Monday, December 27, 2010
Christmas Eve we watched Children’s Christmas classics (Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph, etc), we baked Christmas Eve cookies for Santa, I made a nice family dinner, we drove around looking at Christmas lights, sprinkled reindeer food on the lawn, put the magic key on the door for Santa, tracked santa (celebrated when Santa arrived in Germany where my brother-in-law is stationed), placed cookies on the counter for Santa and my husband made chai and brandy lend oomph to apple cake.
Christmas morning, I woke up to the sound of Benjamin talking about Santa in his room, while I was getting Hayden changed Benjamin burst into our bedroom joyfully yelling “wake up daddy, wake up, presents” for the first time in his short history of Christmas…talk about a warm fuzzy feeling! We finally made our way downstairs and much to my surprise Benjamin didn’t notice presents under the tree for a good 3-5 minutes, which lead me to believe he doesn’t fully understand Christmas yet but when he did finally see the gifts he lit up! My husband spent much of the morning assembling toys, setting up train tracks and we all played together with the boys’ new gifts. We had lunch at my parents and then to dinner with my husband’s family; we all crashed shortly after returning home that night.
December 26th my husband and I had a LOOOOONG overdue date night, we dropped the kiddos off at my parents and headed out for a nice, quiet, catch up on conversations dinner; afterwards we headed to our first IMAX 3d movie…WOW, TOTALLY AWESOME!
Because I LOVE photos & graphic design, I wanted to share the gifts we (meaning I ;-P ) created for the grandparents, star ornament and every year we give them a photo book.
Friday, December 24, 2010
Hayden's first painting project...ending in Hayden's first paint eating experiance ;-).
Premade unpainted wooden Birdhouse (I purchased ours at A.C.Moore).
Cup of Water (for rinsing paint brushes)
Attach wire to birdhouse(s) so it can be hung, paint the birdhouses and let it dry.
Benjamin and Hayden each painted a small birdhouse for our Christmas tree; Benjamin painted two large birdhouses for each of the grandparents for Christmas.
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Red craft paper
Plain notecard or card stock
Cut Santa-hat shapes (minus the pom-poms and white trim) from the craft paper, then glue one onto each card. Glue a pair of googly eyes a fingertip's width below each hat.
Pour white tempera paint onto one paper plate, and a dollop each of red, black, and pink (mix some red and white) onto another. Stamp white handprint beards, then use fingertips to stamp the trim on the hats, and a nose, mouth, and cheeks on each face.
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Print the Snowman Gift Bag template. (Family Fun used 8 1/2-inch-tall bags here, but you can alter the parts for larger bags, if necessary.) Use a pencil to lightly mark 2 lines across a white paper gift bag, 1 1/2 inches and 3/4 inch from the top.
Glue red and black card stock shapes below the lower line for a hat, brim, and band.
Add an orange paper triangle for a carrot nose and 1/2-inch black paper circles for a mouth. For the eyes, glue 2 small white paper circles to 2 black circles, use a marker to add dots for pupils, then glue them to the bag.
Glue fake gems to the snowman's hat. Let all of the glue dry completely, then place a small gift in the bag and fold along the dotted lines.
Check out these other adorable gift bags
Reindeer Gift Bag
Christmas Tree Gift Bag
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
1 1/2 cups ground cinnamon
1 cup applesauce
1/4 cup white school glue (like Elmer's)
Plastic food wrap
Ribbon or yarn for hanging
Mix cinnamon, applesauce, and glue together in a bowl. The dough should be as thick as cookie dough. Add a bit of water if the dough is too stiff.
Remove from bowl and knead. Put it back in the bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let sit for at least a half hour.
Remove the dough, knead again to make sure it's smooth. Flatten/roll the dough between waxed paper until it's between 1/4" thick and 1/8" thick.
Cut out desired shapes, use a straw to punch a hole for the ribbon to hang. The circle of dough will pull out with the straw.
Gently place the shapes on a piece of clean wax paper. They will take 3-5 days to dry, and you will need to turn them over a couple of times a day for them to dry evenly and flat.
Don't be surprised to see that the ornaments get smaller during the drying process. Keep this in mind when you pick out the cookie cutters for your designs. You will also notice that if you do not turn the ornaments over often enough while they are drying, the edges of the ornaments will curl.
When dry, thread a piece of ribbon or yarn through the hole to hang.
