December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!!


December 23, 2009

12 Days of Christmas Crafts #12

So our last Christmas-y craft is this sweet little garland for birdie friends...this is Noah's. It's made with wire and he used some dried fruit, Cheerios, and Fruit Loops.
Here's Jack's garland. He used a long pipe cleaner Cheerios and Fruit Loops...and look!! There's a little birdy getting ready to have a snack right now!! :)

Handmade Christmas

I know I'm a total Martha-wannabe, but I love to make handmade gifts to give at Christmas. I feel like it makes everything a little bit more personal and plus, I love crafting, sewing, ect. so I'm usually up for whatever fun projects I can get my hands on. So here's some of my handy-work. (Robin, if you're reading this...DON'T read any further!! Until later today:)

This is not the cutest picture, but this little outfit (similar to the one I made for Sophie) is for my niece, Avah and her big sissy Miss Isabel is getting a matching skirt. Avah's dress will have a turtleneck and little brown leggings under it...Isabel's will come with a sweater and knee socks.
Tea gifts for a couple of girlfriends...I mixed loose teas together to create my own concoctions and tied on a tea ball for fun....

I found the pattern for this fabulous vintage-style apron in one of my many Christmas crafty books and made them for a couple of friends...they were very simple and very fun to make...I'm going to make several more after Christmas to keep on hand for gifts. I'm giving these with a mix for Friendship Scones....
...this is an apron I made for Sissy because she's getting an adorable wooden retro kitchen for Christmas. This is not the best picture, I wanted Jack to model for me, but he said no :) Anyway, it's a reversible one, so if she doesn't feel like flowers on some days, she can wear polka dots. I also made her a dozen felt cookies. I got this idea over at Angie's blog, Many Little Blessings.

After making these, I searched all 'felt food' online and came up with tons of ideas, but there's not enough time in the day, right?? It's all so cute!
Here's a better look at the cookies...are you hungry now?? :)

December 22, 2009

12 Days of Christmas Crafts #10 and #11

Here's some 'old-time' crafts we did at Fort Sisseton and at our HS group Christmas craft party...and don't you just love the Ingall's at Christmastime!?!

Yule logs...very simple project. Simply tie on cedar or whatever branch cuttings you have, cinnamon sticks, and pinecones. This was a tradition started in Germany to offer your friends and sit and visit while the log was burning. It's a traditional Christmastime thing to do if you have a fireplace :)

This is a darling little craft. The kids made these at Fort Sisseton. They are ornaments made from sliced logs and dried, pressed flowers. The flowers are glued to the logs with Mod Podge and a wire is strung thru to hang it. So simple and sweet!

December 19, 2009

12 Days of Christmas Crafts #9

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire,

Jack Frost nipping at your nose...

this is my FAVORITE Christmas song!! So last December when I found this book I had to buy it. It has beautiful illustrations that go along with the verses of this lovely Christmas song.

For our activity with this book, we tried roasting our own chestnuts.

It was interesting and pretty simple. We just had to cut an 'X' into the end of each nut before we roasted them for a few minutes. They were not very good to me, but Noah loved them!!

I asked Noah to read the book to the kids, then I asked him to sing it, but he said he was too embarassed :)

December 18, 2009

12 Days of Christmas Crafts #7 and #8

When the boys give their 'teachers' (librarians, piano teacher, etc.) a little Christmas gift, I always think it's a nice token to give a hand-made gift, to make it a little more personal. We've given homeade cocoa mix with marshmallows and mugs, popcorn seasoning with bags of unpopped get the idea. So, in keeping with the storybook/craft-theme, we read "Santa's Toy Shop" and made some little gifts like Santa's elves. We made some super-cute dishtowels with iron-on transfers of their original drawings.
I was SHOCKED at how much they loved this project....I actually had to go get more towels to make more!! (Well, actually Mom went and grabbed them for me...Thanks, MOM!!)
Anyway, after they made their drawings, I copied them on to some iron-on transfer paper.
After cutting out the picture, the boys each got to iron....and boy, did they feel special. I couldn't help thinking about their future wives as I watched them ironing and how she will thank me someday for training them so well :)
The proud moment...they will be so happy to deliver these!! My sweet little elves :)
We also did another quick project to go with our gift-giving...we made some wrapping paper that I found the idea for over at Red Bird Crafts. The paper looks like snowflakes falling and making a deep drift. We painted a snowdrift first and then used a couple of snowflake stamps and white ink to make a snowstorm!!

{linking up with Tatertots and Jello}

December 17, 2009

The Christmas Carol

The boys and I have been reading 'The Christmas Carol' this month for a good fun December read. It was an unabridged version with illustrations and we just finished it tonight. It was great to read this old classic again with my kids, and I have to say that even though the boys are only 7 and 4, they were completely capable of engaging in a book that some might say is too advanced for them. They asked questions and knew exactly what was going on, even though a lot of the phrasing was unfamiliar. A lot of the theory behind our homeschool is based on the teaching of Charlotte Mason, who lived in the late 1800's, who said that kids should be reading 'real, living' books all the time, no matter what their ages. We've read several 'advanced' books together now and it's so fun to see little kids enjoying a real, grown-up book and not being completely bored just because it doesn't have pictures or only 1-syllable words. We're planning on taking a trip to the movie theater this weekend to see the movie "The Christmas Carol" and see how it compares to the book.

