Christmas Ornament Potato Stamps

IMG_7452

Sitting in our cupboard in the kitchen is a sack of old potatoes that are growing sprouts. Those potatoes had seen better days and were on their way out. It would be such a shame to have to waste them, so we had to make sure that we put them to good use. In the fall, we made potato Jack-O-Lanterns. With the holidays approaching our potatoes have taken on a new form.

Christmas ornament potato stamps

Cut a potato in half & carve an ornament design into a potato.

IMG_7445

Dip your potato into paint.

IMG_7446

Stamp until the potato does not stamp anymore & dip again.

IMG_7447

IMG_7448

IMG_7451

With a paintbrush add the ornament tops.

IMG_7454

Make as many different designs as you like and stamp in different colors.

IMG_7464

Posted in Arts and Crafts, Holidays | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

100 Things That I am Thankful For

IMG_4852

Why is it that it takes the holidays for us to reflect on the things in our life that are most important? On New Year’s we resolve to better ourselves, on Valentine’s Day we show appreciation for our spouses & lovers and on Thanksgiving we give thanks for all of the gifts that god has given us. We should resolve to be better every day. We should celebrate our love & all of these gifts every second, but with the stresses of work, bills & daily life often we do forget. The holidays do offer a great nudge. This week is Thanksgiving. There are many things that I am grateful for but often take for granted. I challenged myself to make a list of 100 things, some are things that I cannot live without, some are the little things that make me smile, but all are things that make be thankful. These are not listed in any particular order.

1. My husband & daughter

2. Life and health

3. A good-natured debate

4. Watching my daughter sleep

5. Low fat frozen yogurt

6. Weekends off

7. My memories

8. Sweatpants

9. Art

10. My daughter’s laughter

11. Owls

12. Changes of season

13. My mother-in-law

14. Spanx

15. Meditation

16. The money in my wallet

17. Beauty in unexpected places

18. Our travels

19. Chocolate

20. Inspiration

21. My sister

22. Color

23. Day dreams

24. Heated mattress pads

25. Inside jokes

26. Home movies

27. Forgiveness

28. Good friends that are always there

29. Books

30. Unsolicited compliments

31. Thunderstorms

32. ‘The Princess Bride’

33. Tears of happiness

34. Hugs

35. Upbeat people

36. Decaf coffee

37. Foot rubs

38. Singing when no ones listening

39. Raw honey

40. Our dog

41. All the I love yous

42. Old photographs

43. A good sneeze

44. The blogs that I follow & the ones that follow me

45. Peppermint Patties- Get the sensation

46. My mother visiting in my dreams

47. Pinterest

48. Central Air

49. Post-It notes

50. The Beatles

51. Water

52. My snooze button

53. Dance

54. Finding a solution to a problem

55. Bubble baths

56. The warmth of the sun

57. Cherry blossoms

58. Swiffer

59. Baby feet

60. Traditions

61. Drive through windows

62. “The Big Bang Theory” nerds

63. Naps

64. Movie quotes

65. Moments of silence

66. Kisses

67. Brie & jelly

68. Dimples

69. Anti-bacterial wipes

70. Netflix Streaming

71. Internet shopping

72. Sunsets

73. Family outings

74. That perfect little black dress

75. Herbal tea

76. Pearl jewelry

77. The sound of bagpipes

78. Respect

79. Moments of clarity

80. Snow Days

81. Looking up at the stars

82. Cuddling on the couch

83. Our home

84. Christmas Carols

85. The sounds & smell of the beach

86. Toe socks – Have you ever worn a pair? You would be thankful too.

87. A blank canvas

88. A quick-witted comeback

89. Girls’ nights out

90. Kindness of strangers

91. Nutella

92. The lessons I have learned from the mistakes I have made

93. Puns

94. Musicals

95. Vicks Vapor Rub

96. A lit fireplace on a cold night

97. Hair colorant

98. Over-sized sweaters

99. My glue gun

100. God for blessing me with all of these gifts

What are you most thankful for? Can you list 100 things that you are grateful for? I challenge you to post your list. Link back to me if you do so that I may see what makes you thankful.

Posted in Life | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Gingerbread Christmas Tree

IMG_7263

I realize that it is not even Thanksgiving yet.  It’s not that I have anything against Thanksgiving because I have a lot to be thankful for, but I am overjoyed for this upcoming Christmas season. I understand that most do not like how early the holidays seem to come more & more each year, but for me I can’t wait, especially after having our daughter. Christmas is magical. The Christmas carols, the twinkling lights & the smells are all divine.

I am one of those people that have gotten into the spirit a little bit early, but I don’t care. My daughter doesn’t know any different. To her it is Christmas time already. This weekend we put on some Christmas carols & filled our house with the delicious smell of gingerbread. Mai loves baking with mommy & she loves eating it too. One of the great things about gingerbread is it has the same consistency as Play-Doh. This of course made my Play-Doh obsessed daughter happy.

Gingerbread Christmas Trees

Bake your gingerbread. Here is the recipe that we used. Gingerbread Recipe

IMG_7185

IMG_7190IMG_7193IMG_7197IMG_7202

You will need star cookie cutters. Using different sized cookie cutters, cut out about 10 cookies. If you do not have 10 different cutters, you can improvise.
I had 5 cutters in various sizes. I cut two of each size, cutting one a little thicker than the other. I worked the thicker star out carefully using my fingers to make it a little bit larger than the first star.

IMG_7204 IMG_7207 IMG_7209 IMG_7214

On the smallest star I added a small point for the top of the tree.

IMG_7221

Bake your cookies according to the recipe.

IMG_7222

Make your icing while the cookies bake.

Icing:

1 cup of confectioners sugar

2 Tbsp of milk

1/2 Tsp vanilla

Stir your ingredients together until smooth.

