It’s been snow for days here. And while it’s pretty and lovely it’s keeping us indoors more than I’d like so to make things more playful inside we brought out table tent from my book Playful: Fun Projects to Make With and For Kids. Miss M has been playing picnic with her dolls and Little O asks if he can sleep here at night. Tons of fun.
And speaking of fun, I thought I’d share a few images take by Nicole Gerulat that never made the book. They are so fun and playful I just couldn’t keep them to myself.
I wanted to share with you my theme for this year. I’ve had some loose ideas mulling around for a while but a concrete idea finally came after watching the beautiful French film Marie’s Story with my mother over Christmas. It’s a lovely story about a young girl who is deaf and blind and responds to the world in a scared and feral way until a nun has a connection with her and decides to take her in. In addition to the beautiful location (weathered French hutches and tomette tiled floors galore!) I was really touched by these two and their story. I was reminded of what can be done when a person invests in another person. I feel like that idea is not as prevalent these days as were so much about climbing ladders and achieving our dreams here in America. Don’t get me wrong, dreams are great and I sure love having mine, but I think using our time and talents to also really invest in others is so key. Key to our own happiness & in our world. And REAL honest change can happen when we believe in, cultivate with love, consistency and determination. We will make mistakes, do it wrong more than once, but persistence, faith and patience are key. A combination of providing fertile ground to grow while also recognizing thistles are all part of it. This chapter in my life with my children the ages they are is ripe for this. And it’s important for me, & for them that I take time to cultivate. To invest in them. I’m still learning what that looks like for us, and I definitely don’t think it means me standing over them at their beckon call at all times. They need to forage and find (I’m huge into teaching children independence) and I need to work, but they also need the backbone and they need the investment. Like all things organic, people are not meant to be forced, but rather given opportunities to grow and even face weeds.
So you might say my theme this year is to “invest”. To go all in. But not only with my kids but my marriage and myself too. I’ve been thinking a lot about what investing in myself would look like and I see a lot of changes I want to make. I’m planning on working on the things that I genuinely want but either scare me or seem like too much work. I want to work past the things that are holding me back so that I can achieve more real success in those areas. So this year I expect struggle – we’re born for it – but I also plan to to thrive. And I plan to help others thrive too.
Not sure this little performer will make it until midnight but we still made her a crown for New Years Eve.
It’s so easy, we made it with pipe cleaners and glitter card stock.
I basically started with two pipe cleaners and twisted two end together. I then measured the size of her head and twisted the other two ends together where it fit snuggly.
I then bent 6 other pipe cleaners into triangles and twisted their ends together onto the crown base (starting with the center triangle and working out from there).
I then cut out 6 stars from glitter card stock (you could also cut out form regular card stock and have your little one decorate with glitter and glue) and glued them on with hot glue.
I let everything dry and then the crown was ready to wear!
And wear this crown she did. This little lady is actually quite a ham. And we love each and everyone of her performances.
We made (yes another) set of wings for the nativity this year. I think it definitely has been the year of the wings for us. ;). This time we didn’t do cardboard but instead went for a pair of pillow wings. Perfect for her dress wardrobe gift this year.
Merry Christmas friends!
This year we decided to do the three wise men gift tradition (the one where kids receive only three gifts similar to the three wise men bringing three gifts for the Christ child). So we’re doing one from Santa, one from mom and dad that could be from a store and one from mom and dad that is homemade. The kids have really gotten into it and were very careful and selective about what they asked Santa for. So with only three gifts per kid (we’re still doing a few big family gifts and large stockings full of treasures) I really wanted the gifts to look and feel really amazing when they walked in on Christmas morning. So I came up with a few ideas such as this cardboard box snowman.
This guys is super easy to make. I just found some blank white boxes from a local paper store but you could wrap up any box in white paper (I might suggest poster paper – the kind they sell on rolls for schools, etc.). Or you could quickly paint a few brown boxes too.
I had fun taking a few photos in our living room which is under construction. I kind of like the weathered unfinished look of things (as unrealistic as it is). We’re now working our tail off trying to get this living room done by Christmas day! So close now!
We’re doing some last minute Christmas crafts over here. I wanted to do a topper for a Christmas cake and came up with this little paper angel craft. It’s perfectly easy to put together and little ones will love putting on cupcake liner wings and a pipe cleaner halo. The can even color her or create fun patterns on her dress.
