Monday, November 30, 2015

25 Days of Christ - Countdown to Christmas!

My kids are still young, Mr. A is 3 and Mr. C is 18 months, but I still want them to not be stuck on the gifts and gimmies at Christmas!  It is really important to me that they learn why we celebrate Christmas and are reminded frequently throughout the holiday season.  

After some search I found an awesome 25 Days of Christ countdown that takes you through Christ's birth and life.  Perfect!  The only thing was, I am just too cheap to buy it!  (That and let's be honest, grad students really don't make all that much.)  So more research!

Next I came across Housewife Eclectic who had put together her own ornaments with the scriptures from the 25 Days of Christ countdown, and I loved what she had done!  You can check her version out HERE.  In fact, I would recommend downloading her printable with a list of the scriptures and an ornament idea for each of the 25 days!  I'm not even going to try to recreate it because I like what she did so much!

But here are the first 7 days of my version of the 25 Days of Christ - Countdown to Christmas!

My Tree: only about 18 inches tall, I think I bought it for $1 as a freshman in college!

Day 1: The Birth of Christ - Star

I used several small sticks about 4in long and hot glued them together where they intersect.  Once the glue had cooled I wrapped jute around the corners for extra strength and to hide the hot glue!  Then I put a spiral of wire on the bottom of the star to attach it to the tree.

Day 2: Announcement to the Shepherds - Shepherd's Crook

One pipe cleaner, 9 red beads, 9 green beads.  

Day 3: Three Wise Men - 3 Crowns

Housewife Eclectic did three crowns her first year, but on her printable, now uses three clothespin dolls.  I liked the crowns so I cut three crowns out of a toilet paper roll and painted them yellow!

Day 4: Boy Jesus in the Temple - Mini Scriptures

White paper on the inside, black construction paper outside, one staple in the middle.  Done!  I also wrote the reference for Day 4 on the inside.

Day 5: Baptism of Jesus - Dove

There is a dove pattern in the printable, but I liked this one better.  I just cut out the dove, used the blanket stitch to attach the wing and around the edge.  Black paint for the eye.

Day 6: Fishers of Men - Fishy!

I used the pattern in the printable for the fish and the blanket stitch again to finish it off!  White and black paint for the eye.

Day 7: Sermon on the Mount - Candle

All this candle is made of, is a clothes pin, red felt and yellow felt.  So handy, it just clips right on the branch!

Days 1-7!


Saturday, November 28, 2015

Color Matching - Airplane Entertainment!

We recently flew North to visit my family and though the flight was only 1 1/2 hours, I was a bit nervous about having two very active toddlers on a plane!  Mr. A had his own seat, but Mr. C rode in my lap!  So I scoured around for some ideas and came up with a few new games that won't take much space in our 'personal items.'

I used:
The bottom 17in or so of an old pair of my husband's pants.  
Why 17 inches? Because that was just below the hole in the knee!
Rectangles of fabric, 1 1/2 x 3 inches for each color of the rainbow
four colored craft-sticks in each color of the rainbow
(Purchased at the dollar store, 100 for $1!)
(not pictured) one hair elastic

 From here I sewed each of the rectangles to the fabric, sides touching and hemmed the base fabric all the way around.  I then attached the hair elastic 1/3-ish of the way up on one side.

I have a stash of hair elastics specifically for sewing!  I found a really good idea on these simple black elastics and keep them in my sewing desk just for this purpose.

 Now all you do is fold down the top and roll it up and the sticks won't fall out in travel!

 All rolled and ready to go!

Then the kiddos can take the sticks out and sort them!  This is a great opportunity to talk about colors, especially with Mr. C (Mr. A pretty much knows his colors), to work on sorting and matching, besides just being fun!  And so simple!

This entire project cost me nearly nothing as I already had everything on hand!

Mr. C LOVED playing with this on the plane!  It was lots of fun!  Someone even asked to take a picture of it so she could reproduce it later!  Have fun!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Thanksgiving Thankful Turkey

Mr. A was quite enthralled with October and Halloween and after Halloween was over kept asking when we would dress up again.  Our decorations in the house didn't change very much (I mostly just do 'Fall' rather than Fall, Halloween, the Thanksgiving) so that really didn't help much.  So we started our,
Thanksgiving Thankful Turkey!

Basically I took a piece of butcher paper and cut a large circle, a much smaller circle, and a rectangle to make the base for our turkey.  Then I cut feathers out of construction paper.  Each night at dinner (or sometimes at other times throughout the day) we asked Mr. A and Mr. C what they are thankful for.  At first we had to help Mr. A think about something, but within a couple of days he was really getting the hang of it!  Mr. C kind of got it, but let me tell you, e-i-e-i-o is on this turkey 3 or 4 times! (Currently one of Mr. C's favorite books and song!)  

Try it yourself!  What do you and your family come up with?  How many feathers can you be thankful for??  This was a great way to teach the concept of being thankful as well as focus on the blessings we have before the Christmas season gets here!  Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Lunch! Pasta-Reimagined

We eat a LOT of mac-n-cheese around here... too much really.  When Winco had their case-lot sale we bought 50 boxes of the stuff!  2 cases! Yeah, we eat that much.  Ok, really my boys eat that, I eat whatever miscellaneous leftovers I can find in the fridge.  My husband takes most of them from the night before, so it's generally quite the hodgepodge for me!

So today I decided to do something different!  Voila!  Pasta reimagined!

Ok, so nothing real fancy, but it sure beat what was in the fridge!

