Friday, December 30, 2011

The Christmas Recap

I had a bunch of things rolling around in my head that I wanted to say about this Christmas, but I'm still far too wiped out to remember any of it. I do remember that one thing I was going to do was a comparison of last year's sitting on Santa's lap picture with this year's, since they are basically identical, BUT our scanner is having ISSUES, so how about I just show you last year's and you imagine she is one year older with the exact same look on her face?

Did you imagine it? Thanks.

This was the year of six Christmases. That's a lot of Christmases. And a lot of driving and packing and unpacking and babies waking up EVERY SINGLE HOUR ALL NIGHT EVERY NIGHT because they refuse to sleep in beds that are not their own, and I know, I KNOW, can you EVEN BELIEVE I found a way to complain about so many people wanting to celebrate Christmas with us and shower our progeny with gifts? 

So, how about I just do what I always do and show you some pictures and we all call it a day? Yes? Excellent.

Christmas #1 (Our house; fake Christmas Eve, 12/21, fake Christmas Day, 12/22)

Squatting. Keeping it real.

Stealing dad's Christmas PJs

The Night Before Christmas

Christmas morning and DINOSAURS!

  Awww, opening like a big girl.

 Then things took a dangerous turn. 

 I hate opening!
 Look how sad I am! Leave me be!

 We had a return to happy when she opened her tunnel ...

Then the top of this box collapsed and she fell in. That was it for opening.

 Luckily she had ten GAZILLION toys to play with. And we had five Christmases to go.

 Oh yeah, and I got this. Thank you, Santa!

Christmas #2 (My parents' house, with my older sisters and nieces and nephews; 12/23)

I REFUSE to finish opening this gift. I shall sit upon it to show my indignation. (P.S. I made that dress! It's a little long, but I LOVE it.)

Oh, wait. I LOVE this thing! 

Then she opened like a big girl when all the cousins were opening at once! Yay!

 Then the shrieking began. Oh, the SHRIEKING. A little while later we noticed her grossly inflamed gums. And remembered she refused to take a nap. Oh yeah.
 Luckily, some indoor sled practice really did the trick.

Christmas #3 (My mom and dad's house; 12/24)

I really thought we were starting the morning off right, what with the massage chair and singing a little tune in the microphone. 

Indeed, we got some good participation out of her.

Then she turned.

All she wanted was to sled.

 So, we Jeremy obliged.

 I love this photo not because my child is falling over (she barely touched the ground, Jeremy reports), but because Cleo is dashing to her rescue. 

Cleo kept a very close eye on her from there on out. I love that dog.

Christmas #4 (Jeremy's Gran's house - ALL his aunts and uncles and cousins; 12/25)

 She got to play with her bestie, Harrison.

 Then they ran all over the house, causing trouble.

 But she left with a Tigers pillow pet. SCORE!

Christmas #5 (Jeremy's mom and dad, brothers and sisters; 12/26)

 As usual, when there is a grandparent around, she got a *little* spoiled.

 We had a slight meltdown here as well, but after a nap break and an outfit change, she was good to go. She even requested a bow on her head.

 And she was pretty dang charming for the rest of the opening. Taking a picture of her next present with her new toy camera. Priceless.

 She even helped clean up!

Then it was the 27th, and time to head home.

 She squeezed in time for a quick tea party before we left, however.

The ride home was ... not pleasant. And don't let this picture fool you ... she was NO where near sleepy. Just overtired and cranky. :(

I would hand her a toy, she would play with it momentarily, then throw it on poor Cleo, who was also so tired that she just slept right through it. 

Christmas #6 (with my cousins; 12/28) 

We had to SKIP because I was SICK. And lame. 

Well, once again, I have given you too many photos and hardly any words, but I started this post and I was bound a determined to finish it. And I did! Go me! 

And now it's almost New Year's Eve. Crap. 

How about I just leave you with this?

I hope you had as many beautiful moments as we did (and far less screamy moments!) :)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Magnetic Fishing Game {A Tutorial!}

Thanks to everyone for their sweet comments yesterday on the Busy Book! I really appreciate it! :) Another gift I decided to make for Josephine this year was a little magnetic fishing set, and I thought making it out of felt would make it a little more toddler-friendly (not to mention cheaper and easier).

You will need:
*Craft magnets (the stronger the better, since they will be inside the fish); one for each fish and two for the pole (I found a pack of 60 at Hobby Lobby for $6.99 and got them 40% off)
*Felt (I used the sheets from Hobby Lobby that are 25 cents each, and I could easily have made two or three fish from each sheet if I wanted the fish to be one solid color. The glitter and patterned felt were a little more - maybe 33 cents a sheet?)
*Polyfill (Usually about 3 bucks for a big bag)
*Embroidery floss (I got it for 37 cents each) - contrasting or matching colors (or both)
*Needle and scissors
*Hot glue gun or some other strong glue

Here's how to do it:

 1. Decide on a shape for your fish, draw a template, and cut out.

2. Get another piece of paper and trace your pieces, adding little margin where you will sew the pieces together (make head, all fins, and front end of body at least a 1/4 to 1/2 inch longer than original).

3. Use your template to trace TWO of each pieces out of your felt.

4. Use embroidery floss to create scales on the body, layer the fins together and make eyes on the head (I used a french knot).

5. Embroider the heads to the body pieces.

6. Begin embroidering the bodies together, beginning with the head. 

7. Place the top fin where you would like it, in between the two body pieces.

8. Embroider through the two body pieces with the fins sandwiched in between.

9. Repeat with the tail.

10. Place a magnet inside the two layers, up at the "mouth."

11. Stuff with polyfill to desired "fullness."

12. Place the remaining fin in the opening and embroider shut.

You made a fish with a magnet inside! Bravo!

The trick for not leaving a knot on the outside of the fish when you are done is to put your last stitch through only ONE layer, so your needle is in between the layers, then knot and cut. To start without a knot showing, put your needle in between the two layers and push through, leaving the knot sandwiched in between the two layers. 

For the pole, I simply screwed a tiny eye screw into the top of a dowel, then hit it with a dot of hot glue to make sure it wasn't going anywhere. 

Next, I tied on a piece of string and also hit the knot with a dot of hot glue. Next, I took two of the magnets, put hot glue on one, put the end of the string in between, and smashed them together nice and tight. I REALLY wanted a donut-shaped magnet, because that would have been much easier, but I could only find them online, and it was like $8 shipping for a 44-cent magnet. No thank you.

Finally, I took some felt and sewed it in place around the exterior of the pole. This makes it a little cuter, but I really did it to prevent slivers and maker sure she didn't poke herself with the eye screw. Obviously it is still a toy that requires supervision, but I was hoping this would help prevent any extra catastrophes.

 And there you have it. A lovely little fishing game. :)

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