2009 "Year" in Review

I've seen some fun posts on different blogs of their favourite posts or activities from the year. Since I just started this blog a few months ago, I don't have a year to draw from, but since the blog started, here are some of our favourite activities of 2009:

- Water Tub
- Typing & Starfall Games
- Library studies
- Go Fish Feelings Card Game Print Out
- Saltdough Ornaments- Stuffed Snowman
- Advent Calendar
- Playing in the Snow
- Homemade Bubble Wrapping Paper

A Sewing Machine!

Remember a few entries back when I talked about changing my mind about sewing?

Well, I mentioned these thoughts to my mother and mother-in-law a couple of times, and guess what they got me for Christmas??

A sewing machine!

So, today I managed to test it out & make a very rough "purse" for Talia and a hat for her doll, while trying it out (out of an old shirt of Ken's that we were going to throw out. (I will be happy to throw them out later, when I sew something that looks decent ;)

But look forward to more sewing-related posts in the new year! :)

Decorating Cookies for Santa

For Christmas this year, a friend of ours gave us a bunch of mini gingerbread men with frosting and sprinkles to decorate them with. What a great gift idea!

I thought we had put off the decorating for too long- Christmas is tomorrow!
But it was actually the perfect opportunity for Talia to "make" cookies for Santa.

She & Ken had fun working on them together.

She sampled some, too :)

And I'm sure Santa will enjoy this treat this evening :)

Gingerbread House

I had been keeping my eye open for a good gingerbread house kit this year (I'm just not ambitious enough to bake the whole thing myself right now ;) when I saw that our grocery/superstore was offering gingerbread house making classes. So, I signed Talia & I up for it, and we had a great afternoon out. It was so much fun! :)


This year I needed to add another stocking to our collection :) I made our elf stockings when we first stayed at our own house for Christmas morning, when Talia was tiny. Since Katrina was born in December, I didn't get hers made for her first Christmas last year, but this is the first year that she'll have any idea what's going on, so I'm ok with that ;)

So, exactly one week before Christmas, our family stockings are complete!

Ok, so I need to get my hands on some stuffing to stuff Katrina's stocking's toe, but we're really close! ;)

I had to re-attach each of the jingle bells this year, because last year Talia had some fun pulling them all off! Here's a close-up of my hard work:

These stockings were sewn by hand, using felt for the lining, and fleece for the outside. I found a pattern when I made them a couple of years ago, on the Family Fun Magazine webpage. Here's the link to the pattern (Thanks Sarah!). If anyone decides to try something like this, I suggest finding fishing line for the jingle bells because they're just sharp enough to pull right threw embroidery floss (but fishing line is not foolproof.. or toddler proof either. I didn't have fishing line this time around, and Katrina already got one bell free.

Tip Junkie handmade projects Todays Creative Blog

Paper Bag Reindeer Puppet

Today we made paper bag reindeer puppets! This idea came from Mommy's Little Helper.

Talia had fun playing with the puppet afterward, as well as doing the craft. :)

How To Do It:

- trace hands on construction paper
- cut hand shapes out
- glue hand shapes onto back of paper lunch bag
- glue eyes & nose onto bag
- draw mouth onto bag
- play with the puppet! :)

Stuffed Snowman

You can find detailed instructions for this activity over at Filth Wizardry (that's where I got the idea from).

It's such a fun & cute thing to make!

It was fun to think about what we would use for each part together.
We used:
-an old baby sock for the hat (with a pom pom)
-tooth picks & pieces of the sock for the arms & mittens
-beads for buttons
-googly eyes for eyes
-pom pom for a nose
-marker to make ears, earrings, and mouth
-ribbon for the scarf/bow

Here's Talia, stuffing her old tights with toilet paper (she loved it!)

p.s. This post was featured on Totally Tots' Winter Crafty Corner!

Pom Pom Play

After an art project involving pom poms, my girls let loose and tossed pom poms all over the place. They had a fabulous time!

