Through the Lens of a Child

The one thing Cohen asked for this Christmas was a camera. We decided since he is only 3, we would go ahead and get him one of the kid cameras even though picture quality isn't the best. He actually ended up with 2- one from us and one from Paul's grandmother. We had it set aside to take back, when Cale decided to spend his Christmas money from his Aunt and Uncle on Cohen's 2nd camera. So they've been snapping away the past few days....and it is interesting to see what they find picture-worthy...

Cohen's most photographed item?? The floor...I have this shot at various angles, and sometimes you are lucky and get some toes in too

Next favorite....himself...

But every so often he'd catch a good one....

and a face would actually make it into the picture!

Cale's subjects mostly included people....and if no one would pose he'd set up his own subject...



We spent the Christmas Eve day up in Gatlinburg with my dad and stepmother... they boys love spending time with Grampy and Gram....and you can't beat a 60 degree Christmas Eve on the top of a mountain.

Christmas morning festivities began around 7:30 when all the boys were finally up....stocking first.....when I was little- and actually up into my teenage years- Santa left our stockings on the end of our brother and I would wake up ridiculously early and tear into them...then go back to bed. I have yet to continue that tradition...I like seeing the kids open up their stockings too much. Here's Lakin.... a banana and a bus- his 2 favorite things in the world.... it's funny how quick they learn. By the end he definitely knew what a present was and what to do with it.

One of Cohen's big ticket items....

And Christmas morning fun....they were in their PJs until about 2 pm when we had to leave to go to Paul's grandmother's house.

Rylan's big item....

And with all these outdoor toys...

I'm glad it's been mild....temperatures are getting up near 70 today!


24 Days of Christmas: Day 21,22 and 23

Day 21
chocolate pretzel treatsNormally we make chocolate dipped pretzels for the boys to give out to family, but I saw this on A Day of Wonders and thought it was a cute idea that they would be able to do more of independantly. They really enjoyed it....Lakin did really well opening up the kisses and putting them on the pretzels- usually he just eats what we are doing!

Now they are all bagged up and ready to be handed out in the next 2 days.
Day 22
"A miniature sleigh and 8 tiny reindeer"

This is what happens when I offered to help Cohen make a wooden sleigh since I wasn't sure how to make the wooden airplane he was asking for...
Once the sleigh was made....."Now it needs Santa and reindeer"

paper, googley eyes, and craft sticks.....and you can make anything....

even Santa.

Day 23

Today was spent finishing up gifts, wrapping gifts, putting together packages for grandparents. Cale decided to make some plain chocolate covered pretzels with the left over supplies from our previous treats. Rylan finshed knitting the hat he was making for Lakin. Cale made a craft stick monster for Rylan....

And yes I am fully aware that I skipped day 20


Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!! Lighting and the camera were being tempermental....but I managed a couple good shots with everyone looking and sort of smiling....although my favorite is this unplanned one...
Thank goodness for consignment shops that stock coordinating sweaters in size 2T, 4T, 6 and 8.


24 Days of Christmas: Day 17,18, and 19

Day 17
red and green popcornPlace the popcorn kernal in bags and add some coloring. I use my wilton icing colors- they provide the best and deepest color. I don't think liquid color would work too well. Close up the bags and let little hands squish for awhile- until all the kernals are coated.
Spread out the kernals to dry. This took 1-2 days. When you pop the corn there will be flecks of red and green. We layered the 2 colors in a jar, added a ribbon to the top and it is ready to be given away.
Day 18

paper candy canes

I saw this over on Julie's blog and thought it would be the perfect addition to my Christmas crafts- especially since my list has a few bare spots on it. You can find the tutorial here- the boys really enjoyed making them and Cale made a couple more on his own today.


The yearly tradition that cannot be missed. One day I will actually bake the gingerbread from scratch, but for now a kit will do- all they care about is the candy anyway....


24 Days of Christmas: Day 14, 15 and 16

Day 14
Miscellaneous holiday fun...
I didn't have a specific item planned for the day- but we bagged up a lot of our reindeer chow for Paul to give to his coworkers. We also had 6 dozen cookies to make for a cookie exchange I was going to that night.
Day 15

popcorn garland

The boys each made a strand- with Lakin helping by handing out the pieces of popcorn to everyone. Once the strands were done we hung them out on the trees in our front yard for the birds and squirrels.

Day 16

This was a simple, picture-less day. Dinner and a movie. I made pizzas and we watched a couple movies from the Chirstmas Holiday Favorites DVD : A year without Santa Claus and How the Grinch Stole Christmas

In other news: isn't this about the cutest thing ever? They are about 3 weeks old now and the boys LOVE them.


Christmas Card Boxes

I have a hard time throwing cards of any kind a few years ago I started making these boxes with all the cards of Christmases past. They work great for all the little ornaments and such that the kids make to give for gifts. It's good measurement practice for my older two, not to mention an exercise in precision.

Step 1: Get your card. And separate the front from the back. The front of the card will be your top half of the box and the back will be the bottom. Step 2: Measure. You want to mark your measurement on each side- I usually do about an inch, unless the card is small or I need a larger and narrower box. I make the bottom just a hair smaller than the top so that the top fits nicely over it.

Step 3: Once all your measurements are marked, connect those marks on opposite sides to make the grid for your box.

Step 4: Next you want to snip on one line of each corner. I usually go every other line all the way around. This creates a flap that will be used to assemble the actual box.

Step 5: Fold. I use the edge of the ruler to get a good crease....if you happen to have the tool made especially for that purpose it would work too. Fold up each side, making sure to crease each of the of the flaps too.

Step 6: Assembly. Fold up each side one at a time. Fold the flap on the inside and tape to the adjacent side to create a corner. Once the insides are taped place an additional piece of (invisable) scotch tape on the outside of each corner.

And it's done. A nice sized box for little wrapping paper required.


24 Days of Christmas: Day 12 and 13

Day 12

I had to remind myself how to fold the paper to actually get a six sided snowflake. But the boys each cut about 3 from white paper- then we laced a string through them and hung them in our doorway.

We also did darker construction paper ones- and painted a saturated solution of hot water and epsom salts on them. When the paper dries it leaves a crystallized pattern all over which sparkles very nicely. Of course my camera can't capture that.

Day 13

Reindeer Chow

When it's not Christmastime this is also known as puppy chow. It's really easy to make and the kids had a blast with it....

1 box chex cereal
1 bag chocolate chips
1 cup peanut butter
about 1.5 cups powdered sugar
(you can also add other stuff....marshmallows, peanuts, pretzels, etc...)

Melt the chocolate and peanut butter until it can be stirred smooth. Pour onto the cereal (and any other mix-ins) and stir until coated.

Put the mixture into a gallon sized bag (or 2...or 4, in my case) and add the powdered sugar) Close the bag well and SHAKE!

Once all the pieces are dusted, dump the bag contents out onto a cookie sheet to dry...or just dig in!


24 Days of Christmas: Day 10 and 11

Day 10

Christmas cookies
I ran out of time to do rolled and cut sugar cookies so we settled for peanut butter cookies with chocolate icing, and the all important decorations. We are taking them to the fire station today to give to the local firefighters.

Day 11

Tinker Toy Christmas Tree

I saw this idea on Better Homes and Garden's website and thought it was really cute. Our tinker toy set is missing a few pieces, but we improvised and made something that somewhat resembles a tree. We decked it out with pop-pom ornaments, our beaded candycanes and strung beads.

I think some of our crafts are starting to inspire....the boys have made about 3 of these cardboard cars in the past few days....