Unicorn Art

Here is a piece of artwork I did today. I will be making it into a poster by submitting the file to an online company and then giving it to my daughter for Christmas!

Unicorn Pic

There is Room For One More Christmas Craft

If you are a mom with small children, you may share my plight. It’s Christmas time and every inch of your house is filled with decorations. There is no table top or tree branch that is not filled with something. In order to find the remote control you need a GPS system to alert you as to what Christmas pillow it is under.

Yet, Christmas time is the time for creating. Children are excited and anticipating Christmas projects galore.

This year, I came up with a solution to our lack of space that still allowed us to do projects and fulfill their creative minds.

The creation itself is not innovative. I cut out various Christmas shapes out of construction paper. We had snowmen, stars, Christmas trees and ornaments (circles). The kids decorated these with the supplies of choice (markers, stickers, glitter etc.).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The part the kids were most excited about though is the fact that I hung them from the ceiling.

It gave their artwork center stage because you clearly cannot miss things dangling above your head.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This was a win-win for our family. Not a lot of mess, the kids still got to make Christmas projects and I wasn’t banging my head trying to come up with a place to put yet one more craft!

The only one who kind of suffers from the deal is my 6’3’’ husband who has to dodge and maneuver his way through the living room!

Getting Down To Business With Santa

Last week, Santa sent a video message to each of my children courtesy of http://www.magicsanta.ca/homepage.html. The kids were all delighted except for my 5 year old, Bency who was perturbed that Santa stated incorrectly that Bency wanted a construction set and showed a picture of tools when in all actuality Bency wants an Angry Bird game that you physically construct yourself with blocks and shoot down the plastic replicas of angry birds with a sling shot. When Bency heard Santa’s mistake, he literally shook his fist at the computer and said, “Oh Santa, you got it wrong” in a gruff, exasperated voice.

On Saturday, I announced to the kids that we were going to see Santa in person. My 2 year old, Cesar had no idea what was going on but is always excited to leave the house. Bency grabbed his Christmas list and my 7 year old, Iris came out with a whole armful of things.

Iris clearly looked like she was ready for a business meeting rather than a friendly visit. She had a bag with a present she made for Santa, the letter she wrote to Santa asking for a ride in his sleigh Christmas Eve night (check out the post here for the full letter) and 5 toy catalogs that had everything she wanted, circled in red pen.

We arrived at the local museum that Santa and Mrs. Claus were visiting.

Cesar immediately ran over to Mrs. Claus, snuggled in and never left her lap during our whole visit.

Cesar sitting on Mrs. Claus's lap

Cesar sitting on Mrs. Claus’s lap

Bency immediately walked over to Santa and set the record straight no less than 5 times that it was the Angry Bird game he actually wanted and not a construction set. The way Bency kept repeating himself, it appeared he was looking for an apology from Santa who obviously had no clue about his mix up.

Bency going over his wish list with Santa

Bency going over his wish list with Santa

Next up was Iris. She was ready to get down to business.

She handed him his present.

Iris handing her present to Santa

Iris handing her present to Santa

Next, she brought out her letter pleading her case for the Christmas Eve sleigh ride. Santa started reading it and after a brief moment he let out the loudest laugh or “Ho-ho-ho” and belted out, “Oh no, you can’t go on my sleigh, there’s no room for you with all the presents.” Mrs. Claus, unable to hide her surprise started rumbling with laughter too and said, “Oh no honey, I can’t even go on the sleigh with Santa either. There’s just no room.”

Everyone laughing when Iris shows Santa her letter!

Everyone laughing when Iris shows Santa her letter!

Iris was slightly knocked down a peg but handed over her catalogs and started pointing out the things she had circled. A few of the choices Iris had indicated, Santa shook his head to and said those were awfully messy looking. The elf nearby, shook her head and said, “My, that does look messy.”

Everyone looking at the catalogs Iris brought and confirming everything is too messy!

