Posted in Craft Corner

Christmas Kid Craft Party

This past Saturday I hosted a Christmas craft party for my SURF (Sweet, unique, aRsty, friends) Club. I hosted 14 girls, ages 3 to 11. I created stations and put the girls into groups. It’s the easiest way for me to host this many girls at once. The girls made jars of love, ornaments, and graham cracker houses.

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In my crafting cove, the girls made jars of love as a gift for anyone of their choosing. These are decorated jars filled with rolled slips of paper. Each paper states something positive about the receiver. Some examples for a jar of love to one’s mother might be: “I love your hugs!”, “I love your cooking.”, “I love your piano playing.”, etc.

For this craft I provided the following:

  • small plastic jars (I bought these from Michael’s in a bulk sale; they came in packs of 10)
  • Mod Podge
  • paint brushes
  • small paper plates (for the Mod Podge)
  • tissue paper squares
  • glitter
  • pre-cut strips of paper (I chose scrapbook paper I already had on hand)
  • thin markers and/or pens
  • white gift bags (optional)
  • blank cards with envelopes (optional)
  • Christmas stickers and washi tape (optional)
  • Christmas stamps and black ink pad (optional)
  • Christmas craft punches (optional)
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Two of the girls made their jars for me!

Some of the girls glittered their jars. Others Mod Podged the tissue paper. Both looked pretty. While their jars dried, they wrote on their paper slips and scrolled them up. They also decorated gift bags and made cards so it was a complete gift ready to give.

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“Straten (straighten) my sisters shoes” How sweet is that?

At another station, the girls created ornaments from craft kits I bought from Hobby Lobby. The pieces had sticky backs so no glue was necessary. I provided markers for coloring. I also provided paper snowflakes and we discussed how December 1st was Worldwide Service Day. Each girl wrote acts of service she would try to do at home or in her community this week.

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At the kitchen table, my daughter supervised the graham cracker houses. For this project I provided:

  • Graham crackers
  • Vanilla frosting
  • Toothpicks
  • Plastic knives
  • Sandwich bags (for makeshift frosting bags)
  • Mini marshmallows (the fruity kind)
  • Mini chocolate chips
  • Smarties, Red Hots, Sixlets, gummy bears, and other small candies
  • Christmas sprinkles
  • Paper or foam plates (I bought the oval shaped ones)

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For many of the girls, it was easier to make tents.

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The last station was for the wish ornaments. A wish ornament simply contains a written wish scrolled up inside it. For this craft I provided:

  • plastic ornament bulbs (purchased in a set of 25 from Michael’s)
  • craft snow confetti
  • tiny beads
  • sequins
  • anything miniature and Christmasy from my craft supplies
  • pre-cut strips of paper (I chose Christmas scrapbook paper)
  • thin markers and/or pens

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The girls filled their bulbs as they chose. They also wrote a wish on a piece of paper and scrolled it up. Since this station didn’t take as long as the others, the girls also made a get well poster for a club member who was sick and missing out on the fun.

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To help the girls keep their creations together in one place, I always provide an extra table. I gave each girl a gift sack to collect their ornaments. That made it easy for them to bring them home as well.

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The girls also had a snack. One mom was kind enough to make these delightful wreaths out of crispy noodles. Yum! There was also cheese and crackers, apple and orange slices, and juice.

♥ Merry Christmas Everyone! Thanks so much for reading. I’d love to hear from you. Will you be hosting a Christmas party this year? ♥

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Posted in Family Corner

Merry Christmas!

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One of my Christmas displays

This Christmas season has just flown by! I’ve been so busy that I’ve barely had time to think about my blog, let alone sit down and post anything. There is so much going on in my life right now, besides Christmas, but my focus is on spending time with my husband and children. I have everyone under one roof at the moment and that is rare these days. In just a few weeks time, my sweet youngest daughter will leave on her mission, and if all goes as we hope, next year we will be building a home near my aging mother-in-law. We are running into a few snags, but I have faith all will work out as it’s meant to be.

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Sisters baking together

My daughters baked a kazillion sugar cookies and gingerbread people on Wednesday for our little girl craft party on Thursday. We hosted seven little neighbor girls and it was so much fun. I love my craft parties with these sweet little girls. They are so creative! They made penguins, snow globes, wreath and snowmen ornaments. Then they decorated cookies to their hearts content.

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I miss having young children of my own, so spending time with littles and watching them create adorable things just makes me happy!

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Our Christ tree

♥ I am thankful for this time of year to remember the birth of a very special baby. We have this little tabletop tree and each of the ornaments on it feature a name of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Every night we unwrap a Christ ornament (the rectangle ones made out of Jenga blocks; we made these last year as a twelve-day of Christmas tradition) and read the scripture verse that goes with it. It ends our day on a spiritual note, reminding us of the true meaning of this season. ♥ Merry Christmas and thank you for your support of my blog. ♥

Posted in Family Corner

Our Favorite Christmas Storybooks

We have a tradition of reading one Christmas story each night leading up to Christmas Eve (when we read the Christmas Story out of the scriptures). I thought I’d share the storybooks we cherish the most at this time of year, the ones that remind us of the true spirit and meaning of Christmas:

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The Light of Christmas, by Richard Paul Evans. A young boy discovers that the truest gifts come from selfless acts of kindness.

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The Miracle Maker, by Ann Acton. A little town learns how one person can make a difference just by believing

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Our beloved prophet, Thomas S. Monson, shares a childhood story, when he learned that giving is sweeter than receiving. The Christmas Train, by Thomas S. Monson.

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This is also a true story. It’s the sweet story of the candy bomber. This story is read by Tom Brokaw on a DVD.

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A lovely story where a Primary class focuses on the spirit of Christmas together. The Mismatched Nativity, by Merrilee Boyack.

