Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The One With the Christmas Cards

Well... Christmas is like next weekend. O my! How did it sneak up on us so quickly?!?! Anyway... it's past time to have made the Christmas card. So yesterday I made a few. Now, I love all of these, of course. And it was super hard to choose which one went to print. I let Steve have all power in that department. Seems only fair since I made them all. This one is my very favorite... but not Steve's. So it didn't get printed. But I still love it.
 This one is very similar to the one that did go to print. But just in case any of your are on our Christmas card list, I chose not to reveal the actual copy. 
And these last two are just fun and casual. I like them, too. I also like that the picture is more goofy - but shows off the girls' personalities better.
That last one looks a little familiar, maybe? I did a similar font style on Cyril and Liam's (see the end of that post).  And if you're interested, here's a link to last year's Christmas card designs.

Monday, December 12, 2011

The One With the Ornament Wreath

I've been wanting to make one of those ornament wreaths for a few years now, and I finally got around to it. Thank goodness for the dollar section of Target. Their ornaments are the only way to go when making one of these - you need so many that it would be fairly expensive to use anything else.
To make one yourself you will need:
  1. Styrofoam wreath for base
  2. Hot glue gun and glue
  3. Ornaments in three sizes
Remove the part of the ornament that attaches to the hook to make them less bulky. Before you begin gluing, strategize a bit. Arrange your ornaments in a circle to make sure you have enough to cover the wreath size you have chosen. I began by gluing on the biggest ornaments, then adding the medium size ornaments. Finally, I filled in the nooks and crannies with lots and lots of tiny ornaments. As you go along, make sure you pick up your wreath and look at it from different angles to make sure you don't leave any big blank spots.

You can hang it with a ribbon showing, or, like I did, you can hot glue a thin ribbon onto the back and hang it with that.

I'm so glad I finally got around to making one of these. I originally wanted to do it in many colors, but eventually decided the silver would be more versatile in coming years, and therefore more worth my time. It took me a little over an hour and two burn blisters to make this. But now that the blisters don't hurt and it's hanging snuggly above the mantel, I'm pretty happy with it.

P.S. This is also a great way to use old or somewhat damaged ornaments, because you can glue the damaged sides down so they aren't seen. Yay for recycling!

Friday, December 9, 2011

The One With the Bits and Pieces

Little baby with ham on her face.
Little baby smiler.
Little baby cereal lover.
Little baby who is getting so big.
Little baby kisses.

Little baby playing peek-a-boo.
Just a few bits and pieces from our day yesterday. It was grand.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The One With the Paper Wrapped Jewelry Box

Jewelry is a popular gift to both give and receive. And why not? It's so much fun. It's really easy to make the box in comes in just as fun, too, without having to buy any special gift boxes or whatever.
Just take the plain old cardboard box your jewelry came in and measure the length, the height of the sides and the width. Cut out a piece of paper with a length of side height(2) + length and a width of side height(2) + width.  Place the paper right side down and secure the box lid to the center, using a glue stick. Cut out the intersections at the corners so that you can fold the paper down the sides and glue into place. Repeat for the bottom of the box, place your jewelry inside and tie with a ribbon. Voila! Pretty and pretty cheap way to wrap a tiny present.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The One With the Glittery Christmas Village

What is Christmas time without a little glitter? Or a whole glittery village for the mantel?
Oh, yes. I love it. It's pretty and glittery and Christmas-y and fun. And you could make one yourself, if you like. All you need is:
  • Cardboard cones in at least two different sizes (available at craft stores like Craft Warehouse, or you could make them yourself)
  • Wooden bird feeders that look like houses, with the peg for the bird to perch on removed
  • Sponge brushes
  • Elmer's glue
  • Loose glitter - I used eight colors for my village: silver, pink and green for the trees, with another random multi-colored glitter I had lying around; and sandstone, white, brown and gold for the houses
  • Tiny silver plastic ornaments to top the trees with the part that hangs them cut off to leave a whole so you can place them on top of the trees  (I used the dollar packs from Target)
  • A cardboard box like your cereal comes in for the doors and windows
  • A hot glue gun and glue, obviously
  • Newspaper or an old magazine to cover your workspace and make returning glitter to its original container easier
  • Friends DVDs or Christmas movies to watch while you're working
Making the village is rather simple. Maybe a little time consuming,  but I did all of this over two days in about 5 hours total. It's a great project to do with friends or while babies sleep. Here's how to:

