A Handmade Gift Exchange

This year we had another handmade gift exchange with my side of the family, and it was AWESOME! It is so cool to see everyone’s creativity flowing, and to see the different talents that everyone has. I will let these images speak for themselves, with just a small sampling of what was exchanged this year between kids and adults.

Handmade Doll Handmade Gift
Vintage look doll.

Handmade Painting Handmade Gift
Butterfly paintings.

Handmade
Spice Mixes and ornament.

Handmade
Slingshot. This gift was fun to make! The post office worker gave us the long elastics, and the shoe repair shop owner gave us the leather for the pouch. My husband made the rest from some pine board that we had in the garage, by whittling it down and sanding it. It was really fun to see how much our nephew loved it – he was shooting felt play food all over the house in the days following!

Handmade Purse Handmade Gift
Crocheted purse.

Handmade
Knitted Legwarmers.

Handmade BBQ Kit Handmade Gift
BBQ Grilling Kit.

Handmade Batman Cape Handmade Gift
Batman Cape and Mask.

We had such a variety of gifts! Others included a custom welded bike rack attachment, a tin of Christmas cookies, hair clips, soaps and lip gloss, an apron, a child’s denim tool belt, and more!

The other thing I love about handmade gifts is that because you’re putting time and love into them, you are more likely to have a thoughtful gift that has so much meaning to the person on the receiving end. We are all just loving our handmade gifts, and I would encourage you to think outside the box and consider doing a handmade gift exchange as well next year!

Creative Parenting

Amid summer days that have had both highs and lows, and parenting moments that have been amazing as well as frustrating and exasperating, I feel like my parenting has had some creative moments that I thought I might share.

Creative Parenting Moment #1

I LOVE fabric, and I love to just look at fabric and imagine what I might create with a piece of cloth that has a beautiful pattern on it. As you can imagine, it doesn’t work very well to have 3 children under the age of 6 running around the fabric store and whining that I am taking too long, all while I try to look at fabric, calculate expenses and envision what I might create. Distracting doesn’t begin to explain it. I have had one particularly terrible experience in the past with the kiddos along that has caused me to normally go to the fabric store alone. This past week I was in the city with the kids along already, and needed to make a stop in order to avoid 2 extra hours of driving.

Just the mention of the fabric store caused whining to ensue (why do kids whine like that????), which almost made me turn around until I had an idea – perhaps even a brilliant idea (can I say that?). We parked in the parking lot and I looked at them with my most excited face and told them that we were going to have a scavenger hunt adventure in the fabric store, to which they were delighted! Inwardly I rejoiced. I found a scrap of paper in the car and immediately began to scribble a long list of things they had to find while we were looking at fabric: “Owls, polka dots, trains, zig zags, hearts, flowers, cars, rainbows…..”.

I was able to get all that I wanted to accomplished, and they walked with me intently looking at fabric and getting excited as they crossed off each item that they found (I was very thankful that my oldest daughter is a good reader and could head this up without my help with the list). We left the fabric store happy. All of us! This was a small miracle.

Creative Parenting Moment #2

The hot toy item this past week has been the basketball. Practicing to dribble the ball has become the pastime of the older two, who are definitely improving their dribbling skills. The other day we were outside and both older girls wanted the ball at the same time… Everyone was getting upset when I had the idea of setting up an activity rotation! We got out the walking blocks and they took turns dribbling and walking on the walking blocks for about half an hour until we were all hot and needed to go in to cool off and get some water. This would be fun to do with a whole bunch of activities, and a bigger group of kids too.

Creative Parenting Moment #3

We went into the kitchen to make some popcorn for a snack in the afternoon, and I had some very eager helpers. So eager that one little helper opened the bag of popcorn kernels and then proceeded to bend down to get the popcorn popper out of the lower cupboard with the open bag in hand. Well, I’m sure you can guess that this ended in half of the bag of kernels spilling all over the floor as well as inside the cupboard. I took a deep breath, thought about how unclean my kitchen floor was at the moment, and then had the idea that we could collect the kernels and make some beanbags out of them (I love it when I can get rid of some scraps of material!). So our next project is to pick out the material and sew them up. I also thought that it would be cool to make home made shakers with different things inside each for our impromptu musical singalongs – rice in one, corn in one, dried beans in one. The kids would love it and I’m sure would love the different sounds that they each would make.

I hope that these ideas have given you a bit of inspiration for creative solutions to parenting dilemmas. I know that I am going to try and think outside the box more when faced with everyday challenges. Creative parenting seems to make life go a little smoother, and that is something that I can appreciate!