Friday, November 30, 2012

Advent Jar of Love, Compassion and Memories

 Tomorrow is December 1st! Really? I wish I could push pause for a little while and hold my babies at age 2 and 5 for a little longer, but I can't--so I will enjoy each moment to the absolute full extent that I can. I hope. I will!
For our Advent this year I wanted to do something with a little less sugar and a lot more compassion, meaning, love and memory making joy.
I cut 25 rounds out and wrote 25 holiday inspired activities on each.
The kids decorated clothespins to hold each round and we added them to a large jar.
Each day Emma and Grayson will pull out a clothespin and we will find out what festive activity we will be doing that day. You can add anything really. Things that you hope to do, but never get to. This is a way to force yourself. Here is what is in our jar...

1. Donate a coat.
2. Bake Christmas Cookies.
3. Make up your own Christmas carol.
4. Skype with family while wearing Santa hats.
5. Donate toys to a toy drive.
6. Make a Santa beard in the bath.
7. Donate a blanket to the animal shelter.
8. Go on a winter nature walk.
9. Find snow!
10. Visit reindeer.
11. Make a special dinner.
12. Drink hot cocoa.
13. Make a homemade gift.
14. Make a homemade card.
15. Watch The Elf.
16. Put on a Christmas play.
17. Make a snowflake.
18. Make an ornament.
19. Make a wish.
20. Snowball fight!
21. Bring cookies to a neighbor.
22. String popcorn.
23. Drive around and look at Christmas lights.
24. Write a letter to Santa.
25. Buy a poinsettia.

Wishing you the most special and memorable Advent ever!  
green owl mama

Frosty The Yogurt Treat

 Emma loves to cook more than anything else. I think she would stay in the kitchen all day long if I let her. I love finding recipes that she can do most every step to. This healthy snack was such a hit...especially since she got to use a "pastry bag" aka ziplock with the end snipped! Emma loved designing these cute snowman and Christmas tree treats. Try them with us! For instructions join me over at The Studio, by Kiwi Crate!
Frosty The Yogurt Treat

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Homemade Gifts- The Chalkboard Necklace

Nothing is better than a homemade gift. Setting an example for my kids that you can use your creative mind and resources around you make an extra special gift for loved ones is important. I don't want them to see a gift as a material item, but more as a token of love and appreciation.
With a few simple materials and some wooden game pieces we got very creative and made these darling chalkboard necklaces.
For my full instructions on these very cool gems check out my tutorial over at The Studio, by Kiwi Crate!
What kid (or grown-up) wouldn't love a charm that they can personalize different every single day?

Monday, November 26, 2012

Crafty Christmas Elves Kit, The Studio

The other day my daughter screamed with excitement as we checked the mailbox and found this fun little package inside. Our friends over at The Studio let us try out their Crafty Christmas Elves Kit and so far we are pleased!
When we opened up the cute little package Emma was thrilled to find everything she needed to make a sweet little elf and thought the instruction card was the best thing since ice cream, such a perfectionist that one!
She had me read her the instructions while she put her elf together. Beads and pipe cleaner are a definite win in our house.
This craft kit was really great for a Monday afternoon when I didn't have anything planned. Pulling out an envelope with everything I need for a fun holiday craft was wonderful and I say that from the bottom of this tired, thanksgiving hostess, room mom, laundry piled up, blogger mom's heart.
But, I have to say--best of all, was seeing the craft go from fun creating to fun pretending as our little elves got names (Jingle Jack and Noah) and they went on a fun elf adventure in our house on this Monday afternoon. That. Is. The. Best.
Check out this crafty kit and more at The Studio, by Kiwi Crate. It is really as easy as a click, buy and create (with a mailbox stop squeezed in there at some point!)

