5 Gifts for Christmas

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When I was a child, ever year on Christmas morning I woke up to 11,000 presents. If that sounds like an insane amount of gifts, that is because it was. Despite a constant refrain from my mom every holiday seasons that this was the year we were going to start cutting back, come Christmas morning my siblings and I always woke up to more stuff then we knew what to do with. My mom spent a lot of November and December hunting down gifts she thought we wanted. Waiting in line for the hard to get item of the year. Staying up until 3AM wrapping everything, and adding a perfectly formed bow. My mom put a ton of effort into Christmas. I love that she cared enough to put that effort in, but what that effort left behind was a tired and stressed mom.

As soon as I had kids I vowed to keep the holidays as stress free as possible. In an effort to avoid Holiday overload our family tends to stick with 5 gifts for Christmas each year. We’ve been doing this for 4 or 5 years now and have loved it. Gift giving still tends to get out of hand in our house due to our massive extended families. But if we follow this strategy with our own kids, we can at least still see the floor on Christmas morning.

somethingyouwant-ONE- Something you want
Of course any child’s favorite gift. We pick something the kids are really wishing for. Last year it was a DSLR camera for Mariyah. This year it’s an electric train for James (Shhhh!). If they haven’t said something specific they want, we just pick something really fun that we know they will like.

somethingyouneed-TWO- Something you need
My kids live in a first world country. They have food, shelter, clothing, clean water, an education, etc. They don’t actually need anything and they know it. But this is where we give them a more practical gift. Like wool socks. One variation of this I’ve seen a few friends do is “Something the world needs.” I think this a great take on it. Next year I’ll probably have my children pick something the world needs, and this will be a gift they give to others, rather then something we give to them. But this year I already bought them new toothbrushes.

somethingyouwear-THREE- Something you wear
Usually come winter time James has lost enough of his wardrobe to need a new sweatshirt, or destroyed his shoes so thoroughly that he needs a new pair. Mariyah grows daily, so by December she’s often outgrown her September back to school clothes. Something to wear is always a good one for my kiddos. If your having difficulty shutting the draws in your children’s dresser, a great variation of this one is “Something to share” which is a gift for the whole family.

somethingyouread-FOUR- Something you read
My kids have TONS of books. And we go to the library often. But I still love this one. I’m an avid reader myself, or at least I used to be before every free second of my life was sucked up by dirty laundry and emptying my children’s school folder. As someone who loves to read, there are few things more exciting then watching my child open a book and get excited about it.
somethingsanta-FIVE- A gift from Santa
Yes. Yes. I know I said I didn’t really like making a big deal out of Santa. But popular culture as well as elementary school culture has taught my children that there is a Santa, and that he is a jolly old man who loves giving gifts to children. I won’t squash their joy in him. Santa generally fills our kids stocking and gives our kids something they enjoy that is smaller then the “something you want” gift. Last year James got a remote control car, this year he’s getting a lego set.

And that is it! 5 simple gifts. Makes holiday gift giving affordable and stress free. Puts the foot down on consumerism. Leaves me time to sit on the couch and sip my hot chocolate in peace.

Where I’m linking up my 5 today

How to do Who Hair

Last week at the winter recital Mariyah performed as a “Who” from one of our very favorite Christmas movies, The Grinch. When Mariyah first told me she would need Who clothes and Who hair I responded with “What?” to which she answered, “Not ‘what’ Mommy! Who!” The Who clothes ended up being pretty easy. We already had the Annie dress from Target which turned out to be perfect Who attire due to the perfectly placed, and not at all gaudy, giant red bow on the front. Plus the dress doubles as a Christmas dress. Win-win. Since Mariyah would be on stage (ie FAR away) I figured perfection of the Who hair wasn’t key. And who am I kidding? I never focus on perfection of anything anyway. I just needed something quick and easy since the show started at 6:30 and I usually get home from work at 6:15. So for all the little Cindy Lou Who’s out there who need a hairstyle for some kind of school event or Christmas merry making, here you go: How to do Who Hair.
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whohairsuppliesSupplies:
Yarn that matches your child’s hair (you could also use faux hair, but yarn worked for us)
Headband with a bow
Plastic cup, tupperware container, toilet paper roll, or other similarly shaped object
Ponytail holders. We used 3.

