Sharing the Tradition of Cutting Down a Real Christmas Tree 2013 #happilyblended #family

Christmas has come and gone so quickly, even the 12 days of vacation from school that my children had just flew by too fast. I wanted to share our Christmas Tree story because, well it’s a bit late but a fun story to share.

Oh Christmas Tree

For years my children and I, up until last year, my ex husband was included too – we go and cut down our Christmas Tree. It’s a family tradition. Last Christmas (of 2012) was the first year my ex husband and I did things separately, as our youngest was starting to have issues realizing Mommy and Daddy are not together even though we do a lot together as a “family unit”. The traditions of our prior family had to stop being shared together as adults, but separately with our sons for each household. It was important for us to do that for our sons to move forward.

So this Christmas, 2013, was the first year we celebrated with my fiance and his children. The kids and I really want to make the fiance and his kids realize that they are a full part of our family here, the children of my fiance now have two homes – one with their Mom and one here with their Dad and me. It’s important to everyone here that the children feel at home while they visit every other weekend. Sharing our picking out and cutting down of the family Christmas Tree was important.

Little Human Christmas Tree

We all headed out in two vehicles to the place just near our house to get a tree. Basically this place cuts the tree down for you and the five kids and us walked around until we found a tree that we wanted.

Human Christmas Tree

You see picking out a tree was half the battle, getting it into the house and on that little human tree stand was another story. The boys and my step daughter had a fun time being all cute pretending to be the real Christmas Tree.  We did finally get that tree up on our tree stand and it was ready for the annual tradition of Brandy and Kiara to go at it while attempting to put garland and lights on the tree… now that was entertainment for the remainder of our family.

Christmas Tree 2013

It all started when Kiara felt the need to report that I totally suck with winding of the garland and/or lights. Each time I attempt to wrap anything like she does in the picture above, I end up with tangles and knots. She is great at this  …. I am not. I am simply a pawn waiting for Kiara’s next command, or idle threat of hoping the garland is around my neck as she pulls to wrap it around her arm. She’s a sweet child, I promise!

Happily Blended Tree Cutting

Then the arguing commences over who wants what where and why. This is ridiculous to me, but the five children placed various decorations on our first time Blended Family Christmas Tree with little mishaps. Us adults, had the job of cleaning the decorations because my over 10 year old candy canes melted and got all over the decor leaving us with no candy canes on tree this year.

Christmas Tree Tradition

Finally our first Christmas tree together as a family was complete and we enjoyed looking at it every night until about 2 days after Christmas when I had enough and took it all down! It’s important as we plan for a 2015 wedding that we remind our children that all 5 of them are our family, together always. They are all to be included, loved and made to feel a part of our lives whether with us or the other parent. We love our five combined children and would do anything for them! I was a merry, happy evening this particular evening and it’s a memory I will hang onto for years.

Happy Faces, Happy Moments

I love looking back on pictures that make me smile… my boys and me in one shot, all happy —

Mama Bear Fights for her Kids

The Dad at my house on Christmas Eve —

Grampa spending Christmas Eve with Grandkids

Getting a pic of all three of my kids and me, just to find out the little one was showing his chewed up food —

My three kids and me

And our first year of getting our Christmas tree without help from anyone else –

Christmas Tree Cut Down

I love that when I look back at so many pictures I have taken that each time we all seem so happy. The kids sort of went through a funk for a bit, due to situations that arose, but now they seem to be super happy again and I just had to look back to cherish some of those happy moments today as I prepare to have them gone with their Dads for the weekend.

I love my family so much!

 

Kid Friendly Ways to Decorate

I’m Penelope, and I usually post on my own site, Penelope’s Oasis, where I share beauty tutorials, relationship advice and homemaking ideas. Today I get to have the fun of posting on my friend Brandy’s blog and share some ideas for decorating with your kids for the holidays!

The holidays are a fun time of year and children get caught up in the excitement of the season long before the actual holidays. It’s wonderful as a mom to see how much fun baking and decorating are for children, but what are safe ways to decorate with children, and safe ideas for decorations in a home with children? Obviously candles and sharp ornaments are not the best idea when you have toddlers or lots of active children, so here are five ideas for ways to get your kids involved in the festivities, and to have your home beautifully decorated at the same time.

For children with a sweet tooth (isn’t that all of them?) how about filling various jars and bowls with colorful treats and candies? Using traditional Christmas colors is a great way to make those yummy treats look decorative.

Holiday Crafts for Families

If your children bring home ornaments and pine cones they made at school to hang on the tree, but your tree is already full of last year’s handmade ornaments and pine cones, why not decorate the rest of the home with those treasures? String them up on the mantelpiece, in doorways, over the chandelier, etc and let your little treasures see their little treasure proudly displayed all season long.

