Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Wrapping Paper

   The kids and I are embarking on a very serious task for Christmas. Homemade wrapping paper. It's a pretty awesome concept, right?  I hate spending money on something that gets thrown away immediately.  I am constantly recycling gift bags for birthdays and such, but I like for Christmas gifts to be wrapped. Weird.  Also, I had a ton of paper grocery sacks that were piling up and I HATE TO SHOP.  I bought all of our gifts on Amazon in 8 minutes.  Then they were delivered to our house in 3 days.  I picked up some tape at Walgreens and we are all set! 

  The process goes a little like this.  First, make hot chocolate.

Then get out paints, cookie cutters, markers, etc...

And ignore the messiness that is my basement. I just had it finished and moved my craft/sewing stuff yesterday.  It is still a disaster.

Dip and stamp away!

Proud moment: My Kindergartener wrote out "stocking" and "Merry Christmas" by sounding it out all on her own.  I mean it doesn't look anything like "stocking" or "Merry Christmas" but that is still some amazing emerging literacy skills! BTW, if your Kindergartener can do better, don't burst my bubble. :)

My Snowmen handi work.

H's Christmas trees, decorated.  I liked the way she put a print in them.

Jingle Bells

 E and I practiced printing the trees evenly

 H's favorite ---I traced the Gingerbread Boy and Girl stencils. She got busy decorating them.  She is working on another set as I type.


Finished product
(You can't see it from this picture, but H wrote "HO HO HO" on the package.  I thought that was pretty great as I didn't tell her to write any words on anything.  She was so proud of herself that she wrote "HO HO HO" correctly.  "I can't believe I can write HO!" she said.  Giggles.)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Family Holiday Activities in the St. Louis Area

     Last year I made a calendar from Thanksgiving to Christmas that was filled with holiday activities for us to do as a family.  Each day had something special planned.  The kids loved it and it kept us in the Christmas spirit all month.  Some days were as simple as reading a certain holiday book and doing an activity or making Christmas cookies. Multiple times we took an early bath, put on pajamas and drank cocoa while driving around the neighborhood to see Christmas lights. I don't know about you, but my kids can't get ENOUGH lights.  It is their favorite thing about the holidays. It may have been mine, too.

    We are starting off a little early by going to visit the Gingerbread House display at Plaza Frontenac today.  If you have never been, it is a lot of fun to look at. It is sponsored by Lydia's House and although it is free, to vote for your favorite house you make a donation. We grab some hot chocolate and look at the fancy Christmas displays throughout the mall.  It ends up costing less than $10, because we can't afford to really shop at Plaza Frontenac anyways. Hee, hee. 

                                                 Kids Posing in Front of Fancy Window

Our favorite Gingerbread House
(Done by a group of High School students, WOW!) 

   I don't watch TV, the news, or read the paper very much and I get frustrated sometimes when I see there was an activity or show in town and I didn't know about it.  I also think that it is really frustrating that there isn't a more comprehensive place to look online for family friendly activities.  I was putting together a list for myself of things we might like to do for the holidays and thought I would share it. 

  Some of these are free, some have minor costs associated with them, others like the theater tickets are what you would expect.  The Botanical Gardens requires its regular admission, but the Wreath display is included, Train Show is extra.  Check the websites for details.  I believe I have working links for each one.  I don't mind paying a little to do some of these activities, we don't do a lot of gifts at Christmas and I would rather teach the kids that spending time together is more important than buying things. 

  Also, don't forget to check your local church, school, venues for activities.  For instance, I know that Webster Groves is doing a Nutcracker on Ice performance that will be a whole lot closer and cheaper than the one at the Peabody Opera House and I am not for sure that my young children will notice the difference.  We are very lucky that my husband's work is celebrating the holidays by treating us to a performance of The Grinch that Stole Christmas @ the Peabody Opera House! What a blessing and I am sure that our kids our going to LOVE IT!

