Gift Wrapping Tips

Posted 12-23-2011 at 10:35 AM by whitneywalters

I have finished all my Christmas shopping, now for the dreaded part of my holiday fun, the wrapping. The truth is I do not like wrapping presents. There has been times when I seriously considered taking everything to a charity event and having them wrap it for me. If it were not for the fact that I am trying to watching my spending, I may actually do just that. If my kids did not love unwrapping gifts so much I would just go the gift bag route.

Here are a few things I do to make gift wrapping easier and more fun!
1. Save boxes through out the year.
– It is so much easier to wrap a square or rectangle then something oddly shaped. So through out the year I save mailing boxes, shoe boxes and other boxes to reuse for wrapping. This also saves money since I have boxes already saved, I do not have to buy the boxes they sell around Christmas.

2. Don’t wrap what does not need wrapped.
– If you are giving a gift basket, skip the wrapping. Instead cover it with a pretty cellophane wrapping and top with a bow. I do gifts in a jar a lot and I do not wrap them either, I just top with a bow and add a gift tag. They are pretty enough that they look really nice without the wrapping.

3. Look for marked wrapping paper.
– I found wrapping paper that has a grid for cutting. Instead of having to use a pencil to mark where I need to cut.

4. For an added sweet touch. Make your own tags.
– One part of wrapping I do like is making my own gift tags. I scrapbook so I like being able to save my tags to add to the book later. For a really easy tag, use last years Christmas cards. You can simply just the front off, punch a whole so you can string it on a ribbon and write the name on the back of the card.



5. Get creative with your wrapping.
– I have seen people use old travel maps, newspapers and even fabric from the sales bin to wrap with.

Diaper Swapers

The Santa Myth

Posted 12-23-2011 at 08:32 AM by Krista

When I was a child my parents tried their hardest to keep the magic of Santa Clause alive. My sister and I let them believe that they succeeded for as many years as possible, because it seemed that we got more presents when we claimed our belief in the Big Red. I remember one year they even stuck a piece of red felt in the door and said that Santa got his coat caught in the door. I kept that piece of felt for years.

However, now that I have kids myself I have some problems with the Santa Myth. My problem is that I search hard for presents I know the girls will love I put a lot of effort into it, and then give someone else the credit? What kind of person does that? Someone kinder than me, that’s for certain. I am a gift person. I love to pick out gifts I think people will enjoy because that is how I show my love for them. Picking out gifts and then saying they’re from someone else takes some of the joy out of it for me.

My husband, on the other hand, feels that the Santa Myth is an important facet of childhood and feels like we’re robbing our girls if we don’t let them live in the world of reindeer and Christmas magic. They’ll find out the truth soon enough, anyway, he reasons. For the longest time we have been at a standstill on this issue, until I finally devised a compromise we could both live with.

What we will do, beginning this Christmas and for Christmases to follow is that I will write a letter to the kids from “Santa” and we will present their biggest gifts (one to each of them) as gifts from “Santa”. The rest will be from us.

So, what do you do in your household? Do you give gifts from “Santa?”

When I Grow Up

Posted 12-22-2011 at 05:15 PM by whitneywalters

My four year old daughter is a very creative and very dramatic little girl. She comes up with the funniest stories, the most inventive games and is loads of fun. She loves all things girly and really loves her shoes. She wears a big flower or bow in her hair almost daily, wants to wear sparkly dresses or flower shirts every chance she gets and likes to accessorize already.

Lately she has been on a kick of telling us what she wants to be when she grows up. Some days she wants to be a cook, other days she wants to be a zoo keeper. A few days ago she was going to be a girl wrestler and then last night she wanted to be a firefighter. The one thing she always goes back to though is that she wants to be a mommy.

The Best Age Ever

Posted 12-22-2011 at 03:27 PM by Krista

We are having a birthday party for my oldest, Alison, today. It is not actually her birthday, but being born two days before Christmas can make it hard to plan parties. Who wants to be the parent that throws a birthday party when others are already strapped buying Christmas presents? Heck, I can barely afford it and I know it’s coming all year! Each year I pull out the calendar when the month of December begins and we figure out when we can do a celebration for her. This year it fell on Monday, which is only six days before Christmas anyway.

It is so hard to believe she will be three. I feel like I have blinked and missed it somehow. I know that can’t be the case, though, because I have tons of pictures showing her in various stages of growth. Even so, it feels like such a short time ago that I held her and rocked her to sleep, singing softly in her ear. Truly, as much as I treasure the memories of her newborn stage, her babyhood, her entry into the world of being a toddler, I feel right now is the best age ever!

Of course, I have always thought that and hope I always will. I decided long ago that I wasn’t going to pine for another baby when she turned a year old, that I wasn’t going to wish away the time she spent in diapers, either. I try to enjoy each and every moment knowing that soon it will be gone. Yes, the challenges will change, but the joy is swept away into a memory, too. So right now she is the best age ever. She is perfectly, wonderfully beautiful at the ripe old age of three!

The Red Tent: a book review

Posted 12-22-2011 at 03:19 PM by Krista

I recently just finished reading The Red Tent, and I loved it so much that I just had to share it with each of you! This book is by talented Anita Diamant. This is the first novel I have read by her, and I can say that I will definitely be seeking out her other titles.

The Red Tent takes place in Biblical times and features the story of Dinah, daughter of Leah and Jacob. While her father and twelve brothers certainly play a role in the story it is mainly hers, and that of her mothers: Leah, Rachel, Zipplah and Bilah. The Bible only mentions Dinah briefly, but author Diamant takes us on a journey to explore the possibilities of this fascinating woman.

