So the boys have been into arts and crafts lately. With the lack of crafts stores in Germany, it’s sometimes hard to find things for them to do. I went to the German equivalent of the Dollar Tree (woefully inadequate replacement) and picked up some flyswatters. I’d seen this idea on (where else?!) Pinterest where you put paint daubs on a canvas and gave the kiddos a flyswatter and let them have at it. My boys are a: fans of paint and anything messy, b: really big fans of smacking/hitting things, so I knew they’d have a blast.

It turns out, though, that it’s really really really messy. I would have tried it outside instead, which is probably a much better idea, but it was raining. Because it’s Germany. And it’s always raining. If you look closely you can see the pain on his ear, cheek, eyebrows, hair… It was like instant-gratification art. You get to smack the crap out of the paper and you get beautiful results. Link was a huge fan. I was not a huge fan of the mess. We obviously got a little wild with our smacks, and by we, I mean them. But the fun was worth it. Nothing a little magic eraser can’t help! Here’s our final results: Link used a three color approach, while Drake wanted just red and blue. I sealed the canvases with some glossy fixative and they now hang proudly in my foyer. Beautiful artwork with sentimental meaning at the price of fun. Win-win-win!

So I meant to post this yesterday but ran out of time somehow. Day 2 of the Photo-A-Day Challenge is Your Favorite Holiday Movie. I don’t really have one. I LOVE all holiday movies. Some of my favorites are: Elf, How the Grinch Stole Christmas (animated version), Charlie Brown’s version of course, and National Lampoon’s. I do still love Home Alone, Jingle all the Way, and Santa Clause. But my favorite movie of all is the experience: just sharing it with my boys:

Focused on the Grinch

Day 3 of the Challenge is red. We decorated our house for Christmas this past weekend so we have lots of reds and greens, but I went outside for my inspiration. There’s these red berries on a bush next to where I park my car and they make a wonderful contrast to the snow we’re getting today.

Yes, I know it says a photo a day, but I couldn’t decide between the two of the “red” photos, so you get both.

I’m joining in with A Content Housewife’s blog to do her photo-a-day challenge.

In her own words, “This is such a fun way to get those creative juices flowing AND you capture memories that will last a lifetime! Even if you don’t want to do every day, this can still be used as a holiday photo checklist to make sure you capture some of those important moments during the Christmas season!”

Sounds wonderful to me! Today’s challenge is Your View Today.

  So I hated picking just one photo for this challenge as both boys were super helpful in decorating the house for Christmas, but I really love this one of Link showing me the ornament. In the photo he’s telling me that it’s purple. LOVE that he knows his colors now. He even helped choose the correct color-coded branches for our tree earlier (I’d have a real one but I have allergies to them).   Linking back up to A Content Housewife

Inspired by my love for infographics, I came up with a Christmas photo card design that combines the best of two worlds: a photo card with a newsletter! Highlight your favorite moments of 2012 and showcase your beautiful family at the same time.

Love the modern and simple look of this. Completely customizable and available in my store now.

So maybe this is a bit ironic of a post to follow my Thankful post, but today was a very frustrating day. My eldest son, now five, drove me nuts at the doctor’s office. He was well-behaved until he got frustrated with the iPad. He couldn’t beat a level in Mega Jump so he banged it on his forehead in frustration. While I can appreciate his frustration, he needs to find a better outlet for it. I took the iPad away and made him go back to reading magazines in the waiting room. He then proceeded for the next FIFTEEN minutes to ask for it back. In his most annoying whiny voice. Complete with big crocodile tears. Our conversation went something like this:

D: I won’t do it again. Can I please play it again?Me: No. What you did was unacceptable. You cannot play it now.D: I’m sorry. Can I play it now?Me: Thanks for the apology. But you’re still not playing it. The answer is no.D: But I waaaaaaaaaaant to play it. I wannnnnnt to. Pleassssssse. Me: The answer is going to stay no. Quit asking.D: I wannnnnnnt to play. I wannnnnnnnt the iPad. I won’t do it again. (repeat ad nauseum)I tried ignoring his requests, after asking him to stop asking. I took away tv time, computer time, and told him he was going to take a nap as soon as we got home. I ran out of things to take away. I was very frustrated with his lack of listening. I don’t go back on my word. He can earn back privileges for good behavior, but it has to be consistently good behavior out of the goodness of his heart, and not for the sake of earning privileges back. I guess this is what I’m doing wrong. Because the kid just won’t take no for an answer. He badgers me until I get so frustrated that I end up just as upset as he is. How do you stop your children from badgering you when you give an answer?

This year has been really a very blessed year. Nothing in particular, just everything has been wonderful. I’ve been really blessed and I’m very thankful. I’ve been trying to convey that to my children so that they grow up with an attitude of appreciation as well. It’s sometimes hard when you’re 3 and 5 though. The boys grabbed a flyer from the BX for holiday toys and they circled ALL the toys when I asked them to find ones they wanted to ask Santa for.

My birthday boy and his brother opening gifts on Thanksgiving

So here’s the main things I’m thankful for this year: Drake, Link, my wonderful husband, my supportive and loving family and friends, a loving and forgiving God, my creative outlet in the form of my business, my wonderful customers, food, shelter, and comfort. I have them all in abundance so I’m very blessed indeed.

Our Thanksgiving feast: cranberries, mashed sweet potatoes, stuffed mushrooms, devilled eggs, mac ‘n cheese, turkey, and dinner rolls.. Yum!

Hope your thanksgiving (and year) were just as blessed.