Sunday, December 28, 2008

My Home Sweet Home .... I CANT BELIEVE I WON!

My Home Sweet Home: "[The winner is Rachel at We Shall Mount Up with Wings!]Chocolate company Ferrero and Share Our Strength, a leading hunger-relief organization have partnered, and the result is Share Something Sweet."

Well, maybe I'll share with a local friend or relative who makes a comment.


Anyone who knows me knows that my absolute most favorite thing (well, other than turkey legs and juicy steaks) is CHOCOLATE! oh WOW!

Ok - I feel better - this rotten hacky cold has really gotten me down - so WOW.

Too cool!

Joel's I Spy Jar

But I would rather play with the Blue's Clues game!

Oh, OK, I spy ... a white U. Do you?

I guess this is fun too!

The peanut butter jar was still not big enough for everything we put in there .... hostely, less is more! Pick a theme and just stick with it.

We liked the added glitter - it really spiced up the sand - but just a LITTLE bit - 1 to 1.5 tsp of glitter.

We've now upgraded to a slightly bigger jar, and may redo his again.

Maybe I'll just make one that I can change out on a regular basis.

Glitter or foil confetti ones might work for an older child - and it was so much fun to make!
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Vannan's Top 4 Christmas Gifts

Top of the list was her Jack Sparrow figurine and folders.

She likes how silly Pirates of the Carribean is and especially the silliness of Jack Sparrow. She owns the first video and borrows the other ones from the library from time to time.

She says this is the most super soft and warm blanket she has ever owned. PINK and her top most favorite colors.

Thank you Uncle T and Aunt H.

Being a farm girl (more or less), knives are useful - or at least the thought of owning one carries with it some prestige. LOL.
So this was a HUGE hit.
Her two tiny knives just wouldn't do much - but this one does everything! Or so she says.

Thank you Grandpa!

Even though she says she still really likes her Pirates of the Carribean MP3 player - this one hit a hot button being PINK. She really is enjoying using it - and LOVES that she has been able to put a bunch of horse pictures that we found on the internet as backgrounds.

As she learns about new features - I expect it to become even more of a favorite.

Thank you Uncle T and Aunt H.

Other items that Vannan received that she really liked

A pink photo box - she has put all of her portable "treasures" into it - Thank you Grandma!

An electronic Battleship game - Thank you Aunt M and Uncle N.

Her outdoor set from church - Purple, but included walkie talkies (up to 20 feet) and a lot of fun stuff.

A backpack to put all her purple goodies into - Thank you Grandpa!

A big set of Dave and Pat Sargent Books - Thank you Mom and Dad.

Vannan's only lament was that she didn't really get much off of her top 5 Dear Santa list - but she DID get some things to decorate her room later. The pink box and blanket, and a peg board that we are going to paint pink.

Overall - she was quite pleased.
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Kendra's Top 4 Christmas Presents

She says top of her list - by a LONG way - is her new MP3 player. It holds 16 times the amount her old one did - and it's rechargable - and she can make multiple playlists and pictures and and and and.... she is very very excited.

Thank you Uncle T and Aunt H.

(She wants you to know that the smudges on her wrist are paint - not her supper).

Once she saw these at Walmart - she HAD to have some. Grandma obliged her. So now she is the very proud owner of purple croc boots - which she plans to wear to church even.

Thank you Grandma and Grandpa.

She finaggled this present out of Daddy. Crochet hooks. She wants more - but this is what she got this trip.

Thank you Daddy.

A SOFT big blanket. She loves it. It is purple. She thought her last year blanket was soft - but this one is 100 times softer she says.
I told her not to let Joel feel it or he might take it for himself! He loves soft things too.

Thank You Uncle T and Aunt H.

She has a few other favorites too - but I only can put up 4 pictures.

She got a ceramic doll from Grandma and Grandpa - and named her Ulrica.
A lady bug with a scrubby from Grandma and Grandpa.
A knitting kit from Mom and Dad.

And she likes the money - $25 all total.

