Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Taking Down Christmas Makes Me Sad

I really don't like it when I have to take down the Christmas decorations. It is so pretty in the house during the holidays. It takes me a solid week to get all 15 of my bins spread out around the entire house. And it takes a day to put it all away. That doesn't seem right somehow.
The coffee table in the den is cute little snowmen. 
My kitchen table is all snowmen decor too. They make me giggle.  
 My kitchen is red and white for the holidays. Mrs. Claus and her cupcakes and the Nutcracker music playing just make me smile.
I hated putting away all this darlingness. 
Dessert buffet. I forgot to take pictures after we had all the brownies, cookies, cream puffs and cupcakes on these platters. bad me. 
Drink station at the holiday parties. We have sodas and lemonade sparkling cider and all kinds of yummy things. 
My light up snowman wall hanging I keep up all January. My little grandson loves looking at it. 
I love this little snowman above on the left. He changes colors from green, to red, to blue. It's fun to watch him when it is dark in the entry hall. He gets to stay all January. 
 I luckily have a few bins full of January decor. Otherwise the place would look really depressing and sparse. I have lots of snowflakes, snowmen and some blue and white glittery ornaments I save to put in glass jars for January. And I have my light up snowman from Christmas I leave up all month long too. He is cute.

I have pictures in cute holiday frames I only put out for one month a year. I hate putting this one away, it is so cute of my oldest son and his little family. 
Some more guest tables I had set up. I had cute Santa chairbacks for this card table. The little kids all wanted to sit here in the Santa chairs, even though I had 2 little kiddie tables! lol. 
Advent Tree filled with gingerbread man lollypops for each day of the month leading up to Christmas. 
 I set up lots of tables when I had a family dinner party recently. This was the little kiddie table. I had two of them. I brought some projects and crayons from my classroom so the kids could color gingerbread houses.
Here's the gingerbread houses and the cute, kid's table. 
The only nativity I put out anymore is the unbreakable one. If I put out any of my others, somebody loses a head or a leg. This year it was a wise man. Too bad I wasn't the wise woman who left him back in one of the Christmas bins. 
 Stairs going up to my bedroom. I will miss these cute, long-legged mice smiling at me on the way up to bed.

It is so easy for me to forget the reason for the season. Here is another unbreakable nativity my son Devin brought me back from Armenia, where he served a mission. 
I have tried hosting parties for family and friends always hoping that everybody has a good time; but I've learned that some people won't have a good time no matter what you do, and that isn't your fault. You just try to enjoy yourself and hope that everybody else does the same. But it is kind of out of your control. 

  Another one of the adult tables set up for dinner. I loved the glittery runner and holly berry placemats and simple Christmas colors and decor here.
And I have good memories of My daughter playing Christmas carols and us all singing along with her. 
I have learned not to have huge and high expectations for Christmas gifts and all the drama it can cause. If people like what I gave them good, but if not, I just leave the receipt at the bottom of the box and they can return it and buy something else. And I don't mind at all. I used to do that when my mom bought me clothes I didn't like. And it was fun to go shopping after Christmas was over.
Another dinner party table set up. This one has Santa placemats and gingerbread-men salt shakers and candleburner. 

 Some of these snowmen decorations I will leave up through January. I have 2 light blue bins to house my January decorations. I got them out today and started the taking down Christmas process.
Stockings hung on the mantle. I will miss these pretty ones my daughter made herself for her family. They are staying with us this month waiting for their house to finish getting built. It has been a wonderful time to be able to see and play with my grandkiddos daily. 
All these end tables will go back to being just blah looking after taking down Christmas is done. Sniff. 
My cute kitchen counter. I will miss the bright and happy Santa stuff. 
And I will think back fondly on having The extended family doing the nativity and Christmas caroling together with them.  
I have tried to appreciate the little things this year. I have loved seeing little messages my 7 year old granddaughter leaves on my office whiteboard every time she is in there. It has gotten to be such a funny interchange. I look forward to seeing any new thing she has written. Sometimes they are generic funny thoughts. Sometimes they are messages to grandpa. Sometimes they are notices of things coming up in her classroom, like the time she was worried about a fire drill and the screeching alarm that made her nervous. (snicker) And sometimes they are all for me. Lucky me. I love her so. This particular one her little sister wrote to her, sharing the love.  So sweet.
So even though Taking Down Christmas makes me kind of sad, I have little gems like this to brighten up my day. And the little things I've seen and experienced remind me of how good it is to celebrate the holidays. I know if I only lean in a little more often, I will see the little gems that are happening all around me. Things that make me smile like these things do.
Great Grandpa and great grandson enjoying a photo op (NOT) ... and there are TWO WHOLE  generations in between! Someday this photo will be even more precious to me than it already is. 
Cousins enjoying their matching bigwheel trikes. There was a third cousin missing this day. But someday they'll all be together again riding them. 
 And these little gems, these little moments in time just make the little letdown of putting away Christmas,  a little bit better to me.  Things just look a little brighter after all. Here is all 6 of my grandkids blowing bubbles on the deck outside one day during the holidays.
And I won't soon forget the Monday night we all went to Hogle Zoo for Zoolights with the entire family. It will be one of my favorite memories this holiday season. And those are the things I will think on, as I am taking down Christmas.

