getting to know each other. Emily had fun. She enjoyed playing with her friends and introducing them to her big brother and sister. I'm glad Emily has one more year of preschool. Next year I'll do it a little different.

Hunter's Class Party

As I've mentioned in previous posts I am Hunter's room mom.
One of my responsibilites is planning all class parties. Our Christmas Party this year was a great success. All afternoon I had kids telling me that this was the best party ever. I'm thankful for all the compliments. It tells me all my hard work was appreciated.
I started the party by seperating all the kids into 2 groups to play Rudolf's Nose. On at a time the kids were to dab some vaseline on their nose, attach Rudolf's nose there nose, run to the opposite side of the room and dislodge the nose into another bowl with NO hands. It was comical too see. After Rudlolf's Nose I split the class into 3 groups and then rotated them through all the stations. One of the stations (the biggest hit) was the chocolate fountain. We had pretzels, banana's and oranges to dip and then many different sprinkles to add to it.
Our 2nd station was to make snowflake ornaments. These 2 boys decided to turn them into Patriotic Stars instead.

Another station was playing Christmas Bingo with m&m's.

Our last station was to listen to Christmas books being read by one of my party helpers.

This by far was the best party this year. During our Halloween and Thanksgiving parties I've had almost NO help from other parents. It's been the teacher and I. It gets a little expensive, time consuming and not much fun for me. I was really suprised and greatful by how much help I got for our Christmas party. And the kids had fun, that's all that counts!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Once upon a time...
there was a little boy named Hunter who liked to tease. One morning when he was already for school he went upstairs to see what his grandparents were up too. Seeing they were both involved with something else he decided to play a TRICK on them.
He dug his bike lock out of his back pack,
wraped it around the fridge handles but then noticed the water pitcher that had been left out.
He grabbed the pitcher, wrapped the lock around it and then he locked it.
He asked Grandma to come look what he had done.
When grandma came to see he replied,
"Don't worry the combination is...
1664, I think"
And then off he went to school.

Grandma called Hunter's mom to come and take a look at what had happened.
Did not work!
Good thing mom remembered it was
Later that day when the little TRICKSTER got home he was disapointed to see that mom had remembered the "for real" (his words) number.
Better luck next time!

Friday, December 03, 2010

Brayden's Sleep Habits

This past week Brayden has fallen asleep in the most random of places.
Friday, in Alton, Brayden got mad after his dad had left him with me at Grandma's house.
He was crying by the door for his daddy and wanted nothing from me or Grandma. After a few minutes of trying to console him I just let him be. It wasn't too long when his cries stopped so I went to investigate. I almost missed him. Can you find Brayden? I seriously don't know how Joy can handle this. Her front entryway always disapears in the winter to EVERYONE'S coats, gloves, snow boots, bags, toys, etc.
So tired he couldn't even finish his cookie.

He gets tired and just leans forward wherever he is.
When I moved his toy he just fell over even more.

I don't know how he can sleep like that.
My funny sleepy little boy.

Thanksgiving 2010

All because two people fell in love... this was our thanksgiving this year. Every member of Kory's family was present.
All 9 kids with spouses, and 35 grandkids.
The oldest grandchild is submiting his mission papers this month and the youngest is 6mo. old.
We had 54 family members +2 extras that have become like family!
Joy reserved the Town Hall and boy did we feel it with one big long,
never ending table and chairs.

While eating we were to write on the paper table cloth what we were thankfull for.

We had lots of food,
lots of visiting,
lots of laughter
and lots of running around and playing with cousins.
We had a family picture taken before dinner that I'm anxious to get a copy of. It may be several years before the family is ALL together again. My in-laws are putting their papers in the beginning of the year and hope to leave on a mission mid summer, with grandkids old enough to serve missions now who only knows when our next opportunity for a complete family picture will be. I'm glad Joy thought to take a family picture this year!