Category Archives: christmas

Lego Soap Project with FREE Printable Gift Tags

*post contains affiliate links*

I’m trying to get my kids to think outside of themselves during this Christmas season. For me, as a child, Christmas was all about me and what I could get! I don’t want that for my kids.

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I tried to think of something fun that they would all enjoy making and I came across Lego Soaps. I used THIS TUTORIAL from Just Crafty Enough. Because the tutorial is so well laid out, I’m not going to repeat it.

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I picked up theBuilding Bricks and Minifigure Ice Cube Tray or Candy Mold –for Lego lovers
from Amazon and the clear glycerine soap base from Michael’s (I used a 40% off coupon). The whole process of making the soap was so quick and easy.  I let the kids pick a scent (either peppermint or lavender essential oil). It was perfect for my kids’ attention spans. The soap was firm and ready to pop out of the mold within half an hour! I did let it sit out and harden a little more before we put it into an airtight container.

The kids were seriously super excited about this project.

The only thing left is to stick the soaps into a plastic gift bag and stick a label on it!

Need a label, feel free to print these FREE ones! Click on the link BELOW the image for the printable version:

Lego TagsClick for the Printable Version ——->>Lego Tags

How are you teaching your kids about having a generous heart?

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{Free} Nativity Activity Pack

We’ve been getting ready for Christmas at our house!

The kids are SO EXCITED!! They will do whatever school I ask them to do as long as I include something “Christmas.”

I put together this Nativity Activity Pack that includes:

Writing

ABC Order

Addition

Word Jumble

Copy Work

This is geared for early elementary (let’s say 1st- 3rd grade)

Be sure to click on the link BELOW the image for the printable version.

Nativity Cover

Click to download printable version ——–>>>Nativity Activity Pack

How is your family preparing for Christmas?

Linking Up with:

Hip Homeschool Hop Button

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Christmas Craft Round Up

My kids LOVE crafts. They get so excited when we have projects to do! In an effort to be more purposeful in teaching them the art of giving, some of these crafts will be made with the intention of giving them as gifts to friends and family.

First Up: Ornaments (the kids each make an ornament every year to add to our collection)

Icicle Ornaments from the Happy Hooligans

memory making ornament from Mommy Savers

From the Suburban Mom

Snow Globe Ornaments… how cute! From Here Come the Girls

Next Up Crafty Fun Projects:

Light Up Christmas Tree Craft
from All Kids Network

from the Chaos and the Clutter

 

Felt Wall Nativity- I keep wanting to do this!!!
From My Crazy Blessed Life

Cute Thumbprint Lights Craft
From Meet the Dubiens

 

Lastly… Gifts to Make:

Pinecone Fire Starters
From Mrs. Adventure

Hot Chocolate Stirrers
from Adventures in Savings

Kitchen Towels
from Let Kid’s Create

What are your favorite Christmas crafts?

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Gift Guide for Toddlers

toddler

I think the number one thing on our toddler gift list would have to be Fisher Price Little People. They are so durable and easy to grasp and play with. They are easy to clean as well.

Our favorites are :

The Lil’ Movers Plane
(comes in pink too)

 

Happy Sounds Home

 

zoo

We also have, and enjoy, the Farm, the Wheelies Stand and Play Rampway, the Schoolbus and the Nativity Set.

Recently, Baby Sis got a My Pal Scout from Leapfrog:

I like Leapfrog Products. You can connect My Pal Scout with a usb cord to the computer and download info to personalize it for your child. Baby Girl’s Scout knows her favorite colors, animals, foods, etc. And, as long as your child’s name isn’t too unusual, you can personalize My Pal Scout with your child’s name as well.

Color Wonder Markers and Paper

Color wonder products are great for toddlers! The markers only color on the special paper… so you don’t have to worry about marker getting on everything! They have several different themed kits.

Corn Popper

Any kind of push toy is a hit with a toddler. You could go with the Fisher Price corn popper or a doll stroller, lawn mower, etc.

Lastly… and this has been a favorite in our home:

Tar Junior

This little toy is another one from Leap Frog. Like the My Pal Scout, you can personalize Tag Jr with your child’s name. You purchase books separately that go with the Tag Jr. system and download them onto the little guy. The Tag Jr is easy for toddlers to hold. All they have to do is touch the Tag Jr. to the page and it reads stories or sings songs. All of mine have really enjoyed it!

And of course, books! books! books! (I would go with board books for this age)

What are your favorite gifts for toddlers?

Don’t forget to check out the other gift guides for elementary boys, elementary girls and preschoolers.

 

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Gift Guide for your Preschooler

preschool

Today’s gift guide focuses on preschool (ages 3-5)

Now… my preschooler, who is 4, is probably my hardest one to shop for. She doesn’t really play with toys. I’m not really sure what she does when she’s playing. She loves make believe and she loves to be with her big brother and big sister. Here are a few ideas for the preschool sector:

Lego (shocking) Duplo:

The Duplo blocks are bigger and easier to manipulate than regular legos. They are a great starter for building toys. Duplo also has a storybook series and even Jake and the Neverland Pirates (which Little Sis loves). MegaBloks are another great building block to have on hand.

