Monday, December 31, 2007

Finished Living Christmas Tree

Here is our finished living Christmas tree with all the ornaments I created out of the paper cards we got. The photo cards are on the fridge, but for the ornaments cards I cut out the part of the picture I liked and then cut out where they signed their name and glued it to the back, hole punched the top and ran some yarn through & tada! we have ornaments.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Published Photographer: Our Friend Tim

Our dear friend Tim has recently published a book of his photography. It is called: Documenting Life: 100 Images of Humanity & Nature. He is a wonderful & talented photographer. Check out the link to his book and buy a copy. I don't think you will be disappointed if you appreciate looking at the beauty of life & love in print.

Puppet Projects

I was watching Martha Stewart Crafts again and she made these bug finger puppets that were very cute. So, I searched her site to find them and found lots of other puppet directions as well. As soon as I have my sewing machine with me again, the bug finger puppets might be fun to do.

In the meantime I could make these felted finger puppets because no sewing is needed, just felt & fleece, soap, water, & glue.

And these origami puppets seem kinda fun to do. Although, I really think she would destroy these now. It might be better to do when she gets older (with her.)

And here are some cute paper bag puppets.

Fun, Fuzzy Sock puppets seem kinda cool.

She did have a few other puppet instructions, but I didn't care for them as much.

There was one pattern on her site that used the leftover mitten/glove from a missing pair, but it didn't make them permanent. I thought it would be neat to actually have mittens that were puppets. She might think those are fun. So, I started a search online to find something.

This pattern turns store mittens (or you could make your own if you wanted) into puppets by knitting pieces to add to them to make them into a dog, cat, girl, boy, or mouse puppet mittens. I was thinking I should try to convince my mom to make these for the grandkids next Christmas. She reads this blog, so if she likes this idea, maybe she will think about doing it. I was trying to find something that was all knit or crocheted, but I was unable to find a free pattern online for that. But the one I did find was cute and less labor intensive.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Winter Holiday Traditions

I just thought I would blog about some of the litte traditions we are doing as our own family.

* Advent Calendar - neither Andy nor I ever did this growing up, but I thought Isabel would really like it, but we don't just open the little door & get candy every night. Before we do that we say what we are thankful for that day. Although, when Andy did it one night I heard him say they were thankful for chocolate.

* St. Nick - Neither of us had this growing up, although I did it for my siblings for a few years. I hated going to school the day after St. Nick came and hearing about what the other kids got. St. Nick is pretty big in WI, and even bigger in the Mke area. We didn't give her much, but we used it as the time to leave Santa her letter and told her that he would come & get it and check on her and if she was being good she would get treats in her stocking. Although, the next day after the she opened her treats she did want to check again.

* Christmas pajamas - every year we will give each other new pajamas to wear. This wasn't really a tradition for my family, but I remember getting some in my stocking a few times and how much fun is it to wear new pajamas to bed. I thought it would be nicer to get them before Santa came so that we could wake up & open our stockings in our christmas pajamas. We started this last year already.

* Santa - Santa brings stocking presents for all of three of us, not just the child. But Isabel will get one big present from Santa. I know some people think that Santa should be bringing all the toys & fun things, but I'm not working like that. See, there was this winter when I was in 8th grade & my mom asked me on the way shopping if I had written my letter to Santa yet. Yes, 8th grade. I finally had to break down & confess that I didn't believe and neither did my brother or middle sister. My mom asked me why we didn't say anything and I had to tell her it was because we were afraid that we wouldn't get as many presents. She told me they would, but they would say that they were from them instead of Santa. Although, my youngest sister still believed that year yet, so Santa still came. I actually stopped believing in Santa when I was about 5 or 6. I came across this list in my mom's handwriting that said presents that my parents were getting each of us and that Santa was getting each of us. I saw the list before Christmas, adn what do you know - on Christmas that is what we got from each of them. Now, how would my mom & dad know what Santa was getting each of us?
Oh! Santa also brings a gift for the family to do/play together and share. This was something Santa did for my family and I thought it was nice. Some years it was a video to watch together and other times it was a game to play, etc. I just thought it was nice to do something together rather than just playing with your own gifts.

* Meals - Well, our Chrismas tends to take a good 10 days. My in-laws take the weekend before and my parents take the weekend after, and as long as xmas falls in between we are good to go. If it falls on a weekend, then there is some negotiation as we don't want Christmas to go on for 3 weeks. So, the day we celebrate with my in-laws we do an appetizer meal. They need to make appetizers that are hot & meaty. Now, my family still likes to do and "eve" & "day" even if it is not the actual days. So, on the "eve" (and we do it in the evening) we have appetizers, which in my family tend to be more dips & spreads & sandwich stuff. Then on the "day" my mom makes the big Christmas dinner & usually my paternal grandparents come over. Now for the real eve & day, it is the three of us. We do take & bake pizza on Christmas Eve and then on Christmas Day I am making a Ham dinner with all the trimmings (my mom tends to make turkey usually (although sometimes she does both), but I like Ham and welcome to oppotunity to have it.

* Gift Exchange - Andy, Isabel & I wil all exchange our gifts to each other on Christmas is reserved for presents from Santa. Our gift exchanging has changed among our families this year. For Andy's family, everyone is just buying for the kiddos & his parents. And for my family we'll buy for the kiddos & my parents & then those who wanted to have exchanged names.

