Tag Archives: Christmas

Sara and Sally

It was late October when I asked the kids what they were thinking about asking Santa to bring them for Christmas. Little man gave Santa a few options but he really wanted a Lego Minecraft set (which he got and has loved). Little girl, without hesitation, said, “I want Santa’s elves to hand make me a fairy doll but it has to be a mom fairy doll and a baby doll with a cradle (she really meant a carriage) and the mom has to have arms long enough to wrap around the baby and hold her like this and her dress has to be pink on top and blue on the bottom and her hair should be buttons like in a bun but string would be ok too.” And that didn’t change right up to the day she opened the box with her very own “Elvin Crafted” fairy doll with baby and carriage.

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They were named Sara and Sally, respectively.

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I could not for the life of me figure out how I was going to do a carriage. Luckily, there is a huge trend right now of Fairy Gardens. Couple this trend with Etsy and you get holiday bliss for the mom of one very particularly precise five year old. After a quick search I found a wire carriage and when it got to me I whipped up a matching pillow and blanket.

When Naomi told me this is what she wanted, my first thought was, “Ok cool! I have the internet, I can make anything!” By the way, that confidence that borders on naïve arrogance comes directly from my mom. I was raised by a woman who’s rallying battle cry was, “Sure, I think I can make that.” And she could. And she did. And she does. And so I assume that I can too.

I found these tutorials:



and away I went.

Well. Turns out doll making is a fine art and should be respected. I totally screwed up the first one and had to try again. A lady I know who works at my local Joann craft store found me the most perfect wing material. I butchered that and had to go to my plan b material. I lost one of the sides of the wings and had to start over. Shhh! Don’t tell Naomi they are totally lopsided and asymmetrical. Sigh. Here is what she looks like sans skirt (the skirt actually turned out nicely…once again sergers are God’s gift to the crafty), and here is her hair from the back. For the record, if I ever become a fairy, I want hot magenta and lime green dreadlocks just like Sally.

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Yarn is going to be my crazy old lady obsession some day. Stored in huge brightly colored bins, I’ll take it down and call it “My Precious.” But seriously this yarn was exactly what I imagined and gave me the strength to continue after the first horrible attempt at a body.

Anyways, I made up the pattern for Sara (the baby) and I think she turned out ok. Not my favorite and if I hadn’t sworn off doll making forever, I know what I’d want to do differently. It did give me a huge feeling of accomplishment and the fact that Corra loves her maybe even more than Naomi gives me warm fuzzies. Garyn keeps saying how talented a craftsman Santa’s elf must be {Wink, Wink!}. He really enjoyed being in on “The Secret” this year and is a sweet boy to compliment his mom and keep the magic alive for his little sister.

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Oh Christmas Tree…

I’m lazy. That’s the only explanation I have for why holiday traditions are not carried on in my house exactly the way they were when I was a kid. My mom put together elaborate spreads of assorted candy and cookie sheet after cookie sheet of graham crackers welded together with royal icing. Decorating “ginger bread” houses was one event among many that helped my step siblings and I not hate each other. It worked really well actually. But when I was contemplating this tradition when Little man was old enough to decorate something while I was in the aisle of a craft store, I saw a set of nesting star cookie cutters. I love stars! I give the kids stars every year! I’m a sucker for themes! Done and Done…our tradition of decorating star cookie Christmas trees was born.

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It’s weird that my two oldest are now fully capable of doing this whole project on their own.

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Layna got a knife covered in frosting, a pile of m&ms and chocolate chips, and a heart ginger bread cookie. It went about as expected…she ate the candy first thing, licked the knife clean then dropped the cookie on the floor after taking one bite.

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Neil took our Yo Nanas for its maiden voyage. We love fake ice cream made with frozen bananas and have been making it in our blender for a while now. Who knew there was a machine for this kind of awesome!? He did bananas and peaches and once he stirred them together it really was the consistency of soft serve. When we do it in our blender it is a lot runnier because we have to add milk to get it to blend. I’m a fan and the recipe book it came with is evil. Too many bananas are in my future.


