Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Monday, December 2, 2013

Toilet Paper Roll Snowflakes, Flowers, and Stars! Christmas Crafting!

I love to do crafts with the kids!  Even more so when we can recycle and use what we already have around the house.

Even MORE so, when it's pretty and useful and something we can keep forever and ever!  :) 

Which was why I absolutely adored this easy Christmas ornament craft I did with the kids. 

It can be as easy or as "complicated" as you want!


Empty Toilet Paper and/or Paper Towel Rolls
Glue (I used Super Glue and Elmer's Glue...but you can just use Elmer's)


Decide your thickness and measure along your cardboard tubes to mark where you will cut.  I did about 3/4 of an inch.

Flatten your cardboard tubes, and cut.

For the kids, I then gave them each five cardboard pieces at a time to color with crayons and/or markers.  I just let them do whatever they wanted.

When they were done, they gave me the cardboard and I used super glue to attach them together into a "star" (I chose to use five so it was more of a star, but you could easily use six if you wanted).

Once they dried, and it was relatively quick since I used super glue, I put some Elmer's glue on a paper plate and spread it out.  The kids were able to dip the "flower/star/snowflake" into the glue and then sprinkle glitter over the top. 

We didn't even add a string, they sit right on the branches of the tree very easily.  They make great adornments for gifts as well! 

My oldest decided to make a poinsettia, so she colored hers red and then sprinkled red glitter on the top.  After that dried, she added some glue to the middle and sprinkled some gold glitter over it make it look more like a flower! 

The pictures don't do these justice, they sparkle so beautifully on the tree!
Of course, I couldn't let the kids have ALL the fun!  I made a few of my own, but since you all know I'm addicted to SPRAY PAINT, I made mine just a wee bit differently than the kids made theirs.
To make mine, I glued them together first with my trusty super glue, and then I gave them a quick coat of gray primer. 
After a few minutes, I gave some of them a coat of silver spray paint, and I liked my daughter's poinsettia idea so much, I gave some a coat of red spray paint (I had all the paint on hand from previous projects). 
I could have sprinkled glitter on them while they were drying for an all over sparkle, but instead I chose to do just the front edge like the kids had done. 
I have a "theme" tree in my dining room this year, with silver, and purple being two of the main colors...so I put silver glitter on some of my silver snowflakes, and purple glitter on some of the others.
I also made some poinsettias the same way my daughter did (she's a creative cookie! Take after her mama? Hehe!)


Sunday, November 24, 2013

Christmas Books Countdown Activity

We love books in this family.  I noticed we had more than enough Christmas/Holiday books to count down to Christmas with last year, so when I saw this fun activity on Pinterest, I knew we would have to do it. 

I think we've got ourselves a new holiday tradition!

We simply went through our bookshelves and pulled out all of the books that had Christmas or holiday stories. We counted them out, and since we had more than enough, we put either 1 or 2 books in stack to count down for 23 days. We left The Night Before Christmas unwrapped for the 24th day (and of course we looked at it more often than just that 24th day, my girls LOVE the poem and even at their young ages have it mostly memorized).

I chose two rolls of wrapping paper that coordinated well with my family room, and we got to wrapping. The girls loved helping, and it was fun for us. The girls were able to practice their wrapping skills. :)

It was also a great way to make sure we didn't end up reading the same two or three Christmas books that the girls happened to see on their bookshelves first every night of December.  This way we were sure to go through all of the books and have some variety. 
The girls were so excited to unwrap their book every night!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Thankful Tree - Thanksgiving Craft for Kids

For one of our Thanksgiving crafts last year, we made a Thankful Tree.  It was a big hit with our daughters and really got them thinking about the things in their life that they were thankful for.  And not only that, but it was great writing/spelling practice for my girls, given their ages.

I made a tree trunk out of a roll of brown craft paper, just a freehand sketch and cut it out. 
I used Scotch tape to tape it to the wall, and even rolled a few branches around a bit to make a bit of a 3-D effect. 
Then, the girls and I cut out leaves of various colors and filled a basket of them, along with a marker. 
Then we sat down and thought of things we were thankful for. 
It was so funny some of the things the girls would think of!
Yep, that says Ava is thankful for "Toylit Papr" (read: toilet paper).  Yeah, I'm thankful for that too, kiddo...haha!
We left the basket out all month long so the girls could add to it, and mommy even added some too :)

This was fun, and easy, and we already had all the supplies on hand, though a roll of brown paper and a pack of construction paper don't cost much.


