Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Dough Ornaments AGAIN??

Ok, so I know I've already posted the dough ornaments.  But, I've had to make more initials since then for my children's playgroup, and while making them we created my favorite ornaments yet!  My son was taking the dough and smooshing it down on the baking sheet.  Well, I went to pull his dough up and re-use it and I noticed that his tiny little handprint was on the dough.  That gave me the idea of making larger ""cookie" shaped ornaments and putting the kids handprints into them. 

So, I smashed out the dough into a roundish shape (you can use a rolling pin and round bowl to cut the shapes if you want it to look a little neater).  I then pushed the kids' hands into the dough and baked.  You can find the recipe and baking instructions in my blog titled "Dough Ray me faa so la te Dough".

When they were baked and cooled, I took some paint and painted the inside of the handprints and painted their name and the date on them.  I finished them off by spraying glitter over them and sealed with a spray gloss, then hot glued a ribbon on the back for hanging (because I forgot to poke a hole before baking).

These are a great, easy, cheap idea for a present for grandparents.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas Present for Grandmom your Little One Can Help Make

We are putting together some last minute Christmas presents, and these little pin cushions are too cute to not share.  Obviously, I like to make stuff that involves Russ, so this one is perfect. 

I took empty cans and let Russ paint them.  You can use any can, but I prefer the smaller ones.  These had red jalapenos in them.  Tomato paste cans would be good too, but I wasn't making anything with tomato paste.

After the paint dried, I made the pin cushion tops.  I took a piece of scrap fabric and cut it into a square.  I put a bunch of stuffing in it and tied it with a rubber band.  I then put hot glue around the lip of the can and stuffed the stuffing filled fabric into it.  Thats it! 

It may not be the most beautiful pin cushion in the world, but Russ painted it so I love it.  I just wanted something he could help with that was a little different than the normal gifts we make.  Can't wait for him to give them to his grandparents.  He is soo proud of them and I am soo proud of him!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Finishing Touch

I'm just sooooo happy about FINALLY having a tree topper that I had to share this with everyone:

As I've stated many times before in my blog, our tree has all homemade ornaments.  Each year we try to come up with an idea for a tree topper, but we never carried out any of the plans.  So, for the past 4 years, we have had nothing on top of our trees.  Well, after we picked out our tree this year, we were walking through Home Depot, and I saw something that motivated me.  We were in the lumber section and I saw a wooden baluster (or whatever its called) that to me looked like an angel.  I asked my husband if I was crazy, but he saw my vision. 

So, I took the wooden piece and painted it white and skin toned.  I painted a face on the "head".  The screw was removed from the bottom and a hole was drilled so that it could be placed on the tree.

To make curly hair, I took brown yarn and wrapped it tightly around wooden dowels.  I then wet the dowels and put them in the microwave for 2 minutes (or until the yarn had dried).  When I took them out, I sprayed them with hairspray.  Once cool, I removed the yarn from the dowels and POOF, curly hair!!  Using a hot glue gun, I attached the hair to the "head" and hairsprayed it to keep it in place.  I bent a piece of wire to form the halo and hot-glued it to the back of the wood (I love my hot glue gun).

To make the wings, I took a coat hanger and bent it into shape (with the help of my husband because I couldn't get it exactly the way I wanted it).  I covered the bent hanger with a pair of white tights and tied it off to make it tight.  Then, I sprayed glitter spray over it and lined it with glitter glue and glued it on the back of the angel (glued my fingers to it as well).

Thats about it....  She is nothing fancy, but we love her anyway.  Russ said she is beautiful;  as long as he is happy, thats all that matters.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Dough ray me faa so la te Dough!

Yay!!  We made more ornaments!  These turned out sooo cute, at least I think so.  They are great fun for all ages;  Russ loved helping with these from start to finish.

So basically, you will make a playdough type dough mixture.  Just mix together 1 heaping cup of flour, 1/2 cup of salt, and 1/2 cup of water.  Mix it up with your hands.  The dough should feel like playdough if the consistency is right.  Just add more water or more flour until you get it right.  If you want colored dough, just add some food coloring.  Once mixed, sit it aside for awhile (trust me, its easier to work with if you let it set for about 30 minutes). 