whohairbraidsStep 1) Make two bunches of hair
Secure them using two of the ponytail holders. We made ours about 12 inches long. Just keep in mind they they will be a little shorter once braided. Put these aside for use later.

whohaircupStep 2) Wrap the cup
Take that yarn and start wrapping vertically around the cup. Once the cup is covered, horizontally wrap around the outside a few times so the yarn doesn’t slide off.

whohairpart
Step 3) Center part the hair.
Mariyah’s hair was in cornrows, so to keep it easy we left her hair that way. The cornrows are not necessary to the style. The child’s hair just has to be able to part.

whohairpart2Step 4) Position the cup
Place the cup on the center part. Leave half the hair down (to later anchor the braids) and use the other half of the hair to anchor the cup. Anchor the cup by rubber banding the hair together where it meets at the top of the cup, and then looping the headband around horizontally to keep everything in place.

whohairpart3Step 5) The braids
Grab the long bunches of hair from step 1. Use the ponytail holder to attach the bunch of hair to the real hair. Braid the faux hair and real hair together until you reach the end of the faux hair. Loop the faux hair back through the ponytail holder at the start to form a circle. Trim any straggling yarn.

And that’s it! Easy enough right? And looks decent. Especially when you’re sitting in the audience 25 yards away.

whohairfinished

Weaning Your Baby Off The Bottle

The following guest post was written by Helen Cunningham, mother to an 18 month old son. If you are interested in submitting a guest post, please do so here.

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Weaning Your Baby Off The Bottle
There comes a time when every parent will need to wean their baby off the bottle. Why? Because you don’t want your baby to turn into a teenager who is still carrying around their bottle. Can you imagine the looks?

Weaning your baby from the bottle, and on to cups, is one of the most challenging times you will experience as a parent (aside from puberty).  Baby’s are like tiny cab drivers; loud, obnoxious and you can’t understand what they’re saying. This makes it incredibly difficult to explain to them that giving up the bottle is in their best interest.

So your baby is hooked on the bottle and itching for his next fix. As the parent, you have two options. 1) Introduce your little one to Baby Bottles Anonymous. 2) Incorporate the following advice into your baby’s life, so he can kick his habit for good.

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Start at the Right Time
All babies are different, so it can be difficult to know when to start weaning. The ideal age can be anywhere from 6 months, up until 18 months. It’s a good idea to start the process early, between 6 and 9 months, as your baby is less likely to be attached to the bottle at this age.

As a general rule, the longer you leave it, the more difficult it will become. Some children develop slower than others, but you should aim to have your baby fully weaned by 18 months at the latest. Leading parenting experts suggest introducing a cup to your child early, providing them with the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the cup prior to weaning. Let them play with the cup in the bath so they can get used to holding the cup with liquid inside.  This is also a great indication of when your child is ready to begin weaning, as you’ll be able to observe how they interact with the cup. If they spontaneously start drinking from the cup, make the most of it, unless it’s bath water they are drinking. Then you will need to intervene.

Experiment with Different Types of Bottles and Cups
There are a variety of different types of bottles and cups to experiment with. Weaning should be a gradual process, so you might get best results if you transition between different types of bottles and cups. Sippy cups, for example, are an excellent interim solution for weaning.  These are the same shape as a traditional, open cup, so your child gets used to holding a cup. However, they have many similarities to bottles, which can make the transition period much easier for your baby. As a bonus, they’re also a great way to avoid lots of spills, making the process less stressful for the parents, too.

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Aim to Make the Switch Gradually
Weaning does not have to happen instantaneously, and you should aim to complete the process gradually, at a pace set by your child. Don’t try to do too much at once, as this can be overwhelming for your child. Instead, start by replacing one bottle per day, with a traditional or sippy cup, and wait until your child is comfortable with the switch before increasing this to two bottles. This way, if your child refuses to drink from the cup, they have the opportunity to use their bottle later in the day.

