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Showing posts with label holiday. Show all posts
Showing posts with label holiday. Show all posts

Friday, December 13, 2013

Gingerbread House Traditions

I don't know what year it began, but we have pictures going back to the 1970s. My mom would create a template using a shoebox. She'd then bake a couple boxes of gingerbread mix and whip up batches of chocolate icing and Royal icing. A few days before, we'd shop for the candy and chocolates that would adorn our house, and on the eve of Christmas Eve, we could build our homemade gingerbread house that would serve as the centerpiece for our Christmas Eve brunch with several other families.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Easter Story Cookies

When I had my first-born son, one of my husband's aunts gave us a neat parenting book, and as a new parent, I was eager to learn all I could. I enjoyed the ease of this book though most of the information was simple enough to grasp that I haven't had to refer to it for years for parenting tips. However, it's one particular tradition the author introduces that has kept the book in my house for almost 12 years. In case you are wondering, the book's title is  
The Mommy and Daddy Book by Karen Hull. In the last chapter, titled "Making Memories," Karen shares a beautiful Easter tradition called Easter Story Cookies. It's a tradition we have followed almost every Easter weekend for ten years now, so I'd like to share it with you. 
how to make Easter story cookies with your children to teach the story of Christ's death and resurrection

Friday, March 8, 2013

Christian Easter Eggs

Years ago, my mother-in-law bought us a dozen Easter eggs in a plastic egg carton. They were called Resurrection Eggs. Every Easter, as I put out our bunnies, chicks, and baskets throughout our house, I set this carton on our coffee table in our family room. Our children are welcome to play with them, and they enjoy opening each egg to see what's inside. At least during Lent, I'll sit down with them and discuss what each item means to help them understand and appreciate the real meaning of Easter beyond the bunnies and candies. 
Teaching your children the Resurrection story through the use of Easter eggs

Last year, my middle son came out of Sunday school about two weeks before Easter with a bright green paper bag. In it were a dozen Easter eggs numbered one through twelve along with a note. It was a homemade version of the Resurrection Eggs. How awesome! 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day Fingerprint Cards

For those of you who still need some last-minute inspiration for Thursday, I thought I'd share what I was up to on Tuesday. While I didn't get around to making cute hand-made Valentine cards for my children to pass out at school, I was inspired by Fun Hand Print Art's blog to make some cards for their grandparents.

To make them, I used items I already had. Several years ago, I got tired of always needing to have birthday cards on hand for all the parties my kids go to, so I found some bright colored plain cards at Target and some stamp sets at Hobby Lobby. Now, while I'm wrapping the present (or most likely, putting it in a gift bag), my children get to decorate and sign the birthday card with the stamps and markers. They save me time and money because a 100-card set is $10. I just store them all together in a cabinet, so I pulled them down yesterday to make these cute cards.

I used permanent markers to write in the message first. Then I guided them with their fingerprints. Last, I turned their little prints into the pictures and sign them.  Each child made a different one, and I think they are all adorable.

 Happy Valentine's Day!

I'll be sharing this post at some of these parties here.  

Friday, February 1, 2013

From Christmas Dresses to Valentine's Day Dresses

Back in December, my BFF and I made matching Christmas full-circle dresses for our daughters with the intent on keeping the colors neutral enough to have them re-purposed for Valentine's Day. The girls loved wearing them and twirling around in them as you can see from my daughter's picture. However, after Christmas, while my daughter wanted to continue wearing the dress, I didn't think it looked right. While there was no green in the dress to scream "Christmas," there was a Christmas present sewn on the shirt.

Today, I'm thrilled that I finally got around to changing the applique for my daughter in time for the month of love! When we sewed on the square present, we thought we'd remove the bow and just sew a heart inside the box, but I was inspired by the ruffle heart shirt from Keeping it Simple. However, instead of making my ruffles into straight rows, I chose to wrap mine into the heart pattern. This is what I came up with...

