Cocktails & Crafts Revival!

It’s been a while since my friends and I got together for some Cocktails & Crafts fun, so when my friend Heather said she found a fun craft she’d like to share and would like to host an autumn party, we were in!

There were tons of delicious snacks to choose from, including my spider peanut butter sandwiches, candy corn, and fresh fruits and veggies.  The kids grazed on vittles and utterly enjoyed each other’s company, with the bonus that Colby and Lincoln’s Nana was there to visit and gave them all her complete attention!  Nothing like a grandmother to keep the troops safe and happy!

It was a good thing we had her, too, because with–wait for it–SIXTEEN KIDS under five on hand, we needed all hands on deck!  And once they started making a break for the great outdoors, we really had to divide and conquer.

The kids did not care that it was freezing and would escape with no shoes, coats, or hats–they’d just see a gap in our vigilance and head for the hills.  Usually en masse, so they really were easy to spot as they headed out the door.  This was a good time to break them up into groups, introduce the craft, and try not to lose one or two in the confusion!

A great autumn craft–apple stamps!  Let the kids stamp to their heart’s content using half an apple.  Their pictures came out great!

And then, of course, back outside.  Why, you ask?  Because there were horses…

…and then it started to SNOW!  Needless to say, back inside!

We stayed until it was dark and the kids were in their pajamas and shuttled home just in time for bed.  Thanks to the Nana-on-hand, there was time for this–

–and a lot of fun for all!

Thanks, Heather, for hosting and for reviving Cocktails & Crafts for one last hurrah!  Maybe I’ll motivate myself for another holiday go round this year.  It’s such a fun excuse to get together with friends–why not?

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Kir Royales and Crayons

My friends and I got together for another fabulous afternoon of Cocktails & Crafts in May, celebrating not only spring but also one of Jax’s buddy’s 3rd birthday.  The sun was shining, the grass was green and just begging for fat little kiddie toes to run through it.  Em, on the other hand, was begging for a nap.  Her friends were a little confused.

But give a girl some watermelon and she perks right up!

Not to mention two very cool crafts.  One of them is a gift for JDubbs for Father’s Day, so I can’t share that with you now, but there was another that the kids really loved.  Did you know that if you use a white crayon on paper, then paint watercolors over them, the word or design you wrote will come through?  The kids were pretty impressed–so was I, actually!

How did I not get a photo of the finished product?  That’s not my usual, attention-to-detail self.  I’m not sure why not, but believe me they were very cool.  It must have been those yummy kir royales that had me distracted from my bloggy responsibilities!

It was a delightfully refreshing summer drink–I wouldn’t have normally thought of it, but I’m glad Heather did!

Once the crafts were completed and the beverages on hand, the kids began exploring Heather’s beautiful yard and went out to have some fun in the sun.

Once the food was gone, Miss Em reverted to her grim and grumpy ways and was not feeling very social, to say the least.

Her scowls are epic.

The kids actually orchestrated a jailbreak and were running as a pack toward the stream behind the yard, so we adults made the executive decision it was time to regain control of the situation.  Thus with the promise of birthday cake, we led the troops back to the house–

not spilling a drop!–to wish Matthew a very happy birthday!

And the cake was enjoyed by all!

After the chocolatey goodness, the kids were so absolutely filthy from cake, dirt, sand, paint, and the like that we actually hosed them off.  I wish we lived in a simpler world where I wouldn’t have to worry what kind of people would find my site by looking for naked children, but it is what it is and so there are no photos, but believe me, it was absolutely hilarious.  Em was probably filthier at the end of it all than when she started, and watching them all pull each other naked in the wagon will be a memory I will recall fondly for a long time.

Toweled them off, put them in their pj’s, said goodbye to good friends and headed home for bed.  Cocktails and Crafts is one of my favorite days of the month–you should start your own with your circle of friends and join in the fun!

Thank you, Heather, for a very memorable day!  Cheers to more kir royales this summer!

