Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Crafty Gifts and Car-trip Ideas

Hello! How are your holiday activities progressing? Drinking plenty of egg nog and eating gingerbread? We've been consuming vast numbers of satsumas this month; I love the food associated with this time of year!

We got our holiday shopping out of the way this week. I have it on good authority that Santa got a little lazy and refused to buy a single roll of holiday wrapping paper. So if you get something from me and it's decorated in HAPPY BIRTHDAY wrap, blame Santa.

I also continued my color-coded wrapping scheme this year. Presents destined for Christmas Eve are wrapped in one type, presents from Santa are wrapped in another, and presents from parents are wrapped in a third colorful (birthday) variation. Makes things less stressful and easier to ID. I have distinct memories of my mom taking a carefully wrapped present and giving it a good shake (listening for tell-tale toy identification sounds), before saying: "well, it could be from Santa....or it could be from us. Who the heck knows."

I did a few some-what homemade gifts for the kids this year. The main one is that I made us all cozy fleece neck warmers. They are SO EASY. Takes about ten minutes. I pretty much wear mine around the house 24/7, because I have horrible circulation and am a walking iceberg. I used
this tutorial.

I also did matching PJs for the kids using iron-on transfer paper. We're going with winter woodland animal theme. Clipart here, pjs here (they're nice and soft).

Ben has been begging for a fierce dragon shirt and this was the end result.

Ack, I can't find the original graphic location. I was convinced that I'd purchased it on Etsy but now I'm not so sure.

Who doesn't love Alpacas!? Emma is going to flip. Clipart here. This one also comes with cactuses! Or is it cacti? Regardless, prepare yourself for more alpaca-centric materials here on the blog.

Weirdly, I like that the transferred images appear slightly weathered. It gives it a distressed look that all favorite t-shirts should have.

This time of year I also start thinking about activities to keep the bambinos occupied on car trips or long family dinners.

My kids are ages 2 and 5 so obviously our go-to items have changed over the years but here are a few of our home-run hits.

The National Geographic workbooks and sticker books are some of our very favorites, along with a few select toys (ahem, legos), pads of paper (the binding prevents the pages from getting scattered) and the straw beads.

Also, stickers are our secret weapon. We only made it to the Arctic (and back) this summer because I bought hundreds of stickers that Emma proceeded to stick on every available surface in the truck. It was a total pain to remove them a week later...but so worth it!

For car trips, I transfer everything into re-sealable bags. For this project I pre-cut the strings and added a scotch tape 'needle' on one end to facilitate threading. You can do the exact same project with cheerios or hollow pasta; it's an activity that keeps my kids entertained for hours.

A friend of mine also posted this project on Facebook a while back and it became an immediate hit in our family. It's a lego sheet taped down to a child's lunch tray and it serves not only as a stable building base for lego projects, but also a flat surface for writing (flip it over) and eating snacks. The lip helps to prevent fly-away pieces.

Have a happy holiday, friends! Stay safe and be well.