Chasing Cheerios

Monday, December 26, 2011

So Many Posts To Write

I have so many posts that need to be written (and I should have written before Christmas).  However, finding the time to do it seems impossible.   We've had a very busy and fun Christmas, and the festivities aren't over yet.  I'll be back to share our handmade gifts and finish up our Christmas activities posts in a few days (so you'll have ideas for next year, and so I can look back and remember what we did and what we made).

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Dream Snow & Coffee Filter Snowflakes

Dream Snow was one of our advent books from last week, and we finally found time to do the activity last night!

Cutting snowflakes from coffee filters is one of the simplest activities we've done so far!  It's SO much better than cutting them from typical paper!  We didn't follow any directions, but just folded and cut.  O(5) cut one of hers without folding it at all which she thought was really fun.  E(2) and I cut ours together, and we had fun folding the coffee filters and cutting little triangles all over it.  This is definitely an activity that we'll be doing again this winter.  Maybe next time we'll dip our coffee filters in dye to make rainbow snowflakes!

The Cat Who Climbed The Christmas Tree

We love this book!  When we read it, I tell the girls about how our cat, Gracie, used to climb the Christmas tree when she was a kitten.  This is hard for the girls to believe since our sweet Gracie is now 11 years old and doesn't go near the Christmas tree anymore.

Our go along activity was to make beaded candy canes.  O(5) really enjoyed this activity, and I was so glad because I've offered this craft to her for the past 2 years and she hasn't been interested.  I remember making candy cane ornaments just like this when I was a girl scout, so it's fun to make them with my sweet girls!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Laura's Christmas Star

Laura's Christmas Star was one of our advent books.  I'm sure it's a good book, but we haven't read it yet.  It was our advent book on a very busy day, and we didn't read the book that day....and now I can't find it.

The go-along activity was to make a glitter star wand.  O(5) loved decorating her wand with LOTS of glitter and glue.  E(2) took a nap while O did this, and she hasn't decorated her wand yet. 

Keeping up with our daily Christmas books and activities is harder than I anticipated!  While we make time to read aloud every day, we don't always have time to craft.  Sometimes, it's just more fun to play outside and dance and sing and play dress-up (which is mostly how we spend our days!).

Rudolph Nose Gifts

I put together a bunch of the Rudolph Nose gifts for the girls' cousins and friends, and they are a big hit!  Go to A Little Learning For Two for the cute printable.  Then put the printable, a red balloon, and a glow stick in a ziploc bag.  Done!  This is so simple and so much fun!  Thanks to A Little Learning For Two for this great idea and printable!!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Handprint Reindeer Ornaments

Our 2nd activity after reading our Rudolph books was to make Rudolph handprint ornaments. 

To make these adorable ornaments, I painted the girls hands brown with acrylic craft paint.  I pressed their hands onto white cardstock.  After the paint was dry, they glued the eyes and pompom noses onto the handprint reindeer.  Simple, fast, and fun!

Ice-Cream Cone Christmas Trees

The girls and I spent the day with our cousins on Tuesday.  It was great to see our cousins whom we only see a couple of times a year.  The kids spent most of their time playing outside, dressing up, and putting on shows, but they did enjoy crafting for a little while. 

I saw these upside down ice-cream cone Christmas trees on Pinterest and thought it would be a fun and easy activity for them.  They all really enjoyed decorating their trees, especially since they got to eat them once they were done!

Here are a few of their masterpieces...

A Merry Little Christmas

We love A Merry Little Christmas!  The illustrations are very detailed and adorable. 

Our activity to go along with this book was to attend a family Christmas party :)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Grinch

Watching the Grinch movie is always one of my favorite Christmas activities.  The girls opened the book and watched the movie for an advent activity. 

We made delicious hot chocolate to drink while we watched the movie.  They had whipped cream and crushed peppermint on top of their hot chocolate.  We made chocolate dipped candy canes for them to stir their hot chocolate, but E(2) decided that she did not want her candy cane dipped in chocolate (I was very surprised about that!).  This was a fun and simple advent activity that we plan to repeat every year.

Thumbprint Rudolph Ornaments

We read 2 Rudolph books as our advent books one day last week, and the girls enjoyed both of them.

After we read our books, the girls and I made several Rudolph ornaments.  These thumbprint Rudolph ornaments were the so easy to make and turned out so cute!

