Yeaaahhhh, I haven’t updated in almost 2 months! Eep! Needless to say, please accept my apologies. I will try to do better, even in this upcoming busy holiday season.

I do hope to begin adding photos soon…I’ve been rather bad at taking any lately, and I would so love to have everyone see the neat things the girls and I have been up to lately. Provided that things go well today in my cleaning schedule, I might be able to upload some pictures this afternoon…

I’m no longer babysitting Little Miss…Something happened where her mother lost her placement and is still currently looking for employment; however, we do try to get the girls together at least once per week and also to have some much-needed mommy time. ๐Ÿ˜€

We don’t observe Halloween for religious reasons…We don’t even take the girls out in costume for Trick-or-Treat night (aka, Beggars’ Night). So, instead, I’ve been making things with Munchkin to celebrate autumn, and to prepare for Thanksgiving. We visited the Dollar Tree (for those who don’t know, it’s one of those stores where everything within is just $1) and found some cute and simple decorations. We purchased a wreath with a scarecrow sitting on it like one would a tire swing, with raffia and a banner above his head saying “Welcome”. I also purchased a package of suction cups with hooks on them, in the hopes that I could simply hang our little scarecrow in the door; no dice. The suction cups wouldn’t stick because the surface of the door isn’t smooth but slightly textured. Instead, we have him hanging in one of the front windows.

Leaf Garland

I also love the store Pottery Barn Kids. Not that I can afford much in the store, mind you, but they occasionally have some great ideas that I could easily duplicate at home for a tiny fraction of the cost. The leaf garland they had for sale this autumn for $40? I made a similar one for much less than $5. Granted, it’s not yet embroidered with the veins of the leaves, nor in double layers of felt, but I kind of like it as-is. I made it by printing off some fall leaf coloring pages from dltk’s printable pages found here:ย  http://www.coloring.ws/autumn2.htm . (Please excuse the lack of direct link…for some reason, I can’t go back and add them!). I printed off four of the leaves and cut them out. I used the cut-outs as paper patterns, and cut the leaves out of four different colors of felt–one leaf per color, totalling 16 leaves in all. I took a spool of grossgrain ribbon and, using a cross-stitch, sewed them onto the ribbon about every 8-12″. I think it’s very cute, to say the least.

Mini Turkeys

Munchkin and I also made mini-turkeys to hang on our front door in preparation for Thursday. With brown felt, I cut out 3.5″ circles and peanut shapes, and with the scraps from the felt leaves I made 6 feathers and beaks for each turkey. i haven’t yet added the wattles, but hey, i think they look cute as-is. On one side of the circles, I told Munchkin we were going to glue feathers. Using Aleen’s Tacky Glue (regular white glue doesn’t work on polyester felt, for some reason) I drew a curved line along the top edge of the circle. Munchkin pressed the “feathers” onto the glue line until all the feathers for that turkey were gone. We let the turkey butts dry (yes, that’s what she still calls them now) for a couple hours, and then we flipped over each turkey body. We glued one peanut shape onto the body, and glued a beak onto the top of the peanut shape. We let them dry even more. Later that evening, I took some 1/2″ circular magnets and the same Tacky Glue and glued the magnets onto the backs of the turkeys. When the glue was dry, I stuck them to the front door. Every time we leave the house, both Munchkin and Buggaboo love seeing the turkeys. Munchkin talks about her “turkey butts” and Buggaboo tries to grab them and munch on them.

This week has proven to be very busy. Munchkin will be 3 this up-coming Sunday, and in preparation for it, she’s beginning to act it. All day yesterday it was challenge after challenge after challenge. Where did my sweet little 2-year-old go? We have also purchased most of her birthday gifts and squirreled them away out of her sight. She picked out what she wanted for her birthday cake (Pillsbury’s Funfetti with matching icing with purple for the lettering), and was asking for it last night. Ever since Daddy’s surprise party last month (oh yeah, I forgot to mention that, huh? I’ll tell you later about it) she’s been wondering about her birthday. She is aware that hers comes after Daddy’s but before Buggaboo’s. After Thanksgiving but before Christmas. It’s so fun to see the anticipation on her face. She gets excited when she realizes her grandparents are coming to see her.

