Monday, November 28, 2011


Wondering what I was going to do with the "Thankful leaves"? Yep, so was I! I had some ideas from "Pinning" but the general idea was to trace everybody's hands and then make our hands a tree. The idea evolved though when Youssef mentioned how he'd like to do a paper folding picture (like the ones I sell.) He'd like to learn how to do it.. and.. well.. what better way to learn then to jump right in!
I did all the tracing and cutting however. I made a place for our faces to go and the date of course. This is the back side of the paper because that's the side I have to work from.

I found some great pictures of the kids doing their gasp face! If you've seen "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" then you'll get the joke. They thought the gasp scene was hilarious and every time I'd make hamburgers (which became quite often because everyone decided that CHeeeeeeese burgers were the bees knees) they'd do the gasp face. I can't remember laughing so hard in a LONG time as I did when Youssef and I were taking pictures of each other and trying to get the right "gasp" face. Some looked pretty terrible and funny. :} But, finally we settled on a couple good shots.
I didn't get any pictures of us actually doing it. It took all weekend between the two of us WHILE we were decorating our trees and the house. Pretty crazy, but we finished it!
I thought Youssef did a pretty good job. It looks a lot like some of my first ones. I little turbulent and perhaps not quite as smooth as the parts that I did, but I like it. It was fun to do together and take turns on..... except when he used my glue stick. ;]
We hung it in the dinning room so we can see it while we eat. For a while now I've been wanting to teach Lily about Christmas and that it's not about things that SHE gets. Well, I kind of had a revelation. Teaching someone to be unselfish really comes form a different point. We need to learn how to be thankful and grateful for what we already have and for what we get. It seemed like (in years past) that it didn't matter how much or little we got for Lily... it always disappointing her for some reason. There is nothing more frustrating than trying to give someone something good and having them complain or fight over it. When I pulled out the Christmas things and let the girls have the little people nativity to play with guess what they did RIGHT away? They FOUGHT over the baby Jesus. *groan* Besides getting really annoyed at them for fighting, it was even more frustrating to be trying to give them something good and fun and that they wanted and have them be dissatisfied over it.

How often do we as adults do that though? The income isn't *quite* enough or we complain about not having enough time in a day. What we really need to do is learn to manage our time and money and things better. God gives us good things and He wants to see us enjoy them and use them well.

So, we will be leaving our Thanksgiving tree up even though we are decorating for winter and Christmas now instead of Autumn. It's not about making it a point to get or enjoy less things so much as keeping an ongoing grateful attitude for what we have.

---When we are dissatisfied with what little we have now then we can never be satisfied with abundance. If we can be thankful for what we have already then we will be equipped to enjoy more.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The DIY turkey game for Thanksgiving!

A couple days ago I got an idea (click to see the original) that I "pinned" of course, but it was so cute I had to do it right away! Most of the Thanksgiving project ideas that I've gotten haven't looked this good. I think it's just what it's made out of and how it looks permanent. You CAN do this exact idea and game using drawings on paper plates or clip art or something, but I wanted to make it nice so that I can have it for years down the road too. I'll show you what I did to give you ideas (and of course, click on the original pin to see where I got this idea.) The tin was from the Dollar Tree and was juuuuust big enough to hold all the game pieces!
Let me explain the game first before I tell you how I made it. The object of the game is to get all six colored "feathers" clipped onto your turkey. You do that by rolling a wooden block with a different color on each side. I added the second dice to the game. It has a target painted on three sides and the other three sides of the block are blank. There is only one target clothespin so that gets traded around pretty quickly. The girls liked getting the target so much that we decided that you have to get all the colors AND have the target to win the game. (You could change that and make it so that you CAN'T win with all the colors unless you don't have the target.) The hill billy version is that everyone who wins (with all six feathers and the target) is then "out" of the game till all the players have won (been shot) and by then, Thanksgiving dinner will probably be ready and you can all go eat your turkey. Morbid or realistic? Depends on if you are vegetarian or not. ;] Oh, and when someone wins they are supposed to say "gobble, gobble, gobble!" Which cracks me up because the game is meant to be played while everyone is waiting to GOBBLE the turkey up (that is cooking in the oven of course.)
Cutest game ever? Right now I think it is. Just know that this adorable little "baby turkey" (as my girls called it) is NOT how they look in real life!
Right, so.. here are the pieces that you can cut out of felt (or paper or whatever) yourself!
The two blocks were just wooden blocks from the girls set that they don't play with much anymore. I used mod podge to do the colored dice. A home made version of mod podge can be found by following THESE links and I painted the targets with fingernail polish.
The original pattern for this game was to mod podge the clothes pins as well, but I didn't want to cut out 42 pieces of paper to do it! (My game has seven turkeys in it!) So I used just kids craft paint to paint them all --7 of each color-- red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple. After the paint was dry I went over them again with sparkly fingernail polish to help seal it.
There is only one "target" clothespin. You could make the target bigger on it, but I was afraid it would get bent up if I made it too big. You can use sturdy cardboard for the round target and glue it on top of the clothespin.
I stuffed the turkeys with plastic grocery bags that I just cut up., and I glued on the pieces with Tacky glue (love that stuff!) .. I decided to hand sew around them while I stuffed them instead of machine sewing just because it was more convenient to do here and there throughout the day. You could just glue the front and back together though of course or do a less fancy hand stitching than the blanket stitch that I did, or use a machine. Hey, it's all about the look you are going for. Looking back I think I might have machine stitched it, but I do like the texture of the blanket stitch on it.. so.. oh well.. it just took a little extra time.
The girls and I tested out the game and they gave it two really big thumbs up! The target was a big hit and it was cracking me up how everyone decided to place the "feathers" on their bird.
Of course, this game is great for helping with fine motor skills and color matching and awareness for little ones.
The ultimate winner! Six feathers and a target right between the eyes. ;]

I had fun making each turkey just a little different from each other. The original game only had the head of the turkey, and when I showed the picture of the "pin" to Renna (my 3 year old) said she wanted to put the feathers "On the turkey's bum bum, NOT the head! That's silly!" haha, right. So I had to add the body part and just for fun made them each unique.

Well, there you go. Hopefully that will give you some good ideas to make your own "Gobble, gobble, gobble!" game.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Thankful project

I cut out a bunch of paper leaves with my cuddle bug and each day everyone in our family (who can speak) will tell me something they are thankful for so I can write it down on a leaf and put it in the jar!

(Click here to see how I finished this project, but there are many other ways to use them. Have fun with it and play to your strengths. Scan pictures of your family's hands instead of tracing? Paint? Ink? Fabric? What craft floats your boat? Do that and Mod Podge the leaves onto the picture in any way you choose!)

I like doing it this way because we are thinking about thankfulness all month long and every day. More often than not I'm not thankful enough for what God has already blessed us with. It's too easy in our society to see what things we DON'T have and be made to feel like we "need" it. Seriously, it's amazing how many things I find I "need" after looking through a catalog of gadgets that I never knew existed till just then.

So, one or two things that we are thankful for go on each leaf. From toys that the girls already have to food to each other to any little thing that we are glad about.

If you want to do this project and don't have a cuddle bug or other paper shape cutting device you could buy a hand held punch in the shape of a leaf at a crafting store (they aren't too expensive) or perhaps you can find pre-cut leaves at a dollar store or crafting store. OR just use strips of paper and fill up that jar! Even just keeping them in the jar will be a good reminder and something to look through or take out when you feel depressed. But, of course.. if you are interested in doing something MORE with this project, use the leaf shapes and right before Thanksgiving I'll share the next faze of this project.