Sunday, December 18, 2011

Making merry.

The advent-ures continue! Every morning as Liam reaches for his advent calendar to see what's in store for him that day, I think, "Oh crap! I better come up with something quick!" Then I distract him with something shiny and shove a quickly scribbled note into the tiny knit stocking. (Being prepared is definitely not one of my strong suits...)

This has resulted in some hits and some misses. On the days he's caught me after I've had some coffee, he's fared slightly better than the days I've stumbled out of bed a bit late and was in the midst of a race against time as he gently reminded me to get on it already.

But for better or worse, I've yet to fill a single day's stocking with candy. In fact, the only "thing" he's received since the terrible, awful, no good, very bad quarter was, you guessed it!, another quarter. (It was a test. A test he passed with flying colors and much appreciation!)

We've jumped on the trampoline together, gone out for ice cream, and made ornaments out of found objects and pipe cleaners. He got $20 to donate to the charity of his choice and a slumber party with mom (someday he'll probably find it really funny that this was one of his favorites!). One day I simply declared it, "better to give than to receive!" (I think I had gotten food poisoning and he offered to stay home from school to take care of me and Finn. Sure, he probably just didn't want to go to school, but I was too busy barfing to argue. He took exceptional care of us all day and when I told him I didn't have any ideas for his advent calendar so maybe it could just be a giving day instead, HE WAS TOTALLY FINE WITH THAT! He even wrote out a few more ideas that he wanted to give us and stuffed them inside the calendar.)

It's definitely made this month even more fun than usual. And even though I'm sometimes caught off guard, coming up with festive ideas on the fly has worked out pretty well. The only problem is that some of my bright ideas could use a bit more thinking through.

Like the day I wrote, "Let's make candles together!" I had gotten the idea from a magazine a few weeks back and didn't even keep the article I had ripped out. THAT'S HOW EASY IT LOOKED! So I didn't think twice as I scribbled the note on a busy Tuesday morning and tossed it in the direction of his calendar as we ran out the door for school. I figured we'd swing by the craft store for some supplies when we picked him up that afternoon and then wham, bam, thanks for the candles, man!

Surprise, surprise, it was not that easy. First of all, we had to go to like a million different stores to get the right stuff (soy wax and beautifully scanted essential oils - I mean, who wants to make a cheap, stinky candle?) so his daily activity had to be postponed (this has happened kind of a lot - no biggie). I finally got everything we needed yesterday but then had a heck of a time deciphering the instructions (I think they were written in code only serious crafters could understand) and by the time I thought I knew what to do, I was starting to get a bit flustered (I think it was the combination of scalding hot wax, a messy kitchen and lots of small people and pets running around my feet). So I sent everyone outside until I finally found my groove.

Unfortunately, by the time I was ready for Liam to help, I had run out of wax (and only made two and a half candles!). Since we had already decided that Liam-made candles would make a perfect little gift, I will be making another trip to the craft store tonight.

After we make marshmallows (advent-ure #18!).

And no, I've never made marshmallows before and have no idea how difficult they will be. Bill heard a story on NPR and thought it sounded fun. Fun like making candles? I hope not! But fun like making finger paint would be right up our alley...

Since the candle making was such a bust in the teamwork department, I asked Liam to help me make a super-secret DIY project for Finn. I had seen a recipe for homemade finger paint on Pinterest (the one and only time I hopped on there...) and thought it would be a great little gift for my budding artist.

We had all of the ingredients on hand (no more trips to the store!) and the recipe was quick and easy and fun to make.

That's my kind of DIY!

And with a big pad of paper that Liam wrapped up all by himself, I think it will make a fantastic gift.

Any merry making happening in your house this month? I still have a handful of days to fill and am running out of ideas!

{FYI - those finger paints were easy to make but by the time Finn opened them on Christmas Eve they were moldy! If we ever try them again we will definitely use them right away. Although that was such a bummer I'm not sure we'll be trying them again. Not that Finn cared a bit - he's young enough not to care if his gifts are poison.}

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