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1.15.2020

DIY Embroidered Christmas Tree Skirt

A couple years ago, I saw a picture of a tree skirt that had painted hand prints in a bunch of different colors. I thought it'd be kind of cool in black and white, but then I thought about embroidering the handprints instead. I always get so busy with DIY stuff in December, so I waited to work on this in January. I had some plain white fabric that I dyed with avocado pits to make the pale pink. I kind of winged it on the sewing portion of this. It's not perfect, but it does the job.


I traced the girls handprints on paper and played around with placement before drawing the outline.  Each handprint took me about 30-45 minutes to embroider and it was so easy to work on here and there while watching tv or downtime throughout the day. 





I finished embroidering towards the end of January and put it away in storage. It was such a joy to unpack and put the skirt out this year. I love picturing how the handprints will multiply through the years and will bring a smile to my face every time I pull it out.

1.14.2020

Christmas 2019

The Christmas season was a whirlwind.  We started Christmas early with Cincinnati Zoo's Festival of Lights opening night. We put our tree up in mid-November and slowly decorated it slowly over the following month... so slowly that we actually never finished hanging up all our ornaments this year. Over the years, I've learned that starting things early allows us to enjoy all of our favorite things about this season without becoming too exhausted and cranky. Ben and I both work full time and with both the girls in school, we already have a lot of things going on even before adding in the crazy holiday activities.

One of my favorite things about the holiday season is the opportunity to DIY easy things and creating a handmade holiday in our home. A couple years ago, I purchased a bunch of clear plastic ornaments from Michaels and we decorate a couple each year to gift and hang on our tree. We start by painting them, followed by drawing designs with paint pen, and finish off with a clear coat. It is fun to watch the girls' styles evolve over the years. Cora used to end up finger painting her ornaments and now that is something Ida does. I also love making sculpey handprint Santas each year and I can't wait until my tree is full of them.



Every couple years, I like to add some handmade gifts to our list. When Cora was 3, she painted a nutcracker for my dad... so this year it was Ida's turn. She had so much fun having painting time with mommy and was so focused on covering every single spot of that nutcracker. I don't think I took any after pictures (oops), but here is the step-by-step of how I did this with Cora.
Ida's school has a Breakfast with Santa fundraiser every year. Cora had plans to see Frozen 2 with my Aunt and Uncle, so Ida and I had a little date. We ran into Cora's friends (that Ida loves) so we ended up spending the whole time with them getting face painted, crafting, and snacking. Ida surprisingly liked seeing Santa and ran straight up to give him a hug. It was nice to get extra time with just Ida and I know Cora loved getting spoiled hanging with our extended family.
Over the last couple years, we have made it a tradition to decorate gingerbread houses as a family. It is nice to get together, have a little project, and snack on candy. 
Every year, our extended family makes potato sausage together. Cora was really interested in the process this year and loved diving in to help during each stage.
Christmas Eve and Christmas were both full with lots of family time. Our extended family celebrates on Christmas Eve with church, dinner, and exchanging presents. The girls were wound up on all the together time and treats and loved running around with cousins. We didn't make it home until close to midnight. Cora ran in the house to set up cookies and milk for Santa and went to bed so fast so she wouldn't be awake when Santa arrived.





On Christmas Day, both girls slept in until around 9:30, so we had a lazy morning opening presents and hanging out. My parents stopped by for a bit and then we went over to visit my Aunt and Uncle. We spent the afternoon being lazy, making Indian food, watching tv, and napping. In the evening, my extended family got back together and enjoyed food and games and hanging out. 

I had the week between Christmas and New Years off of work. I had a to-do list of projects and outings I wanted to do, but we totally ignored the list and spent most of the week in our jammies hanging around the house. Cora insisted that we make a trip to the Cincinnati Art Museum, so we stopped by for a little bit one weekend morning. Overall it was a really great/relaxing holiday. We enjoyed all the extra time we got to spend as a family and activities we got to attend... but boy were we excited to get back into our regular routines.



12.05.2019

Fall 2019

This Fall was busier than I ever expected it to be. Our schedule quickly filled up with school, soccer, and all the other Fall events. Fall has come and gone, but I still wanted to do a quick recap because I love looking back at the different stages of our life.  
CORA started first grade and we experienced the busyness of full day school for the first time. I knew we'd be busy, but I didn't realize that we'd be losing so much time together. Cora is out of the house until basically 4 and then we only have a couple of hours together before an early-ish bedtime. We still have to complete homework and prep her things for the following day, so it feels like we barely get to spend any time together. On the plus side, Cora loves school! She is making so many friends and she has so much enthusiasm for learning. I always find her practicing her writing or spouting off different things she learned at school. One of her favorite subjects (which is new this year) is Spanish. She is constantly practicing... which in turn is motivating me to learn Spanish.

I was able to join Cora's class for a trip to Gorman Heritage Farm. We both learned a lot during the tour and I enjoyed meeting all of her new friends. It is always fun to watch her in her element.

Another exciting new thing we participated in this Fall was soccer! Cora joined her first soccer team and I got to help coach. Cora improved so much over the year and loved making new friends on the team. I spent most of my coaching time tying all the shoelaces and reminding the kids to keep their hands to themselves.  


IDA started preschool this year! I was a little nervous because she is young for her class and this is her first year at school, but she really seems to be killing it. Ida always asks me when she gets to go to school and excitedly chatters about her teachers and classmates. Her school offers a bonus music class once a week and then they perform at church after each session. Ida loves the class... the performance not so much.

In October, the girls took an African drumming class. The instructor would share a lot of background information about different beats, what country they came from, when they would be used, and different types of drums. It was very informative and the girls enjoyed the class. 
We spent a lot of time enjoying Halloween activities in our community. The girls and I attended a couple of Trunk-or-Treat events, so by the time Halloween actually came they were kind of over it. We only went out for about 45 minutes before Cora asked to go home and told me she didn't really want candy. When we got home, both girls had a snack and put themselves to bed... then the following day they were both sick, which explains the lack of enthusiasm.


We filled a lot of our free time with fall walks around the neighborhood (or home from school), playing in the backyard, reading, community festivals, hanging with the family, picking pumpkins, making haunted halloween houses, and playing lots of Uno. Fall was good to us this year!





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