Archive for December, 2011

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

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Beaded Trees

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This project turned out to be much harder than expected.  Not for the preschoolers.  They did fine and had fun, but for the toddlers.  I was not expecting them to want to join in.  They used to be content to just go do their own thing in these situations, but no longer.  So there were a lot of beads all over my dining room and a lot of impatience.  But, they turned out pretty.  So that’s something.  I don’t recommend doing this will the one-year-old set, though.
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These were from a Russian (?) blog via Crafty Crow.  Looks like there’s a ton of beading project ideas there if you’re looking for more.

These only required beads and pipe cleaners, so that was a plus for me, too.  I just pulled the whole project out of my (newly organized!) art closet and got started.
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Rice Christmas Trees

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This is one of those brilliant crafts that pretty much every age can do together.  I love that!  Lately the toddlers just want to be into everything that the big kids are and the beading projects that we have been doing have been torture for them and for me.  Another one of those later this week.  But, this one is joyfully inclusive.

This project idea came from Lilla A, a Sweedish blogger who is doing and incredible Christmas Craft Advent thing that is very inspiring.  Inspiring in an I would probably go crazy kind of way, but very fun to watch from afar.
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I cut out some card stock trees (in red, because I was out of green).  Then the kids painted watered down glue all over the tree.
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Next, we dipped them in dry rice (glue side down) until they were covered.
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Then I put some drops of glue all over the trees and the kids got to decorate with whatever they felt like (sequins, buttons, googlie eyes, pom poms, etc.).  Fun times for everyone and only Nancy ate the dry rice, so successful, too!

A tree to play with

I don’t think that I’ve mentioned this before, but the week before Thanksgiving, we got new carpet at our house.  Its awesome.  I love it.  It took our ninety year old house with carpet from the eighties into the new century.  It was totally worth the time and money that we had to invest in it.  It has made decorating for Christmas pretty fun.  I decided that our stairwell up to the bedrooms needed a garland on the railing where I had never done anything before because we’re the only ones who ever see it.  And I also decided that I needed to decorate the basement playroom for Christmas, as its finally a place that I don’t mind spending time.  Being as its a play room, I wanted it to be something I wouldn’t have to monitor with the kids, unlike all of the other decorations.  I hung a strand of lights around the door way and then stalled out.  Everything else was somewhat breakable.  Then I saw this awesome idea from Family Fun for a shipping box tree.  This I could make and then just recycle after the holidays.  Plus, the girls would get the fun of decorating their own room.

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First we spent some time making ornaments on circles cut out of cereal boxes. We added ribbons, glitter paint and stickers using both glue sticks and contact paper. Both girls were happy doing this for almost and hour.  There was A LOT of ribbon cutting.
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Then I cut out and assembled the tree and set it up on a coffee table in the basement. The girls helped decorate it and it does add a festive flair to the space.
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Beaded Wreath Ornaments

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I have been trying (and really required to by my darling oldest daughter) to infuse a little bit of Christmas into every day this month.  She has a lot of Christmas cheer, my daughter.  Yesterday, we had a rough afternoon after the little one wouldn’t take more than a fourty-five minute nap (she usually naps for at least two hours) and we needed to find something to do.  I remembered this Kids Craft Weekly Newsletter and decided we would go get some supplies from JoAnn’s and get started on some beading.  We got there and the parking lot was full.  This should have been a sign to me, but I pressed on.  We easily found all of the supplies we needed and then turned to get in line at the cash register and found that the line wound around and around the store.  At least a ten minute wait.  But I was already there.  With all the stuff.  And two little kids.  Yikes.  But, then a Christmas Miracle happened!  The girls were like little angles in line.  They were sweet, patient, and didn’t even really touch anything.  And that is really hard at our JoAnn’s as the devil must have set up the area by the check out stands.  One side of the aisle has candy of all kinds and the other has $1 bins full of little things that kids just can’t resist.  Like snowman stickers.  But, they were fine.  There were no tantrums and I didn’t even have to say no more than once.  I’m telling you, miracles really can happen.  So, yeah.  Here’s the craft we made afterward.

Supplies:  

  • Glass beads
  • Sparkly pipe cleaners
  • Small bells
  • Ornament hangers

We first made a little loop in our pipe cleaner right in the middle, like so:
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Then we spent a lot of time sorting our beads to find the shiniest ones:
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Next, we strung beads on each side of the pipe cleaner until we had all of the beautiful beads that we pick out on there. This was incredible fine motor skill practice as they were a bit hard to get on even for me and the kids did it themselves!
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Then we wound the pipe cleaner around itself to make a circle and push the beads around the close the gap. Then we hung them on the tree to sparkle and shine!
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Momma needs some Christmas cheer…

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Remember those care-free days of college, where the only responsibility you really had was that fifteen page term paper and making sure you rent check somehow got paid?  When you could spend and entire night drinking and then sleep in until 10:30 when you stumbled out to the living room and laid on the floor with all of your friends who passed out there in the middle of the night?  Or maybe that was just me.  But, when I was in college, we had many drinks that we especially liked and one that I have been thinking about lately is Hot Buttered Rum.  In my mind, in this cold weather, I remembered this as a delicious warm-me-up and infuse holiday cheer drink that I loved in college.  And then, as I was rifling through my recipe binder looking for a Christmas cookie recipe, I found the recipe that I used to make I college!

While I know that I will not be able to sleep until 10:30 (or even 6:30) any time soon (well, actually, maybe one day in December with the help of my in-laws, my sister and my best friends Lisa and Marc, but I digress), and my friends, who have somewhat grown up won’t be waiting for me on my living room floor, I couldn’t help but wonder if this drink was as good as I remembered.  So, I made a batch of Hot Buttered Rum batter and as my sister and I exchanged cookies for our friends and family, we drank some.  And it was good, but oh, was it strong!  Apparently, a shot of rum used to be a lot easier for me to take.  In other words, I am now a light-weight.  But, I liked it any way.  And I will be drinking more.  Because my eldest daughter insists that we need to go Christmas caroling.  I can think of no better time for some liquid cheer.

Hot Buttered Rum

1/2 lb. butter, softened
1 lb. brown sugar
1 t. cinnamon
1 t. cloves
1 t. nutmeg
1 t. cardamom (optional, as I didn’t have any and it still turned out delicious)

Mix all ingredients in food processor until well combined and smooth. Can be stored in the fridge for a long time… like a month, and would make a delicious gift for any other mother who needs Christmas cheering!

When ready to make a drink, put 1-2 tablespoons batter in a mug with a hot of rum. Add hot water to fill the mug, stir, and sip!
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