Thursday, December 22, 2011

Craft: Finger Painted Christmas Tree

This craft was SO simple and SO much fun! I can't believe this is my first craft on my Blog using a paper roll! I think this is a must for anyones home with children in it! Kids love to create on a large roll of paper! For this craft you will need:
  • Large roll of white paper
  • Green Acrylic paint
  • Construction paper
  • any kind of ribbon or string
  • Stickers (optional)
First I rolled out the paper to the length I wanted my tree. You don't have to do it as large as I did but for this craft I say, the bigger the better! Then I drew a simple tree shape. You can draw it in pencil first then outline in marker so you can see your line after the kids paint it!


                          

Pour out some green paint on a paper plate and let the kids get their hands in it to paint the tree! This was so fun, I even got my hands in on this part! =)

Let the tree dry for a few hours! Then cut out your tree shape.

 Using different colored construction paper, cut out light bulb shapes and with black paper cut out little squares.

Then tape the black square to the bottom of you light bulb shape piece of paper and you will have a bunch of christmas tree lights! I took red curling ribbon and taped it to the back of the tree, stringing it across as the lights would be on the tree! Then tape or glue each light to your string. As I was assembling this part, I let the kids color the lights! This kept them entertained until I was done!

The next step you can get really creative with, making different ornaments out of paper or pipe cleaners....etc. What I have here on our finished product is free printable coloring pages that I found online of ornaments which we glued on and then we finished it off with christmas stickers! All kids LOVE stickers so this part was really fun! If you have a Michael's Craft store by you, they always have  sticker books with around 300 stickers for a dollar! Don't forget to cut out a star or angel for the top of your tree and a brown rectangle for you tree trunk! Lastly, I found a cute coloring page with elves carrying presents to add under the tree! =) HERE is the link to the elf picture if you want it!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

String Snow Balls

To make String Snow Balls you will need:
  • White craft glue
  • balloons
  • white cotton string
  • glitter (optional)

First thing you need to do is mix craft glue with a little water.

Blow up a balloon to the size you want your Snow Ball.

Tie your white string to the top. Now here is where you decide how long you want your string. Get it pretty long. We found by doing a few of these that the longer the string, the better.

Then an adult can wrap the string around the balloon until it ends and tie it to the top again. A child could get frustrated if you let them do the wrapping because it easily comes undone. When wrapping is done, have your child paint glue on the string. Don't miss a spot! After all the string has been glued you  can sprinkle glitter on it (remember this step is optional)!

We made like a cloths line and hung the balloons up over night before popping them.

When they are completely dry take something sharp and pop the balloon. I did this over the sink because of the glitter. It will look like the string is messed up but just get it all unstuck and the snow ball turns out nice! Pull the balloon out of the inside and cut it out!

Here is your snow ball! There are many things you can do with it! Incorporate it in your decorating around they house!


Put the on your christmas tree! 


And My kids favorite, let them play with their snow balls! They aren't gunna hurt anything.....after all it's just cotton string! =)




Friday, December 16, 2011

Yummiest Cookie: Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Balls

First of all, I'm going to start this post with some great news we have to share and it perfect at Christmas time! We are expecting our third child in June!!! We are all very excited and can't wait to find out what it will be! Here is a great new shot of our family Christmas 2011!

Another reason I shared this news with you all is because it has been hard to cook with the way I have been feeling and with the stuff I have been craving! Most people know I don't like to use sugar in my recipes but I have been craving brown sugar! So I gave in and used a little in my next cookie recipe, just enough to get you addicted to the cookies but not enough to make you sick! =) Also, I can't leave out that I snuck in some carrots to this recipe! This particular batch my husband is taking to work for a cookie exchange! One of his friends, I won't mention any names..... Daniel......NEVER eats vegetables! So I added them to the cookies to show people that cookies can still taste YUMMY with a little bit better ingredients! For the record: my husband has had these cookies both ways and said that he thinks he likes them better with the carrots! =) GOOD MAN!

