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santa

Paper Cup Christmas Bells

On an impulse, I bought a box of jingle bells the other day. My daughter ripped into them immediately and started playing with them. She ran and got herself a pipe cleaner and made a jingly anklet. My little girl, was so thrilled about her new musical jewelry that she wanted to make more with our jingle bells and making bells seemed like an obvious, but fun choice. This is a great craft for the holidays. Make a Mr. & Mrs. Claus or some angels. Try a pack of Christmas carolers or just decorate your bells with paint, markers, tissue paper, stickers or gems.

Dixie Cup Christmas Bells - Christmas and winter arts and crafts for kids. See out Santa and angel bells

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Pop-up Santa Puppet Cup Craft

Believe it or not, there are only 55 days left until Christmas. Before we know it Santa will be coming to town and he will be heading to a chimney near you. We made fun pop-up puppets a few months back and they were a big hit with my little girl. I couldn’t wait to make them again. These Santa puppets are a great idea for the holiday season. The Dixie cups made a perfect chimney for Santa to pop in and out of.Pop-up Santa Puppet . Christmas arts and crafts for kids. Santa coming out of the chimney DIxie cup craft

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Trim Santa’s Beard Cutting Activity

My daughter loves using scissors. She got her first pair of safety scissors when she was two. She loves cutting activities and crafts. Among some of her favorites were a simple paper plate hair cutting activity and a trim the Christmas tree one. Trim Santa's beard cutting activity for Christmas. A wonderful kid's arts and crafts and fine motor skill activity. A fun way to teach toddlers and preschoolers how to cut. Paper plate crafts.

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Working on scissor skills is great for your child’s fine motor skills and their hand eye coordination. Scissors are also a useful tool and if your child is anything like mine is, it is also a fun activity.

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Toilet Paper Tube North Pole Scenes

toilet paper tube snowman, Santa, penguin at the North Pole. Recyclable cardboard roll arts & crafts for kids for winter and Christmas

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This weekend my husband and I got out for a very rare date night. The movie Elf is a favorite of both of ours. They had a musical version of Elf in the city & we just had to go see it, so we called in Nana for the night and went out for a much needed date.

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The musical was wonderful. The cast did a spectacular job. The songs were cute, catchy and well performed, but I was most impressed with the scenes. Maybe it is the Christmas lover in me, but the North Pole scenes & the Christmas in the city really got me. They also inspired some North Pole craft ideas that I couldn’t wait to do.

What you will need:

Toilet Paper Tubes

Egg Carton

Paper Bowl

Paint

Construction paper or foam

Popsicle stick

Cotton balls

Sharpie

Googly eyes

Glue

Ribbon

Pipe cleaner

Small regular pieces of cardboard

 

I had three North Pole characters in mind, Santa (of course), a snowman & a penguin.  I painted all of the pieces first to allow time for all of them to dry, but here is a break down of each craft.

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Penguin at the North Pole

  1. Paint a toilet paper tube in all black. I realized later that I needed to paint the inside as well. Let the paint dry.
  2. Squeeze glue on about 2/3 of the tube & spread cotton over it in an oval shape.
  3. Cut flippers out of black construction paper or use foam, as it is sturdier. Cut a beak and feet out of orange. Glue them into place & add googly eyes.
  4. Cut a small slit into the side of a paper bowl. Slide a Popsicle stick into it & glue into place. Cut a piece of cardboard into a small rectangle. Write North Pole on the sign & glue it to the top of the Popsicle stick. Glue the penguin to the bowl. Glue stretched out cotton balls all over the bowl & around the penguin and the sign. Add a small line of cotton to the top of the sign.

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toilet paper tube penguin at the North Pole. Recyclable cardboard roll arts & crafts for kids for winter and Christmas

Santa at the North Pole

  1. Paint 3/4 of a toilet paper tube red & the rest in black. Paint the pointy separator of the egg carton red & let all dry.
  2. Glue the egg carton portion to the top of the red end of the tube.
  3. Glue a ring of cotton around the bottom of the egg carton & at the point right above where the red & black meet.
  4. Cut a small oval shape out of flesh-toned paper. Add googly eyes to the oval shape & paint in cheeks a small nose & a mouth. Glue it right under the hat.
  5. Glue stretched out cotton around the outside of his face and between his nose & mouth to form a mustache and beard. Add a small cotton ball to the top of his hat.
  6. Draw in buttons on Santa’s coat.
  7. Follow the steps in step 4 from the penguin craft above to finish off the craft.

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Snowman at the North Pole

  1. Paint a toilet paper tube in white. Paint a piece of egg carton in black. Let them dry.
  2. Draw the snowman’s face in with a Sharpie & paint in the carrot nose with orange paint.
  3. Cut a black circle a bit larger than the egg carton piece out of black construction paper or foam & glue the egg carton to the the center of it. Let dry.
  4. Glue the hat to the top of the snowman.
  5. Cut a piece of ribbon to use as a scarf. Glue it into place.
  6. Glue pipe cleaners in place for the arms.
  7. Follow step #4 from the penguin craft to finish off your craft.