Yes, that’s right. Ninjabread men come to our house. Garyn asked if he could have two and make them fight and I said, “Heck Yes you can!”


He was so meticulous with his tree this year, it made me laugh. Mostly he rationed his frosting so he would have enough for a solid slurp off the knife when he was all done. Definitely his father’s son, that one.


Naomi also wanted a ninja. And she chose a neo-modern emphasis for her tree this year to capture the joy and chaos inherent in the season. Or she is four. And dropped her knife 8 times on the floor (while it was covered in frosting). And lost track of the size of the cookies so smaller ones are beneath larger ones. And kept coming back to snack on her tree and her brothers, until I threatened to throw it away if she didn’t stop picking at it. I am finding also that she is stinking cute and uses it to her full advantage. Curse you clever children!

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New babies are difficult. Never mind the constant care and added responsibility for another human being’s complete well being and total happiness. No man, they have to be added to the matching set.

My journey through motherhood has been one of enlightenment and discovery. Who knew that eye gunk and boogers would elicit an irresistible need in me to remove offending ick the moment I notice it? Or that I have a border-line obsessive compulsive need to maintain matched sets. You can imagine my fear and trepidation when we entered the world of Legos…I still have to go through several deep breaths and counts to ten when I realize he just lost a piece from the set I just bought him. Corra needed one of everything in our Christmas line up, and while not as bad as it could be…I’ve been needing to complete the sets since she was born. To quote another blogger that I like a lot,  “I’m flying my freak flag high today.”


She needed a stocking. Not that there is anything going in it this year, I just needed some relief from the itch in the back of my head reminding me, it wasn’t complete. I bought her stocking last year right after I found out I was pregnant…so the relief was very welcome. Close your eyes and picture a wrapped present on the front of her stocking. That present might not make it on the stocking this year, but the “C” is on, and that’s all that matters in my weird world.

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My sister in law made the monogram dots for all of us up to Naomi. I made Layna’s and Corra’s. (Thanks again, Jen! At this point in my life I’m grateful for things that are both cute and indestructible). Neil’s grandma made his varsity letter and started the tradition. The first Christmas after we got married, my mom-in-law gave me it and later made Garyn’s (hence the reason his is the prettiest). So of course each of the girls in our family had to have one. Corra’s is not done. Obviously. The stupid plastic canvas stuff kept splitting and calling attention to the fact that my needle was way to big for the holes but I pushed on hoping to super glue it back together but then the plastic canvas stuff laughed at me and it became a matter of gauging my love for my child so now I will be starting over using a smaller needle and hopefully canvas that won’t break or laugh at me; It will be green and have a white border with little white stars and hopefully it will be done before Christmas. [deep breath]


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It’s my year for Jammas (me and the elves switch off and everyone is happy). I thought it would be fun to make me and the husband guy some too, and I let the older kids pick out the material. Through much debate and discussion, Little Man settled on rock and roll dinosaurs (I was pulling for neon monsters on a black background) and Little Girl settled on hot pink. [Please contain your shock and amazement. Thank you.] I still need to make mine and finish hubby’s and Layna’s, but I’m super excited about them. The men folk will have gray t-shirts and the girls will have white. Corra has the same white sleeper that her three older siblings wore on their first Christmas’s. There is nothing that checks my need for matching sets more than solid tradition.

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My mom-in-law makes the kids these awesome cross-stitched ornaments every year. I am so excited to see what’s coming (besides Corra’s angel)! And I’ve carried on the tradition that my mom started when I was a kid of giving a special ornament on Christmas Eve. We got Nativity Scene ornaments but I wanted to save myself some of the aggravation my mom went through. It can be expensive to buy those for 6 kids when Nativity Scenes are not so popular anymore. My kids get stars, but already I’m feeling more empathy for my mom…I’d find one I loved and the store would have three. Sigh. This jingle bell is their ornament for this year, because once again I’m really digging cute and indestructible.