Don’t Get Frustrated If Your Baby Isn’t Quick to Adapt
Weaning off the bottle can be stressful, for both you and baby, but it’s important not to let your frustration show. Praise your baby when they use the cup, but don’t get cross if they refuse a meal, or accidentally spill their cup. It’s likely you’ll have lots of cleaning to do, but if you have made it this far as a parent then mess should come as no surprise. Mess is your life now. If your child is old enough, you can get them to help you with cleaning up, but you should never raise your voice or upset them, as this will be detrimental to the bottle weaning process.

Go Cold Turkey
As a last resort, you should go cold turkey. If your child is approaching 18 months old, and hasn’t made much progress, this could be your only option.

It will be a very difficult process; you will experience more disapproval from your baby than a teenager with a curfew. You can make it easier by staying strong and keeping all bottles out of sight. Even better, you should throw any bottles away. Whilst stressful, your child will soon learn that drinking from the cup is their only option. Be strong, this will all be over soon.

Monday Morning Coffee Talk: Decorating Trees

JamesCoffeeTalk

Growing up I was one of 4 children. We each had our own box of mostly handmade ornaments that we would decorate the tree with. You know the type… lots of glue, sparkles, bits of yarn, and pictures of grinning kids. Our mom would give each of us a “side” of the tree, probably to make after Christmas sorting and packing of ornaments faster. And to minimize fighting of children who would inevitably “steal” the branch that other children were eyeing (because 4 kids in 4 years comes with a lot of bickering). My mom always went on and on about her love for our tree and homemade ornaments. When I was 7 I thought all my handmade stuff was the coolest ever and that we had the most beautiful tree in the world. When I was 13 I thought my handmade stuff was embarrassing and threw it all in the trash (good old mom picked it back out).

I think having an eclectic tree as a child, made me love trees with a little pizzaz as an adult. When I see a tree decorated in a gold and silver color scheme with perfectly spaced balls and ribbon I have a fleeting thought of “oh nice…” and then my mind wanders off to that eggnog in the kitchen. When I see a tree covered in interesting ornaments I start scrambling for a closer look. Perfect trees look perfectly nice, but they just don’t interest me.

Our tree today is pretty similar to my childhood tree. Lots of handmade kid stuff. Lots of ornaments we collected randomly on vacation or from relatives. Our kids put it all on. Which means it’s not well spaced and we have “families” all over it. IE my kids segregate the Santas from the princesses. James has a Batman car that he has insisted on making the highest ornament on the tree for the last 4 years or so. At first it drove me nuts. Now it’s a family tradition. They often stick a few non ornament things on the tree, for example this year I found a bunch of bananas hanging from the boughs. Although I prefer white lights (since our tree is already a bit busy), the kids always beg for Rainbow.

trimmingtree3

For a tree topper we tend to go with an Angel. When James was in first grade he had a friend over who took one look at our tree and announced with the complete disgust of a disgruntled 6 year old, “You have an Angel on the top of your tree. I HATE when people put Angels on the tops of their trees. It’s so tacky. Everybody knows you should put a star on the top of your tree.” This particular friend moved to a foreign country a few weeks later, but I’ve thought of her with a smile literally every Christmas as I (yet again) place the tacky Angel on the top of our tree.

I don’t think we’ll be making it into any decor magazines this year. But I love it.

decoratedtree2014l

What’s on your Christmas tree? And who puts it on? Do you relegate the kids ornaments to the tiny tree in the playroom? Or proudly display them in all their glory as the main event? Is your tree perfectly themed or magically mixed? Are you team star or team angel? Talk to me on this Monday Morning!

