Posts filed under ‘kids’


the kids have been extra specially naggy this year about getting christmas decorations up, and my house is the most festive that it has ever been! we actually have four different types of advent calendars on the go this year, and we even started them on time, which is kind of a big deal for us.

one of the advent calendars is a small wooden house with numbered doors, and behind each door is a small piece of paper with an activity written on it.   so far we’ve had:

  • buy a toy for a child in need
  • make the house smell like christmas
  • write letters to santa
  • take photos for christmas cards

i found a ton of ideas on pinterest and by googling “advent calendar activities”.  it’s super-easy to find 25 that’ll work for your family, and we’re spending time together enjoying the holidays in a small way each day.

here are my kids posing for their christmas pictures!  messy haired and a little juice-moustachey, but completely loveable and excited about the christmas season.

christmas anne

elliot moose

December 4, 2012 at 13:33 Leave a comment


elliot doesn’t like change.  he never has.   do you see the fear in his eyes?  poor kid.  

moments before the photo was snapped, he agreed to let me have my way with his hair, in exchange for eating whatever he wanted (as long as there was healthy food) for the ENTIRE following day.

he wanted to keep his reliable old hair-do, but his stomach convinced him to take a gamble.

just as i was finishing up, he sighed and said “i hope it’s not a mohawk…”

um.  oops.  *technically* not a mohawk though, because the sides fade into the longer top, instead of ending dramatically with a fringe.  details like that are important to my boy!

he looked himself over in the mirror, and spent a looooonnnnnggg time rubbing the short sides of his head before declaring “i like it!  it’s like i have daddy’s moustache on my very own head!”

and then he got all silly and giddy and jumped all over his daddy as they celebrated their matching hairstyles.

a week later, he’s telling me that his hair is starting to grow, and needs to be cut again.  looks like he’ll be keeping the fade-hawk for a while!

September 21, 2012 at 22:52 1 comment

daddy’s day

the kids are 6 & 7, and finally old enough to appreciate a day to celebrate their father.  each year i ask them “what do you want to do?”, and this year they finally had some answers!  they totally wowed me with their plans!  we’re talking decorating, games, gifts, meal plans, and a detailed floor plan with different “zones”.

here’s how we celebrated the amazing father that God has blessed my kids with!

armed with balloons and streamers, the kids climbed counters and chairs to hang up the decorations, but most items ended up at their eye level, AKA, adult limbo level.  they plastered every surface and doorway; it was awesome!

in the living room we hung a banner, and the kids coloured it.  i’d seen a few “candy pun” ideas on pintrest, but most of them involved a ton of candy and chocolate, and my derek would never eat all of that.  we walked through bulk barn and grabbed a few of the things that we knew he liked, and before too long a sorta-poem developed and we were set.  “Daddy, you give great hugs & kisses, that’s the raisin we love you to pieces.”   i attached bags of hershey’s hugs & kisses to the appropriate words, yoghurt-covered raisins to the word “raisin”, and reese’s pieces were tacked onto the end.

anne really wanted to bake a cake for the party!  we were totally unprepared to bake a cake, so the kids had to just use what we had on hand, and it turned out alright- princess crown toothpicks and all!

derek pulled the whole “i dunno.  i don’t want anything” thing that guys do when birthdays/christmas/father’s day come up.  my daddy says the same thing every single year: “good kids.”

so the kids brainstormed some ideas for “good things” they could do for their daddy, and we whipped up some coupon books.  if  you’re looking for a how-to:  it’s simple!  i could have done it with a basic word processor like google docs.  i used pixelmater for mine. i didn’t have time for clipart or stickers, but the handprinted signature makes them pretty sweet.  i sandwiched the coupons between two pieces of scrappy paper and sewed the edge up with my serger.  you could use a normal sewing machine or even a stapler.

when derek came home from work tonight the kids jumped out of their hiding places and screamed “surprise!” at him as he disentangled himself from the streamers and balloons blocking the doorway.  the kids began working through their itinerary of planned games with derek, ending with “simon says: get to the table”.  we had a great family dinner together, sang “happy father’s day to yooooo” (tune of happy b-day), and ate a ton of chocolate cake.

elliot lamented that there was a mother’s day, a father’s day, but no kid’s day.  i laughed my face off at him as i looked around at the chaos of my house, and thought about how much work i had put into helping them show their dad how much they loved him, and how much clean up was still ahead of me; but i know that there’s no way  he’ll ever understand that every day is “kid’s day” until he’s a father himself.