For the trees:
  1. Fold a piece of scrap paper in half, then open it up and place it under a cone. 
  2. Use a sponge brush to paint an entire cone in Elmer's glue. 
  3. Shake the glitter all over the cone until it is covered. Tap to remove excess glitter, check for bald spots and then place on some newspaper to dry. 
  4. The excess glitter should have collected on your scrap paper. Pick it up and dump it back into your glitter container so you can use it for the next tree. 
  5. Repeat for as many trees as you want to make. Make sure to get several of each color in varying sizes.
  6. Once each tree has dried, top it with a glitter ball. 
For the houses:
  1. Remove all the little perch pegs from your houses. They are likely just glued into a small hole, so some good wiggling should do the trick.
  2. Using your sponge brush, paint the rooftop with glue and then sprinkle with white glitter. For me, I had to do two coats of glitter because the white was too translucent. Two coats should make your rooftop look snow-topped. Just be sure the first coat has completely dried before moving on to the second. 
  3. After your rooftops are dry, shake off any excess glitter and paint the front, sides and back of the houses with glue. It may be helpful to cut your sponge brush down to get in the little nooks and crannies. Sprinkle the sandstone glitter all over. Let dry.
  4. While your houses are drying, make the door and windows: Cut whatever shape doors and windows you want out of the cardboard box. Coat with glue and glitter - the brown for the doors and the gold for the windows to be like a light inside the house. Make sure these doors and windows are big enough to cover the holes that the bird seed would go into. Once the gold on your windows has dried, dip the edges in a very shallow puddle of glue and then into the brown glitter to make the window edges. Once everything is completely dry, use a hot glue gun to adhere the doors and windows to the houses.
Voila! There you have a perfect little Christmas village. You can place it on loose glitter snow or swirl a white garland through the village to make it seem snowy.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The One With the Christmas Photos

I got the girls all wrapped in lights for their Christmas shoot last week. And I just LOVE how the photos turned out. Could they be any sweeter?

Monday, December 5, 2011

The One With the Cousins

My dear nephews came over a few weeks ago for their Christmas photos. Cyril is quite the little busy bee... so getting him and his 4-month-old brother Liam cooperating in the same shot was a little challenging. So we just hung out most of the day and I chased them around with the camera. It was pretty fun. And they're pretty cute.
Can you believe this kid is the same little guy that was so tiny just three months ago at his newborn shoot? It goes without saying that he's grown a bit since then. Although he is four months her junior, Liam outweighs Olivia by 4+ pounds!
In the midst of all this, there was some pretty cute cousin playing and snuggling.
And Liam was pretty perfect in the role of mini Santa Claus. All that's missing is the beard...
I turned a few of the pictures into Christmas cards for them. Here's a sneak peak:

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Speechless Sunday

I'm spending the day decorating for Christmas! And even going to a holiday bazaar. Yay!

Friday, December 2, 2011

The One With the Peppermint Brownies

Christmas season is in full swing. Finally. I made some really simple and delicious brownies the other day and thought I'd share them with you.
Andes Mints makes special white chocolate and peppermint candies for Christmas. They are like tiny bits of peppermint bark. Pretty awesome.

So I unwrapped the candies and chopped them into small bits. I mixed 10 candies' worth into a regular batch of brownie batter. After I baked the brownies as directed, I sprinkled the rest of the Andes Peppermints on top while they were still warm, so they melted slightly onto the top.
 The best part about this really simple creation? It makes your kitchen smell like Christmas. Oh. Yes.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The One Where Olivia is Nine Months Old

Olivia is nine months old today! And all ready for Christmas. See?
And I'm all ready for Christmas, too, because she's the perfect present.
She's been moving everywhere this month. No crawling yet, but scooting and rolling and worming her way all over the house. She even rolls over to walls and legs and any other object she can find to push off and turn herself to another direction. It reminds me of Ender's Game. I think she could conquer the aliens someday.

She will do just about anything for some food. And if you are eating and not feeding her something, you better be ready to bear all her wrath. It's really the only time she gets upset, but she will screech to octaves previously unknown if she runs out of Cheerios. 

She loves her big sister. They are already best friends, always making each other laugh and giggling while they play and read together. I think they already have inside jokes, because half the time, I have no idea what is so funny.

Ellie is very sweet to her, always making sure the Cheerio crisis is avoided (although there may be something in it for her as well), even bringing Olivia water when she is thirsty and toys when she is without them.

O yeah, and she loves her tongue. Any tongue humor makes her crack up and squeal with delight.
And she loves Christmas. She loves Christmas lights and dancing to Christmas music. And I have no doubt she'll love Christmas presents.
P.S. If you're going to try wrapping your nine-month-old in Christmas lights please be very, very careful. And maybe just avoid it altogether if they have teeth. Thoughts of bitten lights in tiny, precious mouths make me cringe, and feel the need to post this warning.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The One With the Star Wars TOMS

Occasionally, I get to give really awesome gifts. It makes me so very excited when I find the perfect present for someone. My dear friend, Cara, had a birthday the day after Thanksgiving this year and I just happened to come up with the best gift ever for her. Custom made Star Wars TOMS.
A few months ago I was browsing around Etsy and found lots of custom designed and hand-painted TOMS shoes. I fell in love with the idea. I will eventually need some with cherry blossoms for my shoe collection. But in the meantime, I was absolutely thrilled to find someone who wanted to begin making Star Wars themed TOMS. And since she was just starting out she gave us a great deal to be her first order! They turned out so well! And Cara loved them!