Everyone looking at the catalogs Iris brought and confirming everything is too messy!

After the kids said their good byes to the Claus’s we went on to the next room with a table filled with treats. Each kid picked out a cookie and was sitting eating when Mrs. Claus popped on back by us. No other children had come to visit yet so she wanted to get a cookie as well and talk to my kids a bit more.

The spread of treats for all the kids

The spread of treats for all the kids

Apparently, Iris had been holding out on Santa with one more wish. Perhaps, she felt she would be shot down after the head shakes to the messy things and denial on the sleigh ride. For whatever reason, she ran over to Mrs. Claus and said, “Can you please tell Santa that I would like a puppy for Christmas?”

Mrs. Claus’s eyes got wide and said, “Oh Iris, I can certainly tell him but you know a puppy also has to be on your parent’s wish lists as well.”

Iris said “thank you” in a melancholy voice knowing full well a puppy was not on her parent’s wish lists.

All in all, it was a good visit with Santa. Cesar got plenty of snuggles and hugs. Bency set Santa straight on his wish list and Iris…well, Iris’s business meeting didn’t go as planned but she’s a determined young girl and I’m sure she’s only fueled more to go back to the drawing board for next year!

All of the kids posing with Santa and Mrs. Claus

All of the kids posing with Santa and Mrs. Claus

 

A Children’s Christmas Play

This year I became a Girl Scout Leader for my 2nd grade daughter’s Brownie Troop. It’s been a lot of fun! Our last meeting was probably the best one yet! I wrote a Christmas play for the girls to perform! It was not award winning material but it contained a good message. It was easy enough for this age group and it was short enough that we were able to run through it 3 times during our hour long meeting to give each girl a chance to play different parts. Each girl was also asked to bring in some of their used toys to donate to a local thrift store that uses its proceeds to help families in need. I felt this would really give the girls ownership in helping others if they were giving up something that was theirs!

My daughter playing the part of Narrator

My daughter playing the part of Narrator

 

The Christmas Spirit

 

(A family of four is putting decorations on their tree and smiling and laughing while two sisters across town are huddled over a small fire with sad looks on their faces and rubbing their hands and bodies trying to stay warm.)

Narrator: Its Christmas Eve night. There is a light snow falling outside. A family is inside their warm house busy decorating their Christmas tree and having fun.

Father:  Children, help me hang the last of the decorations on the tree and then you can open the presents that me and your mother bought you!

Mother: After we open presents we can eat the dinner that I cooked! I made turkey, potatoes and cherry pie!

Narrator: The children hang the last of the decorations and sit down as their Mother and Father hand them their presents and they begin to open them.

Girl 1: Oh, Mommy and Daddy! I love my new doll and thank you for the new hat and mittens!

Girl 2: Look at this new game! I’ve always wanted this! I really like my new scarf too! Thank you so much Mommy and Daddy!

Father: You are very welcome children! We love you very much and hope you have a wonderful year!

Mother: Dinner will be ready in 20 minutes. You can play with your new toys until then.

Girl 1: Can we go for a walk outside and wear our new hat and scarf until dinner is ready?

Father: Sure, just be back in 20 minutes.

Narrator: The girls go for a walk outside and not far from their house they meet two little girls who are huddled over a small fire on the street. They look sad, hungry and cold.

Girl 2: Hi! Merry Christmas! We are just out for a walk until our dinner is ready. What are you doing?

Girl 3: Hi! Merry Christmas to you too! Our parents had to work tonight and we are just sitting here trying to keep warm.

Girl 4: Our parents left us some bread for supper and they gave us each a beautiful rock for our Christmas present that they found down by the river.

Narrator: The girls who had just come from their nice, warm house looked surprised. They began whispering into each other’s ears.

Girl 1: My mother is making a big dinner. Would you come join us?

Girl 3: That is really nice of you. We would love to!

