Monday, December 19, 2016

Two Super Easy Paper Christmas Crafts for Kids

Looking for something [basically] free to do with your kids this Christmas season? Here are two cheap ideas that my kids (and their friends) loved. 

Materials Needed for Both Crafts: 

1. Construction Paper - Green and any other additional colors of your choice.
2. Scissors
3. Glue Sticks
4. (Optional and not pictured) Christmas stickers

Craft #1 - Paper Mosaic Christmas Tree

1. Draw a large triangle on a white page. 

2. Cut green construction paper into small triangles.

3. Glue green triangles onto large drawn triangle. Start at the bottom and work up. 

You may have to adjust your child's triangle if the shape isn't quite tree-like.

4. Decorate! We used Christmas stickers, but you can also use other colored paper pieces or markers. 

 Craft #2 - Paper Christmas Tree

1. Cut a Christmas tree out of green construction paper. If free-handing a Christmas tree is too scary, try printing out a picture of a Christmas tree and using it as a pattern.

2. Cut out small pieces of other colored paper.

3. Optional - cut out a star in yellow. (This was kind of hard!)

2. Glue the star and geometric ornaments to the tree! Again, you can add decorations with glitter, markers, stickers or whatever you want!

We took this craft to a kids Christmas party, and it was a hit from ages 2-7. You can go as simple or complex as you want.

Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Baby #3 Coming This Spring

I haven't blogged about personal things recently, partly due to pulling back on social media and partly because I'm busy with kids. I can't figure out how moms blog regularly. My most consistent blog years were pre-kid. Now I can hardly get a moment to write in my journal, let alone compose a readable post.

My first pregnancy was tediously shared on this blog. My second was about half the amount of sharing, and this third pregnancy is will follow the downsizing pattern.

This is my pregnancy announcement post, gender reveal post, and name reveal post all wrapped into one.

We're Pregnant Again

We found out we were pregnant in late August, right before a family road trip to Chicago. It was planned, so Zane was never unaware that I could be pregnant. After a date night, Zane and I bought a test, and I tested positive as soon as we got home.

I told most people by randomly saying, "I'm pregnant." The best part of spitting it out without a buildup is the shock on people's faces. They're totally not expecting a pregnancy announcement, so you get to see the full surprise turn to excitement, which turns to chiding for springing it on them.

After we heard the heartbeat, I announced it publicly on Instagram (because I'm not on FB, and Zane never posts anything) with what I'd like to think is a creative picture: 
"Elsa and Anna would like to make a royal announcement that a baby snowman will be joining the family just in time for summer!!!"

First Trimester

Morning sickness wasn't too bad. Every food seemed gross except whatever I was craving at the moment, which was a lot of macaroni and cheese. I also ate plenty of toast and mashed potatoes. It wasn't the best eight weeks (nausea started at week 6, ended at 14), but I got through it with lots of naps. I'm very thankful to have two trustworthy kids who can play (or watch too much TV) while I sleep.

Daisy was glad when I stopped taking so many naps, but she knows that mommy's with babies in their bellies need lots of rest.

Boy or Girl? 

After many conversations with people about what I thought I was having, what I felt I was having, what it would be like in either scenario, we finally had our 20-week ultrasound. 

We're having another girl!

I didn't realize I had an expectation until it wasn't fulfilled. I must have entertained too many thoughts of having a boy, because it took me a few hours to adjust (and I felt mom-guilt for not being excited immediately). Now I am very excited, and so are the girls, who were wanting a sister anyways. Daisy wanted both, actually. 

So, What's her Name? 

Another common question for pregnant mothers. I don't know how moms who don't find out sex or tell the name get through nine months of questions. It's exhausting. Or maybe I'm just more exhausted this time around because it's #3, and I don't have as much mental energy to ponder.  

Her name is Oswin Peace. 


I had a list of girl names that went with Daisy and Amy, including Bonnie, Tracy, Penny and Siggi. None of those names seemed right. I forced myself to think of names that sounded like her sisters' names. It was limiting and felt like I was giving her leftovers. She'll get plenty of hand-me-downs in her life. She deserves a first-choice name. 