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Bee Mine

We were celebrating spring at Cocktails & Crafts this month, helping our kids make busy bees that are currently residing in my kitchen next to our nature plate.  Bringing just a touch of Mother Nature into our home!

My friend Michelle got the idea from her daughter’s class at her local Waldorf school (a different one than ours), and like me, she caught the bug–excuse the pun–and is now getting into the crafty fun of it.  All you need is some black and yellow wool roving, a couple teeny pinecones, some black thread, some glue and a couple of those maple tree helicopter seed things for wings.  Very scientific of me, huh?

We arrived at Michelle’s and the kids had a great time playing together.  It had been raining all week, so although they were still trapped inside, at least they had each other as playthings!  I love seeing how the second babies–all Jax’s friends’ younger siblings–are getting bigger and bigger.  Soon they’ll all be running around as a big destructive horde, and God help us then!

Then once everyone had arrived it was time to get creative!

First you wrap your tiny pinecone in black and yellow wool roving to create stripes around the “bee.”  Be sure to stretch out the wool to make it a bit more feathery.  You could also use a felting needle to secure the stripes where you want them if you feel the need.

Tie the bee up with the thread so it can “fly”.  Then you use the glue to secure the maple tree seed thingies to the bees.  Ours came out a little wonky, but our crafts always leave a little to be desired.

Once our bees were flying free, the Mommies had a creation of our own: raspberry bellinis.  Yum!

And while we all snacked on a delicious spread of snacks and a yummy dessert concoction–chocolate, caramel, cookie, heavenly something–the kids ran themselves ragged and had an overall delightful time.

I so love Cocktails & Crafts, our great monthly get-together where both the mamas and the kiddos have a chance to be creative, while relaxing with a delicious new beverage.  Doesn’t have to be alcoholic, and the kids don’t have to be the  doing the crafting–it just needs to be easy-going and fun! Start your own C & C group and I’ll feature you right here and link back to you in my Cocktails & Crafts link forever!

Have a bee-autiful day!

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Golden Egg Hunt

Last month’s Cocktails & Crafts was such a great, seasonal activity that you could apply to your St. Patty’s Day fun or use it in anticipation of Easter!  The kids decorated a festive paper bag and then we headed downstairs for a golden egg hunt, searching for eggs left behind by those naughty leprechauns!

My friend Katie and her sons Colby and Lincoln graciously hosted–

–and the kids had a fabulous time decorating their bags.  They’re becoming serious little artists in their old age!

I brought a yummy and adorable treat to share–Oreo frogs!  Easy enough that Jax and Em helped me assemble them (hence only a dozen or so made it to the party), and super cute!  Check out the recipe here.

Once the kids had finished decorating and had a snack or two, we sent them down into the playroom, which was beautifully decorated, to search for those elusive golden eggs!

They were filled with leprechaun gold (chocolate) coins, so the fun was many-fold!

For the adults as well as the kids!

Thank you, Katie, for hosting, and for providing not just a fun craft, but a great activity to go along with it!  Such a fun way to spend an evening indoors.  We’ve been playing with those eggs outside for weeks and they are no worse for the wear, thanks to that gold spray paint!  Kids are always delighted to go hunting for eggs, whether they have an excuse or not–I think that sometimes the only excuse needed is to have fun!

If you’re not familiar with Cocktails & Crafts, and would like to learn more about how to start your own monthly get-together with friends, or to see past C & C events, click here or on the Cocktails & Crafts link above!  I’d be happy to feature your group once you get it up and running!

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Cocktails & Crafts, Valentine’s Edition!

Cocktails & Crafts resumed this month, with a Valentine’s themed get-together at Brooke’s house with very yummy refreshments and a great craft for the kids!

This pretty pink drink is called an Ooh La La martini, although  Brooke made her own version.  Here’s the original recipe:

1 ounce lemon-flavored vodka

½ ounce triple sec

2 ounces pineapple juice

2 ounces Sprite

1 lemon

splash grenadine

2 lemon wedges

2 maraschino cherries

In cocktail shaker add vodka, pineapple juice, Sprite, and triple sec.  Cut lemon and squeeze half into shaker, use other half for garnish.  Shake well with ice.  Put splash of grenadine in two martini glasses with sugared rims.  Pour drink and color should turn to a pretty pink.  Garnish with lemon wedges and cherries.