The writing of Anita Diamant had me enchanted from the very first page. It had a feeling of mystery to it, and the words flow beautifully from page to page. It keeps you reading to the very end and longing for more. I feel that even someone who is not interested in the Bible would find this story moving, and I definitely recommend it. And if you don’t believe me, just check out the reviews on Amazon! Happy reading to you all!

What is for Christmas?

Posted 12-22-2011 at 03:17 PM by whitneywalters

I have finished shopping for my kids and I am pretty happy to say I have been able to make this a really nice Christmas with the small budget I had this year. Each year we do the following for gifts, something you want, something you need, something to play and something to read. I have been able to get all the items, all of them new except for the mickey mouse books, for less then $200.

want- imaginext dinosaurs ( trade with a local mom )
need – sleep shorts ( bought from a ds mama $20 )
play – puzzles ( bought on sale on totsy $15 )
read – mickey and friends book set ( found a thrift store $5 )
stocking stuffers – peg people ( trade with a ds mama ), game boy advance games ( trade from a ds mama ), new tooth brush ( $2 ) wii game ( trade from a ds mama )

Destiny –
want – two barbies ( $10 black friday sale )
need- dresses ( totsy sale $16 )
play – Melissa and doug game ( thrift store find $4 )
read – clifford books ( trade from a ds mama )
stocking stuffers – peg people ( trade from a ds mama ), new tooth brush ( $2 ), head bands ( made by me with supplies I already had ), nail polish and chap stick ( trade from listia )

How to Say You Are Sorry

Posted 12-21-2011 at 05:30 PM by Krista

It can be difficult to teach children to have empathy for others.  I have been shocked at times by my girls’ utter lack of respect for each other—they will snatch, push, pull or do whatever it takes to accomplish what they want at that particular moment. My
oldest has had a head start on torturing her sister, and since she is older I am trying to teach her empathy.

She is doing well. She has a big heart. She often will say, “Aw” or “Oh, no!” when the baby cries. Sometimes, she will give hugs and kisses or offer her a toy to make her feel better. That is, unless she makes her cry, in which case she seems to care very little if at all. I always make her hug her sister by way of apology.

I also believe that apologizing to her when I do something wrong is a good way to teach her that everyone makes mistakes. On days where I snap at her because I’m irritable, or if I accuse her of wrong doing only to discover that I was wrong, I sit her down,

What Happens at Grandma’s….

Posted 12-21-2011 at 12:00 PM by Krista

My husband made a joke today about the T-shirts they sell that say “What happens at Grandma’s ____” He said that in our case, it was “What Happens at Grandma’s, stays in the ER.” Our daughter had to be taken to the emergency room yesterday after a fall from a five foot ladder. She hit her head on the cement, and while we were very, very worried yesterday, after being home and knowing she’s OK, I find that I’m just mad.

Yes, that’s right: mad. Mad at myself for letting them watch the kids. Mad at them for not taking their job seriously (yes, they knew she was on the ladder. They were, in fact, also letting my thirteen month old climb as they took pictures). I’m mad at my father-in-law, whose taking the full blame, mad at my mother-in-law for refusing any. I’m mad at my husband for being just as mad as I am. (Yes, I know that makes no sense, but I’m on a roll here!)

You know, being mad is a lot better than what we were yesterday, which is helpless. Our little girl was in so much pain, she was terrified, and all she wanted was to go home. I wanted so much to give her that—her home, but I couldn’t. The tests had to be run.

Attitude check

Posted 12-21-2011 at 11:22 AM by whitneywalters

My five year old son has developed an attitude lately. I know part of this is because of his age and that he is testing the waters to see how far her can push me. He seems to find a way to take an attitude over everything. When he is told to clean his room he tries to argue and when that is unsuccessful he will sulk upstairs and mutter under his breath about how he never does anything but clean clean clean all day long. Last time I made a vegetable he did not like he tried to tell me he was going to be carnivore and only eat meat from now on, because carnivores never have to eat any vegetable they don’t like. He recently got grounded from playing any games on the computer after he had a melt down of epic magnitude because he was not allowed to play two video games that day.

He used to love getting his picture taken also. I am a big picture taker, I have hundreds and hundreds of pictures of my kids. He used to love to sit and pose for me, now it is like pulling teeth to get him to sit still and not make a monster face long enough for me to snap a decent picture of him.

From stories I have heard from my mother in law, he is like a carbon copy of his father. Sometimes I feel like my son and I are from different planets. I was a very laid back and easy child, he is not. I love my son to pieces but he definitely keeps me on my toes.

Staying Home

Posted 12-21-2011 at 11:17 AM by Monica Beyer
Willow enjoying autumn

Autumn leaves or a road trip?

Not staying *at* home, but this weekend I’m staying at home with my toddler while the rest of my family travels 4 1/2 hours west to a wedding. They will be staying the night in a hotel, and after our giant trip to Colorado just a few months ago, I really did not want to go on another long car ride with  my little one.

It would have been a lot of hurry up and go, then driving, which could likely be miserable for everyone, but especially me and Willow. She did okay on the Colorado trip, but there were spells of her crying and there was nothing I could do. She even got to a point where she rejected the breast, which you’re not supposed to do while driving and dangling in between seats anyway. Then the wedding and trying to corral her the entire time, and then chasing her around the reception, and then trying to get her to sleep in a strange place, and repeat the trip all over again on the way home. I just didn’t anticipate having a ton of fun for myself (or those around me, watching my stress and antics).

Gosh, I sound so rude.  And I do feel a little guilty. If the wedding was closer we’d go. I just can’t do a long overnight trip with her at this age right now. I really can’t. I’m glad that the rest of my family will be represented and my well wishes to the happy couple will go along with them. My older children enjoy adventures like this — getting out of the house, staying at a hotel (very exciting), parties and food.