Thursday, October 10, 2013

Kitchen Table

Wow, it's already time to pull up a chair at the Kitchen Table again?

These weeks are going by fast!  I keep meaning to start blogging more in between, but, you know, life.  :)

So, this week's question is:  Do you attend department events?

Like Laura, my husband is both career and volunteer, so we have two departments with events to think about.

My husband attends more events than I do, but I do enjoy going with him when I'm able, depending on the event.

We've been to award ceremonies, shift parties, and weddings for his career station.  We miss a lot of those events though, simply due to our location.  We live over an hour, close to two hours away from where he works, so we have to factor in travel time, child care, gas costs, if there will be drinking and will we need a hotel, etc.  It seems like a lot of the time we'll be planning to go to an event and my husband will end up getting struck down by a migraine and we have to cancel.  No fun!

We have attended banquets, open houses, fundraisers, and parades for the volunteer station.  We also went a New Years Eve get together at the station one year.  Just my husband and I, or as a family.  We rode in a Halloween parade this past weekend.

My little Minions...  :)  Daddy was driving and not allowed to make noise with the engine, so they made their own!

There is a fire/EMS appreciation night tomorrow we may attend as a family as well, I think this is more put on through our local schools but the station will be there.  They do seem to have more events geared towards family for the volunteer station, however, there seems to be more young guys without children there... so in my (limited) experience there doesn't seem to have been as much participation in those and I will admit that's held me back from actively trying to attend more...it's kind of awkward being the only family with little kids at something (on top of my already introverted self).  I do appreciate that they try, though!

We miss a lot of of the volunteer events because of my husband's work schedule.  Others, he attends on his own, either because we have conflicting schedules (kid's events, school, sports, etc), or simply because he needs to be able to be "on call" while he's there.  Since I don't drive, I'd be "stranded" if he left (and he would leave!).

Friday, October 4, 2013

I Definitely Talk...er...Write Too Much

Wife Behind the Fire's Kitchen Table question for the week:

Do you hang with other firefighter wives locally?  Would you like to or do you like to keep life separate?

I don't, really.  My firefighter works over an hour away, so hanging out with his coworkers' wives isn't really an option.  It makes it hard for both of us to go to all the events, ceremonies, etc, as well.  Sometimes I admit I'm a little jealous of those who live close enough to get together more often, to have formed friendships, and especially those who can just pop by the station.  I wish!

He does volunteer locally, but as I have two young children and don't drive, I haven't been able to be around the station much to get to know any of the wives/girlfriends there.  They have live-ins, so there seems to be many more girlfriends than wives anyhow, and so we're just at a different place in life.  If my hubby and I do go there together, it would mean he'd either not be able to go on a call, or my kiddos and I would be stuck at the station (though, I have to say, I hate that it seems like I might be unsupportive by not being there with him...but, I am there FOR him at home with our children).

On top of that, as I've mentioned before, I'm SHY.  I'm also a pretty textbook introvert.  Lovely combination.  I'm a watcher.  A wallflower.  I can write for days, but actually talking?  I'm not so good at.  It doesn't make any sense to me, but it is what it is.  It's not that I won't talk to you, but you will probably have to talk to me first and pull me out of my shell.  He's been at this volunteer station since 2008, and has been a career firefighter since 2009, and I've been to both stations so little that I feel awkwardly uncomfortable at any of their functions.

I would LOVE to have other wives locally to hang out with, wives who get it, who understand.  That would be amazing.  Being shy/introverted doesn't mean I'm anti-social.  I'm just...selectively social and need more downtime.  :)  I absolutely recognize that in this lifestyle you need a support system.  So, lacking the local friends, I turned to the 'net.  I've been a member of some really great groups of lovely wives, who are always just a click away.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Pulling Up a Chair...

...at Wife Behind the Fire's Kitchen Table.

I think it will prove to be a really fun and interesting series!  I can't wait to see what other wives have to say.

So, to answer this week's question, how were you brought into the fire life?

Short answer:  LOVE.

