New Look, Same Moms

If you frequent our site, you may notice that it looks a little different.  Fear not, it is still us, Mary and Holly.  We are as committed as ever to sharing our most favorite ideas via our website, WhereDoWeFindTheTime.com.  We just thought it needed a facelift.  Tell us what you think!  We aim to please.New Look, Same Moms

Advent Calendar Ideas

I have this beautiful Advent calendar my sister gave to me.  The little doors open to reveal mini compartments that have the honor of housing little treats.  Advent calendar 1Of course with 5 kids, the dilemmas are:

1. What to put inside?    and          2. Who gets it?      oh yeah, and    3. Can it be cheap?

Here’s how I do it:

On the back of the box is a list indicating who opens the door on which day.  So with 5 kids, each child opens 5 doors between December 1 and December 25.

The following items are inside (one item on each day and each child eventually gets the same thing just perhaps not in a row.  For example, I put in 5 quarters and each child will have one by Christmas.  Inside a few doors the kids will find a scripture from the Christmas story or a nice idea (like “Say a prayer for someone.”) to remind our children what this precious season of Advent is really about.  Click here to get the verses.

  • Quarters (each child gets 1)
  • packs of gum
  • hair accessories for the girls and chap-stick for the boys
  • fun ribbon (they LOVE using mine)
  • foil wrapped chocolate Santas

The options are endless and don’t have to cost a lot.  Comment and share with us how you prepare for Christmas.

Silly Sock Snowmen

Our MOPS group fills Operation Christmas Child boxes to be sent around the world to needy children, and this year we added a personal touch to each gift by creating these adorably silly snowmen using socks and basic craft supplies.  Each one made me smile and giggle more than the one before it.Silly Sock Snowmen 10Supplies:

  • Chenille socks ($1 per pair at the $1 store)
  • googly eyes
  • scissors
  • yarn
  • buttons
  • hot glue gun
  • batting/polyfillSilly Sock Snowmen 1Step 1: Cut the toe off of the sock (about 3 inches or so) and set aside.  Then turn the sock inside out.  Using a little yarn, tie one end tightly and turn right side out.Silly Sock Snowmen 3Step 2:  Fill sock with lots of polyfill.  That’s right, just stuff it in there!Silly Sock Snowmen 4Step 3:  Tie the open end closed tightly (you don’t want those snowman guts oozing out!).Silly Sock Snowmen 5Step 4: Using several strands of yarn, tie the snowman around the middle to divide his “head” from his “body” and attach his hat.  It was nice to have a variety of socks and mix up the bodies and hats. Silly Sock Snowmen 6I mean silly and cute sum up these homemade snowmanSilly Sock Snowmen 8Silly Sock Snowmenr 7I hope these cuties make the children receiving them as happy as they made us while we were making them.  WAY TO GO MOPS MOMS!!

Beautiful Boxwood Wreaths

Every year, Mary hosts a Wreath-Making Brunch.  She invites friends over for a fun morning of chatting, eating, and wreath-making.  For a lot of us, this day has come to signify the start of the holiday season.  After all, once you make your wreath you have to hang it up…let the decorating begin!  Our wreath of choice is the boxwood wreath, as our yards are full of the plentiful greenery.  For as much as you see these wreaths sold for, you would think that they are difficult to make.  Not true!  Even a novice can tackle this project, and the product looks amazing!

Materials:

  • straw wreath (any size, but we like 18-20 inches for the front door)
  • plenty of boxwood branches (simply break off full clusters from existing boxwood bushes you or a friend may have in your yard)
  • greening pins (u-shaped wire floral pins)
  • chenille
  • magnolia leaves,
  • heavy-duty scissors or snips
  • decorative ribbon

Directions:

First, be sure to leave the plastic wrapping on your straw wreath form.  This will make it much easier to work with.  Make a loop with your chenille and secure it to your wreath with a greening pin or two.  This will be your wreath hanger.  Using your greening pins, secure magnolia leaves to the same side that your hanger is on.  This will be the back of your wreath.  Work backwards so that you are covering up the pins as you go.  The magnolia leaves will protect your door and make a pretty backside if you are hanging the wreath on a glass door or window.Now turn your wreath over.  Begin affixing the bunches of boxwood to the wreath with the greening pins.  Again, you will want to work backwards to cover the pins as you go.  Cover the entire front of your wreath and then you can use the same method for the inside and outside surfaces until you don’t see any of the straw.  Fill in as needed.You may need to give your wreath a “haircut” to tame any stray sprigs of boxwood.  Once you have evened things out, you are ready to add a bow and display your beautiful project.

Recycled Christmas Card Ornaments

Recycled Christmas Card ornaments 2Every year after Christmas I feel guilty about throwing away all those beautiful Christmas cards.  Here is a craft that will help relieve some of that guilt.  You can make beautiful Christmas tree ornaments with a few items, a little know-how, and your old Christmas cards.Materials:

  • old Christmas cards
  • large hole punch (mine is 2 inches; the larger the punch, the larger the ornament)
  • pencil
  • ruler or straight-edge
  • scissors
  • craft glue or hot glue gun
  • string, wire, yarn, or some other means to hang the ornament

Directions:

Begin by punching circles from your Christmas cards.  You will need 20 for each ornament, regardless of size.  Make one extra to be your pattern (see below).