SHAPE IDEAS: Tree, Apple, House (gingerbread), Bell, Heart, Goose, Gingerbread Man, Star...
Optional Painting ideas - use acrylic paints or fabric paints to paint details, like white 'frosting' on a gingerbread man or gingerbread house, or eyes on a goose.
Monday, December 20, 2010
Cut squares or circles out of tulle, let your child put a handful of potpourri in the middle of the tullee. Pull up the corners of the tulle and tie it shut with a ribbon; if desired attach a tag/note to your potpourri bag.
Sunday, December 19, 2010
Several shades of brown felt
Red and brown pom-poms
Glue 3 craft sticks together in a triangle, allowing some overlap on two corners for antlers, as shown. Glue 2 more craft sticks to the triangle, one on each side between the overlapped sticks, and let dry.
Next, glue a triangular piece of brown felt to the craft stick triangle and trim so the edges of the felt match up with the sticks. Glue on googly eyes, a pom-pom nose, brown felt triangle ears, and a small off-white felt triangle blaze to the reindeer's forehead. Add a loop of colorful ribbon on the back to hang this festive fauna.
Most of the projects are too difficult for Hayden, but he's been present
for majority of them...usually getting into "trouble" behind the scenes ;).
Saturday, December 18, 2010
Cereal- Good way to get use up all that marshmallow cereal...you know the kind your kids ate all the marshmallows but not the healthy stuff.
Plastic Needle- I believe there called bone needles; they aren't sharp and won't puncture a young child.
Popcorn- It’s not very easy to string; we ended up just eating it ;)
Cut thread to desired length, tie a knot in one of the end and attach the needle to the other end. Start stringing cranberry and cereal one at a time by inserting the tip of the needle into the center of each piece. Keep sliding fodd further down on the thread making room for more; it's best to slide the cranberries and cereal to the end of the thread to prevent knots. Tie off the needle end, make sure that it is well-secured and then gently attach outside. I placed our cranberry-cereal garland on the fence along the back of our yard; it allows the squirrels and birds to enjoy their winter treat without creating a mess for me to clean up later ;).
Friday, December 17, 2010
Cardstock, Construction Paper, Cardboard, Craft Foam or Regular Paper
Santa's Magic Key Poem
Print out the Key Template and Santa's Magic Key Poem. Using the key template as a pattern, cut out shape on cardstock, contruction paper, cardboard, craft foam (what we used) or regular paper. Brush glue on the key and sprinkle with glitter and let dry. Hole punch the key and the poem, use ribbon to tie the two together. On Christmas Eve place the key on the outside of your front door.
Seriously, I'm going to be finding glitter EVERYWHERE
for the next few weeks/months.
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Brown Craft Foam
Craft Pom Poms
Bear (Print template)
Any other craft item your child wishes to use to decorate their bear.
Using the bear template, cut out the pattern on the craft foam. Have your child glue on the wiggle eyes and decorate the bear with pom-poms, markers, crayons, paint, etc. When finished attach ribbon to the back of the bear and allow to dry before hanging on your Christmas tree.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
7 Red Beads
7 Green Beads
Tag (print template file)
Cut wire approximately 4 inches long; at one of the ends wrap the wire around the end four times. Add beads alternating colors, when all bead have been added wrap the wire around the other end four times. Bend the wire to make a "J" (candy cane) shape. Cut out tag, punch hole and attach to "J" (candy cane) with ribbon.
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
When googling reindeer food poems I came across this warning "please do not use any non natural ingredients. These may harm birds and other animals looking for food during the cold winter days." Adhering to the warning I ditched the oats and glitter recipe and came up with my own recipe with ingredients in the cupboard.
Oats or Bird Seed
Colored Sugar Crystals
Baby Food Jar
Crushed Colored Cereal (we used Trix)
Tag (print template file)
Love, Hope and Faith
Layer ingredients in a baby food jar for a "sand art" look. Place lid on jar, cut out tag, punch hole and attach to jar with the ribbon. Sprinkle the magic reindeer food on your lawn Christmas Eve after dusk.
Monday, December 13, 2010
I know, I know, I said No breakable ornaments on our tree this year, but when grandma dropped off these adorable ceramic ornaments...well we had a craft project that needed done ;)!
Paint Your Own!! Ceramic Christmas Character Ornaments
Follow instructions on package/kit.
Sunday, December 12, 2010
Sun Catchers (I purchase ours at Dollar Tree)
Paint on a flat surfaces so the color will be spread evenly. If the layers are too thin, the color may streak. Wash the brush with water when changing color. Allow the paint to dry completely after painting.