Thank you everybody!
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Top 4 Christmas Gifts for Joel

Top of the list has to be his "Diego" backpack. Filled with lots of "outdoor" themed items, he loves the "watch" which is really a compass, the ax, bandaide box, the knife, a shovel, and a real working flashlight... It's not an actual real "Diego" variety - but he's got a BIG imagination and this was twice the stuff for half the price! Vannan got a similar style gift of purple items from church, and they are looking forward to exploring together.

Thank you Uncle T and Aunt H!

Joel loves the really cool table top drawing easle. I'm sure as we use it - he'll enjoy it even more.

Thank you Uncle T and Aunt H!

Deigo and Dora are some of his favorite shows. He loves to reinact the shows with the toys he has on hand - so he was very delighted to get a Diego and baby Jaguar to play his games with when he dreams them up.

Thank you Mommy and Daddy

Bathtime has gotten longer. He gets a puzzle, a floating toy, and it makes music. He tries hard to play the songs on the card. So now I can step a little farther from the bathroom while he's in the tub ... banging away and singing to the top of his voice. If he gets quiet - I go see what he is doing! How's that for efficient?

Thank you Uncle N and Aunt M!

It will be interesting to see what remains in the top running for favorite toys - and what gets shoved to the back of the shelves.

I really NEED to figure out a better way to organize his toys so I can rotate and store them better. Plus I need to go through them again and get rid of a few that he does not play with anymore.
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Saturday, December 27, 2008

Suncatcher Craft

Every year our public library hosts a craft day for the kids around Christmas time.
The goal/idea is for the kids to be able to make presents to give to family and friends.

The first year we went - we were like 1 of 5 families that participated. But after some great publicity in the local newspaper (one article in which Vannan is dangling a worm with a huge smile), participation has really picked up.

I hate to admit that I was a bit disappointed by the quality of crafts this year - but it was free instead of $1 or $2 each.
Most of the crafts were the Oriental Trading bulk craft variety - fun - but not really long term keepable - many didn't even make the trip home - though it is hard to keep anything nice with the amount of stuff we pile into the back seat of the car - I'm sure it would have been much better if we only could get the trunk of the car open!

But this one was a suncatcher butterfly - just a cheap one. But they used glitter glue on it intead of the clearish paint that normally comes with them. It turned out very well! These are cheap at Wal-mart - and we have a huge box of glitter glue - big bottles of it.

Isn't it pretty?

This one was Kendra's.
Update: The shiny glitter paint has peeled up from the plastic part completely and in one solid piece. Cool looking - but disappointing because it is no longer a pretty butterfly keychain that she can give away. This craft won't last long!
On the other hand - the butterfly that peeled up could be used in another craft or scrapbooking and look really cool. So maybe it's not a lost cause?
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Kendra LOVES to cook

Kendra LOVES to cook - she is very talented. Her favorite thing to cook is a recipe that I made as at her age, which was given to me by my Grandma! Cool! She has played around with other recipes too and now has her favorite version.

Fresh Apple Cake

1 1/2 cup sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmet
3 cups chopped Granny Smith Apples
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Heat oven to 350 deg. Grease and flour rectangular pan 13x9x2 inches.
Mix sugar, oil, eggs until blended and beat 1 minute.
Stir in other ingredients (except apples and nuts) and beat 1 minute.
Stir in apples and nuts.
Pour into pan.

Bake until wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. 35 - 45 minutes.

Totally YUMMY.

But nobody took a picture of the finished cake.

But just to show you that I still let her be a kid ... or maybe this is why she likes to cook so much?

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Helping Hands Hang Laundry

Helping Kendra hang laundry!
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Friday, December 26, 2008

More I Spy Jars

We found the sand - and Joel has had a wonderful time playing in it. It's a very high quality sand, left over from a building site. Some friends of ours ended up with 3-4 wheelbarrow loads of it many years ago. It's working great for our project.

The jars, however, are not.

We put too many things to find into the bottles - and here I was feeling like a scrooge for not putting MORE!

Kendra has carefully written out every single item onto 3x5 cards - separating the items into 3 levels - Easy, Normal, and Hard, based on the size of the object to find.

We put Joel's into a Large peanut butter jar - and that's working much better.

I would also advise putting rubber cement onto the ring of the lid before screwing it down the LAST time. We used packaging tape - and other than really looking terrible - the boys are already picking at it and trying to remove it.