TGIF II

5 Quick Updates from our week

ONE
The tree is up and decorated. Things got off to a rocky start when I spent half an hour searching the attic for our tree decorations. After opening every box and turning up empty handed I might have been a tad bit snippy with anyone who crossed my path. Especially anyone who happened to knock on the attic door every 30 seconds asking if I had found them yet. Thankfully Rob searched and found everything in the one box I hadn’t checked. Someone (and I have my suspicions who) had labeled the box “dark green” for God knows what reason. But naturally d-a-r-k g-r was covered simply leaving “een” which I assumed was “Halloween.” Plus the box was conveniently placed on what was once the Halloween shelf. But never fear, a little Christmas music put me back in the holiday spirit.
trimmingtree1 trimmingtree2 Ornament count for the night: 3. Not bad considering I spent most of the decorating time holding Violet which left Mariyah and James the responsibility of putting up all the ornaments on their own (even the breakable ones!)
brokenornaments
TWO
Mariyah preformed as a Who in her winter show. Now I don’t usually like to say unflattering things about my kids, but at this point in my sweet child’s life, she is not what one might call the world’s best singer. I can’t think of a good way to describe her voice other then “camp counselor”. And not the camp counselor whose carrying around a guitar softly singing Kumbaya, the camp counselor standing on the bench in the mess hall screaming Chickaboom while trying to engage a room full of bored campers. I could see my daughter having a sweet voice in the future, but for now if just sounds a little yelly. Well last night, someone made the unfortunate mistake of placing my child in the front row. Right next to the mic. Her voice was clear as day. Possibly at the expense of every other voice in her class. When the song ended I assured myself that I was exaggerating the situation in my head, and that no one else had noticed. I felt better about it until intermission when another mom came over, patted my shoulder, and said “Wow she was really giving it her all up there, wasn’t she?” As we used to say in the South, bless her heart.
classshowThe day of the show was her last day at what is now her old school, so we were all a little bit emotional. Naturally I forgot my camera. She looked pretty awesome in her Who hair though.  Another parent sent this to me.
mariyahwho
 THREE
Mariyah officially started her new school. What she’s most excited about: picking her own outfits. What I’m least excited about: her picking her own outfits. It takes nearly 10 minutes for her to make a decision every. single. morning. And heaven forbid I suggest laying something out the night before. Most mornings have involved a lot of mind changing. I wised up after the second day and a new rule has been instituted in the Bohn house: What you dress yourself in is what you wear for 8 hours whether you like it or not! Naturally James used this to his advantage when I pointed out he was wearing the same sweatshirt today as yesterday, and that it might be a good idea to change.
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FOUR
A few people have asked what our “Elf on the Shelf” is up to. He’s still moving around every night and occasionally doing things like eating marshmallows or hiding in the freezer. Yes Mariyah is still loving him. Yes I’ve forgotten to move him on numerous occasions.
elfshelf
FIVE
Christmas cards finished! Save for the few people I still need to track down addresses for. This was my number one goal for the week. I developed a system last year and can crank these bad boys out pretty quickly.
christmascardsmailed
Any fun updates from your week?
Where I’m linking up my 5 today

 

12 of the Very Best Christmas Movies Ever

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! What better way to celebrate then by kicking up your feet every night and relaxing with your children for a holiday classic. And when I say classic I’m mostly talking 80’s, 90’s, and 2007. Now usually I’m not big on watching a lot of television, but that’s mostly because you can hear our TV from every room in the house, and I can’t stand children’s programming. But I love Christmas movies. Plus, they’re easy. And I’m all about minimizing the holiday stress while still enjoying the festiveness of the season. Here is a list of our families best Christmas movies. Please keep in mind these have been hand selected by my 6 and 9 year old.

bestchristmasmovies

Christmas Story: Ralphie wants a BB gun for Christmas. No one thinks he should have one.
Our thoughts: This was such a classic from my own childhood, so I’m glad my kids love it too. It’s absolutely hilarious. Need I say more?

a_christmas_storyItems to note: Your child will ask for a Red Ryder BB Gun after watching this. Do not give it to them. They will shoot their eye out.

