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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Toddler Craft Fun

I have to say I love the smells of our house right now. In the oven drying out are our cinnamon applesauce ornaments. Our hands smell of cinnamon and so does the house. I will post pictures tomorrow.

Yesterday and today Hazel and I made some popsicle stick puppets. We started by making an elf for a gift for one of Hazel's friends. Then she wanted one for herself and we made a few others. While she was sleeping I dressed one as a princess, which we named Hazel and sewed the sides to make it look a bit fancier. Hazel has been loving decorating them. I gave her glitter glue and ribbons and trims to decorate with. These are easy for kids with a bit of help.

To start we glued a popsicle stick as arms to a tongue depressor. Then cut a popscile stick in half for the legs and glued them on. I used markers to draw on eyes and a mouth.

Then I cut clothes out of felt--a front and back for everything and glued it on. I used embroidery floss for hair or wool roving or stuffing. Then Hazel went to town decorating. She was loving cutting the ribbon and trims as well as the glitter.


I love that they are something fairly easy to make that she can decorate and play with and they can be different things for the various holidays or just a regular day.

Tomorrow is December 1st. I wanted to share a quick picture of our Advent calendar. We are very fortunate to have received it as a gift from my parents one year. This year I'm filling it with mostly needle felted figures for a nativity so we can talk about the story with Hazel and she will have the figures represented in toys she can touch and play with.
Isn't it beautiful? It is such a wonderful tradition to have.

Just thought I would share a few other "decorations" we have around.
Ornaments from Steve's House before we were married


Some pine cones I spray painted green and gold (for a craft but we had extras)













Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Another Award!


Well last night I received my first blogger award--the Liebster Award. Today I received my second (and third technically) award--the Versatile Blogger Award. I want to send a big thank you and hopefully some visitors over to And That's Family and H is for Homeschooling for passing on The Versatile Blogger Award to me!

The Rules
  • Thank the person that nominated you with a link back to them.
  • Tell 7 things about yourself.
  • Pass this award on to 15 newly discovered blogs and let them know that they've received an award!
Seven Things About Me
1) I'm the youngest of three girls and always have fought to be treated as an adult in my family.
2) Yet, I'm often the oldest of my good friends now.
3) I am very active in my church although in high school I doubted my believe in God.
4) I collect teapots, snow globes to name a few...
5) I love being a stay-at-home mother even though I have a masters degree.
6) I truly believe everyone is equal and should be treated that way and spent much of my single years fighting for rights with my students.
7) I am definitely an optimist and always try to see the good in people.


Now Fifteen Newly Discovered Blogs (in no particular order):
1) Happy Whimsical Hearts
2) The Inspiration Thief
3) Little Family Fun
4) Life as this Mommy knows It
5) Helping Little Hands
6) School Time Snippets
7) Way Down the Valley
8) Strong Start
9) Silver Boxes
10) At the Butterfly Ball
11) What's Fun Today?
12) Angela's Adventures
13) The Nature of Grace
14) Playing with Words 365
15) Hazel and Honeysuckle


I hope you will visit these blogs and show them some blog love by leaving comments!!


And to share a little craft. I made this a few nights ago for Hazel's nature table. It is Father Winter.

Monday, November 28, 2011

An Award!

Blogland is lovely, so much sharing and support! And in the spirit of sharing and support, the amazing Kelly from Happy Whimsical Hearts has given me the Liebster Blog Award!
The word 'liebster' actually comes from the German word for love, friend or dearest - very sweet!
The goal of the award is to spotlight up-and-coming blogs with less than 200 followers. The rules are:
  1. copy and paste the award on your blog
  2. thank the giver and link back to them
  3. reveal your top 5 picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog
  4. hope that your followers will spread the love to other bloggers
Now, choosing just 5 blogs was a challenge I must say (especially since Kelly and I read many of the same blogs and I didn't want to repeat the ones she chose), but here it goes (in no particular order):

I hope you will go visit these blogs and see what they offer including Happy Whimsical Hearts. Please leave them some blog love with comments and let them know I sent you!