My goal was to get all my necessary craftiness out of the way before December hit. We are limiting holiday events to the bare minimum and now that my OCD is in check (and Christmas shopping almost done…Thank you Amazon!) I can’t wait to actually enjoy the holidays, less stress = happy me. Happy start of my second most favorite season!

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#4 and Happy Christmas

Christmas this year was just lovely. For the first time, since I’ve been the Grand Maven of Christmas (at least as far as my family is concerned) I came close to that elusive Peace that everyone talks about this time of year. Christmas Eve (probably my favorite part of the whole deal…Thanks Mom!) was perfect. Peaceful and natural, it didn’t feel like a pageant or a to-do list like it has some years. Well, and I got to make my Mom and Grandmas’ mouths hang open for a good solid minute when I announced that Baby #4 is on the way, but here we go:

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The elves did well this year! And afterwards we got to listen to our traditional reading of “The Night Before Christmas” compliments of my little sisters. Who are never allowed to leave the city, ever.


But before we got to the poem…I came down in my own new jammies with this tag on my belly that said “Do Not Open until August 2013.” It was so awesome to watch it click for everyone, including Big Brother and Big Sister. They’ve done this before but that didn’t stop them from a celebratory hug and dancing around the room. The consensus is that we want another boy. We’ll take a girl, of course. However, a boy is the order that was placed.

We finished up all the cool things we do every December 24th and headed home to await Santa.

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Look closely. This is the last time my front room will be spiffed up and clean for a good long while. Reading the Christmas Story. Last year I felt like I had failed to make Christmas mean what it was suppose to mean…the focus felt all wrong. This year was better. Definitely better.

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Love the first Christmas where babies actually care about what’s going on!

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Also love that the older kids are old enough to put some thought into presents for each other and us. Little man got me some great earrings and bracelets and Naomi got her brother the one toy he has played with more than any other (weird Lightning McQueen grabber thing).

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Fun story about that stroller: Little girl loves it. But Christmas day, after we had dinner, Layna was trying to put a baby doll into it. That got Neil to wondering if maybe she’d like to push the baby. Oh yes. Yes she did. It was the first time she has walked independently (minus the stroller) ever! IT WAS AWESOME!!! She was so proud of herself and I got video to prove to her therapists that she can do it. I need proof because she has refused to do it since, but still! She is getting there!

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Christmas morning after we finished we headed back to my mom’s to do it all over again. Little little girl just wanted to get down to breakfast and the older ones jumped into paper dolls. I’m so glad I made boy dolls! and to be honest, I’m so glad Naomi likes them as much as she does and has played with them so much. If she didn’t care about them, that would have been a bit soul crushing.

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That would be me, in probably my favorite present this year. My mom made me an apron with my Angry Dwarf on the front. So GREAT! And this would be my Grandpa reading my daughter an Angelina Ballerina book, in probably my favorite picture this year.

I hope your Christmas was beautiful and that you found some measure of that Peace stuff everyone is always talking about. And if not…meh. Go see Les Miserables or The Hobbit. It will at least give you something to sing along to until you find it.


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Christmas Presents

This post is me bragging a bit about presents for my kids. I wish I could brag about them being wrapped (I’m maybe half way done, if I kid myself). I wish I was bragging about their Pinterest worthiness (only one is almost nice enough that I’d pin it. If I pinned stuff). These are presents that I made myself with lots of help from friends and Mod Podge. I think that I’m going to try to make the kids some presents every year for Christmas because I want them to learn to make stuff some day. However, me and the elves have a deal worked out on jammies. I make them every other year and the elves pick up my slack on off years (this year is an elf year…Little man is getting bright blue dinosaur footie jammies, little girl is getting a for real princess nightgown, with shimmery poof sleeves and everything, and little little girl is getting soft cuddly awesomeness.)

