Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Simple Ornament With Your Own Festive Photos!

I wanted to share a super easy last minute ornament gift I made with Mallory with some scrapbook paper and using these photos I took of them by the tree.

 I used my paper cutter to cut out a little rectangle and mounted it to a big rectangle.  I then used photo tape to tape the picture to the middle.


I found some scrapbook Holiday stickers/gems and Mallory helped decorate the ornament with stickers.



I used a hole puncher and made a hole at the top and used ribbon to tie through. I also used glitter glue to write the year.

So easy and ready to wrap for my grandparents for Christmas!



Thursday, December 15, 2011

Holiday Tradition- St. Nick

I had intended on this going up last week but still thought this was worth sharing if you are taking note of holiday traditions you'd like to start next year or sometime in the future.

My friend Tiffany at peanutblossom has been doing a series of posts called Stock Your Stash.  She and a few other guest posters have been sharing holiday gift guide ideas and have come up with some wonderful suggestions. Be sure to check their Stock Your Stash series on her blog (click on peanut blossom above to get there). One of the Stock Your Stash posts that Tiffany featured had to do with the St. Nick tradition.  I love how Tiffany tweaked this simple tradition  to better suit her own family!  She very kindly let me feature her post here to share with you all.  Thanks Tiffany!

Welcome to the second post in the Stock your Stash series. If you missed the first round, you can get all caught up here.
This week we're talking stocking stuffers for St. Nick. Does your family celebrate St. Nicholas Day? I know not everyone is familiar with this tradition, so you cancheck out a little snippet of an explanation here.
Growing up, St. Nick always brought my sister and me a wall calendar for the coming year and a box of chocolate covered cherries. He usually filled our stockings with Lifesavers and chocolate coins and tubes of M&Ms. My mom always said it was a perfect little teaser holiday to get us in the Christmas mood. 
Now with kids of my own, St. Nick has taken on a little bit of a change. When the Peanut was just a year old, a wall calendar and cherries didn't seem exactly appropriate. St. Nick came up with a substitute that was much more fitting and luckily it has grown with her over the years. 
When each of my girls empty their stockings this year they will discover:
- a new Christmas picture book
- a single holiday movie for the family to enjoy
- matching Christmas pajamas
- an ornament for the tree
And in lieu of too many candies I don't really want them indulging in (anyone else STILL have Trick or Treat bags laying around?!) St. Nick brings us a family treat platter for sharing. 

Oddly enough, this treat basket was the item that was the most memorable for the Peanut last year. She has specifically asked whether I think we'll be getting it again this year.  2011111802
Items found on our festive red platter include: 
- "Snowballs": white cheddar puff balls
- Yardstick of popcorn kernels
- Red velvet pancake mix
- Raspberry white chocolate & Eggnog flavored scone mixes
- Eggnog streusel muffin mix
- Holiday shaped pasta
- Peppermint chocolate piroutte cookies
- Peanut butter filled, chocolate covered pretzle bites 
I use this collection to make several festive weekend breakfasts during December and we celebrate will little holiday themed meals and snacks all month long. These are all treats I'd likely find myself buying anyways over the course of the month. Bundling them together and putting them on a bright red platter underneath our stockings just makes them stand out as that much more special. I love that it also promotes sharing our treats together. 
What does your family enjoy most? Your gift basket could include:
- Hot cocoa and new mugs with fun pepperment stir sticks and marshmallows
- Holiday baking basket with packaged cupcake wrappers, mixes, and various sprinkles or cookie cutters and parchment paper
- Gingerbread house decorating basket with plenty of candies for coating it roof to base
Chances are likely these are things you'd be doing this season anyways. It's just all in the presentation!
Are you looking for other St. Nick ideas and Advent inspiration? 
Let's Lasso the Moon is sharing a fantastic printable with activities and games to do with your kids that will make more of the Christmas season.
Diet & Ridicule is sharing some healthy ideas to fill stockings for St. Nick. 
Then be sure to check back again the coming weeks as we really dig in on the holiday shopping lists!
Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Playroom Make Over Part 2

A few weeks ago I discussed making over our playroom.  If you missed the post check it out here: sensory-table-and-new-playroom.

Part of my inspiration for the new playroom came from The Reggio Emilia Approach.  One of many things this philosophy promotes is making items/toys accessible to children.  For me this meant purging and organizing.

One of the areas I focused on was our art corner. Previously all the materials were just thrown in bins and if the girls wanted to use them we had to sift through all the bins to find what we wanted.  There was really no rhyme or reason to it and some of the materials I even forgot we had.

Here is one wall of the new and improved art area.


The shelves were actually old cd shelves that were just sitting in our storage area completely unused. I had my hubby nail them to the wall and I organized all the material so that they could be seen by the girls and easy for them to take down and put back. Part of The Reggio philosophy is to have as many natural and real material as possible. We are still a work in progress but in the mason jars are rocks, shells, gems and wooden pieces for the girls to explore. The girls need to be supervised when using the mason jars, especially my 20 month old but they love exploring the materials in them.

Above the art shelves I placed some signs with questions. I use to have the signs in my pre-k classroom and often referred to them when guiding the children. Nothing ground breaking here but it reminds me to ask open ended questions while I am interacting with them during play. Sometimes I fall into being reactive with the girls play...answering their questions but not challenging them to think further. These questions among others not listed here really help with guiding them to think outside the box. "How might you make that tower bigger?", What did you do to make the color pink?", "Why do you think the puzzle piece doesn't fit there?", "What would happen if I added eggs to the flour?" etc.


After organizing the new playroom we also had fun decorating it! I bought some canvases at Michaels and had the girls paint them to hang on the walls in the playroom. They loved it and really enjoy seeing their work displayed.







The completed projects displayed.