Have a great day!!

Hazel got Mail!

So today a package arrived for Hazel from Australia!! Remember how I told you Kelly over at Happy Whimsical Hearts suggested her son, Master D and Hazel exchange postcards. Well, Master D sent a postcard and a gift. Hazel was so excited to get mail let alone a homemade gift! We were just discussing send him another postcard, so now we will have to think of a good gift to make him. The best part is that Master D received his postcard from Hazel today as well.

Peg Doll Made by Master D for Hazel

I also want to share the amazing Cyber Monday Giveaway Beth over at Living Life Intentionally is holding through Dec. 4. Go over and check it out. If you win it will take one children's gift off your list. She has four choices covering various ages.

And finally!! I have updated the button codes at Sharing Saturday since so many people have been having trouble. I have gotten a good report of them working so far. And Sharing Saturday #7 is still open. Please go share a wonderful idea with us and check out all the amazing ideas already shared.

Have a great night!!

Monday, Monday

Pumpkin's Favorite Sleep Spot--Under the Tree
Mondays are weird days here. Every other Monday we have our cleaning people come at 7:30 a.m., so I rush around making sure things are somewhat picked up so they can clean. Then my mother-in-law usually takes Hazel for at least part of the day though lately it has been for the entire day. Some Mondays I have an appointment, but then I need to figure out what I need/want to do for the rest of the day. It always is a struggle to decide to do what I should/need to do or to enjoy the childless time. Today I think I will take a bit of a nap (I didn't sleep well last night) and then after lunch get organizing my craft room. I'm hoping to move most of Hazel's crafts downstairs with mine and getting it all organized so we can find things.

Advent Calendar
Today I will share a few of the things we made at the Advent Workshop at church last night. Hazel and Steve came early which worked out perfectly. Hazel and I did the crafts before dinner and then after dinner she was ready to go home since she hadn't napped.


The first craft is an Advent calendar. We cut out the picture and bow and glued them to a cut paper plate. Now we have holly leaves to glue on each day until Christmas.

The next is a Christmas tree ornament. We bought kits from Oriental Trading. They are red and green felt cut as wreaths and glue them together then glue the buttons, bow and ribbon on.



They also had wreath making with greens and also a great picture wreath making spot. I brought the supplies home to make a picture wreath. I may make one with a picture from each Christmas since Steve and I have known each other and maybe will buy the supplies to make one for Hazel for each year of her live to give her when she is older.




The final craft Hazel and I did were these beaded wreath pins. They are just tri-beads (3 green then 1 red repeated for a total of 28 beads) on half of a green pipe cleaner then close to make a loop and glue on the ribbon and the pin back.

Then we had caroling and the card making station. We made 100 Christmas cards to give the City Mission Society of Boston who will distribute them to the homeless. Our church does a lot with/for City Mission Society.

Overall it was a fun evening. And this year there was plenty of food. (Last year we ran out due to lack of signing up and still coming.)

Hope you are having a great day!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Start of Advent

Today is the first Sunday of Advent. My church holds an Advent Workshop each year. Last year they began making it in the evening so all the families could attend. As a member of the Christian Education Committee I have been helping plan it this year. We serve a spaghetti dinner and then there are different stations to make crafts--wreaths, ornaments, decorations, Advent calendars, and Christmas cards for the homeless (that another religious charity gathers from the churches to distribute with gifts). The high school students will be making fleece scarves for the charity as well. Last year we ran out of food, because many people hadn't signed up, but came anyway. This year they didn't have a sign-up, so hopefully there will be enough food.

Hazel's decorating...all on the same branch
Yesterday we spent the day getting our house ready for Christmas. We have a few more things to do, but the tree is up. I still need to put the candles in the windows and put the swags over the family room windows. Hazel had so much fun decorating the tree. Of course we still need to teach her not to hang all the ornaments on the same branch. We had a few fatalities due to this practice, but they were minor ones.

