Childproof Christmas Decor and Crafts

As I decorated this Christmas, I broke out the same Scrap Fabric Tree that is now 2 years old! It’s hard to believe it survived a few holidays and being in storage. These were some easy crafts to make with little kids.  Enjoy!

At 15 months old, my son is just at that age where we really need to watch him to make sure he doesn’t get into something he shouldn’t.  He really is quite good, but we had a few incidents with him pulling down our Christmas stockings (and holders) that were placed on a bookshelf, where he routinely will pull books off of the shelf to “read.” This led me to re-do some of our Christmas decorating to make it more childproof.  First and foremost, I moved the stockings up to higher ground.

Second, I created a kid-friendly tree out of felt. I probably spent less than $4 on several sheets of felt from Wal-mart.  I just made it up as I went along, gluing pieces of felt to a paper grocery bag (probably could have cut it closer to the tree’s branches), and cut up ornaments while practicing shapes with my 3 year old.

Childproof Felt Christmas Tree

Childproof Felt Christmas Tree – so easy to make & was fun for them to play with. (Though I was the one putting the ornaments back on constantly!)

I have been taking down some of our everyday pictures hanging on our walls, and replacing it with holiday decor. This was another project I did with my daughter, gluing scraps of fabric to scrapbook paper.  An avid quilting relative gave us these scraps, and Christmas time was the perfect inspiration for this project!

Scrap Fabric Tree picture

Scrap Fabric Tree picture – still hangs up 2 years later in our home!

Last, but not least, we ended up with a smaller Christmas tree than last year, so we had many more leftover ornaments that did not have a place on our tree this year.  I saw this pin and was inspired to display some of my own ornaments on our chandelier.

Chandelier decor with pretty ornaments

Chandelier decor with pretty ornaments

I also have made some of my own cardboard Christmas trees that are not nearly as beautiful as the ones on the link I provided.  They ARE, however, a lot of fun for my 3 year old, who uses them as pretend trumpets!  Here is another link to a Christmas tree project that I thought looked cool. The framed ornaments also looked like something worth trying, but I haven’t found the right materials yet.  If you have any childproof or child-friendly crafts, please share! Happy decorating & happy crafting!

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(Almost) Wordless Wednesday: Christmas Magic

The busyness and hectic pace of this season can be a real drag on Christmas cheer.  After a brief and stressful loading-in of our freshly cut tree that our daughter named Big, we slowed down the next day (courtesy of a Wisconsin snowstorm), listened to Christmas music and decorated the tree while little brother napped.  He woke up from his nap and viewed the fully decked out tree with such wonder and joy.  Just magical!

two year old and our Christmas treeI was happy my relatively basic point & shoot camera could capture these images with a pre-set mode and a little photo editing after the fact. Big sister and Daddy O. had their own moment in front of the tree too. I may not have a classic family picture in front of the tree – yet – but I’m thrilled with these beautiful images.

enjoying our Christmas tree as a familySimple family moments like this are what Christmas is all about.  Love this season!

Hello Kitty Party and Many Superheros!

We had a Hello Kitty Birthday Party to celebrate my daughter turning FOUR!  I knew to expect that much, having created and decorated a lot of the festivities in advance.  What I did NOT expect was to have MANY Superheros on hand the day of the party.

So how do superheros and Hello Kitty go together, you may ask?  Easy. Superheros magically appear when the main event planner, chef, and all around head-honcho (aka Mom) gets the stomach flu the morning of the party. Immediately after getting up, to be exact, I realized I could not make it to the kitchen to feed our begging Sumo Kitty breakfast and detoured to the bathroom.  Ugh. This was the WORST that I thought possible for the day of a party.

SURPRISE! Enter superhero Daddy O. to save the day.  He placed me in quarantine and did what all superheros do when they face a daunting task, call for back-up!  Super aunts and grandparents answered the call, and helped save the day! Daddy O. conquered two new recipes – Baked Ziti IV (All Recipes.com) and marshmallow cream frosting. According to all party goers, the ziti was awesome.  When my stomach was up to it, I also enjoyed some leftovers a few days later.  My sister suggested making two smaller pans, so you can freeze some for another meal, a great idea for the next time we make it.  The frosting SOUNDED good and looked so tasty (thanks Pinterest), but didn’t quite live up to expectations. It was just okay.  I’m so glad we had some store-bought frosting on hand, since Daddy O. had to frost cupcakes & a small cake that morning as well!  My hero!

While I laid in bed, I was forced to let go and be “saved” by the wonderful helpers to make my daughter’s party come together.  Even though things didn’t go according to my initial plan, it all worked out beautifully.  I couldn’t have been happier (though it pained me to be apart from my kiddos and family for most of the party).  I did make an appearance for opening presents and singing “Happy Birthday.”  Big sister LOVED it all – as you can see in her glowing eyes and oh-so-wide smile!

