Monday, December 31, 2012

Christmas happenings

This sort of wraps up Christmas for me.  The decorations are coming down today.  Bee (wearing her current favorite shirt) and Lou made a living nativity set one evening while I got dinner ready. 

It's well labeled.  She's Mary, the mother of Jesus.  Lou's sign says he's Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus. 

Then I saw this guy in the recliner.  No label.  Must be the shepherds watching over their sheep at night?

Mary and Joseph cuddled the baby.  Then, as with anything they do.  It goes from sweetly cuddling a baby to this....

Bee had a lovely program at school. 

 Lou had a program too, a different day. I arrived an hour early and had to sit several rows back.  The first seven rows were saved with end to end ipads.  Someone suggested they might be door prizes for early arrivals!  This seems to be a common trend at their school events, rows and rows saved with scarves and purses and not a person in sight.

The preschool put on a lovely Christmas program too.  The kids sang two songs, did a little rhyme and then there was a nativity 'play.'  Check out Mary's shoes!

This was dress rehearsal, but they were precious.

Too sweet not to sneak a photo of the kids at the library in here.

Lou and I volunteered at church loading food into trucks to be delivered to the food pantries for Christmas season.  He had a really, really fun time.  He loaded and carried as much as the the grown men. When our work was done, he asked for more.  We worked and worked and went home feeling happy.   I need to find more opportunities for him to volunteer!  Bee wasn't felling well and stayed home with daddy.  We all went Christmas caroling the next weekend and had an equally good time.

With family in town, we did some fun things.  My siblings and I like to give an actitivy to each other rather than a gift. 

We went rock climbing.  I'm in the green shirt, Bee is in pink, Lou in grey.  My sister is in the yellow shirt.

We gifted everyone a hockey game. 

Bee got to go out on the ice with friends during one of the breaks to pick up colored pucks. People throw the colored pucks out to try to win prizes. Her friend in the pink won an Ipad! 

Here's the fam.

Bee wanted to get her photo taken with the ice hockey girls. They are like a non-cheering cheerleader.  Hostess girls really. 

Bee got a play for Christmas from us.  It's American Girl and pretty vintage.  It's called a theater kit.  I've had it on hand since just before she was born. Turns out she has a flair for the stage!  I did a quick google search and it looks like they still sell them.  Here are the actresses (and director Lou) from the play at curtain call.  Daddy and uncle Dave were the tech crew.  This one was called Hairum Scarum, I'm searching down others as we speak!

Moving on to

that Christmas dress

So, I mentioned that I made my Christmas dress.  My neighbor gave me several yards of black velvet two years ago.  She bought it years ago to make dresses for her daughters and now they've grown and left the house. They didn't want velvet dresses.  I offered to make something for Bee, but she wasn't interested.  She hates velvet.  She doesn't like the way it moves back and forth when you touch it.  In my dreams, She would have had a beautiful dress and Lou a little matching vest.  I thought and thought about what to do with it and then decided that a dress for me was about the only option.

I picked out a pattern for myself.  I was looking for something classic and kind of vintage looking.  It was black velvet after all.  It's Simplicity 2144, part of the project runway series. I bought it on 99 cent pattern day at Joanns and only needed to buy a zipper.  I have less than $4 in this dress!  It wasn't a difficult sewing project, but to get the fitted top and what not, it did require me to rip out and re-sew several parts, several times.  I had to rework the size and shape of the neck line and sleeve openings.  I might have tried it on 87 times while making it.  I'm not in love with the sleeves tops, but they are way better than they were four sewings ago.

Next time, I'll need a dress form or a maybe will make a duck tape dress form.  Have you seen those?  It has pockets, which is my favorite part.  At the end, I had to add a belt.  If I'd finished it a few days before I did (which happened to be Christmas eve), I'd have picked up a different belt.  You can't tell in the photo, but I'm literally sewn into this belt. This dress took all the fabric, which I measured out to be about 4 1/2 yards.  It's a good thing Bee didn't want anything.

Anyway, it's a little dressy to wear to any place I frequent.  I wore it to Christmas Eve service at church, but even at the 7pm candlelight service, I was overdressed.  I saw more jeans than anything.  I'm slow to get on the 'dress jeans' bandwagon.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Other Christmas- preschool style

 Here are some last minute Christmas goodies from preschool this Christmas.  I guess they'll have to save for next year.

Candy cane math.  This is one from my co-teacher.  She gave the kids each a white paper candy cane and access to bunches of red stripes.  She led them through math equations, helping them solve both addition and subtraction.    "Add four red stripes, good, now add two more...  how many stripes are there now?" 

Here are the pretzle wreath treats that Bee passed out to her classmates.  There are just 13 of them in her class, it wasn't a big commitment.  We used this recipe from a few years ago.  2009 actually.  No wonder Bee and Lou didn't remember them.  That's not technically preschool.

