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

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