Showing posts with label Christmas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Christmas. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas at Our House

We had a quiet day at home for Christmas. Here is a little peek inside.
Started by finishing off our Jesse Tree stories and garland is full of ornaments

The boys were excited when they saw this

Opening stockings

We ate lots of treats

Talked to some Grandprents on Skype and opened presents


Happy dance for slippers

We gave them a "snowball fight"

One of my favorite presents to give a collection of stories and a stuffed toy

Trying to read through the new books the first day

Talked to more grandparents on Skype
Baby took afternoon nap

And the two older boys were quietly reading to themselves. Amazing!

Sharing a new story

Getting ready for our family's little "Christmas pageant"

Alexander's first Christmas photo

Friday, December 7, 2012

Christmas Holiday Preschool Craft: Potato Stamp Wrapping Paper

Another not very original idea, but one that is frugal and fun, is to make wrapping paper using stamps cut out from potatoes.

First I gave both boys large sheets of paper from a fun art pad that my mom brought for them on her visit and all kinds of red markers, crayons, colored pencils, etc. and let them color. You can skip that step of course (or just let them color on it  and skip the paint stamping for a different kind of wrapping paper). But I let them color all over the paper to keep them busy while I cut out the tree stamps from potatoes and got the paint ready. Then them stamped green trees over whatever amount of red they had colored.

If you don't want to use new paper reuse paper bags or even newspapers. We've done both before and they look quite nice as well.

This project is has the added benefit of being useful. Use the wrapping paper to wrap up gifts that stand out from the rest.

Friday, April 6, 2012

DIY Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Eggs

This is a really simple recipe for a great homemade treat for Easter/Resurrection Sunday. I do like the symbolism of eggs, something that looks dead, like a tiny tomb, but from which new life can spring forth. I made similar candies at Christmas time and never got around to posting them, but I made trees and squares then. You can of course make these whatever shape you wish for any occasion you wish, and everyone will be delighted.

Homemade Chocolate Peanut Butter Candy Recipe

  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 2 cups powdered sugar (I used homemade this time. You can also substitute powdered milk for up to ⅓ of the sugar. I did this at Christmas time, grinding the powdered milk up finer in the blender, and it worked well also.)
  • 1 bag chocolate chips for melting and dipping
  1. Combine peanut butter and powdered sugar (and powdered milk if desired) in a bowl. Knead together until it is well combined and becomes the consistency of play dough. If you feel like it is too crumbly add more peanut butter, if too sticky, add more powdered sugar.
  2. Form desired shapes, and place in refrigerator or freezer to chill while you melt the chocolate.
  3. Melt chocolate chips. I suggest melting them in a double boiler as it is the only way that I have tried that I have never ruined a batch. You can microwave them too, but I've had them burn occasionally. And this time I was in a hurry at first and thought I'd just melt them in a pot over really low heat, and they first bag of chocolate chips got all weird and crumbly and wouldn't melt. So melt chocolate chips completely with your desired method, but I think I'll be sticking to the double boiler.
  4. Dip peanut butter shapes in chocolate mixture, coat thoroughly, pull them out with a fork and tap on the side of the pan to dip off excess chocolate, and place on aluminum foil or waxed paper to cool. Repeat until all of the shapes are covered. Refrigerate to set up the chocolate, and then store in an airtight container in a cool place or the refrigerator.
I made just over 30 small eggs, and I actually had a little melted chocolate left over this time, so I made chocolate covered cherries too. 

You can also put these candies on sticks to make a candy pop. I insert a small stick or straw into the candy after the chocolate has hardened and then individually wrap these for small gifts for my kids. Great for Easter baskets, Valentine's day treats, or stocking stuffers.

