Wednesday, December 7, 2016

5 Must Read Christmas Books for Kids

Last weekend we put up our tree and decorated the house.  That includes getting out my Christmas books and displaying them in the living room.  I got this Happy Holidays basket a few years ago during an after-Christmas sale.  I use the basket year round by turning it around so the holiday words are facing the wall, or sometimes I remove the liner all together.  I put this basket  in the living room and this is where I placed all our holiday books so they are separate from our other books and the kids can easily see them and read them whenever they want.

Also, this year I went light on the decorations because this little guy wanted to get into everything.

Even had to hang the stocking up extra high so he wouldn't pull them down.  Just look at him on the chair scheming a way to get them.

One thing he is learning to do is to sit still for story time.  It's so cute, he'll bring me a book and snuggle up right next to me on the couch.  He's also finally letting me turn the pages and read the entire story (as long as it's not too long).

So here's my list of must read Christmas books for kids.  Affiliate links provided so you can easily buy these for your own Christmas collection.

This is a fun and silly book great for younger kids.  Just goes to show you how a Dad would do anything for his kids.

We have this in board book form so it's great for babies and toddlers.  It's a cute story about how a gift from the heart means more than all the goodies and festivities at Christmastime.

This has become a classic in our home as well as the movie.  I can't wait to watch the movie this year with our train loving two year old.  One year we did our own version called the "Mini Van Express" where the kids got tickets and we drove around looking at all the Christmas lights.  You can find out all about that adventure HERE.

Another fun book for little kids, even non readers can enjoy this and perhaps look at it on their own, giving you some time to bake or wrap presents.

A collection of stories to read to your kids that illustrate kindness and becoming more like our Savior this Christmas season. 

What are some of your favorite Christmas books to read to your kids?  

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Saturday, December 3, 2016

Reversible Holiday Headbands

It's been a while since my last post and we've had a whirlwind of a Thanksgiving holiday.  A few weeks before Thanksgiving we decided that since the kids had the whole week off school (which rarely happens) that we'd drive to Wyoming to visit my in-laws.  About 70 hours round trip with 4 kids - are we crazy or what?  It actually wasn't that bad.  The 2 year old was our biggest concern and he did great the majority of the time.  We made the trip 4 years ago with one less kid and I vowed to never do it again.  This time the kids were so great, that we are actually planning to go back.  You can click HERE, HERE and HERE to read about our last road trip out west.

Anyway, on to the DIY project.  
Last month my older daughter wanted to do something crafty and asked to check Pinterest.  We found THIS post about how to make these cute reversible fabric headbands.  We decided to make a fall/Christmas one and to make one for each of the girl cousins we'd be seeing on our road trip.  So 3 hours later we had whipped up 8 of these cuties:

We also bought lots of other fabric at the fabric store to make a bunch more in colors to match my daughter's outfits.  I'm just glad we got the fall/Christmas headbands done in time, not sure when we'll get to the rest.  We might have been a little over ambitious in wanting to make so many.  

Fall/Thanksgiving themed headbands:

I love that they are Reversible!

Christmas headbands:

My youngest daughter loves gold, so we made a gold one for her too.  Didn't make this reversible or as thick and it turned out just as cute.

Here are some of the cousins modeling their new headbands just in time for Thanksgiving:

Now that Thanksgiving is done, we can officially switch things over to Christmas.

PIN THIS to make your own!

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Wednesday, November 9, 2016

DIY Wooden Pumpkins

I try to keep most of my fall decor holiday neutral so it can be used for Halloween and Thanksgiving.  I made these cute wooden pumpkins and they've been sitting on my mantle for almost a month.  I finally got around to finishing them off so now I can show them to you.

I started off making 3 pumpkins each painted a different fall color.  The yellow pumpkin didn't look good next to the other two pumpkins so I left it out.  I found the 'joyful thankful blessed' sign (it's actually a magnet) at Hobby Lobby and the colors and size worked great with my set of two pumpkins so I added that to the mix for a Thanksgiving look.

After the pumpkin blocks were painted, I drilled holes in the top and added a branch.  Then I cut up some fabric and tied it around the branch for a leafy effect.  The process of making these is similar to how I made the wooden firecrackers for 4th of July.  You can read all about that HERE.

The pumpkins look great together, but you could also use them on their own.  And the solid orange pumpkin could have a jack o lantern face painted on the other side for Halloween.  Maybe I'll do that next year since I didn't think of it soon enough for this year's Halloween.

