Storing Little Ornaments

Have you seen the Shining, with Jack Nicholas, when the family gets snowed into the hotel in Colorado and all go stir crazy??? Well we are not quite to crazy yet, but let me tell you we are shut in and staying, if you have not heard on the news, Facebook, or from friends and family Minnesota is in an “arctic vortex” or “arctic hurricane”. Today without the wind-chill we are sitting at a steamy 1 above zero, yesterday it was -45 with the wind-chill. The kids are home from school and we are staying put!
We are cooking and crafting and putting away all the last straggling items from Christmas and New Years Eve.
We have quite an eclectic collection of ornaments from over the years, honestly I am not sure where they all have come from, some were thrifted for projects that became leftovers, some were gifts and some just given to us, regardless we have boxes to put away each year.
I had pinned an idea about plastic cups glued to cardboard for safe and neat ornament storage which is perhaps some of the inspiration for this idea.
Super simple and maybe it has been done before, but I decided to reuse our egg containers, with 6 of us we go through a lot of eggs each week with breakfasts and snacks, so I had a few cartons laying around waiting to be recycled.
Here is what I did:

Egg carton ornament storage @patchworkreality

They fit perfectly, although we are avid recyclers, reusing is almost always better:

Egg carton ornament storage @patchworkreality

How happy does that little snowman look?  See you next year little dude!

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Wee hours card making..

Last night I stayed up until today working on our holiday/Christmas/keeping up with the Jones’ card. Which for the life of me I cannot figure out how to share here….seems like I should be able to do so easily but NO. So you will have to wait until I get a hard copy in the mail and I will promptly share.
I do enjoy making these and sharing our cute little selves with friends and family, but it seems like so many cards come with beautiful faces in matchy outfits and perfectly edited digital pics, I know we all want to look amazing, I know I do, which I think is why it seems a lot of cards just have the kids photos and everyone’s name. C’mon people love yourself enough to make it onto the card, we want to see you.
Speaking if touché, you may remember last year when I posted about how adventurous it was to get the right photo…I sent a card with only kids and everyone’s name. 2012 Holiday card
SO this year, with our lives being so hectic I just plugged in 2 photos from earlier in the year and added them to a beautiful snapfish template, one of the kids, and one of all of us. I had visions of us dressing up goofy with goofy glasses and ‘staches with a caption like “We seriously hope you have a merry…happy…”, I came close, but it is never quite what my mind dreams up…work with me people!! Anyway  I chose a cardstock paper and it allowed me to put a photo on each side and even had a little space to write a little family update. Again are these letters taboo? I feel like I have read so much satire about how these holiday letters have become inflated ego boosters for the writer, but nonetheless I shared highlights of accomplishments and activities. When we went to bed last night I was joking with Jon that next year we should dodge all normalcy and sent a lowlights list: child one is beyond sassy, the dinner dished sit in the sink overnight 75% of the time, neither of us have worked out since Thanksgiving…you now the REAL deal.

I am eager to share the card when it comes, but in the meantime, tell mw what you send in the mail, photos, cards, nothing?  Do you enjoy getting cards and letters about others lives?  I know we do, so keep sending and writing!!

No Tricks all Treats

By far the best Halloween costumes we have had so far in all 11 years of child raising.

Every year we ask the kids what they would like to be for Halloween, it usually starts with the delivery of the Chasing fireflies Halloween costume edition and from then on at story time we are leafing through the mag hearing about all the options and how we could all go as pirates, or momma you could be this and poppa could be that….or I bet Farley would be a cute yoda.

Now if you get this magazine like me you probably wonder how these prices are legal, I mean don’t get me wrong they are cute as can be and resale (for an eBay lover like me) is totally worth it, but I Like the kids to put more into the costumes than pointing a finger and saying “that one”.

So he is what the final choice was for everyone:

Solomon: scary clown.

Raiven : exterminator (bugs, and such)

Santanna: Viking princess warrior conquerer (not a football Viking)

Avalon: Pocahontas

As we wrap up the Halloween weekend I thought I would share their costume since I was literally still sewing  a few parts on them as the sun was going down and porch lights were turning on Thursday, I will be happy to go tinot maore detail on any of the parts if any one is interested.

Solomon…no real inspiration photo just what /he/we came up with:

scary clown

We thrifted the green coveralls from Savers , they are a size 44 Long…..huge on this guy, so we cut the bottoms of the legs off.  I found the Leroy patch in the sewing box I shared a while back, the mask we found at savers as well, shoes are from goodwill and glow in the dark (he did not trick or treat in these) flower that squirts water we found at party city.

scary clown 2

How many 9-year-old girls wanted to be an exterminator this year?  1?….mine?  We looked at the Ghostbusters costume and that was NOT it, so here is our version of an exterminator:

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Hand held “fogger”  I am not sure what it is called but I found it in the garage and it fit in the clear tube that I had attached to her “chemicals” on her back pack.

exterminator 1

The clothes are her brothers that were too small, and we patched the hole with more goodies from this sewing treasure box I found. The boots were also a hand me down.  the hat is just a ball cap with skull duct taped on over the words, we did this on the hoodie as well.