How not to melt chocolate

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

DIY Christmas Gift Ideas: I Love Grandma Button Apron

The year of Aaron's first Christmas, I made these simple aprons for grandma gifts. They are pretty similar to these tote bags. I simply used an apron that I already had as a pattern and cut two pieces of fabric for the body. I sewed the right sides together, leaving a small opening for turning, turned it right-side-out and top-stitched around the apron. I made simple ties and a head strap out of lace, ribbon, or fabric pieces sewn together, again using the apron I already had a a guide for the length. I sewed these onto the body of the apron after it was completed, but you could also position them before you sew the body and sew them into the seams (like with the straps on this baby carrier). To decorate, I printed out the phrase "I Love Grandma" (or "mom," or "great grandma," etc.) on fabric transfer paper (remember to do it in reverse) and ironed it on.  Last, I sewed on three buttons in the shape of a heart for decoration. These were well received handmade gifts that were fairly quick to make.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

DIY Miniature Bean Bags

I been thinking about Christmas presents for a little while now, and one short project that I already finished were these cute miniature bean bags. I made a set of six for both Aaron and Andrew. I choose to make miniature ones and fill them with rice instead of beans. I did this for a couple of reasons. The small size is easier for their small hands to hold, and they will hurt brother less should his head accidentally get in the way of a bean bag. As they get bigger (and/or more careful), maybe I'll make them a bigger set. This quick and easy sewing project makes a great frugal gift for boys.

Make Your Own Bean (or Rice) Bags
  • fabric scraps
  • thread
  • sewing machine is optional
  • beans or rice to fill the bag
  1. Cut out two rectangles the same size for each bean bag you want to make. I cut my rectangles 3" by 4" for these miniature ones. For regular sized bean bags, I think 4" by 6" would be a good size.
  2. Place two rectangles right sides together. Stitch around three sides, leaving one open for turning and stuffing.
  3. Turn right side out.
  4. Fill with beans or rice.
  5. Whip or slip stitch the open side closed. Stitch very securely; you don't want the contents to spill everywhere.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Simple Christmas Planning

Christmas 2009, time really does fly by
Did you realize there are less than 100 days until Christmas? While in reality that is still more than 1/4 of a year left until Christmas, time flies as they say, so it will be here before you know it. A little planning ahead of time can make the season much more blessed and less stressed. This is especially true if you want to make any of the gifts you are going to give.

Personally, I tend to start Christmas planning really, really early. I love Christmas, and I love making presents. Usually, I begin to plan what I want to make for Christmas in July after we celebrate Father's day, birthdays, and our anniversary. In looking for birthday ideas for Aaron and Nate, I usually have found a couple of ideas that I want to make but didn't have time to do for their birthdays. I then begin to think about the other people on our list and which gifts I want to make and which we want to purchase. I usually start a list with everyone's names and write down gift ideas as we think of them. Then I use this list to keep track of what we've made or bought and what still needs to be done. This gives my plenty of time to start working on presents slowly over the next months, instead of staying up all Christmas Eve trying to finish everything for everyone. This plan doesn't always happen perfectly, but at least it gets me thinking.

Christmas Eve 2009

Andrew was born exactly one week before the Christmas of 2009. That year we had to plan a simple Christmas. I really wanted to get everything done ahead of time that year. I spent my nesting energy making a few simple Christmas presents and treats ahead of time, so we could just rest and enjoy our time together as a little family on the actual holidays. We also had to scale way back on what we usually do for that particular Christmas, buying, making, and visiting. At the time, part of me did wish I could do more, but it was a simple and sweet holiday. It was good because it made us as a family focus on what was truly important. We didn't see all of our extended family right on those holidays, but found ways to connect and celebrate with them.

I think our families all know that we love and appreciate them regardless of how much (or little) we are able to buy, make, or see them at Christmastime. At least it is my prayer that we would be able to make sure everyone knows they are loved and cherished, regardless of anything else. Realizing we don't have to and can't do it all is freeing. We try to figure out what God would have us focus on for the celebration of the birth of His Son and ask for his help to do just that. If the rest of the long to-do list I've made for myself never gets done, I try not to be hard on myself. I know that I've done my best, and the rest is really just stuff after all.

If you are looking for inspiration for Christmas planning, I've come across some resources that might be helpful. I think they have some great ideas.

Life as Mom has a free Christmas planning ebook.

Life your way has a free ebook and Christmas planner. The are also doing a 101 days until Christmas series.

The Happy Housewife is doing a series of 100 days of handmade gifts for Christmas.


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