You can make this on any solid colored shirt, but if you want to attach the shirt to a full-circle skirt to create an adorable party dress, you can go here for my full tutorial.  First, let's gather our supplies:


Friday, January 18, 2013

Conversation Heart Felt Pillows

Is it just me, or do you love those conversation hearts we get every Valentine's Day? My favorite is the yellow but only if it's the banana-type yellow, not that nasty lemony-yellow. Of course, I eventually will devour them all... except for the purple ones. My boys get those. Okay, I know some of you are thinking I'm silly, that they all taste the same or that they are all nasty, but they are my February indulgence. 

My husband and I avoid the mass crowds on Valentine's Day, and once I quit teaching, he stopped having beautiful rose bouquets delivered to my classroom, but he does buy me bags of these treats. No, they aren't diamonds, but that's okay. I'm easy to please. And as a stay-at-home mini-van driving team mom, where would I wear such diamonds anyway? For now, I'm happy munching on my bag of conversation hearts while typing away at my computer. Thinking of those simple indulgences reminded me that it's time to pull out our Valentine decorations. And pulling out those pink and red hearts and trinkets, I realize just how few items we have to transform our house into a whimsical heartland! This year I aim to change that by taking advantage of my sewing machine. 

The first project I came up with is a conversation heart felt pillow. How fun is that? 

Friday, December 21, 2012

Reindeer Poop

While I typically reserve Fridays for a sewing or major crafting project, with the hustle and bustle of Christmas fun, I'm keeping this post simple by sharing a recipe I discovered last year. If you thought my Three-Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookie recipe was easy, you'll love this!

But before we get to the recipe, I hope you'll have time to chat a bit. Unlike many bloggers, I have not addressed the horrific event that occurred in Connecticut one week ago today. My heart goes out to all the family members, fellow classmates and teachers, first responders, and loved ones who are in such emotional pain right now. I have done a lot of crying and praying for them this past week. With that said, I'd like to share a link to a Jessica's post that offers details on different ways you can help out the family members of the Sandy Hook Elementary victims. 

I'd like to bring a little holiday cheer to your day as an escape from the ugliness of our world and possibly to focus more on the light. We are days away from celebrating Christmas! What a wonderful reminder of Hope, Peace, Love, and Joy!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Jingle All the Way!

After having so much fun booing three of our neighbors this year, my boys and I decided we wanted to continue the fun much sooner than next October. I had seen a post on Facebook about getting "jingled" but couldn't find details about it online, so we decided to start up our own game. Using Stephanie's model from her Being Booed post, we created our "You've been Jingled" instruction sheet and sign. 

Friday, December 14, 2012

Full Circle Christmas Dress

I love my monthly sewing Mondays with my BFF though some projects seem to run more smoothly than others. Unfortunately, this particular project had a rough start, so we weren't able to finish the dresses before having to pick up our children from school, but I'm pleased with the finished product. If you think it's cute too, read along as I provide a tutorial. 

The dress we made this time was for the girls to wear through Christmas. Then, with a little artful change-up on the applique, they could wear them through Valentine's Day too. That way we'd get almost three months worth of wearings from them. They are similar to our candy corn dresses in that we started with a shirt, but this time, instead of creating tiers, we opted for a full circle skirt.  And, yes, my daughter is posing while wearing her new reindeer slippers from my BFF because they are just too cute and cozy not to wear!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Holiday Cookie Recipe Swap: Week 4

Welcome to the Holiday Cookie Recipe Swap...Blog Hop
(really it's a linky party)

(All these adorable graphics are done by Smitten Blog Designs)

Join us for all FOUR weeks of cookie features, recipes, and linky parties.

Here is the line up:

Sweet Boutique    November 20
The Domesticated Princess    November 27
Michelle's Tasty Creations    December 4
Living, Loving, Crafting    December 11

Make sure you come back each week for a great new cookie recipe, plus each blog will be featuring their own favorite cookie links from the party!