Now you have to make an equilateral triangle on the back of one of the circles.  If you are a geometry whiz, you may know exactly how to do this.  I found that folding the circle to make an even triangle was what worked for me.  This is the hardest part, I promise!  Now cut off the three sides of the circle, and you have your pattern.

Trace the triangle on the back of each circle.  Now fold each circle along the lines so that you are folding the picture toward itself to make 3 “flaps” on each circle.

You are now ready for assembly.  The top and bottom of the ornament are each formed by gluing 5 triangles together.  They should form a kind of dome shape.  The middle of the ornament is made by gluing 10 triangles together to form a straight band.  To do this you will have to arrange them point up, point down, point up, etc.

Now you have 3 pieces that need to be glued together.  Simply match up the flaps to assemble the entire ornament.Recycled Christmas Card ornaments

If you start now, you can have all your teacher gifts, neighbor gifts, etc. done before next Christmas season rolls around.

 

Turkey Noodle Soup

Hmmmm….what to do with Thanksgiving leftovers?  For practically pennies you can whip up this delicious soup using what’s left of your turkey.  Turkey Noodle Soup 1Ingredients:

  • leftover turkey carcass (take most of the skin off, but leave any meat that remains on the bone)
  • 4 large carrots, washed and sliced
  • 3 celery stalks, washed and sliced
  • 5-6 cups of water, divided
  • 1 cup of beef broth
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 lb. rotini (aka. corkscrew) noodles

Turkey Noodle Soup 2Begin by placing your carcass in a large pot and adding about 3 cups of water.  Simmer on low for 30 minutes.  Remove carcass from the pot and allow the liquid to remain.  Once the carcass is cool enough to handle, pick away any and ALL worthy scraps of meat.  Leave no meat left behind. Place all of the meat in the pot with the liquid. PS:  This entire step can be done ahead of time and kept in the fridge for up to 3 days before continuing with the rest of the step.

Add the remaining water along with the broth, carrots, celery, salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil for 5 minutes and then reduce to a simmer.  While this is simmering, cook rotini according to the directions on the box.  Add cooked noodles to the soup.  Allow pot to simmer for 10-15 more minutes.  Serve with bread if desired.  Happy soup season!

 

Gratitude Tree

Put on your blinders and resist the urge to join retailers in the pursuit of Christmas.  We still have Thanksgiving on the horizon.  Before you encourage your family to make wish lists, have them jot down what it is that has them so GRATEFUL this season.Gratitude Tree 2

I used good old construction paper to make this tree and its leaves.  Over the next several days each member of our family is welcome to add his or her own appreciation for life’s blessings.  By Thanksgiving we will have a maple tree bearing all our gratitude.  Gratitude Tree 1Gratitude Tree 3This one was written by Emily (pretty sure she meant to add an “e” on everyone, but she was in such a hurry to add her leaf to the tree – so sweet!

Turkey Veggie Platter

Some of you may be wondering what you can throw together to take to Thanksgiving dinner.  Here’s a cute idea that you may already have the ingredients for and is sure to steal the show.We aren’t reinventing the wheel…you can find this same idea all over the Internet.  The great part is that you can make it your own with whatever you have in your crisper right now.  Here are the basics of how we did it, but feel free to substitute different veggies that you may have on hand.

Ingredients:

  • lettuce
  • carrots
  • cucumbers
  • a variety of peppers
  • celery
  • raisins

Directions:

Cover your platter with lettuce to make a nice fluffy backdrop for your turkey.  I used carrots and red peppers to make the feathers.  The sliced cucumbers form the body.  The bottom of a pepper makes a nice face.  I used pepper remnants to make the beak and waddle.  I used raisins for eyes, but you could use blueberries, black olives, or anything else that resembles little turkey eyes.

Monster Munch

This tasty treat is yummy enough to share at a party, yet simple enough to make for an after-school treat for the kiddos.Monster Munch done

Ingredients:

  • 8-10 cups popped popcorn (I used the salted microwave variety)
  • 2 lbs white candy coating
  • 1 cup pretzel sticks, broken in halves or thirds
  • 1/2 cup M&Ms
  • festive sprinklesMonster Munch 1**You could also add/substitute Rice Chex, marshmallows, peanuts, chocolate chips, etc.

How-to:

Melt white chocolate candy coating in a large microwave-safe bowl.  Mix in popcorn and pretzels until coated.  Mix in the M&Ms.  I wait until the end to add these so the heat from the white chocolate doesn’t melt the color off of the candies.Monster Munch 2

Spread the mixture out on waxed paper and shake sprinkles on top.  Cool completely, then break into pieces.Monster Munch 3 Enjoy!

 

 

Creative Clementines

Our kids eat these “cuties” like candy.  To make a healthy favorite festive for fall, we made a few minor adjustments.Clementine snackPeeled:  Simply peel the clementine and add a thin sliver of celery to look like a stem.Clementine pumpkinsUnpeeled:  Using a permanent marker, draw your best jack-o-lantern face.Clementine jackolanternYeah, it’s that easy and the recipient of this sweet treat will LOVE it!!