Friday, November 30, 2012

how to float your kids in soap for christmas.


I made these last year to give as Christmas gifts {but this little blog was not born at that time} so I thought I'd share now!  What kid wouldn't want to see themselves floating in a bottle of soap?  Hey, I even want to float in one!  Below is the story of both how not to make one and how to make one.  I tend to learn the hard way.

Without further ado....

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I seriously thought I had failed this homemade gift {found on Pinterest, of course} and I was so close to posting my failure.  I had even titled the post how not to float your kids in soap.  My last photo was of my kids floating at the bottom of a soap bottle.  Ah geez, let me just show you real quick...


Nailed it.  Not.  Poor kids.

But I didn't give up.  I was determined to get this right.  I'll take you through the process, so you can hopefully learn from my mistakes.  First I got the soap bottles...


Then I took pictures of my children, each doing poses they might do under water.  I copied the photos into MS Word, resized them to fit inside the bottle, saved the document on a flash drive, took it into the Fed Ex copy shop and asked them to print it onto transparency paper....


Then I cut out the transparent kids.  Here's where I erred.  I cut them too small, so when I placed them into the soap bottle, they just drifted ever-so-slowly to the bottom.  It was sad.  


So then I got out Mr. Laminator and ran those little kids through...


Cut them out a bit larger...


And put them back in the bottles.  Perfect.  They stay put.




Cute, right?  Then I used nail polish remover to erase the markings on the bottle.  Worked like a charm...


And then they were done!


Nailed it.

As well as an awesome stocking stuffer, this would also make a great gift children could make for doting grandparents and aunties!


DIY Show Off

photo friday: life captured by phone.


1.  After a gorgeously sunny Thanksgiving and an even more spectacular Black Friday, we woke up saturday morning to our very first Pittsburgh snow!  It was a sight for sore eyes, let me tell you.  As wonderful as the constant state-of-sunshine-bliss has been, this family dreams of a White Christmas.  It was just the right amount to satisfy our pining.



2.  Embarrassing moment of the day.  That's an empty basket I'm carrying back into the store, after walking out with it in one arm {while carrying my shopping bag on my other arm} and loading it into my car.  And I had a small audience.  And so there's nothing to do amidst an awkward situation, but pull out one's phone to snap a photo, don't you think?



3.  It's hard to tell, but it was snowing outside the window, while I was inside decorating the tree.  It was pretty much perfect.
4.  Sometimes it's hard to believe we live in our house.  It's still like a dream.  And sometimes I take pictures of my three Christmas trees because I simply can't believe we have room for three Christmas trees.  This concept of spaciousness is so foreign to me and I hope I never take it for granted.  I hope I always maintain this level of appreciation.
5.  These ornaments were a gift from a fellow teacher I worked with in Spokane.  She nailed it, didn't she?  I miss working in her classroom.  The staff had such a great connection with each other and with the children.  I hope I find that again when I return to the workforce.  Lately I find myself thinking about all the people I connected with in Spokane and I am taking the time to e-mail or text them, to let them know I'm thinking of them.  I wish I was better at keeping in touch with people and it's something I really want to work on.  
6.  Meh.  Love.



7.  Husband tackled one side of the house {with the taller trees}, while I labored over the shorter-bushed side of the house.  
8.  He has a system for getting the lights way up high whilst maintaining a perfect spiral.  I think it's called patience.  My lighting system is more sporadic and patchy.  I think it's called freezing my butt off out here.
9.  Husband had a cute, little helper.
10.  Cute, little helper had a flashlight.



11, 12, 13, 14.  The house all aglow.  In fact, this whole post is rather all aglow with twinkle and lights and shininess.  You are most certainly welcome.  :)



15.  Before tree skirt making.
16.  After tree skirt making.  I love when I set out to make something and it actually turns out similar to what I had planned.  It's called luck.



17.  This fireplace is going to get me through the winter.  It's pure awesome magic.
18.  Merry Christmas wreath.
19.  Mom sent the annual package filled with the chocolate advent calendars!



20.  Jackson running.  He is the number 20.  And he's twentieth on this list.  Neato.
21.  Jackson standing like Superman.  That red-shirt-coach-guy kept photobombing my pictures with his stress and harsh coaching skills.
22.  My boots.  The game just isn't as exciting when my kid's on the bench.



23 & 24.  I dare you to find a single leaf in those photos {if you do, don't tell me}.  I am so unashamedly proud of my work outside today.  I raked, leaf-blew and handpicked leaves out of the bark dust and bushes.  Then I mowed the lawn in beautiful uneven lines, to capture any leaf that tried to escape.  Sure, what took me 3.5 hours to do could have been done in 30 minutes by some professional lawn care company, but would I feel the same amount of gratification?  And what would I have to brag about?
25.  A beautiful, orange sunset.
26.  Is it too early to turn the lights on?  Nah.



27.  I was astonished at how much water a Christmas tree goes through in a day.  Until I found out Miss Kiki-Poopoo has been the culprit, lapping up the water right after I fill it.  I tried to catch her in the act, but this perp is quick!

