Tuesday, December 4, 2012

"I fell asleep at the kitchen counter" or "The sad tale of woe that has caused me to resort to writing letters to Santa"

My letter to Santa, who apparently knows the people at Silhouette America

I have a sad tale of woe to tell you. A sad, tragic tale of terrible woe.

Let me first start out with a visual aid. This is me:
There are so, so many things wrong with this picture. For instance, what is up with that hair? Someone get that woman a haircut! A cute, sassy one that makes her look more "Mom" and less "stay at home"! Anyway...this is how I've been feeling the last few weeks. This is called "Craft Fair Season".

I make signs out of wood and vinyl. Really cute, possibly unique and thankfully easily sold signs out of wood and vinyl. I make these signs to sell at craft fairs, alongside my husband and children, who also make cool things out of wood. We are what you would call "DIY"ers, also known as, "Sorry kids, you want that, you buy it yourself. What? You are only 8 and you don't have a job? Here's a piece of wood. Make something out of that and sell it." This is not just a fun hobby, we are trying to turn this into a family-oriented side business to teach our kids some stuff (super valuable stuff - like about taxes and tithing and using power tools) and help the family finances.

So I have been making these signs pretty steadily for a couple months now for the Christmas Craft Fair season. They've been selling well...which means I need to make more. Herein lies my sad tale of woe. I have a Cricut. Two, actually. They work very, very hard for me during Craft Fair Season. But, it takes me a painfully long time to use them. Punching the letter buttons for every single word - over and over for the more popular signs that I need lots of duplicates for- and having to enter more text after every 2 minutes of cutting.  It takes HOURS to make a bunch of these bigger signs. I am completely maxed out on my time to sign creation ratio. A lean, mean cutting machine we are not.

So, I decided to look into an upgrade - something more time efficient and more versatile. I found out about...The Silhouette Cameo. And now I want one BAD. I mean SUPER bad. I even found a good sale on Black Friday and had my fist full of cash all ready to go. Here is where the sad tale comes to the woe. As I was looking at the great deal I found on the computer, up comes my eldest daughter, informing me that she can no longer fit her feet into her snowboots. Neither can my youngest daughter. It was snowing. Right then. Oh, and her PE shoes and church shoes don't fit either. And basketball starts in a couple weeks. And her other sister has grown out of her PE shoes, too (The boys were in it for the win that night - both still had shoes that fit).

Dang it.

There went my Silhouette money.

And so I am now back to looking like the above picture. Grateful for the business, but so, so tired.

I am BEGGING Santa to help me out. My house looks like World War III. My son is happy as a clam because I haven't bothered to stop him from wearing his sweatpants for two (hopefully only two...) days in a row. My little kids are throwing Cricut cartridges when they get their hands on them - usually at me.

For the love of Pete, I have GOT to get me a Silhouette. Faster, easier, more precise vinyl cutting? Yes please! No more punching and repunching the same buttons over and over again? Yes, please! Saving all my files on my computer and just...cutting it...because I told it to? YES PLEASE! Cutting fabric, paper, whatever else I can reasonably think of to make gifts, decorate our house, dress my children or preserve memories? YES!

So there you have it. I am appealing to Santa. That's how desperate I am. My kids are pleading, too:
This is their "please please please please please release our mother from vinyl hell" pose.

I realize that I am greatly blessed - no one is in the hospital, we have talents and skills to help out in a time of need, we are able to help others and are happy together...I am just a Mom trying to help out her family and am in need of an upgrade to keep pulling this wagon.

If you feel that you need to appeal to Santa as well, you can also give this a try (thanks, Silhouette!): CONTEST

("Hopeful eyes" or "Crazy eyes", depending on you look at it)

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Elf on the Shelf, Meet Snowball in the Box

It's finally Christmas Month,which means the interwebs are buzzing with the worldwide exploits of  cute, naughty "Elf on the Shelf".
I totally dig all the fun photos my friends are posting of their creative, super funny elves, but haven't gotten into the phenomenon myself for a few reasons:

1.) I am too cheap to spend $30 on what boils down to a stuffed toy that will see the light of day for 25 days each month.
2.) After 5 children, I don't have enough of a memory left to actually remember to do the elf antics each night, nor do I trust that I won't be lazy enough to come up with something funny every day. And, I don't want to clean up after the "elf". Let's be honest.
3.) Two of my 5 children are now old enough to have figured out the whole Santa thing, and I still wanted something that motivate them to step up it up this month.
4.) As super cute as Elf on the Shelf is, if I'm going to start a new tradition for my kids, I want it to be something more meaningful for the Christmas season.

And so, "Snowball in the Box", a collaboration between my 8 1/2 year old daughter and I, was born. 

Basically, we took a Pooki Scentsy Buddy (which was FREE because I had hostess credits from a Scentsy party I did with this girl: Mandy Lowry) - although any stuffed animal or doll would work- which comes in a handy box, and turned him into a Santa's Helper. We used some scrapbook supplies to cover up the Scentsy logo and gussy up his winter castle. Total time: 30 minutes. So, we are now into this zero dollars and 30 minutes. I can live with that.

Snowball's mission is two-fold: 1.) He watches the kids during the day to report to Santa at night on their helpfulness and good deeds (which will sometimes result in notes from Santa or little treats...Hershey's kisses for everyone making their bed before school? Yes, please!) and 2.) If he gets back early enough from his visit to Santa, he might do a good deed for one of US. 

Basically, I took Elf on the Shelf and turned him away from the dark side. Jedi bear? You betcha.

And, because its me, and I never miss an opportunity to trick my children into learning an important life lesson, there is indeed a mighty catch. The 8 year old is really Snowball's eyes, ears and hands. SHE is the only kid in on the secret (the 10 year old might be brought in later...but I have other plans for her this month...), and will be the one watching for good deeds (to report to Mom), and actually DOING the good deeds at night most of the time. She might fold someone's laundry and set Snowball on top, or fix her little sister's book and prop it up in the chair with Snowball, etc, etc.  She is ridiculously excited to be part of the "Christmas magic"...and I am ridiculously excited for her to serve others at home without expecting anything back. Happily.

I get to motivate the younger ones to behave and motivate the older ones to look for ways to serve others...I'm basically calling this one a win-win before the month even begins!

What traditions do you have for your kids to help them remember to behave during a busy, stressful time of year and do service in your home?

And, by the way, to my Elf on the Shelf friends -- I will be checking facebook daily to see what your elves are up to :)