Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Clay Snowladies and Reindeer Fingerprint Ornaments

At our house, we love this time of year for giving, receiving (because what kid doesn't!?), and for creating presents.  Every year we've made our own ornaments.  Last year we made salt dough shapes and decorated them with glitter.  We also made some cinnamon ornaments.  My babies are getting so big.  Every year I have made a mold of their hand print so this year I started looking for to incorporate something to this regard into an ornament for Christmas.  And then..I came across this beautifully simple and elegant snowman fingerprint ornament from Pinterest

I used this homemade clay recipe.  It was extremely easy to make and didn't take much time.  You combine about a box of baking soda, one cup of cornstarch, and one and a half cups of water.  Combine all of the ingredient and then cook on medium heat until the mixture thickens-stirring consistently.  If you do not want to create your own clay, you also easily purchase clay from the craft store.

*The clay took about three full days to dry and while it did, I decided to keep rotating and flipping the ornaments.  Note to future self.  Be careful because this recipe causes uneven cracking to the point of no return.  I bought a sealant for the ornaments because I noticed the cracking and that seemed to slow down the process.  Unfortunately, some ornaments just didn't make it!
Aside from that.. they still came out looking beautiful, simple, and so very honestly made.  Mark Jr. has the reindeer ornaments and Harmony's are the snow ladies.  We stamped their initials, which I would recommend waiting until AFTER the ornaments dry.. something I clearly didn't do.  Punch a hole for the string and then light brush over the finger print area with crayons or paint until it becomes visible.  We waited about 2-3 days until they dried and then sprayed them with a sealant to protect the exterior from cracking.

Harmony and I really enjoyed creating these and plan to give them away to friends, family, and to her teacher as Christmas gifts.

Candice S

Friday, December 16, 2011

2011 Year in Review Newsletter.

2011 Stapleton Year in Review Newsletter

Truth in the Tinsel: The Christmas Story

 Harmony and I have really enjoyed learning the Christmas story and about Jesus' birth.  We've been using our book, Truth in the Tinsel: An advent experience for little hands, and have been following along with each new section of the story each day.  You can see more about our journey with this project about learning The Christmas Story.. 

Here are a few photo's of the daily ornaments that we have completed.  The above photo is of Mary, Joseph, the stable, and the manger.  Isn't it just lovely?

 We learned about the  meaning of Jesus' name.

 This is a pillow that signifies the dream that Joseph have and how he was told to marry Mary, and that her baby would be called.. Jesus.

..Lastly, this signifies Bethlehem. 

You can get your copy here.

Merry Christmas!

Candice S

Friday, December 9, 2011

Tot Spot: Build a Snowman!

I printed out this snowman that I found on Pinterest and placed it between two sheets of contact paper and then I cutout the pieces.  The whip-up time was about ten minutes total and that's because I had to COLOR the pieces in so we can start practicing identifying colors. 

Now, we have this..

This was super fun and TOO easy to create!  You can't beat that!

Any new idea's for involving your toddlers (between the ages of 12-24 months) in Christmas crafts?  Idea's are very welcomed here, as we are always looking for awesome age appropriate activities to try!  :) 

Happy Holidays!

Candice S

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Unwrap A Christmas Book A Day

I thought about this idea for the kids to unwrap some items around the house and thought, what better gifts to unwrap than library books?  They get to open one Christmas book a day.  I wrapped about six books for now, but plan on getting more from the library. 

 It is so fun to see the kids open one a day to see what we get to read for story time!  I used my stamp set to write the name for each number, as Harmony is learning new numeral sight words in school.  I also used newspaper for the wrapping, which I thought turned out beautifully!  The best part about this Christmas fun is that it is FREE and didn't take me but five minutes to wrap the books up and toss them under our tree. 

If you need Christmas book ideas, visit Silly Eagle Books.  :)

Happy Holidays!
Candice S

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Truth in the Tinsel: The Christmas Story

This Christmas I wanted to share something special with Harmony.  I wasn't sure if I wanted to create a new "advent calendar" tradition or to just experience something unique and enlightening with her.  For the Holidays, my husband and I have decided that we want to teach patience, giving, sharing, and appreciation.  So much of these qualities diminish throughout the holiday season because we all get so caught up in gift giving and seasonal purchases.  It is too easy getting lost in the clutter and crowds, isn't it?  My goal is to establish the sense of loving our belongings that we have now, instead of constantly begging for more, and taking the time during this holiday season to have fellowship amongst our families.  Fellowship is something that always gets left on the back burner when it's the gifts and wrapping paper that should be.  Well, not literally of course! 
Our Snowflake Advent Tree that has "clues" on the back leading us to the next part of the story..

In my search of advent calendars and other family traditions, I kept hearing all of these wonderful things about this book called, "Truth in the Tinsel: An advent experience for little hands."  This book includes daily activities that share the story of Jesus and his birth, as well as an ornament a day to go along with each part of the story.  Although our household is by far a religious household, I want Harmony to experience The Christmas Story firsthand, rather than guessing or wondering what the differences between Baby Jesus and Santa Clause are. 