Putting up January....snowflakes and snowmen. 
Not quite as cute as all the Christmas pizzaz......
But winter is here....with all that snow and so I will embrace it I guess. Snowmen make it more bearable....:D
Now the front entry doesn't look AS CUTE as it did previously....but it's filled with January finds.....snowflakes, snowmen and cute little grandbaby pictures in January frames.
 Changing out all the red and green for blue and white......
 And January placemats, snowmen, and snowflakes......

I wish you all a very happy New Year celebration. Think about all the fun you had this week and month. We are so lucky and blessed now, aren't we? Happy New Year! 

Friday, December 26, 2014

3 Styles of Paper Snowflake Making for Kids

The other day at school the 4th graders had hung giant snowflakes made out of 6 pieces of white, copy paper, all over the front office foyer. It was so beautiful! I got on google last night and looked it up.  And look what I found!  This is the coolest, easiest snowflake to make ever. And so I am making these to hang around my house week when I take down Christmas and the house looks dull and dreary. They look pretty Easy.
Snowflakes made from paper. Super easy but fun for the kids on a snowy day. We didn't want to go outside on this cold, wintery Utah day. So we stayed inside and played instead.
This GIANT snowflake was from the Scholastic site and tutorial is HERE.  At my school these are lining the ceiling in the front office foyer. They are soooooo beautiful! Kids made them too! So cool! And they are just made from 6 pieces of copy paper! Super CHEAP decoration for winter! 
Q. What kinds of math do Snowy Owls like?
A. Owlgebra. Haha. I love a good joke.

I found many tutorials for these giant snowflakes on the web. One Tutorial with pictures is HERE at Paper Zone Blog for how to do a cool, giant paper snowflake.  I used 8 1/2 x 11 copy paper sheets. You could have each of your kids  do 1/6 of the snowflake. Another one with cool photos is HERE at A Cup of Calm.
A Cup of Calm had cool pics to guide me through it! 
You start by using a perfect square of paper, just like in Japanese paper folding, or doing a square snowflake. Then you fold twice.  The side where there is a single fold you cut 4 lines almost to the edge, that line up with the side with the long side of the triangle.
SNOWFLAKE 2 - My Kindergartners made cute, LITTLE snowflakes using coffee filters folded 3 times then triangles cut out of each edge. These were a part of our Frozen Party activities we had HERE. Depending on the child's age you could do one of these 3 styles of Snowflakes. 
Fold the square diagonally to form a triange. Then fold that triangle in half again to form a smaller triangle. Unfold carefully. Attach the 2 outside tips of the square to each other in front. Then attach the next tips in back with tape. Then the next tips in front with tape. That the last inner tips in back with tape.  Do this 4 or 5 more times.  Attach the ends together with a stapler. You will have a 5 sectioned star snowflake or a 6 sectioned snowflake.  hang up in the center of your room for quite a breathtaking display.
Just staple all the 6 parts together to form the snowflake!  All Done!  
A fun interactive snowflake making website with magic scissors that cut a new snowflake every time is called Snowflake Barkleys.com HERE is the link. It's a cool and fun website for the kids to get an idea how to cut a snowflake.
Snowflake Bentley is a book I read to my class each January. He was mesmerized by snowflakes. He made them his life's work as a photographer. They are so beautiful and interesting
Another Kind of Paper Snowflake making is using just strips of paper. I used about 12 for each one, but you could use less, maybe 8 or 10. There is no particular size. I used a sheet of copy paper.
Snowflake 3 Tutorial Step  1. Cut an 8 1/2 x 11 paper into 1 inch strips the short way. I got 11 or 12 and placed them into an even pile. You can use any size really, longer strips will make a larger snowflake; smaller strips will make a tiny one.
 Snowflake Tutorial Step 2. Put into 1 pile, fold in the middle and staple into the middle of the strips Then fold the first corner down and glue strip to the center near the staple. Then do the next one of the strips the same way gluing a small bit into the center as you go.
 Paper Snowflakes...Continue folding each piece down to the center and glue. Go around the whole pile of strips.
 Snowflake Tutorial Step 3. When each piece of the snowflake is glued and dried, hang a string from your light fixture or ceiling fan to decorate the table area. Use lots of different styles of snowflakes to decorate.
 You can use colored paper in the springtime to make hanging flowers too. Or use 2 colors like red and white for Valentines Day or green and white for St. Patrick's Day. Or solid pastels for a baby shower would be really cute too!
Snowflakes made from just copy paper. So easy. We also do snowflakes the old fashioned way using coffee filters and folding them 3 times and cutting out triangles. We've had fun making snowflakes today. 
Here are some funny winter riddles to brighten up this dreary gray weather we are having. Ugh! I have to search for things to give me strength during the coldest month of the year in Utah.

Winter Riddles to give you the giggles!

Q. What did the big furry hat say to the warm wooly scarf?
A. You hang around while I go on ahead.

Q. How do you keep from getting cold feet?
A. Don't go around BRRRfooted!

Q. Where do seals go to see movies?
A. The dive in!

Q. What kinds of math do Snowy Owls like?
A. Owlgebra.

Q. Why is the slippery ice like music?
A. If you don't C Sharp, you'll B flat.

I have a snowflake book by W.A. Bentley that has pictures of thousands of real snowflakes he took with an old fashioned camera. He proved that no two were alike! Each one is different and unique. It's one of the truly amazing facts of nature! I love snowflakes! They are a cheap and easy decoration for winter. And a fun way to pass the cold wintery afternoon! 


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