Candy Cane Family Fun

 

For the last few years, my family has come up with a progressive dinner. We stop at every house to check out each others Christmas decorations. We start off with appetizers, soup and salads, main course and then dessert. We play games and have fun. This year the theme was “candy cane”. I wanted to make as much as I could myself so I could be unique and save some money:)

My mom is really into decorative pins. Every holiday she has a new one. She has given every one of my pins in my collection. Nobody had a candy cane pin so I decided to try to make one for them. I was going to crochet one but just didn’t have time. So I had to try to look outside the box and think of something new.

 

Materials

  • Red and white yarn
  • Safety pins
  • Hot glue gun
  • Bendy straw

Cut the straw at the length you like. Hot glue along the whole straw and take both strands of yarn and start wrapping the straw. Bend the straw how you want and then add your safety pin.

For the kids, I made reindeer candy canes. We have done this for years. I also found candy cane flavor pop rocks. I added the peppermint chocolates and soft peppermints.

Materials

  • Candy canes
  • Brown pipe cleaners
  • Small pom poms
  • Small googly eyes

The adult woman got joy to the world ornaments with a candy cane on it and the men adults got candy canes with candy cane ornament on it. I had tons of mason jar tops I didn’t know what do with. I drilled a small hole at the top and added my string there. Hot glued the candy cane on and added the rest of the words with the permanent marker.

I made everyone a name tag stand. Hot gluing three small candy canes together. This was perfect for this party. This is good for one use only.

My sister was telling me how she was trying to find a candy cane headband. I forgot I had an extra headband and I got the idea to decorate one myself.

Materials

  • Red and white yarn
  • Headband
  • Red and white beads
  • Red and white pipe cleaners
  • Hot glue gun

I added hot glue to the end of the headband and I started wrapping with one color of yarn. I alternated the colors wrapping the previous color under the headband. I wrapped the pipe cleaners around and then added the beads and shaped it like a candy cane.

I had so much fun making these candy cane treats for my family. I love that it was perfect for decorating the table and treats for them to take home. I hope you got some ideas from this post for your next Christmas party. Happy holidays. Love ya, Mary xoxox

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Gingerbread Preschool Theme

When I think of the Christmas holidays it reminds me of gingerbread cookies. I have so many fun gingerbread activities you can do at home or in a classroom.

Fine motor

  • Lacing gingerbread men (older children can make their own gingerbread man. Have them draw a gingerbread body on card stock, cut it out, and then hole punch around the body.)
  • Homemade play dough (check out this post for recipe)
  • Tracing and cutting out gingerbread men (I traced one of our cookie cutter on cardboard and cut it out, it’s easier to trace cardboard.)

Gross motor

  • Acting out the gingerbread story
  • Change “run run” as fast as you can with another action.(jump, spin, crawl, etc.)
  • Gingerbread man says (like Simon says)
  • Gingerbread freeze dance (watch them dance stiff like a “cookie” hehe)

Math

  • Gingerbread button match (having different kinds of buttons on hand will work great for this activity.)
  • Counting gingerbread men (All the men they traced and cut out)
  • Sizing gingerbread men

Literacy

  • Gingerbread men letter ordering (I traced a gingerbread cookie cutter and wrote letters on the gingerbread men, they put them in order.)
  • Matching the uppercase and lowercase letters
  • Making gingerbread stories (check this one out my son thought of)
  • Magnet, felt, or puppets for retelling the gingerbread story
  • Letter tracing in the scented tray (brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves)

Art

  • Create your own gingerbread boy
  • Make a gingerbread house (real or with a brown paper bag)
  • Stamping gingerbread cookie cutters with brown paint
  • Scented gingerbread head painting (brown paint, cinnamon, and nutmeg)

If you have the patience for gingerbread cookies you can make them with your children. I can never make my gingerbread cookies very good. Luckily, they have packaged cookies I get once a year for the kids. Cooking is so good for kids they are learning so many skills. I highly recommend making it with them.

