School Projects

Fun Projects

Friday, December 31, 2010

"I've lost that 'Christmas' feeling"

"O-oh, that 'Christmas' feeling.
I've lost that 'Christmas feeling,
and now it's gone, gone, gone.
And I can't hold on.
Have you figured out which song I am parodying?
Well, that's how I feel, because I am trying to keep the Christmas spirit alive until our last celebration (still 2 days away), and it's just slipping away.

Today I made several batches of Christmas cookies to bring to the last party. A few days ago the Christmas carols would have been playing and the kids would have been so excited. Today, the radio stations were back to regular programming and the kids wanted to play with play-dough instead.

Aaron was home today, which definitely brings a certain amount of holiday spirit, but he was working in the basement. I know it is hard to imagine, but that mess is slowly being organized into a laundry space for me and an office space for him. No Christmas colors down there.

I did find one last Christmas project on my table to work on. It helped a little bit, but not much. Here are the raw materials:

Here is the finished product on the left. On the right is a necklace for Brynn.

Giving that to her felt a little more like Christmas!

I guess there is a reason the "Twelve Days of Christmas" feel out fashion. It's hard to hold on to that "Christmas feeling!" But, that's my project for the next few days.

Then I'll have a new project: take down the Christmas feeling and box it up in the basement for next year.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

I Forgot

As I worked on all my baking the past week or two, I just knew I was FORGETTING something. I made sugar cookies and spry cookies. I made fudge. I made more sugar cookies and I made ginger cookies. I even tried gingerbread, which the entire family decided would NOT be one of our traditions. Still, I knew I was missing something.
Well, thank goodness for TV personality Kelly Ripa. I was watching her show - ONLY because I was feeding the baby - and she mentioned that she made her husband Mexican Wedding Cakes. "That's it," I thought. "Aaron loves those!" Which explains why I was FORGETTING them. When it comes to Christmas, I am a very traditional person, and these cookies were not part of my tradition growing up. So, I decided to make them.
Then there was a new problem: neither of my trusty cookbooks had a recipe. In the back of my mind I suspected that there was another name for these treats but it just wasn't coming to me. Then, last night, as I was mixing yet another batch of frosting, it came to me: Russian Tea Cakes! (Still wondering how the Mexicans and the Russians came up with the same recipe....)
This morning, Ian and I set about making "a surprise for Daddy." I went to get our camera to capture this memory (and blog material), but I had FORGOTTEN: Aaron had the camera at work.
So, that is why my usually photo-filled blog is empty.
If you would like to use your imagination, picture a small boy in a baseball cap, leaning against a kitchen table, COVERED in powdered sugar.
I did take pictures with my trusty 35mm camera, but as you know (but Brynn does not) that type of camera does not provide instant gratification pictures.
Hopefully, I haven't FORGOTTEN anything else, because Christmas starts tomorrow, and then it will be too late!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Twas the Week Before Christmas

And all through the house,
the creatures were stirring,
especially the Mom trying to get everything done.
I LOVE getting ready for Christmas.
So, I've been busy doing all sorts of things, which made me too busy to blog. (GASP!)
Well, mostly I haven't blogged because I haven't finished anything. Everything I've been working on has been in stages, so I've been making progress on many things, but finishing nothing. Finally, I have finished a few things up and I feel compelled to share them.
First: BLAIR's name.
Blair is a little too young for Christmas, so I didn't really get her many presents (she doesn't really need any more toys) but if I don't give her anything, the other kids will notice. So, I decided to do the letters in her name (that makes FIVE presents!). I've done this for each of the other two:

Brynn's is made out of ribbon-wrapped floral wire with some butterfly stickers.

Ian's are just foam letters from the craft store.

For Blair, I used the extra wooden letters from my "Christmas Banner" project - plus a few more I had to buy to actually spell her name. I used acrylic paint instead of mod podging paper.

Then I cut out paper flowers and mod podged those on to the wood.

