Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Advent Calendar

For the past few years, we have purchased various advent calendars for our boys.  This year, I decided to make one.  I borrowed the idea from Cassie at Hi Sugarplum, then tweaked it to make it ours.  I really want to focus on the giving part of the holidays this year, and this advent calendar allowed me to do just that.

Here's what I used.  The whole project cost me about $12.00.  I did have a lot of the craft supplies on hand (that's a happy by-product of being a craft hoarder).

clockwise: wedding favor set (30 tins), adhesive backed magnets, glue gun, stamp pad, calendar and list of activities, tin filled with treats, tape runner, number stamps, colorful paper

I started out by using my glue gun to glue the magnets to the back of the tins.  The magnet has a sticky side but it did not stick well enough.  I wanted the tins to be magnetic because I planned to use the side of my fridge for the Advent tree.  I did find some magnetic spice tins at a local store, but they were $2.99 each.  I decided that would be way too expensive.  

I used my circle punch to punch circles out of some holiday paper.  The circles were too big for the canisters, so I searched my house for a circle the perfect diameter.  I traced this jar so I could make the circle a little smaller.  

Once I had cut out 25 of the perfect sized circles, I was ready to stamp some numbers on smaller circles.  I used a small circle punch to punch 25 smaller circles out of plain printer paper.  You could just trace a smaller circle and cut it out, but the circle punch made the job go much more quickly. Then I got to work stamping numbers on the circles.

My mother in law gave me this great stamp set.  It is a page of rubber stamps.

I put the number I needed on the block, added ink from the stamp pad, and had a set of numbers ready to attach to the bigger circles.

Then I used my tape runner to attach the small circles to the larger ones.

Once I was finished with the numbers, all that was left was to fill the canisters with activities and treats.  I printed off a December calendar and used our family's master calendar to plan days when we could complete activities.  Here are a few of the activities I planned.

I also added a few treats here and there.  Leftover Halloween candy worked perfectly for the small tins.  The first tin's activity read, "Read a Christmas book."  Over breakfast, I read Auntie Claus, by Elise Primavera to my boys.  I chose Auntie Claus because the book conveys the real meaning of the gift giving part of this season.  And remember, darling, it is far better to give than it is to receive.  

After we read Auntie Claus, I told the boys about the advent tree and how it was going to encourage us to shift the focus off what we want this Christmas to how we can give back.

{A few other giving back opportunities I included are: deliver cookies to friends, take a meal to a neighbor, write a thank you note, and scratch Daddy's back :)}

The boys love opening the tins every morning!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Thanksgiving Decorating

I am a little late to the decorating for Thanksgiving party since we were out of town last week.  So, I decided to get caught up on housework create something yesterday when my little guy was taking his nap.  When we had our Turkey Bowl this year, I hung ribbon with Turkey Bowl pictures so we could reminisce about our past get togethers and see how much our kids have grown over the years.  This is one of my favs...

I can't believe we managed to talk them into another one...

I mean, look at what babies they were in 2010!!!  And now, sooooo grown up.  
Somebody make it stop.

I just read one of the most heartwarming blogs over at Naptime Decorator.  It's called The Terrible Wonderful Thing.  I could go on and on about the terrible wonderfulness (is that even a word?) of our kids growing up.  But I'll save that for another day...

Back to the craft I dove into yesterday when I should have been unpacking and 
doing mountains of laundry.

I started with a large box.
I found two circular items in my house, a charger and a plate.  I traced the charger and cut out the circle.  Then I traced a smaller plate onto that circle and CAREFULLY cut out the inner circle using an exacto knife.  I say CAREFULLY because exacto knives and I do not have the best track record. I may have required stitches the last time I did not use an exacto knife carefully.  

But that's a story for another day too.

Once I had my wreath form, I needed to find a material to cover the cardboard.  When we were in Disney World, we bought a 2014 Mickey ornament for our tree.  They wrapped the ornament in some paper to keep it from breaking on the ride home.  When I unwrapped the ornament to put it in our Christmas box, I knew the paper would be perfect for a craft.  I cut the paper into thirds and used it to wrap the cardboard wreath form.

I secured the paper with clothespins to make sure I liked how it looked.  Then I used my glue gun to secure the paper.  I knew just where to find my glue gun, ribbons, and clothespins after my recent organization of my craft closet.

I also pulled out my stash of washi tape.

I turned on Grey's Anatomy and started taping...

I knew I wanted to evenly space the clothespins around the wreath.  I considered doing a little geometry to make sure there was the exact same amount of space between each clothespin. 

For a hot minute.

Because I realized...who am I kidding?  I would've failed geometry if it wasn't for my dad.

So I just eyeballed where I wanted the clothespins.  Then I started glueing.

And I'd say eyeballing it looks pretty good.  Who needs geometry?

All that was left to do was to clip the pictures in the clothespins...

Add some football ribbon...

And the project was done!

I rounded up a few other easy fall/Thanksgiving projects I have done through the years.

Thankful Turkey

Give Thanks banner

Mayflower placecards

I didn't actually make these little guys, but my good friend Melissa did.
Chocolate doughnuts and candy were used for these adorable turkeys.

Football field table runner

I got lots of use out of this one.

Turkey napkin holders

Paper Towel Roll Pilgrims
And hopefully these will be gracing our table this year...
I love these paper pumpkin placecards I found over at Hi Sugarplum.
I think I'll enlist Carson's help to make a few of these this year.

How do you decorate for Thanksgiving?

Friday, November 7, 2014

Turkey Bowl Memories

Turkey Bowl Memories

When Jonah was six, he started talking about how he wanted to have a turkey bowl.  We were not even sure what put the idea into his head (or exactly what a turkey bowl was) but after a while, we knew we had to find a way to make it happen. We bought two flag football sets and made turkey centerpieces for the tables. The boys helped me figure out how many turkey centerpieces and place settings we would need for the number of people we were inviting. I decided I would cook the turkey--even though I had never cooked a turkey--if guests would offer to bring the sides. Jonah helped me design the invitations, and we invited close neighborhood friends to come.

I thought we were all set until Justin showed up with spray paint and told the boys to hop in the car, they were going to line the field! This was way more exciting than I thought it was going to be. A real field, with our kids playing against their dads! I knew right then and there that this was going to be a tradition we would carry on for years to come...

...and the Turkey Bowl was born.

The dads and the kids played...

We had a little healthy sibling rivalry.

There were a few pileups...

And some intense huddles.

The kids had a blast...

We miss those two on the left SO much.  Caleb and Jalen's family moved to Minnesota.  The Turkey Bowl just isn't the same without the Destin Family.

And the moms held down the fort from the sidelines...

Then we headed back to our house for turkey and stuffing, and some cookie decorating.

Since that first Turkey Bowl, there have been two more Turkey Bowls, and we are preparing for a fourth!

The Turkey Bowl has been such an awesome time to escape the busyness of November, and play a little game of football.  But it has also been a time to come together and catch up with our neighbors and great friends...

Somehow, the kids always end up in costume...

The 2013 Turkey Bowl was our biggest ever.

The dads really got into it...

So did the kids...

There was some silliness...

And some tough guys...

And of course the feast...

This year we "skyped" Stacie into the party.  As I mentioned before...it's just not the same without the Destin Fam.

These two have been constant buddies through it all...

I wouldn't trade the memories we've made on this field for the world.  What was born out of the mind of a little boy, has turned into a time to celebrate friendships and health, good times, and fun.  I love this group of people, and I look forward to many more Turkey Bowls in the future.