  I think the most important thing isn't where you go or what you do, but that you took time out of each day to turn everything off and spend time together.  But, if you like to see the twinkle of the lights, here are some of the events I put together.  Feel free to suggest some more, if I missed something!

Missouri Botanical Gardens
Deck the Halls Wreath Exhibit November 19-December 28 9-5
Gardenland Express Flower and Train Show
Christmas Carols in the Garden December 10 & 17
Victorian Christmas @ Tower Grove House Wed - Sun 10-4 & Storytelling on Wed & Sat at 11 and 1
Chaunkah @ the Botanical Gardens December 18
Kwanzaa: First Fruits December 28, 2011
We have been to the Botanical Gardens during the holidays and the Train Show does cost extra, but it is a pretty neat set up and good for all ages. I really want to take the kids to the storytelling this year at the Tower Grove House. 

St Louis Science Center
IMAX movie : Santa Vs. The Snowman  December 2011
We liked this so much last year we went twice.  Might have been my favorite IMAX movie ever.  If it almost makes you sick, that is good, right? ;) 

Breakfast with Santa
 @ Zoo December 3,4,10,11,17,18
 @ Magic House December 4
 @ Eckherts Orchards November 26,27 December 3,4,10,11,17,18

Holiday Santa Walk  @ Suson Park December 10
Never been, but we love Suson Park.

Poinsetta Show @ The Jewel Box in Forest Park
One of my favorite places to go. Period.  Doesn't take a long time to do, so plan something else to see in Forest Park.

Gingerbread House Contest --Plaza Frontenac Upper Level 
November 19- December 4
So glad we found out about this last year.  The kids can't wait to see more  houses.  Supports a great cause.

Wehrenberg Cans Film Festival  Saturday December 3
5 Cans of Food = Free Movie before 5 P.M.

Christmas Lights
Way of Lights, Bellville, IL (Our Lady of the Snows Shrine)
November 18-Jan 1 5-10 PM
Never been, but there are multiple kids activities here other than seeing the lights.

Wild Lights @ the Zoo
 5:30-8:30 PM Nov 25-27 & December 2,4,9-11,16-23, 26-30
Excited to go for the first time this year. They always do a great job with the Halloween walk. Prepare for this to be busy! Get there early.

Santa's Magical Kingdom
 November 18-January 7
This is in Eureka, near Six Flags.  We have gone every year since H was little.  It is about $20 per car.  It is amazing, gaudy, random, overwhelming, tacky and WONDERFUL.  We all love it. 

Winter Wonderland @ Tilles Park
November 23-January 1 5:30-9:30, Carriage Rides ONLY on Saturdays
So doing this!

Christmas Wonderland @ Rock Spring Park in Alton, IL
Nov 25-December 28 6-9 Mon-Friday, 5-9 Sat and Sun

Celebration of Lights @ Fort Zumwalt Park

Shopping & Celebrations
Christmas Traditions Festival - Downtown St. Charles Main Street
Nov 25-Dec 24 Wed, Friday & Saturday stores open til 9 PM
Lots of press this year because of the dismissal of the Sugar Plum Fairy.  I have heard it is a MUST SEE.

Skate with Frosty & All That Glitters - Downtown Clayton
December 2 at 6 PM

Christmas in Kimmswick
December 2-4

Cherokee Antique Row Cookie Spree
December 3 & 4 from 11-5

Plays, Concerts & Shows
Nutcracker on Ice in Webster Groves   December 10 & 11

How the Grinch Stole Christmas December 7-18 @ The Peabody Opera House
So excited to see this! Thank you USA MORTGAGE!!!

Black Nativity: A Holiday Celebration Nov 26-December 18
I have heard their shows are incredible.

Moscow Ballet's Great Russian Nutcracker Nov 30-Dec 1
My kids love the Nutcracker. Even my little boy.

