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Friday, December 24, 2010

Fun & Easy Rudolf Handprint Craft

Looking for a fun and easy craft to pass the time and provide an outlet for your child's creativity this antsy Christmas Eve? If you're children are like mine, they are hyped up and need some structured fun. Sweetpea is always saying "mommy, let's do a craft!" which I love to hear, and this Rudolf craft is good for a wide age range and requires few supplies. You could also modify the instructions to make this into a mask if you have a little one who likes to dress up and pretend!

Rudolf Handprint Plate Craft

1 paper plate
Construction paper for tracing/cutting out hand prints
Markers or crayons
pipe cleaners (optional)

Trace and cut out your child's hand prints.
Cut the lower portion of the plate out on either side, making a somewhat triangular shape (as shown in the picture) to represent the shape of a reindeer head.
Allow your child to decorate the plate to look like a reindeer face, and if they are old enough, to glue their hands into position as antlers.

2 optional steps - in the picture above, we used a small section of red pipe cleaner as Rudolph's nose. You can see the little crafter in this picture had drawn an extra nose as well, so her little pipe cleaner can be a tongue instead ;)

If you would like to make this a mask, cut out eye holes large enough for your child to see well through, and use a hole punch or scissors to cut small holes in the middle of the plate on either side. Use 2 more pipe cleaners and attach them to the holes, then twist them together at the appropriate length to attach the mask to your child's head.


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Monday, December 20, 2010

A true prince...

Sweetpea is taking after mama with her enthusiasm for party planning. And how much do I love this man that he enthusiastically dubbed this surprise princess party his "best birthday ever"?! We had pizza and a princess cake, a crown and kiss coupons for our prince, and a lot of fun.

What was your "best birthday ever"? Do you encourage your kids to help planning celebrations? I love the ideas they come up with!

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Friday, December 10, 2010

Baby it's COLD outside...Come on in!

The weather has done more than turn cold, it's frigid! I'm grateful for memories of a much warmer time in my heart, and coats and hats to keep us warm.

I've had the opportunity to jump into a long term substitute teaching position, and things have gone from busy to crazy in an instant! I really miss spending my days with the girls, but this is a great experience for me as I finish up my teaching license program. Speaking of that program, it's finals week, and EmDee has been working second shift, so between teaching, final projects, and hubs dragging his tired self home around midnight, our Advent activities have been light this week. This weekend we are looking forward to baking cookies with grandma, some of which I'll be taking in to my students, and some will be going to our hard working fire men and women!

In a few short days, school will be out for the year, and things will slow down again. I can't wait to soak it all up! Wishing you warm moments with loved ones, and plenty of joy to share as the holiday season is upon us!! (as a side note, how did this year fly by so quickly?!?)

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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Alternatives to the Advent Calendar - Planning our Christmas Traditions

Each year we make a countdown chain for the month of December, a fun decoration/craft that serves several purposes. The chain is fun to make - we practice cutting, gluing, and patience! Each link gets assigned a fun activity or craft from our activity list for the month. This helps ensure we make time for the fun family activities and traditions we want to enjoy, and that they don't get lost in the busy-ness of the season.

Here is our activity list for this year - with the first activity (for today) being the making of the chain. :) I'll post our chain, hung with care next to the stockings later this week. After making the links and writing an activity on each one, I cross reference our calendar to see whether we have time for a big or a little activity - this helps order the links!

December Activity List
Create our countdown to Christmas activity chain
Hang the chain and the stockings by the fire with care
Make a tree craft
Make hot chocolate and drink it by the fire
Drive around the neighborhood in our pajamas, enjoying the lights
Make a Santa hand craft
Make dough ornaments and bake them
Decorate dough ornaments
Bake cookies
Decorate cookies
Take treats to the fire station
Make Rudolf hand craft
Make snowflake crown craft
Bath time Santa beards
Watch the Year Without A Santa Claus together in our pajamas
Make red and green swirl cake
Make a gingerbread house
Make an angel hand and foot print craft
Make snowmen crafts with cotton balls
Take a winter hike at the park
Make a tree paper plate craft
Pick out Christmas books from the library, to supplement our collection*
Visit Santa Claus
Buy toys or clothes for a Christmas charity
Buy food and donate it to our local food pantry

* When we find a holiday book that we really like, we add it to our collection. We go to the library and check out enough holiday books so that between the library books and the ones in our collection there are 25, and read a different holiday book each night at bedtime.

Do you use an advent calendar, or an alternative way to count the days until Christmas? I'd love to hear about your traditions! What are your favorite holiday activities?

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