Thursday, November 29, 2012

Nativity Scenes for Sale

Our church has a giving tree program at Christmas where you can buy toys for kids in our school district who otherwise would not receive presents this Christmas.  The girls were excited to each choose a tag from the tree.  Amelia's girl asked for a Barbie and a board game; Megan's girl asked for a baby doll.  They said that I should pick a girl, too (since I'm a girl!) and so my girl wants diapers.  We were told to spend no more than $25 on presents for each child.  I thought this would be a good opportunity for the girls to earn some money to pay for the gifts themselves, and to practice being generous and serving others.

We've been working hard the last few weeks on making the nativity scenes you will see below.  Each time we work on them, we talk about our girls, and how excited they are going to be to get toys at Christmas.  We are hoping that you will be interested in purchasing some of our handcrafted nativity scenes to help us raise money for our girls' presents.  I will match any money raised so that we can buy present for all of our girls.

Nativity Scene #1

This beautiful set was colored by Amelia, then glued on sanded pine blocks and covered with Mod Podge to make them durable and child friendly.  Note the attention to detail and the nontraditional color choices on the Mary and Joseph blocks.  This set consists of Mary with Jesus, Joseph, Shepherd, Angel, Sheep, Star, and Three Wisemen. 

Nativity Scene #2

The figures in this set are crafted from painted paper, then glued on sanded pine blocks and covered with Mod Podge to make them durable and child friendly.  This set was painted, cut and colored by Amelia; the back is signed and dated by the artist.

 Nativity Scene #3:

Similar to the previous scene, the figures in this set were painted by Megan, though cut by Marcie.  Megan also chose the eye and mouth colors, and drew the faces herself.  She helped with the placement of the pieces and added the glitter to the star herself.

Nativity Ornaments:

These ornaments would be perfect for hanging on your Christmas tree!  The girls chose the paint colors and fabrics; Megan painted the Joseph dolls, while Amelia painted the Mary dolls and the stars and added the eyes to all figures.  All hot-gluing was done by Marcie.  Different sizes and fabric options are available as shown below; please indicate which you would like.

Amelia suggested that the ornaments be priced at $1 each, and the larger nativity scenes at $2.  When I suggested we could perhaps increase the price slightly, she said "No.  Then they would be too expensive."   So you are welcome to pay Amelia's suggested price or my suggested price ($2 for ornaments, $8 for nativity scene #1, $4 for nativity scenes #2 and #3) or really anything in between.

Sales are first come, first served, although we could make additional sets if needed.  Please comment on the blog, email me or call me if you would like to order one of these sets. We will give the girls cash when we hear from you since the presents are due back to church by next week, and we will then hand deliver the nativity scenes to you when we next see you.  The ornaments could be mailed if desired.

Thank you very much for helping us raise money for presents our less fortunate neighbors!  And thank you for helping me teach my girls about working hard, generosity and the spirit of giving.  :)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


Who needs to go to a salon to get a pedicure?  I can just give my girls a dry paintbrush, and enjoy a relaxing pedicure in the comfort of my own home!

They also "painted" rainbows on my forehead, butterflies on my ears, a snake on my eyebrow, a frog on my cheek, and a person on my hand.  It was actually very relaxing.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Seeing the Trains

We went to see the trains at the Chicago Botanic Gardens on Friday morning. 

I think the kids were the perfect ages to see the trains this year; they all had a great time!  We walked around watching the trains and searching for the 6 hidden penguins for about a half hour, and then we did the scavenger hunt.  Can you find the penguin hiding at Soldier Field?

Megan's favorite part was trying to catch the fake snow, but she loved to watch the trains, too.

 Here are the four cousins outside the train exhibit.  After we got a mostly successful picture, we told them to make silly reindeer faces.  Megan didn't quite know what to do with that, but the others thought it was funny!

After naptime, the girls made gingerbread cookies with Grandma.  They made a lot of gingerbread cookie completely covered with red hots for Grandpa.  I had to remind them to make some with fewer red hots for everybody else.  Grandpa really liked his big gingerbread men!

We had buckwheat pancakes for breakfast on Saturday.  Megan ate almost 4 pancakes, and Amelia ate 6!  Guess they really like buckwheats!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thanksgiving at Grandma and Grandpa's

Thanksgiving morning was so warm that we could play outside with no coats!  Well, it was probably about 55 when we went outside, and my girls started out with light weight coats on, but it wasn't long before the coats came off.  Grandpa brought the train outside, and he spent a long time pulling the girls up and down the sidewalk.

Then we colored with chalk for a while.  Grandma taught Amelia how to draw a turkey, which she drew on the Beslers' driveway to wish them a happy Thanksgiving.

Megan had fun erasing her drawings with her hands.  Can you tell where the chalk ended up?

As Grace was cutting up the fruit, Amelia and Megan sat on the counter watching her like hungry little baby birds.  Grace gave them a few pieces of strawberry as a treat.

