Gumdrop Wreath

I first made a gumdrop wreath in college.  It was an idea from a Martha Stewart magazine of course.

It was actually quite fun to do with my kids.  Bridget is 4-1/2 and was able to really help.

We used small cutters to cut the toothpicks in half (it would be quite difficult to break in half as suggested by MS.)

It is important that you use the round larger toothpicks because the small flat kind are not strong enough to hold on the gumdrops, which are a heavy candy.

It is also important that the point end of the toothpick go into the wreath.  If you use the end that you cut, it does not grip the styrofoam.

We are celebrating advent this year by using both the traditional advent wreath with five candles and a Jesse tree.  Each night we light our candles and remember what each one represents and then we hang our ornament on our Jesse Tree (or in our case faux white branches from C&B.)  The children get to eat a chocolate gold coin while we read the corresponding scripture for each ornament to remind us that God’s word is sweet and worth more than gold (and to get them to sit still.)  I am excited because even though they are young (two and four) they completely understand that we are getting ready to celebrate the birth of Jesus and that he came to bring light in the darkness.

While we still have fun with the spirit of Santa, Paddy is expecting a baby Jesus to show up Christmas morning.  Speaking of Paddy, he took me by surprise and completely potty trained himself recently.  He also had his first haircut. The  picture below  will explain why I finally had to do it. . .


a lost month

Time has a way of always moving forward even when your life seems to stand still.  August came with many changes for my family.  Some happy and others incredibly painful.  It is hard to believe how much can change in just one month.

As we prepare to say goodbye to August and unofficially  start fall, I want to remember that we did make it to a beach this year, even if the water wasn’t salty.  It never feels like you had summer if you don’t spend some time at a beach.


Both of my children are now in preschool.  Bridget goes three days a week for pre-k and Paddy goes one day a week to mother’s-day-out.

Today was the first day they both went to school for a full day.

I felt both elation at having a day to myself for the first time in 4-1/2 years and also that pang in your heart knowing that your babies are no longer babies.

I am using the first six Wednesdays that they are both in school to take a beginning class in upholstery at ModHomeEc.

This is the chair I am going to paint and recover.

This is how the chair looked after our first class. The first step is to remove the existing upholstery and I sanded the chair down so I can paint it.

So as something ends, something also begins.

not a box

It is NOT A  Box, it is a choo choo train


My children love to play in boxes, today we made a train out of diaper boxes that I have saved.


Happy news, three dearest cousins no longer live 5000 miles away!

We celebrated their arrival back to the States with a hot tub party and lemonade!


animal friend (or lizard) carrier

There is a great new sewing shop in town call The French Seam.  They carry lovely designer fabric that you can’t get at Joanne’s.  I picked up this book by Oliver + S there and it is full of adorable things to sew for children.  My first project was the animal friend carrier.  I made one for Bridget and Paddy, but Paddy only wore his for a minute because he has no interest in stuffed toys.  He would probably wear it if I put a digger in it.

Notice the lizard in the carrier along with her zebra friend. My children both love (but especially Bridget) the rubbery, squishy reptiles and dinosaurs.  Target had all of them on clearance for $0.83 so we came home with several yesterday.  After I finished sewing her carrier, she wanted to carry her lizard around in it.  She also gave it about six baths yesterday.

Every time I went into a bathroom, the water was on and lizard was getting soaped up, he also went swimming in the pool and had sunscreen and lip gloss applied.  Most little girls would want to carry their dolls around, and I her put her American Girl doll in her carrier, but that lasted about 30 seconds. . .


backyard camping

I am not a camper.  The few times we went camping as a family were very painful. I told Patrick early on in our marriage that the closest he will get me to camping is to stay at a hotel where the door opens to the outside. My husband, however, has fond memories of it as a child and promised Bridget that they would backyard camp this summer.  He woke up Friday morning and informed her (not me) that they would do it that night.  You don’t mention something like that to a four-year old and not keep your promise. Because we don’t have a backyard we set up “camp” at my parent’s house who fortunately live on 10 acres with woods, a creek and plenty of firewood.

Patrick proved to be a first rate camp-fire builder and it was the first time in years that I have had a smore!

Unfortunately he did not build the benches as well, and I sat down and broke the board clear through!

The best thing about camping out in the backyard, is that around 11 pm, when you realize that your four-year old is not going to actually sleep in the tent, you can take her inside and put her to bed.

OTHER NEWS: My baby turned two at the end of June. Here are a couple of pictures from his party.

I made his shirt and pants out of a very cute Japanese transportation print.

shoebox dollhouse

We have fallen for Calico Critters.  I had a few when I was little and we bought Bridget a few for Christmas.  I was very tempted to buy a house for them, but we really don’t need one and so I decided to make a shoebox dollhouse for them to live in. This is a very old idea and there are many ways to do it.  I used two books for inspiration, Green Crafts for Children and Homemade Fun.

  1. We selected four shoe boxes that had similar height and width (you can use as many as you like, or only one, depending on the number of rooms you would like to have)
  2. We painted the insides of the boxes
  3. We glued them together with  hot glue and used clothespins to hold the boxes together as the glue dried
  4. I used mod podge to cover the boxes in paper to make the outside a little prettier
  5. I used a piece of cardboard to make the roof, I also modged poged paper on it and hot glued it in place
  6. We have not done too much else, but you can cut out windows, make furniture, curtains, etc.





Bridget has enjoyed playing with it and it has made a cute place for her hedgehog family to live.

As this is another girl craft, I will share a picture of my chubby cheeked boy.  Let’s just say he LOVES trucks (or frucks as he calls them.)


cooped up fun

I find being cooped up in our home without a schedule to be a great hindrance to my creative juices.  I thrive on structure and schedules, and flounder when every activity is canceled for four days in a row.

I do, however, think it is good for me and the kids to slow down and enjoy going a little crazy within the walls of our home. We have stayed in our pajamas all day, made forts, had indoor picnics and watched hours of Super Friends

We love tea parties.  We have at least five different tea sets.  I have to say that the one pictured above is our favorite.  It was  birthday a 2nd birthday gift from dear friends.  It is enamel coated so the kids can really but tea (or lemonade or water) in it.  They pretend with it too, it may be one of our most played with toys.

I love paper dolls. When my mom was in labor with my sister she sat on the couch and cut out paper dolls for me.  Bridget was recently introduced to paper dolls because her aunt gave her this really beautiful book for Christmas.

While you can cut the book up, I chose to make copies of the dolls and clothes so that we can keep the book intact. The book also includes beautiful scenes to use as backdrops for play.  Paper dolls are one of those lovely, timeless toys that are perfect for quiet winter play.

When Bridget gets older I would love to get her some of these custom paper dolls, which I think would be a lovely gift for any little girl.

A  note about our crafting:

I started really crafting with Bridget when she was 2-1/2. She will be 4 in a few weeks.  In general it seems that more girly crafts  exist. Given this and that my oldest is a girl, most crafts on this blog while be girlish. My son is 19 months and shows interest in what we do, but is not quite old enough to really participate.  I hope as Paddy grows that we will discover cool boyish crafts that we can all enjoy together.

My son however, looks like he may grow up to be baller.  He already shoots hoops, and they actually go in. . .

Another cooped up activity: lots of time playing in the basement where we keep the basketball or  “baball” as Paddy calls it.

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