The letters will sit on Blair's other Christmas present: a white shelf.
Merry Christmas to a 3-month-old.
Second: Christmas Baking
At least it is done for now. If Aaron doesn't find the stash of frozen cookies before Christmas actually gets here (just kidding, I am as guilty as he is).

The kids "helped" decorate.
Third: Christmas Shopping and Wrapping
I shouldn't declare this done, because I do still have two gifts to finish making and then wrap, but I had such a fun little helper last night.

"It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas"

Saturday, December 11, 2010

"Oh the weather outside is frightful..."

"and since we've no place to go"
do a project, do a project, do a project.
Or blog about them.
A while back, I posted about my project table. Well, there is good news and there is bad news.
The bad news is that the table is still piled high:

And it has expanded:

But the good news is that I have managed to finished some of the projects that were piled up on it, before other projects took their place. I got the family Christmas letter written and mailed.
I finished the dress that I was making for Aaron's Christmas party and my sister's wedding:

I had my sister and nieces over and we made the Christmas tree ornaments that I had been hoarding cardboard tubes for:

And although I don't have a picture to prove it, I started working on a Christmas present for Blair. I'll put that up some other time.

For some reason, the nasty weather outside has motivated the whole family to get things done!
Brynn and I worked on Christmas cookies.
Of course we had to wear army helmets to finish this job!

Aaron and Ian worked in the basement, doing more to fix up the mess down there:

And Blair really did look adorable as she practiced pulling her shoulders up out of her bouncer!
What are we going to find to do during the blizzard tomorrow?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Aaron's Project

Aaron hasn't gotten any credit on this blog lately for all the things he has been getting done around the house, so I thought I'd take a few minutes to give him some props.
When we bought our house, it came with all the appliances. They all worked so we didn't pay them much attention as we worked on other things around the place. Then one day the dryer died. Aaron went on Craig's List and found a really good deal and we thought all our problems were solved. Thought being the key word. Aaron got the dryer into the basement, hooked it up, and realized there was no dryer vent to the outside. All this time, our gas dryer had been venting into the basement. Not such a good thing.
So, last weekend, Aaron got to work to fix that not-so minor problem. As usual, the former owner of the house made this project a little more difficult then it needed to be: there really was no good place to PUT the vent. Aaron managed to surmount that problem.

Ian got to help too, which delighted him!
Then I got to try out the finished product. Aaron couldn't understand why I wasn't as excited to do laundry as he was....
Thank you Aaron! We are all grateful that we won't get carbon-monoxide poisoning.

Unfortunately for Aaron, a successful conclusion to this project motivated him to do some more work in the basement: move the washer from it's odd location in the middle of the room to a better spot beside the dryer. This project did not go as smoothly, since it involved working with the former owner's (who shall remain nameless) unique plumbing style. After removing 10-15 feet of needlessly looping pipe, repairing the kitchen sink (you wouldn't believe that this would be part of a basement wash machine project), dealing with bizarrely sized fittings and early morning races to Menards, plus the inner workings of the washing machine itself, I almost have a normally situated laundry station.

I love my husband!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Fun with Cousins

Last summer, I pulled the instructions for a really fun project out of one my favorite magazines: "Family Fun"
A few weeks ago I was sorting through my pile of torn out magazine parts and I came across the article again. I wanted to try it out, but it was WAY to girlie for Ian. The solution to my problem was to invite the Koenig cousins (all girls) over for a project day.
Here they are with Brynnie. My sister-in-law Alison and her two oldest girls.

Basically we took pieces of ribbon, folded them into loopy flower shapes and sewed them on to shirts, using buttons to make the centers. It turned out to not be a very kid-friendly project, although they did enjoy playing with the ribbon and buttons.
Here is my finished product.

I am so annoyed at myself, I forgot to get a picture with all the little girls in their newly decorated shirts.
Ian wasn't totally left out, however. I had some "Army" iron-on appliques for him and a tan shirt. We ironed those on and he was as happy as could be.
I think the kid's favorite part of the morning, however, was when they all climbed onto the couch with Auntie Alison/Mom and got a story!