Coming to you from a new home in Pennsylvania!

Hi guys!

I hope you are all well and ready for the Christmas countdown!

I know, it’s been awhile.  So much has gone down and that’s the reason why I haven’t been posting.  We’re no longer living in Brooklyn, NY.  We made the big move to Pennsylvania on the 1st of November and so far things are well.  Slowly, but surely we’re settling into our new home.  My mind and heart hasn’t quite adjusted to the move, but I’m doing my best to sort of embrace the new location.  It’s definitely a better place for my girls to grow up in so I’m taking that into great account.  I just have to take things one day at a time!

In the meantime an idea  sprung up in my mind and I wanted to share it with you guys.  My girls are very fortunate to receive Christmas gifts from friends and family members who don’t live near us and I’m always telling them on Christmas day, “This is from so and so,” but I can always see their little faces trying to register who the person is and I don’t think they get it.  This year while I was making the labels for their presents that came in the mail I thought, “Maybe I can print out their pictures on the label.”  

Using Word and address labels, I printed the wording and the pictures separately because my program didn’t allow me to cut and paste the pic.  You can always print everything out on Word and simply tape it onto the gift, but I didn’t want to use tape.  I just improvised by cutting and using another label to assemble the words and pics together.  This is what I got and I love it:

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These lovely people are my girls’ paternal grandfather and step-grandmother who live in New York, so this year when they open their gifts from them they’ll actually see who the gift is from. 🙂

I hope you enjoyed this idea.  More to come later on, hopefully.

Thanks for stopping by and may all your holidays be MERRY, SAFE, AND BRIGHT!

Take good care all.

Until next time…

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DIY CHRISTMAS ORNAMENTS

Hello everybody!

I hope you guys are well.

I wanted to see if I could make some Christmas ornaments using cookie cutters and air dry clay.  Guess what?  It worked.  This is going to be a great project for the weekend with my girls.

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Things I used: mini rolling pin that’s used for clay activities, toothpick, cookie cutters, and air dry clay

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I pressed little alphabet beads into the heart, spelling out LOVE, and two gold beads for Mr. Gingerbread

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According to the container, it takes about 2 – 3 days for the clay to dry.  Since I pressed little beads into the clay it did crack a bit during the drying process.  I just used a toothpick and inserted a little bit more clay in the areas that was noticeable then let the clay dry once again.  I used pink and white twine to string it up the heart.

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I painted Mr. Gingerbread a lovely Acorn color (Martha Stewart acrylic paint) with a small paintbrush.

This project has endless possibilities!

Take good care all.

Until next time…

Merry Christmas Eve!

Hello everybody!  I hope you guys are well and having a great Christmas Eve.  My children placed a gingerbread cookie and a small cup of milk out for Santa.  They’re nicely tucked into bed and my husband and I are going to enjoy a DVD, the Avengers, before Santa comes with the Mercado gifts.

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Wishing you a great and safe night.

Take good care all.

Until next time…

Personalized Jigsaw Puzzles

Hello everybody!  I hope you guys are well.

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Here’s the countdown at my house.

My cousin, Janice, sent this little Santa chalkboard to my oldest daughter when she was about 1 or 2 years old, but she wasn’t old enough to grasp the concept so I stored it away.  I found it the other day when we brought out all of our Christmas decorations.  I showed it to Olivia, who’s five now, and explained what it was.  She absolutely loved the chalkboard and the fact that it was going to show her how many days until Christmas.  Thanks cuz!

As for gift ideas for children I absolutely love jigsaw puzzles, especially personalized ones because they can teach your child how to spell their own name.  There are many places where you can get a personalized jigsaw puzzle, but I like the web site www.frecklebox.com.  They have many personalized items (I also love their story books) and I have given many gifts from this website.  Sign up to receive emails so you can get discounts on their merchandise, which is very helpful if you’re on a budget.  Here’s a couple of their puzzles with my daughter’s first and middle name, which I got a long time ago.  They have a glossy finish to them and currently my youngest daughter is having fun putting these together.  I will be getting one with her name soon for Christmas.

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Once my girls are done playing with these I’m going to tape the puzzle together and frame them.

Stay alert, stay alive.

Until next time…

Christmas Tree

Hello everybody!  I hope you guys are well and getting ready for the Christmas countdown.  It has begun and yesterday we put up and decorated our little (four-foot tall) faux tree.  I’m not a big fan of cutting down real trees.  No offense to anyone.  I grew up with reusable ones.  I prefer not to hurt our environment and I like to save some money wherever I can so after I got married I went and bought my very own tree and it’s been serving us well for eleven years.  I might get a bigger one in the future, but for now this tree is perfect because I’m able to situate it high up where my darling two-year old, who loves to touch and doesn’t like to use her listening ears, can’t take any of the ornaments off.  My sweet cousin, Janice, started a tradition a long time ago of sending me an ornament each year so my tree is decorated with those cherished embellishments.  Some are handmade by her using pictures, while others were purchased signifying special moments in my life for example when we were expecting and our children’s birth facts.  I do have a love/hate relationship with decorating the tree.  I love displaying it, but kinda of hate the time it takes to decorate it, even if it’s four-foot tall,  because I can be a little stubborn with where the ornaments have to be specifically placed.  I did give in a lot this year because I didn’t put up all of my ornaments.  I just wanted to finish, fast!  And we did.  So the tree is up, now it’s time to wait for Santa to bring the presents and place them under the Christmas tree, which I take down the night before and place the presents around so my kids think that Santa came to our house.  This year my daughter became aware of placing cookies for Santa so she wants to do that for him.  🙂  It’s cute.  I love it and I hope you guys have fun decorating for the holidays.

