Friday, December 06, 2013

Our Advent Calendar

I love Christmas! Love, love, love, love, love Christmas! The music, the baking, Santa...all that good stuff.  This year I wanted to try something different and decided to make an advent calendar for the kids.  The only advent calendar we ever had as kids were the little boxes with the windows that you opened and got chocolate out of.  In true Kristin fashion, I decided on 3pm on December 1st, that yes, I was going to make an advent calendar.  I headed out to Target to grab a couple of supplies since I had most everything at home that I was going to use.  While I was wandering around in the holiday section, I stumbled upon the Christmas trees.  I thought how fun would it be to surprise the kids and get them their very own Christmas trees and decorations for their rooms? SO FUN!! So I gathered what I needed and headed home to get to work on the Advent Calendar. I Incorporated the trees in the calendar so the note that they read in the bag for Day #1 was, "There is a surprise in your rooms!" (to find out what was in the rest of the treat bags keep reading). The excitement on their little faces were almost too cute to bear, and luckily I had the video camera rolling to capture there reactions.  When they opened their doors and saw their very own trees all lit up, they were a little speechless at first. And then it happened.  My darling 7 year boy, started yelling, "YES! YES! THIS IS WHAT I'VE ALWAYS WANTED! MY DREAM COME TRUE!"  He had been asking me for the last couple of years to decorate his room with lights and we just never got around to it.  If I would have known that he would have been this excited, I would have done this in years past. The emotion in his eyes and face were something I will never so real and sincere, it nearly brought me to tears.  He was bursting with happiness like I've never seen from him, and it was one of those mommy moments for me that I will never forget! (also because I video taped it).  I hope this is one of those childhood memories that he remembers forever as one of his favorites when he is grown because it sure was one of mine. Sam was also thrilled to pieces, but the best part about it was that when it came time to decorate, Tanner dragged his tree into his sisters' room so they could decorate them together.  It was so fun, and they're so excited to be able to get their very own trees out every year now and add to them.  Pics of this below...

My DIY Advent Calendar

I've had a few questions about our advent calendar, the most common one being, "What's in the bags?" So, here's how I made mine.  I scoured the Internet and Pinterest for all things Advent Calendars.  I was late in getting started on mine since it was Dec. 1, so I needed something quick, simple and cost effective.  I decided on hanging paper bags with goodies in them on our little chalkboard wall that is between the kitchen and the mudroom/garage door.


Laundry clips
paper bags
whatever is going in the bags

This project to me about an hour from start to finish and here is the process...

First, I drew out the month of December on paper and filled in every day with what was going in each bag, so I didn't double up on something or forget something.  Once I was satisfied, I cut little squares out of scrapbook paper so I could write little notes on them.  I gathered all my goodies and started filling bags.  Of course I could have made them cuter, but I didn't have time.

 Of course we have to make them perfectly level...

Scary Photo Bomber!


Examples of goodies I put in the bag: Halloween candy, candy canes, animal crackers, fruit snacks, unopened Pez dispensers they got last year for Christmas, a couple of crafts from the $1 bin, stickers.
I tried to use what I had at home already and only picked up a couple of cheap goodies at the store for fillers.

Some examples of what I put in bags without treats; mostly they were notes for doing a Xmas craft, doing something as a family or doing something for someone else. Here are a few examples of what ours say.
       - write letters to Santa
       - make snowflakes to hang around the house
       - watch Sound of Music as a family, and clap as mom sings along to all the songs
       - go on a carriage ride
       - gather unused toys and things and donate
       -  pass out teacher gifts
       - bake cookies and hand out to neighbors (with a note clearly stating, " EAT AT YOUR OWN RISK. MADE BY LITTLE PEOPLE"
       - watch Polar Express
       - Drive around and look at lights
       - sleep under the Xmas tree (this one may be a big hit. It will probably turn into, "hang out under the Xmas tree until mom and dad decide it's time to sleep in our own beds," in which case there will most likely be tears).
       - make Xmas ornaments
       - make Xmas cards and send out to family and friends
       - (Xmas Eve) open 1 gift, our tradition

So, that's it! Simple and quick! Also, pleased that our Advent calendar doubles as a place to hang holiday cards, since I don't currently have a specific place for them it is perfect!!

Landry wanted in on the action...Holy Cow, Look at that mess!!!  Landry, naughty...