Now its time to shape your ornaments.  You can do it any way your heart desires.  Of coarse, you can use cookie cutters or a knife to cut out the shapes.

You can roll out little "snakes" with the dough and then shape them.  I did letters for each of my kids' initials.  You can also twist the "snakes" together and form them into a circle for a wreath.  I haven't done this yet, but I want to twist a white one and a red one together and shape it into a candy cane (to make white dough, just add cream of tartar).

This snowman is made by rolling balls and stacking them. 

I also want to try cutting out a simple round shape and then carving an initial into it, or etching a picture into it.

Once your shapes are made, put them on a cookie sheet and bake at about 250ish for 2 hours.  Be sure to flip them every 25 minutes so they don't turn brown.  If you do a standing ornament, don't worry about it.

Take the ornaments out of the oven and let them set until they are completely cool before you paint them.  If you don't, the paint doesn't stick right.  If you have rough edges, just file them off with an emory board or sand paper.  After the paint drys, be sure to spray a clear coat over them for protection and to add a nice shiny finish.

If you do make these, please send me pics to post!!  I have sooo many more fun ideas for these;  I would love to see what every one else comes up with, too.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Do You Know the Gingerbread Man??

I simply LOVE this project.  Its for cute little "gingerbread" ornaments that you can hang on your tree and keep year after year.  The kids will love to help with this one.  Even if they can't help make them, they can definately help decorate them.  These cuties will smell like straight cinnamon, and the smell will last for years to come.

NOTE:  THESE ARE NOT EDIBLE.  You can try, but you will break a tooth as they set-up super hard.  Oh yea, and they contain glue so I doubt that would taste too good even if you could bite them (I know, kinda funny).  

Mix together 1 cup of applesauce, 1 1/2 cups of cinnamon, and 1/3 cup Elmer's Glue.  Yes, I know, thats a LOT of cinnamon!  When its nice and mixed, chill in the refridgerator for 30 mintues.  Have a cup of hot cocoa (or wine) while you wait....

Take the dough out of the refridgerator.  You'll need to sprinkle some cinnamon on your work surface to keep the dough from sticking.  You can do this on a board if you want;  I just use the counter.  Roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thick.  It can be a big pain in the butt getting the dough to set-up just right.  If its too cold, it won't roll correctly (trust me, you'll know if its not right).  Don't throw it away; just set it aside and wait until it warms up a little and try it again later.  My friend threw hers in the trash and then came to a playdate and told me what happened.  I had her go home and pull it from the trash, and it then worked just fine. 

Once its finally set right and rolled out to 1/4 inch thick, take your cookie cutters and cut out the shapes.  You can use any size cutters, large or small.  Letter cutters are also really cool to use.  Be sure to poke a hole in the top of each ornament (this is for the ribbon they will hang from later).  If you forget to poke the hole now, you won't be able to do it later as it sets up really hard.  Put the shapes on a cookie sheet and place the cookie sheet on a rack to harden.  It can take a few days  for them to harden all the way.  I set mine in the oven so they wouldn't be in the way.

When they are completely hardened, you can decorate them!!  Use any kind of paint, glitter, sprinkles, beads, or whatever you want. 

Monday, November 30, 2009

Adventures in Thanksgiving Travels

This past weekend we went to visit some of my family in southwest Virginia for Thanksgiving.  I love going down to visit everyone and have been making the trip pretty much my whole life (either from Virginia to Maryland or Maryland to Virginia depending on where I lived at the time).  It is 5 hours or so each way and after awhile you get used to it.  However, the trip is a little different than it was before I had a family of my own to travel with.

We took our four-door Silverado because its the only thing we own thats actually big enough for us to travel in.  So, in the front seat its me and my husband.  Between us and in the floor, we have stuff cramed into every bit of open space:  snacks and diapers and cameras and everything that can't go in the bed of the truck.  We do manage to leave just enough space for my feet.  In the back seat we have our two kids in their carseats, our bassett hound, and our big mutt/hound dog.  Its a full truck!!  Luckily, we have a nice large bed for all the luggage.  Oh, and this time we decided to bring home another chicken from my parents farm, so we had a chicken in a box in the back with our luggage (because we didn't look Beverly Hillbilly enough with the loaded down truck). 