Our Honeymoons: St. Croix and Plymouth, MA











Family Picture
Some traditions we have for our Christmas tree, if we go on a trip during the year we buy an ornament for the tree from the place we have been. Then when we hang the ornaments we have a nice memory of the trip. I started this when I was single so I have a few from those vacations, but together Steve and I have one from each of our honeymoon trips (we took a two-night one locally right after the wedding and then waited for the bad weather to get away some place farther), as well as other trips we have taken and of course one from Cape Cod since we go there every year to see my parents (usually several times a year). Steve also receives a frame ornament with the year on it in his Christmas stocking every year (usually from Michaels for around $4). So we have family pictures for each year we have been together starting with the year we got engaged right before Christmas. We also have pictures of Hazel and our cats on the tree. This year we will add Fluffy to the collection and we will do a memorial of Simba. We also have given one to Hazel each year that represents something she really likes. Her first year it was a duck and last year it was Elmo. She loved those when we found them in the boxes.

The rest of the ornaments are a combination of ones from our childhoods, ones we made, and ones that were gifts. There are still a few that were bought without much significance, but for the most part we are weeding those out each year. It is amazing how your priorities change. I didn't bother hanging the margarita glass ornament one of my sister's gave me ages ago. We share a love for homemade margaritas so it was a nice sharing moment, but now I barely drink, so hanging a glass on my tree seems so insignificant. However I do still have the engraved angel that my sister gave me when I was 7 on my tree. My mother hangs our silver teething rings on her tree. I need to get Hazel's out for ours.

Do you do anything special for your tree? I always love the look of the themed trees in pictures but when it comes down to it, I love my tree for the love and memories it holds instead of how it looks.

An ornament I made the other day. The pattern came from Living Crafts Magazine (do you know this magazine, it is wonderful)! I borrowed a few issues from the handworks teacher at school (and just ordered my own subscription). This pattern came from the Winter 2009 issue. Hazel decided she wanted it as a toy and not an ornament. I may try to make a smaller one for the tree though.

Happy start of Advent!! I hope you have a wonderful day!!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Sharing Saturday #7 and free printable

I bought these frames at Michaels for $1 each and did some prints with Christmas Carol verses in Print Shop. Here is the page I came up with (there are some I didn't use).

Now onto our features. With Thanksgiving this week, I featured many during the week, but today will focus on the non-Thanksgiving themed ones. Here are a few of my favorites and ones that got the most visits/likes.

From Homeschooling While Living the Life of Easier: Free Nature Study Resources

Adding on to this resource is a book I found at Mass Audubon but is available here for free. The book is Let Nature Be the Teacher by Lucille N. Gertz.




From Our Lil' Kingdom: A Christmas Staircase (and more DYI Christmas ideas)


From The Generous Earth: Christmas Ornament Tutorial

From At the Butterfly Ball: Gnome Hats
From Silver Boxes: Spool Christmas Trees




Thank you to everyone who participated and shared your wonderful ideas with us! If you have been featured, please feel free to grab a featured button.





Button Code




Now onto this week. I always look forward to seeing what great ideas people share! The rules are simple, please post a craft or activity you make for or with a child(ren). I hope you will be kind a become a follower and post a button or link back so others can find us. And please try to visit and comment on each other's. Come back later in the week to visit or share more.


Button Code


Goodbye, Thanksgiving, Hello Christmas Season

We had a nice relaxed Thanksgiving here. I have decided I would like every year to be as relaxed and low key. No one ate too much and we didn't have too many choices since I still am not 100% and didn't want to cook too much. Really it was a perfect day except for the two-year-old whining we dealt with and the fact that I needed a nap half way through the day.

We started working on more Christmas ornaments. Usually we put our trees up this weekend and decorate. I pulled out our new smaller Christmas trees for the front window. Last year our small one got to the point of being unusable, so at the post Christmas sales I bought two small prelight trees that are meant to go on a front porch. After pulling them out, we decided to put both in the window with some Santa decorations inbetween them. I'm not allowed to put lights outside so the windows are all I get. My dear husband (who is an electrical engineer) is a bit paranoid about fire.