You'll notice when you start this cookie, it's kind of more like a bar than a cookie.  HOWEVER, it's been called a cookie for years and was handed down to me as a cookie so my friends, it's a cookie :)  Here's a special note to those who dislike coconut (like myself), you can't taste it.  So don't let that ingredient scare you off!

And now, the good stuff...

Friday, December 7, 2012

Advent Activity Calendar

When I read about Raising Bean's Activity Advent Calendar, I knew I needed one for my family too! Her gingerbread house style was adorable, but we decorate with trees... a lot of trees... in our house, so I thought it would be fitting if I created a Christmas tree one. And, of course, whenever I create a new project, I'm always eager to share it with you! 

I spent a few hours on this project over a three-day period. Part of the time was obviously in creating our own personalized list of holiday-themed activities. I also decided to make some of the pockets fun by including some of these adorable Christmas-themed jokes from While her jokes are for her Elf, I figured our Elf didn't want to use them, so I put them in with our activity cards.

In planning out this project's size, I grabbed a newspaper ad and some 3M sticky notes. This helped me determine how large I needed to make my tree since I liked the idea of 3"x3" pockets. 

Friday, November 30, 2012

Hand-Painted Christmas Ornaments

The year before last, my son made the coolest Christmas ornament in his fourth grade class, one that earned a prime spot on our family Christmas tree. I asked him how they made it, but he didn't seem to remember the details. Go figure; he was nine at the time. Well, the following Christmas, I decided to duplicate this ornament as a fun activity since the kids were getting out of school an entire week before Christmas. I bought a 20-pack of clear glass balls, smaller than the one he used though. Mine were about 1 5/8" in diameter as opposed to the 2 1/2" glass ball he had made. I also purchased bottles of acrylic paint in snow white, cherry red, and evergreen. For hooks, we used either some red and green plastic-covered paperclips or the brass-colored hangers we use on our tree. Of course, we could have tied a pretty bow at the top as a nice touch.

This ornament would make a great craft for students at their school's holiday party, scouts, or just playmates over for the day, and they make such neat presents for family members. I love how mess-free they can be, depending on the age of the children and the number of adults helping. My boys were able to do theirs with very little assistance at ages 6 and up. My two-year-old daughter needed tons of assistance. Okay, so she only thought she was doing anything as she helped me hold the paint bottle. My 5-year-old nephew needed help to ensure he didn't pour too much paint and needed some extra cleaning up on his fingers throughout the project, so hopefully this information will help you determine if this project would be right for your group. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Tips for Your Family's Holiday Cards

I know we haven't celebrated Thanksgiving yet, but have you started to think about photographing and ordering your holiday cards? Snapping dozens of pictures of my children each November in hopes of capturing that perfect photograph has become a holiday tradition for us. I like to change up the types of clothes, the poses, and the locations from year to year, sometimes showcasing different parts of our house or Christmas decor but always showing our children in all their silly sweetness. 

After finally capturing that perfect picture, who do you use to print high quality cards to share with friends and family? I will admit that I've used several different companies over the past 10 years, and a few have left me disappointed in the lack of variety or the quality of the finished product.   

 Then I discovered and their wonderful line of holiday and Christmas cards. What I love about's cards are their high quality and amazing variety. What I love about their website is the ease of designing your own personalized card. Picking the perfect card was easy. Since I knew my children were wearing red and black in their Christmas photo this year, I was able to do a search by color. I loved that! No more wasting time searching through cards that clash with your photograph.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Halloween Jack-o-Lantern Scratch Art

one of Dad's jack-o-lanterns
Every October since before I was born, my dad has made the best jack-o-lanterns. He would start by buying the biggest pumpkin at the grocery store. Then he'd gather his supplies: a large spoon, a bucket or bowl, a large knife, and a smaller knife. Sometimes he'd sit outside for this annual project while other times, he'd work on it at the kitchen island. Either way, my sisters and I would gather round in great anticipation. No two jack-o-lanterns were ever the same, but one thing was certain. No matter how many times my sisters and I would request a pretty jack-o-lantern or a "little girl" jack-o-lantern, that request was always denied. Nope, Dad's jack-o-lanterns were big and angry! 

