Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Advent Calendar

We begin our Advent Calendar Activities again tomorrow.
Advent Caldendar Wall
We're still using the one I made inspired by Allsorts' pattern allsorts.typepad.com/allsorts/2007/11/advent-calendar.html I keep meaning to try something different, but this one works so well for us. I print out the activities and stuff them in the little pouch. If something unexpected comes up and we need a shorter one I just swap them.

I've had a lot of people ask me what sorts of activities we do. Well, I have to admit as the boys are getting older, it's getting harder and harder to come up with fresh ideas. Here is a list of ideas I've compiled over the years. Most we have done. Some while my nieces were visiting, others are just ideas I've had for others to do. Santa isn't a part of our holiday, and never has been, but he is a big part of other people's holidays, so there are some of those type of ideas too. Hopefully you can find these useful. If you have ideas of your own, (especially ones a 14 year old boy won't roll his eyes at,) please let me know!

Quick 10 min or less
•Write a card to military overseas or veterans hospital
•Color Christmas Picture
•Bunny hop/Conga line through house
•Only speak in Pig Latin or like a pirate
•Learn or make up instructions for a secret handshake
•Write a letter to a distant relative
•Tell Christmas Jokes (have these ready)
•Call Grandparents and sing carols
•Word searches, crossword puzzles, mazes, etc... (there are a lot of online word search & crossword puzzle makers for free.)
•Read a Christmas themed book
•Sing Christmas Carols using kazoos
•Make and Drink fancy hot chocolate (marshmallows, whipped cream, sprinkles, candy cane)
•Make Snowangels

About 30 Minutes
•Hang Stockings
•Paper airplanes- make and fly (Who's goes farthest, highest, etc.)
•Make Ornaments
•Make Paper Snowflakes
•Set Out Nativity
•Paint Rocks (could take longer than 30m)
•Make an ice candle (larger bucket, smaller bucket, tape, greenery, water, freeze, use next day)
•Make stickers using white label stickers and markers
•Make Thumbprint animals on wrapping paper or gift tags (potato stamps would work too)
•Learn an origami project
•Make a birdfeeder
•Make Playdoh
•Look at past holiday pictures in a photo album

More than 30 min
•Bake Bread/Banana Bread
•Make a pom pom garland or string popcorn for a garland
•Make a beaded necklace, bracelet, bookmark
•Make soap/candles •Make Snow globes
•Have a bonfire
•Marbleize paper (liquid starch or shaving cream method)
•Lego building competition
•Make up a crazy dance to some Christmas music
•Take Silly Christmas Pictures (everyone in Santa hats, wearing reindeer antlers, wrapped up in Christmas paper or decorations, etc...)
•Make a memory game for the little kids we know with wooden disks and pictures
•Make Gift tags for our gifts to others •Write your own Christmas Carol •Make Teacher Gifts
•Watch a favorite or new Christmas themed movie
•Follow a treasure map to a large-ish gift or activity
•Write Out Christmas Cards
•Go out and play Bocce (or other game) in the snow
•Make a wreath
•Make/decorate a Christmas themed pillowcase or t-shirt
•Make pajama pants
•Learn a new magic trick or science project
•Star gazing
•Play a family board game
•Have a camp out around the Christmas Tree
•Make Snowman
•Have a video game competition (Wii bowling or boxing are popular)
•Have a snowball fight
•Christmas Charades
•Exchange Stockings Food/Meal Related
•Make Cookies
•Pizza making night
•Decorate Cookies
•Have Milkshakes
•Make Rock Candy
•Have an Indoor Picnic
•Have a Fondue Night
•Have a Candle light supper
•Have an Eat Dessert First night
•Breakfast for dinner

Away From Home
•Watch local Holiday Parade
•Get a Christmas Tree/Decorate Christmas Tree
•Buy a toy for toys for tots
•Visit at a nursing home
•Gather no longer used towels and blankets for local animal shelter
•Go to a production of the Nutcracker or A Christmas Carol
•Shop for things for women’s shelter
•Go out to eat at a favorite restaurant
•Go to a movie
•Take a walk/drive to look at holiday lights
•Go Bowling
•Go Sledding
•Go out for ice cream
•Pack a picnic for the park/botanical gardens (weather permitting)

Activities for younger kids or when girls are here
•Use puppets to tell bedtime story
•Have a bubble bath
•Fancy dress up for dinner time
•Give everyone crazy hairstyles
•Paint everyone’s toenails

Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloween Come and Gone

We do love Halloween in our house. The most consistant posting on this blog is Halloween costumes. My husband and my anniversary is Halloween. It just holds a really special place in our hearts. Here are the boys' costumes this year.

piranha plant
My middle son is a Piranha Plant from Mario Bros. Made primarily out of fleece, fiberfil, & plastic canvas

My eldest as Luigi (he did have a mustache, but there aren't any decent pics with him wearing it) Again primarily fleece (gotta love Wisconsin Falls!)

dark helmet closer
My youngest as Dark Helmet from Spaceballs. He LOVED this costume!

dark helmet super goofy
Hope you had a great Halloween too!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

My oldest is 14!

