School Projects

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Saturday, December 22, 2012

Christmas is Coming: Day 21

Well, December 21st is drawing to a close, and since the world hasn't ended yet (guess the Mayans got that one a bit wrong...) it seems like a good time to make another countdown to Christmas post.  One of the things we do every years is let the kids each choose a new ornament to put on our Christmas tree.  It is a lot of fun to see what they pick each year - since they never pick anything close to what I am expecting.  This year we didn't even make it to the ornament aisle.  One of the kids - Ian, I think - noticed some huge cardboard ornaments in one of the craft aisles at Hobby Lobby and in typical kid fashion said "I want one of THOSE."  In a moment of weakness I stopped to look, whereupon the two girls chimed in "Me too, me too, we want THOSE!"  
Hey, if they are that intent on having cardboard ornaments as big as their heads, who am I to stop them?  (Plus, they were a lot cheaper then pre-decorated models!)
Blair went non-traditional with a blaze orange color scheme.
Brynn's ornament got a bit of everyone's favorite colors.
And in an uncharacteristic moment, Ian went for precision instead of speed and over-all paint quantity.
Poor Cam was too little to paint (even I'm not THAT crazy), so he got a smaller version, painted in more traditional colors.
I also tried out a new ornament-making project this year, inspired by Pinterest.
(image borrowed from here)
Here is my first attempt.  One mistake I made was that I accidentally bought frosted instead of clear glass.  I also used metallic paint, which didn't show up very well.  It just sort of looked muddy. (Silver paint with glitter was a complete bust - it never stuck, just puddled in the bottom.)
I had better success when I switched to regular red and green acrylic paint.  The colors were a bit more garish, but the marbling was actually visible.
Once I got the technique down I let the kids help me with the remaining ornaments.  They thought dripping paint and rolling the balls around was great fun, so maybe they'll talk me into doing it again next year....maybe.
I hope you all are enjoying your last chance to make something before Christmas.  I've still got a few projects in the "not done yet" stage, so I'll keep you updated.
Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Christmas is Coming: Day 17

Shhhhhhh....don't say anything, but I am a little bit behind.

The past few days have been very busy around here and I am beginning to get a bit panicky about not being ready for Christmas on time.  I did manage to finish both of the girls' Christmas dresses tonight, but there are still a few more sewing projects and making projects hanging out there.  I'm thinking that one of these nights I am going to have to pull an all-nighter, but those aren't nearly as much fun as they used to be!
However, Christmas is not all about work, so tonight we tried a new thing.  We put the kids to bed as usual and let them settle down for a few minutes.  Then we put their lights back on, tossed them their coats and told them to get in the car.  There was a very confused bustle, but they all cooperated with good grace.
Then we drove around town, looking at Christmas lights and decorations.  We had a lot of fun trying to pick out our favorites, as the kids dropped off to sleep one by one.  Blair was the only one who managed to stay awake the whole time.
(In the interest of honesty, I did not take this picture, but I forgot to copy the link.  Sorry)
After about an hour we headed for home and put the little ones back in their beds.
It was a fun little adventure and I think we'll try it again next year.
Now I need to go finish another project.
Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Christmas is Coming: Day 8

Day eight already?  As my ancient Norse ancestors would say: Uff da!  
We've managed to get the house decorated.  It was a bit of a trick this year, because first I had to figure out where our regular pictures and furniture and "stuff" would go, so that I would know where I had nails for hanging things and shelves to put Christmas items on.
See those red branches?  My cool sister, Margo, took me to a place where we could cut loads of them.  I've had fun using them inside and outside.  In the past I have tried to spray paint regular branches, but they never turned out quite right. 
We also celebrated St. Nicholas Day.  This Norwegian girl hardly even heard about St. Nick, but Dutch-proud Aaron wanted to celebrate a tradition from his growing-up years, and our kids were happy to oblige. 
Of course we have also been busy baking.  Since I couldn't eat many sweets last year because of my gestational diabetes diet, I think I am on a bit of a binge.
This is my deliberate and precise (dare I say dawdling?) decorator.
Could this face really have swiped cookies and frosting at every opportunity?  Yes!
And then there is this face.  This boy better give me "Mom of the Year" award for letting him get away with this.
Would you believe these are already gone?  You should, because they are.
What an excuse to make more!
Happy Baking and Merry Christmas to all!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Christmas is Coming:Day 4 (a little late)

