December 12, 2013

This is four


It's startling really how much my daughter reminds me of myself. I have to stop myself sometimes to remember that she is one giant sponge, soaking up my every movement and expelling it right back at me. I remind myself daily that she is little.  

Today. Today that little girl turns four. She doesn't notice the years flying by, the milestones she's passing with flying colors, the gray hairs she's giving her father and me. No, that little sponge is just soaking up her world. Content to play quietly with her barbies, or terrorize her little brother (who at almost two still doesn't talk and thus can't tell her that he's annoyed). She has a fierce yearning to soak EVERYTHING in, wanting to know why, how, when


Four has snuck up on me. When that little girl was placed in my arms the very first time, four seemed like twenty.  I felt as though we would never make it to four. 

Moms would tell you four was the golden age. The terrible twos a thing of nightmares, the sassy-ness of three? You drank that attitude under the table. Four was the goal you dreamed about as you pulled your hair out.  But we made it. Four. Finally. 

 It's hard to look back at the past without a smile on my face. Sure, those days that she drove me to drink (not really but damn close) are there. Boy are they there.  But for every tantrum, sassy remark, or complete disregard for anything that came out of my mouth, that beautiful curly haired girl had a smile, a hug, or a remark so far off the wall I almost peed my pants laughing. She makes every bad day disappear with just one silly gesture or kiss. 

I know the attitude is far from gone, she's my daughter after all. I will struggle tooth and nail with this strong headed girl. But I'm grateful for the opportunity. I want her to be strong willed, determined, and passionate.  I want her to make herself heard, just not in that screeching tone she likes to use right now.  I can already see the woman she will one day grow into. She has a distinct personality. Sitting in her room surrounded by books one minute, the next? She's acting out The Little Mermaid, every one of the characters, all her. And her imagination? Puts mine to shame, and I'm pretty proud of that aspect of myself. 

The past four years have flown by in a blur to me. I won't get all sappy on you and say, cherish it while you can, but seriously. Do that. She's four. Four!! 

We had ourselves a little photo shoot to capture the moment, in the cold.  She was bribed with not one, but two pieces of candy.  She was a champ, and I am sadly still an amateur.

Four is a new adventure here. An adventure I for one can't wait to embark on. First things first though, a cupcake for breakfast. You only turn four once right?

December 6, 2013

Santa don't forget about us down here

You know how when you're little and still believe in Santa? And how you're forever unsure how Santa know exactly where you are on Christmas? It's because parents make this super awesome "Santa stop here" sign. It's true, I read it on Wikipedia.

Seriously though, we had a Santa stop here sign growing up and I loved that thing! I thought it was the only reason Santa came to our house (because let's be honest, I was not good all year). He knew from that sign that there were children in our house and that he needed to stop.

This sign was super easy to make (with the help of a power tool wielding hubby).

He marked out the octagon in the size I wanted (which was big so Santa could see it from way up high) and used a circular saw to cut out shape. He used a piece of wood in our stockpile and cut a tip on it so it would be easy to put into the ground. Coupl'a screws later, you have a stop sign. 


Painting was the most time consuming thing of the whole project. I spent my time painting while watching one of those wonderful Hallmark channel Christmas movies (seriously, aren't those just great?). My handwriting is not that fabulous but I also haven't broke down and bought stencils yet either. Add a topcoat of polyutherene and it's now weather proof (although this "huge" ice/snow storm we are supposed to get this weekend will be the first true test). 

I had fun making this, it was simple, the kids thought it looked cool and it was just big enough that they couldn't pick it up and whack each other with the sign. Maybe in a few years. 

How old are you kids and do they still believe in Santa??

xo Stacie

December 4, 2013

O' {wooden} Christmas tree


We've had almost zero Christmas decorations in our house for five years. There's a tree. And some pillows we found in the attic (I washed them), and that's about it. And to be honest it's never bothered me that much before because we don't host parties and all our friends are just starting out like us. But now my daughter is in school. And has friends. And a birthday in the middle of December. All that? Equals inviting strangers to my house (whom will hopefully all leave as friends). I go into a panic when it's just my mother coming over and try to speed clean my house (but with two kids running behind me destroying my progress I don't know why I bother). So I'm trying my best to make our home into a super cozy Christmas-y house that people walk into and say "oh where's my blanket and book, I just want to curl up on your couch it's so cozy in here". I know, I have high expectations.


Shew that was a long introduction for this post. I want to share our little wooden Christmas tree I whipped up in a day, mostly at naptime!  If you follow me on Instagram you've seen it there. She's a beauty and was so simple. All you need is a few scraps of wood, sand paper, green paint, brown paint, nails and a screw. To be truthful, I didn't even have brown paint. I had orange and black and voila! Brown paint! 



I sanded each piece after cutting them down to size (with a handsaw because I'm still nervous around power saws). Secure those pieces to your "trunk" and TA DA! A tree!! Paint it and then sand it down a little more to give it a rustic look. Screw a piece of plywood on the bottom (had the hubs do this for me, mostly because once I painted it I was done). Seriously. I told you it was simple. And the kids LOVE it too. It's "their" tree. 



When we found lights in the attic, the littles went bonkers trying to put them on the tree. I let them have at it and then just fixed it after they grew bored of decorating. They turn it off every night before bed like it's a special treat and that makes me happy. 



What simple craft has brought lots of joy to your kids, or you? Share with me!

xo Stacie

December 2, 2013

It's a little late, but it's the thought that counts right?


