DIY Christmas Owl Family Painting

It is that time of year again - time to decorate for the holidays!  Although I will admit that I drool looking through my Martha Stewart Living (1-year auto-renewal) magazine and the Pottery Barn catalog, our family tries very hard to minimize the amount of "stuff" we purchase on a daily basis, exspecially during the month of December when it seems like the season for "buying." And thus came... 
                                                                               the DIY Christmas Owl Family Painting.

If you have been reading our blog for a while, you may remember this "Funky Tree" painting from last year. Well, with a couple coats of paint, we had a new canvas to start from!  I didn't have a lot of color choices and ended up mixing a lot of colors to get some more color choices.

If you have a canvas to reuse - GREAT!  If not, they are reasonably priced at craft stores. 

Supplies Needed
What you do:
First, decide on a theme.  We chose Owls because we are in LOVE with them and a Christmas theme because I needed wanted something new to put on the walls for the holiday. 
I always paint the background first and then let it dry.
Then, if you need a little creative help like I did, do a google image search with some key words like "owl family."  Save the pictures that you really connect with.
Last, get the paint brushes out and have at it.  Let the kids join in too.  They are great helpers at mixing paints to make new colors and painting big areas.  My 6 year old enjoyed painting a bit, but then I guess I was squashing her creative ideas with my own, because she ended up getting out her own sheets of paper and painting houses!
 When you are done, hang it where ever there is already a nail hole and enjoy!
This painting really is supported by 4 of our family values. 
  1. The first is living within our means.  Yes, some of the decorations are by far more beautiful to the eye than this simple painting, however, at a total of $0.00, we are able to stay within our family budget while still having something new to hang on the wall. 
  2. Second, we try to live as environmentally friendly as possible.  We are not extreme live of the land people, nor complete wasters, rather we fall somewhere in-between.  We use cloth napkins, our home is solar powered, we garden, use re-usable water bottles and more.  Re-using and using up the supplies we have on hand is great for our environment!
  3. Third- Stress is a huge factor during the holiday season.  When you see all these gorgeous homes it is hard to want to "keep up with the Jones."  (or the Martha's) Admitting that we all have our own style and that what we have is great for us.  Loving what you already have is a HUGE de-stresser!!!
  4. Last, but not least- at our home, we believe that all things made with love are better and this painting is not "pinterstingly" perfect, but perfect for us.

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A week of just being a Kid: Afterschool Express

It was so nice just to have my daughter home this week from school for Thanksgiving!  It gave her lots of opportunities for playtime with her younger sister who will be turning two next weekend.  I think with our busy schedules sometimes I forget she's just six and needs just as much play as ever with the schedule she has at school in first grade. 

After School Playtime
This week they had a baby nursury with the baby dolls and even an airplane trip with them.  There were lots of handprint turkey created too! It's fun to see them begin to interact with each other more and crafting together has become a fun time.   

After School Adventures
Local Living History Farm
It was a lot of fun to join Amanda and her children at a local living farm where the kids had so much fun learning about life long ago.  I think holiday breaks are a great time to go on adventures with kids.  Do you have anything special planned for the winter break? 
After School Reading
Tomie dePaula is our new Virtual Book Club for Kids author for November. He has so many books, it's been so much fun.  We spent some time reading the Strega Nona Books and then also with his Christmas Books.  We'll be sharing some of our Christmas crafts next week! 
We had a chance to head to the library and spend some more time there than usual. Do you visit the library with your kids often during the school year? It's such a great resource! If you're looking for some afterschool fun with books you should check out the 40+ Activities for Tomie dePaola that is growing every day on our blog hop! Jan Brett is next month!  She's a great author for the holidays!     

Cohosted by:

We would love to have you link up your School-Age Posts (Ages 5 and up) about your learning week after school including, crafts, activities, playtime and adventures that you are doing to enrich your children's lives after their day at school or on the weekend! When linking up, please take a moment to comment on at least one post linked up before yours and grab our after school button to include a link on your post or site! By linking up you're giving permission for us to share on our After School Pinterest Board or Feature on our After School party next week!
Link up your after school activities and crafts! We'd love to see them!

Tomie dePaola Author Study

Tomie DePaola Author Study featuring videos and books by this famous author.

Tomie dePaola is the November Virtual Book Club for Kids author!  Tomie dePaola is best known for his books for children. He’s been published for over 40 years and has written and/or illustrated nearly 250 books.  He has created such a variety of books we are so excited about our Virtual Book Club this month.  My daughter was very surprised to see how many books were available of his at the library.  I think I was most surprised at how many Christmas themed books of his that we were able to find and learn from. 

Which books are you going to read and do a book related projects with?

The Joy of Giving: Snapshot of Parenting with Purpose

Early Christmas morn our doorbell rings even though my boys are still in their pajamas they rush to the window and greet the visitors from the South, all 12 of them are strangers to us. The children yell through the gate asking if we can give them their "navidad" (Christmas present). Their ages range from 8 month to 14 years of age, and they all give me this hopeful smile.

