Monday, December 31, 2012

Christmas, The New Year, and Rothenberg

Happy New Years Eve everyone!!  Boy it has been a long while since I have seen this computer screen.  With the hub off for all this time we all have fully been enjoying our time together.  I have all these pictures, crafts, and even a recipe to share but just can't get my fingers a typing... until now that is. 

I am going to back track a bit.  We had a wonderful Christmas together and got we got to visit a beautiful medieval city we visited called Rothenberg.   

I have seen pictures of it in the spring where it is absolutely gorgeous but we went to visit their Christmas market and it was just darling! 

 It was freezing cold but we stayed warm visiting the little shops and bakeries.  It's kind of our little tradition to sit in a cafe and have a little cappuccino and a pastry when we travel.  I love it.

After months of being away from each other it has been a true blessing to be a family again.  Having my hubby home for Christmas was the best gift I could have received.  

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas as well!  And after making some jelly filled doughnuts, I am now ready to jump into the New Year with some new crafts, projects, and going full force into party planning mode.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Liebster Award

We just got back from a mini trip and now I am all kabobbled.   Trying to get back into our routine and getting all the laundry done always seems to be a challenge after we return.  Anywhoo, I was nominated for the leibster award thanks to Adria from The Crunchy Lion and Meg from Borrowed  Heaven.   Since Adria was the last to tag me I am going to answer her questions.  But first, here are 11 things about me....

1. I am the most impatient person.  2. I don't usually wash my hair everyday. 3. I am very sentimental, borderline hoarder.  4. Christmas is my favorite.  5. I hate driving.  6.  I dream of having a cleaning lady.  7. I LOVE being a stay at home mom and I don't want to go back to work  8. I drink a glass of milk every single day.  9. I look forward to getting dressed up for parties. 10. I'm a night owl.  11. I wish I was a good cook. 

I't's me from our most recent trip to Rothenburg.

Now for Adria's 11 questions, in case you want to know even more about me:

1. What is your earliest memory? 
I have a few but a happy one is always going to McDonalds.

2. What makes you feel most at home?
Having my husband here and being his wife.

3. What types of things do you do for personal-time away from daily schedules and demands?
A craft of any form.

4. How did you do in school? Did you enjoy it?
Loved school.

5. If you had to eat one meal and drink one drink for an entire year, what would they be?
Enchiladas and Milk

6. If you had to live the rest of your life in the body of an animal, which would it be?
A giraffe

7. Do you donate money to charity? Why or why not?
Yes because God blessed us with more than we need.

8. What is your favorite Christmas movie?
It was the Grinch until my lovely daughter asked to watch it every single day this month.

9. How does your life now compare to how you imagined it would be as a kid?
Surpassed my imagination.  I got to be exactly what I wanted to be even as a kid, a wife and stay at home mom.

10. Do you prefer country or city living? Why?
Country for SURE!  I love seeing some form of nature.  I hate the busy-ness of the city, the cars, buildings, and commercialism

Thanks ladies for including me and now you know a little more about me. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Crocheted Fingerless Gloves

Can you believe Christmas is in less than a week?!  I can hardly contain myself.  I am probably more impatient than any little kid out there.  To help pass the time I have been staying busy with crafts.  This includes learning to crochet.  Whenever we get close to moving to our new base I get antsy thinking I won't have my craft supplies or sewing machine for months.  I usually make an attempt to find a craft that is easy to travel with and crocheting seemed perfect.

My mom taught me the basic chain stitch when I was nine and that is probably the extent of my crocheting knowledge.  I really have a desire to learn though and just like with sewing it takes time to learn.  My first few projects are sort of duds but I'm going to keep pressing and with practice I hope to get better.  Want to learn with me?  Well thank God for youtube tutorials!  I would be lost otherwise.

My first project was fingerless gloves and it is very fitting considering we have already had snow and it is freezing over here!  I watched THIS youtube video for help and then sort of made it my own.  I like the ribbed look, but I like for the lines to be vertical instead of horizontal so I made some changes.

I started by chaining 27.  This will be the length of the glove so you can make it shorter or longer depending on your preference.  Just like in the video I went into the third chain from the end and start with the double half crochet stitch.

Double half crochet to the end, chain 2 [where the arrow shows], turn and continue with double half crochets in the back loop. 

You will continue to stitch until it fits the width of your hand.  I did 11 rows.  Once you are finished it will look like this.  Be sure to leave lots of extra yarn at the end.