EVERYONE knows what a Peanut Butter Blossom is right? One of my favorite cookies to bake! But look at the picture below! All of the chocolate is in the center and everyone knows they work so hard to try to get at least a little chocolate in every bite! My husband complained about this one day so I made up a solution, added a little bit of veggies, AND I also have the tastiest recipe around!
Here is how you make Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip balls! What you need:
  • 1/2 cup of butter room temperature (earth balance for dairy free)
  • 3/4 cup of creamy peanut butter (or any other nut butter)
  • 1/3 cup agave (or any other sweetener you would rather use)
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons milk (almond milk for dairy free)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups flour (I used spelt flour)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups mini chocolate chips
  • OPTIONAL: pureed carrots
  • granulated sugar
Pre heat oven to 375 degrees
Beat butter and peanut butter in large bowl until blended. Then add agave and brown sugar and beat till fluffy.


Add egg, milk, and vanilla and beat well

Stir together flour, baking soda, and salt.

 Gradually beat into peanut butter mixture.

This step is OPTIONAL: Steam some carrots. Blend them in the food processor and add them to your dough.

 Add mini chocolate chips and stir with a spoon.

Shape dough into little balls (1 inch or smaller) and roll in sugar. Kids really love this step!

Place on a  ungreased cookie sheet and bake 8 to 10 minutes.

Here are the finished product!!!! SO delicious and you don't have to worry about getting the perfect mix of peanut butter and chocolate in EVERY bite!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

American Girl Doll Tutu!

This idea came to me one day when I was thinking about how expensive American Girl Doll clothing and accessories are. My Niece wants American Girl doll clothing for christmas and I am not a sewer so the only thing I could do is spend $30 for ONE outfit, RIGHT? Wrong! Anyone can make this simple tutu for a fraction of the cost. You can make one for your daughter AND one for her doll! This is what you will need:
  • White elastic
  • simple sewing needle and white thread
  • tulle (whatever colors the child will like)
  • Ribbon(Optional but always makes for a prettier tutu)

The first thing I do is cut my tulle and ribbon. For an american girl doll 5 1/2 inches length for a tutu is pretty good so you want to make strips of tool 11 inches long, they will be folded in half when making the tutu so you double the length. Tulle normally comes in rolls about 6 inches wide. If you are making a tutu for your daughter, leave it this wide but if you are making one for her doll I make my strips 3 inches wide (or half the width). So you cut an 11 inch strip and then cut it down the middle of the width to make two strips of tool 11 inches in length & 3 inches in width! Cut your ribbon the same length as your tulle!



The next step is to get your elastic ready! For an American Girl doll, the waist is about 11 1/2 inches. But for your elastic you always want it to be stretched a little when on the waist so it stays on! I cut my elastic at about 10 1/2 inches. This gives me 1/2 inch to overlap and do a few hand stitches to connect the elastic together and 1 1/2 inches to stretch so I know it will stay on the doll! If you are making one for your daughter just get her waist measurement and subtract 2 or 3 inches for stretching but don't forget to leave a 1/2 inch to sew the elastic together.  Seriously, if you have NEVER hand stitched before... it's not hard at all. Just take a needle with a few inches of white thread and go back and forth threw the overlapped area.... it doesn't have to be perfect...I mean look at mine! =) Just so it's secure!
 Next step is to find something your elastic will fit around preferably stretching the elastic a little! I used this puffs container. I ended up turning the container upside-down and pushing the elastic to the top so it stretched the elastic a little! It's best to use a paper towel roll when making a tutu for your daughter. If you have a half used roll that will work the best for making the dolls tutu.


Now all you are going to be doing is basically tying knots of tool around the elastic to make a BEAUTIFUL tutu! Here is the step by step:
Get a piece of tulle and fold it half with a little loop at the top.

Pull the tulle under the elastic with the loop side down!

Pull the loop up and put the other end of the tulle through the loop!

Then pull it tight and here is what your knot will look like!

Simple as that! You just keep going all the way around the elastic!

These are pretty spread apart, once you get the pattern going on the elastic, make sure you push the tulle together very close. This makes for a fuller tutu!

Here are two doll tutus that I made!

Here is what the skirt looks like on an American Girl doll! SO CUTE!!! I borrowed the doll so sorry if the whole outfit doesn't match! 