Once you have your cookies you can do a little experiment with them. Add the cookie to milk, water, and syrup or honey and have them time to see which ones breaks apart first or dissolves. My oldest loved this one, he wanted to eat it after it was mush at the bottom of the glass. lol

Let me know what you think of these fun ideas. Have you ever tried any of them with your children? If you have a good gingerbread cookie recipe let me know. I might give it another try. Don’t forget to check out my Teddy Bear lesson plan. Happy holidays Love ya, Mary xoxox

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Make Your Own Gingerbread Story

Since my son turned 6 he has been full of creativity. Something I thought he would never have. Anything he sees he wants to create it his own way. I had gotten gingerbread foam men and he wanted to do something with it.

This little story reminds me perfectly of my son. I probably would use crazy scissors next time so it looks more like a bite. I think he did a great job. Check out our Seed Book. Let me know what you think of his story. Love ya, Mary xoxox

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Nicholas Sparks Biggest Fan

I’m just going to say I have been reading Nicholas Sparks since high school and I can’t miss a single book. I actually started reading the books after I watched A Walk To Remember with a good friend back in 2002. Almost 17 years later and every time a new movie comes out we find the time to watch it together. Whenever a new book comes out I always get it for her.

I’m so excited to give her the newest book by Nicholas Sparks Every Breath. Yeah, I read it already and I’m not going to spoil it for you. BUT MAKE SURE YOU READ IT FROM FRONT TO BACK!!! Nicholas Sparks always knows how to surprise you and always has an amazing twist.

I truly don’t feel like I ever have time to read between early morning workouts, late night blogging, homeschooling, and all the in-between while raising two amazing boys. BUT, I make the time for these books and movies.

Don’t judge me but I own every book and movie and I’m a little proud of my collection. (Except the Last Song, I have to order that one still) Even if I’m crying like a big baby I still can’t get enough of his endings. I have to read the books before I see the movie so I can see the difference between the two. The book always comes out better because Nicholas Sparks knows how to connect you to the characters. I can’t say I have a favorite. I love them all. Now that I’m writing this I need to have a day of Nicholas Sparks movie Marathon. hehe

Yeah, Every Breath, I read in 2 and half days, it was hard to put down. If you are still looking for a last-minute Christmas or birthday gifts this is the perfect one. Get Every Breath here! Let me know what you think of the book. Love ya, Mary xoxox

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The Most Amazing Gingerbread Play Dough

I love gingerbread scents in December. Although, I will have to admit I’m not a fan of the taste. My mom has told me about the homemade play dough she used for many years. I was a little scared to try it the first time she told me about it. But I’m so happy I tried it.

What kid doesn’t love play dough? Not only is it fun to play with but it is so good for fine motor development. If you don’t know already, fine motor skills help your child write. I try to add play dough into all of my lesson plans. But now that I got this recipe from my mom I’m going to try to use homemade play dough as much as possible.

This play dough recipe will be perfect for the special little holidays we celebrate. I can change it up and experiment with it. Which I will definitely share with you.

Adding it into a mason jar is perfect and easy to dress up the jar. It will keep your play dough nice and soft. I used a 12oz jar but if you use the smaller one, you will be able to share the play dough with a friend and it would probably be easier to get it out of the jar.

Okay, so drum roll please… the best homemade play dough you can ever make.:)

Ingredients:

1 cup of All purpose flour

1/4 cup of salt

2 teaspoons of cream of tartar

1 cup of water

2 Tablespoons of vegetable oil

2 teaspoons of cinnamon

2 teaspoons of ginger

2 teaspoons of nutmeg

2 teaspoons of cloves

Directions:

Mix all dry ingredients and then add wet ingredients and mix well. (it will seem too runny, but don’t worry)

Add to a pot on medium heat and keep stirring.

After about five minutes will start seeing it form.

Once it was done I laid it on foil to cool.

I was so impressed with the smell it left in my house and the texture of it. It is so much fun and it is so soft. The best play dough ever!! I added some buttons to my jar and added a mini gingerbread cutter and gave it to some of the boy’s friends as Christmas gifts. I hope you have the time to try this play dough, it’s absolutely amazing. Let me know what you think. Love ya, Mary xoxox

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Kyle’s Birth Story

We wanted to have a non-stress environment not only for Kyle but for our oldest, Bradly.