Here's R2-D2
And C-3PO
Aren't they just ridiculously cool? If you have a Star Wars fan in your life who needs these for Christmas or a birthday, you can purchase a pair here. Not the biggest fan of R2 and C-3PO? Alyssa (the artist) wants to make several different sets with different characters, so you can contact her for more details!
Unfortunately, I have yet to see these babies in person. All pictures were taken by Alyssa for her Etsy listing. 

Monday, November 28, 2011

The One in My Shoes

Hello! I'm a featured guest blogger over at Crayon Freckles today! I'm so excited that Andie allowed me to participate in the "In Her Shoes" series on her blog.
If you have been sent this way from my post over there, you may be interested in some of the following:
Things I Love About Ellie, Olivia's Month-by-Month and yummy dinner and dessert recipes (see tags for more specific categories!).

If you came this way on your own, you can read my post about mommyhood below:

Hello! I’m Michelle. I’m a full-time mommy and part-time blogger and aspiring photographer over at The One With The Cupcakes
where I share recipes, crafts, photos and any other random thing that strikes my fancy.

A big thanks to Andie for letting me participate in this great series!

Like Andie, I’ve always been excited about being a mom. Even when I was in college studying Spanish and Elementary Education, I knew that once kids came along I would want to stay home with them. What I wasn’t in any way expecting was that my first, Ellie, would be born before I even finished college. Talk about surprises. My husband, Steve, and I had been married just over a year when she was born, at the beginning of my senior year. I stayed home with her that first semester and then finished my last semester that following spring with the help of amazing friends and family. And here I am. Less than a year and a half after graduating. I have no work experience of any kind, no job title, no résumé builders, but another little wonder, Olivia, has joined our happy home.

I am beyond blessed with my little girls. They bring so much joy and life, not only to me, but to everyone around them. Ellie is all energy and giggles. She is strong willed and smart and is already very much the bossy big sister. But she is also the best friend who, whenever Olivia whines a little, comes rushing to her aid bringing her toys and stuffed animals to play with. Ellie loves Elmo, and giving kisses, and playing dollhouse and coloring. She is my tigress, my bubbling fountain of laughter, my brand-new day every morning.

And Olivia. She is my steadfast one. She is very contemplative and methodical. She seems so quiet, but really she is just waiting for her opportune moment to break out with a roar or a squeal or a laugh that just about melts your heart. She is my old-soul, my friend from ages past. She takes my breath away with her wonderfulness.

As much fun as we have, the three of us girls being at home together, it is a struggle sometimes, to make ends meet on one entry-level professional income. It’s hard to be such a young mom because most of my peers don’t have children yet. It’s hard to not be doing all the grand things I was planning on doing with my life at this point. It’s hard to change diapers and make sandwiches and not be out changing the world, as I thought I would be right about now. But I know that I have this one fleeting and precious opportunity to raise kind, smart and giving children that I can someday give back to the world. I have this one chance of a few years to make a lasting impression on these beautiful girls I have been given. The rest of my life can wait.
It has always alarmed me that stay-at-home moms have to really fight for respect for what they do. We are concentrating whole-heartedly on raising the next generation. We are their earliest teachers. Their life coaches. We are molding them into being thoughtful, respectful human beings. We realize, more than anyone, that children are the messengers we send into a future we will never see, which demands great sacrifice in the present. What about that is lacking of respect?

My girls are still very young, but every night I pray that, through my example, they will learn to be kind, loving and respectful. Kind, because as humans we are all hurting in some invisible way and a little kindness means a lot. Loving, because from great love stems the ability to see what others need and improve social situations by providing that. And respect. Respect for oneself and one’s own life, value and ambitions. And respect for the lives, value and ambitions of everyone else. Respect does not mean you always agree with everyone, but it does mean you try to imagine they might believe what they do for a reason. Teaching them these things is not going to be easy, but I’m determined to love them through everything, provide them with experiences and opportunities that shape them into moral, socio-conscious people and give them a peaceful home from which they can learn, grow and thrive.

And along the way, I want to keep track of every adorable thing they do, teach them how to make fabulous desserts, and build blanket forts for make-believe. So that's me! Feel free to stay awhile and explore!
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