First, the spiral pasta, just cooked to the texture you prefer.  Then I sprinkled it with Italian-salad dressing seasoning and butter (the heat melted the butter).  Give the butter a minute to moisten the seasoning.  I used this recipe, however, if you make it just for the pasta, use about half the salt, it is intended to be diluted by oil and vinegar.  Another option would be to drizzle dressing over the noodles.  I chose not to because I wasn't sure the boys would like the acidy from the vinegar, but I think it sounds awesome. 

Then of course were the grapes

and biscuits left from Sunday dinner (butter and honey, yum!).


Saturday, November 14, 2015

Cinnamon Pull-apart Bread

 YUM!  There really is nothing better to describe this tasty-licious dessert!

Just look at that obey-gooey-cinnamony deliciousness!

So simple too!

1 can biscuits - the BIG ones (off-brand works great!)
Cinnamon sugar
Powder sugar


Cut the biscuits in half and roll them in a healthy amount of the cinnamon sugar and toss them in a greased bread pan or bundt pan or muffin tins, whatever suits your fancy! When they're all in, sprinkle more cinnamon sugar on top and cook according-ish to the package.  I say 'ish'  because it will actually take longer than it says because it is all compact, but it is a good place to start.

While they are baking put sugar, butter, and milk in a pan and heat until the sugar and butter melt and simmer such that it thickens (basically we are just making a simple glaze)  If it caramelizes just a titch, all the better!  Right before you take it off the stove, add the vanilla.  If you add the vanilla too early it will all evaporate off and you won't get as delicious of a taste!  When the bread finishes baking, take it out, let it cool a bit, then flip it out on a plate or platter.  While still warm I started pouring the glaze over it and periodically re-scooping it on top.  Since they are both warm the glaze soaked in a bit, which was delicious!!!  Enjoy it warm or cool!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Grilled Steak Tacos - Yum!

This is super simple, and one of our FAVORITE meals!

Recently our local grocery store had beef roasts for less than ground beef... what?!?  So I bought several and cut them down!  I cut some into 'steaks' some into chunks for stew and some into strips for tacos and fajitas... oh yeah, and left on as a roast for Sunday dinner.  

For this meal I used the strips of beef, marinated them with my fajita seasoning mix, orange juice, soy, worchestershire sauce, and olive oil.

Then I sliced onions and green peppers and tossed them on the grill!  Yum!

Once the meat was done I took it off and warmed some corn tortillas on the grill.

Add some fresh salsa and sour cream and YUM!

Definitely a family favorite!  Enjoy!

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Adjustable Waist Pants - For the String-Bean in Your Family!

 My little boys are little, skinny, string-beans!

Mr. A wears a 3T pant in length, but about an 18 month pant in waist size... They really don't make such a thing.  Mr. C wears somewhere between 18months and 2T in length, but somewhere around 12-18 months in width.  Most of their pants look something like this,

 1. Safety pins (1-2)
2. Rolled waist
3. Adjustable waist, cinched ALL the way!

Sadly, not all of their pants have the adjustable waist, which is my preferred method (no safety pins to worry about coming un-pinned or rusting after repeated washings).  Therefore, I decided it was time to figure out how to do it myself!

What you will need:

*Button Hole elastic 
- OR- 
follow the instructions below to make your own from regular elastic

*Strip of fabric 1/2 inch (plus a smidge) wider than your elastic and long enough to go around the waist of the pants you are using.

* 2 Buttons, the flatter the better!

First: Button Hole Elastic

Though you can find this elastic at some craft/fabric stores and certainly online (probably in any color)  I was home, boys were napping, and I already had this elastic on hand, which made it easy!  This is just regular woven elastic (I have read not to use the anti-roll stuff, it will fray!).  I measured about 1/2 of an inch from the end of the elastic and made a 1/4 inch mark, then 1/2 inch up, 1/4 inch mark several times up my elastic (I actually had to make more holes after I made them, so if you don't make enough, you can always make more!  Technically you could have the holes end-to-end!

Then I used a seam ripper to cut the 'button' holes.

 Make sure that the button you have picked out will go through the hole!  My button is probably at least 1/2 inch across, but I wanted to need to stretch to get it around the button, I don't want it slipping off and his pants falling down!

Next the fabric.  

I chose some soft flannel from what I had on hand.  I cut it 1/2 inch wider than my elastic and about 5 inches short of the waist of the pants I was adjusting.  I ironed 1/4 inch down long ways, and on the ends.  then I top stitched at about 1/8 of an inch around the waist of the pants. 

I used blue thread on the bobbin and you really can't see the stitching much.  Besides, I rarely tuck their shirts in anyway, so the waist band is rarely seen. 

I stitched the button on, being careful to to go through to the front, threaded the elastic through and DONE!

I don't have a pic with Mr. A in these pants, they've been dirty almost since I finished them, but it worked perfectly!  3T pants, now fit like they should, Yay!  Let me know how this works for you!  How do you remedy your skinny-kiddos too-loose clothes?

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Brother Handprint Picture!

 How cute is this!  It was super simple, seriously took like 5 minutes to make!

First I cut an old cereal box to fit in an 8x10 frame.

Then I painted each of my two boys' hands grey (with sploches of darker and lighter) and did first Mr. A and then Mr. C so that their thumb prints nearly touched.  Then I added the ears, tusks, eyes, tail, grass, and sun and stuck it in the frame!  So easy!  After I took this picture I also added their names and the date to the appropriate handprint. 

Such an awesome picture that reminds me of the great friendship these two boys have!  Love you kiddos!

Try this at home!  Have you done anything similar?  Post pictures or links below, I want to see what you have done! :)