Delicious!  Aren’t you craving a cocktail now?  No?  Well, yes, it is only 8 in the morning.  Maybe later.

So now that you know what we were drinking (and how cute were the ladybug cupcakes?!), here’s the craft we had a lot of fun creating!

Paper plate heart-shaped Valentine holders!

They were easy, fun, and a big hit with the kids.  Here’s what you need to make your own.

Materials: paper plate, hole punch, stapler, decorations

Directions:

First, fold two paper plates in half so that the folded parts face in.  See picture below.  Staple them together and trim the edges to form a heart.

Then add a hole to the top on both sides, slide some ribbon or garland through, and you have yourself a heart-shaped container, perfect for Valentine’s, letters, or to use a purse.

Then let the kids decorate to their hearts’ content!  Be sure to add their name if you’re going to be using these at a Valentine party, like we were, so that they don’t get mixed up with others.

The end results were well worth the mess, and the kids had a lot of fun making each one their own.

Even the moms.

Em LOVES hers.  She carries it around the house and calls it her “star purse.”  I think this is a craft I will be revisiting throughout the year every time the one we have bites the dust!

After that, the kids enjoyed playing together.  It was a small group, and everyone had a companion.

Everyone, that is, except Miss Em.

Jax and Matthew were off playing with some electronic alphabet game, Genevieve and Jacob were passing toys back and forth, Grace and Harper were happily playing ballerinas, and even Paisley, who is even younger than Em is, tagged along.  I could tell that Em wanted nothing more than to go upstairs and dress up with the big girls, but since they didn’t feel the need to include her–nor should they have, they’re 3 and 4 years old–she also didn’t feel comfortable running after them.  I felt my first pangs of Mommy worry as I decided how much I should interfere, and wondered whether I should force the older girls to play with her.  I needn’t have worried; as soon as they came downstairs in their tutus, Harper graciously asked Em if she’d like to play, too, and Em was utterly and totally thrilled.

This was my first real reckoning that our usual one-size-fits-all parenting isn’t going to work forever.  One day our kids are going to have different interests, friends, schedules, and I’m going to have to put a little more work into our playdates.  It’s becoming clear that Em may need some girl time every now and then–most of our get-togethers are heavy on the testosterone and low on the tutus–and that baby girl isn’t always going to be satisfied following in big brother’s footsteps.  An eye-opening moment for me, but nonetheless delightful.  I love a baby belly in a leotard!

And chubby feet.  God, she’s so cute.  They all are!

So the kids played until bedtime and then we all headed home.  A lovely evening to be sure–wonderful crafts, great memories, and some parenting ideas to chew on for some time to come.

I love Cocktails & Crafts!  What a good idea that was.

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Christmas Cocktails & Crafts

It only took 10 months, but it was finally my turn to host Cocktails & Crafts again!  What is C & C, you ask?  Why, it’s only the greatest and most fun excuse to get together with friends and enjoy being creative while also enjoying a delicious beverage.  To see crafty ideas past, or to learn more about how you can start a C  & C group of your own, just click here.

So I lucked out and was happy to be able to share a few holiday-appropriate crafts with my friends, especially now that most of us have a slight reprieve from preschool, classes, and the like that usually make up our busy schedules.  With the holidays comes a little down time, and with down time comes anxiety: what the heck am I supposed to do with them all day?  Well here is one last-minute Christmas craft that will require only materials you probably have at home.  But before I get to that, let me set the scene:

I was a little better prepared than the last time I hosted; no major crafty disasters, no food that I couldn’t prepare.  Well, we did have a pizza that imploded in my new oven, but even that couldn’t slow me down.  Add some alcohol-included eggnog and some red wine, and we had a pretty awesome evening!

Okay, so back to the craft.  What was it?

Handprint Rudolph, of course!

