Monthly Archives: December 2013

So Long 2013

I just spent the last thirty minutes looking at photos taken during this year (and JUST this year) and I’m completely overwhelmed.

2013 has been such a great year for our little family.  We moved across the country, and were able to see the majority of our family along the way.  We welcomed our sweet Liam into our life, and have spent the last seven months watching him grow (too fast!)  We have had many visitors, including my little sister who got to stay an entire month!  We made a quick trip to Miami, we made a last-minute trip to Oklahoma to spend time with family and welcome a new uncle into our family.  We fostered a puppy for a few weeks during the summer.  We potty trained Xander!  We visited the aquarium multiple times and rode the Conch Train around Key West.  The boys hit milestones, and grew… We ALL grew.

This year–although chaotic at times–has been such a blessing for us, and I can’t wait to see what 2014 holds.  Happy New Year friends!  Be safe, 2014 wouldn’t be the same without you!

A quick game of catch-up.

20131230-221608.jpgSometime between my last post and now I received a phone call from my little sister saying she was moving her wedding up a solid year. Ahh! So the boys and I (and usually when I say boys I include Super Dad but this time I’m not including him!) made a quick 6-day trip to Oklahoma to see her get married. Of course Xander turned into Todzilla right before the wedding started, so I ended up having to walk with him into another room and pretty much missed the whole thing. But thanks to technology I watched it on my phone (thanks for recording it Mom!) later on that night.

That trip came at a perfect time in some ways and a horrible time in others.

20131230-222346.jpgPerfect because it was Christmas time, we got to see the lights, there was a “warm front” of sorts and it wasn’t totally freezing the entire time we were there–remember my babies think 60 degrees is cold!–and both boys are at fun ages.

20131230-221503.jpg Horrible because Super Dad couldn’t get off work to come with us–traveling with two babies is not something anyone wants to do, it was cold, there was an ice storm, and I’m pretty sure everyone we saw was sick.

We came home sick, and actually took Xander to the doctor within 2 hours of getting home! (He had a horrible ear infection but is all better now!) And despite being sick and Super Dad having to work, we had an awesome Christmas! Xander has finally figured out opening presents (last year he cried and tried to wrap them again!) Liam is mobile and just scooted towards the paper piles to play. And I got to take pictures.

Since we’ve been home the top of my microwave has become a pharmacy, Liam has decided his mission in life is reminding me he’s growing fast, and Xander has shown his selective listening skills off. Paul surprised me with an ipad for my birthday (which isn’t until next week!) And Allie has gotten lots of cuddles from two little boys that missed their puppy while we were gone.
So much more happened in the month of December, but I’m writing a blog post not a book. And of course I’d hate to bore you to tears!!


Dollar Store “Stained Glass” Gifts

IMG_8444If you’ve been here before, you know I love doing arts and crafts with my boys.  Liam, at 6 months, could care less.  Xander, at two, however sees me get the paint out and starts clapping his hands and saying, “Painting momma? Painting! YAY PAINTING!” as fast as he can.

If you go back to the post I did here about Thanksgiving crafts we did, you can see our Thanksgiving stained glass.  I didn’t give a tutorial on it, because 1) I hadn’t mastered it and 2) We did it on a day that Super Dad wasn’t home to take pictures.  Well, I made sure and did our stained glass Christmas presents on a day that Super Dad was home so that we could document the steps!  That being said, its so easy that a mom of two monkeys can do it, the hardest part is being patient enough to let the paint dry–multiple times!

First things first, you need to grab your materials.  What do you need?

  • Dollar Store 5×7 picture frames (the amount you need will vary depending on how many gifts you’re making! You could do 4×6 or 8×10, just depends how big or small you want!)
  • Paper and Pen/Pencil
  • Puff Paint (I used Tulip Dimensional Fabric Paint, but that’s just because I had it on hand. You could actually even use black acrylic paint if you’re using Tempera paint! Use whatever you have on hand–it’s supposed to be a cost-effect craft!!)
  • Paint and Paint Brushes (We used tempera because it washes off easy and I have a little boy who hates being dirty!)
  • Ribbon
  • Glue Gun with sticks
  • Clear Spray Paint (to prevent chipping and peeling–optional)

DollarStore Crafting CheapCraftYour first step is to take the glass out of the frame and clean it off.  A great thing about the dollar tree frames is that they don’t have stickers on the glass, and they’re wrapped so there are no fingerprints! Also at this time you need to draw your ornament onto your sheet of paper.  I personally just traced a salt container to make a circle, and then free-handed a little square and a hook.  I wanted to document the year, so I also wrote “2013” on each frame with a dry erase marker.