Oswin means "God's friend." If she really wants to be like her sisters, she can go by Winnie. 


If Daisy Love wasn't hippie enough, we're going to name a kid "Peace"? 

Peace has significant meaning just like Love did. I have been anxious, irritable, and even depressed this year. Acknowledging these negative realities sent me on a journey through counseling and self-evaluation, discovering Godly purpose and seeking peace along the way. 

The thought of three girls caused me anxiety, worrying about dynamics between them, upsetting the harmony between Daisy and Amy, someone feeling left out, etc. I felt God saying, "What if this baby surprises you? What if she is a source of peace?" I latched onto that hopeful thought, probably because it's my deepest desire. 

There are many possibilities for peace in, from, and through Oswin. Maybe she will be a peacemaker. Maybe she'll be the personification of peace. Maybe she won't, but peace will be her gift to the world. Maybe her mother is commissioning her to seek peace throughout her life. Maybe she'll be a reminder to me of my goal to provide a peace-filled home to my family. Or maybe she'll be a reminder that part of God's redemption plan is peace in Him.

Whenever we talk about Daisy's middle name, Love, I tell her about how much God loves us, and it is a reminder to me of His crazy big love. Hopefully Oswin's name can be a teaching moment for us too. 

Zane and his girls and my 20 week baby bump

I'm due May 1, but if she's like her sisters, she'll come sometime after that. 

P.S. I read through this post where we announced our pregnancy with Daisy. I'm filled with a renewed sense of joy and awe as I look back at what God has done in our lives. 

Monday, November 7, 2016

Pokemon Costume: Bulbasaur

In June, my daughter had a Pokemon birthday party, (which was right BEFORE Pokemon Go came out - just FYI), and since I put so much work into Daddy's Ash shirt, I wanted to repeat some of the costumes for Halloween.

However, I didn't want to force my daughter to be Charmander again, so I asked her who she wanted to be. If she wanted to be a character from XY (she said Bonnie at first), then I would have coordinated our family costumes around that. Luckily she chose Bulbasaur, so we stuck with the Indigo League theme. (See Why Pokemon XY is Better Than Indigo League for more geeky info on that).

The good news was that I only had to make one Halloween costume this year!

The bad news was that it was Bulbasaur:

This entire project was me figuring it out as I went, so this isn't a tutorial.

I started with a garage sale backpack that the kids do not use or love and green fabric. 

Added some leafy stuff. 

The casing reminded me of a green jester hat halfway through. 

I used our Charmander hat as a rough estimate for the Bulbasaur hat. The one pictured below was too dark, so I ended up making another one from teal fabric. 

Finished product: 

I'll admit, I am proud of this costumed. I think his face looks more authentic than the Pikachu and Charmander hats we bought from a costume store. 

Here's our group costume for Halloween. 

And a shot of Bulbasaur from the back Trick-or-Treating. 

My favorite part of the night were the kids (all boys incidentally) who recognized Bulbasaur. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Home Reno Before and After: Interior

We bought a major fixer-upper back in March, and with the help of a renovation mortgage (which involves lots of red tape), we were able to renovate it and gain about $40K in equity!! Great investment for us, but LOTS of work too! The professional renovations were accomplished in two months, and the DIY stuff is mostly done now. :) 

This first installment of Home Reno Before and After photos is only our interior. The before shots were taken the day we closed on the house. As I walked through the wasteland, tears filled my eyes. I thought, "What have we gotten ourselves into?!" 

Living Room Before

Living Room After

Dining Room Before

Dining Room After

Kitchen Before

Kitchen After

Master Bath Alcove Before and After

Guest Bathroom Before and After 

There are many other beautiful transitions not pictured. The experience of renovating this house was stressful, but so worth it. With the right contractor (we LOVED ours!) and an abundance of patience, a renovation mortgage was wonderful. Each stage of completion revealed that beauty can come from ashes.

Next step: Exterior!

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Stop! Hammond Time

This summer my family had a family reunion at New Smyrna Beach, complete with talent show, and here's my entry. You may recognize the song with a very personal twist. :) 

YouTube Link:

And Happy Birthday today to my cousin, Kate!