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We took 2-2 liter bottles and Raiven mixed and swirled paint in them to make her desired color, then I attached them to a small, purse size backpack with more of that skull duct tape.  We found the mask at a local Halloween shop.

Santanna: this is the costume she wanted:

Halloween 2013 warrior girl costume - Chasing Fireflies

Chasing Fireflies

Here is what we created:

Viking Princess

Santanna LOVED it, and it was really warm.  Head to toe, Viking helmet is from party city, so are the leg cuffs, we cut them off a little since they were meant for adults, so we sued a scrap as hair under the helmet also meant for adults…perfect! she has on a gray tiered dress from The children’s Place that was handed down from big sis, brown leggings, Primigi boots and a long sleeve layer shirt.  The sword was also from party city.  Instead of a shield she had her trick or treat bag in her other hand.  I sewed the cape, and added a hood.

Viking warrior 2

She picked out the fabric and had to have some color so we added this little blue streak in the hood. Jon called her Helga and others commented that she looked like a character from how to train your dragon.

Last but not least, Pocahontas, Avalon is probably her biggest (smallest) fan:

Pocahontas

This is a very warm fleece costume and headpiece from Old navy that was sold about 7 years ago, I have found it on eBay for a few years in a row and bought the 5T this year, once she outgrows this I am not sure what we will do, Disney does not make a winter version of Pocahontas dress up, which is a must in MN. Boots are Minnetonka triple fringe boots, we had tights and the bow (with missing arrow) was from a local Halloween store.  The belt was a fifty cent thrift years ago.

Those are the spookables I went trick or treating with this year. You can pin these as ideas for next year

Landing in Fall

Hi all!
This has to happen fast because Halloween is my Hubby’s favorite holiday, well all of ours truthfully, and I wanted to take a picture of the front landing, or porch, (it is too small to be a porch?)… front step I guess, but its a BIG step. Anyway prior to the life sized coffin, yes he built one, and all the spooky Halloween displays hit the front yard I wanted the front landing/step to look inviting and comfortably fall-ish.

Fall Front Landing

I took out all the spring and summer flowers, that had mostly withered away in August while we were in California and put in mums, I got them at Lowes for 42 cents a pot, they were the small ones but it is perfect for the terra cotta pots I had on hand and the space.

Fall Front step

I left the trailing potato vines, they seem to do well in this weather and a few wildflowers that are obviously living on just air, because they still look amazing, I added a few small gourds and pumpkins in the planters which the kids brought home from their school garden.  Then I hung up that uber cool orange metal owl that I thrifted for $5.99 at Savers a few years ago, adding a little more color.

Fall

I also hung up a wreath I mde last year from out from strips of fabric I cut out of the kids old Halloween pajamas, shirts, pants and boxers, year boxers;)  Gymboree makes some very cute Halloween boys boxers briefs, and I could not just toss them out, don’t worry they are clean.  I saw how to make this wreath on another blog, but after my last computer died I lost some links so when I find it I will add it., or make one for you. It is really easy.  I also like that the fabric is meaningful, I can remember some of those jammies on my little chubby ghouls.

DIY Halloween wreath

I will share the spookier version when it is complete, you can come back if you dare….ahhahhahahhhaaaaahahaha

Poppa’s Day

At our house he goes by Poppa, some families use different aliases, dad, pop, daddy, padre, poppy, fathter…and not all are created the same, but thanks for life right?!

This Poppa here has a heart of gold, he has been a trooper since before they were born, he went to almost every OB appointment, got up and brought the baby to the milk supply every night that he was home., changed and washed countless diapers.

Rocked and sang all these littles to sleep with more patience that I could muster some days.

He trades shifts to be at ball games, pick up from camps; music performances and pre-school special days.,

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I am immensely thankful that all 4 of his children have been patiently taught how to fish, quietly catch frogs and bugs, and have had his soothing voice read them stories for bedtime.

All that being said, he still knows how to be a circus dad and get them riled up right at bedtime, taught them how to make fart noises with their hands, and probably other fun/gross tricks when I was not home.

Poppa

I am so very thankful to celebrate with day with my kids, because they truly have a special Poppa who loves them more than he could have ever imagined.