Saturday, December 11, 2010
Sandpaper (finer grits are easier to cut)
Glue and brown construction paper
Cinnamon stick and whole nutmeg
Gingerbread person cookie cutter
Pencil and scissors
Ribbon, 1/8-inch wide
2 1/2- by 8-inch strips of paper (one per invitation)
To cover the unglamorous back of the sandpaper, coat it with glue, press on the construction paper, and flatten it under a book to dry. Rub the sandpaper hard all over with the cinnamon stick and then with the nutmeg; this will scent it deliciously.
Now make a template by tracing around the cookie cutter onto cardboard and cutting out the shape. Trace around the template on the back of the sandpaper and cut out as many people as you need (we got about four gingerbread people per 9- by 11-inch sheet of sandpaper).
Use puffy paint to add details and decorations and let the paint dry. With a hole punch, make a hole in the top of the head and one in the hand, then thread a length of ribbon through the head and knot.
Now write your invitation on the strip of paper, roll it scroll-like, and fit it through the cookie person's hand. Flatten the scroll slightly and pop the cookie person in an envelope.
Thursday, December 9, 2010
A group of friends that I went to high school with have been getting together every year at Christmas since 1998; every so often we introduce a new tradition to the Christmas party. This year is the first annual golden spatula award (an inexpensive kitchen spatula spray painted gold), it was decided the golden spoon would be awarded for best Christmas cookies. Since the Christmas party is December 10th, my little helper Benjamin and I were busy baking today. Our recipes Peppermint Patties, Aut-yum Leaves (we used a Christmas tree cookie cutter instead of a leaf) and Coffee Spice Cookies.
Perler Beads Kit
Working on a flat surface, create your design by placing beads one by one on a Perler pegboard. Follow a patternor be creative.
WARNING: The ironing must be done by an adult only. Some irons may emit steam. Please keep children at a safe distance.
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Smooth peanut butter
Ribbon or yarn
Cut a long length of yarn or ribbon to hang the bird feeder.
Tie the ribbon in a knot around the pine cone near the top (about 3 sections down). Tie a knot in the end of the ribbon. Use the knife to get a large clump of peanut butter on the paper plate. Use the knife to spread peanut butter inside the pine cone and around the edges. Sprinkle the birdseed over the pine cone.
Roll the pine cone in the birdseed that is on the plate. Hang the bird feeder on the tree.
*Apparently this activity also makes a tasty afternoon snack*
Monday, December 6, 2010
Green Craft Foam
Brown Craft Foam
Yellow Craft Foam
Using template, cut out shapes on each designated color. Glue craft pom-poms on tree (green craft foam), attach brown craft foam to the back of the tree with glue. Place the ends of the ribbon near the top of the tree, place glue on the star and place ontop of ribbon. Allow to dry before placing placing ornament on tree.
Gingerbread house with a 1 year old= epic fail but tons of laughs and many memories :)!
Gingerbread House Kit (I purchased our kit at BJ's Warehouse and paid around $10 for it).
Follow directions in kit.
document our gingerbread house making accurately! :)
File/Automate/Contact Sheet II
Saturday, December 4, 2010
Iron on Transfer Paper for T-shirts
White T-shirt in appropriate size
Washable Brown Acrylic Paint
Plain White Paper
Paper Towels or Baby Wipes for cleanup
There are different ways to go about making these shirts, I chose to use my computer and iron on paper to reduce the risk of “oh no’s”
Paint both of your child’s hands and one foot; firmly place painted hands and foot onto paper, allow paint to dry. Scan prints, using a design program (I used Adobe Photoshop) merge hand and footprints together to form a reindeer shape, add a nose and eyes; you can also add text. Print the image (if you use text the image has to print mirrored) on transfer paper, iron onto t-shirt (follow transfer paper instructions for both printing and ironing).
Shrinky Dinks- Day 4
Shrinky Dinks (I purchased ours at Five Below)
Draw or trace a picture onto the provided plastic (read Shrinky Dink direction) and color the picture with colored pencils. Cut out the colored pictures. If you want a hole in your Shrinky Dink, punch it through the plastic before you bake it. Remember that the hole shrinks a bit when it bakes, so make it large enough for your purposes. Place the cut outs on a clean cookie sheet with the colored side facing up. Ensure that the Shrinky Dinks don't touch each other on the pan. Bake the cut outs at between 300 and 325 degrees for approximately 3 minutes. Attach string and hang on Christmas tree.
