Archives for posts with tag: crafts

B’s 2013 Christmas Tree Activity Tree ready to be adorned with the paper ornaments for daily activities


Because we came back from Thanksgiving Sunday night

And because the Mister works such long hours

And because I have a huge paper due (which made me want to clean out my garage)

And because schooling doesn’t stop ’round these parts for a whole lot…

I have finally compiled our Christmas 2013 Bucket List!

Better later than never!

In the interim, we have already done a few of these things, and will probably not do them all, but will try our hardest to work on the ones that make us the most joy filled and excited (like little kiddos on Christmas ‘morn)!

My most favorite that we’ve worked on off this list (attached at the bottom of this blog post)?

Working on our traditional Time Capsule Ornaments. We began these a few years ago (2010) to be exact and have created a new one each year. The ornament is EASY.

1. Purchase clear glass ornaments. 

2. Cut out strips of paper in whichever color you prefer (we stick with red and green, mostly).

3. Have your kiddos write down stuff they enjoyed from the year, it could be hobbies, activities, sports, trips, etc etc. 

4. Don’t forget to add a strip with the year OR you can attach the year to the outside of the ornament off the string or yarn or ribbon.

PS> I did not come up with this myself. I found this somewhere and have done it since. 

Another beloved yearly tradition?

Our Christmas Tree Activity Tree. I also began this a few years ago. B paints a large tree on butcher paper or white easel paper. We affix small paper “ornaments” that he has used watercolors to paint. On the backs of said ornaments? An activity for the days counting down to Christmas. So each day we pull off an activity and do that one.

A Secret.

I used to gently nudge The Boy into picking the activity I was ready to do that day or able to. I try to put things on there that are easy peasy but some involve trips or more planning so those I keep on certain parts of the tree or make with a dot or SOMETHING. This year I finally confessed and told B I’ve guided him on certain days. Though he was disappointed (he thought everyday was a surprise for us both) he understood the logic of it. 


rolling out the gingerbread dough to make gingerbread men (b especially loved this dough because we made half of it into regular cookies which were so soft and chewy he was beside himself, plus the stuff doesn’t have egg in it so he could eat it raw).


We’ve already watched a few beloved Christmas movies, drank TOO much hot cocoa, and have baked up cookies to enjoy together. Regardless of the business of the last few days fitting everything in, organizing like a mad woman, and schooling (for the both of us), it’s been a great kick off to the Christmas season. 

I am so thankful, most of all, for the birth of baby Jesus so many years ago. I am so thankful that in the busyness of it all, he’s the reason for all the celebratin’ and fussin’ and JOY! 

Merry Christmas everyone! It’s going to be a grand one!

Christmas 2013 Bucket LIst/Christmas Activity Tree


Places to Visit


*Busch Gardens Winter thinga ma jing. Christmastown

*Dominion Gardenfest of Lights

*Bethlehem Walk

*Richmond Science Museum: Train Display




Things to Make


*Make homemade ornaments:

  1. Time capsule traditional ornament 
  2. fingerprint snowman with db, bb, and little ol’ me
  3. beaded twig ornament :
  4. Pipe cleaner snowflakes:
  5. Ornaments with Shrinky Dinks
  6. Salt dough ornaments!

*Make handprint snowmen cards for thank you cards

*Make a mini winter terrarium:

*Paint the annual Christmas Activity Tree

*Make friends a homemade gift: neft dart poppers/sling/goodie to eat

*Attempt 3-D snowflakes (and if so make a garland for the kitchen with them)

*Decorate the front windows with homemade snowflakes:

*Write Santa 

*Make a Lighted Wooden Star : The Artful Parent

*Make peppermint sparkly playdough

*Make snowmen in a jar : The Artful Parent

*Make styrofoam print Christmas Cards for friends: The Artful Parent






Things to Bake/Cook


* Make Monster Cookie Dough Bites for friends:

  • Make Santa Hat Party Mix for friends and family :
  • Make homemade gingerbread men
  • Make a gingerbread house
  • Popcorn balls!
  • Make the traditional mouse cookies for Santa
  • Make candy cane lollipos : The Artful Parent


Things to See/Do


*Go Ice Skating!

*Go Snow Tubing!

*Go Sledding!

*Watch a live Christmas Play: ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas

*Put on a family play (Santa’s Stuck) with the cousins

*Watch a Polar Express, make homemade cocoa and cookies, and then read the story together

*Decorate the Christmas Tree

*String up lights outside 

*Visit Santa at the York Galleria Mall

*Campout in the living room watching Christmas movies and eating bad for you snacks and drinking too much cocoa or hot apple cider

  • Have a Christmas Themed Scavenger Hunt
  • Go for a nightwalk around the neighborhood to look at lights
  • Play “I’m from the planet Zorg”
  • Have a game night 

*Have an indoor snowball fight… with socks, of course!

