I remember stringing cranberries and marshmallows for our Christmas tree growing up, and thinking it was SO fun. (I also remember we tried stringing popcorn one year and it was just ridiculously frustrating. Cranberries and marshmallows don’t break into a million pieces when you put a needle through them.) Anyway, this was one tradition I knew I wanted to continue with my kids. Two years ago I decided at least Kalena and Will were old enough to try it. (Have I written about this? Possibly I have. Too lazy to check.) They thought it was fun for about 3 minutes and then left me alone to finish a garland that would be long enough for our tree. Which was fine, except that then I forgot to actually put it ON the tree. (Garland doesn’t go on after the ornaments. That’s the rules.) But I didn’t want it to go to waste, so I hung it on our banister! And Lydia proceeded to eat it every chance she got.
I was undeterred though, and last year I bought the stuff to string cranberries and marshmallows again. The kids had much more stamina last year, and we ended up with a nice garland. Except I inadvertently ruined this project before it even started. For reasons unknown, when I bought the cranberries and brought them home, I put them in the freezer. (Seriously. No idea what I was doing.) So we were stringing FROZEN cranberries, which was fine-ish, but as they thawed they just leaked red juice EVERYWHERE. Fortunately, we realized this before we put it on the tree. But last year’s garland ended up decorating only the inside of the trash can.
Now APPARENTLY I am a glutton for punishment because I bough the stuff to do it again this year! (Turns out I still think it’s fun.) I also bought myself this ornament, for all the happy garland-making memories I have.
Anyway, wish me luck with this year!
I joined a felt ornament swap again this year, set on making some adorable Grinch face ornaments I saw on Pinterest.
Side note, I think the Grinch is a little misunderstood. He just wants a quiet Christmas morning!
I feel ya buddy.
Anyway, I made the ornaments and missed the mailing deadline (Thursday) and went to mail them today, but HEY! It’s Veterns Day! So the post office is closed. I’ll mail them Monday (SORRY JANET!)
But the point is, they turned out pretty cute, right?
We didn’t do a ton of Halloween stuff this year (there are about a million Halloween events we COULD go to) but stuff was extra fun because Lydia actually understood what was going on for the first time. Daniel loves candy, of course, but with full day kindergarten and no naps he is EXHAUSTED by the end of the day, so bedtime is 6 pm. He is OUT by about 3 minutes after that. Do you know when Halloween stuff happens? After 6. So the only thing he did was class parties at school. However, he was adorable as a minion for that.
Too adorable to stand still for pictures, obviously.
Anyway, he’s the only one that goes to bed that early, so the other kids DID do the Halloween things. Brian took them to our church trunk-or-treat, which is where Lydia first discovered the magic of the words “trick-or-treat” and came home THRILLED to show me all her “canny.” She loved it so much, in fact, that she braved neighborhood trick-or-treating with Kalena and Will (and Brian. I was home again with sleeping Daniel) even though it was 28 degrees! Carried her own candy and everything. And OF COURSE all the kids were adorable in their costumes. But pretty soon I’m going to have to throw the rest of the candy away so I QUIT EATING IT ALREADY.
I have boxes (and boxes and boxes) of Christmas decorations. And a limited space to decorate. Also small children who further limit what I can put out and where. Point is, I switch out what I get out year to year. Maybe someday when the kids are older I’ll make our house look like a Christmas store. But not this year!
Anyway. Here’s a couple of favorite things I put out this year. I know they don’t really match (and they kind of make me hate the wall color in the living room) but I love them.
Because how can you not love glittery trees & a light up joy sign?
Now. Show me your favorite decorations!
Growing up we would sometimes string cranberries and marshmallows to put on the Christmas tree. (A couple times we tried to sting popcorn, but that nonsense is HARD.) Anyway! I always thought it was fun, so last year I decided to do it with the kids. Recreate the memories and all that. It was…interesting. I didn’t think about how sticky fresh marshmallows would be and WHOA they are sticky. And then I forgot to put them on the tree before the ornaments so I used them as a garland instead. At least, I used them as a garland for a few days until Lydia ate most of it.
This year I was determined to do better. I opened the marshmallows early so they would get stale! I reminded everyone like a dozen times that the garland needed to go on the tree before ornaments! I had the kids all amped up to do it! And the stringing part did go better. The marshmallows were much easier to string stale, and I made sure not to make the strings too long (another issue we had last year.) But them everything seemed…sticky. The cranberries were dripping juice. EVERYWHERE. Turns out this was my fault. I bought the cranberries early and then put them in the freezer. And thawing cranberries drip juice everywhere! So I learned today! So our beautiful garland is currently outside on our deck where it will probably be eaten by squirrels and/or birds. (I should probably throw it away.)
