Day 11: Opening Presents from Out of Town Uncle and Aunt

First, I was nominated for a nice little blog award, known as the “Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award”. Thanks Andrea for the nomination! I really do appreciate it! 🙂 You should really check out this super great chick – her blog is sincere, beautifully written, and pretty darn full of raw emotion.

So, this morning, I woke up to a message from my brother that says “Check out your back porch sometime today”

That’s a little weird, since he lives nearly 3 hours away and he isn’t visiting the area at 2 in the morning that I’m aware of! So, curious, I go pop my head out on the patio and on the table out there in the very cold weather, there’s a cardboard box.

I just had to laugh. My brother and his wife are expecting their very first baby, a little boy, in February. I’m pretty darn excited for them! Anyway, he somehow managed to sneak a box on my porch from 3 hours away. His son is going to have one hell of a magical Christmas when the time comes!

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When I got off work, I picked up the girls at Kim’s moms and we ate dinner there. When we got home, we decided to open up the magical box of gifts.

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She got her envelope full of jellybeans. And we were supposed to make a plate for Santa’s cookies, but well, Mommy didn’t get all the stuff to do that and well, I figured it was getting late, so we would just use tonight to open gifts from someone else.

This is her first time really opening a present on her own. It was pretty cute. She was dainty about it!

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Inside was a new comic book from her Aunt and Uncle and their expecting little baby cousin Archer. And some pretty super cars! Punky sure loves cars.

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She drove them all over the couch and on my leg. It was quite cute. She even put them to bed and tried to hide them, like a dog hides a bone, inside the cracks of the couch. She hugged them and kissed them and stuck them up under her armpits, to keep them warm I suppose.

We made a little video for her Aunt and Uncle in which she signed thank you and told them hi. It was a pretty small and tiny thing tonight, but it just shows how much she is loved by so many people and we are just so thankful!

Day 10: Christmas In The Park

I came home to a peanut butter M&M explosion on the couch. Seems our little one thought it would be fun to dump the bag on the couch and then munch on them. Oh well. So, I came home to a sugary kid.

We opened our envelope and she wasn’t as interested in it as usual, but she was very excited to go bye bye. It’s very rare we go bye bye in the middle of the week.

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She was super happy to get her socks and shoes on and put on her coat. She loves putting on her hood and it’s kind of cute that she can’t go anywhere without the hood placed on her head.  However, when we got up the stairs and to the door to the building, she was not really having it. She turned tail and tried to go back to our apartment door after the cold wind hit her face.

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We got her in the car and headed to the Christmas in the Park. It’s a park with nothing but a giant Christmas light show. They have all sorts of displays and I figured it would be something new and different for Punky. She seemed to enjoy sitting on her Mama’s lap and looking out the window of the car. She would say hi to the waving elf displays and point to the deer light displays jumping over the car.

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After the drive through the park and the pretty lights, we did have put her back into the car seat and she was not thrilled about this. It was very upsetting to her! She was not pleased to see the lights going away as we drove away from the park.

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We had to go to the grocery store – so we got her out in the grocery store and she got a book out of the deal. Pretty typical of an outing with Punky.

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So day 10 was definitely a success. She was very excited about the lights and it was fun for all!

DIY – Christmas Countdown/Advent Calendar (Non-Religious) For Toddlers

I know, two posts in one day, but I’m just so damn proud of myself right now. I have been looking for a way to countdown the days until Christmas with Punky. However, I didn’t want to use one of the religious advent calendars that are geared towards the birth of Jesus or scriptures from the Bible.

This year, I just wanted to focus on activities that we can do as a family. Little things every day that we can do together, either in the house or out.

So, I made my own. I didn’t really want to buy one, I wanted it to be special to our family. And, we all know that I have an Etsy shop for digital design, so I hopped onto Photoshop and made up some cute little Christmas Countdown cards and took some fun ideas from Pinterest as well as from mine and Kim’s family traditions growing up.

