I guess I'll start by summarizing what I've done in the past week. OK...........last Wednesday night I went to my MOPS Christmas party which was very fun, as always. We had an ornament exchange. I forgot to take a photo of the one I brought home.........it's a glass snowman with green accents. Love it! On Thursday last week my oldest son had his winter program for school. The theme of his program was "Peace". His role in the program was to read aloud a report he had written about Nelson Mandela. He got up in front of an auditorium filled with people and read his report out loud. He was so poised and read with such expression. I was so proud of him that my eyes welled up with tears as he read. He is such an awesome kid!! On Friday I went out to a local Mexican place with a few friends to celebrate the 40th birthday of my neighbor. On Saturday the boys and I went over to Amber's house. She is our daycare provider. My little boy goes to her house two half-days a week. She always hosts a Christmas get-together for her daycare families and had a breakfast this year. There is always a special guest who appears during her get-togethers----------Santa Claus! And he always has a gift for each child. My boys got two new games from Santa...........Chutes and Ladders and Yahtzee. These are great additions to our games collection. Thank you, Amber! I went shopping Saturday afternoon and Saturday night the boys and I and my mom went to a Christmas pageant at a mega-church in our area. We met my friend Julie and her family there. (DH was home with the dog. We have to keep him on a rigid medication schedule. He has made it almost 6 weeks without a seizure, the longest he's ever gone and we don't want to mess that up!) The pageant is amazing.........almost like (I imagine) a Broadway show. There are live animals (camels walking past us only 1 foot away) and angels who truly fly across the set on zip-lines. There was real snow falling on us during one part and there is always just an amazing and touching reenactment of the first Christmas story along with an inspirational modern storyline. I am so glad we went.
During the past week in my preschool classroom, the children and I were busy making parent gifts. Below you can see the one my little boy made for me!! If you are curious about this project, read this post over at my school blog. These would be great to make if you need to still whip up a last-minute gift. They take only a few minutes and turn out really pretty.
Last Friday I read this post on WhimsyLove and instantly knew I wanted to make some of these to give my female relatives at our get-together that was supposed to be tonight. When I was out and about on Saturday afternoon I stopped by my favorite thrift store and picked up 5 vintage spoons for about 75 cents. They had the half-price colored tag on them!! I typed up the story from Nikki's post and printed it out on cardstock. I used a corner-rounder to decorate the corners and then I adhered them to another color of cardstock and fancied up those corners. I tied a ribbon around the spoon and stuck an ornament hanger through the back so the spoons could be hung on the tree as shown below.
I punched a hole in the corner of the story and tied it to the spoons as shown here.
I love the message behind this story. I truly believe that the best IS yet to come. Hopefully I can still get-together with my family soon and pass out the spoons I've made.
When I went to Hobby Lobby Saturday I picked up supplies so my boys could make an ornament for each person at our family gathering (the one that now ISN'T tonight.........can you tell I'm disappointed?). All the holiday items were at least 50% off, so I got some great deals. I wanted the clear glass ornaments but they only had the frosted ones left. I have seen lots of initial ornaments around the blogosphere lately and wanted to copy those. I wasn't totally thrilled with the sticker letters I found, but they were glittery and Christmasy.
We stuffed red gift shred into the ornaments as shown. This was much harder than you would think as you pretty much had to do it strand by strand. My little boy soon tired of the project after this photo was taken. I can't say I blame him!
After filling them with the shred, we attached the top, added a letter sticker, an ornament hanger and a ribbon. We made 15 ornaments in all and have some left for future crafting.
The photo below shows one finished ornament.
Also this weekend I made a ton of chocolate pretzel rods to give as gifts to Sunday School teachers, school teachers, bus drivers, etc. OOPS! I guess DH needs to get a bag since he is the bus driver for our oldest child who attends a private school!! I think I have an extra one, honey!
We also have exciting news from the chicken coop. On Saturday I went out and found a perfect little brown egg frozen to the ground in the chicken run. I had to pour warm water on it to get it off the ground and the shell broke in the process. I didn't get a photo of the FIRST egg due to this! Below you can see Sarah and Abby hanging out on the roost in the chicken run. I have suspicions that Abby is our egg-layer.
On Sunday there was another perfect little brown egg, this time inside the coop on the floor. It was still warm to the touch when I brought it inside. Since we didn't have a nesting box in the coop yet, DH and I had to scurry to put something in place with the hope that our egg-layer would soon find a proper place to deposit her daily treasures. The next two photos show two little sets of hand holding our first (unbroken) egg!!
We decided (for ease of time and labor in very cold weather) to repurpose an old kitty litter bucket to use as a nesting box. DH just used a screw to attach it to the wall of the coop as shown below. On Backyard Chickens I have read that it helps the chickens know what it's for if you put some fake eggs in it. So you can see two plastic Easter eggs in it in the photos. On Monday there was another perfect little brown egg. It was found below the nesting box, not inside. But the two eggs IN the nesting box, the fake ones, were mysteriously moved to different places so there has definitely been some fowl play involved. haha
Below you can see the nesting box relative to where the roost is in the coop. Today I could find no evidence of an egg anywhere. So we'll have to see what happens next. Very exciting developments in chicken farming I must say. I have yet to cook one of the two eggs we've retrieved. DH seems a bit squeamish about the whole thing but I've just been too busy. It's kind of scary that we have moved so far from our agrarian roots as a society that we are cautious to eat food that comes directly from the animal of origin. When you think about it, there's nothing more natural than eating an egg laid by your own hen, is there?? I'll let you know once I cook it if it's the best egg I've ever had.
On the homemade gift-making front I've been busy. Below is a photo of a little doodad I made for my oldest son's teachers. As I mentioned above, their winter program theme was "peace" so I decided to make these little word-art knick-knacks for his teachers as a gift. I had seen something very similar in a Country Living magazine a few months ago. Luckily I had a thrifted Scrabble game in my crafting stash. I just sawed off the letter-holder pieces to the right size and glued the letter tiles onto them with Elmer's glue. Easy peasy! These would be great to make for Valentine's Day, spelling LOVE or other sentiments.
In keeping with my "give thanks" pillow from Thanksgiving I decided to make up some "believe" pillows. I gave one to each of my classroom assistants who are also my youngest son's teachers. I also gave one to Amber, our daycare provider. And I kept one for myself since I am also my son's teacher and since all his other teacher's got one................. I love how these turned out. I am already thinking of "let it snow" on blue burlap for January, "love" on red for February, "get lucky" on green for March...........OK..........maybe not that one!! :0)
Also for Amber, our daycare gal and my good friend, I made a Christmas apron. I didn't use a pattern, just kind of winged it. I started it Sunday night and finished it yesterday. I gave it to Amber today and to my face she said she liked it. Actually, I know she really did like it because she loves aprons. I loved the really big rick-rack. Aprons are so easy to whip together. I can't believe I don't actually own one. I need to change that!! Maybe a good Christmas break sewing project.
Here's a closeup of the rick-rack trim and fabric.
The only other handmade gift I need to finish (I mean, start and finish) is pajamas for the boys. I made them a set of pajamas last year and wanted to continue the tradition. I already have the shirts and fabric so I'll start those tomorrow. They'll be ready to wear by Christmas Eve. Whew! Now you can see why I haven't posted in a week! In case I don't post again before Christmas, please have a blessed day with your family. And treasure the reason behind the season. There is truly no greater gift than Jesus. My wish is that each of you reading this would know and embrace that truth this year.