Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas Cookies with a Two Year Old

-- I never posted this before Christmas but it was too adorable not to share - even late. --

This year I was so excited to make Christmas cookies with Ella.  She loved decorating (eating) the gingerbread houses and has been asking to "decorate" incessantly ever since so I had a feeling she would love the Christmas cookies.  We were supposed to make them for her Dad's work but the actual baking of the cookies took WAY longer than I thought with a two year old and we didn't get a chance to decorate them in time - sorry work people!

We spent a lot of time rolling out and cutting our cookies.  I quickly learned that it was best to give Ella some of her own dough to roll out and cut/play with.

A rare moment where she was too distracted to pull out her pony tail.  She looks so cute and grown up.  Then I came back into the room from putting our first batch in the oven and found this....

Hot mess Ella smearing buttery dough into her hair.  It was all downhill from here.

So I rushed to finish cutting out and baking the cookies before things got any worse and we gave up for awhile.  Once things calmed down (4 days later) we invited my mom and sister to help us decorate - at their house.


It started out okay.  And then she learned this.

Which turned into this.

And culminated in this.

Oh yes, smearing icing on her lips, kissing the sprinkles and then eating it all.
Only Ella.

Somehow we managed to walk away with a few decorated cookies.  Can you tell which ones were mine and Ella's and which ones were my mom's and sister's?

(Sorry about all the phone pics - forgot to bring my camera to my parent's house.)

Christmas 2014

I can't believe that Christmas has already come and gone.  We even have already taken down all of our decorations.  Sniff. Sniff.  At least we are left with a lot of great memories celebrating with family and friends.  And this was our favorite Christmas to date.  I anticipate we will say that every year as the kids grow.

This year we spent Christmas Eve with my in-laws.  Christmas Eve morning we headed over there in our PJ's for breakfast and gifts.  We had been prepping Ella for days on what to expect this Christmas so she woke up shouting "Christmas Time!"  Which she still shouts every morning. Wishful thinking Ella.

We came home for a bit to attempt our naps and then went back to Grandma and Grandpa Keith's for a big Christmas Eve celebration with great grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins etc. Below is a pic of the original Fyvie, Great Grandpa and the newest Fyvie, Griffin.  Also known as Fyvie 1 and Fyvie 4.

Even though it was super late when we got home we took a few minutes to set out cookies and milk for Santa and some carrots for the reindeer.  Unfortunately all I had was a bag of little carrot slices - sorry reindeer.  Ella thought they would still love them.

Brandon and I were so excited for Christmas morning, we hardly slept.  Ella was so exhausted from Christmas Eve she slept until 9:30 and Griffin was up from 4-6 screaming so he eventually fell back asleep and I woke him up when Ella got up.  I had to, I was so excited for Christmas morning.  It was just the four of us and so perfect.  I loved watching Ella's reaction when she saw the tree with all her presents.  She understood that Santa had visited and kept telling us that he brought her presents.  Eventually she learned that he also brought presents for everyone else but that took a minute since she also thought it was her birthday.  That took some explaining.  It didn't help that we kept telling her it was Jesus's birthday.  Life can be so confusing when you're two.  And Griffin, well he just wanted the wrapping paper.

Midday we headed to my parents to celebrate with them.  I love that both our families are in town.  Less travel and more family time.  Ella picked up right where she left off - unwrapping gifts.

Ella thought the gifts made a great seat when she had to quickly jump on her computer to "work". 

We spent the rest of the day at my parents eating, relaxing, playing games and enjoying our new gifts - in our PJ's of course.  

It is always so sad when Christmas comes to an end but I am always left reminded of how blessed we are to have ALL our family nearby, healthy and together to celebrate the birth of our Lord.
Hope you all had a joyous Christmas too!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Making a List, Checking It Twice

It really is the most wonderful time of the year.  So much joy, wonder and hope.  What a blessing to celebrate the birth of our Lord with lots of family time, beautiful surroundings, memorable traditions and lots of fun.  This year Ella is old enough to start understanding and enjoying this season so we made a list of fun, festive things to do with her and we have been slowly checking things off.

1. Visit Santa

2. Cut down Christmas tree

3. Make gingerbread houses

4. Decorate Christmas cookies
6. Check out the Arboretum holiday lights
7. Zoo holiday lights
8. Drive around looking at lights

I feel like there is plenty of room on this list for many more activities so I'd love to hear your family's fun activities and traditions.  Hope you are enjoying time with family and friends celebrating the coming birth of our Lord.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 8, 2014

DIY: Custom Name Baby Blanket

Christmas is coming and a custom name blanket would make the perfect gift for one of the littles in your life.  At $100 it can be a pricey gift, unless you have a sewing machine and a general knowledge of sewing, then you can make your own for about $35.  I must say that $100 is really a fair price considering the seller has to design and order the fabric and then sew the blanket.  Plus, the fabric is expensive since it is custom per person and you can't buy in bulk.  So if you can afford it, then I recommend saving yourself some time and energy and just order it from a shop.  My favorite seller is Jennifer Ann and she has some cheaper options too.

If you are a cheap, DIY'er like myself then read on.
(Note: You do not need a serger or expensive sewing machine to make this.)

I found an amazing fabric site, Spoonflower, that allows you to design your own fabric and order it on numerous different textiles, my favorite being the Modern Jersey.  It is so soft!

Using photoshop and this helpful information on the Spoonflower website I designed my pattern.  Then I uploaded it to the website and ordered the fabric.  I ordered 1 yard of each pattern on the Modern Jersey.  I recommend ordering a swatch first to make sure the pattern and color is accurate.  

If you want a large square blanket than I recommend ordering 2 yards.  I was going to fold the 1 yard of fabric in half for a small square but once I got the fabric decided to leave it as is and have 1 large rectangle blanket.  I bought basic white jersey fabric from Joann's for the backside to make a nice thick, double-sided blanket.  I toyed with the idea of having their first names on one side and then coordinating fabric with their middle names on the back-side.  Or fun fabric like polka-dots, stripes, etc.  Just some other fun ideas for you to consider.

Sewing with jersey is a little different than other fabrics due to the stretch but anyone can successfully sew jersey with professional results.  I am a total amateur sewer with basic equipment (an old free sewing machine gifted to me from a friend) and I didn't have any complications thanks to this website:   The Prudent Baby.  Check it out for lots of great information and tips.  And if you don't have time then I'll share what worked for me.

I bought two items for my machine to help sew jersey:

The even-feed foot moves both the top and bottom layers of the fabric to prevent too much stretching to give you a nice, even and smooth stitch.  This foot is worth every penny.  I also used ball point needles which are a little more rounded than universal and prevent the fabric from tearing slightly at the stitch.  You can read more about the benefits of this needle in The Prudent Baby post.

With these two items in place I then set my machine's stitching.  To allow for some stretch in the seam which you need with jersey fabric I used a zig zag stitch with the length set low, about 1.5 for my machine.  I know every machine is different but this is what mine looks like.  I also set the tension to 3.

 Once you have your sewing machine set up the rest of the project is just like any other sewing project.  Make sure to pre-wash your fabric and practice sewing on scrap jersey.  This really helped me get the hang of using the even-feed foot as well as ensured my machine was set correctly. 

Ella helped me pin the fabric together, right sides facing each other.

Then I sewed it together leaving a 6 in. gap so I could turn the blanket right side out.

I finished the edge with the same zig zag stitch. 

And just like that you have fun, cuddly blankets.  At least Griffin thinks so.  It was a little harder to get Ella's opinion.

They look so adorable snuggled up in them!
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