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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Halloween Yarn Wreath

I've been getting my holiday freak on lately, peeps.  I'm out of control.  The other night at dinner, J said to me, "I just realized it's SEPTEMBER & you have our house decorated for Halloween." And I smiled, beaming & replied, "Yes, I know.  This is me, baby.  You don't have to agree."  To which he smiled & said, "I know."  I think he secretly likes it.

I am a yarn wreath-a-holic.  You can see my previous yarn wreaths here & here.  I've made numerous more for friends & gifts.  I've also had people literally knock on my door to ask where they can buy one.  Rad, right?

I usually make my yarn wreaths on my own.  Collin & the other kids never are involved & I usually want my yarn wreaths perfect looking.  Then I saw these wooden Halloween shapes begging to be hot glued onto my wreath & I decided our Halloween wreath would be kid created.

Supplies: A foam or straw wreath.  You can find these at any craft supply store.  (Veteran tip: buy the straw wreaths.  They are wrapped in plastic anyway & significantly cheaper than the foam ones.  This one cost me $2.00.  The foam one was $8.00.)  A skein of yarn.  I usually get a jumbo one & end up using about 3/4 of it.  A Sharpie.  A hot glue gun.  A wreath hanger or ribbon to hang your wreath with.  And lastly, embellishments.  If I hadn't seen these wooden shapes, I would have purchased these cute little black fabric bats they had.  Possibilities are endless.  You can do anything.  Hot glue is a miracle invention bestowed upon us crafters.  Use it!

I sat down & strung my yarn around my wreath during an episode of Real Housewives.  I'm a pro at this, so it only took me an hour.  If it's your first time, it may take you a few hours.  After I was finished, I set aside the wreath for the next day when we would have all the kids together at Abuelita's house in Oxnard for MJ's birthday.

Then?  Then, we colored.  Got our crafty craft on.  I poured markers on the table & let them have at it.

I used a Sharpie to write each of their names on the shape they colored & then hot glued those bad boys onto the wreath so they could see right away how their wreath would look since they wouldn't be able to see it on the door for another few weeks. 

When J, Collin & I got home, I grabbed some ribbon & hung the wreath on our front door.  I don't care that it's September.  Halloween is being celebrated in this house. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Madison's Ninth Birthday

J, Collin & I travelled to Oxnard, CA this weekend for MJ's birthday. MJ is J's oldest & she & her sister, Andie live with their Mom there.  It was a small party with just the family & of course crafts because, duh.

A few days before, we had gone to Joann's & all of their Halloween stuff was 50% off, so I picked up a few wooden Halloween masks for the kids to all color.  I also picked up supplies for our Halloween wreath (blog coming soon).  The masks ended up costing us around 0.26 each!!!

The girls love anything crafty & as it turns out, so does J.  Homie was serious about his mask.  Even Abuelo Sosa got in on the mask action.  This is why I love crafts.  Everyone can participate & have fun.

After we finished our masks & yarn wreath contributions, it was cake time.  Collin's & Andie's favorite part.

MJ & Andie have always just welcomed Collin into their lives.  It's so sweet to see them encourage him to participate & even wrestle with him on the floor.  They just love on him & are the best big sisters. 

This was Collin's first time meeting J's Abuelo & Abuelita, too & I was a little nervous.  I wanted them to like Collin & see him as another grandchild.  I totally underestimated my kid's charm.  Abuelo & Abuelita instantly took to Collin.  For serious, it was like he has always been a part of their lives.  He cuddled with Abuelita & even let her rock him.  And he watched the PBR with Abuelo.  It was so magical to me to hear them both exclaiming, "Ooooh!!" at the TV each time a rider was bucked off.  

No posing speech was necessary here.  They literally just hang on each other like this.  I know it won't last forever, but I'm gonna soak it up while I can.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Halloween Spider Handprint Craft

If you know me, you know that I am a holiday freak.  Any holiday.  I'm all about celebration & themes.  Right now, our house is being painted.  Every room is done except for our main living space, naturally. The problem with this is that my holiday freak flag can't fly.  I can't decorate my fireplace mantle yet or string yards of Halloween banners all over each room.  Today though, I could no longer keep my freak flag lowered.  I raised that flag & puked Halloween all over any space I could.  We now have black & white chain link garland hanging & dollar store banners & window clings all over this place.  And my flag is flying proudly as if to say, "BOO YAH!"