Now, traveling with dogs does have its obvious down side, like having to walk them, get them water, and stuff.  But, add to that the fact that everytime we visit the farm they roll in every dead animal they can find before they get in the truck to come home.  So, we had the pleasure of smelling their nasty, dead animal scent the entire confined trip.

Because it was the Sunday after Thanksgiving we, of coarse, hit stop and go traffic several times.  And, if you've traveled with children, you know that everytime you stop the baby cries.  And everytime the baby cried the 2 year old grabs her or pokes her.  And everytime she falls back asleep, the two year old grabs her or pokes her until she cries again.

Finally, we were about 25 minutes or so from home and we got pulled over for only having running lights on (my husband turned the lights down at a traffic light we had just stopped at because they were going straight into the little car in front of us and he didn't turn them on afterwards).  So the cop walks over and comes to the window.  That made the dogs start barking like crazy, which scared the crap out of the sleeping children so they woke up screaming and crying.  The officer is trying to talk to us, but all we hear is screaming and barking.  The dogs are jumping over the baby trying to get to the cop so she is screaming louder.  I'm turned around trying to get her pacifier in her mouth so she can calm down and am trying to keep the dogs off of her.  Russ got excited when he realized what was going on and just started yelling police car, police car! 

I think they felt sorry for us, so they quickly sent us on our way.

Can't wait to make the trip again next year!!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thanksgiving By Candlelight

I guess I should have posted this a little sooner so everyone could have saved their Halloween pumpkins, but with the kids being sick lately I am a little behind.  My friend Sarah and I like to make these candles for our Thanksgiving tables.  They are super easy to make and look oh so cute next to a big, fat turkey.

Take some little pumpkins or goards, cut them open on top, and hollow them out. 

Next, melt some wax.  If you don't have a big block of candle wax (I'm sure most of you don't), take all of your old candles you don't like anymore and all of the left-over pieces from candles you've almost burned out.  Melt the pieces in a double boiler.  If you don't have one, you can fill a pot with water & float a smaller pot inside of it.  Add the pieces to the inside pot.  Be sure to use a pot that you no longer use for food, though.  To color the wax, add old crayon pieces.

You'll need to get a wick (either a new one or one out of a candle you no longer need).  Spoon a small amount of the wax into the bottom of the pumpkin, and then push the end of the wick into it.  When it hardens, wrap a pencil around the top of the wick and lay it on top of the pumpkin.  This will keep the wick from moving when the wax is hardening.  After the wick is in place, fill the candle with the melted wax.  The easiest way is to use a disposable cup. 

Once the wax hardens some, the top of the candle will sink in a little; you will need to add a little more wax.

These candles are soooo easy to make and are such a nice touch to your holiday table!!  Happy Thanksgiving!!!!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

How Many Santas Does it Take to Change a Light Bulb??

Each Christmas we decorate our tree with ornaments that have been made by our friends and family; we don't use any store bought ornaments.  After signing up for an ornament exchange on my friend's blog,, I got motivated to start my yearly ornament making!!

Today, I decided to repurpose items in my house to make my Christmas decorations.  So, I searched the house for all of our burned out light bulbs and turned them into tree ornaments!!

For the snowman, I started off by glueing ribbon around the top of each bulb.  This will be used to hang the ornament on the tree.  I then glued felt around the bulb to form the ring of the hat & let the ribbon hang out of the top.  After the ring is on, go ahead and make the rest of the hat & glue it in place.

Next,  paint a face on the bulb and thats it!!

In the living room light, I had a long bulb that had burned out.  It looked to me like a Santa face, so thats where I went with it.  The Santa ornament is basically the same thing, but I started off by painting the entire thing white.  After the paint dried, I glued felt into a hat shape & put it on the top of the bulb, leaving ribbon hanging out as I did with the snowman bulb.  I took batting & twisted it into a "string" & glued it around the hat & to the end of the hat.  I then painted on the Santa face.

