Sunday, December 29, 2013

Just the three of us

I've been wanting to share the family photos we had taken of us in October, but I decided to wait until after Christmas because I knew we would be using the photos on our Christmas card :)

My friend Sarah is a professional photographer in Sheboygan. She specializes in newborn and child photos, and will photograph families and the occasional expectant mama.

Her website is . Here are a few of the photos she took of Liam and our family this past Fall. She took the photos at Maywood Environmental Park

(please do not copy or snapshot any of these photos)

Thank you, Sarah, for capturing our little family :)

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas...

...from our family...

...and our home... you!

Love - Matt, Erin and Liam

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Quick and easy ornament

December's Crafty Club was held at Urbane, a local bar/restaurant. But instead of passing around craft supplies we passed around drinks and homemade ornaments! 

Each of us pre-made one ornament to give to someone else in the group. And I must say -- everyone did a great job! There was a glass ball decorated and filled with popcorn, a glass ball filled with cute curly-cue papers, a ball covered in handmade paper flowers, a ball wrapped in holiday yarn, a Crafty Club themed ball (very nice Sarah) and a ball made out of socks. 

The ball above and below is the one that I made. I used things that I found laying around the house (felt, scrap booking paper scraps, a clear ball, ribbon and tiny red fuzzy balls). I just cut scraps of paper and felt into little teardrop shapes and glued them on the ball in layers, starting at the bottom of the ball and working my way to the top. I used Aleene's Clear Tacky Glue to stick it all together. It took me a 1/2 hour tops to make the whole thing. Quick and easy. My friend Joy was the lucky taker of my ball.

I ended up picking my friend Janine's ball. She made her ornament out of some cute striped socks. What an easy, fun gift to give someone. I'm tempted to unravel this and wear the socks though :)

Liam says "enjoy the rest of your week."

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Sticky, gooey and messy = fun

Baby it's COLD outside. Which means Liam and I are pretty much stuck inside all day long. It's important that I try to keep him busy or else I seriously might go crazy! So I peruse Pinterest and the mom-blogs that I follow for fun ideas to keep the little guy occupied.

I saw an idea on one of the mom-blogs I follow - Growing A Jeweled Rose - and thought I'd give it a whirl. The mom/writer of the blog posts awesome creative projects, like how to make homemade paint, fun science experiments and sensory bin ideas. I came across her Shivery Snow Paint recipe and it looked like something Liam would enjoy. 

I worried a bit that he would try to eat it (like he does the play dough we made) but I told him over and over again "do not put it in your mouth" and he actually listened! 

The recipe is really, really simple. All you need is school glue, plain foamy shaving cream, some glitter and a couple of drops of mint extract. The mint works nicely to mask the smell of the shaving cream.

You mix equal parts of glue and shaving cream together, and then stir in a ton of glitter and a few drops of the mint extract until it looks something like this:

I found an old, crappy paint brush in our basement (perfect for using with a gluey mess) and a wooden stick for Liam to use.

It was sticky, gooey and messy -- perfect for a little boy!

It kept him busy for a good 10-15 minutes.

I decided it need a little more color, so I added a squeeze of both green and red finger paints to the mess.

It dried puffy within a couple of hours. I think I may cut a few hunks out and turn them into Christmas ornaments...we'll see.

If any Sheboygan moms want to try this with their kids, let me know. I will happily pass on the supplies since I already have them all. Sharing is caring :)


Friday, December 6, 2013

Hanging up the faves

I just LOVE decorating Christmas trees. Each year as December rolls around I look forward to getting out our box of ornaments, looking at each one (and reminiscing over the memories I have with them) and then carefully put them on the tree. Although I think the term "carefully" is probably not the correct word to use anymore, since little Liam helped me this year!

I separated the ornaments into two piles right away: 1 pile of fragile/vintage/unsafe/breakables and then 1 pile of completely safe/fun/un-breakables (no glass, no hooks, no fit-in-the-mouth). I hung the "Liam do not touch those" ornaments on the top half of the tree while. And Liam hung his toddler-friendly ornaments on the lower half. What a great deal!

This little boy not only helped me decorate the tree this past Sunday, but he's helped me un-decorate and decorate it AGAIN and AGAIN and AGAIN every day this week. I sit by him when he does it, to make sure he doesn't try to climb the tree (or eat the tree or destroy the tree). 

It's cool to see that he loves decorating the tree as much as his mama does :)

To me, ornaments are a gift that keeps on giving. Every year I get to look at them & enjoy them. And each one has it's own unique story. Here are some photos of my favorite ornaments that I've been gifted/given or made myself over the years:

Matt, Liam and I made these last year and gave them to Liam's grandparents & godparents as gifts. And of course we saved one for our tree! It cracked a little while in storage, but I'm keeping this thing as long as it will let me!

When I had an art studio in St. Petersburg at The Art Lofts I made a bunch of ornaments out of wood and paper scraps. I sold them at a Christmas art event. I still have a few left. This one (and the one below) are my favorites).

Here's another ornament with Florida memories! I bought this at a really cool pottery place in St. Pete called St. Pete Clay. All of the ornaments there were handmade by local artists.
I gave this to Matt as a gift a couple of years ago. This is pretty self explanatory. Matt likes beer.

My mom gave this to us the first Christmas after we were married.
My mom gave this to me (and one to each of my brothers) the Christmas after my dad died. That was THE hardest Christmas I've ever experienced. But this star, which I hang at the very top of the tree every year, also represents the presence my dad still has each day in my life.  I know that he's like a star watching over my family and I :)

Liam's first Christmas ornament. Very dear to my heart.
My mom gave me a box of childhood oldies to pick through and keep a few years back. This Strawberry Shortcake ornament is pretty dang old - I got it as a little girl from my grandma & grandpa. 

We also picked through some boxes of vintage ornaments of Matt's Grandma's. I just love the history and look of these. Someone else's memories are now hanging on our tree.

Matt's family is VERY German (like 100% German background), so every year Matt's parents have been giving us a German-style ornament for Christmas. These are two of my faves. what is YOUR favorite ornament from your childhood? That you've made yourself? That you've been gifted? Please share!