In my experience, preschoolers love make believe! Any kind of dress up (boys and girls) is sure to be a hit.

Some dress up ideas for girls are:

dresses

necklaces

crowns

shoes

bags

aprons

masks

capes

Some ideas for boys are:

tunics

swords

masks

capes

ties

I am a really big fan of Melissa and Doug products. They are sturdy and stand the test of time in our home. Here are a few of my favorites:

Car Carrier

See and Spell

 

Sandwich Making Set
They have several Play Food Sets that are Excellent

 

Magnetic Dress Up Dolls
We have a set of these that have been loved by boys and girls in our home

I don’t know about you, but my preschooler seems to have UNENDING ENERGY. I mean… we do things that I think for sure will wear her out and it’s like she’s just more energized because of it! Here are two toys that we have in our home. They are great for your energetic kid!

Bungee Jumper

Kids Jumper

Some other ideas for your preschooler include:

Books, books and more books! Pinkalicious and Fancy Nancy are favorites around here!

Toy Kitchen

Toy Tool Bench

Trikes and Bikes

Toy Dinosaurs

Trains

My Little Pony

Games like Hi Ho Cherrio, Uno Moo, Pop the Pig, and Memory

What are your favorite ideas for gifts for preschoolers?

Be sure to check out the gift guide for Elementary Age Girls and Elementary Age Boys.

Come back tomorrow for ideas for toddlers!

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Gift Guide for Your Elementary Age Girl

girls

Yesterday, I shared a gift guide for elementary age boys. Today, I will focus on the girls (about ages 6-9).

First up… dolls!

Now. I understand that American Girl dolls are super great quality, but let’s be honest… they are not budget friendly. We have the Our Generation Dolls from Target:

Walmart and Madame Alexander also have 18 inch dolls and accessories.

We recently discovered the American Girl Mini Dolls, starting at $15 on Amazon. They are about 7 inches tall and come with a mini book.

Big Sister is a crafty girl… she especially loves sewing:

Have you seen this latest craze? Loom bracelets. Big Brother and Big Sister really like this one!

Big Sis LOVES legos just like her Big Brother!!! She’s a big fan of the Lego Friends Series. This one is on her wish list this year:

Big Sis got an easy bake oven for her birthday a couple of years ago. I’m still not 100% okay with her having free access to it anytime, but she does enjoy using it from time to time. I highly recommend looking into making your own mixes for baking. The Easy Bake mixes are super expensive.

If you’re looking for books or book series, let me recommend these:

Little House on the Prairie

Chronicles of Narnia

Anne of Green Gables

American Girl Historic Books

Thanks for stopping by. What are your favorite or go to gifts for elementary age girls?

Be sure to stop by later this week for toddler and preschool ideas!

 

 

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Gift Guide for Your Elementary School Age Boy

boys

I thought I’d share some gift ideas for those who might be having a hard time figuring out what to get boys!

I’m all about open ended play. I’m not a big fan of licensed characters and cheap fads. I, personally, like the tried and true toys…. which is why #1 on our list is LEGOS!!! (shocking right?)

Lego Education Story Starter Set

I have recently discovered the Lego Education Sets. I think they are wonderful and SO worth the money!

Crazy Contraptions

My son also likes all things Lego Star Wars and Lego City. It’s all about the minifigures for him and he just informed me that he REALLY wants a minifigure with a Light Up Light Saber!

Snap Circuits

 

We have not actually had any experience with snap circuits, but I have heard great things about them. Big Brother is getting this for Christmas (shhh… don’t tell).

Light Saber

Apparently we are all about star wars around here. I texted some friends that we were meeting at the park a couple of weeks ago to let them know that Big Brother was bringing his light saber. The other boys showed up with their’s as well. It was awesome. I loved watching them play!

GeoSafari Tuff Cam

We got this camera for Big Brother last year. I feel like GeoSafari stuff is kind of hit or miss on quality… but I can say with confidence that this camera is great! Big Brother has LOVED getting to record in video and still pictures. Watch out… some of the pictures they take of you (let’s say when you’re leaning over to get something out of the oven) might not be so flattering.

water color pencils

Big Brother got a set of watercolor pencils for his birthday last year and LOVED them! You draw the picture and then paint over with water for a water color effect. I was super impressed with his work. Throw in a pad of water color paper and there you go!

Games:

Phase 10, Uno Roboto, Scrambled States of America, Angry Birds: Knock on Wood

Books (these are all series.. mostly mysteries):

Boxcar Children, Time Warp Trio, Geronimo Stilton, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Imagination Station, Cul de Sac Kids, Sugar Creek Gang

What are your favorite gift ideas for elementary age boys?

Come back this week for my Girls’ Gift Ideas as well as some for Toddlers!