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Snowman or Lady Milk Bottle

 Are you in love with glass milk bottles like I am? I am so happy they are making a come back for all the earth friendly and organic living reasons, but also because they make adorable snow ladies! Yes, I did say snow..ladies. That was Emma's doing when she questioned all the snowmen in this world and yes I smiled and happily made a snow lady with her.
Skirts were a must! Check out how we turned our milk bottles into fun winter friends over at The Studio, by Kiwi Crate where I give a full tutorial on these gals!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Clothespin Christmas Doll's that time of year again and the magical feeling of this time never does get old. We have our tree, our lights and our eggnog. And now I am ready for the Christmas crafting to begin. Our first craft of the season is a "Ballerina Christmas Doll" per the request of Emma. Join us over at The Studio, by Kiwi Crate to see how we kept her cupcake liner tutu on!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

What I am Thankful for and Thanksgiving Day Prep

As I head to my kitchen (where I will very happily spend the next 24 hours) I will leave you with my last few details for Thanksgiving.
 A simple place card stamped with a wine cork to create a turkey. Fun. For. All. I tell ya! And I tell you this with my ink stained hands!
My kids table is set! It's pretty much the same each year. The art options just grow with the kids! We have our popcorn turkey, pumpkin pie play dough and markers galore. I cover the table with packing paper and make it inviting for all to color, draw or write a little note.
Gobble gobble! We made a turkey waddle tonight with some pipe cleaner and yarn. Cute, right? Confession: I always thought that red blob was called a gobbler....until my five year old corrected me tonight. So make a waddle and take some photos of your guests wearing their waddle!
 And lastly, my tablescape. Oh how I love a good tablescape, especially when my day to day life is filled with play dough, crayons and gluing q-tips to construction paper. Oh yes, I love the one day I get to have my grown-up table.
By using things around the house (and found in the yard) this beauty came together. Tip: just throw anything on there and see what happens!

This year I am so very thankful for faith, our new home, new town, new friends and having family here that welcomed us with open arms. Spending more time with them has been a blessing. I am thankful for my best-friend who makes me laugh and smile on a daily basis and I am so very thankful I get to call him my husband. I am thankful for my other best-friend who really does complete me, my sister. She knows how I feel before I do and for that I am grateful. I am thankful that my mom still worries about me when I am sick (and that I still call her when I'm sick) and that she gave my husband her manicotti recipe (with measurements) that I thought was only in her head! I am thankful for all of my family in CA that truly make me feel closer than I am. Which leads me to skype...oh how I am thankful for you.
 Oh so much to be thankful for (my brothers, in-laws, nieces, nephews...oh and my art cabinet!) But, of course my sweet babies--that bicker from sunrise to sunset, refuse to poo on the potty (the two-year old that is,) dirty more clothes than I own and make my heart feel more love than I ever imagined. For those two, thankful is no way close to how blessed I feel by them.

Happy Thanksgiving
green owl mama

Popcorn Turkey

 Over the past couple of years we have started a new tradition to have a popcorn turkey that the children carve on Thanksgiving day. They love it and...I love that they love it! It's special and fun and something I have a feeling they will one day have their children do. When it's time to carve (usually as soon as family arrives because they just can't wait any longer) everyone gathers around the children and watches as they carve their turkey. Those proud smiles get me every time!
To see how you can join us in this fun tradition and make your own popcorn turkey, head on over to The Studio, by Kiwi Crate  where I show you step-by-step instructions.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Letter Block Holiday Decor

Join me over at The Family Sponge today and see how I toned down some letter blocks to make them a beautiful (and easily changeable) holiday block set. Great to involve kids in a literacy fun activity that you can celebrates all holidays with or just leave each other fun messages on any day!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Corn Husk Doll

 I think I always felt a little intimidated to make a corn husk doll--until I actually made one! Then I couldn't stop myself. They are really simple once you get the basic formula down and the kids love decorating and naming these festive friends! For my very simple instructions head over to The Studio, by Kiwi Crate.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Cornucopia of Art

Last year we started a tradition on Thanksgiving to cover the children's table with crafts and art supplies to entertain our little ones on Thanksgiving. I took this a step further while preparing this year and made a Cornucopia of ART!
To see how we built our cornucopia to fill with colorful fun check me out over at The Studio, by Kiwi Crate where I am giving step by step instructions!
I am so thankful for art.
green owl mama

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Cranberry Tie-Dyed Napkins for Thanksgiving