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If you’ve ever wondered what might have happened with the three gifts given to baby Jesus by the Magi, than this story is for you! The Three Gifts, by Patricia Cook Orr.

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God Bless Us Every One is the story of how A Christmas Carol came to be written. This book is lovely because it comes with a DVD featuring The Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

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Christmas Oranges is the story of an orphan girl who receives the sweet gift of friendship at Christmas. This book is retold by Linda Bethers.

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I love this book because it’s one of my favorite Christmas carols: Good King Wenceslas. This includes a DVD of Jane Seymour narrating along with The Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

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This is the story that has been with us since the beginning of our tradition. It’s the heartwarming story of a young couple who each sacrifices for the other at Christmas. The Gift of the Magi, by O. Henry.

♥ We have finally received lasting snow here in Utah this winter! I’ll try to post some photos in an upcoming post. Thanks for reading, and feel free to share a few of your favorite Christmas storybooks. ♥

Posted in Blessings Corner, My 52 Stories

November Blessings- Day 30 (Our Christmas Traditions)

First off, I want to thank my readers for supporting me through a month of daily posting (although I technically cheated for 5 of those days so I could enjoy Thanksgiving with my family). I may never post every day for a month again, haha, but it did help me catch up on my 52 Stories which was my goal.

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Last Christmas. I need to hang these bulbs up again and we’re still waiting for snow. Looks like a late winter here this year.

I thought I’d make my last November Blessing post about my family’s Christmas traditions. I didn’t have any to carry over from my childhood, that I liked anyway. I just didn’t have one of those kind of childhoods. But, that just meant I had a blank slate to start my own traditions with my husband and my children. So, without further ado…

  • Every night leading up to Christmas Eve, we read a Christmas story. We have a binder which includes each story typed out, plus a scripture verse and carol, but last year I wrapped up all the Christmas story books we’ve collected over the years and we unwrapped one to read each night.
  • We have quite the collection of Christmas movies in our home library and that is pretty much all we watch all December long. My all-time favorite is White Christmas.
  • Every year my kids each get a new ornament for our family tree. They each have their own ornament box to keep their collection in.
  • We send out family photo cards to friends and extended family. Some years, this has been an e-card instead and some years we’ve written up a newsletter.
  • We bake batches of cookies, and sometimes candy and make up plates for our neighbors.
  • We see one play, ballet or concert as a family. Sometimes it’s The Nutcracker. Sometimes it’s A Christmas Carol. This year it’s the Mannheim Steamroller concert.
  • For several years now, the boys have given to the girls and the girls to the boys. So, my two daughters team up and give a gift to their two brothers, and the boys do the same for their sisters.
  • I fully decorate our house inside and out. I have close to 20 Christmas containers full of decorations and such. I have several Peruvian nativities.
  • In the past few years my daughters and I have hosted a little girl Christmas craft party. We have little neighbor girls over to make ornaments and decorate sugar cookies.
  • We play Secret Santa to one family in need. We love selecting special gifts, wrapping them, and figuring out how to deliver them anonymously.

On Christmas Eve we spend most of the day celebrating Marcus’ birthday. Sometimes we go see a movie he wants us to see. We have birthday cake and birthday presents, wrapped in birthday paper. Then, we eat a delicious prime rib dinner my husband cooks for us. After dinner, we each open one gift, a new pair of pajamas. After we’ve changed into our pajamas, we read the Christmas Story out of the scriptures (we actually have a special binder for this) and sing carols in between parts. My kids tell me this is their favorite tradition of all.

♥ I’d love to hear one or two of your Christmas traditions. ♥

Posted in Blessings Corner, My 52 Stories

November Blessings- Day 29 (Next Year Will Be An Adventure)

I’m sitting in the passenger seat of my husband’s truck. It’s just after 7pm and we are in the middle of “moderate” Salt Lake traffic on the freeway. We (my husband, Marcus and I) are on our way home from visiting my mother-in-law for three days. We are planning to move close to her next year so this was to get that ball rolling on her end. We saw 2 builders and drove around looking at potential land to build on. 0332496D-6CFB-4276-8C6C-78ADD92E717C
We have never ever built a home before so this will be a new experience for us. It feels both overwhelming and exciting at the same time.  The second builder we met with gave us some advice. He told us to send him photos of details we like that we want to incorporate. He also sent us to a website of home plans we could choose from and he can modify them. Or we could have our own draw up. Any advice from those who have “been there, done that” would be appreciated.

♥ So that is a little of what is going on with us. How about you? Who is excited for Christmas? Marcus goes on a campout this weekend to cut down Christmas trees for neighbors who have ordered one. He’s going to choose our tree as well. 🎄

Posted in Blessings Corner

November Blessings- Day 27 (This Christmas, #Light the World)

#Light the World is a campaign to help us remember the true reason we celebrate Christmas by little acts of kindness and Christlike service within our communities. It’s something we can do together with our families. If you’d like to participate in the #Light the World campaign, please visit Mormon.org for a calendar and ideas. The daily videos are really sweet to watch.

 

 

 

Posted in Blessings Corner

November Blessings- Day 26 (Our Family Christmas Card Photo)

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How was your Thanksgiving? Mine was really nice. All of my kids were home (at least for dinner) and my mother and her husband joined us as well. My sweet youngest daughter is now on her way back to her college apartment. It was so lovely to have her home for five days. We had to find a time to squeeze in our family Christmas photo because my oldest daughter’s work schedule was crazy. I think this one is our winner. I enjoy mailing out Christmas cards with a family photo. There were some years, such as when we lived in Peru, when I had to make do with e-cards. There are some fun e-cards out there, I must say.

♥ Do you mail out Christmas cards with a family photo? Or do you write a letter recapping the year’s events or everyone’s growth? I’d love to hear! ♥