Fold over the rectangle and using a yarn needle, stitch the two ends together.  Once you reach down about an inch you will leave an opening for your thumb.  This is where you will only stitch on one end. You can see the needle on the right side of the glove.  Once the hole is big enough, stitch it back together until you reach the end. 

Before you know it, you will have a pair of fingerless gloves.  This was such a great beginner project.  If the pictures are too hard for follow, be sure to check out the video.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Framed Christmas Banner

Last week was just BONKERS!  We got lots of snow, Boo Bear had dance rehearsals, and I was cleaning like a mad woman prepping the house for my hubby's return from his deployment.  It was crazy!  Now that my better half is home and the winter ballet recital is over, things are starting to calm down.  We are getting back into a new routine and fully enjoying being together as a family again [just in time for Christmas!] 

I had all these projects and things I wanted to finish before my hub came home but I guess I put too much on my plate and didn't get to finish.  This photo collage was one of them.  I saw this beautiful picture of someone who took a window pane and turned it into a frame for her Christmas banner.  I fell in love.  Mine isn't nearly as good but I am still really happy with how it came out. 

It was no easy task.  I collected all our random frames and Boo Bear and I painted them all cream.  I wanted all the frames to match and of course match the living room.  There she is painting away at that one dollar Ikea frame.

Once they were all painted I filled the bottom ones with cozy Christmas themed scrap book paper.  It kind of reminds me of knit sweaters.  I love it. 

Then I used the same paper to create gift tags.  I don't use my Slice often but it is always handy when I need it to cut some letters.  I was going to jazz up the gift tags but maybe next year!   The one thing I love about this is I can hang up a banner for every holiday and if it isn't one I can hang up pictures. 

I punched out the glass of the frame and used this picture hanging screw with the open hole on the top.  I obviously don't know what it is called.  The trick to putting it in without using a drill is by hammering it down first.  Then, you can just twist it in the frame.  I braided some twine, attached it, and hung the gift tags with mini clothes pins. 

And to personalize the collage I added the pictures from this year's Christmas cards!  

It really does make the room feel more Christmas-y and cozy.  Now, I have to go start on those ruffled throw pillows! 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Christmas Cards at Mpix

So, most of our family and friends have received our cards so I can now reveal them!  Thanks Mpix for such  beautiful Christmas cards!  Don't you love the design?
It was a tough pick because they have so many different choices but this was my favorite.  I love all the colors and that they match little Boo Bears dress perfectly.  One of my favorite parts is that I got to write a special message on the back.  Really love this about Mpix holiday cards

It is really hard to tell the picture quality considering I am taking a picture of a picture but it is so clear.  Beautiful colors and sharp.  Did you see I had to bribe little miss with a jar of candy to take her pictures?!  Oh brother!


Very impressed with Mpix and will be using them again next year.  The cards are printed on very heavy quality card stock AND.....

They shipped in less than a week [we are overseas], packaged nicely, and I got extras!!! Yup see that sticker?!  They gave me about 12 extra cards and envelopes and somehow I still don't have enough.  Love it!!!

So if you haven't gotten your holiday cards yet, don't fret!  Head over to Mpix and order.  The site is really easy to use and the cards will ship at lightening speed! 

Friday, December 7, 2012

Graham Cracker Gingerbread House

Wish I could take credit for all the cuteness you are about to see but my friend Adria from the Crunchy Lion put together this fun activity... for us moms. Yup sometimes mom's want to get in on the crafting fun too and so we did.  We were planning on making real gingerbread houses but the idea of cutting and cooking just seemed like way to much work especially with the little ones running around so we settled on Graham cracker houses.  Isn't it darling?!

We bought a box of graham crackers, some canned frosting, and lots and lots of candy!  We put a Christmas movie on for the kids and got to work.  Candy, crafts, and conversation with good friends.  Doesn't get better than that! 

It was so fun eating the goodies while decorating!  And yes the kiddos would periodically come by our work area and beg for some too.  That would be my daughter asking Adria for more candy.  She knows she has better luck getting it from her HA!
                          

Apparently I am the Graham cracker cutting expert.  I just used a butter knife and gently sawed off the pieces to make the front frame of the house.  The rest of the pieces fit in perfectly once the graham crackers were cut in half.  [It is much better to use the butter knife to cut them in half than to try to break them in half].

With some imagination and a little time the mini house will come together.  Here is Natalie's finished product.  She had a talent for making bows out of the sour string for the wreaths.  I also love her little snowman! 