Christmas Eve on Sesame Street: Oscar goes and tells Big Bird that Santa won’t be able to make it down the Chimney because he’s too big. Big Bird spends the movie fretting, interviewing children, and eventually falling asleep on the roof in search of Santa.
Our thoughts: My kid’s don’t even care that it’s Sesame Street, the storyline is so sweet.
Items to note: Big Bird should have watched The Santa Clause.

Elf: Buddy the Elf finds out he’s not actually an elf, he’s a human. He decides to travel to NYC to find his birth father.
Our thoughts: This is my own personal recent favorite. And my kids love it too. I think the best part is that the humor in this one is funny to the entire family. Whereas a lot of kids movies seem to only be funny to kids.
Items to note: Skip the popcorn and make Buddy the Elf’s pancake spaghetti when you watch this movie. Also lots of adoption themes.

Ernest Saves Christmas: Ernest P Worrell is at it again in another Ernest classic. This time he’s helping the jolly man find a successor.
Our thoughts: Lots of classic kid humor along with a decent dose of warm Christmas fuzzies. Know what I mean?

Fred Claus: Santa has a brother named Fred. Fred isn’t particularly jolly about the whole Christmas thing. Fred ends up having to go to The North Pole to help Santa prepare for Christmas.
Our thoughts: I didn’t think this one was for kids at first. But it’s my sister’s favorite, so two years ago we watched it with her. My kids loved it, and now it’s a favorite in our house as well. My favorite part is where Fred goes an a stamping rampage and stamps every child as nice because none of them seemed naughty to him.
Items to note: There are a few scenes with Slim, a foster child and former neighbor of Fred’s, that are a little rough. Though of course he has a happy ending, they could be traumatic for the kiddos of my foster parent friends out there.

Home Alone: Kevin wishes he didn’t have a family. He wakes up, and his family is gone. In their absence, burglars come to rob his house, and he decides to protect it.
Our Thoughts: Your child will start rolling on the floor with laughter during the scenes with the burglars. You will sit on the couch covering your eyes because getting an iron to the face just isn’t as funny as it used to be.

How The Grinch Stole Christmas: You probably already know the premise of this one from the cartoon short and Dr. Suess book. There is a Grinch who hates Christmas. There are Whos who love Christmas. The two come together to create this iconic film.
Our thoughts: Back before The Pretty Reckless and all that black eye makeup Taylor Momsen was the cutest thing ever. I absolutely love her as Cindy Lou Who. Her performance of “Where are you Christmas?” tears me up every time.
Items to note: 60 minutes of consumeristic Whos down in Whoville. Which is very different then the book.

It’s A Wonderful Life
Can’t you see your cool vintagey family snuggled up together while stringing popcorn garlands and watching this film? No? Me either. I just threw it in for good measure. Maybe someday when mine are a little older we’ll be able to make this film happen.

The Santa Clause: Scott Calvin’s son Charlie is visiting for Christmas. Santa falls off the roof, Charlie convinces Scott to put on the suit, and he transforms into the big guy.
Our thoughts: This movie offers explanations for common Santa curiosities as well as having a pretty sweet storyline. There’s the time continuum that breaks down when Santa’s in the sleigh. The chimneys that magically appear in houses that don’t have them. Santa’s bag seems to have been made by the same person who made Mary Poppins purse. It’s all very magical.
Items to note: Santa dies. That sounds pretty traumatic. Surprisingly it isn’t.

Miracle on 34th Street: Susan doesn’t believe in Santa. Her mom inadvertently hires the real Santa to preform in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Our thoughts: Classic (1947) or remake (1994). I think they both rock. Naturally my children prefer the Mara Wilson version, which I think is partly due to their Matilda obsession.
Items to note: If you go for the classic, at least get the colored version. Otherwise if your children are anything like mine they’ll spend the next 96 minutes talking about what life was like before color. And you’ll spend the next 96 minutes yelling at them to be quiet and enjoy the Christmas movie watching festivities.

The Polar Express: A little boy is picked up in the middle of the night on Christmas eve by The Polar Express. The train brings him and other children to The North Pole to meet Santa.
Our thoughts: My kids both love this movie, especially James. Even at 9 he’s a huge fan of everything train related, so this is still top of his list.

