Friday, December 28, 2012


We got a white Christmas after all! And the day after we got even more of the white stuff.

Not great snowball-packing weather but it sure was fun!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Joy to the World!

This Christmas, Maddie developed a deep and abiding love for the song "Joy to the World." It was a fitting description of our festivities.

There was lots of picture posing...

Practical gifts...

Cousin adoration...

Practical jokers...

And photos of family members looking in opposite directions. That's my family for you!
But above all, there was much joy and merriment. Merry Christmas every one!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Picnic

We started a new tradition this year: a picnic under the Christmas tree!

Just two little angels!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Beaded Snowflakes

Huge hit. Huge! This craft came so close to being skipped because we opened it on a busy day. But then one quiet day we went back to it, and we've made about 20 of these beaded snowflakes.

You can not beat beads for a three year old. They're fascinating!

Plus, Maddie has a helper.

Maddie shows off her handy work.

Super easy: Cut a pipecleaners in third and twist in the middle. Add beads and curl each end.

This was such a nice quiet activity.

Then we got a little wild and crazy and tried an ornament.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Angel Wings

Super easy craft! Cut out some wings out of white paper and glue on feathers to make angel wings. Voila! Messy and fun.

Can you tell glue goes over big in this house?

Friday, December 21, 2012

Fuzzy Sheepies

Phew it's getting close to Christmas and I'm behind on my craft posting. I'm going to keep these last posts of the season brief. We made some pompom sheep!

Maddie's Advent packet contained white pompoms and black and white pipecleaners.

We used a hot glue gun to glue a large pompom and a small one together, add on googly eyes, pipecleaners ears and tails, and coiled pipecleaners legs.

Maddie made a few of her own pompom creations using Elmer's glue.

Like this critter.

Yup, they seem right at home in our manger!

Angel Ornaments

An easy quicky craft!

Angel ornaments.

In the craft bag, I put large white pompoms, white cupcake wrappers and gold sparkly pipecleaners. Each angel takes one cupcake wrapper that is cut like angel wings (just take a triangle out of each side while folded in half) and one whole cupcake holder.

Maddie got to work coloring the cupcake wrappers for our dress and wings.

Then I hot glued our pompom to the skirt and wings to the back. Top it off with a circle of pipecleaners and voila!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

A Little Christmas Village

I have never had a Christmas village and always wanted one. Given that we have limited storage in our current home, that's probably a good thing. But that doesn't mean we can't make a little village for this year!

I found the idea for this Christmas village in Parents magazine (December 2012). Then I simplified the plan to make it more preschool friendly.

I thought Maddie would get the most fun out of using sparkly paper for the details, so i made the foundation the night before. I gathered some boxes (sample cereal boxes and larger cereal boxes that I cut down.) I cut off the tops and bottoms before gluing white paper around the outside edges. Lastly I cut eves into the top edges of my houses.

The next day, Maddie got to glue on windows and doors (turns out she's a bit Spartan in her design style!) and glue on sparkly roofs. These pieces I had precut and put in her advent calendar envelope.

We put each house on a bed of white felt, and decorated it with cotton balls for snow, our pinecones Christmas trees, and a few snowmen for the fun of it.

What village would be complete without a train?

And a village Christmas tree! This tree was a gift from my friend Libby that she brought back from Germany. It's a music box that plays "O Christmas Tree."

As a child, I used to love decorating for Christmas. My mom let us put up a strand of Christmas lights (that had to be turned off before we fell asleep!) and an old "Charlie Brown" fake tree. I still remember laying in the dark looking at those lights and how exciting it was.

This village was my way of giving Maddie something of the same wonderous feeling. Lets just hope she doesn't ask me to take it away tonight, like she did with the Christmas decorations last year!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Star Ornaments

Thinking back on my childhood Christmases, I always remember my grade school Christmas celebration. We had a huge Rockefeller Center-sized tree in the library that we would all decorate together.

Each class made a themed ornament during art class. I remember one year my brother had to make a shepherd out of Papier Mache and fabric. That thing was ugly as sin, and He knew it.

We would be called up each class at a time to hang our ornaments on the tree. Before Christmas vacation we all got to take our ornaments home. And that's why I know there is evidence of my brother's sad little shepherd.

For some reason, I sooo loved my kindergarten ornament. An equally sad little paper star. With staples and glitter, complete with "La Estrella" written on the front.

With this in mind,Maddie and made some star ornaments for our tree.

I cut out stars (pointy and rounded, though Maddie quickly started calling those flowers), and let Maddie decorate away. She liked using brads, glitter glue and markers.

But this child is too creative for me. She decided to take this project in a different direction and started glueing paper pieces together.

Thus creating this mosaic ornament. That looks a heck of a lot better than what I made in kindergarten.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Cotton Snowmen

Bonus time! This wasn't even on our advent calendar list! Because sometimes the craft I come up with is too boring for Miss Maddie and a little improv is required.

It looks like we might be headed for another green Christmas in snowy old B-lo. I'm still hopeful, but my poor little one is getting kind of desperate. She's practicing snow angels on the carpet, for crying out loud.

So today we made some little snowmen. On the spot! Just cotton balls, a black Sharpie, glue a couple of felt strips for scarves, and felt triangles for carrot noses.

Oh, and these top hats.

I'm not going to pretend -- it is bizarre that I have these in my home, and I know it. Here's the story. Years ago, my mother-in-law used to put these on her toes and do a little puppetesque routine which freaked her daughters out. Fast forward to two years ago, my sister-in-law saw these online and shipped them to Maddie-- a package of over 300 top hats. Ha ha, Natalie. Jokes on you because I finally found something to do with them.

So we just glued our cotton balls together. Glued on a carrot nose and top hat. Tied on a scarf and drew on our coal eyes and buttons. Voila!

Now we'll know how to do it when the snow comes... Any day now.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Pinecone Christmas Trees

Super easy and super fun craft. We had gathered pinecones in the yard forever ago.

Just use Elmer's glue (or a hot glue gun) to decorate it with pompoms. Maddie was determined to get a pompom on every single "branch". Very festive!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Dab It!

This was my easy craft day! Give a child a Bingo Dabber and you pretty much have the day off.

I cut out some Christmas trees out of green construction paper and glued them to a white background. I gave Maddie three Bingo dabbers and told her to decorate away. My work here is done!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Dear Mr. Santa Claus

This is Maddie's first letter to Santa, and boy she totally got it. She told me to write, "Dear Mr. Santa Claus..."

I wrote, and she decorated. I had picked up lots of stickers and embellishments so we went to town with this one.

Even Dad got in on the action. I think he's getting coal for Christmas. His letter went something like, "Santa, Sup? Gimme an iPad."

I saved both of their letters for when they grow up.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Cutout Ornaments

Ok, I confess: I made the reindeer ornament. And I'm really proud of it. Maddie's ornament is hanging in the background, hidden behind some branches. Ah, a mother's pride.
We've made salt dough before, but I had never actually made ornaments from it. Maddie is SO into play-doh and rolling and cutouts that this seemed perfect!

I used this recipe from The Imagination Tree, and added in color dye. I wasn't really keen about using paints, so this saved me a step of mess. Until I looked down and noticed the bottle of green dye had exploded in Maddie's hands. You should have seen the look of panic when I told her I couldn't get the green off her hands. Time to read the Grinch! [I jest, it's been four days and her hands are back to their normal marker stained best.]

Once baked we decorated using markers or painting them with glue (1/2 glue and 1/2 water) and glitter.

I think they turned out pretty cute! I may actually be able to save some of these as we build up an ornament collection for Maddie.