Christmas Crafting

If you're my parent's and we haven't exchanged presents yet... stop reading now :)
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Just like any other holiday, we love adding a little crafting in whenever we get a chance.  I don't like spending money on wrapping paper, so we roll out our white paper (we use this stuff) and get to work. Sometimes we just draw little designs all over, but we had some leftover paint and decided to put it to good use. I started by painting random lines and it was easy enough for Cora to get in on the action. Its tempting to do an elaborate design, but I think something simple like this still does the job and looks nice wrapped around our presents with a simple bow.
I wanted to do a quick handprint ornament for presents and our own tree so I did a quick Pinterest search and found some cute handprint ornaments painted out with a Santa face  (like this one and this one). The linked tutorials make this using salt dough, but I had some sculpey clay on hand and figured it'd be much easier. Cora stayed still long enough for me to cut out her handprint, but I traced Ida's hand on paper so I didn't have to keep her from grabbing at the clay. Don't forget to add a hole to add string later.
Once the clay cooled off from the oven, I drew the had and face outlines so and we got to painting. Cora needed a little help painting some of the smaller sections, so she mostly stuck to the hat. When we do this again, I would paint the whole thing white then do the detailed pieces.

After they dried, I retraced my lines with a sharpie and glued the googly eyes on (I used about 10mm ones similar to these). I used some bakers twine to hang them up. I love how these look and am imagining a whole tree full of these little Santa handprints... and even adding in a grinch here or there.

What are your favorite holiday crafts? Do you like handmade or store bought ornaments?


Gingerbread House

We haven't done much as far as Christmas activities this year, but we're taking it slow and enjoying what we can get to. One Friday afternoon, we headed to my parents to decorate a gingerbread house. My mom went all out in the candy department and there may have been more taste-testing than decorating.


Life With Ida : 15 Months

Another month and Ida is growing so fast. This month was fun as we started getting into the holiday spirit. Ida loved the end of fall and playing in the leaves, trying out some Thanksgiving foods (loved green bean casserole), and spending our darker evenings cuddling in bed and enjoying holiday movies. I'm loving her spunky personality and this little grumpy face that she makes constantly.
Ida loves loves loves dogs. She squeals whenever she sees a puppy and can't wait to get a big old kiss on her face from my parent's dog. She is Clovey's biggest fan and loves when they get to spend time together. She also loves our outdoor time and walks, so when she gets outdoor time with Clove, she couldn't be happier.

We've had a lot of family events and she is slowly warming up to people. She's still pretty selective with who she'll cuddle with and how long, but baby steps. Speaking of steps... Ida is always globbed on to me, so most of my family hasn't even seen her walk. Now that she's warming up, they're getting to see her walk and they get so excited. It is so funny to us because she's nonstop running around the house. Ida also really loves all of the eating we get to do at family events.... which is a lot.

Ida loves to run around and wrestle with her big sister, but she's also a fan of a lazy afternoon eating popcorn and watching movies in bed. When I work from home, I have a couple hours where Cora is at school and Ida isn't quite ready for a nap, but I need a distraction so I can focus on work. We make some popcorn and turn on Trolls. We both love our little weekly tradition. When I was pregnant with Ida, I had to have popcorn every single day. It's kind of fun to watch her get excited about the air popper and chowing down on that same food that was a pregnancy craving.
One thing that has always made me giggle is the way Ida wakes up. No matter what time she wakes up, she'll pop up on her arms and look around immediately. If it's in the middle of the night, she'll do a little quick nose breathing/giggle because she knows she's supposed to be sleeping. I've moved her back into my bed for a while because we've been sick and the extra stress has not made bedtimes very easy. I'll start moving her back into Cora's room after Christmas.
Ida Rue, I love you sweet baby. You make me the luckiest Momma in the world.


Baby Bookworms : December

We've started to add our holiday and winter books into the rotation and we love the little touch of holiday even when we didn't get to do anything else holiday related throughout the day.
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Christmas in The Manger  - Such a short and sweet book about the Christmas story. It is very inexpensive and I love to add it to my gifts to the little babes in our life.

The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats - A classic and one of Cora's favorites.

Counting Cockatoos - A fun counting book where there are also two cockatoos on each page. It's fun for Cora to find the cockatoos on each page and then a couple fun counting exercises at the back.

Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel - another classic that I remember from my childhood. Mike Mulligan and his steam shovel promise to dig a town hall basement in one day. We love to cheer them on and see if they'll make it in time.

Love the Beastie - this is a fun interactive book for the girls.  This book has been well-loved through the years and the girls continue to love reading/playing it despite missing some of the parts... and I also just found out there is another one (Pat the Beastie) that I may have to purchase soon.

How The Grinch Stole Christmas! - an old favorite... enough said.

How to Raise a Mom - This is one of Cora's new favorite books. It gives fun little tips for kids to take care of their mom and help her out throughout the day. Sometimes I refer back to this book and it is helpful to get Cora to do something... like going to bed on time. There are a lot of other fun ones in this series like How to Surprise a Dad or How to Babysit a Grandma that I've heard great things about.  How to Catch Santa would also be a great holiday read.

Little Snowman: Finger Puppet Book - The girls both love these finger puppet books and this one is perfect for winter.  Cora loves to help be the snowman and 'read' it to Ida. 