I decided to do a step by step, in case someone wants to make their own. I think ours is definitely geared towards little ones. Small children or toddlers who may or may not yet understand the meaning of Christmas, but are small minds ready and willing to be molded. A great time to start teaching by example and forming great traditions for years to come!

Without further ado, here’s a tutorial for you! My very first ever DIY post on the interwebs!

Optional: All the cards and numbers I used in ours are here. Feel free to use them, though they are geared toward our location and our family specifically, most of them can be used for just about anyone.

What You Need: Scrapbook paper (8X8), ribbons, craft scissors, regular scissors, self laminating pouches, hole punch, tape/glue stick

Step 1:

IMG_2799I got some funky and pretty scrapbook paper that I wanted to turn into paper envelopes. I am working with a toddler here, so no need to get fancy with my envelopes. This was the simplest envelope tutorial I could find. And while they weren’t all uniform, it doesn’t matter, she’s not even two yet.

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Pick out the design you want

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Turn it design face down and at a diagonal angle.

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Fold the two corners in – so that they meet in the middle and tape the intersection.

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Fold the bottom section up to the intersection in the middle and tape both sides down.

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Fold the top section down to the middle intersection and crease the paper, but do not tape.

Make 24 little envelopes like this. You can use all the same colors or a color scheme. I just liked the random and the pretty.

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Step 2:

Cut out your numbers. I used fun craft scissors to spice up the edges, you can cut straight edges as well. Totally up to you. You can also simply write the numbers on the outside of the envelopes if you don’t want to download the numbers.

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Step 3:

Attach the number to the outside of the envelope. Make sure you tape it down or glue it down really well. Leave top flap open.

IMG_2809Step 4:

You can write your own activities, get on the computer and make up some cute cards like the ones in the download link or you can use the ones I have made and used. If you opt to make your own, I used a 4X2 dimension and that made it easy to fit in the envelopes. Either way, cut them out and get them ready to go.

IMG_2811Step 5:

You also don’t have to laminate, but since I’m working with a toddler, I really wanted a way to make the cards durable. So, I laminated and cut them out. TIP: If you haven’t ever used the self laminating pouches, make sure you leave room on either side of your card so you can cut them out. Also, don’t cut at the edge of the card, leave a small amount of laminate around the edges otherwise the backs will fall off!

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Step 6:

Put your cards in the envelopes. I tried to decide which day of the week and the dates of things. I wanted to make sure if we were going out somewhere, it was mostly on the weekend or if it was a night I had to work, we would be staying home to do things. Strategies are key in my life, I would assume for anyone with a toddler, the same would be the case. Anyway, my cards went into their envelope homes with very much planning behind it.

IMG_2813Step 7:

Hole punch a corner of the envelope. Be careful not to hole punch with the numbers upside down or hole punch through your cute little card.

IMG_2814Step 8:

String the envelopes onto a pretty ribbon. I just used a sparkly silver ribbon I had in my craft/party planning supplies. Nothing too fancy. I chose to string it from 24 down to 1, because I intended Punky to pull from the bottom. Make sure you decide which end you want to start on and work backwards when you string the envelopes.

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Tada! Beautiful, cheap and toddler proof countdown to Christmas. I plan to add a few little chocolate or candy treats in some of the envelopes, small toys and surprises as well. I know a laminated card with words on it, will not hold her attention, but if she gets a treat or a present every day, she is sure to be excited about her first ever Christmas Countdown Calendar.

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I hope to make it more festive in this corner later in the week!

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I’m pretty excited to see her open her first card. I hope doing things like this will instill in her the magic and the excitement kids have for Christmas. You know, some people don’t want to “lie to their kids” about Christmas and allow their children to believe in imaginary people (don’t get me started on the Christian reason for the season), but I say, why invite the stress and the worry. I love the idea of giving my kid an imaginative and magical holiday.

And what better way to do that than to spend time doing something fun and geared towards Christmas every day of December leading up to the holiday!