When Natalie and Noah arrived, all the kids took turns riding on and pulling the train.  Grandpa had modified the pull rope so that it would be more ergonomic for him; it ended up working out perfectly for two kids to pull the train at the same time.

We asked Mrs. Besler to snap a quick photo before we sat down to eat.  Grandma promised the kids they could have a piece of a candy cane if they smiled for the photo, and it worked!

We enjoyed a delicious traditional Thanksgiving dinner with turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans, cranberry sauce from a can and cranberry orange sauce, twisty shaped rolls, brussels sprouts, and stuffing.  Amelia and Megan said their favorite food were the rolls, but Noah said his was the green beans!  The kids were all so well-behaved at the dinner table - well, except for someone who stuck her finger in the mashed potato bowl.  :)  We all shared what we were thankful for, which included typical things like family, being together, good food, and safe travels and then a few unusual things like Dinah the cat, Baby Bear and turkey (which Megan refused to eat).  Megan did have some cranberry sauce, since I'd told her how she ate all my cranberry sauce last year and I didn't get any.  She thought that was funny!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Amelia reads Green Eggs and Ham

There was supposed to be a video in the post from a few days ago!  Hopefully it will work this time.

Amelia read the entire "Green Eggs and Ham" book to Grandpa and Megan today!  She needed some help with a few words, like the first time she saw the words could, would and anywhere.  And she probably remembers some of it from all the times we've read it together, but we haven't read it in a long time.

I love her big sigh at the end.  I guess reading is hard work!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

This year we made a thankful tree on the wall in our hallway, and every day the girls added a new leaf that said something they were thankful for.  The girls loved this because they got to tape things to the wall.  (Taping things to the wall may be Amelia’s favorite thing now; in addition to the drawings taped up in her room, she also has flowers, coins, barrettes, yarn, beads and bracelets taped on her wall.)  We talked about what being thankful means, and I started out every day by telling the girls what I was thankful for.  It only took a few days before Amelia was reminding me to fill out the thankful leaves and writing hers herself (with some spelling help, of course).  

Here is what the girls are thankful for; they came up with these all by themselves

Amelia said
   Two nice cats
   Grandma Jane
   Grandpa Jeff
   Good food
   Santa Claus
   Ben Daddy
   Ms Bootumle and Ms. Harin  (Ms. Bottomley and Mrs. Herron)
   Grandma and Grandpa
   Mommy is a good baker
   Baby Abby

Megan said
   Nice house
   Aunt B

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Bagels as big as Megan's head

The girls and I had such a productive morning on Sunday; after church we ran some errands and then had lunch at Panera.  Of course the girls each had a cinnamon crunch bagel, it looks like Megan's bagel is as big as her head!

 I let them split a red velvet cookie as a treat.  Here they are showing off their red tongues:

 One of Amelia’s little friends came over to play (without her mom!) on Monday afternoon.  The girls chose to dress up and practice ballet, have a tea party for Dinah’s birthday, and color pictures.  I like to see how Amelia plays with her friends.  I encouraged her to ask her friend what she wanted to do, but she still got a little upset when her friend didn’t want to play the things Amelia suggested.  They spent about an hour coloring and cutting out some triangles to make birthday hats, and then coloring suncatchers with Sharpies.  Megan’s hands are still rainbow colored from the Sharpies!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

November Miscellany

Earlier this week, Megan surprised me by drawing people!  The one on the right reminds me more of an angry bird than of a person, but the one on the left has two eyes, a frown, some hair and two legs.  Pretty impressive for a two year old!  I didn't even know she could draw a circle.

I asked Amelia to help me make dinner on Monday by crushing the crackers for our salmon cakes.  Here's how she decided to crush them:

It was pretty effective, and the freezer bag held up well to all the pounding.  I told Amelia and Megan that we were eating chicken fingers for dinner, but Amelia said "These don't taste right" and only ate a tiny little one. 

Yesterday the girls asked if they could sit outside to watch the sunset.  They wanted to go out without coats and shoes: "We won't be cold!" they said, reminiscent of Uncle David or Grandpa.  I made them put on coats because it was below freezing. 

Last night at dinner, Megan was making funny faces.

We kicked off our weekly family game night last night by playing Hey, That's my Fish.  Amelia won with 31 fish, while Ben and I each had 26 fish, and Megan had 17.  Amelia started to demonstrate some strategy, although I gave her a few hints along the way and Ben and I both played with a handicapped strategy.  I thought Megan did pretty well for not really understanding how to play!  She put all of her penguins on the same corner of the board.  :)  We simplified the rules so that penguins could move only one tile at a time, and we let everybody use all four of their penguins, because the girls really like the penguins.  After we finished our game, Megan and Amelia played with the penguins until bed time.  They made a road out of the ice floes, and Amelia got out a boat for the penguins to row across the ocean, in case they didn't feel like swimming, I guess.