Ten on Ten

Ten photos from over the weekend (including Friday). We spent the weekend resting and celebrating Boppa's life. The girls and I spent lots of time cuddling and watching holiday movies, but we also spent a lot of time running around doing our regular errands and helping get things ready for the funeral.

We made an trip to the 'SAMple' store and Cora was disappointed they didn't have any samples out at 9am, so we enjoyed an early morning pizza slice as soon as the cafe opened. The girls aren't especially helpful when we're shopping, but they make grocery store trips much more fun as we have lots of giggles.
I worked on the photo poster board for Boppa's funeral and I loved looking back at the many many memories that were captured through these photos. I love that my grandparents and family did such a good job documenting things through the years. At his funeral, all of his carvings were displayed. It was cool looking at his awesome craftsmanship and Cora enjoyed arranging the little Santas as we helped setup.

Saturday it snowed and Cora could not have been more excited. She played out on the patio by herself while I washed dishes and watched her through the kitchen window. She'd go out and play for a little, then come back in and chat with us before heading back outside. Our house looks a little better covered in snow, so I'm looking forward to a heavier snowfall later in the season. Ida didn't seem that interested in playing outside and really just wanted cuddles.

We received a beautiful flower arrangement from the funeral that we can enjoy in the coming week. I'm usually not one for flowers, but I love getting glances of it as I pass through the kitchen or how it jazzes up our table as we eat carry-out for dinner. Cora has been nonstop asking for hot chocolate, so we've been making it together and spending time sitting around the kitchen table as we enjoy our treat.

Have a good week!



For the first time in quite a while, I'm going to take a break from my twice a week posting schedule (did anybody even notice there was a schedule?!). Thanksgiving week was busy and fun and so full of family togetherness. The weekend/week that followed was not. Ida had a 100+ fever for a couple of days and she is not a happy sick person... so there have been lots of whining and lots of cuddles. This week, my Boppa (grandpa) passed away at the age of 93. He lived a long long life and we were so lucky to have him around for so long. I love picturing him being reunited with my Grandma in heaven and I can only imagine what kind of welcoming party she threw for him.

So... maybe I'll be back next week, maybe the week after... we'll see. I'll definitely be back at some point to share pictures of my adorable babes and all the Christmas activities we're participating in. I'll leave you with this picture that Cora drew for Boppa when I visited him in the hospital. She started drawing and asked "Is Boppa old? Does he have wrinkles?" followed by quite a bit of time drawing wrinkles all over the little man before she added a sweater and pants.


Happy Thanksgiving!

"Thank you for turkey, and for family and friends and most of all... thank you for sisters!" - Cora's prayer

I've been working on stretching the practice of gratitude out throughout the whole year instead of just the holiday months (see #goldengratitude2017), but I love seeing everyone sharing their gratitude on social media. I'm thankful for so much these days... My wonderful daughters, an awesome partner, my sweet puppy, our little home full of projects, a family that I love to spend time with, and so so much more. We're looking forward to a day full of family togetherness and lots of yummy food.

Happy Thanksgiving friends!


Baby Bookworms : November

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That's Not My Monster...  We got this one at a garage sale and it's a favorite of both my girls. Cora loves 'reading' it and coming up with different adjectives for the monsters. Ida loves all the different textures.

Love You Forever - If this one isn't in your bookshelf, you're missing out. It's a sweet little book for us moms, but then I feel like the kids can learn that even when they're bad during the day their mommas love them forever. This one is a favorite for our family and I even remember my mom reading it to me as a child. Sometimes, Cora likes me to sing this song to her at bedtime even if we don't read the book that night.
Thank You and Good Night by Patrick McDonnell - This is a sweet little book about three friends enjoying the fun of sleepovers. Cora and I always loved to read it together and it's always nice when she brings it back into our stack of favorites.

Good Night, Gorilla - This one is a good read and Cora picks up on the words quickly... so eventually she is just 'reading' it to me and Ida. There are also some small things like a mouse and a red balloon that you can search for on every page.
Search and Spot: Animals by Laura Ljungkvist - Cora is really into this one... and Ida likes to pretend she's into it. Each page has a different variety of things to look at.  If you do every single thing through the whole book it takes a while, but we like to go through and I'll pick a different search option for each page so that we don't get tired of the book too quick.

SNOW by Uri Shulevitz - We're starting to get into all our wintery books now. This little boy sees little flurries and is so excited about the snow, but everybody else is doubting. Eventually it actually snows.


Sweet Potato Pie

This recipe made 4 pies... it seems easier to make in larger quantities, so I just do that.
This post contains affiliate links which cost you nothing, but I earn a small commission from purchases through them.  Thank you for your support of my little blog!

Pie crust (we like the graham cracker crusts)
+ 4 large sweet potatoes about 1 lb each
+ 1 and 1/2 cups of butter softened
+ 3 eggs
+ 2 and 1/2 cups of brown sugar
+ 1 cup of milk (we use this almond milk)
+ 1 Tablespoon of all spice
+ 1 Tablespoon of nutmeg
+ 2.5 Tablespoons of cinnamon
+ dash of salt
+ 2 Tablespoons of vanilla
1. Boil sweet potatoes (takes about 50 minutes)
2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
3. Peel skin off potatoes (they should just slide right off... used a hot glove to squeeze it off)
4. Put all of the ingredients together in a large mixing bowl
5. Mix until semi-consistent texture
6. Put pie filling in crust
7. Bake for 45 minutes
8. Best if chilled before eating... and of course top with whipped cream

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