June 17, 2012 at 23:26 1 comment

Anne’s compelling argument

when i was a kid, one of my aunts married some sort of international ambassador who was rumoured to be a prince of a small african country.  my sisters and i thought it was soooo glamorous and instantly told all of our friends that we were really princesses.
the aforementioned marriage fell apart, and the rumours of royalty were never actually confirmed.  why then, did i even mention the lebrun legend to my children?

apparently i was hoping to have a recurring argument with the children who can’t be convinced that they’re not really princes and princesses.   we’ve had many discussions about it, and the only thing that gets me out of the “no we’re not, yes we are” banter, is to distract the midgets and hope (in vain) that they never bring it up again.

today anne’s argument took on more power when she paired logic with bits and pieces of facts that she’s learned in school:

“mommy, just look.  i have to be a princess because i have golden hair like rapunzel (punctuated with a tug on the braid i was attempting to finish while she listed off princessy criteria), i have my own chapstick, i have blood flowing in my body, and i have lots of pretty dresses (twirl).


March 7, 2012 at 15:03 3 comments

the astrid transformation

do you remember before christmas, when i made the declaration that i was going to go from this: 

to this?

well i didn’t get it done in time for christmas (shocker!), but i did finish it up by 5pm on the evening of anne’s birthday.  here she is!

i didn’t have a ton of time for photos since she was stuffed inside a prettily wrapped box, about 4 seconds after the last stitch was sewn, but here’s what i’ve got, and a bit of a source guide for anyone who wants to make their own:

groovy girl thora came with pink hair on her head, which i cut out as close to the root as possible.  i bought some patons astra yarn in a yellowish colour because it had the sheen and twist of the original hair.  it’s not a perfect match but meh– highlights.  i used a massive darning needle to replace the pink hairs, and added in a couple lines of hair to the top of the head for astrid’s centre part.  the ‘do was simple: choppy bangs and a chunky braid down the back.
the headband and shoulder guards were made the same way– leather strips dotted with metallic puff paint.

 the sweater was just a knit tube turned tank top when i got to the armpits.  i scoured the internet until i found Stroll fingering weight yarn at in the “tree fort” colourway.  i sewed the shirt onto astrid, thus declaring this a toy with no removable clothing.
the arms are covered in a lightweight hemp, which i sewed in place as i wrapped it.

i was hoping to find skull and thorn buttons on the internet, but can you believe that they don’t exist?! i know, i was shocked too.  so i bought some white and metallic silver fimo at micheal’s, and got sculpting.  i pressed 4mm jump rings into the backs of each skull & thorn before baking, to make them something that i could sew onto astrid.  i just used a thin sharpie for the skull details.
skirt:  i bought a strip of leather, and cut slits into it (which i rounded off to size).  to sew on all of my new buttons, i had to first punch holes for my needle to go through.  a push pin and a cork board were great helps in this step.
underskirt: you can’t really see it in any of my pictures, but before i sewed on the leather skirt, i sewed a rectangle of dark brown felt onto astrid.  after i’d sewn the leather skirt on, i went between each of the rounded leather strips and cut the points into the felt (like the picture from the movie, above).
legs: i painted groovy girls legs blue with a sharpie paint pen.  i also coloured her underwear with a brown sharpie because thora came with sunny yellow ones and i’m all about the details.
boots:  i tried to just colour over thora’s yellow boots with both a sharpie marker and paint pen, but the glitter kept showing through and it wasn’t going to work.  so then i tried to make boots out of leather and that nearly killed me.  eventually i made them out of the same dark brown felt as the underskirt.  they were definitely the hardest part of the project- can you believe that i’ve never made boots before?  haha.  the fur on the tops was also a bit of a challenge until derek found a toy beaver at value village.  it died well, bravely and without a struggle.  elliot was completely horrified at the death of a stuffed animal, but he loved the creation process too much to make a big deal out of it.

so i think that’s it!


from this:

to this:

to recap, you’ll need:

  • sharpie paint pen in blue
  • sharpie markers in dark brown and a thin-tipped one in black
  • fimo, white and metallic silver
  • 4mm jump rings
  • leather in two colours: reddish-brown and gray
  • grayish-brown fur  (from an old toy or if you can find it at a craft store– i couldn’t!)
  • dark brown felt
  • metallic silver puff paint
  • yellow yarn
  • lightweight hemp
  • stubbornness, time, and attention to details.
  • a beautiful and enthusiastic six-year-old who will love and adore the transformation:

February 11, 2012 at 08:54 1 comment

party girl

my baby is turning six on tuesday!  i am officially the mom of big kids.  anne celebrated last night with some of her favourite friends, and our tiny house was hopping with 8 six(ish) year old girls and my hyper little elliot.