I found this craft at Meet the Dubiens (as I find crafts almost daily–good thing I’m not on Pinterest yet because I would basically just pin the entire site).  The directions are pretty self-explanatory, but let me just give you a quick rundown of what you will need:

  • brown card stock for head
  • red card stock for nose
  • googly eyes
  • brown paint for handprint antlers
  • white card stock to glue finished product on
  • glue
  • scissors

I think the picture pretty much explains it.  Let me know if you need more direction.  Just copy my Rudolph and have fun!

If your kid is still too young to do proper handprints, consider choosing Stephanie’s option for young Porter, and just trace baby’s handprints and then cut them out of brown paper.

Then have a glass of eggnog, mingle with your friends, eat some delicious treats, and have a great time!

I still had leftover materials from the fingerprint Christmas trees we made earlier this week, so people had the option to also make those, or just to be as creative as they liked.  The kids played and the pizza had its issues, but at this point in the night we just had fun.

I think everyone had a great time, and there was so much crafting going on, with kids running around and having fun nonstop, that by the end the kids were a little punch drunk  and overstimulated.  Hence the belly comparison contest–who do you think is the winner: Stella, Em, or Jax?  Em wasn’t sure what the heck was going on, but she definitely wanted in!

I love that our Cocktails and Crafts group has already come full circle, and that I was able to get into more of the Christmas spirit by preparing my home and getting my craft on with others!  And I love that my friends have been willing to participate in something that started out as solely for the blog, but has since grown into a monthly tradition we all look forward to and enjoy!  Thank you, dear friends, as always!

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Cocktails, Crafts, & Costumes!

Welcome to Cocktails & Crafts, Halloween edition!

As you can see, my very own ladybug and SuperWhy were thrilled to have an excuse to don their costumes a week early and celebrate in the name of Halloween fun!  My dear friend Michelle hosted this month’s Cocktails & Crafts, and she had a delicious spread for the parents and children alike.

And by parents, I mean of both the male and female variety.  We were graced by the presence of some of the daddies–sure makes everything easier, having a few more sets of hands!

Don’t you think that having a cemetery just right across the river sets just the appropriate tone?  Spooky.

So we arrived at Michelle’s, got the kids into costume, and then let them play to work up their appetites.

It was reminiscent of how I felt last Christmas, when suddenly the excitement I felt as a kid around the holidays came rushing back to me.  Seeing all the kids in their costumes, thrilled to be something or someone they love or admire, made me ecstatic to be living my life exactly as I am, as a mom of two amazing kids, watching them grow and experience life one tradition at a time.

And speaking of tradition, what better than the one we have going on here with Cocktails and Crafts?  Don’t know much about it?  Click here to learn more.  Just know it’s a wonderful get-together with friends for food, drinks, creativity, and camaraderie.  Look what the kids created this time!

Frighteningly funny and silly pumpkins.  Quintessential two- and three-year-old artistry.

I don’t need to tell you the materials: pumpkins, stickers, pipe cleaners, feathers… the more, the more festive!

We had a couple littler pumpkins as well.  They were the cutest of the bunch!

After the pumpkins, we fed the kids, played some more, and then headed home.  Man, I hate how dark it gets so early nowadays.  But before we left, we crowded the kids onto the steps for a group shot and fed them one last dose of sugar in the form of orange-and-black whoopie pies.

In case you’re wondering if Em is considering picking up that piece of whoopie pie off the ground and then eating it, you’re right.  She was and was about to, but I stopped her.  Mama knows her baby girl.

And I should have known that my little guy would be a tiny bit crazy after so much freedom and friends and festivity.

What a bunch of goobers.

I’ve said it before and I mean it more and more every day.  What a great group of friends we have.  They help bring out the best in my kids.

So that was our Cocktails & Crafts for October. What about you?  Interested in starting a C & C ring with your friends?  Please do, and I’ll highlight you here at Rub Some Dirt On It!  I’ve had two other spin-offs, but I’m greedy; I need more!  I hope it’ll be you!

Happy Halloween everyone!! Be safe!

 

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