Friday, December 17, 2010

Last minute gifts, catching up, and thanks!

I came across an idea yesterday for a last minute Christmas gift - Game Night in a Bag. Our planned budget for extended family gifts was busted this week when our dishwasher started leaking and my partner and kids were involved in an auto accident. (No one was hurt, but our van will need some work before we can drive it on the freeway again.) So, I was really excited about finding a gift idea I could still make in time to mail and that I think the people on my gift list would actually like! Here are the game bags I was able to put together last night:

Very cool for one night's work! I used some of my St Jude fabric - I love how colorful it is. I also love that I was able to find such colorful dice to include in the bags. I've found a couple other game instruction sheets to include and will hopefully get those put together tonight - then we can still mail all packages this weekend like we had planned. *whew*

Another finish for this week was gift tags to go along with the teacher gifts. The boys hand-picked their choices of ornaments for each teacher, and we put them in gift bags, marking the recipient on these tages. I made the tags by cutting up some finger-painted sheets done on typing paper by the boys. I lucked out that we had a couple stamping markers to choose from for the tree toppers. I think they turned out pretty cute!

My partner and I are celebrating that we're finally reaching the point of having real decorations on our tree again! When the twin doodles were little, we just decorated the tree with lights and a couple of our favorite ornaments put up high. Last year we found a box of glass-looking ornaments made of plastic and celebrated having them on our tree. This year, the twin doodles made a bunch of ornaments at church, making this year's tree the most decorated in years. Here's a look at what they made:

Pretty impressive for 3-year-olds! Though, the bottom half of the tree still gets re-decorated daily thanks to an almost two-year old, we're enjoying the look of a decorated tree!

Here's one of my favorite Christmas decorations that I've made. I love this pattern and ended up making three or four of them at one time. I made them all into small wall-hangings and gave the rest away as gifts. I'm a fan of manger scenes and this is one of my favorites.

I have one last item to share - I think I made two of these, giving one away in a swap. I really like this Santa, though, for the first time this year, something bugged me about it. I finally realized that I want to put hair, ears or sideburns on him... Too funny, as this decoration is one I've put out every year since I made it 7 or 8 years ago!

I'm sure than many of you can empathise, it's been a crappy year money-wise. While some of that is due to the economy, we've also had a bad year in terms of large expenses. We talked about moving early in the spring, and our house must have heard us. When we decided to stay, we used some available funds to make a couple small home improvements - something we try to do yearly to invest in our house. Then, with that money spent, our house started falling apart - the back door, several windows, our sewer line, our refrigerator... things we couldn't repair ourselves and couldn't go without repair/replacement. It has reached the point that the dishwasher and car events of the week just make us shrug and pull out the credit card. This is when I'm happy to be able to step back and say how thankful I am to have found the blogging craft community. I can always find something I can make for gifts and some activity to do with the boys using what I already have, and somewhere to put my energy beyond being a grump! So, thanks!!!! (My family thanks you too! LOL!) Now I just need to find the blog with ideas for using up toddler/pre-school boy energy when trapped in the house on frigid winter days!

By the way, for those that asked, we ended up with 19 inches of snow!

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