Monday, March 18, 2013

Gingerbread House 2012

Every year, the Gingerbread decorating gets more fun! As Lucy grows and understands the concept (and enjoys the candy as you'll see documented below) and as we have family in town to share the experiences.... let's just say it's one of my favorite Christmas traditions! :) 

Our 2012 candy selection - Lucy helped me buy it as the store, we were all about building the anticipation this year. :)

Our blank house - ready for some colors and sweets!

My little sisters Laura and Anna helped Lucy and I decorate this year. My mom and sisters came into town for a visit around Michael's birthday - as always it was SO fun to have them! :)

I finally got smart and used a Chip Clip/Bag Sealer at the end of my frosting bag to keep it from coming out both ends - worked perfectly! 

We decided candy cane columns would be a nice touch. :) 

Of course we all had our aprons on - Laura and Anna brought theirs from home (Anna even brought her hat I made her!). :)


...and more chewing...

...and candy stuck in teeth! :) (We brushed our teeth extra well that night!)

My sweetie-pie sisters. :) 

My sweetie-pie daughter. LOVE HER! 

Stepping back to see if it needs anything else.  

Sampling some candies - Love Laura's expression! :) 

All done! Me and my mini-bakers! :) 

We made a "K" for Kidder :) The girls had so much fun (and so did I! Prep work pays off big time when it comes to this project!) :)

We had such a nice visit with my mom and the girls, they were here for about a week - there was lots of reading, dancing, giggling and snuggling! 

Lucy LOVES her Grammy! 

These two are such sweet hearts - they enjoyed helping with Michael and playing with Lucy. :)

Told you there was lots of dancing! :) 

Laura read a book to Michael before bed on the eve of his birthday! He sat so well. :)

The next day was Michael's birthday! :) I can't wait to share all the pictures.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Twin Day!

My sweet mother-in-law texted me one day while shopping and asked, "How do we feel about matching clothes for the kids?" I smiled as I replied, "I'm fine with matching every once in awhile - but don't want them to be twinsies every day :) " On our next visit to MI, the kids had red matching shirts waiting for them! Lucy thinks it's really fun to "match" other people so she didn't need much convincing to dress the same as Michael for the day. (She's become a bit particular about choosing her own clothing - this is helpful... most days.) :) 

Apparently, Michael was excited about matching too! :) 

I've learned to be happy with pictures that are "different" from what I used to anticipate (both kids looking at the camera, smiling) - and have found myself loving the quirkiness and personality the camera can capture.

Although it stinks when the picture you like best turns out grainy... :) 

Yep - real life... Lucy spitting at Michael and Michael gearing up to hit Lucy. Oh sibling love. 

"What do you mean mom? We're little angels!" :)

Lu seems so inquisitive to me in this picture. 

Those eyes.... I could stare at them for hours.... 

Michael went through a "Help I'm stuck on the chairs!" phase... he quickly learned that his feet were inches from the floor and that he could slide off easily. 

Oh, and Lucy has learned how to "smile" nicely for the camera.... it's pretty sweet. :) 

I love these two kids. 

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Twin Girls & Their Babies

Lucy has many small friends in Pampa that are very dear to her (and her parents!). One of her buddies is Karsen. Karsen is an energetic, smart, fun-loving girlie who loves her mommy, daddy and her bitty-twins (who's names change on a regular basis - Brad and Lulu have been honored to have the babies be given their names in the past!). Karsen's grandma ordered her a matching outfit set for her and her dolly and when the shipment arrived, she had received a double order! :) Karsen's mommy was so sweet to think of Lucy - the girls love love loved their outfits and put them on right away: 

It can be difficult to keep two girlies still for pictures! :) Especially when they are so excited.

Thank you Karsen for sharing this sweet gift! Caroline (Lucy's doll) has even shared her outfit with Ellie so she can match Lucy - we've gotten lots of use out of it! :)

Friday, March 15, 2013

Felt Advent Christmas Tree

Taking a few "pins" as inspiration (see here, here, here and here) I made our kiddos a felt Christmas Tree for them to decorate and re-decorate throughout the Holiday season. As I was thinking through this project I realized I could incorporate my desire to do a daily "Advent" activity with the kids every day in December, leading up to Christmas, with this fun little tree! I had read (again, via Pinterest) that my favorite children's bible, The Jesus Storybook Bible, had 21 stories leading up to the story of Jesus' birth and 3 stories about that momentous event... 21+3=24! Perfect for an advent story each night. So we incorporated a new tradition this year at the Kidder house - a nightly story as a family and new ornament for our little kid-frendly tree. 

Curious how it turned out? 

Isn't she cute? Definitely not perfect, but I had so much fun putting this together - I love it anyway! 

Here are some close ups of the ornaments:

Most of the ornaments were random fun shapes that didn't coordinate with our nightly stories but these (and one of the stars) did- The cross was put up the night we read about Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son Isaac. The manger, on the night we read about Jesus' birth. (A star, the night we read about the Shepherds hearing the good news about Messiah's arrival) And the crown the last night we read about the visit from the Wise Men. (Also special for our family - Lucy made sure the crown went on the very top of the tree because our tree topper is a crown! :) )

All of the ornaments were made of two layers of felt - I bought pretty cheep felt and wanted them to be sturdy. I had fun embroidering the ornaments!

I decorated some of the ornaments with glitter! Who doesn't love a little sparkle around the holidays?!

I loved the way these ones turned out! I used our big set of cookie cutters as a "stencil" for most of the ornaments - some (like the manger) I free-handed.

I have plenty of leftover felt to make new ornaments for future little-ones (I'd happily move one of the white circles with cut-outs to the real tree! :) ) 

As for the tree, I bought a yard of extra-long felt at JoAnn's, folded it in half twice (short ways to make the tree double thick and long ways so I could try to make it symmetrical) and lightly traced with a sharpie a "Christmas tree" shape - Brad will tell you... this was the hardest part for me.... I may have cried because I thought I ruined it. But it all ended well. haha!

In order to attach the tree to the wall, I sewed some (4) "Loops" onto the back of the tree (before I sewed the two layers together). 

See the ribbon "Loop?"

That way I could attach a 3M hook to the wall and hang it up easily! I sewed the two layers together and the tree was done! 


And because I NEEDED a way to display and organize the ornaments while they were waiting to be put on the tree, I made a little garland - You know me... I love banners, garlands and anything I can hang with a swag! :) 

I bought inexpensive wooden tags, paint and stickers and made little numbered tags for each ornament. 

Isn't it fun?! :) I am SO looking forward to continuing this tradition in the years to come! We had a great time reading as a family and personally - I found my heart was more focused on the "reason for the season" when I was reminded about it daily.

Here's our real (fake) 2012 tree!  This is the first year that our tree has seen the same house two years in a row! Do you see the crown on the top? :) Next year's holiday craft NEEDS to be a tree skirt! 

Ok, so I know that it is March, almost Spring... almost Easter - but tell me about your family's Christmas holiday traditions! :)