I gave Talia some chopsticks to pick pom poms up and sort them into a divided dish.

And I gave Katrina a baggie to put pom poms in (she was disrupting Talia's work ;) She seemed to be having a grand time picking them up & putting them in, then taking them out & starting over :)

Playing in the Snow

A few days ago we got a small dusting of snow. I didn't even think it was worth going out to play in, but Talia was so enthusiastic, she had half of her winter clothing on before I could suggest waiting for more snow. So, I let her out to play & that girl spent a lot of time out in the backyard having a great time with what snow was out there!

Since then she hasn't missed a morning of play in the snow. :) I'm happy that she's so happy, and I'm happy that she's getting exercise!

Stained Glass Paper Trees

Today we made Stained Glass Paper Trees. I was reminded of this fun activity idea when I visited Alpha Mom's Blog.

What To Do:

- cut a tree out of construction paper
- cut holes in it (like you would a paper snowflake, or just fold here & there & cut a piece out)
- glue pieces of tissue paper on the back like this:

- hold up to the window & watch the light shine through! :)

p.s. This post was featured on ABC & 123's Holiday Crafts post!

Jinglebell Braclets

When I saw the jinglebell bracelets post at Chasing Cheerios, I knew that it would be an activity that Talia would love.

She loves making bracelets, she loves jinglebells. I didn't have to give her any instruction- just told her what we were making, gave her the materials, & she went to it :)

Play Nativity

I bought the Fischer Price Nativity Set this year, so that the girls could play with it and so that we could teach Talia, especially, more about the true Christmas story.

I wrapped up each of the pieces individually, and we talked about the story of Jesus' birth, piece by piece. Talia thanked us for individual pieces, and when we were done, I showed her how pushing the angel down makes the star light up & Silent Night plays. She said, reverently, "Jesus is born!" and placed Jesus, Mary, & Joseph in the stable while the music played. It was pretty cute! :)

Christmas Cookie Exchange

A friend of mine organized a Christmas Cookie Exchange this year.
I made some more of the chocolate truffles that I posted about earlier (you can find the recipe at that post).

And this year, I found some Martha Stewart cookie boxes, way on sale, so I picked them up & have had fun putting the cookies together in the pretty boxes for gifts.

I'm also making some Christmas boxes this year for some other gifts, but I don't want to post them here yet, or it will give some things away! :)

Christmas Pillow Case

Remember my post about sewing?

Well, I sewed something!

I was out at the fabric store, getting the supplies needed to make a stocking for Katrina (I made our family's stockings- look at me go ;), and all of their Christmas fabric was 50% off.

I remembered that my Mother in Law had made Christmas pillowcases and I thought it was a fun idea, so I picked out some cute Christmas/wintery fabric and bought enough to make a Christmas pillowcase for Talia.

Here it is! :)

It was fun to put it on her pillow when she wasn't looking, so she'd find it when it was naptime :)

Salt Dough Ornaments

Yesterday, we made salt dough ornaments & it was a lot of fun!
This morning, we started decorating them.
Here are a couple, on display:

I followed the recipe that Filth Wizardry posted for Salt Dough Ornaments, and we had a great time making a few of our own!
Talia loved the stirring & the kneading :)

We rolled the dough and cut it with cookie cutters. We made holes in them with a straw (for hanging, and for weaving- as seen in the first photo). Then we waited (too long- these things take a couple of hours! :) for them to bake.

p.s. This post was featured on ABC & 123's Kid Made Holiday Decorations post!

Paper Chain for the Christmas Tree

Yesterday we started our advent calendar. Talia made her first Christmas card, and I think it'll be a daily thing, to put a cheerio into the cup each day after Talia gets her treat out, so that Katrina can pick something out, too. :) She wanted to be involved too!

Today we made a paper chain for the Christmas tree.

