Snowman Christmas Party + craft

Snowman Christmas Party

I love snowmen.  They’re just so cute and fluffy and well, cute.  For the past two years, I’ve had a little snowman party for the boys and some of their cousins.  It’s always so much fun!! [Read more…]

DIY Burlap Chevron Wreath

Burlap Chevron Wreath Tutorial

Fall is here!  Hooray!

Come mid-September I begin experiencing some serious fall fever.  I itch to pull out all of my favorite over-sized sweaters and boots.  It’s the time of year when our house fills with the sweet aromas of apple and pumpkin as various cakes, crisps and breads bake in the oven.

Though, other than me walking around my house in sweaters and boots and consuming more baked goods than one person ever should, there aren’t many signs of fall here yet.  The weather is still hot and muggy for the most part and leaves have not yet begun to change, but  I do my best to make it feel like fall inside our home.  I turn down the air low enough so we can at least snuggle with blankets and sip hot apple cider topped with cinnamon and nutmeg while reading our favorite fall book The Oak Inside the Acorn by Max Lucado.  The boys are catching a bit of the fever too and are looking hard to find those first acorns that fall from the trees.  They’ve been successful a couple of times and before I know it I’ll be crocheting acorn necklaces for them, their teachers and whoever else they decide should get one this year.

Fall and Christmas are my favorite times to decorate the house, too.  We have rich, vibrant colored pumpkins, gourds, and fall leaves scattered around.  I’ve also been in serious need of a new wreath for the front door so I made a pit stop at Hobby Lobby one day while running errands and picked up a few supplies.

[Read more…]

the giving plate {another diy sharpie project}

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Awhile ago, I posted a tutorial on DIY Sharpie mugs. Since then, I’ve done quite a few different projects using the same process. Of course, my NYC mug is still my favorite. But, DH and I use our everyday mugs quite often. I have heard some people say that their writing scrubbed off after using them, but I haven’t had that problem yet. My NYC mug is decoration, so I can’t say I’ve actually washed that one. It did rub off a little before I baked it, but after that it’s set pretty good.

These mugs below have been used and reused and they’re fine too. I think the finish on the piece you’re trying to write on might make a difference. The higher gloss the item is, the more likely it is to rub off. I try to find things that aren’t super glazed.

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For this project, I used a Sharpie paint pen. After they baked, I noticed the writing still had a slight texture to it and so I’m not sure if they’ll hold up as well as the other things, but I think these plates will be used more for decoration anyway.

These are great to give to neighbors at Christmastime filled with different cookies. I also think they’d make an awesome housewarming gift. You could add some everyday items like a handknit dishcloth, cake server, etc. to the top and wrap it in tulle or cellophane.

I first saw the idea at a little farm store and thought it was such a sweet idea. They were selling for over $20.00 though and I knew I could make one for less than half of that. So, I headed to Wal-Mart and picked up a bunch of plates and then went to Jo-Ann’s and bought the Sharpie paint pen. BTW, if you’re a crafter and have an iPhone, be sure to download the apps for Jo-Ann’s, Michael’s and my all-time favorite, Hobby Lobby. They always have awesome coupons and if you’re like me and always forgetting your paper coupons at home or in the car, this app is really helpful. Some Jo-Ann’s (like mine) will let you use as many coupons as you have on the same transaction, which saves you a ton of money and keeps me going back!

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I bought two different style plates. The one below seemed to look better even though I liked the design of the other one. It just seemed to look more uniform with the circle around the actual poem. This isn’t the poem that was on the ones at the farm store, I found this one online and liked it much better. It reads,

“This plate shall have no owner for its journey never ends,

It travels in a circle of our family and friends.

It carries love from home to home for everyone to share,

The food that’s placed upon it was made with love and care.

So please enjoy what’s on the plate

Then fill it up again,

Then pass along the love it holds to your family and friends.”

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I just love how these came out and wish I would’ve had time to make more of them before Christmas. Luckily, I was a slacker this year and barely passed out cookies. But, God-willing I’ll be giving lots of these away next year!

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After writing on them, I baked them for 35 minutes @ 350 degrees.

Once the cooled completely, I wrapped them up in paper grocery bags. Then I stuck a paper doily on the bag using double sided tape. I used a ‘handmade by’ stamp on the doily and a little ‘paris, france’ postmark stamp in the corner of the paper bag and tied the package with baker’s twine.

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The grocery bags worked perfectly because of the way the folded. I didn’t want to put them in gift bags and wrapping paper would have been tricky because they’re circular, so I’m glad I tried the paper bags. It gave them an old-fashioned kind of feel, and I loved that.

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Have fun making these! Let me know what kind of marker you use and if you find anything that works or doesn’t work! xoxo

Christmas Party Ideas for Kids

snowman cups

This weekend we have some fun Christmas activities planned. One night we’ll be attending The Nutcracker ballet again. This is one of my all-time favorite Christmas traditions, even though the boys won’t be joining us this year. We took them to see The Christmas Carol the other night instead. Personally, I love the ballet and am looking forward to a night out with the girls this year. Last year, due to limited funds, we didn’t go see it but we had an awesome Nutcracker party at home. I just realized I never posted about it, so I’ll be doing that soon…

The next night, we’ll be loading up the van and heading over to a local farm that has a beautiful Christmas event happening all weekend. They’ll have Christmas carolers, different Nativity scenes set up and lots of hot cocoa and games for the kids. We can’t wait!