Here is Adria's finished house.  I love her cookie chimney and the cookie logs on the side of the house.  Very clever! 

And since you already saw the front of my house here is the backside.  All pretty with a nice green Christmas tree.  And if you are wondering what the houses are places on, it is just a styrafoam plate covered in white frosting.  

And here is our little neighborhood!  Funny thing is we all are neighbors.  We had such a blast!  Definitely going to try to plan one more mommy craft day before Christmas.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

How to Make Fleece Hat in 10 Minutes


The snowy season has come and I love it!  Snow is so magical, but cold [duh!]  Well, because my little one refuses to wear hats, I just never bought her one in preparation for the winter.  Bad mommy...  We went to play in the snow and she had to wear one of my beanies.  So I ended up making her a basic fleece hat to hold us over until she gets a much nicer one.

It is so easy and takes about ten minutes! I took a long rectangle piece from my fleece stash and measured the width of her head based on my beanie that she wore.  

Then, sew down the sides.  If you don't sew, use fabric glue. 

I made the mistake of doing this step while she was napping so it was a little long.  I ended up taking the seam out and fixing it.  BUT fold over the bottom portion twice and make sure it fits your little one. 

Then sew it down or use liquid stitch.

Cut strips at the top.  I liked thinner strips and ended up making them thinner.  Take a piece thin strip of fleece and tie it on the top really tight.  You can also sew the top portion first and then tie it tight, it's up to you.   Trim the strips if they are too long. 

Fluff it, adjust it, and put it on!  It's a cute temporary hat and will keep her warm for now.  I am for sure considering making one for her favorite doll.

Monday, December 3, 2012

How to Download Fonts and Create Coloring Pages

This tutorial is for those of you who have ever had trouble downloading fonts.  Downloading fonts and creating your own printables and coloring pages is simple enough.  Here is the step by step.

First, find the font you want to download.  This one is called MTF Dear Santa.  Click download and then open the file. 

Then a folder will open.  The biggest mistake is to think you can copy and paste the font from here but you actually need to extract the file first.  Click and extract the file. 

It will open an almost identical folder.  You can tell the difference because the new folder will not say extract files.  The one with the star is the right folder and the old one you will want to close. 

Now open the Font folder from your Control Panel.  Copy and paste the MTF Dear Santa file [with the yellow arrow] onto the Font Folder.  You can see that is says installing MTF Dear Santa.

Now open Word and you can start making your own printables or if you have kiddos your own coloring pages!

I like that you can customize your coloring pages.  This train is one of my favorite ones.  The font is called JI Toy Train.  To get the front and back of the train hold Shift 9 for the front and Shift 0 for the back. 

Friday, November 30, 2012

Paper Rings Advent Calendar

Making this brought be back to my childhood!  I use to make this every year and my impatience to get to the last ring was as bad then as it is now.  Cindy isn't old enough to help with making the rings so this year I made it myself and starting tomorrow we will pull off one ring at a time.

I got this poem from a MOPs meeting I went to last year where they shared different ways to bring Christ back to Christmas.  I love what the rhyme says and want to read it every night.  I want Cindy to grow up knowing that the reason we celebrate Christmas is because Jesus was born to be the savior of the world.  Not the presents or all the other stuff.  

The colors aren't that festive but I  think it turned out okay.  I do love the yarn star though!  Another thing you can do with this simple advent is to write a verse on each ring.  Each ring telling a little more about the story of His birth until you get to the last one.  I plan on doing that with her next year when she understands it more. 

There are so many other Advent ideas out there!   Another one we are going to do this year is the 25 books until Christmas.  I surprisingly have a hefty lot from my teaching days.  Check out Dana's post on this.  She also gives a great list of Christmas books!

I have already started my advent book wishlist for next year.  Hoping to replace some of the okay ones from our collection now.  It is a family tradition of ours [one my hubby and I started our first Christmas married] to read the Nativity story after breakfast before opening gifts.  This is a great way to continue the tradition with Boo Bear.  Each morning we will read one book and on Christmas morning we will read a book telling the story of His birth.  I ordered The Christmas Story for the last book.  I haven't read it yet but it got good reviews.  Will let you know when it comes in!

But I think her favorite Advent will of course be the candy.  Being guaranteed a piece of chocolate everyday is a kids dream come true.   Thanks Titi! 

We are keeping it simple this year.  A book after breakfast, candy after lunch, and taking a ring off before bed.  The countdown starts tomorrow!  Are you planning on doing an advent calendar this year?