IMG_7234

Stack the cookies from biggest to smallest. Use the icing to hold the pieces together. Stagger the star points so that they lined up every other cookie.

IMG_7235

IMG_7236

IMG_7244

Drizzle icing over the top of the tree & add M&M minis or another candy of your choice.

IMG_7245

IMG_7247

GingerbreadChristmasTree.jpg

As I said already the gingerbread dough has a similar consistency to Play-Doh. I let Mai use the leftover dough to craft her own cookies.

She crafted these as birthday cakes for me & her. The birthday cakes looked a bit like a pile of something else that I don’t want to say, but otherwise they still tasted delicious. Mai iced up her cookies and they passed her taste test. The only problem was trying to wrestle away all of her cookie creations from her so that she didn’t eat them all.

IMG_7267IMG_7269IMG_7239

We also made these cute little trees imparting the same concept of stacking the stars as with the cookie tree.

IMG_7005

We cut out 10 different sized stars using foam sheets & cut out a hole in the middle of each big enough to fit around a toilet paper roll. Cut only a small hole in your top star & loop a pipe cleaner through it to for the peak of the tree. Attach 2 small foam stars to either end of the pipe cleaner. Paint a toilet paper roll & a Dixie cup (The Dixie cup will be used for your base. Let dry. Glue the toilet paper roll into the cup. Stack the stars from biggest to smallest over the toilet paper tube & glue the top star over the top of the toilet paper roll. Let dry & let your child decorate the tree with craft pom poms, yarn, cotton snow etc.

 

 

Posted in Arts and Crafts, Holidays, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Cinnamon Sugar Crescent Pretzels

CinnamonCrescentPretzels.jpg

Cookie monster is to cookies as my daughter is to Play-doh. She just can’t get enough of it. Her favorite of all Play-Doh creations is crafting baked goods. She makes cakes & cookies and asks mommy to join in as well. I got creative the other day and made Play-Doh pretzels. This got a giggle out of my daughter & also inspired her tummy with a pretzel craving. I thought it might be fun to make some soft pretzels with her & combine the fun of playing with dough and the deliciousness of getting to eat our creations after.

Once I suggested it though, my laziness kicked in & I looked for an easy way out. Hurray for crescent rolls. These are not exactly your classic soft pretzel, but they were a quick, easy and yummy treat.

Ingredients:

1 tube of low fat crescent rolls

1 Tbsp sugar

1/2 Tbsp cinnamon

1/2 Tbsp vegetable oil

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375. Unroll your tube of crescent rolls. Pinch the perforated seams together & roll out into a rectangular sheet. With a rubber spatula spread out the oil evenly over the sheet. Stir the cinnamon & sugar in a small bowl. Sprinkle the entire mixture evenly over the crescent sheet. Mai did the sprinkling for us, so it was not entirely even. Cut a 1/2″ wide strip lengthwise. Roll the strip just enough to form a rope like strip. Fold & twist into a pretzel. Place on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 8-9 minutes. Serve while warm.

IMG_6929 IMG_6930 IMG_6935 IMG_6937 IMG_6939 IMG_6940 IMG_6941  IMG_6944 IMG_6947 IMG_6959

Mai loved these. I gave her one pretzel, but our sneaky little girl smuggled a few extra when I wasn’t looking.

Posted in Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Learning To Write The Alphabet With Tracing

IMG_7061

We have had a rough couple of nights at the old homestead. Mai had been sick with a bad cold, fever & vomiting. Yesterday my husband & I stayed home from work with her. She was in good spirits and seemed to be on the mend. She was very excited to have us both home. We did a lot of snuggling and drew some pictures & colored. The other day Mai wrote the letter “T”. It was her first written letter. She was so proud & so were we. She held up her piece of paper & showed my husband & me. She beamed. Today in the midst of some of her drawings she made some more Ts. She has mastered the letter T now, but what about her other letters. T doesn’t want to stand alone. He wants his friends.

IMG_20141120_210415638_HDR

Lately she has been talking a lot about school. She throws on her backpack & tells me she is going to school on the school bus. She will kiss me goodbye & drive away on her little pink buggy. It is adorable.

IMG_7064

Today, we took her role play a little further & had a mock classroom. She took the bus into school, walked into class & removed her backpack just in time for roll call.  Today’s lesson…learning to trace our letters.

Laminated Tracing Cards

These were quick & easy to make. You can print out ABCs from your computer or write them out yourself. I did 3 letters per row. I added dash marks to the inside of the letters to give her a guide to trace.

IMG_7043

Cut out a rectangle around each row of letters to form a card. Place each card into a laminating pouch or sheet & trim if needed. The laminating pouches come in different sizes. We used 3 1/2 X 5 1/2. We have a laminating machine, but you can find self-adhering laminating sheets or pouches at an office supply store.

This will create 9 cards total.

IMG_7044 IMG_7048

Class is now in session. I quickly showed Mai how to trace inside of the letters.

IMG_7082

She jumped right into to each card and showed me what she could do. “Look Mama teacher. I traced it.”

IMG_7088IMG_7089IMG_7090

She very carefully traced within each letter.

IMG_7094

She was upset when she had realized that she used the brown marker instead of the pink. I showed her that she could just wipe the card clean with a tissue. She was happy to clean off the card & mark it again in the pink.

IMG_7093

We had a great lesson today. She even taught her baby how to trace her letters.

IMG_7096

I made a great discovery tonight as well. I found out that when I am mama teacher, she listens and follows directions much better. Our next lesson was cleaning up the classroom. All of her Legos & Play-doh cookie cutters were put back in their boxes without debate this evening. It was fabulous. Mama teacher will have to work on a potty training lesson next.

tracing.jpg

Posted in Learning Tools | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments