Monday, November 29, 2010

Recycled crayons stocking stuffers

This is certainly not a new idea and I have seen it done many different ways, but here is how I recycled our crayons.
  • Unwrap the crayons and sort them by color. You can also mix some colors together for a funkier look.
  • Melt your crayons in a "bain marie" (in a container dipped in boiling water).
  • Once melted pour the wax into a candy mold.
  • Let it cool down, you can stick them in the freezer to save time. Once cool they will pop right out of the molds.
  • Put them in a box or bag with a little message. Mine will say "Have a colorful Christmas with these crayons." You can also add a coloring page that you can download from the internet. Click here for some free pages.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Personalized gifts from Glaze Pottery & Art Studio.

Here is a great gift idea for Christmas (or any occasion for that matter): a personalized pottery.
So we took our three little ones to Glaze yesterday, where they painted some plates and mugs for my family and they had a great time doing it.

I could not say enough about this pottery and art studio. Not only the owners and staff are very friendly but they are very patient and helpful with kids.
The quality of the pottery is excellent, Eileen had the boys decorate a mug for me for Valentine's day two years ago that I use almost every day, and there are so many different pieces to chose from, it is almost overwhelming.
So again, even if you are not from the area, take a drive up (or down) to Orangeburg, stop at Glaze and have the kids and yourself decorate a pottery and create some memories that will last a lifetime.

The Elf on the shelf.

It all started last year, as we came back from our Thanksgiving feast, we had a new bed time story to read to the kids. "The elf on the shelf" started a new tradition in our family, and from then on announces the start of the Christmas season.
It is supposed to make them behave since the elf is pretty much Santa's spy, and they want Santa to know that they are not being naughty. But most of all, it gives them something to look forward to. The first thing they do in the morning is look for the elf and then throughout the day they talk to him and interact with him. He is after all their way to communicate with old Saint Nick.
So if you do not already have one, I strongly recommend you get your own elf. The children will have a great time naming him; ours is Redstock, a combination of the color red and Woodstock (they are Charlie Brown fans after all), talking to him, welcoming him as a part of the household for the next few weeks and it will make them want to be nice. Will they succeed?

Friday, November 26, 2010

MommyO's Gobbly Cupcakes.

I often get on Eileen's case about her cooking skills but I have to hand it to her when it comes to her cupcakes. She can make some very cool (and good) ones.
Just check out the alien cupcakes she made for John's birthday party.
And since Thanksgiving is no exception we all got to enjoy her great turkey cupcakes.
What a way to end a great dinner.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Gobble-good turkey casserole

Matthew just came back from school with a very nice collage of a turkey. Inside is a recipe card that I would like to share with everyone. He even said that he would try it so I guess we will make it sometime this weekend.
-1 can cream of mushroom soup
-1 can cream of celery soup
-1 package onion soup mix
-1 cup rice
-11/2 cups milk
-2 or 3 cups leftover turkey
Combine all the ingredients in a large casserole dish.
Bake covered 45 minutes at 350ยบ.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Christmas before Thanksgiving!?

Christmas is my favorite holiday, especially since we have kids. And as I am driving John to school this morning I can see that a lot of people have decorated their houses, the nativity scenes are in the front yards, as are the inflatable Santas and light-up Rudolph. However somehow I cannot quite get into the Christmas spirit. So I am starting to wonder what is wrong with me? Before I open the yellow book in search of the best shrink around, I look at my watch and realize that nothing is wrong. I know why I cannot get into the Christmas spirit yet. Today is November 23rd, we are more than a month away from Christmas, we have not celebrated Thanksgiving yet and Santa is already at the mall!!
I understand the commercial circus that Christmas has become (some people who have never set foot in a church celebrate Christmas nowadays) and that in a bad economy businesses are trying to capitalize on it as soon as possible. But please let us enjoy Thanksgiving first. It is one of the rare holiday that has not yet been tarnished by greedy business owners, one of the rare holiday where gifts are not involved. A day to be thankful for what we have, a day to stop for a few minutes, look at our children and be thankful for their health and ours, a day to thank everyone who help us (a big shout out to my in-laws who are at the top of the list), and if possible a day to help others.

So let us at least wait for black (or mayhem) Friday to start thinking about Christmas.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Behavior chart.

We have always considered ourselves lucky because our children are very well behaved in public. At least as well as kids their age can be.
At home, however the behavior is less than exemplary. Th
e boys spend pretty much 99% of the time fighting and getting them to clean up the playroom is more of a chore for us than for them, etc, etc...
So Eileen and I decided to start a behavior chart for Matthew that you can download for free by clicking here.
At the end of each day if he reached his goal(s) he gets to put a magnet in the corresponding box(es).
By the end of the week he needs at least 15 boxes filled to get a reward.
The reward does not have to be the same every week, it could be extra c
omputer time, TV time, a baseball or football card, a play date...
we will see how long it takes for the novelty to wear off but so far he has made a real effort to improve his behavior. So now we are going to work on a simplified one for John.
To make it more fun I made the chart magnetic and here is how you can do it yourself.

Using ModPodge, glue the chart on a 12x12 sheet of galvanized steel that you can find at any home improvement store. Make sure not to use aluminum.
Let it dry and apply 2 to 3 coats of ModPodge over it.
For the magnets I used some stickers that I found in the boys stic
ker box, stuck them on a sheet of magnetic paper and I simply cut around them.
I stuck it to the side of the fridge and here it is.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Give Thanks Blocks

Time to get ready for Thanksgiving, and here is an easy project: "Give Thanks" blocks.Here is what you will need:
One piece of 3 by 3 lumber about 36 inch long.
Acrylic paint. (Fall colors; I used orange, green, red and golden brown.)
Gold acrylic paint or a gold paint pen.
Letter stencils.
Sand paper.

Cut your piece of lumber in 3inch pieces and sand the edges. You can skip this step by buying some blocks at your local craft store but how much fun would that be.
Paint the blocks in different colors and let them dry.
Using the gold paint pen, write the letters that spell "GIVE THANKS
" on the blocks.
If like me you are not good enough free handed, use the stencil and golden paint.
Let everything dry and display the blocks on a shelf or mantel.
Ours look great on the piano.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Trick or Treat!!

This year's Halloween was great. The kids are really able to enjoy it now, even Grace, although she does not really know what is going on, but she loves following her big brothers.
What was so nice about this Halloween is that (almost) all the cousins were trick-or-treating together and they had a blast. They are all very close in age and they get along very well. I hope their friendship will last a long time.There is something about watching your little ones all dressed up in their costumes and walk up to a stranger's door to ask for candy. Then they run to you to show you what they got, and you can't wait to put them to bed and start binging on their KitKats and Milky Ways. And since the boys are great fans of Charlie Brown, they were relieved to see that no rocks were given as treats!The day was capped by a fantastic dinner at Grandma and Grandpa's house; could not have been better.
With Halloween come and gone, it is now time to get ready for the holiday season, starting with Thanksgiving.