We made some beautiful tea towels and napkins for Thanksgiving this year. No toxic dye needed when you can make your own with cranberries! Head over to The Studio, by Kiwi Crate for my full tutorial.
Every step of this process was an overload of sensory fun for my children. We crushed cranberries with our hands and smelled the amazing aroma as they warmed. It was wonderful, pure joy!
They came out beautiful. Hope you will try cranberry dying this year! Cranberry Napkin Tutorial

Monday, November 12, 2012

Doily Turkey

 Making sweet turkeys with different kinds of materials goes hand and hand with the month of November. I love seeing what my children create and hearing their silly turkey "gobble gobbles" come out! We made this turkey with a clothespin and a doily. To see my full tutorial of our Doily Turkey, head on over to The Studio, by Kiwi Crate and join us for some Thanksgiving fun!
For another fun turkey craft check out the cork turkey we made last year.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Fall Owl Burlap Flag

Did you know I LOVE owls? Surprise, surprise...I know. I just can't seem to get enough of these cute round birds. They make me smile. When Emma and I were looking to make a fall flag similar to our winter snowman owl seemed like the perfect way to go. Our secret to getting that perfect owl shape, an apple! Who knew? To see exactly how our adorable owl flag came together--head over to The Studio, by Kiwi Crate where you can join us in our full tutorial of this fun fall decor craft.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Corn Dough

Well, it's not quite time for peppermint dough and I am a little over the pumpkin pie dough....what's a mama to do? After finding my old cast iron corn mold (and wiping the dust off) I thought it was the perfect tool for some fun November corn dough!   
4 cups flour
4 cups water
1 1/2 cups cornmeal
3 tbs. vegetable oil
3 tbs. cream of tarter
1 cup salt
food coloring
Add all ingredients to a large pot except for the food coloring. Mix over medium heat until a soft dough forms. Dump the dough onto a cutting board and let cool.
Once cool, knead until soft and smooth. Next, divide the dough and knead food colors (of your choice) into each ball of dough.
This dough had a fun texture to it from the cornmeal. The kids loved using the cast iron corn molds along with some corn husks I had left over from corn husk dolls! Perfect way to wait for the peppermint dough to make it's first appearance.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Melissa & Doug Terrific Twenty List and Giveaway!!

I am so excited to share with you today The Terrific Twenty Holiday Gifts for 2012 from my friends over at Melissa & Doug! 
Melissa & Doug is my go-to for gifts every Christmas and with so many new great things to choose from I can't wait to get shopping! 
Check out their Terrific Twenty here and also enter for twenty chances to win these great toys over at Melissa & Doug on Facebook!!

My favorite this year is the limited edition Trunki! It's tie-dye! How cool is that? Your little travelers will never look so good. Because I love it so much and because my awesome friends at Melissa & Doug want to celebrate their Terrific Twenty with us....I am giving away a Trunki to one of you!

To enter to win this cool little travelers must have leave me a comment below telling me how you will do most of your Christmas shopping this year. Are you a late night web shopper? An early morning after Thanksgiving shopper? Or are you the one I envy who can make all gifts homemade? Tell me, please!
This contest will close at 7am on November 20th. A winner will be chosen randomly. Good luck!
I hope you win!!
For more chances to win head over to Melissa & Doug!

Lunch for Daddy - Teaching Healthy Choices

I teach my children to make healthy food choices everyday in the best way I know making healthy choices for myself. It is simple and has worked liked a charm so far.

"Be the person you want your children to be."
Not sure who said that, but it is very true!

Inspired by a simple recipe I saw on a this great vegan blog yesterday, Oh She Glows; Emma and I made some lunches to go for Daddy. Easy, healthy, and sturdy salads are great to put in jars and take to work or the park. All you need is a fork.
Emma was super excited to prepare some lunches for her Daddy. She added all the ingredients to some large mason jars.
Next, she gave it a shake! This was a really fun way to get her involved in the kitchen. being around all these healthy fresh food options, learning to prepare healthy lunches and snacking all the way through.
When we were finished making our salads Emma made a sweet little tag to tie around the jars. Now that is a lunch that is good for your body and soul.