Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Adult Night Out Christmas 2008

Without this bunch I wouldn't be a grandma at all! These photo's were taken on the evening of our Christmas adult night out with our grown children while all of the grandchildren were at my home with sitters having a cousin party of their own.

Our youngest grandson came along with us this year. He looks to be having a great time too while giving his aunt a hug during dinner.

My grown children and their spouses are an absolute treasure to me.  I couldn't be more proud of them for the values and integrity that they live by.  I am so grateful for the  productive and self reliant lives that they live and for the example they are to the next generation. They each take the responsibility of parenting and providing for their families very seriously. They also provide and give a lot of love and patience to their children which has nurtured very happy and secure grandchildren for me to love too!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Last Year Hanging on Our Christmas Tree

This ornament along with many others will be packed up in their own special box this year. My youngest daughter is engaged and is planning to be  married next summer. She will be taking the ornaments from our tree that she has made and collected since she was born to start her own family collection.

She made this ornament when she was in preschool and it has been hanging on our tree for many years. Her very first ornament was collected at just three months old.

All of our ornaments are very special to us and the memories of each of them bring us  so much joy each year as we unpack them and hang them on our tree. It is a bit sad to think that all of the handmade ornaments that my children have made over the last 32 years will all be gone next Christmas. 

It is however fun to see them bringing joy to the next generation in their own homes where they are all starting their very own family Christmas  traditions and memories.

True Reason for the Season

You cannot have too many reminders of the true meaning of the season in your home. This simple nativity is a favorite of mine for two reasons. I think it is adorable and it also brings me great joy when I think of the dear friends who made it and gave it to me.

Snowman fridge magnet craft

This is a simple craft project for kids to make.  They can use them to show off their artwork on the fridge through the holidays. They are made from a large craft stick covered in white yarn. Felt scraps were cut to create their faces, hats, buttons, and scarfs. Self sticking sheets of magnet were cut to fit the back.

Deck the Halls

I may be a bit over the top in my holiday decorating. I completely clear out my china cabinet every year and decorate it in glittery gold decor and lights. This year I added some huge gold sequined balls that really pick up the lights and add a lot of extra holiday sparkle which I love, love, love.

I set these trees in front of my large mirror in my entry. The mirror makes it look like we have twice the lights and ornaments on the trees!

Fresh Fruit Wreath

This picture does not look as beautiful as this wreath does in person. This year I placed this huge lighted wreath in the center of my kitchen island where I usually keep a wire basket of fresh fruit. I decorated the wreath with the fresh fruit. The apples, oranges, lemons, and pears are not just beautiful accents on the wreath but they are edible too!

Surviving Handmade Ornaments 1975-2008

They are not the most beautiful ornaments on our tree but they may be the most cherished. These ornaments were made by my husband and I the first year we were married. We made about 24 of them at the time. These are the only two that have survived all of these years. 

They are no longer kept with the other ornaments because they have become very fragile. They have a special place in the master closet where they are kept safe until it is time to hang them high on our Christmas tree away from little hands the next year.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Extra Special Ornaments

These two handmade ornaments are from a set of six that were given to me by a dear friend. The ornaments were made and embroidered by the mother of my friend. I became a very close friend with the mother. She was the same age that my grandmother would have been if she hadn't passed away when I was a young girl. Our friendship was an unlikely one since I was in my early thirty's and she was in her eighties. I visited her often, took her shopping, and I spent many hours with her after her stroke.

When she passed away her daughter gave me the ornaments as a keepsake in her memory. Every year when I get out the ornaments I am reminded of my dear, dear friends.

Arizona Snowman

This ornament was a gift from a friend. It is an Arizona snowman. It is one of my favorites!

Special Time with Great Grandma

This year I had my parents over to my home for a few days to celebrate Christmas with my family. Each of my children and their families came on a different evening to spend some time with us. My parents were thrilled to see their grandchildren and great grandchildren.

These three girls were thrilled with their new Christmas ornaments their great grandma made for them.

Grandma and Great Grandma Crafting

During my mothers visit we worked together to make some Christmas Tree ornaments for my kids and their families. We painted them, added some buttons, and tied a bow on the top. They turned out cute don't you think?

Made with Love

Great Grandma (my mother) has made hundreds of tied quilts for her family over the years. She has 22 grandchildren and three times that in great grandchildren. Every child received a tied quilt or quilts as an infant, and special quilts were made for our family when she found fabric she thought a certain child or adult would like. Many other quilts were given to her children and their families as a gift of her love to keep us warm in our beds. Every grandchild received a king size quilt as a wedding gift too.

Quilts will forever be her legacy . They cover the beds and are snuggled with by her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren across the United States.

Great Grandma is in her eighties now and she is no longer able to make quilts. This makes the quilts she made for us very precious. I worked with my mother this year and together we made small tied quilt Christmas ornaments. It was a special time for my mother and I and I was very happy to see her enjoying using her quilting skills on a much smaller scale.