I love the idea of Advent Calendars - counting down to Christmas with little treats and treasures every day.  Each year around the beginning of November I try to come up with something really fun and exciting and memorable.  Then Thanksgiving comes and then December 1st.  Around December 2nd or 3rd I give up because it is kinda late anyway.
Last year my mom came through for me.  She made this cute little box with 25 drawers and she filled the drawers with candy.  MEGA HIT.  We are using it again this year and it is still a hit.  I have to stand guard over those drawers so they don't get opened BEFORE breakfast.
This year my Aunt Lynda provided a box full of treasures, one to be opened each day until Christmas.  Growing up, this aunt could always be counted on to have "ideas."  Some ideas were great and some embarrassing but they were always memorable.  She hasn't lost her touch.  So far the big brown box has yielded up magnets and holiday window clings (not all for Christmas), and these presents NEVER last until breakfast.
Maybe next year Pinterest will help me out with my own Advent calendar....or maybe not.
Merry Christmas Everyone!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Christmas is Coming: Day 3

The temperature hovered around sixty degrees today, so I sent the children outside to play this afternoon.  They got delightfully muddy and messy, but they decided to come back inside at just the wrong second.  I was in the middle of arranging some dogwood and evergreen branches, and my materials were spread in all the places the kids wanted to play.  What to do, what to do.......
How about get them busy making the first Christmas treats of the season!
I finished up my project while they happily unwrapped Hershey's Kisses and spread them on cookie sheets, inside of pretzel circles.
Add some red and green candy and you have a tasty treat called "Reindeer Noses."
(Image and recipe found at House and Hilltop)
It worked like a charm.  It took them just long enough to set up the treats for me to finish up my project.  Then we taste-tested a few samples and packaged up the rest for future eat.
Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Christmas is Coming: Day 2

It wouldn't be Christmas without a Christmas tree, would it?
And it wouldn't be right for the Kolstes to go on anything less then a Norse-saga-worthy adventure to get a Christmas tree, would it?
Of course not.
So, we Kolstes got into our trusty minivan and drove and drove and drove and drove and drove several miles to our local Walmart parking lot, where we picked out the PERFECT tree from out of the same self-serve lot we visit every year.  It took us about 10 minutes.  Epic, isn't it?  Hey - don't knock our tradition!
Then, in the spirit of the season of giving, we gave plenty of entertainment to the other Walmart shoppers as the little kids played on the grassy median while the "men" of the family tied the tree on to the top of our trusty steed.
Finally, we drove and drove and drove a little more to that traditional Christmas hot-spot, Culver's.  After all, who doesn't want to further cool their already frostbitten fingers with a dish of frozen custard?  (I had hot chocolate, by the way.)

It's beginning to look a little bit more like Christmas, isn't it?
Merry Christmas everyone!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Christmas is Coming: Day 1

I admit it, I get a little bit excited about Christmas.  I like to claim that Christmas is really for the kids and that what I do is to "make it just right for them", but in reality I enjoy it at least as much as they do.  So, I'm going to try and post something every day to show how I...I mean WE...get ready for and celebrate Christmas.
I was going to start off with our search for a Christmas tree (which actually happened a few days ago), but instead I thought I'd share about something spontaneous we did.

I will confess that I had forgotten that today was the day our little town held their "Main Street Memories" Christmas Event, highlighted by a parade.  I forgot to take the kids last year, and would have forgotten again this year (I'm a terrible mother and almost ruined Christmas before it started), except for a reminder from a kind sister-in-law.  I came home from a birthday party, made my little announcement, and a whirlwind of mittens, coats and hats began to fly.  