Crafts with pine cones

Candycanes are a seasonal treat that reminds everyone of Christmas. In addition to being yummy, they also make great decorations. They can be use to hang on trees, decorate vases, frame a window, etc and can even be attached to gifts as a makeshift bow or used to as a flavored stirring stick for yummy holiday drinks. Your kids can unwrap and snack them as desired, making them even more popular.

fun with candy canes

Your children exchange cards in school with all their friends. Let them show off how popular they are by displaying those pretty cards on shelves or stringing them up across a wall. Holiday cards are so pretty they make decorations themselves, and it’s easy for children to do this. They can even use other holiday crafts to hold them up, like those felt trees and stockings they make- it looks super cool!

Create holiday cards with kids at home

A super easy way for children to decorate that also adds a bit of sophistication to your holiday decorations is this simple craft. Take oak tag or cardboard and wrap some pretty ribbon around it as though it were a gift. Then hang it up- it’s “gift art” and it looks terrific. A great plus is that it’s easy for very young children to make, and reminds them all of those presents that are coming.

Crafting with small children

I hope you enjoy these ideas and you have a great holiday season!

How to Make a Shipping Box Christmas Tree

This idea is taken from Disney Family Fun magazine craft section of their December/January 2012 edition.

Supplies:

  • Cardboard Box – Big enough for the size of tree you want. Tree shown in image is 12″ wide at base and 13″ tall to tip of tree.
  • Hot Glue or Regular Glue
  • Acrylic Paint, preferable green and/or red. Tree shown has a red/green pattern.
  • Paint Brush
  • Wire or string
  • Paper or card stock for ornaments
  • Buttons or big beads to put on wire/string garland
  • Ruler
  • Tissue Paper – at least one sheet to cover circle bottom of tree
  • Scissors or adult box cutter knife (for use by adult only)

Getting Started

First you will want to determine how big you wish to have the tree, instructions are based on a 13″ x 12″ tree, so scale yours correctly based on desired size. Measure out the base on a cardboard shipping box to 12″ for the base of the tree. Mark both sides or draw a straight line across.

Next, measure up 13″ and place a dot or line for a guide on tree height. Draw a tree with angles to ensure ornaments and garland can hang properly from tree.

Cut out your first part of the cardboard tree. Place this first tree cutout onto another cardboard box and trace it and cut out a second part of the cardboard tree.

Once you have both tree cutouts ready. Start to measure to cut a notch in the top of one tree and the bottom of the other tree, this will allow you to interlock the two cardboard cutouts. The measurements we used were 1/2″ across and 7″ give or take a little upwards. The notches may need to be adjusted to ensure your tree sites flat on the surface.

You will want to put hot glue into the notches when your notches are in perfect order to ensure your tree is sturdy. Next create a circle bottom to the size of your liking. Best way to determine size of the circle bottom is to trace around the bottom of your tree in a circle motion. Cut the circle out and use tissue paper if you wish to cover the cardboard color, we used green tissue paper.

Last but not least you will want to hot glue the tree to this circle bottom to ensure it stays on steady. While you wait for the glue to dry, you can paint the tree carefully in the color of your choice.

The final steps include creating your own garland and paper ornaments. For the ornaments you will need to trace a circle onto a piece of paper for however many ornaments you wish to hang from the cardboard tree. Decorate each ornament to your liking and use an ornament hook or paperclip to attach to the tree edges.

The garland can be a string with buttons or beads attached via a tied knot every few inches and draped over the cardboard tree as one would drape over a regular Christmas tree.

Have fun crafting with the kids & have a happy holiday season!

Let’s Talk about Christmas Trees – Real or Fake?

My family started a tradition years ago when the boys were way young of cutting down our own Christmas tree. It happened by accident, you see we were broke and not wanting to have to use my old school $14.99 retail Christmas tree I had from the first years of my daughter’s life, we drove past a sign “cut your own tree $10″ and we were hooked.

Each year we head to a small town in NH where you cut down your own tree and pay $10 on a ‘trust’ system, meaning they don’t hover over you at all when you are out enjoying family time picking a tree. Money is simply left in a box and it’s a trust thing. I remember that last year  we drove off and moments down the road realized that we were so busy dealing with hyper kids that we hadn’t paid. Yes we turned around and put $10 in the box, it’s what this world needs more of – Trust Systems, and real beautiful Christmas trees ;-)

christmas tree

Image by fsse8info via Flickr

So I ask, are you the fam that has a fake tree or are you the real tree kinda family?

 

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