To make these ornaments, I painted the girls' thumbs brown and pressed them onto these small glass ball ornaments.  After they dried, I drew in the antlers, eyes, and nose with sharpie markers.  I wrote the girls' names and the year on the back of the ornaments. 

The idea for this ornament came from here via Pinterest.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Glow in the Dark Ornaments

The girls and I always decorate clear glass ornaments by squeezing paint in them and swirling it around.  This year we put a little twist on that activity by using glow in the dark paint.  The girls and I were excited to run to the very dark bathroom to see if the ornaments glowed after we made them...they did!  So, there's another simple, fun, and quick activity for you!

Btw, I bought our glow in the dark paint from the craft section at WM.

Candy Cane Playdough

Homemade playdough makes a wonderful gift, and the girls and I had fun making candy cane playdough for their friends and cousins.  E(2) and I mixed up a batch of vanilla scented playdough while O was at school.  When O(5) got home, we made a batch of peppermint playdough.  We all love playing with the fresh, warm dough. 

I put the jars of candy cane playdough in these gingerbread boxes along with a few cookie cutters.  What a fun and simple Christmas gift!  I hope the girls' friends and cousins love this gift as much as we do!

Here's a link to the post with our basic playdough recipe.  Here's a link to our playdough gift sets from 2010

The idea for putting the candy cane playdough in jars with alternating colors came from Pinterest.  However, I can't find the page that it orginated from...sorry about that.

Toby's Holiday Hugs and Kisses

Both girls LOVE the Toby books, and this Christmas Toby book is no exception.  Most of the Toby books have come from the Dollar Tree (which makes me like them even more since I got a good deal on them!).

The activities of the day were to hug and bake cookies.  I was working on the day of this activity, so my mom baked cookies with the girls.  (I planned it this way, since she loves to bake and I do not).   The girls and their Guhguh loved making forgotten cookies for O's teachers and Elliott's coworkers.  I'm hoping my mom will let me share the recipe in another post because these cookies are divine!!!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

World Vision Gifts

O(5) was excited to choose donations to World Vision for her teachers' gifts this year.  She really enjoyed looking at the pictures of the children and watching the videos before making her choices. 

The Land of the Sweets

The girls are just not very interested in our felt gingerbread village, so I decided to call it "The Land of the Sweets" (like in The Nutcracker ballet) and added a couple of our tiny Nutcrackers to it.  They were a little more interested, but I still like playing with it much more than they do :)

Here and here are previous posts about our felt gingerbread village.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

An Embroidered Nutcracker Doll

I started working on this embroidered Nutcracker doll for O(5) as soon as she got the letter saying she'd be dancing as a mouse and a cherub in The Nutcracker ballet this year! She did a great job, and we were all so proud of her!

I've wanted to embroider a Nutcracker doll for her ever since last year when she was a cherub in The Nutcracker, but I couldn't find a pattern. This year I realized that I could just make my own pattern!

Last year (after Christmas) I bought this wooden Nutcracker (from Michael's) to give to O this year (she LOVED coloring him!). Before I gave it to her, I copied it on a copy machine. I traced the copy with a red transfer pen and ironed the pattern onto a piece of fabric. Then I got to work! It took many, many, many weeks to finish this little guy, but it was totally worth it (I could only work when O was asleep, so she wouldn't see him!). I usually only use the backstitch when I embroider because it's what I'm comfortable with, but I made myself learn the stem stitch and the split stitch (very easy, but more time consuming than the back stitch) as I was making him.

After I finished the embroidery work, my mom swooped in and finished him for me! THANKS, Mom! (I'm never good at the finishing work, but she is perfect at it!). We used a piece of velvety red fabric from one of my old shirts for the back of the Nutcracker, so that he would be super soft for O to snuggle. After I cut the red fabric, my mom pinned the Nutcracker to it back to back, and she then sewed it using the sewing machine. I stuffed him and closed him using the blind stitch (my first time doing this stitch, and it was easier than I thought it would be!).

Here's a pic of his velvety back.

And here's a close-up of his face.

He's not perfect, but O loves him and that's all that matters!  E(2) is planning to be in The Nutcracker when she is 4, so I guess I'll be making another one of these guys in a couple of years!