Let the countdown begin!

Our advent calendar this year is a Book Advent Calendar. I decided on the idea last year after seeing it around the blogsphere. Which means I had plenty of time to shop after-Christmas sales and found even more at the local thrifts. Not to mention that we already had a ton of Christmas books in the house. It took two hours of television, but I got them all wrapped and ready to go for today. Looks like our elf wants in on the fun too.

This is a busy time of the year. Us moms and dads are already over-extended as it is. You might be thinking you don't have time to do anything cool this year. You're wrong! Here are four (free!) easy-peasy cool-looking ideas:

Make and Takes

A puzzle to put together, one day at a time ... Make and Takes

Skip to My Lou

Print, cut, glue snowflake countdown ... Skip to My Lou


I love how Santa's beard gets shorter ... Gluesticks

Inviting Printables

Another Santa! So cute to add cotton balls for the beard ... Inviting Printables


Felt Christmas trees

Two years ago, I spied beautiful felt Christmas trees on Creature Comforts. Last year, I made some. This year, I'm sharing them with you. 

I don't have decent photos or a full-blown tutorial, but the process is pretty simple:

I made a cardboard template to trace lots and lots of "leaves." Not sure what to call them. I curved the top to help the pieces lay flat when pinned with straight pins to the styrofoam cone.

Start pinning ...

Keep pinning ... and cutting because even if you cut out a hundred, it won't be enough ...

And finished. Decorate your mantle or wherever. Christmas robot candle optional.

For the two trees on the left, I used several variations of green to give them a natural look. I experimented with easy-to-cut squares for the smallest (and not surprisingly, the last to be made tree). The tree on the right I used just one color green and added pops of color for "ornaments."

Yes, you still have time to put this on your to-do list! If you make one, I'd love to see pictures.


If only it grew on trees

Will: "Mommy, how do they make money?"

Me: "They have big presses and special paper."

.... long pause ...

Will: "Do we have that paper?"

(Mom: "I wish!")


We heart Legos

We're all about the Legos here. I don't think that's a big secret. What is a big secret is the best way to store Legos. Type lego storage ideas into Google and you get 8 million hits. Whoa!

I think I finally found a system that works for us. What we had — one 34 qt. storage box that fit under Will's bed— was not working. With everything jumbled together, it was hard to find the pieces we wanted when we wanted. Especially the small pieces.

Way back I had organized the bathroom closet with plastic shoe boxes. But they were left empty when we added shelving with baskets above the toilet. Then I had an aha! moment. Three of the shoe boxes fit perfectly into the 34 qt. storage box. So I got another latched-lid box and a few more shoe boxes and set to sorting. Small pieces got lumped together, then bricks, plates, car parts and "weird" pieces. I guess it would be more PC to call them speciality pieces. But weird they are.

The new system has been in place about two months. So far, so good. The builders (Will and Chris) report it is much easier to find pieces. I've only had to do one major resort since. Joseph thought it was great fun to pour the minifig box into the small pieces box. Groan! We may have to get another storage box after Christmas ... there are going to be a lot of legos under the tree and the boxes are at capacity right now as it is. 

Now I was all happy with our system until the November issue of "Family Fun" arrived on newsstands. It got all us lego mommas talking. While I wanted to run out and make it right away, this momma actually did. Awesome!

Got tips on storing legos or other toys? Please share!


What are they?!

I briefly mentioned that I have a part-time gig holding babies at Joseph's school (yep, paid to hold babies!). I'm changing diapers and fixing bottles until the nursery teacher returns from maternity leave. I was worried about juggling several babies at once but it hasn't been nearly as bad as I expected. Yea me for taking on a new challenge and stepping out of my comfort zone!

The babies and I like playing with the nursery's crazy alphabet blocks. I build, they knock down. Whee! No telling how old they are or how long they have been in the room. Aren't the drawings just wild? Dog? Seal? I think that one's a horse. Do kids today know what a candlestick holder is or a cable car? The real mystery is that block in the lower left hand corner. What is that? A helmet? Futuristic pod house on stilts? Will flipped it and says it's a boat. Any and all guesses welcome.