Friday, November 30, 2012

25 Days of Activities

It's time for me to let you in on a little project I've been working on... Our Advent Calendar!

I have seen such cute ideas for advent calendars lately and it really got me thinking about what I wanted to do for Mads. I wanted something that would be fun, but wasn't about getting a gift or a sweet.

Then I came up with the idea of doing a craft or project a day.

It seemed so simple! I had two weeks to think about it and gather supplies. It was easy to come up with projects based on things I did in school as a kid, or things my mom always did with us ... And of course, Pinterest!

Most of the projects I came up with involved supplies I had around the house, but there were a few supplies I had to replenish.

Then I used natural cone coffee filters, which look kind of Christmas tree shaped, decorated with markers and stuffed with supplies.

I used a glue stick to seal and then taped them onto kitchen twine that I strung across our bookshelves like a garland.

Easy! I did end up with a last minute scramble because I forgot to shop at one store that had a few things I needed. So I put those near the end.

Now, the not-so-easy part: coming up with 25 activities. Here's my list (and yes, it's pretty much a blog list too. Guess you'll know what's coming all month!) Next to each project is the item I used in the advent calendar to represent it.

1. Make marshmallows (cookie cutter)
2. Rock candy (string)
3. Crystallized snowflakes (pipe cleaners)
4. Beaded snowflake ornaments (clear beads)
5. Pompom polar bears and sheep (white pompoms)
6. Pinecones Christmas trees (pinecones)
7. Hershey kiss cookies (Hershey kisses)
8. Paper star ornaments (paper squares)
9. Popsicle snowflake ornaments (Popsicle sticks red)
10. Christmas crackers (cracker snaps)
11. Scrap paper strip Christmas trees (scrap paper strips)
12. Bingo dauber Christmas trees (dauber)
13. Popcorn chain (popcorn)
14. Make a Christmas village (Shiny paper pieces)
15. Frosted pinecones (glitter)
16. Salt dough ornaments (cookie cutters)
17. Make wrapping paper (glue)
18. Write a letter to Santa and decorate (embellishments)
19. Paper snowflakes (paper pieces and scissors)
20. Angel ornaments/puppets (doilies)
21. Macaroni snowflake (macaroni)
22. Sugar Cookies (Christmas cutters)
23. Reindeer pretzels (pretzels)
24. Angel wings (feathers)
25. Pompom ornaments (pompoms)

I did end up scrambling the order of the list a bit, due to my missing supplies. I'll try to blog everyday (yeah, right!) or at least post a picture. I'm already two posts behind, so that promise seems unlike to survive the holidays. I am nothing if not sincere in my efforts.

And on that note, I will also pledge to take a better photo of the calendar... Once I have cleaned/decorated the bookshelf it is on. So next year.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thankful Traditions

Well, Thanksgiving is here and I haven't really done much blogging. But we've been busy being thankful.

This year, I'm thankful for my little helper.

Who in turn is thankful that she gets to eat chocolate and peanut butter chips.

While we make the family's traditional thanksgiving Chocolate-Peanut Butter Chip muffins.

And who helped me role out some pie crust,

And make some patches.

I'm even thankful for smushed patches (due to someone's fascination with a rolling pin!)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Her Own Experiment

Maddie set up her own science experiment today. And let me tell you, it was multifaceted.

First, she got some cups of water and put coins in to see if they floated. Hypothesis: they will sink. Conclusion: they sunk.

Second she put pieces of marker-colored coloring pages in the water and discovered the water changed color.

All I had to do was ask her why, and she started trying to use pieces of paper with different colors in different cups (I.e. a red page in one cup, a green in another). She even tested what would happen if she put two colors in the same glass. (I'm thinking a paper making craft may be in our not too distant future.)

It's pretty gratifying to see that she's interesting in experiments and can even set something up by herself to test her ideas.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Pilgrim's Progress

This is the end of my very, very, very busy season. And this week should be the worst of it (I hope!)

So I've been activity short around home. I'm a little sad about that because I was really looking forward to embracing the Thanksgiving mood and had a list of things I wanted to do with Maddie to get in the spirit.

