Monthly Archives: December 2011

Resolved: To Breathe and Write

New Year’s Resolutions

I don’t often make New Year’s resolutions.  Too often, it just feels like fault finding with myself (depressing, if true).  Instead of resolving to fix something I don’t like about myself, I decided to reframe resolutions as setting some goals for myself to continue to bring positive energy and thankfulness into my life.

This past year, I have begun some paths I want to continue in the new year.  I started practicing yoga, and though thus far, it has been limited to once a week, I find it really gives me renewed physical and mental energy for the week.  When I strained my back repeatedly in November and December, I found that without my yoga practice, I was increasingly short with my family, I lacked energy, and reverted to unhealthy eating habits.  Practicing yoga helps me remember to breathe when the internal tension rises, and I’ve even found it helps my asthma symptoms!  In the new year, I hope to increase the amount of time I devote to practicing yoga, remembering that the benefits translate to everyone in my family.

Another continued focus is my writing.  While I had some publication successes early in the year, my efforts dudded out this fall.  None of my poetry submissions this fall were published, and as I opened the final rejection letter, I have to say, I was more than a little bummed.  But instead of crawling into my self-doubt and disappearing, I have decided to increase my efforts in the upcoming year.  While I had planned to submit a number of pieces in the fall, we spent many weeks visiting with family, and my priorities shifted. I realized that I wouldn’t expect to find a job mailing out only a handful of resumes, and I shouldn’t expect the perfect match with a journal by only mailing out a handful of submissions.  I am not sure what my writing schedule will look like this upcoming year, but I plan to shift my focus more off of my blog and onto my poetry (this may result in more infrequent posts).  I hope to alternate periods of writing with periods of mailing in submissions to increase the chances that my poetry will be a match for a journal.  I hope to connect with some writing friends who can give me feedback about my work.

Finally, I want to remember to savor every moment with my daughter as she experiences her third year of life.  When I feel impatient or frustrated with behaviors, I hope to remember to breathe, and change my focus to all the things I love about being a mom.  I have a new year to experience and share with her, and being present for her life will continue to humble, inspire, and bring joy, especially if I open my heart to embrace those ever fleeting moments of motherhood.

I wish you success in achieving your New Year’s resolutions, self forgiveness and perseverance during imperfect moments, and a brilliant year filled with love, friendship, and family.  Happy New Year!


Holiday Crafts for Kids-Peaceful Doves

Peaceful Doves


Materials:
Dove shapes (I purchased mine precut, but you can create your own using a template you print online to trace, then cut the shapes from scrap cardboard. Punch a hole in the top of the shape if you want to hang them.)
String
Hole punch
Feathers
Glue stick
Age:  2+
Instructions:
Have your child smear the glue stick all over the dove shape, then press feathers into the glue.  Hole punch a hole at the top of the shape and tie a string to hang the dove ornaments.


Why My Daughter Might Be An Elf-in-training:

My daughter V, has recently entered the twos.  Though the twos come along with some increasing needs for independence, it is our experience that the twos also usher in some mega cuteness as V starts to engage in ever more  creative play and expresses her creativity with an ever-growing vocabulary.
I find V’s pretend play to be endlessly amusing.  She serves us up a side of car with a main dish of Mr. Potato Head’s hat in her play kitchen.  She makes a choo-choo tunnel from two soap bottles.  She uses a rolled up window screen as a lance for playing knights.  She named one of her baby dolls after my husband. This weekend, she put on a veiled princess hat and my fake pearls because she wanted to marry. Then she requested that M and I also wear beaded necklaces for the occasion. When I inquired who she was going to marry, she said, “Um…(wheels turning)…Dada!”  Then she gave him a kiss and said, “Marry Mama!” Apparently, we are all married now.
What truly cracks me up though is her obsession with bags.

More bags

She has a ton of bags, some handbags I’ve lent her for pretend play since I currently am saddled with the diaper bag, some gift bags from various holidays, some cloth shopping bags and kiddy backpacks.  V just loves bags, and putting things in bags.  This week, I tried to confiscate one of the torn gift bags from her play room.  Not only did she recover the bag from the recycling pile, she strapped it to the back of her little scooter train, and loaded it with miscellany from around the house.  When I detached the broken bag as she was having difficulty moving her train laden with loot, she found a carry-on bag I had pulled out for our trip home for the holidays, reattached it to her train, and filled it with loot.

