Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Making Ornaments

I really, really wanted to make ornaments with the kids today. I've been trying this holiday season to slow down, to live in the moment, to keep things simple....and I feel like I'm failing. Maybe it's just having four kids...maybe it's that I have a cold and am a little grouchy...maybe it's because I have a type A personality and just can't relax...I don't know, but I've been thinking lately that my unease comes from having no routine in place, from the fact that we're off school this week.

I do better with routine, I have found, and so do the kids. Therefore, I have decided that our vacation routine for the next few days will go like this:

Mornings- do chores, then work on cleaning one room of the house, for just 20 minutes. I like the house to be clean at Christmas, so no compromises here. After the chores are done, I will do a Christmas related activity with whomever is around and interested. And if no one is interested, I will do it by myself! After that, I know my three year old will be anxious to read Christmas books so I'll sit down for an hour or so with her and read next to the Christmas tree. I love to read Christmas books. Our favorites are over there on the sidebar.

Then we will have lunch.

After lunch, if we aren't driving around to kids' activities or appointments (which unfortunately is more often than I'd like, even this week) I will be demanding encouraging everyone to take at least a half hour of quiet time. In their rooms, or reading. I am using this time to read A Christmas Carol, which I read every year. It's the only Dickens book I've ever made it through, because it's easy and short reading, so don't think I'm some sort of genius or something because I'm reading Dickens. I need a break, that's why the quiet time.

If you are asking why I need a break, you obviously don't have four children, or your children are so perfect you never wish they were elsewhere. In which case, better find another blog to read.

After that, if it's nice out, we might walk in the woods for a while, as long as it isn't too cold. We don't do this nearly often enough and even though the getting ready part is a total bore: Whaddya mean you can't find your coat? Well, where is it? Look sonny, do you have any idea how much that coat COST??, the walking part always relaxes me. Well, so long as Rose is walking, and not making me carry her. And it isn't too cold.

And after that I'm going to work on wrapping. I hate wrapping, but it must be done. Listening to Christmas carols makes it slightly more bearable, especially if they are played loud enough to drown out any squabbling children.  The kids can help if they want, or not, I really don't care as long as they occupy themselves and leave me to it. They all have gifts they are making for aunts and uncles (their idea, not mine) and I stay out of that entirely.

So, anyway, today I wanted to be intentinonal, and I wanted to do something that would make me feel good later..if not during the actual process...because you know, making ornaments with four kids isn't terribly relaxing, at least in our house! This is my struggle this holiday season, how to give the kids those good memories, while at the same time keeping things simple and preserving my sanity.

And I am reminded after all, that I can't really give them memories, as though I were handing out party favors or something. They will remember what they remember and I can't control that.

I just hope they remember making mice out of Hershey kisses and not the way all our paper pulp ornaments fell apart when we took them out of the oven. Where is the darn angel's wing?? Anyway, because you know I am borderline type A and can't do anything small, here are the three ornaments we made....

Disclamer: not all of the children made all of these ornaments... there was varying degrees of boredom among the crew and some escapees never got around to making a glitter pinecone. But it's all good. And they look nice on the tree. Links at the bottom, for the mice and paper decorations.

Christmas Mice

Paper Pulp Ornaments. Our success with these was limited. The simpler shapes (the hearts) came out better than the angel and gingerbread boy who had to be hot-glued back to life.  These also had to bake at least an hour longer than directed.

The pinecones are just painted pinecones, rolled in glitter, with ribbon hot-glued to the top for a hanger. Very simple. Except for trying to clean up the glitter afterward. Good luck with that, I got no tips for you there, you'll never eradicate it completely. Our table still has glitter on it from last Christmas.

I like to think of it as a well-loved table.

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