kid jokes // 7

This joke reminds me a bit of Fiddler on the Roof, which True and Brave love, so maybe that’s what inspired this joke.

Get the joke illustration print out here; see past kid jokes here.


gold glitter star garland

Gold Glitter Star Garland

Corrugated cardboard (we recycled a shipping box)
Gold glitter
Plastic needle

Draw stars in various sizes on cardboard and cut out (cutting out cardboard is tough for kids, so I had to do it). Pour some glue on a paper plate, paint one side of the star with glue. Then, generously sprinkle on the glitter. Repeat for every star. Allow stars to dry completely. Using a plastic needle, string through the opening of the corrugated cardboard.

We love the statement this star garland makes. It’s real shimmery in person, but that doesn’t translate in pictures. If you want to omit the glitter mess (glitter always makes a mess), use glitter glue instead. The girls are mini makers and love any opportunity to make Christmas decorations. This year, they are even the ones who decorated the tree! I love giving them reigns to decorate as they please. Sometimes, I do have to coral them in a bit because they can go crazy, but I love seeing them take joy in making things for our home and each other (even if the making mess doesn’t drive me a little bit batty). I love making crafts with the kids because it means we are also making memories!

This post is part of the Michaels Makers Series. Looking for more holiday inspiration? Make sure you visit Michaels’ blog, The Glue String, to see the rest of the Michaels Makers’ DIY holiday project ideas.

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our favorite building blocks

I’m sharing our favorite building block sets that the girls play with almost every day. The first set we ever got was the (1) the Melissa and Doug wooden block set for True and Brave. These natural, wooden blocks are classics; I remember having a similar set when I was a child. A few years ago, Ben’s sister got the girls their first (2) Tegu block set. Tegu blocks are magnetic and the kids have so much fun building different things. We’ve invested in more Tegu sets through the years (the robot, car, and more wheels), so they have a giant basket full of them. We have bull-nosed corners in our home, which I think are made of metal, so the girls discovered the blocks stick to it, and they build many things up the walls. These days, Tegu has a lot of different color palettes for their block sets. I know Tegu can be a bit more expensive, but these toys are well worth the investment. We got the (3) Guidecraft Rainbow Block set for Glow last Christmas. The girls love using them as lenses and looking through the colors. It’s probably the set that gets the least played, so if you’re just starting to build your block sets, save this one for last. They are really pretty though. The (4) Playmags Magna Tiles is another set I highly recommend getting. They are more tiles than blocks, but since they’re magnetic, it’s another fun one that the girls get really creative with. In our home, this one often gets turned into a castle for all their my little ponies.

True and Brave are 9 and 10, but they still love creating and building with their block sets. We also have each block set in baskets in the common areas of the house, so any time they girls get the itch to build, they are right there ready to be played with. These really are the toys that get played with the most in our home. They’ve made Star Wars spaceships, animals, castles, bridges, telephones, and the list of things can go on and on. They also love mixing them all together when they play.  When other kids come over to visit, the blocks are the first thing the kids are drawn to. It’s a nice playdate ice breaker. Ben and I try to be intentional with the toys they have, and love things that encourage their imagination. I know with this Christmas shopping season upon us, it can get overwhelming with what to buy the children, so hopefully this little list helps. I’ll have another post and share some other toys that get a lot of play in our home.

1) Melissa & Doug Standard Building Blocks
2) Tegu Magnetic Blocks
3) Guidecraft Rainbow Blocks
4) Playmags Magna Tiles

Anyone have any other good block sets to suggest?


digital floral collage

Usually, I share crafty things, but this time I’m sharing some digital crafting I did inspired by Clare Celeste. I was attempting to make a poster as part of a gift, when I remembered the beautiful collages Clare Celeste makes and wanted to try my own. Now, I’m wishing I tried this out sooner and made our Christmas cards using an image like this. Who am I kidding, I never send out Christmas cards.

I used vintage floral images that were available for use in public domain and layered them together with a family photo. This is my first attempt; I have a couple other ideas I want to try. I think these collages would make wonderful Christmas presents, and I’m taking mental notes of people I think would enjoy a family portrait like this (ahem, the grandparents).


our mini thanksgiving 2016

We’ve started doing our own Bratcher Thanksgiving on Wednesday nights (here is last year’s), so we can have some quiet time together to reflect on the holiday and share what we are thankful for. During last year’s Thanksgiving, we learned that the first Thanksgiving, more likely an autumn harvest feast, did not serve stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, or pies (they didn’t have potatoes, wheat, flour, or butter). Thus, we discussed that for our next Thanksgiving, we would do research and serve things that were more likely seen at the first feast.

Ben was in charge of doing the research and he came up with the menu for the celebration…
Stewed pumpkins
Sweet pudding of Indian corn

Fresh cranberries (fresh and unsweetened)

Turnips (roasted, although theirs were likely boiled)

Stewed turkey breast with herbs and onions
Steamed clams
Steamed lobster

The stewed pumpkins weren’t super popular. The girls and I were fans of the sweet pudding of Indian corn, but it was so much better the next morning served as a breakfast porridge with fresh fruit in it. Fresh cranberries are tart and take getting used to, but once we adjusted to the tartness, we were popping them in like (sour) grapes. Only half the family liked the roasted turnips, but I threw the leftovers in a soup for tonight’s dinner and everyone like it much better that way. The turnips absorbed the soup and it took away some of the pungent flavor. The stewed turkey was True’s favorite (she had 4 slices!), while the rest of the girls devoured the clams. I think I like this menu for our Bratcher mini Thanksgivings because we celebrate Thanksgiving so many times with our families, so it’s nice to serve something a little different at home. For next year’s meal, I think we will skip the bird and serve mussels, lobster, and striped bass.

For our tablescape, I rolled out kraft paper, set out each plate settings, and then painted their names on the side as the place cards. We’re assuming the original Thanksgiving was likely earlier in the fall because we read they served plums and melons with their meals. The mandarins we placed on each plate definitely weren’t true to geography/era, but since our garden has plenty to share, it added a nice touch to our tablescape. I snipped off a couple vines from my jasmine and that provided our table with some greenery, and the white candles (from Dollar Tree, or order from here) set the mood.

I love our mini Thanksgiving feast tradition, and I especially love hearing what the girls are thankful for. After dinner, the girls read us a story about the first Thanksgiving, and put on a show for us.


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