This story is nothing like my firstborn‘s birth story. Truly no two births are the same. Since I had a hard time with my oldest son we decided to have a scheduled C-section. I actually got a lot of crap from this. Honestly, it kind of wore me down because I wanted to have a natural birth experience with my oldest. Having a C-section was something my husband and I talked about several times. In the end, I’m so glad I did it this way.

Kyle James was born at 10:32 A.M. weighing 7 lbs. 3 oz. 19 inches long on February 27, 2015. My sister came into town to help me with our oldest. We got up at 5:30 A.M. and went to the hospital to prep everything. Bradly and my sister were in the waiting room with a bag full of activities. He was so excited to see his brother and oh so patient.

We went back about 7:30 A.M. and they took all the vitals and drew blood and put in the IV. Signed all the paperwork checked the baby, things moved pretty quickly. They had me walk into the operating room and started the epidural. Instantly my legs went numb. My husband came in and they started.

The doctor was the same that delivered my first, which I was so excited because she knew my story. She talked me through everything and then lifted the baby right up for me to see, instantly I fell in love. Which I was so nervous if I would still feel the same way as I did with my oldest. Within minutes the nurses cleaned him up and had him nursing right away. He was a champ at nursing, nothing like I experienced the first time around. I was getting my tubes tied as well while she was in there. (another reason we planned it)

The nurses took the baby to check him over and I went to recovery. Once I got into our room the baby was right in my arms waiting to nurse again. The nurse gave him a bath in front of me and then his temperature was a little low. I tried using my body heat but it wasn’t enough for him. The nurse brought him to the heater and he was good to go after about 30 minutes.

My sister stayed with me and the baby while my husband took my oldest home for the evening. They came back the following day to visit but I think it was good bonding time for the two of them. I was ready to go home by the next morning and walking around. They didn’t let me go home until the following morning.

I’m so happy that this birth was less stressful. I love everything about it. I love listening to birth stories especially when I was pregnant. I hope you enjoyed my story. Love ya, Mary xoxo

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DIY Christmas Decorations

I was trying to stay on a budget and have cute matching Christmas wreaths. So I decided to make them myself. I have made cheap little wreaths before but nothing like these. These were actually surprisingly easy to make.

Items you need:

I got this stuff at my dollar store near me except the letters I got them at a hobby store.

I used my fingerprint to make the dots on my letter and let dry. Then thick glitter ribbon will be wrapped around evenly. Added the mini ornaments with the red curling ribbon and picked a color pattern. I then used the same curling ribbon to add on my letter. There you go, easy peasy. I think I’m going to strip it down at the end of the season and do something different next year. You can see the ornaments are starting to fade from the sun. (After three years)

I also made other little cheap things I found and put them together. I made a centerpiece and the kids helped me make homemade ornaments and signs.

I put this centerpiece together for less than $10.00. The canvas I got are at our local hobby store and we had the paints. Inspired by our favorite Christmas book, The Night Before Christmas

The salt dough ornaments were super easy to make. 2 cups of all-purpose flour, 1 cup of salt, and 1 cup of warm water. Mix it all together and get creative. put it in the oven on 250 degrees until it’s dry. Also, I have used play dough in the past as well. I found some wooden pieces at our hobby shop and had the kids paint them.

I love having the kids make something new every year (add the date). Then you can look back at their little handprints. So cute:) Let me know what other Christmas decorations you have made. Happy holidays. Love ya, Mary xoxo

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What Your Preschooler Wants For Christmas

Not only have I worked with preschoolers for over ten years but I have a preschooler. I know exactly what he wants and what he will ACTUALLY play with. I will try to give ideas that are good for both boys and girls. This list will help the long distant relatives that don’t see the kids but want to get them something they will use.

I hope this Preschool Christmas List was helpful for you. These are perfect ideas to keep your children learning and to be creative. Let me know if I’m missing anything. Click the list to see a baby or a six-year-old boy’s Christmas list. Happy Holidays! Love ya, Mary xoxox

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