Without more ado, because I’ve got a nasty cold [shakes fist at universe]…

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My friend is the food storage queen and I remembered a great idea she had for reusing #10 cans. Cut a hole in the lid, tie some scrap cloth together and boom! you have a baby toy.  Since Layna’s main joy in life is taking things out of other things and putting them back in again, I thought this was a great fit. I covered the outside with scraps of blue and Mod Podge. If you don’t know what Mod Podge is…come over, we will craft.


Little man stores his money in random boxes that just happen to fit inside each other. I thought I’d whip up something more permanent. Thank you nesting cardboard boxes and Mod Podge. Super easy and made me happy. I love cut up magazine letters, even if they are passé and over done. Good thing I’ve already accepted that I like this present way more than little man will…oh well.


Have you heard of Cricuts? They are awe inspiring and a little bit terrifying. The short story is this: I went to a friends house to see about borrowing a cartridge to cut stuff out. I noticed that one of her 8 million cartridges was for paper dolls. That started the wheels turning for little girl and a few long nights later we had this.






The people have Velcro stuck to them and all the clothes also have Velcro. I have big plans for birthday expansions. Think dinosaurs and pioneers and cowboys / Indians! I’m giddy just typing it! Because I’m a geek. My friend thinks we should market sets for next  Christmas and I think there could be something there.

For now I’m off to wrap presents. Or shake my fist some more and die from a stupid cold that hit a few days before Christmas. Meh. Happy Winter Solstice/Day the world didn’t end/4-days-left-to-get-stuff-done day!

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It’s all about scale.

It makes me laugh to think about how much we as a culture/society/whatever, love things that are abnormally tiny and abnormally ginormous. Think baby Chucks. Or think the Bellagio Christmas display. We made our annual trip to see the display and like every year, it was awesome. I mean how could it not be, it’s HUGE!


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I have said before that I think there is something very valuable (especially for kids) about being made to feel very small. Well the billion foot tall Christmas tree and toy soldiers that could squash you like a bug did it very well.

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Love was in the air. Naomi got to be held by her favorite dad guy the whole time (he’s much nicer than I am), and Garyn got to add a new train to his list of trains that he has seen this year (it was number three and we had a fairly in-depth discussion of this on the way home).  The train also has a camera so you can see what the train sees on various monitors. He is smitten.

I asked both kids which they liked better…the huge glittery snowflakes or the glass covered stars. Little girl said, “The polar bears!” Little man said, “The shiny ones!” Little Little girl just stared at the lights and pointed and giggled. I love my kids.

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Willing tour guide and willing tour guide-ees?

I do love coming here and it is awesome that we have traditions. And as per a previous post, if you sang that like Tevye… this is me giving you a big fat holiday smooch, mistletoe or no. It is awesome to see little man remembering and looking forward too and instructing his little sister on what is coming up. It’s happening! We have history starting here! [Happy mom sigh].

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ambitious; have sewing machine; will travel

It was an ambitous sewing season for me. It was my year to do Pj’s (Santa’s Elves buy do Pj’s on my off years. If we trade off then we all get to maintain our sanity…elves are considerate that way). I also decided that since I have two girls they needed matching Christmas outfits for church, and it would be easy for Garyn to match his sisters, and if I worked it right Neil and I could match the kids and it would be awesome! Nevermind that it would mean me making two dresses, a vest, fixing a bow tie, and coordinating colors such that I wouldn’t have to buy anything for us grown-ups.

Well this is what I  ended up with: Night Shirt for little man and a Night Gown for little girl. (Little little girl had to make do with hand-me-down 18month?! jammas because I ran out of time.)

Don’t judge me too harshly when I say that their Christmas outfits for church ROCKED!!! I’m really pleased with how everything turned out, and most of it was the material I chose. Made me happy just to look at it.

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