* New Year's Eve - For several years now, we have been celebrating New Year's Eve by having dinner with friends. We like that. In years past, we have been invited to a friends' house, but since we have moved we needed to do it at our house. So, we have invited another family over (we spent Thanksgiving with them) to have dinner with us at a kid-friendly hour (they have three boys, actually the twins are Isabel's age and she has then as her two boyfriends -- she prefers them over the oterh boys in our playgroup -- anyways, at Thanksgiving she was sitting on the couch with one watching Dora & holding hands, and then at our Cookie Exhange & luncheon she was eating lunch by the other and he was feeding her grapes -- I've never had anyone to feed me grapes!) So, we'll have dinner & maybe Andy & I will watch a movie afterward, but I am pretty sure we'll be in bed before midnight. We got old.

* Church - I don't want to be C&E people, but I do think it is important to go to church on those holidays. Actually, church on Christmas Eve was the reason we started our pizza on Christmas Eve tradition. Last year we had an hour to drive to get home from church and knew we wuoldn't have time to cook anything & have time to open our presents, so we got take & bake. I'd liek us to go as a family, but I am not sure how it will work out with Isabel right now. So, I might just need to go by myself.

What am I missing? We don't do anything for the Winter Soltice, but I think it would be neat to at least dine only by candlelight on that night. We watch Peep and have watched the episode several time where Paz & his mom celebrate the winter solitice. I send out Christmas cards & usually try to write some kind of creative letter (this year I scanned in a drawing of Isabel's & did our ABC's of 2007 on top of that.) I like to get the tree up the weekend of Thanksgiving & decorate it. We did that this year, but because all my xmas stuff is in MN we did some different things this year. I also like to put out my manager & figurines that my great grandparents made/gave to me, but that too is in MN & it probably is wise not to have that out this year otherwise Isabel might have broken some of the figurines. Although this year, I did by a small figurine that is harder to break that has Mary, Joseph, & baby Jesus and we have been reading xmas stories from her Children's bible and talking about baby Jesus. Usually I bake a bunch of cookies & make a bunch of candies, but this year we did the cookie/candy exchange with our group.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The New & Revised Plan

WW worked well for me when I did it before getting pregnant. I have been working out a couple times a week and that is going well for me. But now I need to step it up. I have been trying to eat more by reading labels once again and making healthier choices and stocking the house with more healthier choices. But I just love all the holidays sweets so much and the holidays get-togethers are yummy. So, after the new year I am going back on WW. I am also adding in another day of exercising.

I will be taking three classes with other moms. The social aspect is a huge notivational factor for me. The classes I am taking are: Spinning on Monday, Group Power (weight lifting) on Wednesday, & Yogalaties on Friday. The GP class is a new one for me and is in the evening so Isabel can stay home with daddy. All the classes are an hour long. I don't want to tak any more classes than that (because 1- I can't afford additional classes & 2- I don't want Isabel in kid care more than 2 hours a week and there are other things we want to do together.)

So, that's the new plan. Basically just an extra class and starting WW again.

I do this the current classes are working well. I certainly do feel stronger, which is a nice feeling.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Hairclips & Bows

I buoght some alligator clips and bought a bag of ribbon & trim scraps and made some pieces for Isabel's hair and some to give. I made a few sets of the purple pom-poms and we are giving two sets away as gifts. I really like how the adrk green bow turned out. She will wear that with her Christmas outfits.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Snowy Day Collage

These are just some pictures I took out the bak door yeaterday. We go near 6 inches of snow here yesterday. Plus rain & sleet, so we stayed indoors all day. Most schools around us were closed for the day.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

I Can Hear the Bells on Christmas Morn....

How well do you know your Christmas songs? Take this quiz to find out. I got 10 right and 1 wrong. I shuld not have followed my gut on the one I got wrong and instead should have went with my second choice. I didn't really know the song I got wrong.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Things to Make/Do for Isabel

Hair Bows
So, I was looking at buying some on eBay and decided I could try to make my own. Then I saw the "pay" patterns on eBay and I knew I could find them online somewhere for free. This website is the jackpot. There are so many bows on there. My favorite are the boutique bows & pinwheel bows. I am going to try to make a couple as stocking stuffers. I thought I would share this with my fellow crafters. The instructions are step-by-step with pictures -- which is REALLY nice. And it doesn't look at that hard for some of them.They even have a pattern for scrunchies......I remember making my own in high school (as I wanted many different ones and just couldn't afford to buy them all and just buying the elastic and using leftover fabric I made MANY scrunchies for less that I would have paid for 1.) I will only be able to make the pinwheel kind (if I have time) as I don't have my glue gun here. I may have to remember to bring that back with my during xmas time.

Paper Dolls
I printed this off for her and I will cut it out some night while she is sleeping and take this out when we need something to do. Although, last time we went to the book store they gave us these paper dolls punch-outs. So I can add to her collection (although this is more flimsy since it is just on regular paper, it would have been better if I had card stock to print it out on.)

Salt Dough Ornaments
I don't know that we will make these this year as we already decorated some ornaments, but it is a good idea for next year. I made these when I was in kindergarten and my Aunt Mary still has a couple of them. We're talking that these things are 25 years old. So, they do hold up if they are well cared for.

Cinnamon Dough Ornaments
I actually made these with the kids I used to work with. It made the room smell so great. Although it can get pricey to make since it needs so much cinnamon.

Here are a couple of crafting blogs I am going to start checking out:
Sew, Mama, Sew

And one final things - Doll Patterns - I haven't looked at too many of the links yet, but I wanted to post this page here so that I remember.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Sunrise in the Morning

I am normally up in time for a sunset, but rarely do I get more than a couple seconds to look at it. Every morning when I get up I look out the window at the lake & when I go to bed too. It is very calming. But usually a look is all I get. I was up earlier than Andy & Isabel by 2 hours this morning. So I did get to enjoy it much longer & got a few things done. Lazy bones were sleeping in.