Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

5 Easy Christmas Advent Calendar Ideas

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012 by by

Do Christmas Advent Calendars sound overwhelming to you?  Don’t let that keep you from trying this great family activity during the holidays because I have created and found some fun easy ideas for you.

Let me ease your mind concerning Advent Calendars by telling you that you can start (more…)


Why I killed Santa Claus

Friday, December 30th, 2011 by by

This year, I got asked a few times, ‘Do your kids still believe in Santa?’ and received quite a few shocked looks to my answer. ‘They never believed.’  What? Why are you stealing the magic of Christmas? What about the wonder and joy of the season? What do you have against Santa?

I’m quite fond of Santa. Here’s how I explained it to my kids: he’s a fun figure who has evolved in our cultural and literary history. He embodies generosity toward children and encourages good behavior. He’s like Thomas the Tank Engine and Bob the Builder.

Believe in fairies and dragons and magic. I do with my heart and enjoy suspending reality for a time. Hear the silent bell ring on the polar express and believe. Enjoy the thought of elves making toys and the stories and lessons you can glean from them like we do from Mother Goose rhymes and other fables.

Then, mindful of the phone calls I’d get from parents if they spilled the beans in pre-school, I strongly encouraged them to go along with it. They were in on the secret, but they shouldn’t tell the other children or it would hurt their feelings.

Rob and I are far too logical, and chances were (and have since proven) our kids would be too. So I had a hard time justifying a ‘bait and switch’ for the season. Here’s how the coming out conversation would have gone. (more…)

Thrifty Thursday – After Christmas Sales

Thursday, December 29th, 2011 by by
Image: Salvatore Vuono /

If you know me, you know I love a deal.  I try to rarely purchase items unless they are on sale.  When can you find some of the biggest sales of the year? Well, if you are shopping for Christmas merchandise, then the best time to do it is after Christmas.

Stores are anxious to unload this year’s Christmas decor, and this is where you can benefit greatly.  But you don’t even have to wait until after Christmas to get the bargains.  Saturday (1 week before Christmas Eve), we went to a home improvement store and saw all their Christmas decor was 50% off. There was still plenty of time to enjoy the items.  We bought another strand of Christmas lights that we needed, some ornaments, and some decorations for our balcony.  Even the live Christmas trees were 50% off, so if you hadn’t bought a tree yet, you could get quite the deal.

I usually find great deals on gift wrap at post-Christmas sales.  I have never actually purchased gift wrap the same year we have used it.  We always use gift wrap from last year’s clearance sales.  Luckily no one notices that our gift wrap is so 2010! (more…)

Handmade Salt Dough Ornaments

Sunday, December 25th, 2011 by by

We made our first batch of salt dough ornaments this week. It was a real trial and error event, but it was fun nonetheless. The kids had a blast, and they never noticed mommy’s gritted teeth or silent cursing.

The dough was easy to make:

  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 cup salt
  • 1-1/2 cups warm water.

The consistency was fine, I thought. However, as I tried to work with it, I realized it needed WAY MORE flour, so I added it as we went along. I put flour on the wax paper, and The Older was able to work pretty well with that. (more…)


Decorating Christmas Stockings

Saturday, December 24th, 2011 by by

We already have our family stockings hung up in our living room, but our family room mantle was looking rather bare. When I was roaming through the dollar store a few weeks ago, I came upon the perfect solution. Stockings! Yup, the dollar store sells these great cream colored stockings that are just begging to be jazzed up.  And that is just what we did.

Your stockings will probably turn out better than ours. I had two three year olds and a one year old doing this activity, and while they had a great time, the finished results weren’t as “nice” as you would get with an older child. If you are more into process than end product, try these with your toddler. If you want things to look a little neater, then do this with kids who are 5 and older.

Supplies You Will Need:

  • Plain white or cream colored stockings
  • Fabric paint
  • Sponge brush
  • Holiday stickers
  • Holiday Stencils (I found cupcake stencils at the dollar store and they worked perfectly)
  • Masking Tape


The Set Up

Friday, December 23rd, 2011 by by

“Hey, Mom! You know what I want for Christmas?”

“Yeah, I’m pretty sure I do.”

“No, you know what I want for Christmas?”

“Yes, Bob. I’ve seen your list many times.”

“Mom, really. You know what I want for Christmas?”

“What, Bob?”

“All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth! Gotcha! I heard that on the radio, Mom.”

