Friday, December 17, 2010

Quick Holiday Tutorials

Just popping in this afternoon to share a quick tutorial you may want to use this holiday season. I was hoping to have the hand-towel apron tutorial up today, in case anybody is needy a last minute gift idea, but it is not quite finished. Maybe I'll have time to finish it up by tonight...

In the meantime, here is another "apron" idea for all of the holiday baking (and eating) you will be doing with your little ones! The girls are too big to fit into traditional bibs, but still need to wear something at the table to protect those cute smocked dresses when we are celebrating with family and friends. Somebody shared a similar idea at one of my sewing workshops (but I can't remember who now) of turning a cloth diaper into a bib/apron for toddlers to wear.

So easy and practical!! Most cloth diapers have that extra absorbant band down the middle, which is perfect for all the drips and spills that usually end up front and center down my girls dresses when they eat by themselves.

You'll need a cloth diaper, 3 1/2 yards of ribbon, and a sewing machine to make one for yourself. You can easily pick up a pack of Gerber diapers and a roll of ribbon on your next Wal-mart run.

christmas cheer
Step 1: Cut your ribbon into 4 equal pieces. Use a lighter to singe the edges of the ribbon so they don't fray.

cristmas cheer3
Step 2: Pin the ribbon to the top and sides of the apron and sew into place.

christmas cheert
You're finished!
They really are perfect for holiday baking and eating those Christmas dinners because they cover their entire front and down into their laps.

Another super simple holiday tip:
Use scrapbooking paper to make gift bags!

christmas cheer4

I bought one of those big packs of Christmas scrapbooking paper about 4 years ago from Michaels on clearance after the holidays. It is perfect for making tags and little gift bags. Just cut 2 pieces of paper to the size you want the bag to be and use a zig-zag stitch to sew up 3 of the sides. Yes! You can use your sewing machine for more than fabric.
Cute, easy, and very frugal!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Little Red Coats

The red coats are coming! The red coats are coming! That is all I can think about when I look at all of our pictures from the past several weeks. My children have really worn other clothes than just their little pea coats, but you certianly wouldn't know it. It looks like that is all they wear night and day!

It just so happens that most of our festive activities have been outside and it has been bitter cold here these past few weeks! Last Friday, some friends of ours invited us to join them to go to Little Bethlehem in Gilbert. It is something that the local church puts on for free (yay for free!) and I highly recommend going if you have young children.

They have an entire little village set up and you get to walk the streets of Bethlehem on the night Jesus is born! We got to sample oven-baked bread (& hot chocolate), see a carpenter, a potter, the inn, a jail, and lots and lots of animals! The animals were Caroline's favorite part and Anna Cate enjoyed seeing Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus in the stable.

Fowler Family
Please note that my child is wearing hot pink socks on her hands. She was adamant about not wanting to wear the gloves, but preferred socks. You have to pick your battles.

Delaney Family
Their little girls are almost the same ages and ours so when we get them together, it is a lot of girly fun! :)

Checking out the super-sized horse at the stable.

The people of Bethelehem dancing around the town's well to a song that we heard played about 5 times while we were there. I still can't get the little ditty out of my head.

Callie checking out one of the horses.
"Whoa mom, he's really big!"

We even got to walk in the stable to see baby Jesus with the shepards and wise men! Caroline was all up on the baby Jesus, wanting to touch his head, but Anna Cate was really timid at first. I realized she thought he was real, and once I explained he was just a baby doll, then she wanted to touch his arm.

Thanks guys! We had a great time! :)


On Saturday night, Anna Cate and I got to go on a special date to see the Nutcracker ballet!
Her sweet friend Mason's birthday was on Sunday, so to celebrate, we went with Mason and her mom (and Carlysle and Miss Leslie) to a special dinner and the ballet! Carrie found an awesome deal on tickets with Groupon and we had a special girls' night out. This was Mason and Carlysle's first time to the ballet so to make the night super duper special, we made some ballerina ornaments.

And wrapped them up with some cute stickers I had found at Hobby Lobby.