Yep, that's right. He's getting older. Going to High School next year, driving the year after that, abandoning me for college 2 after that.
Sniff.... Sniff.... where is my baby?
Oh, there he is!!
Here is his birthday cake.
Chocolate with lemon filling. Chocolate and vanilla frosting with starbursts for the ghosts, Pacman, and the cherries.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Soccer is kicking my butt

I love that my boys love soccer, but I have to admit, it's kicking my butt! Soccer along with Church (we're rewriting our Confirmation program,) making Halloween costumes, redoing a few things in our house, I don't seem to have a moment's time. The soccer will end Saturday. I know this, it's tournaments. I'm counting down the days.

Probably the thing in our house that is taking the hit harder than anything is supper time. The boys get home from school at 3:45. Many times they are supposed to be at soccer (a town over,) by 4. It takes us 10-15 minutes to drive that. Then we have games until at least 6:30. Many of those nights we also have had church meetings at 6:30 (2-4 times/week.) So I've been trying to figure out ways to feed my growing teen/preteens and hubby while gone. I'd love it if someone has some ideas they can share with me. Cold sandwiches 3-4 times a week isn't fun (especially in Wisconsin in October!)

The winners so far have been skewered teriyaki chicken and beef/bean burritos.** Throw in some carrots, cucumbers, bell pepper strips, grapes, apple slices, etc.. and they've worked well.

I'd love to hear your ideas for eating on-the-go.

*We are not one of those families who terribly over schedule. We really only let our kids be in one activity per season. It's just that soccer is 2 times per week per child. It adds up quickly.

**The teriyaki chicken skewers; I simply marinated the sliced chicken breasts in a natural teriyaki sauce for 30-40 minutes. I wove them onto the soaked bamboo skewers. Then baked them at 400 F for 30 minutes. Wrapped them in tinfoil and put them in a "cooler" to keep them warm.
The burritos I mixed black beans (sometimes refried beans,) with taco seasoned ground beef, a sprinkle of cheese and a bit of rice. Wrap in a tortilla then "flash freeze" until stiff. Throw them in a container and keep frozen until I need them. Then I bake/microwave them and again put in foil and bring to the games.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Cousin's Wedding Towel

My cousin is getting married today, and I wanted to give them something besides cash, so I embroidered them a dish towel.

Ryan N Julia Towel 02

You'll notice the "Aug." is a little spread out. Well, I originally put "Sept." on it, and well, that was wrong and my husband (thank God!) noticed last night, so I quick changed it.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Liam's Quilt Top

Well, I have been working with Liam to make him the "perfect" quilt. He found this dragon fabric a few years ago, and knew he wanted it in his quilt. I have had a really hard time figuring out how to make it what he wanted.
Well, we finally decided we would just do it!
So we drew, we talked, we hunted for fabrics. He decided he didn't really want me cutting up his precious dragon fabric, so it will be used on the back. I cut and sewed, and FINALLY I have the top done! Now I have to figure out how I'm going to quilt it, and if I'm going to add some embroidery.
Decisions are what take me so long! The sewing went quickly as did the cutting. Well, it's a huge milestone, I'm over the hump at least. Hopefully I will have a chance to finish it next week!
PS The picture is before it was pressed, and I added a bit more black to the outside. It's a super twin size, all the men in my husband and my family are at least 6' tall, so I wanted this to last my Liam for awhile.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Raised Bed Gardening

It is commonly known that I have a black thumb. No, not a brown thumb, a black thumb. I can't seem to keep anything alive very long. Even things people swear I can't kill, I find a way.

I have also always dreamed of a garden. We bought this house partially because there was a yard where I could have a small garden. Little did I know that the big beautiful tree in my yard would poison the ground for most plants, (Black Walnut.)

This year I am determined though!

I bought the book The New Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew. It came with rave reviews. I've read it 3 times through, and referenced it many more.

We built some beds, bought the "soil mix", I think I'm ready. I even had the nieces over on their spring break, and they helped prime the beds.
Wish me luck!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Crocheted Mini Wheat Pattern

I saw this and just had to share, it's absolutely adorable!

The pattern is by zippadeedooda on weloveamigurumi on livejournal. Go get it and make your own crew of mini wheats!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Liam's 11!