Prancer: A Christmas loving little girl thinks she finds one of Santa’s reindeer who has been injured by a hunter.
Our thoughts: Part of the reason my family loves this movie is because my sister was exactly like the main character (Jessica). She sang Christmas songs all year and decorated her room in July. I love how real the family in this movie is. The father is recently widowed, the brother is a bit of a tease but really loves his sister, and the little girl is a sweet Christmas loving kid.
Items to note: This might be better for the slightly older group. My 6 year old loves it. But there is a part where Jessica’s best friend says she doesn’t believe in Santa. And Jessica’s family is definitely having some tough times.

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Slogan T-Shirts and Adoption

SloganTShirts

I’ve never been a big fan of kids wearing shirts with slogans on them. The slogan might be something as inconsequential as “Future Doctor” or something far more debatable such as “My mom chose life!” But it doesn’t matter. They all irk me when I see them on a child. First of all, I don’t think the child is old enough to understand the slogan they are wearing, the parent is usually the one who picked it. Second of all, it turns the child into a poster child for the topic on the shirt, which is something they may or may not agree with when they finally understand it.

Slogan t-shirts and adoption mixed together make me even more uneasy.  Read the rest at adoption.com

Monday Morning Coffee Talk: Christmas Trees

MariyahCoffeeTalk

Last week we purchased our Christmas tree. It hasn’t made an appearance in our house yet. But I have confidence that this is the week it’s going to make it’s way from the front steps into the tree stand in our living room. Our family has a yearly tradition of going to the tree farm, picking out a tree, and cutting that baby down. 6 years ago we picked up a tree next to the kids daycare. But every year since we’ve gone to this really sweet, family owned tree farm. It’s become an important tradition in our family.

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I love real Christmas trees. I love the way they smell. I love the way they look. I love the expression on my children’s faces every time they get a little too close and accidentally poke themselves on a branch.

Every Christmas I hear someone get into some kind of great debate on real vs artificial trees. It’s no breastfeeding/formula discussion, but things can still get a little heated.

I know some people are against using real Christmas trees for environmental reasons. I’m not one of those people. I figure Christmas tree farmers have fields full of trees. Before the trees are cut down they spend their life oxygenating the air. One acre of trees produces enough oxygen daily for about 18 people. That’s pretty awesome. When the trees are cut down, seeing as it’s a farm and trees are it’s livelihood, they are quickly replanted. According to the EPA, after Christmas 93% of trees are recycled into mulch and wood chipping. Those are things that need to be made anyway. So why not decorate a tree, enjoy it in your living room, and then send it to it’s biodegradable grave? That’s my thought on the matter anyway.

pullingtree

When I was growing up I had a friend whose parents always put up a Christmas trellis instead of a tree. If your wondering what a Christmas trellis is, just picture a piece of lattice board with a couple of garlands woven through it. As a child I always found this hilarious. I don’t think my friend found it as humorous as I did. But I loved that this was the unique way their family did Christmas trees.

What are your thoughts on Christmas trees? Are you team real, team artificial, or team Chanukah? Is having to sweep up needles every night worth the trade off for the piney fresh aroma of a once live (but now murdered) tree? Or is dragging that hunk of polyvinyl chloride out of the attic each year the merrier choice for your family?  Maybe you consider the entire tree thing a waste of time. Talk to me about Christmas trees on this Monday Morning!

TGIF

5 Quick Updates from our week

ONE
We got a Christmas tree! And it looks amazing. We cut it down on the drive home from Virginia earlier this week. Now if I could just get my husband to take it off the front steps and into the house so that we could decorate it! Here are a few pictures of us picking it out. Obviously some people were more excited about it then others.
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tree

TWO
Christmas card pictures are officially snapped. I stopped aiming for perfection a few years ago and currently aim for no crying, screaming, or scowling faces. Fingers crossed I can get these babies mailed before Christmas this year.
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THREE
Mariyah got into the charter school that James attends. As a sibling she was moved to the top of the wait list when he was accepted. Since the school year had already started, I didn’t have high hopes for her getting a spot anytime soon. Her first day is next Wednesday. No more private school tuition! Merry Christmas to me!
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FOUR
I stopped pumping at work. Too much information? Well sorry, but it was my new years resolution. I’m feeling a bit relieved to have what I considered an awkward part of parenting, over with. Don’t worry. I won’t post any pictures of this one.