Wow.
I actually felt like I hadn't taken a lot of photos this week.
But now I'm feeling like I just typed up a novel.

One more thing!
A quick reminder that you are invited back here on Saturday to link up 
your very first post ever!
Click on the cute visual aid for the deetz!
I'm thinking I'll have the link-up going at 7am EST.
But it's a Saturday, so hopefully you'll still be asleep.  :)




life rearranged

Thursday, November 29, 2012

nativity photobomb, circa 2010.


priceless.

christmas sentimentality around the house.


This just might be my favorite time of year.  Just maybe.  Redecorating a house - all in green, red, and sparkles - for one month out of the year... sign me up.  Growing up, I watched my mother do this every year, trading the "ordinary" decor for all things Santa Claus.  It was spectacular!  Touching and admiring the tree ornaments was something I looked forward to as a child.  And there was nothing better than playing underneath the Christmas tree, stacking presents to build homes for small dolls and stuffed animals, and ooooohhhhhh...the smell of fresh evergreen scent!  I continue this tradition of decking the halls for my own children {and unashamedly for me too}, to help create a warm, imaginative home environment, where no matter what goes on outside in the real world {the good, the bad, or the ugly}, home can be a place where we come together and feel something positive and hopeful.  Most of the Christmas decorations we own have come in the form of gifts from family and so even though we may live far away, those loved ones are still very much part of our home.

{holiday votive holders from grandma r.}

{candle wreaths on an antique shopping trip with my mom}

{christmas pooh friends from my brother}

{music box ornaments from my mom}

{wooden boxes from my mom}

{fireplace & stockings with our names from my mom}

{the wreath was ALL ME from Target, baby}

{vintage partridge in pear tree book from my mom}

{not decor, but so cute anyway.  this cat is always looking for a photo op, i swear}

{i cut the framed pages from a Christmas book my mom gave me}



{i selfishly bought the berries, but holiday berries simply must be put on everything}


I really haven't bought anything new this year, so it amazes me to think that all this decoration fit into our previous, little Spokane home.  But it did!  Now, it is all spread out throughout this much roomier Pittsburgh pad and it kind of still looks like a lot.  Isn't that funny?  

And now that I've brought up our home in Spokane, I should probably include a photo of that place...


{this time last year in Spokane}

I'm a little sentimental, looking at this photo.  
This is the house I could't wait to get out of, yet there are so many good memories, 
especially at Christmas.


And there are wonderful memories just waiting to be created in Pennsylvania too!



*I'm linking up with the Beetle Shack!  Link below.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

decking the halls in the family room.


This is the most-used room in the house.  The TV + the large sectional and ottoman + the fireplace + being conveniently located next to the kitchen + old-school TV trays = a much-loved family room. Since we spend most of our winter evenings {when we aren't busy with basketball games & practices} curled up in this room, I crammed in as much Christmas stuff in here as possible.  I absolutely love to submerge myself in holiday lights.  I'm not satisfied until the blur of twinkly lights is in my peripheral vision at all times. This room completes me.  :)




My mom made the stockings years ago and our mantel wouldn't be the same without them.  Wasn't that sweet of her?  




I cut pages out of a cute Christmas book, to add to frames throughout the house.  I taped each page to a square of burlap, enclosed it in a frame, and voila!




My sweet mama also gifted us the advent calendar quilt below {awesome}!!  I have always put various candies in it, for the kids to countdown to Christmas.  This year though, I am trying something new and I am really excited about it!  Each pocket is filled with a holiday activity, so we can really get into the spirit as a family and as givers.  *A list of our activities can be found at the end of the post!






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Also, the tree skirt above was made by me.  I'm no seamstress, but I can figure out a sewing machine alright.  This was so super simple.  I used wool felt and faux fur trim {the stuff is expensive so find a coupon, like I did}.  I made two; one for the family room and a smaller one for a skinny tree in the entryway.  It took me like 30 minutes because of the darn pinning {and repetitive needle-poking of my fingers}.  Thimble shmimble.



That's where it all happens in this house!

*And now here's that advent activity list I promised you...

Decorate a gingerbread house!
Write a letter to Santa!
Shop for a toy to donate to an organization!
Be helpful to a friend today!
Make paper snowflakes for the windows!
Have a candlelight dinner!
Pop popcorn and watch Elf!
Make a snow globe tree ornament!
Visit the holiday tree at PPG place!
Stamp and mail our Christmas cards!
Make fudge!
Do something nice for someone today!
Make a popcorn garland!
Look at Christmas lights!
Make hot cocoa and watch Polar Express!!
Make Christmas cookies for Dad’s work!
Make gifts/cards for teachers!
Make Christmas cookies for the neighbors!
Make a Christmas card for the mailman!
Sit on Santa’s lap at Macy’s in NYC!
Shop for and wrap gift for Dad!
Bundle up and go for a neighborhood walk in the dark!
Watch a Christmas movie on a train!
Ask Dad to read The Night Before Christmas!
Open presents!

DIY Show Off DIY Holiday Highlights


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