I have fond memories of watching him carefully saw open the top, scoop out the seeds and innards, and carefully go about creating the face. It was never the simple triangle features found on our neighbors' front porches. No, his had wrinkles, scars, pointy ears, snaggly teeth, arched eyebrows, and realistic eyes with pupils. Upon completion of his work, we'd turn off the kitchen lights and wait with abated breath for the grand finale when he'd add a lit votive to illuminate its scary features. Then we always stood in awe.

Once I grew up, married, and moved into my own house, Dad still created his Halloween masterpieces for each of his daughters. He'd drive to our houses to deliver his hand-made works of art to display by our own front doors. I loved it! I didn't dare try making my own even though about this time, stores started selling those pumpkin-carving kits, complete with ornate templates. I felt like those kits were cheating. 

Friday, October 5, 2012

Candy Corn Dress

This past summer, I made a triple-tiered tank dress that my daughter absolutely loved, and so did I. It was a sewing project I made with my best friend, as one of our monthly sewing get-togethers. For October, I was all set on making circle skirts for our daughters, but the night before, instead of sleeping, I decided the girls needed something more fall-ish. I'd seen lots of wonderful candy corn decorations, jewelry, and outfits online, so I was inspired to make candy corn dresses using the same premise as the triple-tiered tank dress. 

I must say that shopping with my BFF instead of my daughter is much more fun. I don't have to chase her down any aisles! And we got to spend time looking at patterns and jewelry projects. With our orange and yellow fabric in hand (and a few more items not on our shopping list), we headed for the check out. As you can see, we chose to avoid solid yellow fabric and found some sweet fabric with small print on them to make the dresses look less like costumes. I bought the yellow, and she bought the orange, so we could take advantage of the 40% off coupons for the fabric. I already owned two white tank tops that I bought brand new from a neighbor when I bought the pink one, so these dresses were going to cost us less than $4 per girl to make! We actually ended up with enough fabric to make three dresses, but we still need another shirt.

Since we live in Texas, we can get away with a light dress like this through Thanksgiving, but I plan to buy a long-sleeved black fitted t-shirt and black leggings for her to wear under it when we get the occasional cold front. We need those items for her Minnie Mouse Halloween costume anyway.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Trick or Feet!

When I found this adorable project online, I knew I would have to duplicate it with my four kids' feet. After all, since it has been over two years since I've had a child in preschool, I haven't had any precious hand print or footprint projects. And even though my boys' feet are no longer adorably tiny, they are still adorable to me, and I want to remember even these years too. Before heading out to my favorite craft store, I measured my oldest son's foot. At 11, he already wears a bigger shoe than I do, so I needed to make sure his foot would fit on the canvas I bought. Thankfully, it could fit on a 10x20, which is what I was hoping for. Good thing I didn't wait until next Halloween to do this project!

Brandy, at the Moody Fashionista, provided a tutorial for
the one she made for her daughter, so you can check hers out here to see what she did differently. I couldn't find any letter stickers as cute as hers, so I decided to paint mine instead.

Here are the supplies I used:

one 10x20 canvas
black paint
white paint
orange paint
googly eyes
craft glue
sponge brushes
small artist brush
plastic letter stencils

paint bowls/cups or even plastic lids
lots of paper towels

Here's how I did it:

First, I spent one day painting the canvas black. It didn't take long to paint it, but I had to paint three coats, so I had to let it sit a couple of hours to dry between coats. 

