Archives for December 2010

Book Advent: Days 4 and 5

Weekends at our house are NOT relaxing!  Usually Mr. Oopsey Daisy is only in town on the weekends, so we are crazy busy running errands, organizing, and just trying to get our "family stuff" done.  We kept our book advent going, but we did activities instead of crafts.
Day 4 - How The Grinch Stole Christmas.  Another genuine classic!  I love all things Dr. Seuss, so I snuck this book into our advent even though I didn't think Little Man would make it through the whole story.  Boy, was I wrong!!  He sat through the whole book and just soaked it up.  He loved it!  For our activity, we watched the movie of How The Grinch Stole Christmas and had a pajama party!
 
While we watched the movie, Little Man's Daddy was putting together a sage bench for me. (I am having way too much fun shopping online, although I think the hubs is getting sick of assembling all of my new furniture!)  Little Man sat in the drawers, called it a "choo-choo-train" and had a great seat for the movie!
Day 5 - How Santa Got His Job.  This is a darling book describing Santa's previous job experiences.  Very, very clever.
For our project, Little Man wrote his first letter to Santa!  Very exciting.  Granted I actually did the writing, but Little Man did hold the pen with me while I wrote!  That explains the messy writing--it's very difficult to write with a toddler's hand in the way!  But he liked helping.  We talked a lot about the gifts he hoped for (gifts that Santa may or may not have already prepared!).  
Isn't the Santa stationary adorable?!  You can download your own stationary at Stay and Play where Holly generously offered her printable!

We'll be back with more crafts tomorrow.
Are you enjoying your own book advent this year?

Handmade Christmas

Today, I am a guest at The Scrap Shoppe, one of my all-time favorite blogs!  Michele is hosting an entire Homemade Christmas series including homemade gifts, recipes, and decor ideas.  I am sharing a piece-of-cake stocking stuffer idea:  These photo bookmarks.  I hope you'll come say hi!  And check out Michele's blog for more fabulous ideas for the next 3 weeks!

Book Advent: Day 3 {Christmas Trees}

It was another fun day in our book advent!  While I am waiting for my library books to come in, I have been relying on all of my own childhood favorites to get us started.  Today, we read The Biggest, Most Beautiful Christmas Tree.  
I adore this story about the animals who decide to decorate the fir tree they live in to attract Santa's attention.  I had to pin down Little Man to listen at first, but he was quickly absorbed.  He was intrigued with the idea of the tree being a house, too.  
Today was all about Christmas trees! These stacking Christmas trees are so fun!  I made them out of paper, although I am imagining a super cute felt version (Someone please try it out and send me pictures!)  I found a pattern to make these here at The Small Object.
I am quite pleased!  These stacking trees are very age-appropriate. Little Man is really into building towers right now, and I have been teaching him about identifying the sizes of items in order to stack them.  He loved stacking the layers of the trees, and he was really concentrating on the task.  It was hard to STOP him when it was time to go to bed.  Of course Little Man found another use for these, too--he loves yelling into the cones!  (It's like a backwards megaphone!)
I actually became a little addicted to making these happy little trees.  I think I ended up with six.  I used all of the My Mind's Eye paper scraps I had left over from this project.
Just in case we didn't get enough Christmas trees today, I dreamed up these little cuties last minute!  I picked up some sugar cones, covered them in frosting, and decorated them with some of our favorite treats.  Little Man is OBSESSED with M&M's, so I know that little tree won't last long.  I will probably munch on the marshmallow tree all day long tomorrow as I unpack my craft room!  I can't wait for Little Man to wake up and discover his yummy M&M Christmas tree!
I am wondering about making these to go along with our gingerbread houses.  The possibilities of candies are endless!
 Enjoy your weekend, my friends!

Book Advent: Day 2 {Jingle Bell bracelets}

Hello, my friends!  Thanks so much for your kind feedback about my Christmas book advent.  I also appreciated the tips for Christmas books, too!  I take your advice seriously, and I've quickly tried to reserve all of your recommendations through my library. Here is our book for Day 2:

Jingle Bells... can you get any more classic than that?!  I actually grew up reading this same Jingle Bells golden book, so it was exciting for me to enjoy this with Little Man now.

To celebrate the story, we made Jingle Bell bracelets.  Mr. Oopsey Daisy gets a little squirmy at the term 'bracelet' for his son... so if he asks, these were musical instruments!  After reading the story, we definitely needed to sing the song.  These jingle bell bracelets added the perfect "jingley" touch!
I saw the idea for these bracelets here at Family Fun.  They are fast and simple to make (just what I needed on a crazy day like today!)  
* Take one piece of pipe cleaner and slide jingle bells along it.  You could add beads, too, for an extra special touch.
* Then take a coordinating piece of pipe cleaner and simply wrap it around the first piece like a snake. 
* Twist your two ends together, and you're all done!  Simple and sweet.
Happy Friday!