Okay okay, so it's December 2nd and I'm just now posting about our advent calendar.  But, well, (enter excuse here).  To be honest, I've just been lazy with the blogging. Our computer is still on the fritz so doing everything by phone is annoying!  Maybe Santa will bring me a new computer (yeah right, I pay Santa's bills, he's broke).  I also only took one iPhone photo of the actual advent calendar. Forgive me.

So the advent calendar is a new tradition in our house this year. Little Miss is slowly starting to understand days of the week so this is also an exercise in that (gotta make everything educational right?).  I didn't have a whole lot of money to spend on one, especially this time of year so I wanted to use things I already owned (or needed to buy for a certain little lady's birthday coming up next week).  

Supplies needed for this project:

-a large chalkboard (like the one I made here)
-parchment paper bags (25 for $2 at Hobby Lobby)
-numbered stamps (I borrowed from my awesome mother in law)
-stamp pad
-rubber glue or mod podge
-washi tape
-string (I used bakers twine I got on clearance)
-craft paper (my husband had a ginormous roll in the garage so I stole it for myself)
-clothespins (buy these at the dollar store)

It seems like a lot of supplies but you can make your bags as elaborate or as plain as you choose. I sat on the couch and watched a movie while I made mine and it. Was. Wonderful. That is MY time and I enjoy being able to do two things together like that. 

I just stamped the date on the bags (truth: I forgot dec 11th), then added some glitter underneath because they were a little too plain for me. I had originally planed on hanging them on a different board so I had added the craft paper cutouts, however when I moved them to their final resting place, the craft paper isn't really seen. Which also makes the bakers twine I used to tie the paper to the bags obsolete too. Oh well. See, now you don't have to waste your time, unless you stopped reading at the supplies list and already started. Sorry. 

I'm on a budget, and with two kids in the house I wasn't about to buy little toys for each for 25 days. So candy it was. I alternated between Hersey kisses and mini candy canes. I also ate the leftover kisses as I made the calendar. Then I hated myself a little. Then I ate some candy canes and got over it. 

Seal your bags with washi tape and pin to your board (I put mine in order by date).  I wrapped lace I already had on hand (I think I paid 1.00 for it at a thrift store) around my board but any string will work (oh look, you can use that bakers twine if you want!!). I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out. Maybe when the kids are older well invest a little more money into the calendar, but for now, the kids are just happy that I'm letting them eat candy every day. 


What does your calendar look like? Did you start late this year (my kids can't tell the date yet)? Let me know! Don't forget to follow on Instagram for real time pictures(because I actually post things on there). 

xo Stacie

November 25, 2013

A kid friendly Christmas tree garland


We kinda just skipped Thanksgiving this year (but in our defense, we don't really decorate for that holiday anyways because we don't host it at our house). I'm just too excited for Christmas. Little Miss is finally old enough to really understand believe and participate. However, I'm also terrified of Little Mr. destroying the Christmas tree and opening all the presents early, but well get through that.

I want to keep the kids involved in everything I do Christmas wise (I mean come on, they even went Santa present shopping with me, they thought the toys were for their cousins). We made a traditional paper circle garland last year to hang in our entryway. This year I wanted to do something a little more creative and festive. 

This Christmas tree garland is perfect for the 3-5 age range. Little Mr. tried to help make the garland but mostly he just wanted to eat the supplies (sequins are pretty tempting, like glittery rice).  All the supplies you need are:
Whatever is in your craft area. Seriously we even used pieces of yarn. Construction paper worked best for Little Miss. 

Cut your construction paper in half before you start. Then decorate. I tried to show her how it becomes a tree so it should have ornaments on it and the such, but she didn't care. She went to town with the glitter glue and sequins. I also let her use my rubber glue and glitter, until she dumped the whole thing in her lap.



I decorated half and she did the rest. We stayed content for almost an hour (not the little one, he gave up That's pretty good for a three year old. She was really excited to use "mommys special glue" and put it on everything. We ran out of Elmer's and had to use my craft glue. If that's what it takes to get her to actually finish a craft, so be it. 

We used a lot of glue so we let ours dry overnight. I cut out the star toppers and let her glue them on the top once the trees were formed (just fold together into an almost triangle- which you can see took  me a few tries till I got it right). String em together and Tada! Christmas garland. 


We had a blast picking out our favorites. We all agreed it was the one that was completely covered in sequins (which I'm still sweeping up). This very cheap craft (I actually had everything on hand) is fun and easy to do. You could even write notes to Santa on each tree!! 

Wha fun craft are you planning on doing with your kids for the holiday season?

xo Stacie

November 22, 2013

Sharing is caring

In continuing with our attempt to teach the children about thankfulness and giving, we started what I hope to be a new tradition (this year is FULL of those). I made some delicious salted caramels this past weekend (which were also super easy to make!), and there's nothing better in life than making something delicious and then sharing the goodness (unless of course scientists finally discovered a way to eat it all yourself and not gain weight-I'm still waiting though).


We have some really awesome neighbors that we heart dearly. I'm talking neighbors that you can let borrow things because they will actually bring it back. We all get along, with and without the kids. 


What better way to teach the Little Miss about giving than to bake something and share it with friends? So we glittered up some leaf tags and wrote a note of "thanks for being great neighbors" and stuck them on our bags of caramels. We lucked out on the fact that everyone was out for the day and we could deliver our packages without notice. We didn't luck out on the fact that the wind was so fierce that it blew the bags around and it looked like we left steaming bags of dog poop (true story). 

Little Miss thought it was so cool to leave presents on people's doorsteps. We can't wait to share more goodies in unexpected ways from now on. Everyday she becomes more grown up and it is our job as parents to make sure she grows with the right morals and standards.

What types of goodies do you like to share?

xo Stacie


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