Kids Christmas Star Painting

Christmas Star Painting

Isaiah has REALLY enjoyed learning all about the Christmas Star this year. Actually, he’s rather obsessed.

He and I have a Christmas song we share together. It’s a special one–one that I rocked him to when he was just days old (since he was born on Christmas).

It’s called “Follow That Star” by Cindy Morgan. Have you heard it? Definitely worth a download if you haven’t.

It talks about following that special star throughout our lives–letting it lead and guide us. Such a wonderful message for Advent, and every season that follows.

Isaiah has come to know that song as his own–and even insists that I put it on repeat for him as he falls asleep each night.

And when he started drawing Christmas Stars in his free time, I knew it was time for a project. ;)

I saw an adorable tutorial for snowflake art a while back, and fully intended on making some with the boys. And then it hit me, why not put our own little spin on it and make our very own Christmas Star?

A dear friend had recently given the boys their very own nativity set. So we set out to make the perfect backdrop.

This project was so stinkin’ easy. And Isaiah was so proud that he made it ALL BY HIMSELF.

It might be our favorite project together to date…

 

To make, you will need:

  • canvas (Size is up to you, we chose 16×16.)
  • blue paint (Again, specific shade is up to you. We chose Martha Stewart craft pain in “Slate Gray.” )
  • masking tape (or painter’s tape)
  • Paintbrush

 

I arranged the tape into the shape of a star like so. (Just make the shape of a cross, then add an “x” over the middle.)  You’ll also notice I angled the edges of each piece of tape…this really helped give it the twinkling look.

Christmas Star Painting

Then it was time to paint. I chose to use craft paint and a brush because we were going for a specific look. But you can definitely use finger paint if your kids are younger.

Christmas Star Painting

And P.S.This was Isaiah’s first time painting on areal canvas. He was on cloud nine!

While the paint is still wet, peel the tape and set the painting aside to dry. (The hardest part was the waiting!)

As soon as the canvas was dry, we arranged our Nativity in front of it. Isaiah was SO very proud. And of course, so was I.

Christmas Star painting

His first real painting. And how special that we’ll get to display it every year at Christmas, and remember the fun we had making it.

My heart skip a beat just thinking about it.

I love you, sweet Isaiah. You’re my Christmas baby, and you always will be. Thank you for being such a light in our lives.

Christmas Star Painting

 

A Different Kind of Christmas Countdown

Christmas Countdown

December just arrived and already it’s halfway gone.

We even bit the bullet and decorated early this year. Something we’ve never done before. But some years, you just need Christmas regardless of whether or not it’s here. And we’ve had one of those years.

I’ve never seen Isaiah so excited as he was on “decorating day.”

He’s my holiday kid, just like his Momma. He lives from holiday to holiday. So when the Super Bowl of them all comes along, he can hardly contain himself.

But then again, neither can I.

He was talking about a mile a minute–telling me what to put where, and how we should decorate every square inch of space. At one point, I just stopped to watch him.

The chatter. The excitement. The very essence of innocence.

It was precious, in the truest meaning of the word.

Christmas has never been so meaningful as when I’ve had my boys. And sometimes, glutton for punishment that I am, I stop to imagine what the holidays will be like without them–when they’re all grown up and gone.

The nature of time with our children is funny. It feels so long but really it’s so short.

Days feel like years, and years feel like days.

But if you do the simple math…

There’s one Christmas every year, and roughly eighteen years at home…

That’s eighteen Christmases. Or rather, eighteen chances.

To teach them the true meaning of Christmas. To show them how give and how to love. To remind them it’s not about what we are, or what we receive–but what we can offer of ourselves.

To teach them that we give at Christmas because we were first given to, on that blessed night in the manger.

And man, I want to get that right.

The hardest part, is realizing how many are already gone.

I have fourteen Christmases left with Isaiah at home. Seventeen with Sammy.

Time has never felt so short. Or so important.

That’s when I decided I needed a different kind of Christmas countdown. I wanted a visual reminder–a visual cue to make each moment count, because they’re already numbered whether I like it or not.

Christmas Countdown

Christmas Countdown

Each year, this handmade countdown will find a special place in my home. We’ll countdown the days to Christmas, and also the years–to remind me that every day is a gift–one that I’ll never get back. Because next year, my boys will be a little older, a little different, and a little harder to reach. Never the same as they are right now.

But for today? They’re mine. On loan from God to love and protect. And teach…

And I plan to do that well. This Christmas, and every one after.

Christmas Countdown

Candy Corn Popcorn Bags

Candy Corn Popcorn Bags

Have you traded your microwave popcorn packs for brown bag popcorn yet? If not, you should!

Martha Stewart turned me on to brown bag popcorn a few years ago. And ever since, it’s the only way we make it.

Just fill one brown paper bag with 1/4 cup of kernels,  crumple (pretty sure that’s the official term) the top to seal the bag and put in the microwave for one minute. You’ll have the best-tasting, fluffiest popcorn you’ve ever tasted.

Candy Corn Popcorn Bags

So simple, and SO much better for you.

I decided to add a fun twist to our brown bag tradition, just in time for Halloween…

Candy Corn Popcorn Bags!

Candy Corn Popcorn Bags

So easy to make they almost don’t need a tutorial…

You’ll need:

  • Tempera paint in yellow, orange, and white.
  • A medium sized paint brush
  • Brown paper bags (as many as you want to make)
  • Popcorn kernels
  • String
  • Gift tags (if desired)

Lay your paper bags side-by-side and paint one color stripe at a time (yellow on bottom, orange in the middle, and white on top). I kept each stripe the width of my paint brush, to make it easier.