FIVE
Violet started dancing. I think this is one of my favorite baby milestones. It falls right behind “sleeps through the night” (which we haven’t hit yet) and right in front of “uses her own spoon” (which we also haven’t hit yet). Any mother or Ally McBeal fan can attest to the fact that there is nothing more amusing then watching your baby shake it like a Polaroid picture.
dancing

Momfessionalslinking up with AndreaErika and Narci
THE GOOD LIFE BLOG
linking up with April, Christina,Natasha, and Darci

Kraft Paper Wrapping and Ribbon

You guys probably know by now that I absolutely hate making trash. I don’t hate it enough to stop going to Starbucks. But I do hate it enough to feel guilty every time I forget my reusable mug. One of my least favorite things about Christmas and Birthdays is the insane amount of wrapping paper that gets used. I’m not sure if you’re aware of this, but most wrapping paper is not recyclable. So those giant trash bags full of wrapping paper leftover after every gift exchange end up in the landfill…. even if stealthily stuffed into the recycle bin, someone at the recycle plant ends up trashing it all.

I know I risk sounding like an old women with this, but I can still hear the echo in my ears of every birthday party from my youth “Careful when you open that gift! Let’s save the paper!” I’ve never heard a single mom of the current generation say that to her kids. Kids today generally get a chorus of “Rip it open! Rip it open!” while little pieces of paper fly like confetti.

I’ve been on the hunt for an earth friendly solution to the trash frenzy for awhile. We’ve tried a few different things to remedy the situation, such as recycling brown paper bags or coloring book pages that we already have in our home in to wrapping paper. Because we use reusable bags and my kids rarely color in coloring books anymore, recently these items haven’t been available. Enter in this plain old roll of Kraft paper (and a gift for my nephew). 100% recycled papery goodness. You can pick these babies up just about anywhere. I personally grabbed mine from the dollar store by my office.

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Supplies:
Roll of Kraft Paper
Crayons/Colored Pencils/Markers/Whatever Strikes your fancy
Scissors

Step 1) Wrap the gift
If your children are anything like mine, they will claim they can wrap it themselves. They are lying. If you want it to look nice, wrap it for them, then hand it over.

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Step 2) Let your children decorate
This turns into a great art project for the kids. Since they are too young for writing meaningful cards, hand designed wrapping paper adds that personalized touch.

coloringpackage1

Step 3) Sit back and relax
Here’s your chance for a few minutes of silence. Drink a cup of coffee while they decorate. Or if you’re about to take them to a birthday party, use this opportunity to brush your teeth so you can impress the other parents with how put together you are.

coloringpackage

Step 4) Make the bow (optional)
You can skip this one if you’re running late. And if you’re anything like me, you probably are. But if you’ve got a spare 3 minutes, add a little pizzazz to your package with these simple folds. I know the first time seems complicated, but I promise after doing this once or twice you’ll breeze through without instruction. Start with a square of kraft paper. Mariyah colored this one in a checker pattern for me. Click here to view a larger file.

Wrapping Paper Bow how to small


Step 5) Give your gift to someone you love!
It looks fabulous. Because you’re fabulous. And so is Kraft Paper.

finishedpackage

 

Check out all the cool things my friends have been doing with Kraft Paper! Because now that I think about it, that is a pretty thick roll…

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Kraft Paper Gift Tags from Sydney at Tastefully Frugal
Kraft Paper Wrapping and Ribbon from Erin at No Bohn’s About It
Kraft Paper Envelopes from Meaghan at diyfaerie
Kraft Paper Book Covers from Nicole at Little Blog on the Homestead
Kraft Paper Gift Bags from Micha at Cooking Mimi