I'm so excited about these "recycled" light bulb ornaments.  I have a burned out flood light outside that I am going to make into an angel for the top of my tree (as soon as my husband goes out to get it for me).  I'll post pictures when its finished.  If any of you make any of these, I would love to see pictures!!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Its Getting Snotty in Here

Both of my beautiful babies have been hit with a yucky cold that is accompanied by viral eye infections.  Its some fun stuff.  They have snot pouring from their noses AND their eyes.  Everytime I catch up to Russ, he has it smeared from his forehead to his chin and from eye to eye.  At least Lexi hasn't figured out how to wipe it yet.  I've never cleaned so much mucus in my life as I have the last 3 days.  Russ' sleeves (and mine) are nice and slimy :)  Want to know what else is a little disgusting?  When you are nursing your baby and there is a string of snot leading from her nose to your boob when she pulls away!!

By the way, if you haven't tried them yet, check out Boogie Wipes.  They are the best thing ever.  They are like diaper wipes for the nose, but they contain a saline solution that breaks up the boogies when you use them.   

So anyway, the doctor gave us eye drops for both of them.  Thats an adventure in itself.  Putting the drops in Lexi isn't so bad; she is too young to fight or run from me.  Russ, however, is nearly impossible.  First, I have to catch him.  Then, I have to wrestle him over my knees.  Then, I have to try to get his eye open with one hand and have the drops ready in the other.  I'm lucky if I get one drop in before he knocks the bottle across the floor, and I'm suppose to get TWO drops in EACH eye??  And, I have to do this 4 times a day??  I've tried bribes and threats and begging and pleading, but seem to work.  Oh well, it will be my daily work out. 

Today, I'm thankful for the fact that my two babies just have colds and nothing more serious.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Its That Cookie Time of Year

Every year I like to bake lots of candy and cookies for Christmas.  Last year I didn't get to because I was newly pregnant and sooo sick.  Russ and I plan on making up for it this year by making even more than normal.  We started trying out some different recipes this week.  This is one of my favorites, and the kids really seem to like them, so I'm going to share. 

These are called stained glass cookies.  Start out with some sugar cookie dough.  You can either buy the store bought dough or you can make your own.  I use this recipe:

Mix 1 softened cup butter & 1/2 cup sugar until fluffy.  Fold in 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract & 1 egg yolk.  Mix in 2 1/4 cups flour until dough forms a ball.  Refridgerate for 2 or more hours.

Preheat the over to 375.  The store-bought dough directions call for less, but you need to use 375!! 

This is the fun part:  take some Jolly Ranchers in colors of your choice and crush them up in a food processor.  Keep your colors seperate.  If you don't have a food processor, you can put them in a plastic bag and use a hammer.  You can use almost any hard candy.  We used candy canes for some of them.

Now, take your home-made or store-bought dough out of the refridgerator, knead until softened, and roll it out with a rolling pin on a lightly floured counter.  Take a cookie cutter and cut out your shapes.  Place the cut-outs on parchment paper and place it on a cookie sheet.  If you don't use parchment paper, the candy will stick to the cookie sheet & not come off.  Use a smaller cookie cutter (or a knife) and take the center out of the cookie.

Take your crushed up candy, sprinkle it into the holes in the cookies.  Fill the holes completely! 

Bake at 375 for 7 to 10 minutes.

I didnt have cookie cutters, so I had to shape mine by hand.  The shapes turned out kind of funny, but you get the idea.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Potato Candy

A few of you asked me how to make potato candy, so here ya go!!

The only ingredients you need are powdered sugar, peanut butter, and a potato.  Start off by peeling, cutting, and boiling the potato.  After it is cooked and the water is drained, put about 1/3 of the potato in a large mixing bowl.  Add about 1/3 cup powdered sugar.  Mix.  Keep adding powdered sugar and mixing until you end up with a nice doughy consistency.  I can't tell you exactly how much powdered sugar or potato you need; just keep adding small amounts of both until you have a firm dough.  You can mix with a blender if you want, but I find that hand mixing works better.

