Thursday, December 30, 2010

in the days since Christmas

We've been keeping our days slower-paced and quiet in the time since Christmas. The snow that began late Christmas morning kept blowing until we awoke the next morning to 6 inches of powdery white wonderland.

Of course, our days have been filled with outdoor snow play.

But we've found plenty of indoor fun as well. Finn received a new Toot and Puddle book for Christmas which came with a set of punch-out ornaments.

Punch-out + hole-punch + threading a string = perfect 4-year-old activity

His ornaments were able to hang on the tree for the last day we had the tree.

Finn also learned to use the vacuum cleaner this week!

Elizabeth has been busy setting up her science fair project. More on that to come soon!

She's carefully recording her observations to display on her board.

Finn discovered Jan Brett's Hedgie printouts and had a grand time coloring.

My mom has been staying with us while my dad travels. She dives right into art time with the kids.

Today, on the advice of Boatbaby, we froze a bowl full of water with a few things inside, then used food coloring, salt and warm water to play with the ice chunk.

Finn had a great time spreading around the salt and color with warm water.

Watching the color soak into the cracks of the ice was amazing.

Finn was both startled and a bit sad when the ice broke through, but we assured him this was supposed to happen!

What cool shards of ice were hidden inside the block of ice!

This will be a fun project to try again outside on a hot day.

Last but not least, we've had plenty of snuggly reading time.

How are you spending the slow days between Christmas and New Years?

Monday, December 27, 2010

diary of a Christmas baby's birthday

Finn is 4!

6:30 am (12/25/2010): We hear that the natives are becoming restless upstairs and light the birthday ring.

7:00 am: Finn, our Christmas baby, listens to us sing "happy birthday", drinks his milky coffee, and tries, mostly failing, to eat his birthday breakfast in his excitement.

7:15 am: He could tell by feeling the wrapping bags which present he wanted to open first: vintage Tonka!

7:18 am: He's also excited about his new Stockmar watercolors, complete with painting board and glass jars!

7:35 am: Shortly after Finn's birthday present opening, the kids are ready to move on to Christmas. As expected, Finn is absolutely thrilled about his car quilt.

7:40 am: He also received some other cool gifts.

7:30-7:50 am: He even let his siblings participate. The doll bed was a huge hit, as was the dark-blue-but-not-navy beret.

Everyone received some great clothes and books.

And the big boys loved their slippers!

10:00 am: After all the present opening was finished, we packed up the family and headed to my grandmother's house for Christmas brunch.

10:30 am: Finn's on his third biscuit with Granny's famous strawberry jam.

11:00 am: We get our first decent (as in everyone looking the same direction and mostly smiling) family photo in years.

1:00 pm: We return home to a dusting of snow. Paulie drags Finn around the yard.

1:15 pm: And Finn drags his new truck.

5:00 pm: Finn is excited to try out his new paints.

5:15 pm: He makes 2 beautiful masterpieces that mommy can't wait to make into cards or something...we'll see. :)

Thus endeth the Christmas baby's birthday. For everyone who asks me what we handle the birthday celebration of a Christmas baby, now you know!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

more everyday celebrations

We're continuing our everyday celebrations with things like classic Christmas movies, family game night and various crafts. Last night was our annual family game night.

Chicken Foot is the new favorite, in case you were wondering, although there was plenty of memory, Clue and Gobblet Jr.

This morning we took a few minutes, amid the beautiful weather that beckoned the kids outdoors, and made some woven paper hearts...with glitter paper!

We found the pattern in the book, Christmas in the Family, but I've since learned that the directions are also online.

We wove our glitter paper, then connected a paper loop to the top of each heart.

Beautiful, ready-made ornaments!

We've no lack of holiday goodies in these parts either. Some days we celebrate with our favorite holiday foods, like soft pretzels or orange rind fudge. One of my favorite things about the holidays is having a bit more time to make goodies. Since we generally stay home, we have long days full of cookie baking, pretzel making and all other sorts of culinary treats.

Last but not least, I'm celebrating the completion of my last holiday gift. Paul's Christmas socks made it off the needles more than 24 hours before the big day. Now what am I going to work on tomorrow?!

I hope you're finding some everyday celebrations to make the season special!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

on this winter solstice

Last night in preparation for the solstice, we spent a few minutes driving around to see the lights in the neighborhoods near our house. We found a few that were quite decked out! We tried to see the lunar eclipse last night, alas, a completely cloudy sky completely blocked the view.

This morning, we opened a package with some winter craft exchange items. What a fun surprise! Lovely treasures for our nature table.

I really love the northern lights look of the playsilk behind the polar bear and his ice-capped hill!

We also spent some time making candles to light our darkest, longest night.

And some cookies, of course!

Orange Cardamom Cookies with orange-sugar on top...delicious!

What a lovely way to celebrate the solstice and this short, cloudy, chilly day!