But instead, we're going to stick with easy things, like this:

Luckily my husband always brings home big sheets of craft paper or packing paper from his work. I thought this would give us a fun art opportunity-- writing on walls without getting yelled at.

I wrote "Thanks" on our paper and asked Maddie to help me color and decorate it. She gets to write/color vertically, helping her build up her hand muscles. And we have a few letter tracing opportunities, too.

Hopefully I'll have a finished product to show you soon. It's a work in progress.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Give Thanks to Mrs. Pankhurst

Maddie has recently fallen in love with Mary Poppins. I never much cared for it as a child, but watching it as an adult, I confess: I fell in love, too. This movie plays in so beautifully to the time it depicts and all in a way that is so far beyond a child's ken.

I think the wonder of the movie is Glynnis John, who seems to so thoroughly grasp that a woman "must be" active for herself, ditsy and pleasing for her husband, and wise and watchful for her children. And despite all Mary Poppins' efforts, it takes a man to get through to George Banks. A truly fascinating movie.

As a child I did love one song: Sister Suffragate, though I never understood it. Now I think Maddie has picked up on my love of it as well. We like to sing it together and we sang it on our way to the polls.

Hearing that song makes me realize how little voting has really meant to me. And it should! We're "their daughters' daughters" (or granddaughters really). And what those women really did for us.

Yes, you saw it coming... Here's my British history lecture. In this country we calmly speak of women's rights while looking at placidly calm Susan Bs and Cady Stantons. What a different fight it really was and are we thankful? When Glynnis Johns yells "Give thanks for Mrs. Pankhurst's been clapped in irons again!" It surely gives images of these women in civil disobedience. But did you know those women were then tortured? Strapped to tables and violently/chokingly force fed to end hunger strikes (and much worse!)?

One of my favorite "textbooks" is The Strange Death of Liberal England (George Dangerfield), which details this and other social rights struggles during the 1910s, a worthy read on a such a day as this.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

All I Want for Christmas...

I'm a bit behind in my posting this week, because there's been Mary a quiet moment this weekend. I'm taking a me-day and recouping. While I indulge in a little relaxation, I'm putting together my Christmas wishlist. So much fun!

Here goes!

A set of 12 plain non-seasonal napkins

Truthfully, I like white. (The ones pictured above are from Pottery Barn and are way to expensive, but just sort of give the idea of what I want).

A Garlic Roaster

Rob and I used to go to an awesome restaurant in Chicago called Cy's Chophouse that always served roasted garlic and French bread. I would love to do this at home!

An Ironing Board

Somebody call and check on my Mom; she probably just had a heart attack after reading this one. Yup, I don't have an ironing board. I have a glass top table so I can't even use that. I'm tired of ironing (ha!) on the floor and playing keep-away with a little kid and cats (and a husband). I promise to iron more often if Santa throws this thing down my nonexistent chimney.

Quotables Journal

These things are the absolute perfect journals and I LOVE them. I am not particular on the quote, inspire me! (Oh this could be a fin thing... what quote do you think i need in my life? By the way, the one pictured above is the one I'm currently using.) I have about 20 pages left in my current one, so the timing is perfect. They carry these at Wegmans, Barnes and Noble, Everything Elmwood, and a million other places.

2 Latt tables and chairs from Ikea

I know that Maddie will really be the one playing at these tables, but I want to set up a table and chair set in the dining room for when I cook and a Lego table in her room for her alone time. So really they're for me:) But we don't have Ikea here... Although they ship these little guys!

Wii Fit

This is kind of dream item because we don't even have a Wii but I just really think it would be fun! And my husband enjoys buying me whimsical gifts, so maybe there's a shot (Although he doesn't read my blog. Dear readers, please do my dirty work and drop hints to Robert!)


We love to take field trips, and would love to have a family membership at the Buffalo Science Museum or the Buffalo Zoo or the Niagara Falls Conservatory or Butterfly Museum (I'm not sure if those last two have memberships. but if they do, I want them!)

So there you have it! Maddie's list will follow shortly, but she is easy to shop for.