Thursday, December 2, 2010
Magic Color Scratch Ornaments
Take the supplied wooden scratching tool and scratch away the top layer to reveal the bright colors underneath! Tie ribbon (supplied) to the ornament and attach to your Christmas tree.
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Iron on Transfer Paper for T-shirts
I Chose a full body photo of my children, opened the file in Adobe Photoshop and created a clipping path around their bodies. I found angel wing clipart (tattoo) on google and merged the wings with the body shots. Printed the image on iron on transfer paper, ironed the image onto the felt (follow transfer paper instructions for both printing and ironing). Using craft glue, I glued the felt (image facing up) onto craft foam, let dry for 24 hours. Cut out my angel children, hot glue the zip ties onto the back of the craft foam. Using the zip ties, I attach my angels to the top of the Christmas tree.
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Cut the paper into strips, 1" by 6".
Sort the paper in piles according to color - green here, red there and so forth.
Put glue on one end and loop the piece back to form a ring.
Insert another piece of paper through the ring, then put glue on one end and loop around to make the second link.
Continue until the chain is long enough for your tree.
Allow the glue to dry before hanging the chains on the tree.
You could also cheat, like I did and purchase Red And Green Christmas Tree Chains.
Monday, November 29, 2010
This is Hayden at 12 months
Overlooking the fact we have a Charlie Brown looking artificial tree because well…it fits perfectly in our house and until the boys get a little older I don’t have the strength/time to take care of a real tree. For the record, my parents gave us their 7’ fiber optic tree this year but well…lets just say it’s safer staying in the basement for at least another year. Back on track- this is Christmas 2010; notice the boys dismantling the tree as my husband and I are assembling.
Which leads us to the point of my blog title “25 days of Christmas Projects”, a few weeks ago I started thinking about Christmas; remembering what Benjamin’s 2nd Christmas was like and the constant Benjamin vs the tree, I knew we had to have a child proof tree for 2010. In my brainstorming I came up with the idea- my kiddos make the Christmas decorations, there will be NO heirloom/keepsake/breakable ornaments on our tree this year. For the next 25 days I'm going to post a Christmas activity each day; coming from a mom that struggles to keep ontop of cleaning, laundry and meal planning this is definitely going to be a challange!
Friday, November 26, 2010
I woken up in the wee hours of the morning with a little boy opening our bedroom door asking if he could cuddle in bed with my husband and I, a few hours later Hayden joined us. We had breakfast in bed while all snuggling together watching the Macy’s day parade, afterwards it was a lot of playing together on the living room floor, family craft project, watching a movie, reading books and an afternoon family nap. We celebrated Thanksgiving dinner with my husband’s family (in-laws, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins…), though it isn’t written in stone we all have a specify item we bring; my husband makes canadels. The best way to explain a canadel is "stuffing ball"; but with more ingredients and there spicy. It’s a family recipe that has been passed down for generations, I’m not sure what the origin of it is but it’s delicious and so not healthy (fried in bacon grease). The recipe is primarily made at Thanksgiving and Christmas; my husband took over the role of making canadels in 2002. The joke in our house is our Christmas cookies are canadels. Though it seems my six year old Canon Rebel XT picked last night to begin its dying process, I was still able to capture a few special (blurry, out of focus) moments of my favorite Thanksgiving thus far.
Saturday, November 20, 2010
On the topic of exciting- Hayden learned to spin around in circles last night (a night of many "firsts"), he giggles when he gets dizzy. ♥
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Tape box closed, cut a hole on the side of the box, large enough to place your child’s bear inside. Have your child glue leaves onto box, be sure to cover box. You might want to line the inside of the den with some dry leaves or fiberfill to keep teddy nice and cozy.
You can make a sign for the face that says “Good Night, (name)! See you in the spring! Don’t worry about not seeing your teddy bear for several months. Bears often wake up during the winter months and come out and wander around a little before going back to sleep.
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Flat Stanley Project- the international literacy and community building activity for students of all ages, teachers and family.
