December 30, 2011

Easy Borax Ornaments

Here are the ornaments that Steven and I made together last week.
Steven found this easy idea on About.com. We decided to give it a try. It worked fabulous, and we were so impressed by our first few, that we ended up making about a dozen! You first start by making shapes out of pipe cleaners. We made familiar Christmas shapes. We used one pipe cleaner per shape, but you can combine pipe cleaners as well. The shape you create just needs to fit down inside a cup.
Then, we curled the end of each pipe cleaner around a pencil to suspend it from the cup.

**Next: on the stove, boil 4 cups of water. After bringing to a boil, take pan of boiling water off heat. Immediately add in 3 Tablespoons Borax powder (available in grocery laundry aisle) for every cup of water. So, to the 4 Cups off-heat water, add 12 Tablespoons Borax. Stir with wooden spoon. Pour this hot mixture, carefully, into ornamented cups, just to above pipe cleaner shape.  

The website recommends leaving them sit for a minimum of 4 hours, but we let ours rest overnight.

But even after a few hours, they impressed us with looking like this.

and this.

and this.
These are some Steven made. The one in the middle he added red food coloring to, as it soaked overnight. To get even greater crystal formation, he put the ornament in a fresh Borax solution two nights in a row.

And here were a few I made.
When Steven scraped the crystals off the inside of the glasses, we had loose crystals left over. We decided next year we may add these extra crystals to the roofs of our Christmas Village. What a great craft this would be for kids!

I may repeat this one on Valentine's Day, perhaps making crystalized hearts. I ought to give that one a try!

December 29, 2011

It Was A Wonderful Time!

What a wonderful visit I had with my wonderful man! It was an absolutely awesome 16 days, of which I cherished each moment! Such an awesome blessing to have our family together again!

I am so anxious to share with you some highlights from our time together and many pictures:


Our reunion went so well at the airport. Nathan just looked up at his Daddy and smiled the biggest smile ever, as I've never seen before. Nathan seemed to recognize his Daddy right away! Made me want to cry!

A day after Steven returned home, we went out shopping, and then out to eat at some of his favorite food spots he had really been craving after 7 months without "real" food!

One of our first stops, was our local Wright B flyer museum. While in Afghanistan, in his free time, Steven built a 1/78th scale model of the Wright B flyer completely out of cardstock. He brought it home (very carefully) and he presented it as a gift to the museum for display. Visitors will be able to print the pdf copy of his self-designed model off their website very soon. I am so proud of my talented Babe!!!!

And we stayed a bit longer and showed Nathan the Wright B flyer in the hangar.


We spent a few evenings visiting friends, while Nathan visited with his friends:


We spent almost an entire day at the Creation Museum! We love it here! I think it was my 5th time going! We LOVE it so much, and we were excited to show Nathan all around for the first time, and enjoy their walk-through nativity outside too! What an awesome day!






And we had about 3 Christmas' while Steven was here. Our first one was with my side of the family, the next was helping our little man open his gifts Christmas morning with us, and then Christmas afternoon we spent a wonderful few hours at my grandparents' house. I don't think either of us will forget any of these special moments...and we recorded a good amount of them all!




Nathan had such a great time playing and being held by his Daddy! I had been praying that, due to Steven missing so much of Nathan's life so far, that Steven would get to see Nathan do a milestone of some sort while he was home. Well, Nathan decided to take his first few steps on Christmas Eve right in front of us! It was extremely exciting for both of us, and a definite answer to my prayer! We are so blessed!

During our time together, Steven made a delicious RUM cake, after our fun, annual trip to Jungle Jims International Food Market. It took us a week, but we ate the whole thing....I think it got better tasting with each day! (He has always been a great cook...much better than me!)


We also did some crafts together, like make these terriffic Borax crystal ornaments. Will share the "how-to" with you soon.

Since this was Nathan's first Christmas, we decided to start some family traditions of our own with him, including an advent calendar. We had THIS dog, Jingle, from Hallmark. In our shopping, we found out that Jingle also had an ornament/advent book. Steven then designed and built (in a few short hours) our very own advent calendar to use along with the book. LOVE it! I will share more of the details on this one too, soon! I'm constantly amazed at Steven's creativity and the talents God's given him!