Christmas Book Advent: Day 1 {Santa Beard Countdown}

Welcome to Day 1 of our Book & Activity Advent!  It took me all day long to get this little advent rolling, but we made it!!  Our first book ended up being Little Man's bedtime story.  He loved it so much that he insisted on reading it twice and wanted to take it to bed with him.  Success!
Here Comes Santa Claus is a song book--Little Man's favorite!  The words are the lyrics to the popular song "Here Comes Santa Claus", and the illustrations are gorgeous!  I thought this would be a good way to introduce Santa to Little Man.  Even though my singing voice was atrocious, he must have loved it because he demanded an encore!
What better way to begin our book advent than with a little countdown made just for Little Man?!  This activity is something I did each year with my first grade students.  I taught year-round school, and we were off track during the month of December.  This activity was something they completed at home with their families to anticipate Christmas.
Say hello to a less-hairy Santa.  But don't worry, he won't be beardless for long because every day during the month of December, we will be adding a cotton ball to his face to form a fluffy, white beard!
For this project:
* I created this little poem in Photoshop using this Echo Park Paper kit.
* I found a cute Santa face here at Vector Jungle.  I just cut off the beard when I printed it out.
* I mounted all of it on a couple of pieces of green cardstock joined with coordinating scrapbook paper.
* Santa is looking jolly on our refrigerator.
EDITED TO ADD:
If you are having trouble printing the Santa, here are some tips:  Download the entire Christmas clip art pack.  In photo editing software, clip just the Santa face. Then insert into a Microsoft Word document.  Adjust size as needed and print!  I hope this helps!
Little Man loved putting the first cotton ball on Santa's beard tonight with his Daddy.  I have a feeling he will grow to love this even more as the days go on.  Little Man loves his routines!  We have plenty of advents around this house... lots of way to look forward to Christmas!
Come back later for a book and activity for Day 2!
Thanks for reading!
Edited to add:
Of course I would LOVE to share this Santa and the poem with you.  However, the Santa graphic is under copyright at Vector Jungle, and the digital papers that I used for the poem are copyrighted by Echo Park Paper.  I have received several comments from readers creating their own downloads for this activity.  Please be sure you are following the appropriate terms of usage!  We all need to be following copyright laws.  This is why I directed you to the link of the Santa clip rather than offering it as a printable.  Thanks for understanding!

Christmas Book (& Activity!) Advent

I would be foolish indeed to think that I could keep up a regular Mommy School routine this month.  Let's face it--we're all swamped during the holidays!  I want to truly enjoy all of the fun, festive events.  Although I am anxious to dream up fun learning activities and packets, I decided to simplify my life a bit.  I am still unpacking, organizing, PLUS I have some serious shopping to do.  (Not that I'm complaining about the shopping.  Some of it is for myself, so that's fun!)
Instead of Mommy School, I have another plan.  Introducing (drum roll, please!)...
My book advent will be a bit different, however.  In addition to reading a Christmas story each day, we will do some kind of craft, project, or hands-on activity to go along with the book!  I will probably slide some selfish Mommy crafts in with Little Man crafts and other family holiday festivities.  It may be a bit rushed this year, but I am still excited to get started!!
I got the books wrapped during naptime today.  I just made some book number tags and taped them to the books.  So this is what he will see when he wakes up... Are you dying to know what book is wrapped up for Day 1?  Well, stay tuned!  Each day, I will share our book advent adventures!
I have tons of Christmas books from teaching, and I shop the used book sales and constantly pick up more.  PLUS I dominate the library reserve system.  I have been reserving Christmas books for weeks so I could have plenty of options.  I am still waiting on a couple of books to come in from the Library, and I may shift my books a bit.  But here are the books I am planning on including so far:
Santa's Toy Shop
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Frosty the Snowman
Snowmen at Christmas
How Santa Got His Job
If You Take a Mouse to the Movies
Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree
Corduroy's Christmas
What Santa Can't Do
The Mouse Before Christmas
Here Comes Santa Claus
How the Grinch Stole Christmas
The Night Before Christmas
Jingle Bells
The First Night
The Polar Express
Merry Christmas, Curious George
Merry Christmas, Mom and Dad
The Gingerbread Man
The Biggest, Most Beautiful Christmas Tree

Do you have any other favorite Christmas books that would be appropriate for a toddler?  Stay tuned for a report of Day 1!

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