Here's what else is on the mantel.  It's a work in progress and every year I hope to add a little more thanks to shopping those after holiday sales.

Here's a close up of the acorns my older daughter painted and glued to a branch.  I mentioned them in my last post HERE.

And here's the front porch.  I removed the two carved pumpkins and put up my "Thankful, Grateful, Blessed" sign that I made a couple of years ago.  I'm amazed it's help up so well and still looks new.  To find out how I made that you can check out THIS POST.  Ignore the dirt in the picture.  That's what happens when you try to plant with a toddler helping you.

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Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Pumpkin painting for Halloween 2016

Two days before Halloween we finally painted our little guy's pumpkin.  Actually he did all the work.   I just set it up and let him have at it.  Of course my youngest daughter wanted to oversee the whole thing.

I was very prepared for any mess that might ensue.  Luckily this was a fairly mess free project.  Who would have thought, painting with a toddler would be mess free?  I laid out an old rug on the patio and then used a large box as a table.  I put the paint on a paper plate, which I held and let the little guy dip into the paint and then paint onto the pumpkin.  

He was very serious about his painting.

We used glow in the dark paint, and in the photo below, you can see that it really does glow in the dark.  It looks better in person though.

It was a fairly warm day for the end of October which meant some bugs came out to entertain the kids.  We must have had hundreds of ladybugs on the back of our house.  The kids also found a colorful caterpillar.

After the pumpkin painting was done, I gave the kids a cup of water and let them 'paint' the box.  As you can tell, we've had fun with this box earlier in the week by coloring all over it and in it.

You can see the pumpkins on display for Halloween night below.  My oldest daughter is a Monarch butterfly, my youngest daughter is a Minion, and my little guy is a little old man.  My 13 year old son was too old to trick or treat so he didn't even get dressed up.  I hate it when they get too old for this fun stuff.  Maybe next year I'll have a Halloween party for the two older kids so they can have fun and get lots of candy too.

My little old man did very well trick or treating.  It was so cute to watch him walk with his cane, and he knew to hold out his candy bag at each house.  

And here's my daughter in her Halloween skirt.  She wore this to school on Halloween day.  We've gotten a lot of mileage out of this skirt.  She's been wearing it since she was 2!  It's time to pass it on to her adorable cousin.

And here's my adorable niece!  Seriously, could she be any cuter?

Hope you all had a fun and candy filled Halloween.

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Friday, October 28, 2016

Trunk or Treat 2016

This year for our church's Trunk or Treat, we decorated our trunk as Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory.

I still can't believe we came up with the idea and made all the decorations the night before.  My oldest daughter and I started brainstorming when she got home from school on Tuesday.  I reminded her that Wednesday is the Trunk or Treat so if we wanted to decorate our car, we need to figure it out now.  She rattled off a few ideas and then I added that I didn't want to go to the store to buy anything so let's use what we have.  Our process changed from thinking of a theme for our trunk to what can we use.  She suggested the big blue bean bag and that it looks like the girl who turned into a blueberry from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.  So we ran with the idea from there.  I tried to add a little scene with each of the kids who toured the factory.  

Augustus Gloop, the one who fell into the chocolate river.  You can see his feet sticking out in the picture below:

Mike TeeVee is pictured here:

Violet Beauregarde and Veruca Salt:

Charlie and Grandpa Joe were hanging from the ceiling (sorry didn't get a good picture of that), they were floating because of the Fizzy Lifting Drinks.  My daughter even drew an Oompa Loompa.

Of course we had to have Wonka Bars.

Here are the kids dressed as a little old man (complete with miniature cane), a minion and a butterfly (it's hard to see her wings but they're there). 

The winner was this nose picking trunk.  The kids had to put their hand up the nose (which felt disgusting my daughter said) and pick their candy.  There was smoke coming out for special effect.  My 2 year old wasn't so sure about sticking his hand up the nose even with his sister's help. 

Not only did the kids get to go trick or treating at the different cars, inside were lots of fun carnival games to play.  Here my daughter and her friend are playing a sucking skittles minute to win it game and a block stacking game. 

Ring toss and bean bag toss were also fun. 

They even had face painting.  

Have you ever done a Trunk or Treat?  I'd love to hear what you decorated your trunk as so go ahead and tell me in the comments or link to your blog post.

And if you are looking for some ideas, be sure to check out previous year's Trunk or Treat ideas by clicking on the links below:

and lots more ideas HERE.

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