Anyway. Next year! Third time’s a charm! If I screw things up again next year I probably won’t ever do this again.
Brian smoked our turkey, I made pumpkin pies (with a very messy first attempt at butter crust. Tasted fine. Kind of a disaster to make.) and we had all the delicious sides that Thanksgiving needs. So no cranberry sauce, because nobody needs that. Everything was EXCELLENT, so obviously the big hit of the meal were the pillsbury croissants. Whatever, more leftovers for me! (Will wouldn’t even eat pumpkin pie. That he asked for. Only the whipped cream.)
Now I’m in bed watching Netflix and wondering how soon is too soon to start eating leftovers.
The weather has finally turned cold after a never ending summer. (Seems we basically skipped fall.) I put flannel sheets on the beds today and I’m getting out all the Christmas stuff on Friday. I don’t know that I’ve ever been SO READY for the Christmas season to start.
As always, my mom got the kids each a new ornament! We’ll bust those out on Friday too. For Kalena, a Candyland ornament, because somehow she manages to win every time. (From Hallmark)
For Will, a light up BB8. Because STAR WARS. (Disney store)
For Daniel, a talking Mater, because he has been especially fond of Mater’s Tall Tales on Netflix. He loves trucks. (Hallmark)
And for Lydia, this sweet little snowman, because it makes me think of her loving her bear. (Also Hallmark)
And I got this for myself, because BOOKS! (From Amazon)
I kind of hate grocery shopping. I used to like it! When we were first married, Brian and I would go grocery shopping together every Saturday, and it was very nice. These days I go alone, because we aren’t crazy. And I have to go on Saturdays because I can’t take the kids. I mean, theoretically I could, but both Daniel and Lydia still have to ride in the cart if I have any chance of accomplishing anything, and that leaves zero room for actual food. I can generally get away with shopping every other weekend, although I usually have to go to at least 3 stores.
Anyway, today was a grocery shopping day. I was extra prepared with a list (usually I don’t make a list, I just wing it based on what we have in the house and what I know the kids eat) since I didn’t want to forget anything for Thanksgiving! But as I shopped I discovered that the store was out of green beans (for green bean casserole) and mini marshmallows (for stringing with cranberries for the tree) and disposable roasting pans (for turkey, obvs) and canned pumpkin. And listen, I could maybe have lived without the other stuff, but WE ARE HAVING PUMPKIN PIE.
Back to the store on Monday.
How about an ornament tutorial? Great.
I signed up for a felt ornament swap this year and decided to make snowflakes. And of course the ones I really liked (found on Pinterest, obviously) were just pictures, no instructions on how to make them, so I just guessed! Fun times.
I like how they turned out though!
So here’s what I did. Instead of cutting 6 individual points I cut 3 on the fold, like so:
I cut one out as a patten, but I wasn’t super picky about symmetry or measuring (as you can see.)
Next I put a line of hot glue down the center of the narrow part.
Then folded that in half and bent it at an angle.
So you end up with 3 pieces that look like this:
Then I cut out a very precise (no) circle to glue those 3 pieces on to. Here’s the front & back after gluing.
The cutting on the points was just freehand, a SHARP pair of scissors is key to this projects. Seriously. If you try to do this with regular scissors you’ll just end up hating yourself. (I have fabric scissors that I hide from the family. Regular scissors in the kitchen for everyone, fabric scissors ONLY FOR ME.)
I tried a few things with the beads, this was the way I liked them best. The clear beads hold two points together to help the snowflake hold its shape, but it’d be fine without them. Blue beads are purely decorative. (Also, they are sewn on, but you could probably hot glue them too.) Then I glued on a loop of embroidery thread on the back to hang it from.
Anyway, VOILA! Here’s the same picture I put at the start.
In 2013 we carved pumpkins. Kalena gagged every time she touched the innards, so I had to scoop her pumpkin. And Will was not quite 4, so I also had to scoop his. Then I also had to carve both pumpkins, because I’m the lady who thought carving pumpkins with a 3 year old & a 5 year old was a good idea. (Actually, I think I carved Will’s and someone else carved Kalena’s.)
Fortunately I learned my lesson and we skipped jack-o-lanterns for the next 2 years. This year I decided to try again. I told them I was not doing the work and if they didn’t want to we could skip the whole thing next year.
They were still disgusted by the insides, but did a pretty good job scooping. In the end I helped a little, but they did all the carving themselves!
So. Jack-o-lantern success! Of course, October was still crazy warm, so they lasted about 3 days before the molded but they lasted through Halloween because I procrastinated. As I tend to do. WOO!