Dad’s Family Christmas

On my dad’s side of the family we get together on the first Saturday after Christmas for a large gathering and a day of eating and playing games.

It was great to see everyone and we tried out lots of new games I had been wanting to play.

Blokus” was popular both as a 4-player and a 2-player game. I enjoyed “Ticket to Ride” and “Pickomino“.  I didn’t play, but got to watch a bit of “Sac Noir” (the premium version of “Bausack“). We played a few games of “Apples to Apples“, which I really enjoyed.

My son and his 2nd cousin played lots of “Lego Star Wars”and my daughter hung out with family and played and played.


Swiming in Letters

We have been finding all sorts of fun ways to use letters and make words lately. One of the favorites, especially with my daughter, is making words on the wall of the bathtub with foam letters. We just throw a few handfuls of those super-cheap “Foamies” (from a place like the Oriental Trading Company or local craft store) into the water. When the foam letters are wet, they stick to the walls.

They also make really fun “alphabet soup” when you add in some measuring cups and containers 🙂

Caution for those with light color tile/grout, some of the dye colors might bleed… Don’t leave them up after you are done playing.

When we are done, we just squeeze them out and let them air dry. We have been using the same batch for weeks. 

Another tip- I thought I would share this here since it is a bath related tip. We used to have concerns about the kids soaking the floor when they made up “potions” in the bath, pouring water into containers. What has worked really well for us is to use a really small kickboard as floating table. Then they can put all the containers and measuring spoons and soaps on it and if the containers overflow, they flow right back into the bathwater.

Staying up Late, Wrapping and Playing Batik

J. and I stayed up late last night to wrap presents knowing that it would be worth it to get it out of the way and so that we would actually get sleep tonight before we have family come over tomorrow for Christmas.

While we were wrapping, we played one of the games we bought to test it out…Batik!

The game is pretty simple. It is a 2-player game where players take turns dropping their color of geometric wooden pieces into a wood and plexiglass frame. Play continues until one person plays a piece which sticks out the top of the frame. This piece is taken out of play and the winner starts the next round. When one player runs out of pieces and can no longer make a move, the other person wins.

J. beat me soundly in the first game and I was concerned that my spatial skills might not be up to the task, but then I dominated in the second game and was satisfied that between skill and luck, this game can easily go to either player. The stained, wooden pieces are a bit slippery and slide around inside the frame often shifting the pieces that have already been played. It was fun to joke around and have a light game to play while getting everything wrapped up.

The game itself looks really nice and plays easily so I am looking forward to opening it so we can “officially” play it together and show it to the kids 🙂

The pieces in the set we bought are yellow and brown and made up of straight-edged geometric shapes. There is another version available, Batik Kids, which features colorful, curvy underwater animals for the playing pieces.


Flower Pens

Yet another crafty Christmas present from our household…I had a difficult time coming up with useful craft gifts this year. I saw this idea on a website and decided that they were cute and useful, so here they are 🙂

They are regular pens with fake flowers hot-glued to the top and then wrapped in green floral tape. The kids are decorating cans for the “vases” to hold them.

We are keeping one for ourselves to have by the phone.

Stupid Sock Creature

Well, I finished the sock creature I was making for my friend Anne. She mentioned a while back that she had talked to her family about an alternate Christmas idea for this year- instead of buying presents for each person, they would each draw a name and create a sock puppet for that person. Apparently the idea fizzled due to lack of actually drawing names and following through, so I decided that I would make her a gift from socks.

Stupid Sock Creatures has been on my bookshelf for some time… ever since I followed a link to the author’s website and decided I needed to try it out.

A 3-pack of those super fuzzy socks from Sam’s Club in coordinating colors sealed the deal.

The kids ummm… “helped” by making snowballs out of the fiberfill and having a snowball fight while I hacked up the socks and figured out how they were supposed to be put back together.  They also added marble eyes and buttons 🙂

I really like working with the super soft socks. The stiches hide right in the fibers so they are really easy to play around with and mistakes can be easily fixed.

Anyway- Here is my creature for Anne 🙂

And here is hers along with one I started for our family (I am having trouble finding the right eyes)

And one last one for size reference (with our daughter):

Christmas at my Mom’s House

P>We had our early Christmas today with my mom and step-dad, my grandma, and my step-brothers and their families.

The kids had lots of fun and we actually had coffee and cookies while they played downstairs BY THEMSELVES.

We gave some presents that we bought and some that we made… Here is the scone mix the kids made up. We tied the instructions onto the bagswith the ornaments they baked. (Here is the  Recipe for the mix)