Candy Corn Popcorn Bags

Let dry, and fill each bag with 1/4 kernels, then tie off with the string. And you’re done.

Aren’t they the cutest?

Candy Corn Popcorn Bags

Perfect for healthy Halloween treats, party favors, or even gifts for teachers and friends.

Candy Corn Popcorn Bags

Happy popping!

Happy Fourth of J’Alive

That’s what sweet Isaiah said, all weekend long. It melted my heart. And sometimes, it was just…”Happy Fourth of Alive.”

Well said, dear boy.

We are so thankful to be alive and living in such an amazing country. We try to pass that thankfulness on to our boys, even if they are still a tad too young to get it.

Isaiah knows it’s something pretty special, though–since he has yet to see his Mommy make it through our national anthem without crying.

We had a wonderful Fourth down on the farm. Did you keep up with us on Instagram? I go a little Insta-crazy whenever we are there.

We drove tractors, set off fireworks, planted a tree, and of course…jumped on the bed.

I have to say, my favorite part of these trips has become sharing a bed with Isaiah. We’re pretty strict about sleeping in our own beds at home (because if we give an inch he’ll take a mile) so we never really get the opportunity. But oh my word for memories…

(Wait for it)

He insists on falling asleep while holding my hand.

I mean. SERIOUSLY.

These are the fleeting moments we live for. Am I right?!

He actually shares my pillow, and holds my hand all night long. I, on the other hand, get no sleep whatsoever because my heart is too busy LEAPING out of my chest.

But it’s worth it. He’s worth it.

Here’s a few pics from our lovely weekend. We hope you had a wonderful holiday!

 

Fourth1

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Dish Brush Fireworks

DishBrushFireworks7

The Fourth of July is just around the corner. We already have plans to head down to the farm. I’m taking the camera with me this time and I can’t wait to get some “real” shots. It’s been so long.

A big part of our “Farm Fourth” is setting off our own fireworks. A tradition that I’ve always loved, until we had little boys. Don’t get me wrong, I still look forward to it. But I’ve always known that the clock was ticking, and that one day Isaiah would be “big enough” to want to set some off himself.

(Cue the panic attacks)

To get in the holiday spirit, we decided to do some firework art. If you remember, we made these glitter fireworks last year. So this year I wanted to do something a little different.

We looked around the house for something (anything) that could pass as a firework stamp. Behold, the dish brush!

DishBrushFireworks

We used white acrylic paint, because that’s what we had on hand, along with some crayola finger paint (in red and blue). Any paper will do, but we did ours on kraft paper because I love the look. ;)

DishBrushFireworks1

I made the sample while they boys were napping, and when they woke up it was their turn. Samuel is still a little young. But he watched from the sidelines and happily stuffed his face with Cheerios.

The only real guideline: do the white fireworks first, then follow with the red and blue. And don’t forget to wash your brush in between colors (not absolutely necessary, but it helps).

DishBrushFireworks4

The best part about firework art with boys? The sound effects. Girls just don’t do that. At least, I didn’t. It was a regular firework fest with louder than life crackles and explosions. Every time the brush hit the paper = sound effect.

It was perfection.

DishBrushFireworks3

And once again, Isaiah’s finished product put mine to shame. I thought mine was sooooo artistic–fireworks on the top of the page to represent the night sky. Isaiah just went for it.

In terms of a real firework show, let’s just say mine was the opening number and Isaiah’s was the FINALE.

Yeah. He smoked me.

DishBrushFireworks5

 

 

Cinco de Mayo Fun

It’s Cinco de Mayo! Well, not quite. But it’s coming up on Monday. 

We’ve got a pretty hectic week planned, so we decided to celebrate a bit early. And by celebrate, I mean “learn about the holiday” while Mommy was wishing she had a frozen Margarita. (Because honesty is the best policy, right?)

We wanted to do something quick and fun with items we had around the house. So we decided to make paper plate sombreros and Easter egg maracas.

I can actually remember making these in elementary school. They’re super easy and FREE if you have extra party utensils laying around (which most of us do).

 You’ll need:

  • a paper plate
  • a plastic cup
  • four spoons
  • two plastic Easter eggs
  • decorative materials (pom poms, glitter paint, etc.)
  • decorative tape
  • hot glue gun

For the sombrero, just hot glue an upside down party cup to a paper plate. Then let your kids decorate. We used pom poms, Sharpie and glitter paint.

For the maracas, fill a plastic Easter egg with dried black eyed peas (or beans). Seal the egg and hot glue between the two plastic spoons. Then finish by wrapping the handles together with decorative tape.

All done–and ready for a FIESTA! Get ready for noise. Lots of it

Don’t say I didn’t warn you. ;)

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Surprise! Flashlight Easter Egg Hunt

I’m kind of obsessed with surprises. I remember when I was a kid, I went to a surprise birthday party for a friend…which turned out to be a “SURPRISE, WE’RE GOING TO DISNEYLAND” party instead.

Insane jealousy.

I vowed right then and there that I’d surprise my kids. Big. And often.

So tonight, after Isaiah had gone to bed, Michael and I got to work. We hid eggs all over the backyard. Then we got him up, put on his froggy boots, and handed him a flashlight.

I chose not to do glow-in-the-dark eggs (I thought about it) because  I really wanted this to be a flashlight search. Kind of a ‘mission impossible’, if you will.

It was EPIC. (Mission accomplished)

All you have to do is hide the eggs in the dark, and hand your kiddos the flashlight.

Y’all. You have two more nights until Easter. DO THIS! You wont be sorry.