About the Flat Stanley Project
In 1995, Dale Hubert, a Grade 3 teacher in London, Ontario, Canada, began the Flat Stanley Project. He invited other teachers to take part by hosting flat visitors and to encourage their students to write their own Flat Stanley journals. Jeff Brown, the author of the Flat Stanley book, was delighted with the Flat Stanley Project as it renewed interest in the book which resulted in a sequel almost 40 years after the original. Jeff Brown stayed with Dale when he visited Wilfrid Jury Public School in London, Ontario as a guest author and hosted Dale and his family for a wonderful two week holiday in Connecticut. Dale and Jeff remained good friends until Jeff's death in 2003.
How It Works
One of the many advantages of sending flat visitors is that they can visit friends by travelling in an envelope. Students' written work goes to other places by conventional mail and e-mail. While it is similar to a penpal activity, it is actually much more. In a standard penpal exchange, students rarely know how to begin or what to write about, but, with a Flat Stanley or one of our other flat characters from the Template Gallery, it's as if the sender and the recipient have a mutual friend, and writing becomes easier and more creative.
This isn’t a project my household directly participated in but I loved the activity and felt compelled to share it with others that might not have heard of the famous Flat Stanley! A few weeks ago my mom received an envelope in the mail from my niece’s school; upon opening, she discovered a “little boy” that would be her traveling companion for the next month. My mom colored Stanley and took him EVERYWHERE she went (bike riding, vacation, out to dinner, feeding squirrels, to work…) taking pictures of him along the way; when she dropped Stanley off at my niece’s school last week she had the pleasure of talking with the teacher; in my niece’s class, Flat Stanley had visited Hawaii, Austria, Iraq and Russia.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
I’ve truly enjoyed the past week with my family; as the temperatures drop we’re bringing out or fleece jackets and blankets, we’re curling up on the sofa watching movies, sipping hot chocolate and playing together on the floor. The hustle of the previous season has died down, no where to be other then together as a family and enjoy the beautiful scenery God has provided for us.
Oh how I love cold weather food! Saturday morning I made cinnamon waffles with caramelized apples. Sunday morning we attended a semi-annual all you can eat pancake breakfast, Sunday evening my husband cooked a whole chicken using our grill rotisserie while Benjamin and I made a pumpkin pie. Tonight I made a pot roast, garlic knots and a pumpkin roll.
The boys and I attended a Halloween party on October 29th where I realized Benjamin inherited my (lack of) dance skills…I’m so sorry baby boy! We went trick-or-treating later that night; this is the first year Benjamin fully grasped the concept of Halloween, he was very excited to be able to visit with all the neighbors and for “ANDY”! Though Hayden didn’t completely understand what was going on or why his big brother took off running with him in the stroller while mommy and daddy were putting on coats (apparently we were taking to long and Benjamin anxiously started down the sidewalk without us), he loved being outside, seeing all the costumes, smiling at everyone and helping hand out candy.
Saturday night we went to Corn Cob Acres; the boys enjoyed their first hay ride, barrel rides, moon bounce and GIANT corn bin. Sunday was all about trains, after our delicious pancake breakfast we headed to Strasburg Railroad and ended our day at the Toy Train Museum.
I’m not sure what the up coming weekend has in store for us but I’m pretty sure it’ll involve pumpkin spice pancakes and Alpacas.
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
1 lbs Ground Beef
Taco Seasoning Packet
8 Refrigerated Buttermilk Biscuits
Prepare ground beef according to taco seasoning packet directions. Roll buttermilk biscuits until approximately 1/8” thick; place one biscuit into a small round dish (such as a ramekin dish), place a few spoonfuls of taco meat, corn and taco cheese on top of biscuit, top with another biscuit. Cut a jack-o-latern face out of the top biscuit. Cook at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until biscuits are no longer doughy.
Craft Foam Pumpkin
9”x12” Orange Craft Foam
Craft Foam Stickers, Crayons, Markers, Paint…
Using a pumpkin stencil I designed, I traced the shape onto orange craft foam, cut out the pumpkins and had the kiddos decorate their pumpkins however they chose.
Pumpkin Painting Party
I have the boys signed up for a playgroup; October 12th one of the moms hosted a pumpkin painting party. The children each brought their own pumpkins, art smock or old shirt; the host provided the painting supplies, snacks and apple cider.
Cat Hand Prints
Crayons, Markers, Paint…
Trace child’s hand print onto construction paper, cut out. Make a face shape on construction paper and cut out; you can use a circular object such as a cup and add two triangles for ears. Glue cut out hand print and head together, add googly eyes and let your child color/design their cat.
The designs we used to carve our pumpkins; I found these silhouettes on Google.