IMG_8400Next, place your piece of glass onto your paper with the ornament drawn on, and trace the ornament (and year if you wrote it in with dry erase marker) with your puff paint (or paint brush with acrylic paint!)  When finished place the glass in the frame and let dry.  (I let it dry overnight, we had other things to do that afternoon!) Just a note, I didn’t draw the ornament topper onto my piece of paper, for me a square and curly line was easy enough to freehand.  IMG_8396

Here’s where your little helpers come into play.  We took the frames outside, and I let Xander go to town with green, red, yellow, and white tempera paint.  I added a little bit of dish soap because it helps the paint stick to glass.  Like I said, Super Dad was home, so this became an outdoor craft (thank goodness we live in southern Florida and it’s still in the low 80s!) but you could easily do this inside if you cover your painting area in newspaper, etc.  If your little ones aren’t so little you might not even need to cover with newspaper, but I’d personally do it anyway!IMG_8417a

As each of the pieces of glass were painted I took them away and gave him a new one–this prevented them from becoming that famous “Preschool gray” color, and got them all painted within his window of interest.  All in all in took about 20 minutes!  We laid them out in the sun to dry until he went to bed–they were dry well before that, but it’s glass and Xander is two, I didn’t want to do this next steps with him trying to “help.”IMG_8416

PicMonkey CollageOnce the paint is dry, plug in your glue gun.  While it’s warming cut your ribbon into 6-8 inch sections.  You need a piece of ribbon for every frame.  Once the glue gun is ready glue the ribbon directly to the frame–I’ve included photos of how I did this, but it might be different depending on your frames! Then glue the sheet of glass to the frame also.  Lots of times people say less is more, this does NOT apply here.  If you plan on hanging your frames you will want LOTS of glue so that you can feel confident that the glass will not fall out shatter into a million pieces and then hate Tasha at because your child’s masterpiece was ruined.  So, use LOTS of hot glue to make sure that sucker is secure.PicMonkey Collage2

After the sheet of glass is secured and the glue is dry, you have the option of spraying the back with clear spray paint.  I used Rust-oleum Painter’s Touch Ultra Cover in clear and sprayed two coats.  Let dry completely.  At this point you’ll want to check your glass to make sure it’s still secure, and add more hot glue ifi necessary.  Again, it’s glass, DO NO SKIMP!IMG_8756

Now it’s ready to hang.  Ours hangs from a command hook, but you could also skip the ribbon and put it on an easel with a candle in the back and it’d have the same effect.  Hope you enjoyed our Dollar Store “Stained Glass!” We sure did, and plan on giving them out as presents to family when we go home to Oklahoma in ten short days!  (Grandparents please act surprised!  Xander worked pretty hard on them!!)  If you try this at home please share! Can’t wait to see how yours turn out!

**We had everything except the hangers so for us, it cost $1 per frame.  If you have to buy everything, of course it’s going to cost a bit more–just remember dish soap will make any paint stick to glass better, and you can use whatever you have on hand.**


Officially December! Whaaat?

Where has this year gone? To me it has flown by, but maybe that’s because we moved across the country, had a baby, and have had more visitors than we’ve had in the last two years combined, and still managed to survive.

I’ve been chomping at the bit to start putting out Christmas decorations but I kept telling myself to wait until after Thanksgiving. Well folks, the turkey is carved and leftovers are in the fridge! Our tree and Christmas decorations are up! I don’t think I’ve been this excited about Christmas in years–but Xander kind of gets it this year which makes it SO exciting for me as a momma. He wasn’t too big on decorating the tree, just wanted to get all the “balls” out of the box. (Yes, at one point there were more ornaments on the floor than the tree!) But he got a kick out of getting on Paul’s shoulders and putting the star on. He absolutely loves his Christmas train–I think we spent close to two hours watching it go around the tracks today! And he’s a big fan of The Elf on the Shelf–which I’ll gladly accept pointers and ideas on where to move it!
Liam is the typical 6 month old and has no clue about Christmas but is enjoying the new Christmas books (we got The Christmas Story a couple of weeks ago and he likes the colors!) and of course he’s a fan of the lights. He also likes the train until Allie walks by–she is way more interesting!

Christmas has always been my favorite holiday, and I can’t wait to share with you some of the crafts and fun activities I have planned to do with the boys!