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Mercado Christmas Tree 2012

Stay alert, stay alive.

Until next time…

We saw Santa…Yay!!

Hello everybody!  I hope you guys are well.  Yesterday, we did it.  We got dressed up and quickly made our way to the mall so we could take our annual family photo with Santa.  I say family because we have to sit down with the girls since they refuse to sit with Santa alone.  It’s our third time going to the same mall with the same Santa.  He’s kind and sweet, but my oldest is shy, while my youngest is not warming up to Santa yet.  Not even a tiny bit.  I don’t mind taking the picture, but sometimes I wonder if it’s cheesy.  I suppose it might be to some, but I really like going to see Santa with the girls.  I like dressing them in their Christmas dresses.  I might not get a smile from both girls, but I do get a sweet memory.  After taking the photo, I went to pick out the best shot and Santa gave the girls a choice of either a small plush kitten or unicorn as a gift.  My girls chose the unicorn and they thanked Santa.  It was cute watching them skip around the mall in their dresses while holding their little unicorns.  Before we left they hopped on a mini carousel.  With no meltdowns, I say the mission to get a picture with Santa was accomplished.  Whew!

     

Our picture with Santa will be posted on Christmas!

Stay alert, stay alive.

Until next time…

DIY – Updating Snowman Family Wood Plaque

Hello everybody!  I hope you guys are well.  I recently updated a family wood plaque that was given to me as a gift when my first daughter was born.  My sweet cousin, Janice, sent me a hand painted, personalized snowman family wood plaque for Christmas 2007.  I absolutely love personalized gifts and more so when it has our family name.  After I had my second child, in 2010, I would often look at the plaque during Christmas and think, “Sophia is missing.”   I let a couple of years pass without doing anything simply because I was scared of messing up the plaque.  I got over that fear a few days ago.

This is the BEFORE picture.

I made an outline of the fourth little snow kid with pencil, in case I needed to erase.

Got my paint, which I need to buy a new one ‘cause this sucker is old, and brush.

First coat of paint

I wanted to emulate the original work so I painted that blue outline first using a toothpick and then a fine tipped brush once it dried.

Added the scarf and branch/hand with snowball

Using markers I added the eyes, nose, smile, and
name.

Final touch was the year, in which she was born, but I didn’t have a white marker and I wasn’t going to attempt to write it with paint.  I just used a black marker and my snowman family is complete!

I know that it’s not as great as the original artist, but I’m pretty happy with my touch because Sophia is not missing anymore.  I can’t wait to put it up for Christmas.

Take care all.  Until next time…

Too many toys

Hello everybody!  I hope you guys are well.  So today I starting cleaning toys because it’s been a while and there’s a lot to clean.  There’s about three toy bins, a doll house, a pretend kitchen, bookcase with electronic toys, and a big playhouse full of stuff animals.  Yes, my apartment sounds and looks like a day care center.  I can’t wait until I can claim my living room again. 🙂  Oh, I almost forgot, and believe me I try,  we also have a folding slide, a small basketball hoop stand, and a small bench table.  All this for two little girls and of course the second I start cleaning, for example a toy bin, they want to start playing with all the toys inside.  It never fails.  That was the pattern today with my youngest, Sophia.  I started cleaning the play kitchen, she decided it was cooking time.  I went to the doll house next.  Here comes Sophia wanting to play house and by the way I tried to play with her and she didn’t let me. 😦  Oh well, back to cleaning.  Lucky me.  I emptied out the first toy bin, and yup Sophia was there, sorted and cleaned the keepers and without her noticing, of course, tossed a few broken toys into the garbage.  I’ve learned from the past when you throw away toys, make sure they’re not visible or else meltdown city will occur even if the toy is broken.

I’m very grateful that my kids have such items, especially since many of these toys were gifts, but sometimes you simply have to say we have too many toys.  That’s why I’m teaching my oldest to consider donating some of her toys to kids less fortunate.  We did it last year.  We went through her stuff toys and I asked her which toys she wanted to keep and which toys she wanted to give to other little kids.  She did very well.  There were absolutely no tears, and when her father came home, she told him all about it with a smile on her face.  Since she’s a year older and smarter, I hope she’ll donate more because Christmas is just around the corner, sorry but it is, and more toys are coming into this household.  I can’t put a stop to it because the grandparents are big spoilers!!

Take care all.  Until next time…