Monday, December 22, 2014

Christmas. We love it.

School's out! Christmas is around the corner! This is where, in a perfect world, my to-do list is almost done and I can read Christmas books, make and eat treats, and craft with my kids all the live-long day. I really am not a crafty person. But in my head, doing crafts with my kids with snacks and fun music on in the background--that is home. That is motherhood. Here's what we've been up to.

Christmas Cards 
I don't do Christmas cards. I'd blame it on my kids, but I never did do them. I have a tough time paying to develop photos and pay postage so someone can look at it and then chuck it. SO, we do homemade cards just for grandparents, who treasure them and keep them forever, I'm sure.

 This year, Edison was my most willing and enthusiastic participant in crafts.
Love him for that. I can't get enough of his handprints.
 (While painting, he had an itch. Or two.)
For part of our family service project this year, we wrote letters to all of the missionaries we know and sent them packages with treats. I was amazed at how much I felt the spirit as I put these packages together and addressed them to these awesome missionaries. Worth the effort. 

Popsicle Stick Snowflakes
 During the Santa Run downtown after Thanksgiving, we ate dinner at Rooster's on 25th and they had giant snowflakes hanging from the ceiling, made out of popsicle sticks. 
I told Hazel that we had to try it.
 We used hot glue, paint, glitter, gems. All very girly.

Hazel decided to spray paint hers two shades of blue. We ended up hanging these in our window.
 Edison brought some manliness to it all by mixing the red and green to make a nice dark brown, which he covered in glitter. His was a small snowflake for my tree.

Painting Pinecones
 I had a bag of cinnamon scented pinecones leftover from last year that I pulled out for the kids to paint.
 Paint + Glitter = Limitless possibilities.

 These turned out so cute that I had the girls use them for gifts for their teachers at school. Hazel made hers into an apple!
Warning: Glitter everywhere...always.

Gooey Snowmen
We did these just this morning! School is out and I was excited to have my two oldest girls join us for  a nice quality "Activity Time." We read a few Christmas books I picked up at the library. I love these books about snowmen by Caralyn Buehner:

Since we ended with these books, we decided to do a snowman craft and my oldest daughter, Hazel, had an idea she wanted us to try.

Basically, you cut out three circles, large to small, and stack them with a thick piece of cardboard in between each layer so there's space (we used foam stickers instead). I think they turned out cute and it was fun to let Hazel take the lead. I used to feel like activity time was a fail if the craft didn't turn out. Now it's a little easier to remember it's all about the time spent together folks. 
(I've had lots of failed crafts, lots of GREAT crafts with horrible unexpected 3 year old meltdowns--you never know how these things are going to turn out.)
 Hazel drew the circles for everyone and they set to work with their scissors.
 Because we actually had a half FULL bottle of Elmer's glue, I decided to mix my favorite concoction of glue + shaving cream for some SNOWMAN GOOP. Edison could hardly believe it.
 Added a little glitter for flare. I hope my son survives us.
 Once they cut out their circles, I had them add the goop onto the top, just to give the snowmen some life. It dries like puff paint. I love it.
 Plus it feels good in your fingers.

 Some of us took a lot longer with the scissors, but didn't give up.

 Like I said before, we glued a thick foam sticker in between each circle to give some depth.
 We bathed a bit in the goop.

 And then put handprints on the door. I told her to clean it up and then remembered that I have an irrational adoration of my kids' handprints, so they stayed. And more were added later, of course.
 We slipped in a scarf, nose and eyes and there you have it!

Once there was a snowman...
Here's a fun one to try. I cut out a paper spiral and glued it between my circles so that he could "grow" and "melt" while my kids sang "Once there was a snowman..."

A few years ago we started a tradition of allowing the kids to open their presents for one another on Christmas Eve, so they got the special attention they deserved. I love how excited they get when they see their sibling open a gift they paid for with their own money, or made with their own hands.
 I taught the girls how to "tie a quilt" for their dad. This is the closest I get to quilting.
(Hope he doesn't read this...)
 Eloise insisted on helping with the scissors, so she trimmed the edge, with support from Ed.
 Here they are, tired from tying.
 This year, they each had only saved about $8 to $10 (because they have NOT caught the vision of my system yet...) so we headed out to DI where they could afford some pretty great (used) toys for each other. Here Hazel is fixing up a Barbie that cost .50! Win win.
We definitely had moments where they really wanted to spend their money on what THEY wanted. I think good lessons are taught through this tradition.

Every year, we do a family service project. It has varied from taking dinner to a single mom every day for a week to delivering dolls to a local shelter. We always try to squeeze in some treat deliveries with our favorite: DOORBELL DITCHING. This was a huge success the first year we did it; because we only did it at one home. The next year, we expanded and delivered goodies to five families, but had to stop halfway because Eloise (barely three at the time) thought we were Trick-or-Treating and could not figure out why we were running away from the door! 

This year, we decided to throw out all logic and increase our deliveries to SIXTEEN houses. At house #2, Hazel was racing back to the van and slipped and ROLLED into the gutter, covering herself in mud. 

We decided to just knock and sing a Christmas carol to the rest of the homes after that.

This year the girls decided to pick out a few toys that they liked, but no longer needed, to give to a little girl that they love a lot in our ward. 
This is hands-down my favorite part of Christmas. I hope it's what they remember.

And THAT, is Phipps Christmas in a nutshell.
That, and THIS:

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