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toilet paper tube snowman at the North Pole. Recyclable cardboard roll arts & crafts for kids for winter and Christmas

These were so much fun & cute to make, I wanted to make more.

toilet paper tube snowman, Santa, penguin at the North Pole. Recyclable cardboard roll arts & crafts for kids for winter and Christmas

 

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Easy DIY Personalized Ornament

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This weekend was filled with Christmas parties & breakfasts with Santa. We were on the move all weekend long trying to make sure that the big guy knew that Mai really wanted that train set for Christmas.

The parties had a ton of great activities and projects for the kids to do and as we all know my daughter loves her projects. There was a cookie making station that Mai took full advantage of. They had assorted sugar & gingerbread cookies for decorating along with colored icing and assorted candies & sugars.

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There was also a watercolor station, a sticker station & an ornament making one. The crafts just kept coming. My artsy little girl was in her glory. She brought home several cookies, a few new crafts & a new dolly from Santa. The ornament making reminded me that I had bought a couple of cheap clear plastic Christmas balls at the beginning of the season. I had completely forgotten about them. We kept our craft momentum going when we got home with our quick & easy personalized ornament.

What you will need:

Clear plastic Christmas bulb ornament

A black sharpie

Kid’s paint (We use Crayola’s water based non-toxic paint)

Directions:

With a sharpie draw on the name of the person you are making the ornament for. We made two, one for Mai & one for her Nana.

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After you write in the name, draw random lines & closed shapes all over the whole rest of the ornament.

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Paint each shape in a different color. Mai chose to just mix her colors for her ornament for her Nana because “Nana likes a rainbow.”

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Let the paint dry & hang your ornaments on your tree & admire. I touched up the Sharpie lines on Mai’s Nana ornament after it dried.

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When Santa Writes Back

Santa's letter

*My daughter received a letter in exchange for my honest review. I attest that all opinions are my own.**

If I have seemed overly giddy about Christmas this year that is because I am. Having a child changes the whole feeling of the holidays. Watching her discover the magic of the season makes me feel young again. This year she has a deeper understanding of Christmas & all of its wonders.

We went for our annual visit to see Santa Claus. This was the first year that she was able to tell him what she wanted. Without hesitation she told Santa & his elves what she wanted most this year. “I want a train set.” This is all that she has asked for this year.

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Over the past few weeks she has written several letters to Old St. Nick, well sort of. She cannot write quite yet, but she makes squiggly lines across the paper & will recite off to me all of the things on her list. She asks for a train set for herself each time, but being the sweetheart that she is, she doesn’t forget to ask Santa for presents for mommy & daddy and all of her friends. She asked Santa to bring mama a new brush, some candy for daddy & a new pocket book for Nana.

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With all of the anticipation for Mr. Claus’ arrival, our little girl has been working overtime to make it onto the nice list. Her good behavior has not been overlooked. Santa has taken notice.

Santa letter

From your smallest little believer to your biggest, Santa’s Red Letter offers a personalized letter just for you. These beautiful authentic looking letters come postmarked from the North Pole. You can pick from a selection of letters from either the naughty (tsk tsk tsk) or nice (awww) lists or you can compose one of your own choosing.

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At only $9.95 +free shipping, Santa’s Red Letter is a wonderful way to keep your children believing in the magic of the holidays.

As an added bonus 10% of the proceeds of sales are being donated to Toys For Tots, so you can help spread the Christmas cheer to those less fortunate as you add a little joy to your children’s day.

It looks like Mai might just get that train set this year after all. Thanks Santa.

 

 

 

 

30 Holiday Season Activities For Your Family

IMG_7615The first snow fall of the season inspired a fun snow-filled weekend. We had a fun family day yesterday complete with more snow angels & snowmen. Even though the temperatures have dropped there are still a lot of fun things that we can enjoy with the family through the winter & holiday season. Whether it means bundling up & hitting the outdoors or keeping warm & cozy in the house there is a long list of things that you can do together with your children.

Outdoor Play

1. Build a snowman– Building snowmen has been a winter favorite long before Frozen ever came out. Do you want to build a snowman? You bet I do.

2. Go sledding

3. Make snow castles

4. Have a snowball fight – It turns out that my daughter loves snowball fights. I threw one at daddy & that was enough to have her sold. She laughed & jumped in excitement at each ball thrown.

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5. Paint the snow- Put food coloring & water in a squirt or spray bottle & have a little bit of artistic fun in the snow.

6. Make snow angels

7. Build a snow fort

8. Use beach toys in the snow- Keep those sand pails & shovels out for the winter. They are wonderful for snowy days.

9. Go for a hike

10. Ice skating

11. Have a snowy photo shoot– A camera with a timer & a tripod are my family’s best friend. Most of our family photos are shot this way. Don’t forget to capture each of these moments while you can.

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In Home Activities

1. Drink cocoa around the fireplace-  What is better than snuggling up with your family around a warm fire on a cold day?