Here is my daughter with the 4th of July tutu I made for her this year! It seriously took me like an hour to make! The length of a little girls tutu is really up to you!

Lastly, say your child doesn't have an American Girl doll but they do have a favorite doll! Make one for their favorite doll! Obviously you will have to change some measurements but it's so easy and fun to do! The little girls in your life will LOVE it!!!! The model below is WELL loved! His name is Koala Jack, which my 3 year old daughter named after Jack Black(who she LOVES)!

Guys, Post me a comment to let me know if this is easy to understand!!!!!
It's such an easy project and I hope I'm explaining it well!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Advent Storybook

I wanted to share with you all a book that our family has been reading since 2009. I wanted to have my children focus more on the birth of Jesus and what the season is REALLY about instead of PRESENTS, PRESENTS, PRESENTS!!!! I found this really cute story book about a bear who follows a star to Bethlehem. There is a page reading everyday with a picture so it's really short. I also wanted to add bible verses so I read the book and added verses to read each day which go with the theme. Below is a picture of what the book looks like and I added the link so if you wanted you can take a look inside the book on Amazon.com. Just click on the picture below and it will take you there!

I couldn't stop at this! I wanted something visual that we could all see to symbolize each reading and the journey the little bear takes. There are titles to each days reading like: The Eagle, or The Star With A Tail!  So I made a huge Christmas tree out of felt with 24 spots for an ornament each time we read the book. The christmas tree turned out REALLY BIG!!! Bigger than I expected!!!! I would probably make it smaller next time but that would mean my ornaments would have to be smaller too! It was so much fun making these ornaments with the kids. I even had help from the kids I nannied for at the time! We all had fun making this. (A shout out to one of my BIGGEST helpers: Thanks for the help Sarah!)

I know December has already started but you can still go out and get the book and catch up a few days reading on the first day. If you enjoy it, next year make a tree with ornaments that match each reading! It doesn't have to be Martha Stewart style! Just do your best! It's better when it has it's own family FlArE! =)
Here is a picture of our tree and below I will put the bible verses I added to our book which match the reading for the day!
I made it like a scroll so it can be rolled up each year and the ornaments just Velcro on to the tree.
If you want more info on how I made the ornaments and/or what I did for a specific day, just leave me a comment and I will reply! =)

These are the verses I found that go along with each days reading. If you think of one that I didn't put down, USE IT! The more verses the better. I have a feeling as years go by we will just keep adding verses to each day of reading. I can't wait for the day my kids will be able to look them up and read them to us! Happy Advent!!!
  1. The Star with a Tail: Hebrews 13:5
  2. The Eagle: Deuteronomy 32:10-14 & Exodus 19:4-6
  3. The Blind Man: Psalms 27:1 & Psalms 119:105
  4. The Giant: 1 Samuel 17:32-51
  5. The Ant: Matthew 21:21-22, Matthew 17:19-20, & Mark 11:22-26
  6. The Man in Red: 1 Kings 17:12-15
  7. The Rosebush: Romans 8:38-39
  8. The Beggar: Acts 9:36-42 & Galatians 6:2
  9. The Well: Psalms 86
  10. The Pear Tree: Psalms 136
  11. The Angel: Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 & Proverbs 27:17
  12. The Lamb: 1 Corinthians 13:4
  13. The Dog: Titus 3:14
  14. The Robber: Mark 2:1-12, Numbers 14:18, Psalms 103, & Ephesians 4:31-32
  15. The Cane: Joshua 1:9
  16. The Crown: Luke 15:24
  17. The Precious Stone: Proverbs 15:1-7 & Proverbs 4:6-7
  18. The Bird, the Hare, and the Squirrel: Ephesians 6:18-20
  19. The Wolves: Proverbs 24:17 & Proverbs 25:21
  20. The Donkey: Hebrews 11:6
  21. The Animal Train: Isaiah 9:6
  22. The Apple Tree: Matthew 8:23-27
  23. The Ox: Exodus 34:10 & Psalms 103
  24. The Manger: Luke 2:13-18
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