Narrator: The four girls all hold hands and walk back to the nice warm house. They can smell the turkey and cherry pie as they walk in the house.

Girl 2: Mom! Dad! We’re back! We made some new friends. Their parents are working so we invited them to come have dinner with us!

Mother: Hi girls! That is wonderful! I’m so glad you can join us!

Father: Merry Christmas girls! Pull up a chair and let’s sit down and enjoy this delicious dinner!

Girl 1: Wait! We need to do something first!

Narrator: Both girls run over to their presents and give some to each of their new friends.

Girl 2: We received so many nice gifts and we want you to have some of them.

Girl 4: Thank you so much! This is the nicest thing anyone has ever done for us!

Girl 3: This is the best Christmas ever!

Narrator: It was the best Christmas for everyone. They all made new friends. They all truly felt the Christmas spirit glowing inside of them.

Everyone: Merry Christmas!!

(everyone takes a bow)

Don’t Judge a Book By It’s Cover Or It’s Smell

As I was sitting and reading books to the kids tonight, I smelled a funny odor. I couldn’t quite place my finger on it, but it wasn’t a delightful smell.

I finally stopped mid-sentence in the middle of the book and asked, “Did someone puke?”

The kids all shook their heads no and wanted to know why I would ask such a preposterous question. I told them about the not so great odor I kept getting whiffs of.

Bency, my 5 year old, then piped up, “Oh, maybe it’s my library book. Sometimes I check out books that smell like puke.”

I brought the book to my nose and sure enough…it smelled like puke.

Then both kids asked to get a whiff as well.

Both kids agreed that the smell was coming from the book.

If this wasn’t enough to cause me a tremendous amount of bewilderment, my 7 year old daughter, Iris chimed in with, “I am really used to that smell. I read a lot and most of my books smell like this.”

Yes Dear, There Really is a Candy Land

Last year while playing a game of Candy Land with my kids, my 6 year old daughter at the time, Iris asked if a place like Candy Land really existed.

My reply was, “Yes!”

I want my children’s minds to be filled with lovely, magical thoughts and dreams and it really wasn’t a lie.

One year, before I had children of my own, I did recreate a Candy Land for my nieces and nephews. My mom and I strung hundreds of pieces of candy from trees in my parent’s backyard. We made signs and hung balloons. Granted, it wasn’t as breathtaking as stepping onto the set of Willa Wonka and the Chocolate Factory but we put forth good effort. I really couldn’t think of a way to recreate that chocolate river!

scan0060

scan0061

scan0069

I fully intend on doing this for my own children as soon as I can find a way to sneak away and thread hundreds of pieces of candy without them knowing about it!

I love making my children’s wishes come true; especially when they are sweet, innocent ones and not ones of material things and are simply experiences they wish to achieve.

Iris brought me this note yesterday and said she was mailing it to Santa:

Letter to Santa

To Santa Claus,

Merry Christmas! I have a question. Can I ride in the sleigh with you on Christmas night? If I can, make sure when I fall asleep I go home.

Thank You!

Iris

P.S. Bring Rudolph. I like all the stories of you and him. I have tons of Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer books.

I’m not sure how I’m going to go about pulling this one off!

Easy As Pie

My mom belongs to the generation where baked goods must be supplied to visitors. Actually, maybe it’s not a generational thing; just a niceness factor and good hospitality trait.

My Grandma Freda on my father’s side was the same way. In fact, Grandma had a rule. All new brides must receive a good rolling pin. A rolling pin is essential for making great pies and for using on your husband if he gets out of line.

To keep with tradition, my brother gave me a rolling pin as a wedding gift. I’ve used it to roll out a few things; never a pie though. I mainly just keep it handy in case I need to use it on my husband.

The reason I’ve never made a homemade pie crust is because dough scares me and also there’s no need because we have a pie recipe in our family that does not require it.

