Tags: christmas, gifts, holidays, recycle
We’ve purchased most of our gifts online this year, so boxes showing up at our house is almost a daily occurrence. The stack of boxes in the garage is getting pretty tall, so this weekend I decided to put some of the cardboard to use by making gingerbread house gift tags. I had planned to make them by myself – you know, so Jason and Jenna wouldn’t wonder why Santa was using our homemade gift tags – but Jenna can always tell when I’ve got something crafty going on in the office and it wasn’t long before she was in on the action. Since starting school, Jason has become much more interested in coloring and crafts, so of course, he joined in.
These are very easy to make and could be used as gift tags or ornaments. I started by cutting a few panels off of cardboard boxes (in areas that didn’t have any printing) and then made a couple of house patterns out of regular paper. I traced the patterns onto the cardboard and then cut the cardboard using a ruler and extacto knife. We used a white Galaxy Marker (which can be purchased at Hobby Lobby) and charcoal crayons to decorate the houses. Once the houses were complete, I used a hole punch at the top and then tied some silver twine through the hole.
And now we have our very first present under the tree:
Tags: aquarium, DFW
Last weekend we attended a birthday party at the Children’s Aquarium at Fair Park in Dallas. We’ve been to some of the museums at Fair Park, but the aquarium was new to us. Though not as modern as other DFW-area aquariums, the center wins major points for being child-friendly and very interactive. In one afternoon I think my children touched more sea creatures than I have touched in a lifetime – though I am pretty squeamish in this department.
Here are some of our favorites:
Tags: christmas, holidays, honest to nod, winter
Tags: christmas, holidays
Decorating gingerbread houses has become a Christmas tradition for us. Some families have an Elf running around leaving a trail of marshmallows behind, we have our sticky, sugar-fueled children. This is one of Jason and Jenna’s most-loved holiday activities, but I’m not sure if it’s the joy of decorating or the joy of frosting that drives their excitement. There was definitely a lot of eating going on, especially since this year we were able to incorporate dye-free candy canes and sprinkles. (The red balls were left over from a couple of years ago, but luckily J+J know those are decoration-only.)
I think the best part of this year’s festivities was how much Jason got in on the action. He had announced in advance that his gingerbread house was going to be an “Angry Birds Lego Monster Haunted House” theme, and he quickly moved through the decorating phase so that he could work on arranging his cast of characters.
Here are a few scenes from our gingerbread decorating:
Tags: christmas, holidays
Earlier this week I read an article about managing stress and expectations during the holidays. The advice is simple, but helpful. Make a list of your holiday expectations – what’s really important to your family and what adds unnecessary stress?
Unfortunately for me, one of the things at the top of my ‘really important’ list is also one of the most stressful: Christmas cards. Every year, I try to send out cards with a picture of Jason and Jenna, but getting a great picture of these two is nearly impossible. Jason doesn’t stand still long enough to be in focus, and Jenna easily becomes annoyed by being photographed. This year was no exception in the difficulty category, but I’m happy to report that after promising a couple of candy canes, I was able to capture a couple of pretty cute pics of J+J. Christmas Cards. Check. (The photos above are outtake from this year’s pictures.)
Here are a few other favorites from my week:
- An amazing resource for packaging and gift wrap.
- Star Wars Snowflakes.
- This would make a great teacher’s gift.
- Would love to make this personalized memory game for Jason and Jenna.
- So many great holiday printables. Check out the collections here and here.
- Alternatives to overindulging kids at Christmas time
Tags: children, DFW, things to do
This weekend we attended the grand opening of the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in downtown Dallas. The building is amazing. It’s located right off the highway, so I’ve been watching the building develop over the past year or so. I only recently found out what it was, and once I did, I immediately wanted to join. The Fort Worth Museum of Science and History is one of Jason and Jenna’s favorite places to visit in the DFW area, so I had no doubt that this would hold a similar appeal.
The museum includes several exhibit halls, including sections dedicated to dinosaurs and space discovery. I hope we’ll explore these areas more as J+J get older, but for now, our main destination will likely be the Moody Family Children’s Museum. Jason and Jenna would have stayed all day if they could.
Here are a few scenes from our new favorite spot in Dallas:
View of downtown Dallas from the escalator
View from the top of the escalator
The dinosaur exhibit
The children’s museum
Jenna with model of the children’s museum
Jason in the Dallas skyline play area
Jenna’s favorite section of the children’s museum
The museum at dusk
This week’s photo challenge theme is Reflections. I was hoping to capture a reflection of Jason or Jenna in a Christmas ornament, but in the end I think I only succeeded in introducing a new toy into their Lego and truck playing. We call this one ‘the wrecking ball.’
Tags: children's crafts, winter
We’ve been having lots of sick days at our house, and sick days for kids means work-from-home days for mom and dad. Trying to balance caring for – and entertaining – a sick child with conference calls and other work-related tasks isn’t easy, so I love when I find an activity that keeps Jason or Jenna independently engaged for a little bit of time. Felt Forests turned out to be just such an activity. All it takes is a big pile of triangles cut out of felt (older children can cut their own), a glue stick and paper or poster board.
Tags: autumn, fall, leaves, Thanksgiving
Tags: children, crafts, kiwi crate
Have you heard of Kiwi Crate? It’s a subscription program that provides amazing crafts and science projects for kids each month. Each crate revolves around a theme and is designed for children ages 3 to 7. Kiwi Crate recently sent me a couple of sample crates to try, and Jenna and I couldn’t be happier with them. I think our favorite so far is this month’s theme: Farmer’s Market. The box included materials and instructions for creating fruits and vegetables, decorating an apron and playing a farmer’s market game. I think this is what I love most about their projects – they start with making and then continue on in the form of creative play.
Here are a few scenes from our recent Farmer’s Market play:
Thank you, Kiwi Crate!