And even amid the shopping times, and Christmas, and entire days filled with wearing pajamas, drinking cocoa, watching 5 different versions of A Christmas Carole, and playing with our son, we took time to just enjoy one another again. I think that was what Steven's leave time was all about. I hope you also found time to just cherish being with your family too!

Thank you, friends, for all of your support,  for all of your encouragement, for reading my blog, and liking it enough to keep checking back! That's what keeps me posting! Hope you all had a VERY Merry Christmas!

Steven left yesterday, and is already more than halfway back to his base for another 3-4 months. The saying good-byes again was really hard, but we know that it's only now a short time again before we'll be together more permanently. And I sure look forward to that time!


But, until then, onward with the crafts!!!!! : )

December 10, 2011

Still Waiting.

                                   for this man to come home. My Man! It will be very soon he tells me....


I'm getting VERY excited! Ok, I've been excited for months, and now it's almost here!


Longing for more than just a visit with him, but we will make every moment count.

So, while I'm still waiting, I stayed a little busy bee yesterday....

I watched our little guy dump out all his clothes from the dresser. twice.


I helped my sister make a larger size of "Robin" costume for her son.


I have a window (with WOOD trim in my bathroom...in the shower), that was seriously cracking. My paint job from last year needed touched up....so....
I layed on some joint compound. Then some primer. Then some semi-gloss paint sealer. It was getting late. I know I look tired in this picture, but the job was pretty easy.

And here's my newly coated bathroom shower window ledge.

During Nathan's morning nap I made another baby sling, using the free Karma Baby Wrap Directions. My simplest one to make yet!

This hippo fabric was from Ikea.

And it was so easy, that I made a second one out of an Ikea fleece blanket. The flannel bird print is from JoAnns (leftover from a pj making project) last year.




These two slings are the most comfortable I've tried EVER. And I've tried about 7 different ones so far. This baby wrap is my new favorite. The ones on Karma Baby sell for an incredible $50-75! Ahh!

And I checked this book out from our library a few weeks ago. Love it!


And just got around to tracing some patterns out of it this morning! Loving the envelope tee and the simple pocket pants! Nathan will have some soon!

So, while I'm still waiting for My Beloved to come home, I just still had to talk with you all. I hope you are still out there!

Merry Christmas! Only 15 days left to go!

December 6, 2011

Advent & Traditions

With Christmas upon us, most people who have children  have gotten out their advent calendars already. Most people are now 6 days in to counting down to the big 25th, or becoming more nervous because they are not done Christmas shopping yet (I would think that is most people : )). Are you done yet? This snowman advent calendar is so cute from Potterybarnkids!

However, growing up, my sisters and I looked forward to always opening up a new "window" daily on one of these paper type advent calendars. These three are available HERE for only about $4.50 each.


One blog I really have enjoyed looking at frequently is Mayamade. I absolutely fell in LOVE with this advent calendar that she made for nearly "free" out of saved toilet paper tubes! I started to make this myself to feature on here, but quickly ran out of time. So, with permission, Maya allowed me to share her photos with you. Thank you, Maya!


Isn't it beautiful? Go HERE to see how she made this 2010 countdown calendar.


This is her toilet roll advent calendar made in 2009. Go HERE to see how to make this one. My second favorite! What a great craft to do with your kids!


And Maya's creative one made in 2008! See it HERE! Could you think of another way to use toilet paper tubes to create your own advent calendar? I'm thinking next year, Steven and I will definitely start this yearly tradition with Nathan. So excited!


One tradition my parents started with us when we were little was always lighting the Sweedish Angel Chimes on Christmas Eve, while my Dad read Luke 2 to us from the Bible. Some of my favorite memories! As adults, they have gifted each of us girls with an Angel Chime Set of our own to continue the tradition, and I love it! You can buy yours HERE, or just go take a look at the short video of how they work.

Around here, about 99% of presents are completed and wrapped. Nathan & I are not really counting down to Christmas, but instead, to days left until our Beloved Steven (Husband/Daddy) comes home to us! I absolutely couldn't be more excited! It will just be a short visit, but I plan on making every day count!

Due to this wonderful news, my blog will be taking about a 2-3 week Christmas "vacation." So, Thank you to all of my wonderful friends and faithful followers! I love you all! Your encouragements really keep me going!

Merry Christmas to you ALL!!!