Hazel wanted to make a mushroom ornament. We found the pattern over at Echinops and Aster. She picked out the colors and I cut and sewed. Then while checking out the mushroom pattern we followed the link to the owl at Juicy Bits. I did the owl while Hazel was sleeping, but will let her choose colors for one as well.

Then for our child made ornaments, we did some gluing. I bought some star buttons in Christmas colors at one of the craft stores and Hazel wanted to color and glue, so she made a picture. I think it might make a nice card for one of her grandmothers.

We also made the popsicle stick Christmas trees. I cut the sticks and we glued them together and then we decorated them with the buttons. I finished them up since she got bored with it yesterday.

This morning Hazel wanted to make a scarecrow.  For our last fall activity we made one. I'm thinking I might put a ribbon on it and hang it on the tree as well. I got the idea and pattern for the clothes from Thanksgiving Day Crafts by Arlene and Herbert Erlbach. It is the craft book I took out of the library that I really liked.

Now I need to go add ribbons to all the ornaments we have been making and finish cleaning up the clutter of the fall decorations so we can decorate for Christmas.

Hope you are having a lovely day!!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving


Just a quick post to wish all who are celebrating a very Happy Thanksgiving!! I hope everyone enjoys time with their family today and takes time to give thanks for all we have. In the spirit of Thanksgiving I thought I would feature a few of the Thanksgiving crafts that were shared this past week and a few of my own. Enjoy!!

17) Turkey Pretzels from Reading Confetti

1) Preserving Fall Leaves from Mom's Crafty Space
2) Thanksgiving Tot Trays from H is for Homeschooling
3) Turkey Windsock from Tippytoe Crafts
4) Preschool Thanksgiving Songs and Fingerplays from Puppy Love Preschool
5) Apple Turkey from Rachel at I HEART CRAFTY THINGS guest posting on One Artsy Mama
6) 9 Children's Thanksgiving Books from Delightful Children's Books
7) Turkey Bento from Food Corner
8) Turkey! Turkey! Turkey! Children's Activities from Mama Mia's Heart 2 Heart
9) Gratitude Turkey from Monkeys and Mudpies
10) Harvest Pumpkin Paper Craft from No Doubt Learning: Just Doing It Our Way
11) Leaf Prints from My Creative Family
12) Clay Pot Pilgrim Hats from Tippytoe Crafts
13) Mayflower from School Time Snippets
14) Mayflower from Homespun With Love
15) Plump and Perky Turkey Craft from Joyfully Weary
16) Turkey Napkin Rings from Crafty Moms Share


Thank you to everyone who shared!! I will feature non-Thanksgiving crafts on Saturday when we begin a new share. Until then our Saturday Share is still open if you would like to share something or get an idea for a craft! Please go check out all the wonderful things people have shared!!

Our Salt Dough Ornaments

Today, Hazel spent most of the day at my mother-in-law's and I spent it resting again. I'm starting to feel better, but my energy doesn't stay there.

When she got home we painted our salt dough ornaments. Hazel had fun with the glitter and the gold glitter came out a bit fast. But here they are. Safe travels to everyone on the road today. I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving if you are celebrating tomorrow.

These are the ones I painted

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Sick Day Crafts

Today I wanted to call in sick, but as a stay-at-home mother there is no calling in sick, so we stormed on. To fill our time, I thought we could make some salt dough ornaments. I saw Amy's post over at One Artsy Mama yesterday with their creations and since there are so many steps it would fill the day. So this morning we mixed the dough. I had printed out Amy's post so I would be sure to do it correctly and learn from her mistakes. Hazel wanted to pour all the water in at once, but I explained that it wouldn't work that way (Thanks, Amy!). Then the dough had to sit for 40 minutes.


So we did some other crafts. I finished our TP roll pilgrims and Native Americans.  I used felt for their hats and the hair for the Native Americans. I added some feathers on the male. They could use some faces, but I didn't bother with that yet. Not that it really matters much since we canceled our Thanksgiving celebration.