*Make marshmallow and toothpick sculptures (while eating them, of course)

*Play Simon Says Drawings : The Artful Parent

*Be a Secret Santa for someone you love

*Read Christmas stories under the tree

*Decorate wrapping paper (I’m thinking bubble wrap printing with Christmas colors)

*Make snack for Santa’s reindeer

*Check out the hollywood costumes at the VMFA

*Check out a Christmas Parade : Broad Street December 7th at 10am

*Check out the Henrico Theater for Singing and Dancing and Watching ELF $1


watching yet another Christmas movie: note, Dad’s not home as B is all snuggled up in his chair.




Time can be relative, can’t it?

When we are beside ourselves with excitement, waiting for something to happen or a particular day to finally arrive, time can seem to slow, as if mocking us. And then there is the craziness of time seeming to utterly pass us by in a hurry when we’d like it to do anything but.

I think it would be an understatement to say that when Brooks and I began dating we were pretty much attached at the hip. Where one was, the other was sure to be close behind. It’s hard not to remember those times fondly, the innocence of youth and the time before 9-11. Back then we felt as if we had all the time in the world to be together.

And then he started contemplating joining the service. I didn’t think he was particularly serious. One of the first things I had learned about Brooks was his disdain for the military. He just didn’t believe in it. Being a military brat I understood that military service brings along separations from time to time and the thought of being separated from Brooks was painful, and we’d only experienced that temporarily one summer.

So we quickly dismissed the Navy, and Brooks wasn’t going to be manhandled by the Marine recruiter, so the Army it was. Yes, I’m aware that the Coast Guard and Air Force exist. I’m not quite sure why Brooks didn’t look into those, or even if he did. But that’s neither here nor there.

And then as if it were some cruel joke we’ve experience separation after separation. Chatting with Brooks via Skype today we were reminiscing and laughing hard, as usual, while I was secretly relishing the simple sound of his voice. I do that quite often. And we were discussing the future and contemplating life five, ten, twenty years down the road, and it made me realize that regardless of the separations we’re still together. I may not physically see him everyday, he may not be here in the morning to sit with us over breakfast, I may not have the ability to hold his hand and harass him for more kisses (I’m what they call Sprung, do they still use that word?) but we are still together.

Obviously, more so in spirit, but it’s a comfort to know that regardless we have time on our side. Remember, I’m a half full kind of gal. God willing, we’ll grow old together, watch Little Brooks grow into a man, putter around the house at half speed, miscommunicate due to faulty hearing… I’m looking forward to all that. And even then I’ll still be holding his hand, pestering him for a few more kisses, and talking way too much.

Somehow down the road this will all just be a moment in time, a small fraction of the life that we’ll live.

As much as I want time to hurry on up so we can welcome Brooks back home, I want it then to slow down so we can savor every moment together. If these deployments have taught me something it’s that each moment counts, and shouldn’t be squandered. And I hope as time pulls us away from the trial and pain of these deployments, that I’ll never take him for granted, nor the moments gifted to us.

And on that note, I’ll share a few pictures of our day here in Texas.

Little B and I were invited to a friend’s house for breakfast. I have to attach a picture because the food was incredible, as the company was as well. Hopefully the picture does the meal justice because even now I’m still wishing I was eating another egg topped tostada.

Afterwards we returned home to homeschool.

And then we had a huge airplane fight. Yes, airplane fight. I’m not quite sure how it started. One moment BB was flying his paper airplanes and then one hit me in the arm and he started giggling like crazy. And that was that. By the time we were done he was laughing so hard he needed his inhalor. True story. I think it’s amazing that every day Brooksy finds himself in such hysterics that it drives him to wheezing and coughing and gasping for air. It sounds crazy but I usually have to tell him to stop laughing. Which doesn’t necessarily help because he thinks that’s a hoot and it drives him to laugh harder.

After he recovered we pulled out some art.

The Artful Parent posted this today: I was pretty keen on trying it out because, one it was a simple project and two, it looked like loads of fun. I was right on both accounts. The Boy had a blast painting with the wheels on his cars and I had just as much fun watching him.

After he made about eight different pieces (he really enjoyed it) I brought out some paper to make cards for his homeschool co-op teachers. Our semester officially ends tomorrow and I wanted The Boy to make his teachers something homemade to thank them for their time and efforts. He’s really enjoyed his time and has made a few new friends.

I contemplated baking something but ran out of sugar AND then, more importantly, fretted about eating habits. I know a lot of the homeschoolers are very holistic with their approach to food and I was worried we’d bake something offensive or inedible.

I found a website that had a cute card that used a child’s hand print as the basis for a pot and the stems to flowers. Here is the website: Brooksy made four card and tomorrow, after they’ve dried he’s going to write “Thanks for helping me grow!” inside each card. He made each card different because he worried some of the teachers may be friends and might be offended at receiving similar cards. Funny Little Man.

Tomorrow is going to be a long day but we get to spend the morning with a great friend and will finish the afternoon with Co-Op. It’s going to be a great day!