Beauty and the Beast @ the Fabulous Fox December 20-24
I didn't even know that this was going to be in town.  See what I mean about missing stuff? Grr.

Missouri Ballet Theater "The Nutcracker"
Edison Theater Washington University Dec 16-20

Miracle on 34th Street November 30
Touhill Performing Arts Center

A Christmas Carol December 1-4 @ The Fabulous Fox

Christmas with the Rat Pack December 6-18 @ The Fabulous Fox

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Mom, are you on Pinterest again?

The kids and Matt have been giving me a hard time about my most recent addiction,  If you don't know what it is, you are probably a guy.  Matt calls it "Google for Girls." Mostly I look up crafts, sewing projects, decorating/organizing ideas, and paleo food.  You know, girl stuff. Matt's aunt often says, "If it weren't for women, they would just still be happy in a cave." So true.

Thanksgiving Turkeys on Canvas 

H is on the left, E is on the right.  As you can see, the body is made out of their footprints.  H did hers EXACTLY as I showed her.  E only wanted 4 feathers, so it looked more like Superhero wings and 3 googly-eyes because it is an alien turkey. He is SUCH A BOY!  (Might I add that this week he said "I'm a magician!" Then he farted.  )

Junk Picture

When we moved over the summer, I started collecting little odds and end toys, knickknacks and broken stuff in a box with some ambition to do something like this.  Now my little guy has a fun initial for his room.  Total cost of 8 bucks for canvas and epoxy! Only problem with this project was E had to be talked into gluing his old stuff on there, suddenly he had an overwhelming interest in all the toys.  Kids are like that. You have to send them to Grandma's to do any kind of toy sort or cleanup. 

I have some girly stuff to get working on an H in the near future.

Friday, October 7, 2011

My boy is 4!

This is just one example of my son demonstrating his genius abilities.
Yes, the truck pushes the bottle across the floor, carefully balancing the golf balls.

And no, it isn't beer, it is pear cider, because we are gluten free. And no, he didn't drink it, his daddy did. I think it is a remarkable way to incorporate a few of their favorite shared interests. 

Birthday boy manning the train at Eckert's.

Icing his own Paleo Pumpkin Chocolate Chip birthday muffins.  He loves to eat and loves to cook!

Toothfairy Visit

It truly seems like I was just excited because H got her first tooth. Now I am watching them get loose and fall out.  She lost this one on the way home from a shopping trip at Whole Foods.  Her smile as I have known it for 5 1/2 years has changed forever.  Now she has a "window." (Thanks to Sharon from the Craft Caboose for the term "window", she is so excited about it!)
The "tooth." H made me take a picture, before we never saw it again.

With the tooth box she got from her cousin Taylor.

Hamming it up.

Showing it off!

Kirkwood Farmer's Market

So lucky to live so close to a year round Farmer's Market. For the fall they have added a pumpkin patch, mums, playground and a "corn pool." We probably went 5 out of 7 days last week! It truly feels like Autumn in Mayberry. :)
My handsome nephew on the slide

H climbing her favorite tree

Boys having a blast in the "corn pool"

My niece

My niece is a stinker!

Our windowbox with Mums and Pumpkins from the Farmer's Market.

Go Cardinals!

The kids saw on the news that the fountains were being dyed downtown, red, for the Cardinals in the playoffs.  We trekked down to City Garden and Kiener Plaza to check it out.

October...maybe the best month ever?

I love, love, love fall! We have been having too much fun lately and settling in to our routine with school and such. Here are some pics from some of our family adventures.

Apple Picking at Eckart's @ Belleville
H and her cousins

My nephew and his HUGE apple

H and her apple

E and his apple

My niece and her apple

My dad (squinting at the sun and looking goofy) and his beautiful granddaughters

Me and my little girl

Daddy and H

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Our New Old House Pics...

Here is a start on some pictures of our new place...Just the living/dining room and our bedroom.  I can only seem to keep a couple rooms at a time clean.  :)