Gingerbread Architects in the Making

We’ve never made a gingerbread house before, so we decided to start out small and easy and I picked a super easy one up from Trader Joe’s.  Okay… we once attempted to make an enormous gingerbread creation years ago, but that was a huge mistake for multiple reasons. The first was that I had never even made gingerbread before, and mid-baking we realized that the oven we had was too small for our largest cookie sheets, and it was at that point I threw my hands up in the air and admitted defeat.  So, perhaps next year we’ll attempt something homemade, but from a box worked just fine this time around.

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The kids also had Hot Cocoa cookies to eat since they wouldn’t get to eat the gingerbread house and asking children this small to not eat something made of cookies, frosting and candy is a pretty tall order.

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It was a lot of messy fun and the kids thoroughly enjoyed themselves.  It’s always fun to watch the kids be creative and this was no different. They started out just randomly sticking pieces on the house, but then Enzo especially would start to look at it more critically and slowly place his candies. Until he realized Phoebe was just putting on as many as possible and then he had to hurry to make sure he got as many on there as she did.

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Another project to cross off our “Bucket” List.

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Crafting with Kids

Confession time… no, scratch that. A confession makes me sound guilty, and I don’t deserve that guilt. Let’s start over.

As a mom who works full-time, it’s not always easy to find time or energy to do a lot of crafts with my kids in the very short amounts of time we have together in the evenings or on the often busy weekends. Also, day care usually comes up with better ideas than I do and I’m okay if they want to do all of the Pinterest projects that involve paint and glue and glitter. We learned the hard way that Phoebe cannot be trusted with glitter when we attempted to make snow globes that I very poorly planned out.

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I figured another easy December “craft” we could do was to cut out snowflakes and hang them up around the house. We weren’t getting any actual snow outside and it was a relatively quick and craft, which is also important when working with small children. Generally they last maybe 10-15 minutes, if that.

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Enzo has used scissors before, so he got to work right away while we tried to give him a few pointers on how to get fun designs.  Phoebe, however, has never worked with scissors, and probably won’t for a while. She had a moment of interest in cutting paper and then wanted to cut everything else in sight. I am very thankful for dull child safety scissors.  I’m also fairly certain that she will be the child who one day gives herself a very avant garde haircut.

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So, while Enzo took it very seriously, Phoebe preferred to dance around in her robe causing havoc.  Needless to say, we should probably do more crafts together.

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Every year it’s the same…

Can I just hold onto fall for just a little bit longer?  We had our first snow flurries yesterday and I am really just not ready for that kind of cold wind to become just another daily occurrence even though it happens every year and we should just be used to it already.  One thing is for certain, we’re getting a snowblower this year.  If anything, that will ensure that we don’t get nearly as much snow as usual.  Neither of us feel like shoveling several feet of snow in sub-zero temps this year, though.

So, in the spirit of not giving in to winter, here are some fall pictures I haven’t posted yet.

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Sure, there will be more of this in the upcoming months, the blanket just might be heavier and hopefully the nuk will be gone… her teeth are being affected and we’re going to have to lose the nuk.

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Painting punkins!  Really, we’ll paint anything in our house.  Enzo has always been really good about keeping crayons, markers, paints, etc on actual paper or specified places, but you can’t leave Phoebe alone for a second.  It is imperative to only have washable art supplies in her reach because she will make art wherever she feels like it, and especially if she feels like she’s taking a stand against “The Man” aka Mom and Dad who like suppress her artistic expression.

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We’ll see if Phoebe changes her mind about the cold and snow, but even if she doesn’t, Enzo will want to go outside and play.  I’m thinking maybe we’ll get some food coloring and make some art in the snow to mix it up a bit.  It’s fun using different seasonal mediums with the kids.

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Okay, maybe winter won’t be thaaaat bad.  We’ll see.

Prepare… winter is coming.

I can feel winter’s icy hand on the back of my neck and it’s time to prepare.  We need to get the house in order and come up with some fun ideas for when it’s too cold to go out or we have zero desire to bundle up because we are not cold weather people. I know… it’s a mystery why we live in Minnesota when none of us really enjoy snow or frigid temperatures.

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I think I need to do some Pinterest scouring to find good winter crafts, although apparently even a paper plate can be fun.  Who knew that switching one simple artistic medium could do so much?  I left out paper plates for about a week and both kids would climb up on the barstools whenever they were hit with artistic genius and color away.

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I already know we’ll do plenty of baking, but I want to spend more time this winter crafting and making things and being creative with the kids.  We should also actually take them sledding since they’d both enjoy it this year, but there’s that whole cold and wet factor.  We’ll see. Maybe we can just watch a movie where there is sledding?  I kid. Sort of.

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One of my goals is to do some sewing – specifically a quilt.  I’m going to start small and go from there, but first we need to do some major winter cleaning.  I see many trips to Goodwill in our future.  I need to go through old baby clothes as well.  I wanted to try and sell them, but it’s getting to a point where the payout doesn’t seem worth the effort and I’m tempted to just donate the lot.  Sure, some extra spending money is nice, but I could save myself some time and headache by just packing it all up in garbage bags and giving it away.  I can already see the empty bins we’d be left with. I feel lighter already!

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We also need to do some deep cleaning and prep our basement windows for their glorious annual plastic wrapping.  While the wood floor looks nice downstairs, it’s not the best choice for Minnesota winters. Plus hot air rises and we have 9 foot ceilings which also does not help.  Basically our basement is no-man’s land in the winter unless we wear warmer layers and remember to turn on the electric fireplace and space heaters an hour in advance.

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First, though, I need to get my body used to the lack of daylight. This year especially it seems to have caught me off guard and the late sunrise and early sunset is taking its toll. By the time we get the kids to bed its already dark and the couch beckons me to curl up in its warm embrace. Sigh. Soon, motivation, soon.

Crafty Fun

So… I’ve decided to try my hand at making some crafty headbands and branching out into jewelry soon and possibly opening a little etsy shop. Here are the first attempts, and they aren’t bad, but I’m already finding ways to improve them – better glue, vintage jewelry and other bits and pieces. So, if it does fall through and no one wants to actually buy my little beauties – all the ladies in my life will most likely receive a lot of my crafty notions. 🙂

I wore the one above on our boat cruise last weekend. 🙂