Like I said, nothing special about these bags

 Sam's pouting because she just realized that she doesn't get to open Bag #1 :)

Decorating their trees together

Merry Christmas!!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Landry 8 Month Photos...UP, UP and AWAY

I've been pondering this idea around for a while now of somehow constructing a hot air balloon for Landry's 8 month pics.  Basically, I'm obsessed with hot air balloons (and babies) so I couldn't think of something more fun.  Since Landry just started sitting it's the perfect time! We drove out to Mike's hunting spot right before sunset on a Sunday in mid October, but the wind had picked up a little in the afternoon, and after getting every one dressed and ready and out to the country, we quickly realized that our poor little balloon was not going to fair very well, and was probably going to blow away.  So home we went (defeated, and sad).  Thankfully I have a very understanding and accommodating husband because by Monday, the very next day, our hot air balloon was losing it's spunk and it had to be the day.  I had a very tiny window..the balloon was deflating (and that puppy cost $15 to inflate!), and seeing as it was mid October, it's unlikely I'm going to get another day like this. Since daylight is limited (and we were losing it quickly), Mike left work 10 min early (gasp!) so we could do a TAKE 2!  The weather couldn't have been more perfect or still, and while the balloon was, eh, I could think of a million things I could change with kids were perfection.  We even chased a coyote away from our spot.   Couldn't have done it without my mom and Mike, trying to make a baby smile and rounding up kids.  We got some "forever" shots, and it made for a memorable hour right before sunset! And to make the evening even more perfect, as we were loading up the cars we saw 2 REAL hot air balloons in the sky! Every day since the kids have asked me when we are going to go back to "the field" to take pictures! So glad they had fun, because that's all that matters in the end! Still going through the 500 pics I took, but here are my favorites!    

Happy 8 Months little man!!!


   Love his little baby toes peeking out of the basket!!

 Being Showered with kisses!

Going somewhere buddy?



Friday, October 04, 2013

A Welcoming Front Door

  Monday I shared my color swatches that we were considering for our front door.   Of course nobody wants a "before" pic if there isn't an "after" photo.  And if you're anything like me I like a good tutorial to go along with someone's sharing of anything.  This was a pretty easy project and quick.    I painted the door in one afternoon.  Our door started off beige, and in desperate need of a makeover.  Since I didn't want to paint our options on the door, I instead took a bunch of swatches of each color we were considering and taped them on the door so we could see what they looked like.  Once we picked a color I went back and grabbed a small can of paint and a short time later? WA-LA! A brand new door! 

As for the color we chose, it is Behr's "Jamaican Bay".   I couldn't take my eyes off this color and it just makes me so darn happy when I see it, so it had to be.  Sam is upset that it isn't pink, but I can't win them all.  Mike seems to like it so that's all that matters.  

  Here's what I used:

1. angled 2 1/2 inch brush and a 1 inch brush for the nooks and crannies. 
2. a sander- fine
3. Behr's Jamaican Bay in exterior satin finish with primer (2 coats). The nice man at the counter suggested a satin finish and he seemed to know what he was talking about.


I can't help to smile when I pull up to my house now! Before my front door said, "I'm boring." Now it says, "LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME!" I love the color so much, I may just paint the inside of it...and the garage door leading into the house too.  The possibilities are endless!  Did I inspire you? Do you have a fun and fresh front door? If so, I want to see it. 

Monday, September 30, 2013

A Splash of Color

So, for a few months now I've been pondering painting our front door.  The front of our house is east facing so in the summer the morning sun can be excruciating so I've been waiting for some milder weather before taking on this small project.  Right now I have taped up a bunch of different paint swatches and periodically go outside at different times of the day to see how they all look.  Like all the colors we've painted in our house, or bedrooms mainly I should say, once I get an idea in my head nobody can sway me from it.  Like the morning I woke up thinking I wanted to paint ginormous navy and white stripes in Tanner's room, Mike tried to talk me out of it, but it was, eh..too late!  I've gotten excited about it and no matter how crazy it seems to anybody else it's happening.

This time, it's a little different.  I'm painting our front door which is visible to everybody on the outside.  I want it to stand out but I don't want it to be an eyes sore for neighbors (yes, I care about their feelings too).  The outside of our house is a rich brown color and I want to go BOLD with a much cooler contrasting color.  Am I pulling out colors out of our stone? Noooo.  Am I going against all the laws of decorating which this choice? Yessssss. But I want our door to make a statement.  Since we'll never be painting our vinyl siding on the house, the door is my only hope for any change (color-wise) that I'll be making.  If we hate it, we can always change it.