Put you dough on wax paper thats been sprinkled with a small coating of powdered sugar (to keep it from sticking).  Then, roll the dough out thin with a rolling pen.

When the dough is nice and thin, coat it with peanut butter.

Finally, roll the peanut butter covered dough up into a log, and cut it into pinwheels.

The pinwheels turn out much prettier if you put the log in the refridgerator before cutting and if you don't let your 2 year old cut it for you!!

Man It's Cold!

Each morning Russ and I let out and feed the chickens before we do anything else; this is his daily chore.  Russ loves his chickens more than anything and loves feeding them our leftovers from the night before.  So, I know its getting cold when he stands at the door and says, " bye-bye mommy," and shuts the door on me.  I think its about time we start wearing shoes and coats when we go out there.  Man did my feet get cold!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Got Pudding??

Since the bathroom tile was being layed today, I had the job of keeping Russ out of the bathroom.  If you know Russ, you know how difficult this could be due to his love of power tools and bulding things.  So, we decided that we would paint.  Our favorite medium is pudding!  Pudding definately has many advantages:  it doesn't stain the furniture, its fun to take a bite between brush strokes, and the dogs can clean up the floor for you when you are finished

I encourage all of you with kids to try pudding painting;  its soo much fun and soo much easier to clean than paint.  We did forget until half way through to take Russ' shirt off though.  He told me that "Mommy needs to take her shirt off, too."  I didn't think that would be the best idea with the tile guy here :)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Too Many Projects, Too Little Time

Well, I wanted to be able to post pictures of my latest projects this weekend, however, I didn't manage to complete any of them.  With finishing costumes, trick-or-treating, and the church carnival, this weekend was soo busy.  I did actually get a couple of projects started.  I'm in the process of making wall hangings for Lexi's room, a tutu for a friend, and also a bag for myself (or a Christmas gift for someone else depending on how it goes and if they see it on this blog).  I'm happy so far with the progress on all of the above. 

It seems when you have a child who is 2 years and 1 who is 3 months, there is a lot of time left for crafts :)  I am bouncing back and forth between projects whenever I have a little time here and there.  My plan is to have all three finished by Friday.

The biggest project I took on this weekend is potty training Russ!

We started Russ on the potty this weekend, and its going really good so far.  He didn't have any accidents today in his big boy undies & only went once in a diaper (because we were at the store).  Hopefully, tomorrow will go just as good (fingers crossed).  He seems really into it;  its probably just because he likes getting stickers for his board & potty when he goes.  Hey, whatever works for him.

It was really nice today only using a total of 2 disposable diapers between the two kids!!  With Lexi in cloth diapers & Russ in undies, we weren't throwing extra money away.  Yay us!!  I can't wait to only have one kid in diapers again.

Sometimes I think that maybe this is too much to take on all at once, but oh well.  It keeps things interesting!!


Russ peed on the potty all day yesterday and pooped on it this morning!  He came and got me and told me before he had to go!  My baby is growing up. 

Its amazing how exciting pooping can be when you are a mom!!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Things that make you say Ewwww

Top 10 Reasons I Really Needed My Shower Tonight

10.  The baby spit-up on me

9.  Realized the dutch oven on the stove was actually dirty from dinner 2 nights ago.  Filled it with water to wash it, and because its so darn heavy, dumped the dirty water all over myself.

8.  Because its too cold to bathe in the creek. 

7.  An entire cup of red soda was knocked over on me & the floor by my child.

6.  Baby spit-up on me again.

5.  On my way to let the chickens out this morning (barefoot as usual), walked in some nice steaming fresh dog poop.  Probably walked in some chicken poop while at the coop as well.

4.  Two year old believes that if his nose is running, my hand &/or arm is a good place to wipe it.

3.  The baby spit-up on me again.

2.  My 2 year old had a coughing fit in the truck & threw up on himself & me while in the truck & while I was getting him out of the truck.