While Anna Cate and I were getting ready, poor little Caroline was so excited because she thought she was going somewhere too. When I was dressing Anna Cate, Caroline went to her dresser and pulled out these clothes for me to put on her. She also wanted to stand by the tree with Anna Cate to take a picture.

excited about her special night out with mama!

ok, this just might be the most awkward picture ever, but it is the only one I have of all 6 of us. I guess we should have stooped down to the girls' level or held them up with us. They were all so excited to go!!

We went to California Dreaming (ooohhh fancy!) for dinner and they got to open up their special ornaments.

the birthday girl!

Miss Carlysle and her ballerina


Thanks Mason and Miss Carrie for including us in your celebration! We can't wait to start doing something special like this each year with all of our little girlfriends once they all get big enough to go! :)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Celebrating Advent . Week 1

We've been busy opening up our little envelopes each morning to see what the new day brings to celebrate advent!

**Disclaimer: I just re-read this to proof it and wanted to make it clear that I by no means have it as "together" as it appears from this post. Most days I have no idea what is going in the envelope until a few minutes before the girls open it. And there have been just as many frustrating and tiring moments as there are happy ones. If I don't document what we have done, I really may not remember by the end of the month because life is such a blur right now! I know you only see the good on blogs so I'm reminding you now before you read anymore, that this is only the GOOD from the past week! :) I didn't take picture of the temper tantrums and meltdowns...


On the first day of December, we gave the girls their very own nativity to play with this year since Anna Cate was so infatuated with mine last year. I found it for $3 at LICS and liked that it looked "real."


Anna Cate was thrilled to have her very own baby Jesus and asked me to take her picture with him.

Both girls have loved having their own set to play with, but unfortunately they are very fragile and we already have a headless Joseph.

I have also been finding them in some interesting places. One morning I opened the dishwasher to find Mary and a sheep nestled down in the utensil holder.

And I don't think our stable is fairing much better. After only a week and a half, our manager has become dilapidated. The roof is falling off and the walls are coming apart, wonder why??

Thursday afternoon Aunt D's came over and we attempted pictures for the Christmas card.

I managed to get a few cute ones...

But the majority of them looked more like this:

Friday evening went to see the lights at the zoo with Nana and Grandaddy.



Caroline LOVED it! (actually both girls loved it, but I've never seen Caroline so excited before) This smile was plastered over her face the entire time we were there.

Look alive, Mary Catherine! Open those eyese! It is only the 3rd day of December...we still have 22 days left until Christmas!



Saturday morning Will worked on installing our bathroom sinks and adding the trim while the girls played "house" in the empty boxes. They were entertained all morning long so I had a chance to work on some gifts! The pictures don't look very christmasy, but we enjoyed a relaxing morning listening to Christmas music while everbody just did their own thing. I love days without a plan!



Anna Cate is usually right by Will's side "helping" when he is working on the bathroom.
And she is very into dressing herself right now, thus the polkadot tights with the summer dress over a long sleeve shirt! :)

We (I mean he) is almost done with the bathroom!! I can't wait to share pictures soon.

Sunday afternoon we headed to Taylor's Tree Farm to pick out our tree!



Then Sunday evening, we met Aunt Baylis and Andie downtown to watch the Christmas parade! It was FREEZING!



They were throwing candy to the crowd so I let Caroline have a sucker for the first time and this is how she sat through the entire parade. I don't think she took the sucker out of her mouth once.


On Monday, during our weekly trip to the grocery store, we picked up the ingredients to make peppermint marshmallows.

After naptime, we donned our aprons and got all set up for baking until I read the directions and realized it called for a candy thermometer. Ooops! We don't have a candy thermometer.
Caroline was thrilled...can you tell?

But Anna Cate quickly dried up those tears by letting Caroline wear her Cinderella dress. So we played dress-up instead for the rest of the afternoon.

Tuesday night we found the time to string the lights on the tree.


And then Wednesdaywe got to actually hang the ornaments to decorate the tree after Will got home from work. But I think the girls' favorite part were the empty ornament boxes that they crawled in to look at books after we were done.


So that brings us up to December 7. Think I'm going to stop there before this turns into the longest post ever written. We've had another fun and busy weekend and had something super special planned for Saturday. I'll give you two hints as to what we did:

Hint 1 & Hint 2

Until I find the time for another post...