How To Do It:

- I cut construction paper into half inch strips with a scrapbooking paper cutter
- we glued the ends together to make the chain

One green paper & one red paper will get you a chain this long:
2 green papers and 2 red papers will get you a chain this long:
Talia really enjoyed helping me to put the chain on the tree!
This was a great, simple Christmas activity that I'm sure we'll do again in future years.

p.s. This post was featured on ABC & 123's Kid Made Holiday Decorations post!

Christmas Tree Bows

In honour of Katrina's 1st Birthday, I decided to make pink bows for our Christmas tree. We're going to make this a tradition since her birthday is in early December. This way, I can get Christmas decorations up early without feeling like it's "taking over" her birthday. We'll have a pink tree for a week or so, until her birthday, and then we'll start decorating it for Christmas :)

I looked up how to tie a simple bow, on the Martha Stewart website, here. (It's funny- I can tie a nice bow in a sash, but when the ribbon wasn't already attached to something, I had to google the right method, to get it right!). Then I threaded a twist tie through the back of each bow, to secure it onto the tree.

I was really happy with the result! I think I may have to buy some nice Christmas ribbon for the tree during Christmas time, because I really like the way bows look on the tree!

Unfortunately, I didn't pay attention to how much ribbon I bought- just that I got two spools... not sure how much was on each one! (And I didn't get the back corner of the tree completed, but you can't tell anyway ;)

I would definitely recommend using ribbon with some good wire on the edges, to keep the shape of the bow!

Christmas Trees

Talia made a couple of Christmas trees today:
I cut out a Christmas Tree shape from a cereal box-type of cardboard, and Talia
- painted it green
- painted the stump pink/red
- realized mixing red with green made brown, and experimented - decorated the tree with stickers and sequins
- made it "rain" sequins
- spent FOREVER cleaning up the sequins
I also made a little green paper cone out of construction paper for her (I got the idea from Ikat, through The Crafty Crow, where you can find a bunch of cute advent ideas here) and let her decorate it
- she loved using pom poms because she saw them days ago & has been waiting for her chance to use them! Here's what Katrina got to do while Talia was painting (I tried letting her at the finger paint at first, but it went in her mouth so fast, I quickly changed the plan & let her at some babyfood instead! :)
I have a feeling that cardboard tree will continue to get more and more decorated as the days go on. I'm also planning to make a larger version of it with her as we get closer to Christmas.

Me, Sew??

I cannot tell you how much Ikat's blog makes me wish I sewed!

My friend, Cheryl, recently made a Black Apple Doll (you can find the pattern here, on the Martha Stewart Website) for her daughter, and I am dying to make one!

I didn't think I would ever be interested in sewing, and maybe I won't be interested in sewing clothing, but I am definitely starting to feel interested in sewing other things!!

Because a post is more interesting with a photo, here's a picture of one thing I have sewn, for Talia when she was closer to Katrina's age:

It's a "touchy feely blanket" that I made out of fun-feeling fabrics. Katrina loves it now, but unfortunately the fringe tends to unravel, so I don't feel like it's the safest toy! If I ever make another, I'll be more careful about what I use.

Almost every item I have ever sewn has been with the help or guidance of my mom who is a talented seamstress :)

Paper Puppet Christmas Pageant

My parents were recently getting rid of a ton of "The Friend" magazines that they had collected over the years. I gladly accepted a box full of them, to use for pictures to cut out for different projects with Talia.

They came in handy this week for another use, as well! I started searching the internet for some fun, religious, Christmas activities to do with Talia. It was hard to find good ones! (If you have any, or any links to a good resource, please point me to them in the comments!!)
So, I searched through the box of magazines and pulled out all of the December issues. I found today's activity in the December 1995 issue! While you can find that issue online, the illustrations aren't available that far back. However, you can find illustrations and activities to print out in the more recent issues if you go to this website (they're organized by date).

Here's what we did:

- I glued the pages onto cardstock
- I cut the pictures out
- I laminated them
- I cut them out
- I used a gluegun to glue the sticks on
- We discussed the story of Jesus' birth
- Talia played!
I'm glad I decided to laminate them, because I'm hoping they'll last long enough to actually pack them away with the Christmas stuff and use them again next year!