If you know me, you also know that I am a craft queen.  I have an endless supply of construction paper,  craft paint, stickers, glue, Mod Podge, crayons & any other supply you can name.  I promise you I have it.  Now that I have kids, my crafting has taken on a whole new meaning.  I love coming up with things for Collin to create & display for the holidays.  It also gives him a sense of pride when he sees his creations hanging on our walls or the fridge.  I'm a sucker for handprint art because it's also a fun keepsake.  Collin will have so many of these when he is an adult.  Oy!

Anyway, thought I'd share with you how I did our craft with TWO two year olds & almost NO mess.  Holler at yo' craft Mama!!!

You'll need black & white craft paint or acrylic paint. I happen to have acrylic paint on hand.  Perfectly safe & non-toxic, so don't worry.  Two paint brushes, one big enough to paint the kids' hands & the other small enough to paint in the eyes on the spider.  (I only had three googly eyes, so we painted our eyes in.)  Baby wipes to clean their hands off right away.  Construction paper to put the handprints on.  Lastly, a Sharpie so you can write the names, ages, year, etc for the kids.  Also? Halloween candy. Necessary in this house.

Since I was solo, I coudln't snap any, "during," photos, but I just painted the boys' hand (excluding the thumb so I could get four, "legs") & then helped them place it on the paper.  I painted the same hand again & helped them place it again to form the spider shape.  Then I immediately wiped their hands clean with a baby wipe.  There was no residue or anything from the paint.  It wipes completely clean, I promise. 

Dude, it's hard to get these two year old to hold still.  Hard.  But you can still see how proud they are of their spiders.  Plus, they were allowed to get dirty without complaints from Mama, so it was win-win for them.

While their spiders were drying, I whipped out some crayons & coloring books to keep them entertained.  Collin didn't really care & kept asking for more, "chwoc-it."  Oops.

After the spiders were dry, I pulled some Halloween stickers from my stash & let them embellish their art.  Then I painted in the eyes & smiles since it was a little too hard for them .

Lastly, you display the crap out of the adorable little spider crafts!!!  Collin has noticed them up there at least three times today & says to me, "Hey! Dat's my 'pider! And dat's Ay-eens 'pider!!!"  And then I die.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Step-Brothers, Man

You guys, being a step-parent is hard. Hard stuff. I was never in some fairy tale world where I thought it was going to be easy; I knew what I was getting into & I would not change a moment of my life. Still, it's hard. I didn't carry Aiden in my belly & ease into having two children. Instead, I was given two boys who are only six months apart in age & instantly had to find my bearings. Collin & Aiden are six months apart in age & have been mostly going through the same milestones (potty training) at the same time. Potty training? Is hard. Potty training two? Super hard. Temper tantrums are hard. Temper tantrums times two? Shoot me. ENDOFTHEUNIVERSEHETOOKMYTOY fights? Blow.

But then? Then, there are moments like this where everything is magical & nothing can go wrong in their world. Collin has a best friend & Aiden has a best friend. Squeals & giggles galore. Splashes & face plants that don't hurt because too much fun is being had. This makes every poop filled underwear change, every, "HE TOOK MY BALL!!!" worth it.  

Step-parenting is hard, but so is parenting. I don't think my struggles as a step-mother are that much different than they were as a regular mother. I know for sure the rewards are the same. Love. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Picnic at the Park

Collin & Aiden get seriously stir crazy on some days. We are lucky to have a park within a five minute driving distance, so I've started taking them there on crazy toddler days. We packed a picnic lunch, lots of water & a couple of shovels & let them have at the park. They really like it. So much so that it's always a giant fight when it's time to go home. The little dudes will be drenched in sweat & clearly ready to go home, but they just wanna stay & play. It is frustrating, but they always end up asleep before I even pull into the driveway at home. 

The weather here in the High Desert is starting to get less hot & a little more bearable, so I'm hoping to be able to take the boys a lot before winter gets here & it's too cold. Andplusalso? Park days make for great nap days. Just sayin'.