 

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DIY Christmas Part 4- Family Traditions

One of my favorite things about Christmas is building on old traditions and starting new ones with our family. I mentioned yesterday that one of the kids’ favorite things is to wear their pjs all day. This is something the kids look forward to every year. They plan for days in advance with pjs they will wear on Christmas eve night.

Some other things (cost efficient) that our family does include:

– Christmas light hunting. A couple of times a week from Thanksgiving until Christmas, we load up in the car and explore different neighborhoods to see the displays that people have created with Christmas lights. Every now and then, we might spend the money to go and see a professionally put together lights display.

– Our own Christmas lights display. We opted the last couple of years to not buy a live Christmas tree. I have an artificial one leftover from my teaching days that we have set up at the house for the last couple of years. The kids think the artificial tree is amazing. They love putting it together! We used some of the money that would have gone towards a live tree to buy a couple of lights strands to put up outside. Last year we bought light strands… this year we bought candy cane lights to line the walkway. We figured that we can add something each year to make our yard light display grow… within reason.

– Pancake Birthday Cake for Jesus. When Big Brother was two, we started making a pancake breakfast on Christmas morning. We stack them up and put three candles on top (to represent the Father, Son and Holy Spirit). We sing happy birthday to Jesus and then chow down on pancakes as I read the Christmas story. After the story, we pray, share what we are thankful for and then open gifts.We take turns opening gifts so that we can share in each other’s excitment.

Pancakes for Jesus!

What are some of your favorite family traditions?

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DIY Christmas Part 3- Jesse Tree and PJs

Last year, we introduced the Jesse Tree to our advent season. I really like the idea behind the tree because it starts at the beginning… Genesis and shares stories from the Old Testament that show the anticipation and prophecies of the Savior. It shares all the way through to the birth of Christ. Every night, we read a devotional and then add an ornament to our tree. Now.. you can get really fancy and buy a Jesse tree kit with ornaments and all… or you can go the route I did and make your own paper tree to tape on the wall and print out some ornaments, laminate and use tape to stick them on each night.

You can read more about how we do our Jesse Tree by clicking on the above picture.

Here are a couple of more handmade gift ideas. A sewing machine is needed for the first, but not so much for the second.

 

One of our favorite things about Christmas day is that we get to wear PJs ALL DAY! Seriously… my kids look forward to this all year! This year I made the kids PJ pants and picked up some thermal shirts on clearance at Wal-Mart… Tada… new PJs! Also… we moved from sunny Florida to the mountains of North Carolina this year and I realized that we needed some new hats. I used the left- over fleece from the pants to make hats as well.

I used this tutorial from one of my favorite sewing blogs, MADE to make the pants. It was super easy and took me less than an hour per pair!

For the hats, I used this site. You can use a sewing machine to do it faster… or if you’d rather just hand stitch, it still wouldn’t take much time. You may need to adjust your measurements if making it for a child.

Come back tomorrow to find out some free, family traditions we have. I’d love to hear from you as well. What are some of your favorite family traditions at Christmas time?

 

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To Santa or Not to Santa… That is the Question

You know, when it comes down to it, inviting Santa into your home or not inviting him in does not change things in light of eternity. Your salvation does not rest on how you celebrate Christmas. Salvation is a matter of believing and accepting Christ’s work on the cross.

However, because I am in the mood to share my two cents about Santa… here you go.

Santa does not visit our home. Contrary to what members of my family might think or what my friends might think, this is a decision I made long before having children or even getting married. Thankfully, the Lord brought a man into my life that shared my thoughts. It was an easy decision for us to make.

Why?

First and foremost, we want Jesus to be at the center of our season and celebration. Jesus and Santa share some similar characteristics… they bring good gifts, they are all knowing… the accomplish things that defy human logic and ability. I do not want my children equating Santa with Jesus. I do not want them thinking they are one in the same. I do not want them thinking that Santa is the one worthy of their worship.

Second… a point was brought up to me by a lady I met once in a Bible study. She and her husband had done Santa in their family. Her girls were getting older. At church one Sunday, they were putting together shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child. The teacher commented that those might be the only gift a child gets that year. Her daughter was quite upset when they  got home and wondered why Santa wouldn’t be visiting those children. Good question.

Also… with our budget tight and the economy unstable, it would be hard to start something like extra gifts from Santa only to have to cut back or stop at a later date. And… I don’t really wanting some legendary guy getting credit for the gifts that I thought about, picked out or made… right?

And… if we teach them all of their childhood that Santa is real… and then they find out later that he’s not… what will keep them from questioning other things that we’ve taught them?

I might be a grinch… I might be a scrooge in some peoples’ eyes. I have heard from several people… several Christians.. that they did Santa when they were younger and they turned out okay… Great… good for you. I won’t judge you for celebrating Santa… please don’t judge me for not.

Incidentally… the tooth fairy and Easter bunny don’t come to our house either. BaHumbug?

 

 

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