December 16, 2009

12 Days of Christmas Crafts #6

Ok, we may be losing steam on our crafting...this past weekend included several activities that were very craft-heavy! We'll see how this week goes, I have some kitchen-crafty things planned...chestnuts anyone?? So, we might get it done, but if not, oh well.
Anyway, last Thursday, we read (actually listened to) The Legend of the Poinsetta.

For our craft, we made some pretty poinsetta collages. Just ripped tissue paper glued to cardstock with a 50-50 glue and water solution. After the glue was dry, the boys colored in the white parts with crayon...I had to help Jack with this part because his arm got soooo tired :(

December 14, 2009

Christmas at the Fort

After a super busy Friday including a Christmas party with the HS group, an office party, and Jarrod and my annual Target Christmas shopping night, we decided to slow it down a bit on Saturday and take a field trip with the whole family. We took advantage of some Christmas-y fun at Fort Sisseton, a beautiful state park about an hour's drive away. We've been there one other time during the summer, but it was a whole different experience with snow and cold! They had decorated the Fort with fresh greens and pinecones, there were carolers singing, and sleigh bells ringing in the air...oh what fun!!
There were LOTS of crafts and activities for us to do...there was popcorn stringing, rope making, bread kneading, ornament making, and tons more. Jack and Noah played dice with a whisky trader to win a shot of "whiskey" (apple juice) and they visited with Father Christmas. We rode on the sleigh and drank hot cocoa and warmed up by the open fire. It was such a fun and relaxing day. The kids loved it and hopefully learned something about Christmases past. :)

PS: I posted some pics of the fun day below!

December 10, 2009

12 Days of Christmas Crafts #5

We've been listening to the Nutcracker Suite by Tchaikovsky all month for composer study, but yesterday we read the story and did a sweet little craft to go along with it....going along with our 12 Days of Christmas Crafts, of course.

The craft I found for this book was called Good Fortune Walnuts. It's an old Victorian tradition of passing on good fortune to guests visiting at Christmastime.

First we carefully cracked open walnuts along the seam, which was quite difficult. I used a paring knife and inserted it into the end were that little gap is and twisted until it opened. We broke quite a few of them, but we got it to work!

We then cleaned all the nut meat out of the shell and painted the shells a lovely metallic gold.

Then the boys took little tiny pieces of paper and wrote "good fortunes" on them, such as love, wealth, health, joy. Then I helped them roll up the paper and tie them with a ribbon.

When the shells were dry, we put the fortune into the shell and carefully ran a thin line of tacky glue all the way around the edge of the shell. Before putting the other half of the shell on top, they put a little piece of ribbon on the top of walnut, looped over to form a hanger.

Ta-da!! Aren't they cute? I had to make a couple for myself! So, in Victorian days, when guests arrived, they could choose an ornament and use a nutcracker to break it open and see what their good fortune was!

Joyeux Noel!!

December 9, 2009

12 Days of Christmas Crafts #4

Tuesday's Christmas craft was based on the cutest story called 'A Pirate's Night Before Christmas' by Philip Yates. If you have boys that like pirates, this is a must-have story!
It has all kinds of great pirate words like 'briny,' and 'seadog,' and 'shiver me timbers.' Then there's a great glossary in the back that explains all these words.

Twas the night before Christmas aboard the Black Sark.
Not a creature was stirrin', not even a shark!
The stockin's were stuck to the bowsprit with tar,
In hopes that Sir Peggedy soon would be thar.
I came up with a craft that I knew the boys would love. My original plan was to make their wish lists in a bottle, but they wanted to make maps in a bottle. We used some empty Watkins extract bottles to put them in. For the maps, the boys drew them out on a piece of white paper. Then, to make them look old, they ripped the edges and dipped them into a cup of coffee. (they were really nervous to do this, btw)
We took the soggy maps and baked them on a cookie sheet for about 10 minutes....and they turned out great! I forgot to take a picture, though :(

We used a pencil to wrap the map around so we could get it in the tiny bottle, tied a string around a hung them on the tree. (They are on the tree for now, but I'm sure they will be played with!)Aarrrgh!!

12 Days of Christmas Crafts #3

Monday's Christmas craft was kind of a messy one...but at this house, were used to that!
Our story was, What Star is This?, all about the star of Christmas. Then, the kids made glittery toothpick stars, by dipping toothpicks in glue then glitter. After letting them dry for several hours, we glued them together to make pretty little stars.
Yes, Sophia participated in the glitter, and it made her so happy. She loves pretty things, as you can see by her 12 necklaces she's wearing, and wears everyday!
Noah, working hard....

Here's the finished product...

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