Friday, December 9, 2011

Guest Post from Amanda!

Today, I am excited to have my friend Amanda guest posting. Amanda and I grew up together, and she is now a wonderful wife to an amazing husband, and a proud momma to one adorable little boy! She will soon also be a proud momma to a little girl! She blogs over at Coffee and Camouflage !Today,
A few months ago, I delved into the world of Pinterest. Major mistake. I can get lost in all of the yummy food, hilarious quotes, and crafty ideas others pin. In fact, tonight for dinner I made a recipe I pinned last week! Shortly after I joined, I came across a lot of Christmas crafts. That started me thinking about what sort of Christmas crafting I wanted to do. I really wanted to create some sort of interactive Advent Calendar/Christmas countdown that my 21 month old could enjoy and maybe understand. As a stay at home Mom my crafting budget each month is small, so I wanted to create something with things I had around the house. My toilet paper roll collection was becoming quite large (I am pregnant and pee quite often, causing us to go through our fair share of toilet paper each month), so I wanted to try and use those. Eventually, I came up with this:

To make this simple toddler and kid friendly Christmas Countdown, I needed:
- 25 toilet paper rolls
- Wrapping paper
- Ribbon/Yarn
- Age appropriate candy/treats
- 24 Clothes pins
- Felt
- 2 wooden boards
- Paint
- Glitter Glue
- Sharpie

I started off wrapping each toilet paper roll in wrapping paper and tying off one end with yarn. In each wrapped tube, I inserted a few Reece's Pieces (one of my son's favorite small treats) and tied off the other end.

Continue wrapping all of the toilet paper rolls like this. You only need 24, but I always like to have one extra on hand, just in case. After they are all stuffed and wrapped, you can hang them on a wall.

You will need a relatively big space to display your countdown, as the rolls take up a decent amount of room. To hang, decide how big you want your display to be. Hammer a nail in on the left side at the height you want your string of rolls to start, and at the same height on the right side. Tie a string of yarn/ribbon between the two nails, remembering that the weight of the rolls will cause the string to give a bit, so make sure the knot you use on each nail is tight. You can tie the end of yarn/ribbon into a bow to give it a nice touch.  Using the clothespins, hang up each of the rolls.

To make the sign above my rolls, I dug out two small planks of wood I had from another project. I painted each one with red paint, let it dry, then coated it in a layer of glitter glue to give it some sparkle. Once the glue dried (that took quite a while, but I sped up the process with my hair dryer), I wrote "How many days until Christmas?" in sharpie. You can use any sort of method or technique to make your sign, I just used what I had on hand. I do like that they are made out of wood, however, so that I can reuse them next year.

Nail these on the wall above your wrapped rolls.

A Christmas tree made of felt completes the countdown, hung on the wall with a little bit of double stick tape.

Each night, my son picks out a roll, and either myself or my Husband helps him rip off one end. Tonight he stamped his feet in anticipation, then laughed gleefully when 4 Reece's Pieces dumped out of the roll into his hand. He may not understand exactly why he is receiving treats before bed, or what the rolls mean, but seeing his joy and knowing that I am creating new traditions with my family melts my heart.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Deck the Halls

 The holiday season is upon us and my news feed is full of pictures of friends decking the halls. I am sad to report that this year our halls will go undecked. I did however want to show how we decked our halls last year! Last year was our first Christmas as a married couple, and the first Christmas that I got to decorate our home :]

Our front door.
This is where we hung our stockings, but I didn't take a picture once they were actually hung.

Ornaments add a little touch of holiday cheer!

True story, this was the second bow I made in my entire life.

Our lovely tree skirt.

Full tree shot!

I may have gone a little crazy and wrapped our presents to match our tree.
 Decorating was definitely so much fun. I will never forget setting up our first tree as a family. And although I am sad that this year our halls will go undecked, I am blessed to have my niece visiting, she won't stay small forever and I would rather spend all the quality time we can with her. I will also be spending quality time with my brother, since he leaves for basic in less than a month.  I hope your holiday season is going well and even if your halls go undecked, remember what this holiday really is about,the birth of our Lord!