2. Write a Christmas list to Santa

3. Watch Christmas movies

4. Bake holiday cookies– I adore baking with my daughter. She is baking up pure joy.

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5. Decorate the Christmas tree

6. Elf on the shelf- – That sneaky little elf is back. You better watch out. He tells Santa all.

7. Bake a gingerbread house

8. Make homemade Christmas cards

9. Make winter & holiday crafts– I will be honest, this is one of my favorite parts of the holidays. I love holiday crafting with my daughter. Here was our latest over the weekend… Mini muffin liners strung up around a pipe cleaner & topped off with a pipe cleaner bow.

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10. Read Christmas stories

Family Outings

1. Go Christmas light peeping– I love the twinkling lights during the holidays. They are beautiful. There is always that street that is filled with the best Christmas lights in town.

2. Pick out a real Christmas tree

3. See a Christmas show

4. Go on a sleigh ride– There are places that do this. If you are lucky enough to find one, grab your family a blanket and some cocoa and go.

5. Go caroling

6. Visit a winter/Christmas bazaar

7. Visit Santa– My daughter is still pretty skeptical about the big guy in person, but she stepped up & asked for that train set that she wanted.

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8. Donate toys or gifts – Teach your children that it is better to give than receive. Help those less fortunate than you.

9. Go Christmas shopping

I hope everyone embraces all that the holiday season brings this year.

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Tissue Box Christmas Chimney Craft

Tissue Box Santa stuck In the chimney Christmas Crafts for kids

Up on the housetop, click, click, click
Down through the chimney with good Saint Nick…

When I was a child my grandmother used to have a wonderful Christmas record of children singing. This was my favorite carol on the album. I have gotten into the holiday spirit a little bit early & have started singing Christmas carols around our house & even at work. Not everyone appreciates my caroling, but Mai loves mommy’s songs. I think this one is going to be a favorite of hers too.

My husband is obsessed with tissues. We literally have a box of tissues in every single room in our house. Some rooms have multiple boxes. I have been wanting to do something with our empty boxes for some time. Luckily, all my caroling had me inspired.

Tissue Box Chimney Craft

What you will need:

An empty tissue box

Red & black paint

Cotton balls

Glue

2 Empty toilet paper rolls or 1 paper towel roll cut in two

Black construction paper or a black foam sheet

Directions:

Paint your tissue box with the red paint & let it dry. Mai wanted more than one color. She had a multi-colored chimney, but it still came out great.

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Using black paint, line all 4 sides of the tissue box to make the look of brick. Depending on your children’s ability you may need to help with this part.

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Paint 2 toilet paper rolls or 1 paper towel roll cut into 2 pieces in red. Paint 1/4 of one end of each piece in black. Let the paint dry.

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Using glue, apply stretched out cotton balls to form snow. Leave the opening of the box uncovered.

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Cut ovals out of construction paper or foam for the bottom of the boots

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Glue the oval shape to the black side of the roll.

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Add more cotton around the top edge of the black to form fur on the boot.

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Let the glue dry & then tuck both Santa legs into the tissue box opening with the legs sticking up.

Here is Mai’s creation…

Tissue Box Santa stuck in the chimney craft for kids

And mommy’s too…

Tissue Box Santa stuck In the chimney Christmas Crafts for kids

Through The Eyes Of A Child

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This weekend we took an early trip to Santa’s workshop to beat the crowd and get in our Christmas lists. My daughter asked Santa to bring her a train set this year and some more Play-doh. She made certain to reiterate that she wanted a train set two more times before leaving his side.

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Outside of his workshop there is a room, a magical room filled with twinkling trees & falling snow. I watched my daughter & her friend as they ran through the fake snow. As the snow formed small piles around them, they tossed it up into the air, giddy with excitement. At first I began to object, but the objections trailed off. Have I ever enjoyed anything as much as they do right now I wondered? I stared at my girl, unable to blink. I didn’t want to lose a precious moment. I felt my eyes well up with tears. I hoped that nobody saw me. I felt silly to be crying, but I just couldn’t help it.

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There are moments when a mother cries. The tears are not from sadness, they are from joy. Sometimes there is so much happiness, so much love that your body simply cannot contain it. When it finally bursts, it can bring forth an explosion of smiles & laughter and at other times it flows out as tears. These tears are not bitter, they are sweet.

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I felt as if I had never witnessed anything quite so beautiful. I could feel her wonder. It was magical. Her energy was contagious. I found myself grabbing a handful of snow as well. Before I could throw it, I was hit in the face with a small handful of white flakes. My assailant was a dimpled face angel with braids in her hair. She laughed uncontrollably. “I got you, mama.” She giggled & then ran away.

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I looked around at the disapproving looks from the other mothers at our antics, but I simply did not care. Let them look. Today, I see life through my child’s eyes. Today, I am innocent and free and I don’t care what others think. With tears in my eyes, snow in my hair, a smile on my face & love in my heart I realize that this is my happy place. This is what life is all about. This is why I became a mother.

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