On the second day, I had to figure out the placement of my stencil letters using a method I learned during my scrapbooking days. Actually, I think we learned it in high school typing class too, back when you had to manually center your titles, but do I have to admit that? It makes me sound incredibly old to have learned how to type on a typewriter! All you do is count up the number of letters/numbers and spaces in your title. I chose "Happy Halloween," so I had 15. Just divide that number by two to get your center letter or space. When a number is odd, you look at the numbers on either side of your answer and let them share the center. In my case, my answer to 15/2 is 7.5, so that put the "H" and "A" sharing the center. Once you know your center, you can decide how to space your letters and begin with those center letters and work your way out. I had bought a sheet of plastic stencils but decided to cut them apart to make placing them easier.

Third, let's clean up our act. I needed to do some touch up work on a few of my letters where the paint bled through the stencils, so I grabbed a small paint brush and the black paint to fix those spots.

Once the lettering was completely dry, I wrangled up my children to create the ghosts. Our original plan was to use the left foot of my oldest son since he's a lefty and the right foot of the other three. He came up with that idea, and I loved that added personal element to it. I began with his foot since it had to be placed in just the right spot due to his large shoe size. Once barefoot, he kicked his foot into my lap and let me paint it white. I simply slathered on the white paint with a medium-sized sponge brush because that's what I learned was the least messy method back when I taught preschool. When his foot was appropriately covered, I picked up the canvas and carefully lined it up to his foot and guided his foot to it while he stayed sitting. He has a high arch, so his ghost was freakishly skinny. To help fatten it up a bit, I placed one of my hands under the canvas and gently pushed it on his foot and arch. It fattened his ghost up a bit without ruining the authenticity of his footprint. Afterwards, we used a handful of damp paper towels to wipe his foot clean. Perhaps doing this outside and hosing their feet off afterward would be easier.

When his ghost was fairly dry, I called up the next kid and repeated the process for all four children. I just left the paints and supplies out on the kitchen table as this process took four short sessions during the course of a couple of hours. Oh, and as you'll see from the picture, our idea of one lefty ghost was abandoned after I accidentally painted our daughter's left foot. Oh well, now they are all swaying toward the outside of the picture, which makes sense too. My son didn't mind.

Once the kids were in bed and all four ghosts were dry, I got out the black paint, glue, and googly eyes to create the faces. I also touched up spots from the foot-printing.  An idea I came up with too late that would be cute is to let your children paint their ghosts' mouths with a fingerprint. It would be the right size and shape, and it'd create just one more personal element to the product.

The last step I still need to do is write the year and their names on the back. While it's obvious which foot is my oldest son's and which is my little daughter's, the two middle boys' feet are very close in size, so we might forget some day. 

This was a fun project though you really can't wing it in a short period of time, and you'll need a place in your house where you can have a mess for the better part of two days. Overall, I had to buy the canvas, which I used a 40% coupon on, so it only cost $5.40, the brushes for a whopping $1.39, and the stencil letters, which were $2.99. Of course, I'll find another purpose for those in the future. I already owned the paint, glue, and wiggly eyes. I liked the idea of the ribbon seen in Brandy's finished product, but with such a wide canvas, I didn't think I'd really use it. I plan to prop it up either on our mantel or one of the shelves in our family room. For about $10 it makes a precious Halloween decoration in my opinion.

I love the idea that every year we can bring it out for Halloween and get to compare shoe sizes. As children progress to elementary school, they stop making projects with their hand prints and feet prints, but they keep growing for at least another 12 years, so why not enjoy their not-so-tiny-anymore-but-not-fully-grown hands and feet? Plus, the boys got a kick out of doing a footprint project since they haven't done one in years. They didn't think it was too babyish and loved having their feet painted. In fact, my eight-year-old son asked if we could do a Christmas version of this. We've been brainstorming ideas of trees or reindeer heads made out of foot prints. I think it sounds like a great gift for grandparents!  What about you? Do you have any suggestions on how to make a footprint or hand print project for other holidays?  


I'll be sharing this post at some of these parties here or here.     

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