Christmas Craft for Kids to Make

Christmas Craft for Kids to Make

 

The holiday countdown has begun, we’re all very busy getting ready.  We’re shopping, baking, wrapping, decorating, entertaining, and crafting!  I know many of us are trying to get as much done before school lets out for the winter break.

Here are some crafty ideas to keep the kids busy when they’re home and gets them involved in this year’s holiday preparations.

If you’re playing the neighborhood holiday game “You’ve Been Jingled” let the kids join the fun!
They’ll love the idea!  They can help make up the gift baskets and older kids can even drop them off!
They’ll love the idea of ringing a neighbor’s door way and disappearing without being seen!
For FREE game printable click here!

Image from Savvy Nana’s 

Santa Paper Plate Craft

Stock up on paper plates for kids to use in these paper plate elves and snowman from Crafty Morning.  [spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]

Snowman Paper Craft

Stick craft

Pick up some popsicle sticks from the craft store and have kids make these cool ornaments from  Chickabug. [spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bead craft

Buggy and Buddy use beads and pipe cleaners to make these pretty ornaments.[spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]

Pom pom craft

Cut out candy cane and wreath forms from cardboard and have kids glue on pom-poms to make these ornaments.[spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]

 

 

 

Button

Use buttons to make ornaments like this tree ornament by UK Lass in US.

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Dough craft

Make sweet smelling ornaments with this No Cook Cinnamon Salt Dough by Growing a Jeweled Rose.[spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]

 

 

 

 

Paper Towel Roll Craft

Use paper towel rolls to make these star ornaments.  Learn how from Blog a la Cart. [spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]

 

 

 

 

Ornament

Recycle plastic container lids and make this glittery ornament from No Time For Flashcards. [spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reindeer Thumbprint

Thumbprint ornaments are easy to make and will make a wonderful keepsake ornament for years to come.[spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]

 

 

 

 

Reindeer Food

A great activity, have the kids get ready for Santa’s Christmas Eve visit,  make Rudolph and his friends reindeer food.

Get tutorial from Smart Schoolhouse here!

For more holiday craft ideas for kids follow my board on Pinterest!

 

DIY Cookie Exchange!! Free Printables

DIY Cookie Exchange!! Free Printables

Now that Thanksgiving has come and gone we turn our attention to the winter holidays. That means lots of cooking, baking, cleaning, decorating, and shopping going on.  Whether you are celebrating Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukka, or other winter holiday you’re probably wondering how you’re going to fit in all the seasonal activities.

One way to reduce your seasonal cookie baking is to host a cookie exchange and swap baked goods with friends and relatives.  It may take a bit of planning, but at least you’ll only have to bake one type of cookie and still have a variety to enjoy or gift over the holidays.  It’s also a good excuse for a girls day or night out!

Hosting a cookie exchange doesn’t have to be a big fancy affair nor does it have to cost a fortune.
You can easily host one with just your close friends and family on a tight budget.

Here’s a few tips to help you plan your cookie exchange!

1.  Decide who you want to invite.

You may want to keep the party small and intimate to keep it manageable.  It’s probably not the right time to throw a party with 50 of your friends and their families.

2.  Set your date and time.

Send out invitations.  Ideally cookie swap invitations should be sent out a month before, but if you haven’t already done so, you should schedule it as soon as possible so guests can plan to attend. Everyone is busy during the holidays, if your guests are able to attend weekday events it may be easier to have your cookie exchange during the week, otherwise you can schedule a weekend day at least a week before the holiday.

I like to send written invitations, but if you’re pressed for time invitations sent via email or text will do.  How ever you decide to send invitations always request guest to RSVP and if possible let you know what type of cookie they will be bringing.  This will help avoid duplicates and you can gently suggest an alternative before the cookie exchange.

Tell guests they must bring a dozen cookies per guest plus an extra dozen for tasting.  Suggest that the cookies they bring should be easy to pack and store.  You can also ask them to write down the cookie recipe on a recipe card if they want to share it.  Recipe cards can double as table cards and guests can help themselves to a card as well as the cookies.

3.  Bake your cookies.

You can make them well in advance and store baked cookies in the freezer.  Cookie bars freeze and pack well as do chocolate chip, peanut butter, oatmeal, sugar, and snickerdoodles.  For a list of cookies that freeze well check out this article from aboutfood.com.
To learn how to freeze cookies click here!

4.  Purchase packing supplies.

You can use boxes, tins, or even ziplock bags. You may want to provide ribbons, tissue paper, tags, and other supplies so guests can pack up cookies for gift giving.

Favors

You may also want to have small party favors for each guests.  Nicely wrapped oven mitts, kitchen towels, cookie cutters, and wooden spoons are all inexpensive and useful items that would make cute favors.

5.  Decorate your house, cookie and packing table.

Set out platters and stands for the cookies.  To make your own tiered stands click here!

You may want to set up a table or counter to pack cookies aside from the table or tables for the cookies.

Table cards with cookie type is a nice touch, or if guests are bringing recipe cards to share they can double as table cards.  Here’s a cute and festive way to set up table cards, otherwise tent style folding cards work just as well.