To make the angel:
- Print and cut out the angel template found here.
- wrap her dress around and tape or glue one of side over the other
- create a halo from a pipe cleaner and glue the head onto the stem of the halo.
- keep the length of the pipe cleaner and place it into the dress. the head should comfortable rest on top of the dress
- fold two cup cake wrappers in half and then in half again. Glue each to the back of the dress to create angel wings.
Your angel is now done! use her as a toy, a puppet, a tree topper or a cake topper. So many things you can do with your new angel friend.
Enjoy and Merry Christmas friends!
Miss Amelia and I did a fun craft this week. Together we made a fun snowman gift topper for Christmas presents.
Using air dry clay she rolled up several balls of clay. We then inserted two twigs for arms and stuck a needle through the center of each of them so that we could string them up and let them dry. Once dry We painted eyes, a mouth and buttons. Ad glued on a little carrot nose made from paper.
I added a little scarf and used it as a name tag for her. We then splattered a bit of paint onto simple poster paper. Super fun preschool/toddler holiday craft!
And I can’t wait until she opens it. She’s been asking for “Let it Go fingernails” all month which means she wants blue sparkly nail polish like her cousin got for her birthday. So Santa delivered and she’ll just squeal with happiness when she see’s what’s inside :).
My daughter and I worked together on the sweetest holiday project the other week and we wanted to share it with you. We made a little hand print ornament out of air-dry clay and it’s now one of my favorite memento’s.
To make this I simple traced her hand onto a piece of paper and then cut out that shape. I then traced the piece of paper onto air dry clay a couple of times (you could trace it a number of times if you wanted to make several ornaments). I then cut around the clay with a table knife (older kids could do this part themselves) and the pocked a hole where I wanted to string a thread through. I let the clay dry overnight after that. Once the clay was dry I painted her little hand print within the shape of the clay (I did this free hand because if I traced, it would naturally be the same size as the outside of the clay. if you wanted your hand print to be exactly spot on you could always cut the outside shape of the clay a touch larger). I then strung it with some embroidery thread, ready to be hung on our tree.
I love little things like that help to preserve these moments of small. I know with two older boys that small becomes big so so fast. (I think I’ll do their hands next). And Miss Milla loves seeing little tokens of herself being celebrated.
I loved this technique so much that I made another one for a necklace for me to wear. You can see me in it here. I love it sooo much!
We began transforming the Banister house for Christmas and in the midst of changing the boys sheets for wintery flannel ones the girls (Amelia and her cousin Ava) and I broke into an impromptu wand making session followed by lots of merriment and bed jumping (when the boys are away….).
To make the wands I just found a couple of sticks and then cut out star shapes from glitter card stock and taped it to the stick with duct tape on the back. You could also use the star wand tutorial in my book Playful and just add a twig instead of a dowel. Would be really cute.
We have gold tinsel tree from a few years back that fits perfectly in the kids room and I put up a few pinecone garlands for another touch of the outdoors. Miss Amelia wore the sweetest corduroy dress from Olive Juice Kids (complete with gorgeous velvet ribbon!). I think this would be so perfect for a Christmas Holiday party. I just LOVE the color.
We started our Star of Wonder advent calendar today. The kids are so excited! I first introduced our idea here but I’ll fill you in a bit in this post as well.
We have a sweet little clothe calendar the we usually use but I wanted to mix thing up a bit this year and It really surprised the boys. I this year I decided to fill each paper star with not only a fun selection of treats and treasures but also a little message of wonder and light. A reminder to us all that if we choose light (yes its a daily choice I believe) goodness, knowledge, magic, wonder, kindness, truth and love our world will always shine brighter and truer than any darkness we might encounter.
Today’s first treat was gold coins along with a quote about angels being guardians of truth and light. I had prefaced to the kids that each day would bring something to excite the senses, a toy or a candy. Something that would make them fill a moment of magic and happiness. But it also carried in it a message that if read and applied in their lives would carry constant light and happiness that would never go away. My oldest, my nine year old son, was able to grasp the concept the best but I still think they others will enjoy reading something uplifting.
I was also excited to find this little wire hanging rack just in the nick of time at our favorite antique mall in Springville, UT, Treasures. I’m happy with how it worked into things and we might just keep it there for messages and mail in the future. (Oh and how sweet is this Wren and James little pinafore Miss M has on!?)