 The preschool kids made these lovely ornaments this season.  We used this recipe that we made last year.   I made up the dough and sealed it in ziplocks.  One doubled recipe made enough for 18 prek kids and 15 3-year old and few extra for my kids.  Each child made one ornament.  I baked them at home and the kids painted them with regular watercolor paint the next day.  To help prevent cracking, which I had so much of last year, I baked them at a really low temp for longer, my oven goes down to 170 degrees.  You need to dry them really, not bake them. 

I shared these Nativity pieces/blocks recently.  They were a nice addition to our morning table activities.

I think these stickers are from Oriental Trading.  We've used them at preschool the past few years to have an easy no mess craft on party day.   The kids used them to make cards.

We did have a little bit messy craft for party day, it was saved from a different day and it just worked out to do it during our party.  

The stars are tongue depressors.  The stars were already glued together and the kids just glued buttons to the front.  The white glue the kiddos used was the only mess.

We sang this cute song one day Christmas week.  It's to the tune of Bingo.  After each line you sing, "J-E-S-U-S, J-E-S-U-S, J-E-S-U-S, and Jesus is his name."   Bingo style. 

Here's another game we played.  The kids were handed cards with these letters, all the letters we've worked on until now.  There is a paper candy cane/J behind the cards.  There are lines drawn on it to show where the cards go, but there are no letters.  The kids had to pay attention and follow along with getting the cards up and in order. They are getting good at recognizing the letters.  Mostly. 

Here's a craft from early in the week.  The kids put their brown handprint on the page and added the pre-assembled baby Jesus in the manger.  We (or someone, not me) turned the handprint into a camel when it was dry.   I like the words around the edge, "I am the camel who followed the star with three wise kings from a land afar."

 On party day, we played this bingo game, which really isn't bingo, but it tells the Christmas story in order.  The clipart is from Prepared Not Scared.  I made up the bingo cards (all the same) using a table in word doc. and made a larger set for me to show the kids and I told the story. I liked it because it offered another way for me to tell the Christmas story.  Again.

We also played a bow toss game with a sheet as a parachute. I apparently have no photo of this, but we just had about 40 regular present bows on a bed sheet.

We read through the kids' Christmas story books .  The parents watched as the kids flipped through each page (and glitter and sequins flew everywhere).  These were sent home as well.  I wanted the kids to be able to have a chance to 'read' the book to family and friends at home. 

and then went to play some games in the hallway.  

First, we played a game where two kids at a time shoveled ping pong balls and carried them on their snow shovels to another bucket. 

The kids wore scarves while they did it.  Snow is cold.  Two players went at once. 

There was a 'bow in the box' toss.

Something was tossed at this little foam core tree.  It's been like a week and already I can't remember.  I used to have a really great memory.

Wooden balls were 'bowled" at these fancied up 2 liter bottles.

The stars were walked on in a 'cake walk' fashion. 

Here's what our tables looked like.  They always look so sweet on party days.

Here was our gift to the kids.  The whole school is the same, the teachers don't have to worry about that at all, which is nice.

They are sweet little J for Jesus candy cane ornaments.

I hope that is all the Christmas preschool related things I wanted to get posted. I still have many photos to go through.  I am showing my kids the James and the Giant Peach movie, so I have an hour and a half to get as much done as I can! Ready, set, go.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

nativity gift

I spied this nativity set back in the fall and knew it's what I wanted to make for several people, including the kids teachers.  Why I waited to start it the week before it needed gifted, I do not know. 

I saw it at Ginger Snap Crafts via Pinterst.  I found someone (Thanks bunches Melissa!) who could help me cut the vinyl pieces (which are from Silhouette), bought the wood- a collection of 2x4 and 1x6 pieces as well as a little something bigger from the scrap box for the camel.  

I made a sample set for myself first, it's several colors, mostly what I could gather up from the basement. The kids at preschool enjoyed playing with them, stacking them, counting them, etc. 

The second and third sets were grey. or gray.  I never know.  Hubby thought that would look nicer and I was torn.  

I didn't love the way my colored set turned out so I thought I'd try one set like that. I did like it and made the last set the same way.  The fourth and fifth sets are still uncompleted in my garage.

I found metal stars at Target in the dollar area ($2.50 side) back in early October and found these purple tubs at the dollar tree days before they were needed.  

The camel is my favorite. 

 There's a lovely tutorial at Ginger Snap Crafts, but basically you print out the shapes on vinyl and cut your wood to fit.  The tallest are about 6 inches, the shortest was 3.5 inches. The wood gets sanded and the fronts painted the color you want the person or animal (two coats).  The vinyl sticker is placed on and you paint the rest of the block the main color (two coats). Then you remove the vinyl shape and complete any touch ups.  A spray coating of a finish will finish them up (two coats). 

In my mind, that takes one evening.  In real life it's like two or three depending on how dutiful you are in watching for paint to dry.  Hence why Lou's teachers got scarves and flower clips from the mall.  

 I'm sure the kids will rough them up a little so I didn't add any 'wear' to them.  We'll let the time and kids take care of that. 

I have a set for myself, one was gifted to my co-teacher and Bee really wanted to give her teacher a set.  Lou's teachers may get their sets as end of the year gifts.   I'll probably have moved onto another project by then!

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