The Power of Moms

 

Entries in Christmas (5)

Thursday
Dec152011

Hand Christmas Trees

We haven't been doing many crafts this month. We have been enjoying reading Christmas books and baking... well I have been baking. I am excited for the day when my kids can help me more! Anyway, we did get this little craft in. I do enjoy making these each year. I love children's hands and it is fun to see how they grow from year to year!

These Hand Christmas Trees and super fun and super easy to make!

To make:

1. Trace 6 hands onto green construction paper.

2. Cut out hands and arrange hands like above, just on top of each other.

3. Glue on another piece of construction paper.

4. Take marker and make a little tree stump.

5. Let kids color, glue on snowflakes, and decorate to their hearts content.

6. Enjoy those skinny or chubby little hands!

Monday
Dec122011

The Christmas Spirit

A few years ago, I came across this article about how to keep the Christmas season focused on Jesus Christ. I thought it was brilliant and kept it in my binder until the day my own children were old enough to start understanding.  Thus, The Christmas Spirit started in our home this week. My oldest just turned four and it kills me that he thinks Christmas is just about getting gifts. I love Santa and the whole hoopla, however, above all, I want my children to understand that we celebrate our Savior.

This year The Christmas Spirit is bringing a nativity set to our home. I found a Melissa and Doug set that was relatively inexpensive and the kids could interact with it. Each day, the kids find a wrapped piece of the Nativity set from the The Christmas Spirit. This gives me an opportunity to discuss the importance of each person in the birth of Christ. Today, my children learned that we celebrate Christ's birth and who Mary and Joseph were. Tomorrow it will be the setting and on and on.

I am also implementing (I'm a little slow!) two other ways to focus on Jesus Christ:

  • Each year we discuss how we give gifts to others, this discussion also includes Jesus Christ. Each family member writes on a piece of paper what "gift" they would like to give Christ for that year. I roll the paper and tie a bow around it. We then place it on the Christmas tree. This year, I am going to keep the rolls of paper after Christmas is over and post our "gifts" in each of our rooms so we can focus on it all year long. For my little kids, I will have them draw it and I will write what it is underneath the picture.
  • Tonight we are going to discuss how Jesus Christ was kind and served all. I am going to show them our "manger" (can be a doll crib or in my case a small box). I am going to ask them if they like a comfy bed or a hard bed... they better say comfy! I am going to encourage each of my family to serve each other and everyone around us. Each time we do, we can put a piece of "straw" in the manger (this can be ribbon, straw from the Fall hay bales you can buy, paper cut into shreds, or in my case raffia that I cut up.) We are going to try to make a comfy "manger" for Jesus. This idea originally came from my parents. I think it worked!

I wold love to hear more ideas! Please leave a comment on how you keep The Christmas Spirit in your home!

 

Thursday
Dec082011

Polar Express Day

We love trains... specifically, my son (and now my daughter) LOVES, LOVES, LOVES trains. Last Christmas, we started a "Train Day." This special day includes the advent book "The Polar Express", a visit to a Christmas train village, a night of "The Polar Express" movie and train rice krispee treats. This year, it may even include a special daddy-son date on a train with Santa. We love it!

Train Rice Krispee Treats:

1. Make batch rice krispee treats

2. Cut out shape by using train cookie cutter

3. Use mints for wheels and use other little candies to decorate.

4. Eat and enjoy!

It's an easy theme to center a fun-filled day around!

Saturday
Dec032011

Merry Monday!

In December, we love to celebrate Merry Monday. It's a night of food, good company, and games. This month I am going to add a spiritual lesson since not only do we want to have fun, but we also want to remember why we are celebrating this season.

This week I kept the food pretty simple. Let's face it, we don't always want to be cooking all day long, especially after the Thanksgiving holiday!

We had very simple Christmas Tree French Toast. I even added pumpkin puree into the egg concoction. They were delicious and easy.

Directions on how to create the shape can be found on this post. It's super easy.

Thank you to Martha Stewart and her team in helping me create these yummy cookies. Everyone loved them!

Stained-Glass Sugar Cookies

Adapted from Everyday Food, December 2011- A Martha Stewart Magazine

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter-room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup very finely crushed hard candy - I used candy canes

To make:

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.

2. Using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy- about 3 minutes. Add egg yolks and vanilla and beat to combine.

3. With mixer on low, gradually add flour mixture and beat to combine.

4. Form dough into 2 disks, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate 30 minutes.

5. Preheat over to 350 degrees. Working with 1 disk at a time, roll out dough between floured parchment paper to 1/8-inch thickness. Stack dough in parchment on a baking sheet; refrigerate until firm, 30 minutes.

6. Cut out dough using any shape you would like. Place cookies, 1 inch apart, on parchment paper. With a smaller cutter, cut out dough in center of each cookie.

7. Bake until cookies are pale but set. Remove sheet from oven; fill cutouts with crushed candy. Bake until cookies begin to brown at edges and candy is melted. Let cool on wire racks.

What I did... I used a nifty cookie cutter that not only cut out the round shape, but also the inner shape. After I baked mine, I found I had a mess of candy cane all over the top of the cookie (it may be because I am not a perfectionist and just spooned in the candy cane and got it all over the cookie.) I found when I turned the cookies over, they looked beautiful!

The game for the evening consisted of Reindeer Bowling. The kids absolutely loved it! You can find the instruction and printouts at Prepared NOT Scared!

Please share some of your celebrations for this Christmas season!!!

 

 

Thursday
Dec012011

Advent Calendars and a Special Gift

Yes, I am alive and kicking. We have been busy preparing for our Christmas season! I started a few advent calendars today, yes... I can't just have one... I have three, although the third won't be made until this evening.

The first one consists of special activities we will do each day. I stole this wood advent from my in-laws. I absolutely loved the designs and had to have it. Thankfully, my in-laws love me! 

As you probably have seen, I love making sweets, but firmly do not believe in letting my children eay junk each day, thus leading me to the decision to create daily activities instead of a daily treat.

 

Some days are crafts, others family time, and other opportunities for us to serve. This year, I am really focusing on helping my children learn that while Santa and presents are fun, we really need be serving and focusing on Christ. It's a daunting task!

A few more of our actives include:

  • Pick out present for sibling
  • Make cards for grandparents
  • See Christmas lights
  • Bake cookies and take them to friends
  • Polar Express movie night
  • Donate toys/books to charity

Our other advent includes my love of reading and collecting books. Each year, I buy our family a special Christmas book. In time, I am hoping to have a great collection.

 Each morning my children will find a box under the tree. In it, will be a special book that we will read that day. I am going to need to make a run to a library to get a few more books to fulfill 25 days.

These boxes are fantastic and they are from Target. I figured it would be much easier and more economical to use the same box each day instead of wrapping each book...  and honestly I don't have the patience to wrap 25 books.

My children loved opening their first book today... it was actually two very special books...

Hallmark has these wonderful books that you can record yourself reading. If you are like me you probably shed a tear or two when you see the commercials. For Valentines last year, my children each received a book with my mother-in-law reading the story. We loved it! My children love to listen to it and I love that they will always have this treasured gift and be able to hear their grandmother's voice. This Christmas, I asked my parents to record books for my children. My parents are 2,000 miles away and now my children can hear grandma and grandpa's voice anytime they wish. Isn't technology awesome!

Happy 1st Day of December and start of the Christmas season!