And #1:  My much deserved & only alone time of the day!!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

CSI: Mommy Edition

The crime scene:
    Three cupcakes hiding in the microwave, black icing missing

The clues:
    1.  The stool was pulled up to the counter.
    2.  The counter, the microwave, and the stool were covered in tiny black handprints.  Main suspect was questioned and told us that they were daddy's handprints.
    3.  The main suspect has a mysterious black substance all over his face. 
    4.  On day 2 of the investigation, the suspect filled his diaper with poop that was a lovely shade of tealish blue.  It looked like playdough.

Russ was booked and charged. 

Case closed.

Anyone wanna be friends with a mommy of a 2 year old??

My two little lovely children and I took a trip today with a friend of ours and her baby.  We rode with them to the ribbon outlet in Hagerstown; its about an hour trip each way.  Well, her child was not feeling well and was trying to sleep on the way home.  Russ decided that she didn't need a nap and decided to keep her awake.  Every time she fell asleep he would yell at her or grab her hand or sing as loud as possible.  He worked very hard to keep her awake the ENTIRE way home.  The poor girl cried almost the whole way home and Russ was so proud of himself for this.

I felt so bad for the little girl!  I felt so embarassed for me.  I tried telling him to stop, I bribed him, I threatened him.  Two year old are very strong willed.  Or maybe they are just hard-headed.  If there is a way to control a two year old in the car, I haven't figured it out yet.  Maybe I'll just need to only be friends with other people with two year olds so they understand that the two year old is really the boss!!

I have a feeling that I won't be invited on too many more trips with them.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Tutu Time

I have been seeing all these cute little tutu's everywhere I look and thought Lexi would look soo adorable in one.  So, I decided to try my hand at making one.  They are the easiest thing I've ever made; I didn't sew a single stitch!

Tulle comes in rolls that are the perfect width for a tutu (you can buy it on the bolt, but if you do that, you will have to cut the strips long ways and wide and that just sucks).  If you are going to a fabric store, you will usually find these in the wedding aisle.  So, you need to first pick out your colors.  I found that two main colors and one color thrown in here and there works well.  Of coarse, you can do any combination you like.  For this newborn tutu, I chose a pretty pink and threw in some lighter pink

Figure out how long you want the tutu to be.  The tulle needs to be cut into strips a little more than double that length.  For this newborn tutu, my pieces were 11 inches long.

Take the strips and tie them in slip knots around a piece of elastic.  Your elastic should be about 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch wide.  Continue adding the strips in slip knots until you reach the desired waist size.

Tie the elastic in a knot or sew it shut, and you have a skirt. 

To give it a more finished look, I took a piece of ribbon and wrapped it around the waist of the skirt, weaving it in and out of the tulle.

My little angels, I mean cowboy & indian!

So, I decided awhile back that Russ and Lexi would be a cowboy and indian for Halloween this year.  I had a picture in my head of what I wanted them to look like.  The costumes were totally "make-able" but finding the material would be a little difficult.  I decided I wanted to use real suede, and once I get my mind on something there is no changing it.  Suede is a little pricey, so I searched thrift stores, and second-hand stores, and family members closets and finally found an old men's coat at Good Will that was the perfect color.  I was able to use the coat for both Russ & Lexi's costumes.  I did some creative cutting, lacing, and riveting, and their costumes came out great!!

The vest is made of the front sides of the jacket.  The chaps are made of the back of the jacket.  I took one whole sleeve and turned it into the indian costume.  Finally, I added rivets, hooks, beads, and accessories to finish off the costumes.  I'm very pleased with the end result.

Monday, October 19, 2009

I'm here!

I started this blog awhile ago and I'm finally ready to start using it!!

Since there are so many things that happen during the day that I want share, I decided to start this blog.  I want to be able to write about things that happen, what my children are up to, what we've done together, what projects I'm up to, and everything else in my life, big and small.  I'm sure most of my posts are going to be rather boring to some, but they will all be special to me

Added bonus:  When I have no one to talk to during the day, I can type and talk to myself!!

Hope you enjoy reading this as much as I enjoy writing it!!