the theme: pyjama party, with most of the ideas coming from scouring pintrest and google.  i didn’t take a picture of the invites, or the stack of sleep masks that i made for the goody bags.  i barely got any pictures at all of the party, but my friend jen (and mother of two of anne’s guests) snagged my camera and got it done for me (thanks jen!).

i decorated the dining room like a bedroom, with the table being dressed in bed clothes and a headboard made from toobeez with a blanket thrown over top of it.  i raided our bead container of all pink/purple/blue and clear beads to make the light fixture in the dining room more girly, and made some poofy flower things out of tissue paper to hang above the “bed.”

the living room was where the girls laid out their sleeping bags, and i decorated it more like a “sleeping under the stars” experience.  i basically just hung shiny stars all over the place, threw up an owl, and hung another poofy thing in the centre of the room to make it festive.  oh, and lots and lots of star-shaped post-it notes, too.

for food, i kept is pretty simple.  star-shaped sugar cookies, rice krispie squares, croissants, cheese, and strawberries.  the girls descended upon the food like locusts!  the cake was a stack of doughnuts with purply-pink frosting drizzled onto it and coated in star-shaped sprinkles.

games:  i had planned a few quiet games like charades and making fruit loop necklaces, but the girls were waaaaaaay too wound up after i fed them all of that sugar!   we stuck with the more rowdy games on my list like:
pillow fight. hands-free doughnut chop (see the top two pictures).  hide and seek inside sleeping bags.  freeze-dance (but when the music stopped, the kids had to pretend that they were asleep).

eventually the sugar rush turned into a crash, so we threw on a barbie movie and all of the girls cuddled into piles of sleeping bags and pillows and stuffed animals.  i made some popcorn to keep their hands and mouths busy, and it was a fairly peaceful hour & 24 minutes.

there was about 20 minutes between the end of the movie and when parents began to collect their children, and the kids enjoyed running around the house playing “spies” or something like that.  honestly, i think they enjoyed the unstructured time more than the games!

goody bags: every child went home with a smile on their face and a goody bag containing some sugar cereal, chocolate milk and an owlish sleep mask.

anne had a great party, and seeing her smile and laugh with her friends was so satisfying for me!  i really think that there is nothing that i wouldn’t do for that sweet little girl.  after her friends had gone and we were waiting for derek and elliot to come back home (they left after the fun and before the barbie movie), anne and i sat on the floor together looking at the gifts that her friends had lavished on her.  she really is blessed in the friendships that God has given her!

February 5, 2012 at 16:21 2 comments

one more checkmark, and a confession

i’m going to just get the confession out of the way now:  i went to bed with a messy house last night.  i’ve been so good all month, but last night i was exhausted to the point of hallucinating and wasn’t willing to take the risk of waking up other people in the house with my noisy cleaning.  i also slept with socks on.  yick.

my schedule is starting to open up a bit as we get closer to christmas and things are getting checked off of my to-do list.  this weekend is christmas with my awesometastic family in niagara, so after that i get to reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeelax.  i’ve been staying up really late lately to get done the commissioned projects and to sew the beach robes that i wanted to make for every niece and nephew in my giganticly-enourmous family.  i have 2.5 left to do between now and thursday.  it’s not a lot of time, but it’s pretty much all that i have to focus on now.

i finished these and delivered them yesterday:

another happy client: check!  i love that kids (and adults) are getting stuff that i made this christmas morning!

besides the beach robes, i’m also in the process of knitting a baby sweater for a niece’s doll, and one final commissioned project, and a top-secret gift for my mama that i built today.  it felt so good to head out to the workshop and play with the manly tools.  seriously, the only reason i could learn how to sew was by thinking of the fabric as wood and the sewing machine as a power tool.

while the paint was drying i made sure to invest in the kids for a while.  i’ve been trying to make sure that they don’t feel neglected by their zombie mom who’s always busy.  yesterday we decorated cookies together and then spread christmas cheer as we delivered them to our neighbours.  today i came across a nativity scene printable, which i printed out on cardstock and then we spent some quality time colouring and assembling it together.

click on this link to find your own.  (also, i couldn’t get the download link to work, but clicking on the pictures worked just fine!)

that’s all the update i’ve got for now.  i’ll hopefully be posting pictures of beach robes soon, but the super-secret gift for my mommy won’t be revealed until after christmas because she’s been known to read this here blog.  how’s everyone else doing?  anyone completely ready for christmas yet?

December 14, 2011 at 17:56 2 comments

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