Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Our Simple, (mostly) Homemade Christmas Gifts

Everyone got mama-made pajamas for Christmas Eve, including Daddy!

I got Toby's stocking done in the nick of time (Christmas Eve), so his joined the line-up on the couch (maybe someday we'll have a place to hang them up!).

We like to leave one fun item sticking out of the stocking, unwrapped.  All the kids received two fun gifts, two more practical gifts, and then two treats.

I made Joanna a tutu and a ribbon ring for her fun gifts.

I made Ezra a knight's helmet (from this tutorial) and a tool belt.

Toby received a teething necklace (okay, so that's sort of for me, too!), a teething toy, booties, and Mum Mums.  (My favorite baby snack - I can't believe he's almost ready for them!)  I made all of his gifts but the Mum Mums.

I couldn't think of any fun things to make for Benjamin that he would really enjoy, but he really wanted a toy dragon, so we found a Playmobil one for him.  He got a fun dragon book for his second fun gift.

For their practical gifts all the kids got a fleece pillowcase and a kid's kitchen knife.  I'm hoping to have them all help me a bit more in the kitchen this year, so these should be fun.

Along with their stockings, we like to do one gift under the tree - so far we've always done one large joint gift for the kids, although that will probably change as they grow older and like different things!

 This year, Seth made them this awesome seesaw, from this tutorial.  This will be fun to have in the yard!  The boys are a bit too nervous to use it, but Joanna loved it!

We had a fun time opening all our gifts!  Homemade, simple, and fun - everyone was happy!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Bathroom Renovations

Finally, after two years, our bathroom is under construction!  We knew when we bought our house that we would have to redo the bathroom, so it's exciting to have it actually happen!  Having only one bathroom makes it a bit tricky to remodel, but we're surviving!  =)  A couple of months ago Seth started to tear out what he could without rendering the bathroom unusable, and then he and his dad spent the week of Thanksgiving doing as much work as they could.  We haven't had a real bathroom since then, because they're now really only able to work on it an evening or two and one weekend day each week, but we're getting by with a porta potty and sponge baths!  We still have a ways to go on the bathroom - although we're definitely on the downhill slope now, with most of the repair work done and mostly just the "putting the room together" stuff left.  We are so thankful that his dad knows how to do remodeling work (and that he's willing to help us!), since hiring someone to do this would have been way out of our budget.  This way is requiring lots of time and work, but we'll have been able to do it fairly inexpensively.

We had to fix some of the plumbing anyway, so Seth and his dad moved the hot water heater from the kids' room into the laundry room, as well as redoing most of the other pipes, too.  It's nice to know that's all new and clean!

Moving the hot water heater gave us an extra closet in the kids' room, which will be great for storage!

The bathroom at the beginning of the "Project Week".

We had to tear it down to the studs, since it had
water damage that needed to be fixed.  Thankfully,
the damage wasn't as bad as it could have been.
The floor had to go, too.  It's always interesting to
learn things about your house - that bare spot in the
back wall used to be a window.

This is what our bathroom looks like right now.  The studs have all been fixed or replaced, and we have the new subfloor down.  Next up is to finish bringing the plumbing up from under the house into the bathroom, and then we'll be able to put the wallboard up (I say "we" like I'm actually involved!).  We can't wait to have a bathroom again someday! =)

Snow Day!

We woke up to snow this morning - just a little when Seth and I got up, but a couple of inches by the time the kids were up!  They didn't really eat breakfast they were so excited to go outside!  It is no small feat to get four kids (and myself) ready to go out in the snow, but at least this year we were out for half an hour or so, a bit longer than the 10 or 15 minutes they were out last winter!  It is so fun to have snow at Christmas time; it makes everything so festive!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Christmas Pictures

It's been a bit crazy around here lately - more on that soon - but for now, here are the pictures I included on our Christmas card this year.  I've been planning on taking Christmas pictures for weeks, and it just hadn't happened yet.  Then, yesterday morning, everyone was all dressed up for the kid's Christmas program at church, and by some miracle, we had five minutes to spare, so I took the chance and got a few pictures.  Thankfully, they turned out well, and I was able to put some cards together last night - just in time to get them mailed before Christmas!