Day 1:  Candle Ornament: "The Light"
This book is an absolute depiction of the Christmas Story, detailed on explaining most of the story through the creation of a daily ornament.  Harmony and I have had fun making our ornaments.  It has been rather hard keeping her "involved" in the story long enough to really explain what everything means, as some of elements and passages read in the bible are not too accommodating for a younger child but we read the scripture's none the less and discussed what it is we think the meaning of it might be. 

Day 5:  Mary

So, what have we learned?  I figured if Harmony didn't take anything else away from this fun experience than at least I could use it as a moral lesson on teaching kindness, giving, forgiveness, and to appreciate what we have.  "We should share our spark and our light to the entire world."  This is something that we have been saying a lot in our house and I don't mind that positive encouragement and enlightenment one bit.  :)

If you're interested in doing it with us and thousands of others, feel free to stop by and get Amanda's book here.  I promise, it is not time consuming unless you want it to be nor is it tedious.  You can use the materials you have on hand to create your ornaments and spend as little to no time everyday before or after your kids go to school.  The book is beyond worth it!! 

Happy Holidays!

Candice S

Friday, November 25, 2011

Last Minute- Thanksgiving Fun!

This pinup turkey is a 30 minute keeper that will provide some quick, last minute Thanksgiving fun, to your kids day!

I keep this enormous mess of recycling objects that I "might" want to use on the top of my refrigerator.  Haven't you had those frantic moments where you ask yourself if you saved that milk jug or that amazingly shaped plastic container?  :)  I have those often so I started keeping a stash of fun items for later use..  I saved the lids to our Parent's Choice baby wipes in hopes that I would some day find use for them.. and Sunday, was that day! 

We just glued all of the pieces together and then I used the hot glue gun for the heavier pieces, such as the clothespin.  We placed them up on a lamp shade.  :)

If you need more post- Thanksgiving fun, you can view earlier posts, watch a holiday movie, or read an amazing Thanksgiving book like "Over the River", "Turk and Runt", or "T is For Turkey".

Happy Thanksgiving!

Candice S

Monday, November 21, 2011

Tiny Prints: Holiday Cards!

Tiny Prints is an awesome company that offers customized cards and other gifts for all occasions.  They also have amazing sales and promotions constantly showing their customers that they do appreciate us!

I absolutely adore this Tiny Prints, Vintage Christmas Card.

What do you think about the above card?  What would you choose?  I would love for you to share the upcoming joyous season by looking to see what customized card you might choose!

Happy Holiday's!  (Sang in my best singing voice.. lol)

Candice S

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Gobble Gobble

Happy, Early Thanksgiving!!  I am thankful for my beautiful kids and loving husband.  For our health, happiness, and the roof over our head.  I am thankful for so many things this year!

.. I wanted to share some of the fun that we've been crafting around in our house lately.  We've made hair bows, decorations, and have gone on nature walks to collect pine cones and rocks.

Simple Turkey Hair bow:  Ribbon, cheap $1.00 clips, hot glue gun, and some sequins.  :)  I've since made more to wear to Thanksgiving and NOT to the school playground ...

Fun Fall Wreath:  Harmony did this in school, but it's fun none-the-less!  Simple supplies are leaves, real or fake, ribbon, and a paper plate.

 This little festive guy is adorable!  Definitely one of my favorite crafts by far! 

 Hand Turkey's!  All you need is paper, crayons, and your little one's hand! 
This is a picture of our family.  :o)

 We made this cornucopia craft last year out of torn up construction paper.  Harmony really enjoyed tearing it and pasting it together.

 This turkey is our newest addition and was made with dollar store clothespins, paint, crayons, glitter, googly eyes, and lots of scrapbook paper.  Harmony is on a mission to find the perfect "girly" accessory to clip on her. 

I am looking forward to attempting more Thanksgiving themed activities over the weekend that I can't wait to share with you! 

Candice S

Linking to...
Tip Junkie handmade projects

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Fall Garland

I don't have a lot of space for Fall/Autumn inspired decorations so I have been very selective with what we have been creating and hanging around our home's living area.  I am so often inspired by awesome garlands of all shapes, themes, and sizes, and decided that it was time to grab my little Harmony helper and get to work!

We made Ghosts, Spiders, Pumpkins, Leaves, and used a shaving cream painting technique for our Fall Leaves.  I did most of the cutting.  Harmony is still learning to plunge into what she calls, "Snipping".. Everything turned out so unique and with an elegant appearance. 

Look at how we did...  My other helper was my glue gun and hole punch.  I used scrapbook paper for each fall creature and then hung each on up on fishing line.  Our spider was made out of a bottle cap, felt fitted and then glued on top.