2013 Resolutions? New life Habits?

Happy 2013 everyone!!
Each New Years Day I feel a sense of excitement, like I have been given a clean slate to a whole chapter in life. This New Year that I can start how I like, navigate how I want and look back upon with a sense on of contentment.
I am not a big resolution maker and completer , however in 2010 I made a resolution to run a race very month for the year and I ran my first marathon, I have not given up on that resolution and still attempt to run at least one race a month and have run a total of 4 full marathons since. So was it really a resolution or a new life habit?
In 2011 I made the resolution to buy thrifted clothes for our kids, I buy so many clothes from consignment shops, donation hubs, and other places to sell on eBay that I thought this would be a snap, and found that for the most part I was successful but that certain sizes, and styles that my kids like were harder to find and that often buying new items at certain sales was cheaper than some of the thrift stores that I strayed from this resolution. I still embrace thrifting just found that exclusively shopping in this matter was not a best fit for our family.
I did not resolve anything specific in 2012, I just wanted to embrace more social activities for Jon and I and for the kids, it seems like an obvious addition to life that should not take much effort, but I am constantly surprised at how quickly a day in our life go by and how quickly those days become weeks, and we have just been going through the routine. We actually added more play dates, and sleepovers for the kids, not much but I feel like we made a great improvement from the last year and that this will also carry over into forth coming years, so another resolution turned life habit.
This year, this 2013, with its clean white page turned new, I really hope to accomplish more domestic tasks.
• I really want to tear out the carpet in our upstairs living room and replace it with hardwood to match the rest of the floors on that level. It was very inexpensive carpet to begin with and with 6 people and one 150 pound dog pounding on it every day it is in sad shape.
• I want to become electronically organized; I have 2 main emails and 2 that I have set up that I use very rarely. Some teachers contact me through my work email some through personal. Many emails I get are junk and I just need to take the time to unsubscribe. I think to this I also want to add a fresh new set of passwords, just for security.
• I need to organize so many things to help our life run more smoothly, I think all of us can feel this at some level. I am thinking paperwork, charging cords, etc.
• I have had 3 computers crash entirely on my in the last 4 years, we have 3 external hard drives 2 of which contain thousands of family photographs, I really want to organize and archive these in a better manner.
• I want to leave a few blank spaces for additions to this list.
Ultimately I want to end 2013 feeling more in control of the “clutters” in our life and more prepared for each day. Again this seems more of a new life habit.
Any of you have plans for new life habits or resolutions??

Holiday Photo Card Out Takes

It’s that time of year, everyone that was on top of their sh*t got their family pictures taken in October, even November with lovely fall colors, amazingly pulled together outfits, and perhaps with that angelic yellow light from behind, or maybe it was photo shopped in but really whose judging?

Last year we did a photo shoot in late November/early December, I wanted a little snow in our picture, it turned out lovely.

This year I had a whole shoot in mind, but time slipped by, outfits and accessory got to be more work to find and pull together for 6 people than I had imagined, I worked 80 hours at the hospital in the span of 3 weeks, normally I am home….on so go my excuses.

So, no well-planned photo shoot for us this year, just me, my Cannon 7D, all 4 of my favorite players, and some natural light streaming from the windows full of crisp wonder from a fresh layer of snow.

Ahhhhh, sounds magical right?  Well here is what will NOT be sent out on my cards this year:

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Avalon was obviously having the best time….you can see here that she is mortified that no one else is having fun.

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Santa’s tassle is blocking Santanna’s face.                              Avalon, again loving every minute, and eyes on me, please.

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Ok so this might not have been the best idea, someones head got bonked, eyes of madness oing on , and again Avalon just not feeling her cooperative mojo.

Ok… lets try single pictures, just a head shot, that won’t be too hard right?!?

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ALriiighty Season’s Greeting from our family to yours,

Love, Jon (attention getter, prop man, not pictured), Sarah (behind the camera, also not pictured), Crazy laugh guy (who was apparently snacking), the
Pouter age 8, Squishy face and the Joker.

In all honesty I can’t help but laugh when I look at these,  the best part about pictures is that when you look back they mean so much and are great memories, of small teeth, hair styles, chubby wrists that are now gone, and memories made, out of the 395 photos I snapped I did get 1 that I used for the photo card and 1 head shot of each kid that I am going to make into wall canvases, but please tell me that others of you have these amazing moments stored on your hard drive as well??!!

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

This is a holiday that I appreciate, the world slows down a little, we can spend time with the ones we love, there is thought and care and old time traditions passed around tables that may frequently not be full of laughter and chatter.  It gives us a moment to breathe before the blur of real life picks back up no more than 24 hours post pie ala mode or whipped cream depending on your preference.

As much as aI love slowing down I have to say there is not a day that I take what we have for granted.  I am so thankful to be a mom to 4 wonderful healthy children, as well as being given the opportunity to stay home and enjoy them every day.  I am thankful for my husband who saves other peoples family members everyday to provide for our family and that he empowers me to stay home and nurture our children.  Our little drop in this big pond connects to so many ripples that are friends and family who we are so fortunate to be connected with.   Thank you! And enjoy the slow down today.