For more ideas on making these nifty jars....

Wonder if I could make and SELL these? Hmmmmm.....

I've got a WHOLE tub of sand!

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Thursday, December 25, 2008

3 Grubs and a Blossom: Crayon Organization????

3 Grubs and a Blossom: Crayon Organization????: "Mommy called all three of us into the kitchen today and told us to unwrap all ofthe broken crayons... this wasn't very easy.. and acutally mommy ended upunwrapping most of them.. but was this really an art project or was it a school lesson??? Mommy got all of these plastic containers out and told us to sort the colors out.Hmmm.. sounds like school to me..... but it sure was fun..and if the crayons broke we didn't get in trouble for breaking them!!!!!"

Great illustration of making new crayons from old broken crayons. Her boys are always asking to EAT my crayon cupcakes - so now they have their own!

Can't wait to see the finished product!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Making I Spy Games - Part 1

I saw this craft idea here -

I found other examples here -

Then I found a commercial quality one in a catalogue, but I cannot find it again. It was selling for around $27.95 ... something odd like that.
Looked cool to me! And something I could do for Christmas presents!

We couldn't get to our sand - so with inspiration - I had the girls sticking the stickers to toilet paper (clean of course) to remove the stickiness. This worked very well.

We lined up cups and labeled them with the names of every single one of the kids we planned to make an I Spy bottle for at this time.
If all goes well - we have more planned for later.

I had a great time going through the jar of confetti that I've collected over the years. I've got some really cool sets. And I'm always asking at parties if we can pick up the confetti and take it home - people must think I'm totally WEIRD.

We also went through our aquarium decoration rocks, beads, and foamies - and ended up with 10 jars of nice things.

We made my sister's boys 3 nearly identicle so she can use them as a game to have them race to see who can find theirs first.
Others, like Joel, we tried to put a lot of a favorite color (yellow) or like Bethie, a favorite object (fish).

More on this project later - I seem to only be able to load 4 pictures at a time on dial-up.
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Sunday Church Puppet show

First, all of the younger children sang Away In the Manger. Joel had just been woken from a "nap". He had crawled into my lap and instantly fallen asleep while waiting for everything to get started.

Your kids would never do something like that...would they?

So here we have 3 loan cattle men, trying to get home in time for Christmas - but the pass is closed. So "Grits" the old cook tells them a story.

There was a little family out on the prarie. Their dad was out hunting and the church social was tomorrow night. But they couldn't go to the social without their dad!

See Lizzy over there to the left - that is Kendra! I think she did a pretty good job, one of the few puppets that didn't have a "mouth" problem or a "sinking" problem.

The dad finally returns home with an incredible story about being lost on the mountain and an angel leading him out into his own valley. They didn't get to go to the social - but it was a great Christmas because their dad had come home.

Turned out that the little boy in the story with a new skunk skin hat ... was Grits!

It was funny and well done.

My favorite part was Lizzy falling into the popcorn balls.

I had hoped to get better pictures - but the batteries were fading and the ones I keep extra had been removed from my purse! Seems a little boy's toy needed new batteries.

I've got to find and recharge my rechargables.
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Monday, December 22, 2008

Apartment Therapy ohdeedoh | Kiddo Kidkeeper Proximity Alarm

Apartment Therapy ohdeedoh Kiddo Kidkeeper Proximity Alarm: "Have you ever been in a store or park or other public space, turned around and didn't see your child immediately? It can happen no matter how diligent you are. Perhaps the Kiddo Kidkeeper can be of assistance."

Why do all the coolest stuff for kids always come out after your children don't need them anymore?

Kendra use to be the WORST as getting lost. Thankfully she loved to ride in the buggy and always wanted to be buckled into the seat. Even when Vannan was tiny, we carried Vannan or Vannan walked - Kendra rode. It was funny - except when she got lost. Which was often, but only once was it really bad. Usually it was no more than one or two aisles over ... but one day she was lost for nearly 30 minutes in a Walmart Super Center.

I'm so glad that Vannan and Joel do not tend to wander off or get lost - though I do worry about Joel, because he loves to give out hugs to Grandma and Grandpa people. Seeing their faces light up as he says "HI" with a big grin and a big hug ... he makes their day.


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