Wednesday, January 11, 2017

December Fun - Christmas Crafting, Cookie Making, and Coats

Crafting is something that I really enjoy. Over the past several years, my opportunities to craft have been very few and far between, and that has been quite the adjustment for me. A big part of the reason that I've been unable to craft has been lack of space. My supplies were stuffed here and there and everywhere in our old house, and by the time I drug them all out and got everything set up, my window to actually accomplish anything would be closed. However, in our new house, I have a space dedicated to my crafting supplies complete with a fantastic (large) table that my dad made. 

It has become a tradition for us to do a few Christmas crafts each year, so during the holiday season we were able to make good use of our space and table. I'm so glad that the twins are at an age where they can generally be kept busy with their own "project" while I try to accomplish something. One day in early December, Bren and I decided to make Christmas ornaments. We bundled up, went outside and found a few sticks, then brought them up to our craft table. We broke the sticks into the size we needed, then chose one and tied it with different ribbons.

After covering the stick with ribbon, we trimmed the ribbons into the shape of a Christmas tree.

The end result was a festive little tree ornament! We made four different versions of this one day, and gifted several of them to others.

We also had several other projects we completed at our craft table this season. A few months ago, Chris's dad gave me a box full of wooden discs he cut and sanded out of wood from the family land. I was super excited as I've seen so many cute craft ideas made with these! I decided that I would make both Chris's mom and grandma a wreath using the discs (and I still have probably 50 or more in the box). I was pleased with how the wreath turned out, and Chris's mom and grandma both really appreciated the gift! 

Another project Chris and I completed was a jewelry tree for Chris's mom. A few months ago, she gave me a box full of old costume jewelry that belonged to Chris's great-grandmother, Bessie. Most of the jewelry was broken or missing pieces or mismatched, so I wasn't sure what I could do with it. I finally decided to glue it to a canvas in the shape of a Christmas tree. 

We sprayed a white canvas with a gray, shimmer, spray ink (like I use in my scrapbooking), let that dry, then laid all the jewelry out in the shape I wanted. We then glued it all down.

The finished product turned out just like I had envisioned (it's always nice when a craft project goes just how you think it will!) I gifted this to Chris's mom for Christmas, and she was thrilled with it! She loves vintage things, and the fact that I made it with jewelry from Chris's late great-grandmother was just icing on the cake. 

Along with doing some Christmas crafts, making and decorating Christmas cookies is also one of our yearly traditions. This year, we planned our cookie making time for the morning of December 23rd. Chris was home with us that day, so it was a great time to spend as a family.  

We have a large island in our kitchen, and it has been FANTASTIC for baking with my littles. There's enough room for everyone to be around it at the same time, and I do believe it's one of my favorite things about our new house!

Brecklyn helping Momma measure

Brooke helping Momma

I love how Brecklyn's tongue is out in this photo . . . that's just what her Daddy does!

Brianna is at such a perfect age for helping cook!

Brenson preferred to help Daddy do the mixing. 

I'm not sure why I took over the mixing, but Bren was my faithful helper, too!

Brooke really wanted a turn at mixing, as well. 

Brecklyn didn't care for the mixer, but she was all about helping stir. 

I think the best part of making the cookies was rolling out the dough. I gave each of the kids their own lump of dough, and everyone had the best time rolling it out!





Brooke (I'm pretty sure she's sampling the dough here!)




It took me several years and several sugar cookie recipes to finally find one that I have success with, but I've finally found one that is always good for me! The cookies keep their shape perfectly and taste amazing!

Right as we finished rolling and cutting out all of our cookies, my parents stopped by for a short visit. My sister had invited them down for Christmas eve and day since they wouldn't have any company at their house. We already had plans to spend Christmas eve with Chris's parents, but we were thrilled to spend a few hours with Grampy and G-Jo before heading to Chris's parents' house. I still had the majority of our packing to do to get ready to go, so I recruited G-Jo to mix up the frosting and help the kiddos decorate the cookies. She was happy to oblige :-).

As you can see, Bren was more interested in eating than he was decorating, ha!

I didn't get many photos of the decorating process, but Grampy was in on the action, too. Brooke was also mostly interested in eating the cookies, so I asked Brianna to share a cookie with her. I'm not thinking Brianna was too thrilled with this arrangement, ha! 

The kids had a great time sharing this activity with my parents, and we enjoyed sharing our finished cookies with Meme and Papa later that day! I think cookie making is a favorite tradition for all of us!

There is one final thing I want to mention in this post. Each year, I debate with myself about sharing these types of things because we don't do it to bring glory or attention to ourselves. However, I think my kids might be interested in this yearly tradition as much as our others, so this year I've decided to include it here. 

One thing that we try to emphasize with our kids all year round is that we want them to have the heart of a servant and be looking for opportunities to help others and give back. Because of this, we always try to find ways to focus on others during the holiday season. We've done several different things, but this year we decided to buy coats for a local coat drive. We allowed the children to each pick out a coat in their size to add to our stash of donations. Before we donated the coats, we prayed over them and for the children that would be receiving them. It was a great experience for our family, and we hope that things like this will help our children learn the value of giving to others. Below is a photo of Brianna and Brenson putting the coats they picked out in the donation box. 

I think I'm all caught up on our December Fun for this year, so I'm going to write about spending time with each other and with our extended family for Christmas next. Stay tuned ;-)!

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