And on to what we were up to in December....
It started off with a couple of craft projects I'd been wanting to do for some time. I love those date signs with the cute saying at the bottom, so I chose to do the hubby and I's birth date, wedding date, and the kids birth date, followed by "first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes Emma and Tom in the baby Carriage." Fit our family pretty perfectly. I had this painted board from the Dollar Store that had a saying I really liked, but one of the letters was in an over sized cross that I wasn't so crazy about. I ended up finding a different sign with the same saying (minus cross), this one with a mirror behind it, also in the dollar store and decided to use this one for a new purpose. After a whole bunch of attempts at transfer printing (I tried using waxed paper instead of freezer paper and the ink only rubbed off about half the time), and chalking the saying (I only had leftover sidewalk chalk from the summer and there was too much to write), I ended up just using some good old-fashioned painting and stencils. Turned out cute I think...and the whole shelf is pretty much us in a nutshell! This is the link for the original sign I saw and these two are the links that didn't work for me (because I promised this would also be about pins that are cool looking, but alot harder in theory!) I think if I were to attempt this again I might just print this sign from the computer and frame it like the original pin.
The next project was a shelf I'd been wanting to get hung. My dad made my sister and I matching shelves as kids and it hung in Emma's room at the last house. While I liked the shelf (I certainly can't buy anything that solid and well crafted for under $100), the color didn't really go well with their room anymore because of the new furniture we bought after the move. Then I saw a pin from one of the people I follow about stripping and redoing furniture...duh! So off I went to the hardware store. $20 later I came home with some stripping gel, sandpaper, gloves, and stain/urethane in hand. Everything worked out okay...I think the shelf looks good up, but as I was working it wasn't quite the color I was going for and I had some funky lines that appeared after I stripped the old stain off. I think the stripping gel might have dried a little bit before I got it all removed. I was also in a rush to start staining and I think I probably should have given it one more coat of the stripping gel to totally remove all the golden oak color. (In the pin it was okay to leave some of it so you got a farmhouse look.) A little more prep and this project would have turned out more like I expected, but thanks anyway Pinterest for getting me to do something I wouldn't have otherwise thought to attempt! Here's my inspiration.
December sometimes seemed like a long month before we hit school break. Brad was working long hours and M&M was tired. Tired from no longer napping during the day because of school. Tired from the last three months of school. We were all ready for a break! One evening early in the month, I made something called Cloud Dough. It was really quick to make and kept the kiddos busy for over an hour. (Maybe it helped that I just stayed out of the room the entire time they were playing because I didn't want to yell at them for the mess that was being made. I just wanted them to enjoy making a mess!)
Cloud Dough is really easy. 8 cups flour and 1 cup baby oil was enough for two kids and I still have one large Ziploc bag left that didn't end up on the floor or table. I even made it easy on myself and let them mix it up themselves. Describe it? Kind of like a cross between sand and and playdough.
Every two weeks a bunch of the ladies in our church get together for coffee. Last year we did a cookie exchange and decided to continue the tradition this year, but upped the ante from one dozen to two. I made Chewy Brown Sugar Cookies with Brown Sugar Frosting. You can find them here. They were very yummy! I also included a few in containers when I sent goodies to school for the Christmas Concert bake sale. I also made a "Starbucks Lemon Loaf" that was moist and lemony.
M&M was lucky enough to have a short week during the last week of school in December. Monday the teachers were protesting Bill 115 so there was no school. I decided to stay at home with the kiddos, rather than walk since I have only worked two days so far this year and it's expensive to pay a babysitter when the income doesn't match that! For a fun activity we put a bar of Ivory soap in the microwave. After it expands about 10x the original size, it breaks apart into a million tiny pieces. We added water back into the bowl and a bit of food coloring before molding the mixture into cookie cutters to make soap animals the kids could use in the tub. Wasn't quite as fun or long lasting as the cloud dough, but a good experiment anyways. The microwave step was actually really cool! Ivory soap pin is here:
I also used pinterest for a bit of decor advice and came up with this mirror setup for the top of our piano. It looks really festive now with a garland of Christmas lights reflecting and shining atop the old ivory keys. I also added the M&M and Moose's stockings to the sides, since we don't have a mantel. I hate to take them down because it will be a little dreary without the color! But then I guess the picture (from before) isn't too dreary, so I shall take courage! Here is my style advice.
Anyone else use Pinterest for gift ideas? We found this cute idea for a quick inexpensive gift to give all the adults at the school who are making an impact on Emma's life here. I also made a quick picture frame from the usual ugly dollar store variety and a piece of scrapbook paper for my sister-in-law. Just used spray adhesive and trimmed the paper to fit. I saw that on my sis's Pinterest, but didn't actually pin the link. As far as the kid's Christmas I loved this rule that limited my gift-giving to a reasonable amount! One thing they need, one thing they want, one thing to wear, and one thing to read! I can't say the hubby was sooo anxious to limit it quite that much, but it helped restrain my instincts of over shopping!
Hope everyone had a wonderful holidays and is looking forward to another year!
P.S. Which is more useful...me copying the links to actual websites like I did in November or the links to my pins on Pinterest like I did on this post?