We had a house full of sickness this weekend, which makes for the perfect time for simple crafts like this one. I bought a batch of paper eggs at the craft store and let Jason and Jenna go to town painting them in pink, gold and silver. I thought we would use them as decorations, but Jenna has already hidden them in her room. Guess I’ll have to find them first.
J+J love little treasures to hold in their hands, and who doesn’t love a little gold these days? With St. Patrick’s Day a couple of weeks away, I decided to create a little pot of gold-painted rocks for Jason and Jenna. Unfortunately, they already found them in a half-painted state in my office, so the element of surprise (and any pretense of Leprechaun magic) is clearly gone. But perhaps I’ll bury them in the backyard for a St. Patrick’s Day scavenger hunt.
It was a bit of a whirlwind week for us, and I was disappointed that, aside from making Valentine’s for J+J’s school parties, we didn’t have a chance to celebrate Valentine’s Day. In fact, I don’t even remember what we had for Valentine’s Day dinner, but I do recall very distinctly that I had wanted to bake a cake or cookies and never found the time. So on Friday night, I decided it was never too late for cake, not even a heart-shaped cake. And on Saturday morning, we had the best-ever pound cake made from this recipe that I shared a few weeks ago when we made cake pops. Happy Belated Valentine’s Day!
I tried a new recipe for veggie burgers this weekend, and since I had extra beets on hand, I decided to try to dye some dry pasta pink. It wasn’t as easy as I expected, but here’s how it went down:
I started by cutting one large beet into cubes. I put the beets in a pot of water, brought it to a boil and then added the whole wheat pasta bows. Once the pasta was almost al dente, I turned off the heat and let the beets and bows soak for just over an hour. At first I didn’t think the pasta was ever going to absorb the beet color, but after giving up and going to the park, I returned and found a pot full of vibrantly colored bows.
My children don’t actually understand the rules of dominoes, but they love aligning the little pieces in all sorts of configurations and carefully stacking them sideways only to knock them down in a quick procession. This year, I made a set of Valentine’s themed dominoes using small rectangular pieces of wood purchased at the craft store and paper-punched heart shapes.
When we first removed artificial dyes and flavors from our diets two years ago, holidays were a bit of a challenge. Our kids were surrounded by vibrant cookies, candies and cupcakes, all of which contained the forbidden ingredients. These days, all-natural and organic options seem to be more readily available.
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:
I’m sharing a new post on Honest to Nod today: Mitten Hand Prints. These are very simple to make using air-dry clay and can be used as gifts, ornaments and keepsakes. Check out the post here.
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:
I made a simple holiday garland this weekend using material I had on hand. I purchased some felt balls from Purl Soho a few months ago and had been wanting to put them to use. I’ve seen a couple of felt ball garlands online and it made me wish I had purchased more. Since I only had a handful, I decided to combine them with felt flowers and pom poms.
I made the flowers by cutting petals out of felt and sewing them together in the center. I used this tutorial, minus the decoupage/glue step.
For the poms poms, I used this tutorial. Jenna really wanted to help, so I wrapped the yarn around her hands to form the pom poms instead of my own.
Once the pieces were ready, I threaded everything onto red and white striped twine.
And then I placed the garland along our windows in the kitchen.