Glue 3 candy canes together to form a tripod.  Place table card on the hook part.

6.  Offer guests coffee, tea, hot cocoa, or even wine.

You should also set out a few savory tidbits for guests to snack on.  Finger sandwiches, dips, and other bite sized savories are ideal and will ward off the sugar rush from sampling all those cookies.

7.  The star of the show are the cookies and the main event is the exchange.

Decide how you’re going to work the exchange to allow guests to choose the cookies they want.  You can have a couple of guests at a time choose all their cookies or you can have rounds with each guest choosing a dozen cookies at a time.  Guests can choose the same amount of cookies as they brought.

Free Cookie Exchange Printables from How to Nest for Less
Roasting the Perfect Thanksgiving Turkey

Roasting the Perfect Thanksgiving Turkey

This time of year I get hungry for a juicy turkey dinner!  It’s no wonder, Thanksgiving is right around the corner.  It’s about the only time of year that I roast a whole turkey.

I still remember my first time roasting a turkey, I had no idea what to do.  Over the years I’ve perfected it, and my family expects a Thanksgiving feast every year.

In recent years deep frying turkeys have been real popular.  I’ve heard deep fried turkeys are delicious, but in our family you don’t experiment on a Thanksgiving turkey.  So I’ve always roasted my turkey in the oven using the brown bag method.  I’ve been roasting my turkeys this way for over 30 years.

It’s easy, no basting involved. You just place the turkey, roasting pan, and rack, in to a brown paper bag, slide it in to the oven and roast for the required time. You tear off the bag about 30 minutes before it’s done to get the nice golden brown color.  When the timer rings take the turkey out of the oven and let rest for 15 – 30 minutes before carving.

Trust me you’ll end up with a delicious juicy turkey everytime.  You’re family will love it!

Here are instructions for Savvy Nana’s Brown Bag Roasted Turkey!  Psst!  There’s a roasting chart on that post too!  Believe me it will come in handy!

My 24 pound bird last year.  Perfect!

Last year’s Thanksgiving feast at my house.

Thanksgiving at my daughter’s house in Colorado.  Smaller bird cooked the same way, perfect every time!

15 Cheap Thanksgiving Crafts for Kids

15 Cheap Thanksgiving Crafts for Kids

Thanksgiving is in a couple of weeks, that means the kids will be out of school for the very long weekend.  Keep them busy making fun inexpensive Thanksgiving crafts while you’re busy in the the kitchen preparing that delicious Thanksgiving Day meal.   You can also set a kids’ Thanksgiving table for your little guests and keep them entertained making their own craft projects to take home.

Many of these kid’s crafts are made using things you have at home or inexpensive supplies you can pick up at any discount or dollar store.  Recycle toilet paper and paper towel rolls, paper plates, baby food jars, and bottle caps for these crafts.

Paper Roll Turkey from Arstsy-Farsty Mama is a great way to recycle toilet paper and paper towel rolls.

Instructions here! [spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]

 

These Turkey Glitter Globes from ilovetocreate.com uses empty baby food jars.

Instructions here![spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]

 

 

This Pilgrim Hat crayon holder by The Moody Fashionista would look great on the Kids’ Thanksgiving table.  Make one for each place setting and add a blank rectangular piece of brown Kraft paper.  Kids can make their own placemat!

Instructions here![spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]
Take a tip from Martha Stewart.  Kraft paper placemats on the children’s Thanksgiving table will keep your little guests entertained.  Add the Pilgrim Hat crayon holder and you’ve got a cute and practical table setting.  Kids can take home their crayons and palcemats as party favors!

Instructions here! [spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]

Take a break from making turkeys and make a Paper Pumpkin from All Kids Network.  It uses toilet paper rolls, constructions paper, and tape.

Instructions here! [spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]

 

 

I love this idea from Alittletipsy.com!  Handprint trees!  My grandson made me one for mother’s day using different colors.  My daughter added a poem and had it framed.  It proudly hangs in my family room!

Instructions here! [spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]

A variation on the handprint trees are handprint turkeys!  This craft from Terrific Pre-school Years makes a turkey placemat.

Instructions here! [spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]

More Turkeys!  Make a turkey hand puppet using a paper bag.  Great craft from Learn Create Love.

Instructions here! [spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]

 

 

Another puppet craft from Crafty Morning recycles plastic water bottles.  This craft takes a bit more time as it needs time to dry.

Instructions here!  [spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]

 

 

 

Paper plate turkey from I Heart Crafty Things.  Easy, Fun, and Cheap!

Instructions here![spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]

 

 

Thanksgiving head gear!  Love these Pilgrim Hats from MPMK.  Grandparents can help kids make this!

Instructions here! [spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]

 

 

 

Take the head gear one step up and make this Turkey Pilgrim headband by BigKLittleG. [spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]

 

 

Done with Turkeys?  How about this Native American Headdress by Ankle Biter Art.  Your little Pocahontas will live it!

Instructions here! [spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]

 

 

 

Or forget Pilgrims and turkeys all together and make this Harvest Crown by Dana-Made-It.