Getting ready for Grammy's house! Note that baby is along for the ride...

Currently, one of her bags includes a kitchen towel, a handful of corn chips wrapped in a napkin, mardi gras beads, a stuffed elephant, two books, a cloth tool set, a wooden peg, a stacking ring, the faucet from her play kitchen, a pink ribbon she wears as a belt to dress up, her baby doll (M’s) pants, and a purple matchbox car in yet another, smaller bag.

 

This girl is prepared for everything.
I think the bag play originated around Halloween, when V first learned to carry a purple pumpkin bag to Trick-or-Treat.  She still hauls a bag around the house asking for candy, and I promptly fill it with her toy food from her toy kitchen.  The bag play has evolved though, and I feel it may be related to all the stories she’s read and watched about Santa and his bag of toys.  Perhaps she is in training to be an elf.  I know she is also packing and taking a train to Grammy’s house for the holidays.  Or perhaps she just takes after her mother, who follows the motto “Be Prepared” when I pack the diaper bag.  In any case, her journeys continue to amuse and I think Santa would be lucky to have such a thoughtful little elf join his sleigh packing crew!

V's "Shop-n-go" as she calls it, loaded up with the stuff that won't fit in her bags...

Happy Holidays to you and yours and thanks for reading during my first year of blogging!  Best wishes for the new year. We will be visiting family for the holidays, so posts may be intermittent, but keep checking!


Holiday Crafts for Kids-Holiday Magnets


Holiday Magnets


Materials:
Wooden holiday shapes from craft store (or you can make them from scrap cardboard)
Paint, paintbrushes
Hot glue gun
Magnets
(optional) Cotton balls
Age: 18 months+
Instructions:
Allow children to select holiday shapes and paint them.  Let the paint dry and hot glue gun the magnet to the back of the wooden shape.  We made stockings for our refrigerator with our names written in paint and cotton ball trim around the top!


Holiday Crafts for Kids-Cardboard Ornaments

Cardboard Christmas Ornaments

 


Materials:
Cardboard shapes (You can prepurchase these; I got mine for a dollar a pack at the local craft store.  Or, you can cut them yourself using scrap cardboard.  If you aren’t the best artist, print, cut, and trace a pattern from a shape you find online.)
Glue stick
Paints and paintbrushes
String
Hole punch
Aluminum foil
Elmer’s Glue
Tissue paper
Jingle bells
Cotton balls
Age:  2+
Instructions:


Christmas Bulbs

I used a marker to trace the ornament shape onto aluminum foil and cut out the shape.  Using Elmer’s glue, I glued the foil to the ornament.  I used a combination of pearlescent and glitter paint to create a sparkly surface.  Our shapes came prepunched, but you can use your hole punch to create a hole to tie the string for hanging.  My daughter, V, had a different approach to her bulb.  She used paints, tissue paper scraps, and glue stick to create a colorful, textured bulb!
Christmas Stockings


Paint the stocking shape the color of your choice.  Allow paint to dry.  Punch a hole in the stocking and affix string. I threaded a jingle bell onto the string prior to tying it to the stocking. Then, pulling apart and fluffing a cotton ball or two, glue the fluff to the top of the stocking for a textured edge.  My husband strung jingle bells on a string and wrapped and tied the string around the stocking foot for a different look.

 


Tissue Trees


My husband, M, had the idea (which, incidentally was the same technique my mom used to make my kindergarten Christmas pageant tree costume!) to cut strips of tissue paper, create a fringe on each strip with the scissors, then glue them in rows, wrapping the edges around the back of the tree shape.  You can then add jingle bells threaded on a string, or place one on the top of the tree as I did.  My husband glued a glow in the dark star on the top of the tree for a special touch.  For kids, you can precut the strips, or simply let them glue scraps of tissue to the tree for a simpler experience.

 


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