Before we leave, I’m having a little Christmas party at the house for the boys and my nephews. I’ll be making “melted snowman drinks” aka white hot chocolate in the slow cooker (recipe below), with snowman marshmallows (tutorial coming soon), and other treats. We’ll be exchanging little dollar store gifts among the kids.

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I really love this snowman punch bowl from Better Homes and Garden. I haven’t seen it in stores but am going to just add some window clings to my punch bowl. I found the clings at Target for $1.99.

Slow Cooker White Hot Chocolate

Ingredients :

  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 6 cups milk (I usually use whole milk or 2%)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 12 oz pkge white chocolate chips (try to use Ghiradelli if you can – YUM!)

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker.
  2. Heat on low for 2-2 1/2 hours or until chocolate is melted and mixture is hot.
  3. Stir well to blend.
  4. Enjoy from a Snowman mug on a chilly day.

I’ll be serving it in these fun styrofoam cups (minus the lids).

I’ll make up a plate of these snowman doughnuts that I made for Ace’s class last year (from Family Fun). You just buy a bag of mini powdered sugar doughnuts, add a smile and eyes and cut off the end of some baby carrots and insert as noses! So easy! Complete directions here.

We also made these for his class Christmas party last year and they were such a hit! The teachers and students just loved them. I dubbed them Florida snowmen for obvious reasons, lol. You can find the complete recipe here.

I’ll also be making little bags out of wax paper and filling them with red and green m&m’s. I found this adorable little poem on Pinterest and love little things like this for the littler children, especially. You just print out the story and glue it to cardstock and then staple it to your bag.

Here’s a smaller and more decorated version:

To download the m&m Christmas story, click here.

Hopefully, I’ll also have a fun Nativity project to post next week too. I’m planning on having DH cut me a few blocks of wood and I’m going to print out part of the Nativity icon with Christ, Panagia, St. Joseph and the star on Shrinky Dink paper. We’ll cut them and bake them and then glue them to the blocks of wood. I think the kids will enjoy making this little icon project. If I can steal a free moment, I might knit up a few swaddling blankets to glue under the icon of Christ. Hopefully this turns out as planned!! I’ll let you know!

Have a blessed weekend everyone!

DIY Lego Travel Case

DIY Lego Travel Case (blue)

Like most boys, my boys are obsessed with legos.  And honestly, I don’t mind.  I’ve had serious thoughts of hiding them away for all eternity because I’m tired of walking across the house at any given time and stepping on dozens of them (and trust me, it hurts), but I don’t.  It’s too much fun watching them use their imaginations to create people and creatures and buildings that truly amaze me.  So in the end, I decide to keep them in the playroom.  [Read more…]

Road Trip Activities

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I mentioned in a previous post that I made some Orthodox Saints activity binders for the kids to take with us on our upcoming road trip. Well, I decided to combine them with some other road trip activities for our trip. [Read more…]

Orthodox Saint Activity Binders

orthodox saint binders

Yesterday afternoon, the boys and I put together a couple of new binders.

Saints of North America and Saints in Times of Trouble are two wonderful pdf’s available for free from the OCA Department of Religious Education. [Read more…]

Holy Week Coloring Pages

holy thursday

Some of you have emailed or sent messages via Facebook, asking about the Holy Week coloring pages.  I have re-uploaded the images and wanted to post a link so you could access them without a lot of searching. [Read more…]

Orthodox Kid’s Ornament Exchange 2011 {Sign-ups}

We will be doing our annual Orthodox Children’s Ornament Exchange again this year! 

The rules are posted below, so please leave a comment if you would like to participate. It is only one ornament per family and last year, I believe we ended up making a total of nine, which included one to keep at home. If there is a bigger turnout than expected, I will divide the families into groups.  [Read more…]

Sibling Kits & Classes

Last weekend I took the boys to the hospital for the Sibling Class. They had such a great time! They watched a funny little video about babies and being a big brother or sister. The instructor let them pick out a baby doll or stuffed animal and then showed them how to properly hold a baby and how they could help Mommy change and swaddle them.

Then they got to choose from oodles of stickers and markers and confetti to make a card for the new baby’s bassinet.

Ace made two. The first one he cut into the shape of a goat. The second one, he glued his picture and wrote a longer note, reminding the baby of the benefit of being a boy and playing with GI Joes.

Lucky, who is now rooting for a girl for the first time since the beginning of my pregnancy, glued his picture and gave me very detailed instructions on what to write on the card. He wanted to remind the baby how much fun he and Ace are and how much the baby is going to love them. :)

I finally put together sibling kits for them too. I made little tags that say “Biggest Brother and Big Brother” and filled them with goodies to keep them busy while they are waiting for their new brother or sister. Luckily, my mom is flying in this week and will keep them busy. They love their Yiayia!

I filled them with things like mini coloring/activity books, crayons, a lollipop, coin purses with change for the vending machines, bubbles (they’ll be outside feeding the ducks while they wait), flashlights, big brother books, a big brother t-shirt and their cameras. I love the idea of them taking photos of their idea of how the day played out. I’m going to develop them and put them in little albums for their keepsake boxes.

I found these old-fashioned coin purses. I picked them up from a boutique near my house for two bucks each. Of course, I got them in their favorite colors.

I also found some fun Lego kits at TJ Maxx for $4.99. The boys will go home to spend a special night alone with Baba and I figured this will give them something fun to do together. So…now all we’re doing is waiting anxiously for the big day to arrive! I’m so excited!