Here's Talia, finding new & exciting uses for the popsicle sticks while waiting for me to finish my part in the craft... note: the dye used for popsicle sticks WILL come off when moistened... ahem.

Here are some scriptures that can be used for Family Home Evening, if you want to do a Puppet Christmas Pageant:

- Christmas in America
Helaman 14:1-5, 3 Nephi 1:4-21
- The Birth of Jesus Christ
Luke 2:1-7
- Glad Tidings of Great Joy
Luke 2:8-20
- Wise Men from the East
Matthew 2:1-12

Wrapping CDs

As mentioned in one of the wrapping paper posts, we are wrapping Christmas CDs this year, to open one each day as Christmas gets closer.

It's a great advent-ish thing to do, and lets your kids open something before Christmas.
I hope to be able to do this with Christmas books one year when we have enough of them! (We wrapped a few this time).

Bubble Wrapping Paper

The second way that we made wrapping paper was a lot of fun! It's a neat effect, and it's pretty easy to do with what you have on hand at home. (And what preschooler doesn't love blowing bubbles with a straw???!)

What You'll Need:

- shallow dish
- cup of water
- food colouring
- tsp. of dishsoap
- straw
- white paper

What To Do:

pour water, colouring, and soap into dish. Stir.

Blow bubbles with straw until they come above top of dish.

Touch paper to bubbles, repeat until paper is covered.

Let bubbles pop & let paper dry.


Homemade Wrapping Paper

In my blog-searching, I came across the idea to wrap up all of your Christmas books and put them under your tree. Then your kids get to choose one book to unwrap each day leading up to Christmas, and you read a book each day.

I think this is a great idea, because it lets your kids unwrap things before Christmas! It also adds a little more excitement to reading the books. Unfortunately, we don't have very many Christmas books! However, we do have quite a few Christmas CDs, so I'm going to try this with music this year.

So, this morning I rolled out our big paper (a roll we got at Ikea for $10- it has come in SO handy, SO many times!) and we decorated it with red and green crayons, Christmas stickers, etc. We're going to use it to wrap the CDs later.

Making Chocolate Truffles

While Talia worked on her computer games, I got a truffle recipe started. We worked on another activity (post coming soon on this) and played with Katrina while waiting for the mixture to stiffin in the fridge, and then we worked on rolling the truffles into balls and coating them in cocoa, cinnamon, and icing sugar :)

Here's the recipe if you'd like to try it yourself:

1/2 cup 35% whipping cream
1 tbsp sugar
pinch of salt
10 oz semi-sweet choc. chips
1 cup cocoa for coating (can also use icing sugar, cinnamon, shredded coconut, chopped nuts, etc.)

1. Combine cream, sugar & salt in saucepan over low heat. When bubbles form around edges of pan, turn off heat. Don't boil. Let steep for 5 min.

2. Stir in choc. chips until melted & smooth. Transfer chocolate mixture to container, cover and refrigerate until firm (about 2 hours).

3. Sift cocoa onto a plate. Using cool hands (this is important- we had to keep washing our hands in cool water to keep from making the balls all mucky!), shape chocolate into small balls, roll in cocoa to coat. Transfer to parchment paper-lined baking tray and refrigerate until firm.

Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, or in the freezer for up to 2 months.

p.s. This post was featured on ABC & 123'a Christmas Baking with kids post!

Starfall Computer Games

A friend of mine posted on her family blog about a website called Starfall that has educational computer games on it for young kids. I checked it out this morning & shared it with Talia.

She thought it was great, & so did I! She tried out a bunch of the ABCs activities this morning and had a great time! (Maybe a little too much time... by the end of it, she told me her feet were falling asleep, "because they feel all twinkly" ;) lol

So, we'll definitely be revisiting Starfall, but next time, with the timer set, so we don't get too engrossed in all of the alphabet and early reading fun! :)

Contact Form


Email *

Message *