Instructions here! [spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]

 

Gum drop turkey by Celeste Rockwood-Jones.  Yummy!

Instructions here!

For Easy Toddle Thanksgiving crafts click here!

For 12 FREE Thanksgiving printables click here!

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade View Tips

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade View Tips

 

Anthony Quintano/Flickr Creative Commons

The annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade heralds in the Christmas Holiday season.  It’s one of the most famous holiday events in the world. Over three million people line the parade route to get a glimpse of celebrities, marching bands, floats,  and the huge floating balloons—Snoopy, Spiderman, Big Bird, Hello Kitty,  and friends.  50 million people are expected to watch it on TV as part of their annual Thanksgiving tradition.

This parade has been a part of my life forever.  I watched is as a child perched high atop my father’s
shoulders.  When we relocated to Hawaii we woke up early Thanksgiving morning to watch it on TV, when I had my own kids we did the same, and now the grand kids watch it every year.  When my youngest child was in her high school’s marching band they marched in this parade.  At that time Pearl City High School had a standing invitation to march in the parade every couple of years, they still may.  This parade is definitely part of our family’s Thanksgiving tradition.  It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving if we miss the parade, live or on TV.

For those of you who will be lucky enough to watch it live this year here are a few tips to help you out.

1.  The fun doesn’t have to begin on Thanksgiving morning.  A pre-Thanksgiving tradition on the Upper west side in watching the balloons get inflated.  For many kids watching the balloons “come to life” is more fun than watching the parade itself.

This Thanksgiving eve event is on November 26, 2014 beginning at 3:00 p.m.  It takes place
along the perimeter of the Museum of Natural History, on 77th and 81st streets between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue.

2.   The 88th. Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is on November 27, 2014.  It begins at 9:00 a.m.

The parade route starts by  heading south down Central Park West from 77th Street, east along Central Park South to Sixth Avenue and then south along Sixth Avenue to West 34th Street.  It ends in front of Macy’s in Herald Square.

3.  Arrive early and bring folding chairs, they will make the wait more comfy.   Crowds start gathering along the route as early as 6am. You’ll want to stake out your spot before 7am if you want the kids to be close enough to be able to see.

4.  Check the weather and dress accordingly.  From the time you stake out your spot until the last float passes by you could be standing out in cold weather for more than 5 hours.  Make sure the kids are dressed warmly and have hats and mittens.  Layering would be a good idea, you can peel them off if it gets warmer as the day wears on.  Bring umbrellas if there is a chance of rain or snow.

5.  Bring essentials such as snacks, camera, extra sweater, a lap blanket may come in handy.  I’d take it easy on drinks, hot or cold, bathrooms may be difficult to get to.

6.  Choose your spot wisely, a spot as far north as possible would be good.  Once the parade starts it takes 90 minutes for the last float to pass by.  If you’re near the beginning of the route you could be done before 11:00 a.m.  If you choose a spot near the end near Macy’s Herald Square you will be waiting much longer and be fighting larger crowds.

There are public viewing spots along Central Park West, on the both sides of the street from 70th Street to Columbus Circle to 65th Street and continuing on the west side of the street down to Columbus Circle. You can try further south along Sixth Avenue between 58th Street and 34th Street

It would be a good idea to stake your spot near a coffee shop or department store, this is a definite must with young kids, you can nip into the shop for a bathroom break when needed.

7.  Know your kids limits.  There’s no harm in bailing out early if it gets too cold or the kids get cranky.  Watching part of the parade is better than nothing, and better than bringing home sick or upset kids.

8.  Treat yourselves to a Thanksgiving Feast, after standing out in the cold for hours you’ve definitely earned it.  For NYC restaurants offering special Thanksgiving meals click here!

9.  Enjoy the other sights and events this city has to offer.  The Christmas Season is one of the most wonderful time of the year to visit the Big Apple.  For a list of NYC Christmas events click here!

 

Best-Ever Spanish Rice

Best-Ever Spanish Rice

Tomato sauce, red bell pepper, and the perfect combo of spices elevate ordinary white rice to a restaurant-worthy side. (It pair perfectly with our chicken fajitas!) Don’t skip toasting the rice! It adds a ton of flavor.

 

INGREDIENTS

2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 medium onion, finely chopped

1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped

2 c. long grain white rice

2 c. low-sodium chicken broth

1 c. tomato sauce

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1 tsp. chili powder

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. dried oregano

1/2 tsp. ground cumin

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 tbsp. freshly chopped cilantro, for garnish

DIRECTIONS

1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, heat oil. Add onion and pepper and cook until softened slightly, 3 to 4 minutes. Add rice and cook, stirring frequently, until toasted, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in chicken broth, tomato puree, lemon juice, chili powder, garlic powder, oregano, and cumin. Season liberally with salt and pepper.

2. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook until all liquid is absorbed, 15 to 18 minutes.

3. Remove from heat and let rest for 3 to 4 minutes, then remove lid and fluff rice with a fork. Top with cilantro and serve immediately.

 

 

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