Ideally, a Christmas parade should take place on a day that looks like this:
Ours did not.
Instead, as we arrived downtown it began to mist, and then drizzle.
Due to the weather, we got a prime spot on the curb with the added bonus of a storefront awning to keep the worst of the rain off of our heads.
The air may have been filled with raindrops instead of snowflakes, but the atmosphere was still quite festive.
We clapped, waved, made jokes about the weather with other spectators, and collected bucketfuls of candy canes.
Snow or no snow, the Christmas Parade was a lot of fun, and a great way to get us into the holiday mood.
Except for Cam.  He just got into the napping mood.
Merry Christmas Everyone!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Master Bedroom Closet Reveal

As I troll around blogland, I see that it is common practice to do a "REVEAL!!!" post at the end of a remodeling or redecorating project.  Well, we are still in the "not done" stage of most of our fixed-up rooms, but I can do one reveal: the master bedroom closet.  Do most people reveal closets?  I don't know, but since I haven't had a closet in my own bedroom for 4 or 5 years, it's worth a reveal to me.  I might go as far as to call it an epic moment, but you can decide that for yourself.
If you scroll fast, the pictures work like those old flip-books!
Shelves and hanging rods go in.

Full-length mirror
Vanity light
Aaron's clothes
My clothes (Aaron bugged me all evening and into the next morning to move my stuff so that he could take this picture - as if I needed more motivation.)
So, there you have it: Master Bedroom Closet Revealed!  
Isn't it neat and clean and orderly?  
For now.
Tune in next week to see "True Stories of a Closet Revealed."  

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Back Home Again

Well, our whirlwind vacation is over and we are settling back into our routine (well, our "only a month until Christmas" routine).  Our trip was filled with all the usual adventures that go along with traveling with kids.  One of our stops was at Charlestown Landing (colonial-era Charleston), where the kids got to explore a small sailing ship and watch canons being fired.
Just because we were on vacation, laundry still accumulated, so we had to make a stop at a laundromat.  Nothing makes you feel farther from home - or appreciate your laundry room more -  then washing your dirty clothes in a strange place.
Babies have to eat on vacation, too.  Cam wasn't thrilled with the unidentified green stuff out of the baby food jars, but he ate it anyway.
He did enjoy being carried around in the backpack - except during the middle of the presentation on the Civil War submarine.
We didn't even stop doing school on this vacation.  I mean, who doesn't flop down in the middle of a museum floor to fill out a workbook?
Especially if you get a certificate and pin when you finished all the pages.

It's hard to imagine we packed so many adventures into one week.  It was a fantastic trip and it sets me up for another new project: scrapbooking all the pictures and souvenirs!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Spontaneous Explosion

Are you a spontaneous person?  I like to think of myself as "prepared to be spontaneous."  My diaper bag is well-stocked, so that theoretically I could walk out the font door for an impromptu park trip at a moment's notice (I would still check the fully stocked diaper bag at least six times to ensure it is, in fact, fully stocked).  In summer all the beach equipment is in a box in the garage, ready for surprise runs to the beach, and in winter the sleds are piled by the garage door, waiting for that unexpected phone invitation to go sledding.  I am ready to be spontaneous.  Still.....I'm better at planning....and over planning....and extra planning (and double-checking the planning, and reviewing the double-checked plan).  So, when Aaron came home on Friday and suggested a spontaneous VACATION, leaving in five and one-half days for South Carolina, my spontaneous preparations were almost not up to the task.  Almost.....

Did I mention that one of those five and one-half days was designated for preparing and hosting Ian and Brynn's birthday party?  Oops, must have slipped my currently addled mind.
Here's my cake assembly line:
Two kids means two unique cakes (this tradition may have been a mistake on my part....)
Ian requested "a cake of our house."  Since I wasn't quite sure what he wanted, I bought him tubes of icing and let him make it himself.
Her royal highness desired nothing less then a princess wand.  In my mind it was much more symmetrical.  The addition of Skittles covered a multitude of sins.

Once the presents were opened, the cakes were forgotten.

The party was a success!
Now I can go back to planning like mad to be spontaneous.
See you after Thanksgiving!