I called my parents today and told them I think it is best that they don't come for Thanksgiving. As disappointing as that is, I know it is the right thing for all of us. I would feel horrible if I got them sick and we still don't know if we were exposed enough to the stomach bug going around and certainly don't want to pass that on. We will still have turkey and a few fixings (assuming we don't have the stomach bug) since I already bought the turkey breast, but it will be just the three of us. Perhaps, Steve's mother will come over for dessert, but we will see.

The other craft we worked on was making a gum drop topiary. Since Mommy is sick we had to use supplies we had on hand. I had a few small Styrofoam balls, gum drops, tooth picks and a paper cup. After starting out we decided to put more than one gum drop on a toothpick (since they were rather long). I had to play with what would hold it up. I finally threw in some of our homemade play dough--cranberry and gingerbread. Hopefully it will hold it as it dries as well.

The other thing we did to fill the time was write the postcard for Hazel's new friend in Australia. Kelly over at Happy Whimsical Hearts contacted me to see if Hazel would like to exchange postcards with her three-year-old son, Dexter. We of course loved the idea and are hoping it will turn into a great friendship/pen pal exchange. We went the other day to buy a postcard. Hazel liked several so we bought three of them. I also bought three stamps for them so we can mail all three over time. So I asked Hazel what she wanted to write on the postcard today and wrote it. Then she drew a little on it after I explained where she could write and where she couldn't on a postcard. Then I ran out and stuck it in the mail, so hopefully Dexter will get it soon. We chose to send the Massachusetts postcard with a nice fall tree on it since that is basically what we are seeing right now here.

Then we rolled out and cut out the salt dough ornaments. We ended up with 22 ornaments. We baked them and had some lunch. Then we read some stories and tried to take a nap. Ok, Mommy took a nap and Hazel did not. Then I called Steve who called his mother and she said she would take Hazel so I could sleep. I dropped her off there and slept all afternoon. It was wonderful. Fluffy curled up with me in bed and slept. The only time we woke up was when my friend called to tell me the gender of her baby that she is carrying. After that phone call I fell right back asleep and slept until I heard Hazel and Steve come home. Boy, did I need that this afternoon.

Since Hazel was at Nonni's for the afternoon, we did not finish the salt dough ornaments. So tomorrow we will paint them! I will have pictures of them tomorrow for you.

So the other realization I had today is that Hazel's birthday is only a little over a month away. I better get going on all the birthday party crafts I have been planning and putting off. So mixed in with my Christmas crafts you will see lots of nursery rhyme crafts.

Hope your day is going well.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Angels, Angels Everywhere

Today I went to the doctor and found out I don't just have a cold like I thought. Instead I have strep throat. Guess my idea of ignoring it and it will go away won't work.


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Holiday Fair and More

Yesterday we went to the Holiday Fair at a Waldorf School in  Massachusetts. This is the school Hazel and I take our parent/child class and where we plan on sending Hazel through 8th grade. I had gone Friday evening with a friend for the adult only preview of the vendors. What I discovered in the past week was that in Europe (and perhaps other places) they have 100% wool felt that is much thinner than ours. One of the vendors who does amazing needle felting was at one of the craft groups getting ready for the fair and watching her was amazing, but she was using this other felt. Well when she found out we couldn't get it here she had her daughter go buy more so they could sell it. So I bought three different pinks since Hazel loves pink and now I'll be able to make a pink fairy picture with pink flowers, etc. I also bought from the Enchanted Caravan (the school store) much needed craft supplies. A proper needle felting foam, more roving, wool stuffing, 100% wool felt to name a few. Then I hit the beeswax/ local honey vendor. She is actually one of the kindergarten teachers and she and her husband also sell the honey and beeswax products. So I got a few Christmas gifts and some candles and some honey. I have found that eating a teaspoon of local honey really does help with my seasonal allergies. My mother had told me that it would and it definitely did.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Sharing Saturday #6

You all amazed me this past week and I am happy to say we had over 50 entries. Hopefully this week we can beat that number!! Thank you to everyone who participated and shared an idea or two or three. I really appreciate it and love seeing what everyone is doing. I know I pinned quite a few of them from this past sharing party.