Here are a few shots of our day:

Hello Kitty Birthday Party for my big 4 year old girl

Hello Kitty Birthday Party for my big 4 year old girl

A few notes on the decor – Hello Kitty stuff is EVERYWHERE!  I found so much at Target (the “planter” is really a Trick-or-Treat bag), tablecloth, napkins, etc.  If you search Google Images or Pinterest for Hello Kitty Party, you’ll see so many ideas!  I had drawn the pin-the-bow on Hello Kitty picture after I realized there are many free printables online.  The tissue paper flowers were very easy to make, though I think I’ll follow these instructions next time. The adorable shirt was made (and personalized under the design) by an extremely talented family member. She also owns her own business, though I’ll save promoting it for another blog post!

All in all my daughter’s 4th birthday was quite lovely…until later that night, right after swimming lessons, when the birthday girl threw-up in the locker room and on her brother. Oh joy! Even Super Hero Daddy O. was affected by the same bug two days after the party.

Note to future self – when anyone in your house pukes the day of the party, just call it off, as more puking is bound to follow! Ugh.

Have you been sick the day of your kid’s birthday party?  How did you make it work?

 

I’m OVER Halloween (and it’s not even HERE yet)!

Yes, I said it.  I’m over Halloween. I was over Halloween this weekend actually.

We have already been celebrating this holiday a few times already.

Day 1: Thursday night was Trick or Treat downtown.  Here are probably the two best pictures I will get from Halloween this year:

smiling big sister dressed as a kitty

One happy, cute kitty

Little brother dressed as a tiger

Little brother still figuring out trick or treat

Dressed in multiple layers (as Wisconsin trick or treat MUST), we met friends and walked downtown to trick or treat at a few businesses.  It was great to get out of the wagon, walk inside & warm up a bit.  After about an hour, we took a break at the Italian bakery for dinner.  This is when big sister started to be “over” Halloween as well, when the kitty ears came off.  Crazy, sugar high ensues before bedtime.  Parents consume wine thereafter.

Day 2: Friday we wanted to show off our Halloween costumes to Grandma & Grandpa and Great Grandma.  My daughter refused to put her kitty costume on.  “It’s not Halloween yet.”

Hmm…hard to argue with her, so I let her be (though I DID ask again when visiting Great Grandma, and got a grunt / no in return).

Day 3: More trick or treat with our cousins.  Big sister kept her kitty ears on for about 5 minutes. After this, she was an earless kitty.

saturday trick or treat

Little brother refused to get out of the stroller, so he enjoyed “valet” trick or treat.  Luckily the treat-givers were typically sitting in their driveway, so it made it easy for Daddy O. to drive straight to the candy.  Lucky little guy!

valet trick or treat

Little brother not getting up to trick or treat, saying “I’m good here.”

More crazyness occurs after getting home (despite our 1 piece of candy only rule).  Little brother melts down, wanting to sleep with his ghost candy bag.  More wine after surviving!

Day 4: Sunday – no Halloween costumes or trick or treat today.  Only a little drama involving candy.  Big sister finds a feather in her Halloween candy and calls it the “best treasure of all.”  Hmm..maybe we should hand out feathers instead of candy?We carve pumpkins and roast pumpkin seeds that actually taste good – really good!

Day 5: Pre-school field trip – Big sister wants to change her costume to last year’s costume – a puppy ghost.

puppy ghost costume

Big sister as a Puppy Ghost in 2012

We somehow convince her to just be a kitty. Ears apparently stay on when she sees her friends in costume. Kids took a field trip to an area nursing home and sang Halloween songs.  It apparently was a HUGE hit.  More candy came home! There was drama at dinner (as to be expected) over what candy to have for dessert (or dinnertime bonus as we call it in our house).  More wine anyone?

With only ONE more day of official costume wearing and Halloween festivities, I am READY for Halloween to be over.  Until then, I’ll grab a candy bar to help me cope!

How do you feel about Halloween and multiple celebrations?  Do your kids try to change costumes mid-stream like mine?  Have a Happy Halloween!

Un-decking the Halls

Does taking down Christmas decorations leave you blue?  I can’t help but feel that way as a “un-deck” the halls at our house. We had a lovely, busy, and festive holiday season full of multiple family gatherings, delicious food – and some tasty leftovers, and many wonderful toys.  Now as I take everything down, I can’t get motivated to cram the last few things into the big green storage bin in our basement.  Instead it sits on my husband’s already cluttered tool bench (though I’m not getting any complaints there).

Growing up our artificial tree would be up for what seemed like MONTHS after Christmas!  My mom once dreamed it was March and the tree was still up.  I think she too struggled with putting everything away – something I may have inherited from her! We also had Christmas lights permanently mounted to the main window indoors.  All you had to do was flip a switch and cha-ching – instant holiday year-round!

Is putting everything away part of the realization that we’re just going back into our typical, non-festive routine – a long stretch of hibernating during winter and cold without any EXCITING holidays for some time?  Shouldn’t I still be feeling the hope and excitement of a New Year?  Sigh…I don’t know.

Little by little, everything will find its place, from the Christmas decorations to the newly received toys that are overflowing from toy bins as we speak. I will get re-organized and re-energized at some point.

I already found a few inspiring places for motivation and kid’s organization:

Small Potatoes

Merriment

Attempting Aloha

For today, I’ll hang out with my 3 year old, who is boycotting nap time. How is “un-decking the halls” going for you?