Freebie Friday! Christmas Clothespin Wheels

Friday, December 23rd, 2011 by by

This week, I was perusing the internet in search of some new and fun fine motor activities to do with my daughter when I found this cool clothespin activity at Preschool Printables..and another one at Story Time Standouts and then I found these ADORABLE clothespin reindeer on 2 Teaching Mommies…so I decided to combine the three and make my own clothespin wheel activities with a Christmas theme!

These fine motor clothespin wheels can target the following:

  • Christmas vocabulary
  • Letter ID and matching
  • Counting
  • Color ID and matching
  • Answering and asking “wh” questions
  • Describing skills
  • Fine motor and visual motor skills

Christmas Letter Match Up

Reindeer Food Counting & Reindeer Color Matching


  • Print out the pages on card stock, cut out, and laminate for durability
  • You will need 8 clothespins for the Reindeer counting/color activities. Make these reindeer like we did below. Write the numbers 1-8 on them and give each reindeer a nose of a different color (that matches the colors on the wheel)
  • For the Reindeer counting: Have your child count the carrots in each section of the wheel and attach the corresponding clothespin number.
  • For the Reindeer Color matching: Have your child match the reindeer nose color to the colors on the wheel.
  • Other activity idea: Print out two sets of each wheel, cut out each individual “slice” and use them for a memory card game or a “go fish” game. To make it more difficult, instead of just asking for the objects by name, have your child describe them.
  • Other activity idea: To work on describing skills, you can take turns playing “I Spy” by describing the different Christmas objects on the two wheels. When the other player figures out which object it is, he/she can place the clothespin on it.

We had a great time with these. I hope to do them often leading up to Christmas. I could tell it was a good fine motor activity when my daughter told me her fingers were “too small to do it” (her way of saying tired/hurting) after a while!



Thrifty Thursday – Spending Less at Christmas

Thursday, December 22nd, 2011 by by
Image: Danilo Rizzuti /

Christmas is such a joyful time of year, but many people end up in debt because they spend more than they can afford on gifts.  I have been trying to focus more on the meaning of Christmas and less on the aspects that don’t really matter.  I still struggle with this, but have been striving over the past few weeks to have a more simple Christmas season.

Spend Less Money, Spend More Time

If money is tight, or if you are just a saver like me, you need to make some tweaks to how you celebrate.  I completed most of the Christmas shopping for my kids in September.  My local twins club had a used clothing and equipment sale, and I took advantage of that to pick up toys and books to give to the kids for Christmas.  I spent less than $70 and was able to get all the presents for my three girls.  They are still young and will have no idea that the toys are used.  I bought items that were in great condition and some still in the original packaging.  I know they are going to love getting their “new” toys. (more…)

When Santa AND Your Sister Visit

Thursday, December 22nd, 2011 by by

The noose of the holidays squeezed ever more tightly around me last night when, exhausted on the couch, I realized that today was Kellan’s last day of preschool before winter break AND the day of his holiday party.  Their party included a visit from Santa, so it was suggested that parents arrive and park by 8:45, which for me is the equivalent of saying I have to be on a space shuttle at 4:00 a.m.  Mornings are not my strong suit.

Even though I should have put together the teacher presents, packed Kellan’s school bag, and basically gotten us ready for an early morning, LAST night, I opted to heavy-eye-blink my way through “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” instead.  Somehow, watching other people’s breakdowns prevents me from having my own.

Needless to say, this morning was the disastrous rush I’d predicted, but I managed to screech into the parking lot with time to spare and Larissa in tow.  In the parking lot was this baby:

Daddy Santa drives a Caddy!


Christmas Craft: Candy Cane Tree Decorations

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011 by by


  • red and white pipe cleaners
  • scissors
  1. Hold a red pipe cleaner and a white pipe cleaner side-by-side, to make sure that the ends of both are level.
  2. Wind one pipe cleaner around the other until you get to the ends. If there is still some left of one of the pipe cleaners, cut it off to make the tops level.
  3. Cut the entire pipe cleaner spiral in half to make 2 smaller candy canes.
  4. Bend each spiral near the top until you get the shape of a candy cane.
  5. Hang them on the tree.
*This just might be the easiest craft I have ever written about! Just be careful with the little ones, since pipe cleaners are sharp on the ends. The 3-year-olds could follow the instruction of holding it by the middle and not touching the ends, but we agreed to place them high on our tree and keep them there for the safety of our 1-year-old.