School-wise, we’ve been working on Munchkin’s fine motor skills to prepare her for writing, and teaching Buggaboo to walk. I made a felt “pizza” for Munckin out of numerous little circles of pepperoni, brown mushrooms, green pepper crescents, white cheese, red sauce, and tan and white crust. She also loves to share it with Mommy, Daddy, Buggy, and her friends.

Alphabet Book

I also found large alphabet bulletin board/wall strips at the Dollar Tree. I use one to work on alphabetizing, and another to make a book. These strips have the directional arrows, showing how to make the letters. How I made the book was using 12×12″ page protectors (also found at the Dollar Tree, 10 in a package), 12×12″ sheets of plain white cardstock for the pages, 12×12″ sheets of gray for the cover, the alphabet strip with the letters cut individually, and little adhesive squares found in the scrapbooking section of my local Hobby Lobby. Oh, and I also had a school theme scrapbooking kit with mini alphabet strips in them, which I also used to decorate the cover. On one side of the white, I adhered one letter, and the other side I adhered the next letter of the alphabet. I slid each leaf into a page protector. Once each page was protected as well as the cover leaves, I used 5-1″ binder rings (the kind with the hinges that open up) looped through the holes that were intended for a scrapbook. I’m following the order of letters that Handwriting Without Tears recommends, and we flip to that letter in the book. We use her Magna-Doodle toy to practice writing the letter. When she gets proficient with a letter, I take our greaseboard slates with manuscript lines on one side and we practice using the lines with a grease pen (also found at the Dollar Tree. I found the grease boards for $0.50 each at a yard sale over the summer).

We are also working on recognizing and memorizing the numbers 13-20. After Thanksgiving is over, I’m going to make some more file folder games for her to play with. I haven’t yet figured out other activities to use yet, but I’m sure I’ll come up with something.

Potential December Crafts:

I love gingerbread and snow people. I also appreciate the look of holly. What better way to put them together than make a garland with all three aspects? I have all the felt purchased (yes, it seems that lately my medium of choice is felt. Sue me. ๐Ÿ˜‰ ), and I need to dig through my cookie cutters for my snowman and my gingerbread man. What will happen is the cookie cutters are going to be the patterns for each, and I’ll cut out two pieces of felt for each snowman and gingerbread man. Sew around the edges, leaving a gap to stuff with polyester fiberfill (I have a lot of that stuff! :D). Once stuffed, the gap will be sewn shut and each piece will be decorated. Cut holly leaves and berries out of green and red felt, and sew them together. Sew the pieces together, alternating gingerbread man, holly, snowman, holly, gingerbread man, holly, etc. I think it will look great around the fireplace gate, don’t you? I also plan to make some stray pieces and let them hang in the front windows, and on the front door. I figure Munchkin can help stuff and decorate all the pieces.

I was just at my local Meijer store yesterday. I was hoping to find some Thanksgiving tablecloths, etc. on sale, but instead found Christmas/winter items. There was an adorable set of felt snowflake placemats and table runners. Each piece was about 14-18″ in diameter, in 2 layers of felt. The place mats were white-on-pale blue, and the runner was white-on-white and white-on-red. Very quaint, very cute. I figure, I can make some very similar for less than 1/2 the cost. I plan to go to JoAnn’s tomorrow to buy the felt–they’re having a huge sale on the bolted felt for $1.49/yd. Can’t beat that price.

We have lots of beads, and lots of pipe cleaners. While Buggaboo’s sleeping next week during her nap, Munchkin and I can combine the two together to make some really sparkly snowflakes. Might hang them in the windows, on the back sliding glass door, perhaps even find a way to stick them on the mirror over the mantle.

There may be more crafts we’ll do…I just have to go get dinner started.

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