Awwww.  ;)

Long answer:  My husband and I met when we were just babiesteenagers.  I was 16, he was 17.  Summer before our Senior years.  We worked together at a little independent grocery store.  I still remember his first day, when I glanced over and saw him for the first time.  I'm not really sure I believe in true LOVE at first sight, but I definitely felt a certain pull.  I had to get to know this young man.  It wasn't just that I found him to be attractive (though, absolutely, I did!).  My heart skipped a beat and then I just remember being curious.  Who is that guy?  I needed to know.

Problem was, I was SHY.  Painfully shy.  And he was OBLIVIOUS.  Painfully oblivious.  Well, painfully to ME, as a love-struck teenage girl, in any case.

So, it was kind of a slow process.  I would chat with him now and then, I'd try to arrange my schedule to coincide with his.  He was a stock and bag boy, and I was mostly a cashier.  I loved it when I'd get to go back into the aisles and stock with him, gave the perfect opportunity for small talk.

He was a volunteer firefighter/EMT.  I had no idea what I was getting into.  Go ahead, laugh!  I'll wait a second.

I should have known though, for all the times he left work to go on calls.  :)

It took months for us to get together.  I turned 17.  He asked me out once...  then cancelled on me.  I was devastated.  I asked him out once...  but I was a little too ambitious and had invited him to a concert in Philly... his mom said NO way.  I can't say that I blame her.

This was taken before we were dating.  He looks mighty comfy, if you ask me.  :)

A few months later he turned 18.  I was worried at that point that my strict parents wouldn't let me date him, given his age...but, I couldn't take it anymore, I had to tell him how I felt.  I wrote it alllll out in a Christmas card.  That I gave to him in January because I didn't know he was with his dad for Christmas in another town.  I almost chickened out... but, I had to do something.  He wasn't getting my hints, and I've since learned that he generally WON'T get them unless I hit him over the headvery plainly spell it out.  So, I handed it to him and ran off not wanting to see his face while he read it.  He called me that night.  We had our first date, January 6th, 2002.  We went to the movies.  We saw "Ali."  I reached over and grabbed his hand while we watched.  It snowed for the first time of the season, that night.  A winter wonderland and a starry night sky greeted us when we came out of the theater.  He wrapped his arm around me and helped me to the car, my boots were slipping as I walked.

When he took me home, he walked me to the door, hugged me, and I pecked him on the cheek and ran into the house.

...from then on, we were stuck to each other like glue.

I really had no idea what I was getting into.  But, I'm glad I did.

I spent many hours sitting in the car or in the firehouse waiting for him to get back from a call.  I suffered near heart attacks when those same calls were toned out while we were out together and I had to be in the car with the speed demon that he became.  Suffered more near heart attacks listening to his scanner on numerous occasions.  I don't listen anymore.  It's like nails on a chalkboard, anyway...and I don't understand half of what is said.  

After high school he worked for a private ambulance company for awhile, and then enlisted in the military.  He continued to volunteer when he could, whenever we were "home" for enough time to allow it.

We got married in 2004 (I asked him, I think it's a cute story, I'll have to tell it sometime...but are you noticing a trend here?  Haha!).  I was 19, he was 20.  We had two babies.  One in 2006, another in 2007.  Moved around to a few different states.  He took night classes to get his paramedic.  He was this.close to finishing when, well, we had to move again.  We spent a LOT of time apart for his work.  Military is good training for being a firefighter's wife, that's for sure.  I'll take a 24 or a 48 over an 8 month deployment any day.  It gave me a good perspective.  I'd also already had to learn to trust in him, his training, and his brothers and not to let myself be consumed with worry.

After he got out of the Navy, he worked as a medic while he searched and waited for his dream job as a career firefighter.  He found it.  It was always his plan, military, then firefighter.  He sweetly made sure I was on board with this while we were dating, but to be honest I wouldn't care if his dream was to be a garbage man.  I will encourage his career goals because I support HIM, and he does the same for me.  While I might get frustrated with the long hours that go along with his career and, quite often the unpredictability of the volunteer side, I love the sparkle in his eye when he talks about it.  He still gets that same excited look on his face that I remember from when he was 17.


...and I still get that weak in the knees, flutter in the stomach feeling when I see him across a room... 12 years later.  I don't think that will ever change.