Shaving Cream Painting:  Combine paint and shaving cream and then swirl with a toothpick.  Dip cardstock into paint (and you can remove shaving cream if there's excess..)  Wawwwllaaaaa.. Beautiful, Fall Leaves!
What Fall activities have you enjoyed doing?

Happy Fall!

Candice S

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Autumn Apple Wreath

Did I mention, that I am utterly in love and completely addicted to Pinterest?  Well, I cannot help but find an amazing array of inspiration everywhere I click...Starting with this awesome Autumn Apple Wreath pictured below from The Crafty Crow.

 I saw it and couldn't help but think that it was completely age appropriate for my 18 month old and my five year old to do together!  .. Let me tell you, it was a huge hit in our house this morning! 

Here's what you need:

Two Cereal Boxes
Red Paint for Apple Stamp
Green Paint for Thumb Prints
(I'm glad that I decided to go with our homemade finger paint recipe because Baby Brother enjoyed taking in between work breaks to munch on his apple)
Scissors to cutout the apple's after they dry.  I did Mark Jr.'s and Harmony dd her own.
Hot Glue Gun for Parent (Tacky glue did not hold)

Have fun making your Autumn Apple Wreath!

During the "drying process" we decided to have some story time.  The following is our Fall theme books that we selected from the library and we've enjoyed every one of them!

Candice S

Friday, September 23, 2011

Fall Apple Tree Sewing Activity (18 months-Grade K)

I adapted my own version of this sewing activity from the apple thematic unit that I found on Pinterest.


Apple Tree's for Sewing:

*  Drew the tree top and then the stump on two different types of scrapbook paper.  You can use construction paper or even newspaper!

*  I then sliced up a cereal box to provide more support for the tree (you can use a cardboard box.. a cereal box is thinner so it's easier to cut)

*  Modpodge your tree and stump onto the cardboard and wait for it to dry.

*  Cutout after they have dried.

*  Glue tree onto stump.  (this is entirely optional, but much easier if you are making these for sewing)

*  Grab your hole punch and start punching!  :)

*  Measure your yarn (I found that threading the tree's was the easiest way to go about this so you could figure out just how much yarn you're going to need)

*  I cutout felt apples for Harmony's complicated sewing apple tree.  For the smaller tree I cutout circles and then stems.  I glued them onto baby food jars that I've had saved up for art projects so Mark Jr. (18 month old) can handle the smaller pieces more easily AND so he doesn't eat them.  He loves doing that.  :)

It was super easy!  My hand is killing me, however, from having to punch all of those holes for Harmony's tree.  I kept Mark Jr.'s (on the left) simple so he could get accustomed to stringing it through without becoming frustrated.  I can't wait to see what they think tomorrow!

What other types of fun sewing activities do your little one's enjoy doing?

Candice S

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Shapes Worksheet

Shapes Prek-K

This is a shapes worksheet that I whipped up tonight.  Harmony needed to practice her shapes, which included the trapezoid and the hexagon.  Unfortunately, I couldn't find many worksheets offering this so I decided to get creative!  :)  You can have your child trace the shape and then draw it by free hand.  I also had Harmony practice writing the shapes name underneath when she was completed with the each set.


Candice S

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Tot Spot: Montessori Sensory Basket

I read How To Raise An Amazing Child the Montessori Way at the beginning of the year and fell in love with quite a bit of Dr. Montessori's methods for teaching small children and the emphasis of importance she placed on supporting the learning environment from birth and beyond.  Simple techniques are discussed, as well as ideas's for extremely simple sensory play examples using items from the home.

  Creating a nature basket is an idea that is recommended for babies.  I have found that most of our learning toys, textures, and objects laying around the house have become favorites for our basket.  About once a month I change out the books, toys, and textures so we can explore something new.

Sensory Basket
Straws with a small, medium, and large cup used for nesting.  My 18 month old loves nesting cups and placing objects (straws) inside of them so this idea was super simple and he LOVES it! 

Pom Pom Game.  A recycled tub of butter becomes a game by stuffing pom pom's inside the hole, which promotes coordination.  Mark's attention span is astonishing while playing this game.

Texture Swatch/Sample.  A sewing swatch with a picture on it for Mark Jr. to feel, see, and explore.  The picture is of Mommy and Ni Ni (Sister)

Nesting Caps.  Various bottle cap sizes to use as a nesting toy.  **Beware of smaller bottle caps as babies enjoy placing these in their mouths.

V Tech Record and Learn Photo Album is definitely one of our favorite items.  You can record a personalized story and change out the photo's as often as you'd like.  This product also plays music and explores sights and sounds... 
V Tech Record and Learn Photo Album
I included some our Sock Puppet's for role play.. and to use while reading the following stories!  Mark loves using these and growling..  "Rooooaaarrr"

Little Blue Truck

Shapes (My Very First Look At)

What are some of your favorite activities to do with your toddlers?

Candice S

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