Snowy day art (a guest post by Madeline Wicker)

Madeline (9)  loves art and decided to teach her little 4-year-old sister how to do an art project inspired by Snowy Day Snowy day art (a guest post by Madeline Wicker) by Ezra Jack Keats. Thomas was taking his nap and Rachel was over at the grandparents’ house, and I was actually able to snooze a bit (I was still in recovery mode from the dreadful stomach virus) while they were busy at work. Madeline knows I have a blog and has been asking if she could write a post, so I suggested she share with readers how she created this artwork.

Welcome, Madeline! (She started typing this on her own, but her hands grew tired so she asked me to type while she narrated. This is all in her words with the exception of the “tsumommy” definition.)

Hi – my name is Madeline as you know and I already know that you know about me so let’s get started.

Things you will need:

Two sheets of watercolor paper

Watercolor paint and paintbrushes

A white crayon


Colored or designed paper of your choice

Glue sticks

Paper towels


1. First, grab a piece of watercolor paper. Color the piece with white crayon until you think it’s pretty much covered.

2. Choose watercolor paints that are a wintry color like blues and purples, and paint the entire piece of watercolor paper. Once you’re finished painting the paper, dab it with a paper towel to spread all of the paint around (make sure paint is watery and light because if it gets too dark, it won’t look like snow; I had this problem with Mary Elizabeth’s). Allow it to dry and move onto the next step.

3. Use your patterned or plain paper to cut out different types of buildings – some big, some small, some narrow, some large, your choice.

4. Once the watercolor paper you painted is dry, cut out big snowdrifts for your background and glue some of them onto a second piece of watercolor (Mom’s addendum: regular card stock paper would work for this step as well) paper. Add buildings, and then layer more snowdrifts on top.

5. Now comes the fun part! You may cut out any snowy image you would like such as snowmen or trees or traffic lights – anything you would like – and glue onto your scene. If you have more leftover snowy paper that you painted, you can cut out snowflakes or snowballs and make it look like there’s snow on the buildings.

6. Allow picture to dry. (Don’t wake up Mommy to show your masterpiece. Wait until she gets up.) Oh, and be sure to clean everything up, so there’s no chance of a “tsumommy.”* Just a warning. icon smile Snowy day art (a guest post by Madeline Wicker)

*A tsumommy is what we jokingly refer to as a mom who crashes into a room and is inclined to go a little crazy over messes.

Here’s what M.E. and my finished products looked like:


Snowy Day by Madeline 1024x768 Snowy day art (a guest post by Madeline Wicker)

My  “Snowy Day”

snowy day by ME 1024x768 Snowy day art (a guest post by Madeline Wicker)

Mary Elizabeth’s “Snowy Day”



Giving thanks and Advent links

We celebrated Thanksgiving at Nana and Pop’s this year and on the way, I set my phone’s timer for five minutes and asked the kids to blurt out anything and everything they were thankful for and I then listed them in the exact order they were shouted out and also did not edit their contributions (e.g., Mary Elizabeth’s blessing of “roasted beef” was jotted down just as she said it).  Here’s what they came up with:

1. apple pie

2. life

3. love

4. family and friends

5. Thomas

6. our house

7. fall

8. toys

9. turkey

10. seasons

11. the sun

12. the moon

13. roasted beef

14. ice cream

15. exercise

16. cozy boots

17. Toms

18. our health

19. animals

20. jeans

21. clothes

22. water

23. Layla (our dog)

24. trees

25. Clue (the game)

26. books

27. colors

27. Monopoly

28. beans

29. food

30. music

31. school

32. my mind

33. flowers

34. mail

35. the world

36. a warm bed

37. the way Thomas says, “Oh,” when you tell him something

38. hope

39. new beginnings

40. plays

41. shopping

42. windows

43. eyes

44. our bodies

45. signs

46. doors

47. beaches

48. cars

49. pumpkins

50. Knuffle Bunny Giving thanks and Advent links (Rachel’s lovey)

51. Raja (Madeline’s tiger stuffed animal lovey)

52. people

53. Cubbie (my parents’ puppy)

54. Christmas trees

55. Nana (my grandma who passed away)

56. Nana and Pop

57. Gaba and Papa

58. Ivy (my parents’ dog who recently died)

59. Uncle Rich (my uncle/my mom’s brother who died of pancreatic cancer last February)

60. Michelle (my cousin who died recently as well from cystic fibrosis and lissencephaly complications)

61. Mr. Thomas (our neighbor who also passed away; yes, there’s a theme here)

62. Katelyn (our babysitter who is alive and well)

63. Marlo (our babysitter’s dog)

64. scones

65. chocolate

66. Waffle House

67. The Grit  (my contribution)

68. wine (obviously another one of my contributions)

69. lattes (me again)

70. Aerolatte Milk Frother (me again, although Thomas likes to use this gadget to torture her sisters. I’ve caught him twice now turning it on and putting it in their hair.)