Right now our shutters are a maroon-ish color and I'm not a fan.  They look fine, but when the door is painted, they will not, so those will be changed as well.  We're going to replace them since we need only 4, but for now they may actually be painted for a quick temporary fix.

Here's what our door looks like today....

The next 2 days look nice so hoping to actually get some painting while it's still warm and sunshiny!

Happy Monday!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


If you don't understand my chosen title for this blog it's okay, you wouldn't unless you were here everytime Tanner tried to tell someone where he was going on vacation.  We're going to the AZARKS (ponders the word that came out of his mouth)...ARZARKS...ORZORKS...wait for it...OZARKKS!! WE'RE GOING TO THE OZARKS!!  There it is.  It's not his fault, he gets his confusion from his mother.  She booked this trip and the whole time thought she was taking everyone to her old home state of Arkansas (silly lady).  Oh, and in case you're wondering, Lake of the Ozarks is NOT in Branson either.  I know, I was just as shocked.  With all this confusion it's amazing we all made it here with no problems (Mike drove).

This is our last (and first) family hurrah before school starts for Tan man in 1 week!  1st GRADE...I'm not ready for this.  While I knew the kids would enjoy staying here on the lake in our somewhat cabin-like room, I'm going to be honest, the first night was not easy.  Landry did not settle down for more than an hour at a time until about 4am.  Once he finally fell asleep, a monsoon hit (not exaggerating) for the remainder of the dark morning hours so I think it's safe to say Mike and I have had about 5 hours of combined sleep over the past 2 nights.  We're tired.  But we're not going to let that detour us.  The wasps and bees around this place are giving me a heart attack, and it's a little too woodsy for my liking.  I like to see what I'm dealing with and the trees hide what may be lurking. Landry was screaming last night and we couldn't just take him out of the room to walk him around in the dark woods (spiders, ticks, spiders, etc...), so it was really hard to get the kids to sleep and then stay asleep when he was crying all night.


The kids were all excited to wake up and look out at the lake.  Sam went on the waterside at the pool about 100 times and Tanner went twice, and 0 if you count the times I carried him up the stairs and onto to slide kicking and crying.  He loved it both times but couldn't push back his fears of the slide by going by himself.  Call me mean.  I call it, "prepping him for the real world."  Sometimes in life someone's going to gently nudge you down a slide.  You may not want to at first, but if you can push your fears aside and make the plunge, you might actually really enjoy it.  Oh, and I did go with him if that makes a difference.  Hoping he'll do it again himself.  The boys fished while the younger two napped and then Sam joined them.  The most excited I've seen them was when the ducks came over and they got to feed them honey nut cheerios.  I tried to snap as many pics as I could from our balcony so I didn't get any close ups.

 Swimming all morning >>>

Look at all the boats!...hmmmm

Time to go fishing...

I noticed this after I was going through photos the next day.  Mike had fake teeth in and kept trying to get Sam's didn't work :)

Day 2:

We promised the kids we'd do the indoor water park at our resort today even though I think it may be chillier tomorrow and rainier too but we went anyway.  Nobody would go down the water slides.  I'm pretty sure I spotted the only wasp that happened to make it's way indoors as well.  We took a break from the water park and went to the outside pool in the afternoon.  The bees and wasps were horrible.  Seriously, why can't those things just leave me alone!!  My anxiety was at an all time high on this trip, but I think it's safe to say we all managed to salvage some fun.   Sam fell asleep on our 5 minute drive to dinner. Then it was a couple of chapters from Charlotte's Web before bed.

At least somebody's safe from the bees..

In the car for 5 seconds..

Day 3:

Rain rain, go away!!  It rained most of the day.  We last minute decided to take the kids to see Planes movie on opening day.  Tanner was so excited, he brought his "planes" with him to the theater.  We finally got to the window only to find out that the guy in front of me bought the last 4 tickets!  Needless to say, Tanner was pretty disappointed.  Situation quickly diverted as we headed into the nearest ice cream shop.  We ran in the pouring rain to our cabin and the kids giggled and thought that was so fun!  We fished again, fed the ducks and geese again and swam...again.

Last morning here:  Snapped a few sweet pics of the kids before we left.  Even a few ducks waddled over to say goodbye :)