My middle son Liam turns 11 today! It was a very busy day with me going on a field trip to the planetarium with my youngest, so I didn't get to spend as much time on the cake as I had hoped. It was a definite team effort though. And I think over all we're quite pleased with it, imperfections and all.
It's simply gorgeous weather, and it's so springy. What a wonderful day! I hope your day is as glorious as ours!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Valentine's 2010- The Big Bang Theory

As you may have seen in previous years, my kids always want geek style Valentines the likes of which never exist in stores. Well, this year was no different. My boys wanted Big Bang Theory themed ones. I have many components gathered and ready to make them, but because of some unforeseen computer issues, and an unexpectedly emotional reaction to the anniversary of my sister passing away, I don't feel I will get them out/made before Valentine's day. I did however find some great ones that I may use that someone else made. She did an awesome job, so if you're looking for some clever Big Bang Theory Valentines this year check out defyprobability's on livejournal Or if you are looking for my Doctor Who (1 or 2) or Mario themed ones feel free to check those out also!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Family Meals Question

Sorry, this isn't really a post, it's more of a question. I have been talking to a lot of moms lately about meal time. Particularly supper. In my house, my kids eat exactly the same thing as we (adults) are. Even when they were babies and just eating solids. I would simply take their food out after cooking, but before seasoning. We always ate the same food. Out of the 11 moms that I was talking to today, only1 other mom said they do the same thing. All of the others usually make a separate meal for the children than for the adults. Is this common? Am I just way out of the loop? I would love to get some feedback on this.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Christmas is done.

I know it seems really late, but I'm finally putting away the last remnant bits of Christmas. Am I the only one? I thought I'd share one of my favorite Christmas pieces. I found this in the thrift store a couple of years ago, and I haven't been able to identify the maker or find any pictures of others or anything.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

George Washington- 1st US President

A little back story first. My children, husband and I were watching Jeopardy a few weeks back. There was a fairly easy category on the Presidents of the US. My children didn't really know any of the answers. I was shocked. My husband was shocked. We decided that the boys need to know more about the presidents, and in all honesty, so should we. So we decided to dedicate 2010 as the year of the presidents. Each week we will be talking about a different president and hope the boys gather and retain some information on people who have formed our lives. Now anyone who knows me knows I always have great intentions, but my follow through isn't always the greatest. I am hoping with 52 weeks in a year and 44 presidents that will give me some room for error.

George Washington is our first week pres. We are planning on doing them in order. The White House website has a nice compilation on the presidents, so I'm sure we'll be referring to that weekly. If I find anymore sites or references I will be sure to share them.

Do any of you plan things like this?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


Some pictures from the last few months in no particular order.

Lore working his abs on the beach on Amelia Island FL

Amelia Island Florida. Levi and Liam looking for shells and Shark's teeth

The boys' favorite "Cookie" Peppermint Kisses. Recipe here

Advent calendar. Inspired by this post on Allsorts we fill it with activities. We did really great this year. We accomplished all of our tasks but one. We didn't get to gaze at the stars the night we wanted to because of clouds.

Chubby Hubby Bars (Inspired by Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream Flavor which is my hubby's favorite.) Recipe here
For Thanksgiving this year, we made a Thankful Tree. And we added to it all of November.
Veterans day skydiver at the school!

Making fresh pasta with my boys was way too much fun! This is Liam and his gloppy mess.
Here's Levi's mess before he got a nice ball going.

Sugar cookies are always fun.

My niece Clover's doll in progress. She has super curly blond hair and bright blue eyes, just like Clover does!

Happy 2010!!

Ok, I have only one resolution this year. I was looking back at some of my older blog posts and saw a big theme. I appologize for not blogging way too much! =)
So my resolution is to not appologize for having a life outside of the internet. I love all of you who follow me and check back to see how I'm doing or what I'm up to. I really appreciate the emails and messages from people wondering about me, and I don't mean to worry anyone when I disapear for stretches of time. But, I'm not as consistant of a blogger as many are.

So, what have I been up to?? Well... my last post was in October.... I have celebrated Lore, Levi, Tim, and many of my nieces birthdays. I celebrated my anniversary. We went to Amelia Island FL for an amazing vacation! We had so much fun with our Advent Activities again this year. We celebrated our crazy Christmas time. Lots of baking! We went really low key on gifts this year. I missed crafting as much, but enjoyed not stressing about it as much too.

So have I been crafting?? Well, yes, I have thanks for asking. I have 4 baby quilts in the works right now for recently born babies in our family. They are pinwheel in style. I am just working out layout now.

I have also been making some Waldorf style dolls for 2 of my nieces. I have found I love making the dolls, but don't love making the clothes as much.

I am loading some pictures from my camera as we speak, so I will add some pictures on a recap post later today.

Have a great day!