71. firemen

72. policemen

73. police dogs

74. fire dogs

75. ambulances

76. doctors

77. radiologists

78. Smoothie King

79. braces

80. Baby Jane’s

81. movies

Time’s up!

Once at Nana and Pop’s we were not only treated to the feast of feasts, but Madeline had written a Thanksgiving play and the kids performed it for us. The red wagon is the Mayflower. Madeline is Squanto. Thomas and Mary Elizabeth are pilgrims, and Rachel served as the narrator.

Thanksgiving play 1024x768 Giving thanks and Advent links

Thanksgiving play 2 1024x768 Giving thanks and Advent links


photo221 1024x768 Giving thanks and Advent links

Thanksgiving funny faces 1024x768 Giving thanks and Advent links

Obligatory funny faces shot

Now it’s time to start thinking about Advent. I have a speech at a parish not too far from my home on Sunday where I’ll talk a bit about cultivating a peaceful, joyful heart during a season that can easily become a path to burnout for a multitasking control freak like myself. Your life this Advent and always should be full, not just busy. Just because our culture hypes jam-packed schedules as the norm doesn’t mean we have to subscribe to it. My running injury (still not anywhere close to running again) has forced me to slow down not just on the pavement and treadmill but in life as well. I’m getting more sleep these days and really focused on embracing simplicity. At its heart, simplicity really means less of us and more of Him. It can also mean staying in your PJs all day (I’m typing this in my pajamas; no Black Friday madness for me.)

We don’t need to over-schedule our kids now or ever. Madeline really wanted to try basketball this winter, but we have a brief respite from soccer and I didn’t want to fill it with more practices. If she’s meant to be in the WNBA someday, she’ll discover that talent soon enough. For now, I am drawing my family near, pulling out our favorite Advent books, and trying to decide what Advent traditions we will embrace this year. I’ve included a few links from the archives that include all sorts of ideas for bringing this season alive for little ones. BONUS: You’ll get to see the kids when they were wee ones. Happy clicking!

An Advent Tea
Preparing Our Hearts and Homes (Advent Traditions)
Advent crafts (shell angels, felt napkin holders, poinsettia princesses, etc.)
Advent Smörgåsbord
Recipe for Baby Jesus Birthday Cake (more for the Christmas season obviously)
Handprint angels
Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe traditions
Christmas card placemats
Tips for hosting a cookie swap
Cookie Swap recipes
Feast of St. Nicholas traditions
Explaining the symbolism of the Advent wreath to children

Short and Sweet

I love St. Valentine’s Day. I love having an excuse to lavish my family with love. I don’t mind them doing it in return for me either. I was the grateful recipient of roses and handmade cards.

We didn’t do anything extravagant. Dave and I were able to sneak away for a quick dinner. We came home, and I sipped some crisp and sweet Riesling that was easy on the wallet. (Thank you for the recommendation, A.P.!)

Riesling 768x1024 Short and Sweet

The girls and I made Daddy Chubby Hubby Bars.  He likes to have a few unhealthy snacks on hand for his late-night snacking. His mutant metabolism allows him to eat like every day is Valentine’s Day. For the rest of us, it’s a big treat to nosh on so many sugary delights. We all had a Chubby Hubby Bar for dessert. Oh my goodness. These ooey-gooey slabs of deliciousness made me swoon, especially when I dipped them in my coffee. Yes, I ate them for breakfast yesterday, too. It was a holiday – a delicious one at that.

I read Saint Valentine by Robert Sabuda Short and Sweet to the girls, and we discussed the mosaic artwork. Then the girls made their own simple mosaics using foam squares I’d cut up for them. Short and Sweet

 Short and Sweet


mosaics 1024x768 Short and Sweet

For lunch there were heart-shaped fried eggs in whole wheat bread slices.

heart eggs 1024x768 Short and Sweet

We shared the Valentine’s Day sugar cookies we made with our elderly, sweet-loving neighbor.

cookies 1024x768 Short and Sweet

And this love bug with her big-girl haircut made me laugh.

11 e1329267941162 768x1024 Short and Sweet

big girl haircut 1024x768 Short and Sweet

It was a LOVE-ly, sweet day.

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