My mother was in my home when each of my children and grandchildren chose the quilt ornament to take home to put on their Christmas tree. They all loved them. These small quilt ornaments will be honored and kept for generations in our family as a reminder of great grandma and her legacy of the quilts she made with love for her family.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Another Generation of Grandparents are In the House

I have my mother and father staying with me this week. They are in their 80's. My mother is in the beginning stages of dementia and my father has lost most of his vision. Due to their health and mobility restrictions we have had to change one of our annual Christmas Traditions.

In years past we have all gone to visit them in their home, taking in dinner or a treat to share as a family, and some sort of activity to do with them. This was a tradition that our family always loved doing as part of our Ho...Ho...Ho...liday Traditions. My parents always looked forward to it just as I and my grown children did.

This year I have brought my parents to my home and each night a different family (of my adult children) comes to spend some time with their grandparents and great grandparents. Last night my oldest daughter and her family brought them a gift basket filled with Hostess Suzie-Q's which is a favorite snack of her grandpa. The basket also included jars of fruit and jams from her recent home canning.

I baked some cinnamon rolls and we all shared a treat as we visited with a very special generation of grandparents. This morning they were anxious to try the new jams. They each chose a different kind and grandma was very pleased with her granddaughters home canning skills!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Christmas Hunt Activity 2008

The children loved this activity. It was much like an Easter egg hunt but using two dozen small Christmas drums I had purchased at the dollar store. Each child had a turn hiding the drums while the other children stayed in the back hall. We started from youngest to oldest this time.

When it was your turn you got to wear the reindeer antlers to add to the Christmas theme of the day. When the child was done hiding all of the drums they went to get the rest of the children for the hunt.

If they were having trouble finding one or two of the hidden drums we just went on to the next child and hoped we found them the next time. One proved to be especially hard and was found very late in the day by one of the children. It was a very EXCITING find!

Light Strand Craft


This is a strand of lights that the children have seen several times to add some festive color at family celebrations. I turned the light strand into a custom Christmas craft project for the children.

I cut paper plates so that they could be easily shaped into a shade for the light strand. The children each decorated their paper plates and wrote their names on them. We then stapled them on the light strand to create a craft that each child had a part in making.

Following the project everyone got on their shoes and jackets and the new light strand was strung outdoors to be enjoyed during our campfire Christmas Caroling activity.

The light strand now hangs over a mirror in the grandkid's toy room at grandmas house to be enjoyed the entire holiday season!

Christmas Day Camp Snack Time

Eating at the day camp is an activity in itself. We have multiple snack times in our schedule throughout the day. Being well organized by having the snacks ready to serve ahead of time really helps. This was a simple snack of a variety of crackers and apple juice.

Later in the day we had a snack of cheese, apple slices, and crackers. Evidently doing crafts and playing with your cousins works up quite an appetite!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Christmas Day Camp Dinner & Dessert 2008

It is a tradition to have take out pizza for dinner. As the day is winding down, easy clean up is just what we need. The pizza is served on Christmas plates and their holiday cups are filled with their choice of drink.

The star cupcakes they made earlier in the day have been waiting to be their dinner dessert! The children choose one of their cupcakes to eat and they save the other to take home.

Christmas Camp Dinner & Dessert

Christmas Stocking Craft 2008

This is an example of something I found after Christmas last year for a real steal and created a craft to use them at this years day camp. We adorned the colorful and cute stockings using the stocking as our pattern.

The top photo shows the before and after pictures of the stocking craft.

We added a band of cotton balls at the top of the stocking.

Red beads for the berries.

A silk leaf.

A velvet bow.

Fabric toes and heels to the stocking.

Fun Christmas stickers to the centers of the stars.

Their name on the opposite side along the top of the stocking.

This was a very simple project that they were all very proud of when they were finished!

Water Color Christmas Decoration

I made copies of this cute coloring page ornament on card stock. I supplied the children with water colors. Some chose to use crayons. Each painted or colored their custom color ornament. We cut them out, punched a whole in the top, and tied a ribbon on for hanging.

Santa Boot Ornament & Coloring Page

This was a two part activity. The Santa boot ornament was made from a plastic candy box. I had dehydrated the marshmallows to use for the white fluff around the top of Santa's boot. The children glued the row of marshmallows around the top of the boot. They then added a green ribbon for hanging. ( I forgot to take pictures during this craft.)

The coloring page was a picture I found online for free. It was just perfect and the kids had fun coloring Santa putting on his boots.

Christmas Candy Walk Activity

This activity was a new one at this years Christmas day camp. It was a variation to the old fashion carnival cake walk. I had a bowl filled with candy and prizes. I gave each child an empty goodie bag. The squares of our outdoor courtyard were labeled with Christmas pictures. (two each of a gingerbread man, reindeer, Santa, and a holiday penguin.) We moved around the circle until the Christmas music stopped. Everyone stopped on a block and I drew a matching card from a bag and yelled out the winning picture. It was thrilling for them every time they won a prize. They did not tire of the game and we played until all of the candy and prizes had been won.

Variation: I would yell to change directions, hop, skip, or twirl. They thought that was fun too!

Christmas Day Camp Schedule 2008

I post the day camp schedule on the fridge to keep me on track during the day. The little readers among us make sure we stay on schedule too!