This has long been my mom’s go to recipe for when someone calls and says they are on their way over for a visit. It’s called No-Roll Pie and is extremely easy. My mom doesn’t remember where she got the recipe but I’m willing to bet she tore a page out of a Good Housekeeping magazine in the dentist office in 1978. She does this sort of thing quite a bit and then feels guilty and makes her confessional to me to ease her conscience. She should feel guilty about this one because plenty of people missed out on a good recipe while flipping through that magazine.

The best thing about this recipe is that it takes 5 minutes to prepare, needs very few ingredients and is absolutely delicious.

If someone calls you this holiday season and says they are on their way over for a visit, put this pie to the test. I guarantee you will get oohs and aahs.

This pie is so easy even a 2 year old can make it!

This pie is so easy even a 2 year old can make it!

No Roll Pie

Crust

  • 1 stick of butter (melted)
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 C. flour

Stir until ball forms. Press into pie pan.

Pour in 15 oz. pie filling of choice

Topping

  • 1 egg
  • ½ C. sugar
  • ¼ C. flour
  • ¼ C. milk

Beat together and pour over pie filling

Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes

Blueberry No-Roll Pie

Blueberry No-Roll Pie

The Keebler Elves Live At My Parent’s House

Today marks the third attempt of taking my daughter to the orthodontist. Iris is 7 years old and needs braces. They are not for cosmetic reasons but because she has such a small mouth and there is not enough room for all of her teeth to come in. Iris does NOT want braces. Iris does well at the dentist and is very cooperative. It’s been a different story with the orthodontist. She clamps her mouth shut and makes grunting noises when they ask her questions. It’s embarrassing to the point that I don’t want to claim her as my own. Seeing as how she calls me “Mom” when we are there makes it very difficult to pretend I don’t know her.

I CAN’T empathize with this. In 2nd grade I desperately wanted braces. I would fashion braces out of paper clips and such. I wanted so badly to look like a teenager.

The paper clips never fooled anyone; not even the Kindergartners that rode my bus.

I had an hour bus ride each way to school and home. It seemed like forever. In order to pass the time, I would gather all of the Kindergartners and tell them stories.

Seeing as the bright 5 year olds didn’t buy my braces story, I went to the next extreme and made up a tongue brace. I had a Hello Kitty eraser in a little case. I would take the cap off of the case and put it on my tongue and tell the children I was required to wear a tongue brace after experiencing a serious injury to my tongue. They bought this story hook, line and sinker. In my little mind I imagined they were jealous and were desperately trying to come up with ways to injure their tongue so they too could sport a tongue brace.

I had forgotten about my wild imagination and storytelling marathons until a few years ago when I was at a store checking out and the cashier’s face lit up when she saw me. With a burst of enthusiasm she said, “Are you Melissa?”

I couldn’t hide my confusion as I said, “yes” because I didn’t recognize this person. She immediately introduced herself and explained she used to ride the bus with me in elementary school. I nodded my head, still not making a connection. My husband was with me and she told him, “Melissa used to gather all of us little kids around and tell us the best stories.”

As I stood there trying to remember back to those elementary years she began to relay the story I told her and she instantly jogged my memory and made me chuckle.

I gathered all the Kindergartners around me and in a serious, whispering voice I told them I had something very important to tell them. I told them the Keebler elves lived in one of my parent’s trees. Every once in a while I was lucky enough to see them and I had even spied them making the cookies a couple of times.

The little kids sat quiet with their mouths opened drinking in every detail I told them. I continued to tell them Keebler Elf stories throughout the year and my adventures with them.

This store cashier had remembered this from 25 years before. She said she believed it for many years and often told other people she knew where the Keebler elves lived and that she knew the girl whose land they lived on.

It’s hard to believe I was such a convincing storyteller at 7 years old. Now if only I could call forth that little girl in me and come up with a story to tell my dear Iris and make her want to get braces!

Calling my 7 year old self to come help me make up a great story!

Calling my 7 year old self to come help me make up a great story!