A little background on our day up until when the doorbell rang: Presents were opened, Christmas breakfast has been served and we sit around and enjoy each others company as we try to assemble toys and play with the kids while carols play loudly in the background. My cup runs over, truly I am blessed and these children behind our black metal gates are reminding me of this truth. I am overcome with emotion and I freeze not really knowing how to bless 10 little kids. I run inside and announce to our kids "assembly line, we have lunches to make." Thank God we had just bought ham, bread and lots of snacks. I go back outside and tell them to give us 5 minutes and we will serve them lunch.  We do OPERATION BROWN BAG with our kids so they are very use to assembly line lunch making. Usually, though we go out to the streets and find the children who are juggling for money or selling candy at stop lights or the park. But not today, the Lord brought them to us, our very own front door to remind me that I have been given much. My boys were hesitant at first in helping make lunches because that meant leaving their new toys for a few minutes. I looked at them and said "today you have been given much now it's time to give to others". Immediately, their attitudes changed and we got the lunches made. The kids sat right outside our curb and immediately ate the lunches. The kids and two mom's were so sweet, they continuously said "Dios te pague" (God repay you) and wishing us a Merry Christmas.

It was such an honor to welcome these little visitors from the South. Enjoy the holidays and may you also be blessed with the joy of giving.
A lot of the low-income families live South and North of us and they take a bus early in the morning to come into the big city to sell their goods. Depending on the season it varies sometimes strawberries or avocados and candy. Sometimes they travel for hours on a bus to come into town and try to make a buck or two. Christmas weekend they go to the more developed neighborhoods asking for some kind of Christmas gift: toys, candy or money.

Mari Hernandez-Tuten wears many hats throughout her day: mom, wife, friend, counselor, missionary, and founding editor of the Ezine, Inspired by Family and our quarterly online flip-page free publication. Our Ezine is a place full of creativity, laughter, celebrations, encouragement and good eating that we hope spills over into your home. So stop by and grab a seat, a cup of Cafe con Leche, and let's get inspired!

Kim's "Spin On It"

Reaching out to families in need is one of the most special things you can share with your child.  I can not imagine how it felt that Christmas morning Mari, as you watched your children help you to provide lunch for all 10 children and the gratitude that their mothers expressed to  you.  I have to say I think it such a great reminder to all of us to stop and pause on Christmas Morning or any holiday morning to reflect on those that may not be in our same situation.  Think of the elderly neighbor down the street, residents of an assisted living home, residents of your local homeless shelter or even fire fighters who have to be on duty.  Even as we go through our day think of the clerk who still has to work on Christmas at the fast food restaurants, gas stations and drug stores.  Is there a way we could all share a little cheer to them?  I love the idea of Operation Brown Bag whether it's at your front door step or throughout your community.  We encourage you to come up with something special with your family this holiday season to share random acts of kindness with others. 

More resources for Snapshots of Parenting with Purpose on Hunger

Share your Own Snapshot of Parenting with Purpose

Let's have Fun with Strega Nona Books by Tomie dePaula

November's Virtual Book Club is about the author Tomie dePaola!  There were so many to choose from but we decided to select his books about Strega Nona first.  There will be more to come this month too!   We had so much fun the past few weeks reading all of Tomie's books about Strega Nona. We'd loved to share with you a few activities to go along with the Strega Nona books. 

If you aren't familiar with the book Strega Nona here's a video clip about it to view. 

Dress up like Strega Nona
Using a bonnet and apron you can recreate the story by dressing up like Strega Nona and Big Anthony. 

Do Household Chores Like Strega Nona & Big Anthony
Think about the things that Strega Nona does in her stories around the house and the things that Big Anthony helps her with.  Reinact them as you retell the stories.
Write your own story about Strega Nona using Printable from
Using the printable you can write about something that Strega Nona could make from her magic pot or how she prepares for a holiday or a magic spell she knows.  We used his Coloring Sheet of Stega Nona. 

Draw the Many Faces of Strega Nona: Learning Emotions
Look through the images in the stories.  Notice how you can tell how she's feeling by the faces that Tomie dePaola has drawn.  See if you can create at home with your own pencil and paper.  

Resources for Strega Nona Activities

4 Ways to Make a Book for Strega Nona from Bookmaking with Kids

Strega Nona House Printable from Shannon's Book Nook

Strega Nona books by Tomie dePaola

Giving Back with Strega Nona

As we approuach the holiday season think of ways that you can encourage your children to reach out to others and help.  In the video above it shows how love and humor can sometimes be the best medicine.  In the book Merry Christmas Strega Nona Big Anthony has a special gift for her at the end that could inspire other thoughtful acts of kindness with your family.  It might be a fun way to involve your children in teaching Gratitude and Giving

We've teamed up with some of our favorite kig bloggers to share their own creative ideas about Tomie dePaola.  We invite you to join the fun and visit their links below.  You can join the Virtual Book Club for Kids and share your own Crafts and Activities that are based on Books by Tomie dePaola. 

Image created by Mommy and Me Book Club

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Turkey T-shirt: After School Express

Making Turkey T-Shirts for Thanksgiving with Kids

Here’s a simply activity to do after school with your kids for Thanksgiving. It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving is just a few days away.  We’ve been so busy with our schedules and school and a new baby this year it feels like it just snuck up on us.  Here's a simple craft to get you ready for fun this Thanksgiving week. 
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