Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas Countdown: Day 22!

Today's craft is one that has the potential to get a little messy, especially when you are working with kids who have insanely ticklish feet like mine. But, footprint and handprint crafts are some of my favourites to make with my kids. To be able to look back on crafts from years past and have a visual of just how much your kids have grown is a sweet reminder of the babies they used to be. Plus, there is just something so adorable about chubby little baby/toddler feet and hands!

So, for today's Christmas craft we made...


This craft is actually very easy, once you get past the wrangling you squirmy kids and letting them paint their chubby little foot. 

What You Need:

A piece of paper (any colour, really)
Green paint
Red paint
Paint brush

How To:

Paint your child's foot with the green paint and then press it onto the piece of paper. For us, it was easier for me to have them sit on my lap and then press the foot onto the paper (with a book behind for support). I've tried having my toddler stand and press his foot onto a piece of paper on the floor, but that never turns out for us.

Once you have both footprints on the paper paint on a red bow and TA-DA! You have a rather cute pair of "mistletoes"!

Christmas Countdown: Day 21

We've had a dramatic weekend, which has inhibited my posting. Friday dawned with excitement as we anxiously waited for Papa Bee to be done work and on Christmas holidays for 12 blissful days. But, the excitement soon turned to dread as we discovered some issues with our only vehicle. Long story short, I ended up at the side of the road in a snow storm with no power steering on our van. So, now we have a van out of commission while we try to get it fixed and keep throwing money at it. What a crappy thing to have happen so soon to Christmas when we have so much driving/visiting to do.

But, I keep trying to look on the bright side and tell myself that at least Baby and Toddler Bee weren't in the car with me; at least it wasn't a serious accident; and thankfully we have the means to get it sorted out.

We're trying not to focus on the negative and enjoy the holiday but Papa Bee is pretty stressed out.

So, with a car out of work and Papa Bee running around trying to save our van in a rental car, I was stranded at home with two little Bees. A perfect opportunity to do some more Christmas crafts!

Our crafts were a little different this day. Not so much a keepsake as a learning opportunity.

We worked with scraps of green paper to arrange Christmas trees from longest to shortest. You could, of course, paste these onto paper and decorate them, but Toddler Bee had more fun creating different trees.

After that, I drew some basic snowflake shapes (in pencil) onto a piece of paper. Then, I gave Toddler Bee a Q-Tip and some white paint and instructed him to add dots onto the lines. This one worked on following instructions (something my strong-willed toddler has issues with from time to time) and also worked on his precision and fine motor skills.

After that, I drew snowmen onto a piece of paper and gave them different colored scarves. Then, I cut out hats in similar colours and had Toddler Bee match the correct hat to the correct scarf. I forgot to take a picture of this craft, but I'm sure you get the idea.

And what better way to end some crafting than with Jelly Beans! I gave my toddler a package of jelly beans and had him sort them by their colours into piles. Then, he got to pick a colour to eat. Of course, I forgot to take a picture of this part too...

Crafts can sometimes be the perfect opportunity to teach you little ones. Really, any situation can turn into a learning opportunity!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Christmas Countdown: Day 20!

Christmas is just right around the corner and this morning we woke up to a fresh blanket of snow on the ground. Toddler Bee yelled in excitement as he looked out the window and proclaimed that today he wanted to make a snowman and a snowball.

Unfortunately, by the time the lunch hour had rolled around there wasn't much snow on the ground and things were back to looking a little green *sigh*

But, we didn't let that stop us from making a snowman!

Enter the...

Puffy Paint Snowman!

What You Need:

White shaving foam
White school glue
Black paint
Orange paint
Snowman accessories (drawn, painted or cut out)

How To:

Mix roughly equal amounts of shaving foam and white glue in a bowl. Mix it well!

Then, on a piece of paper, draw! It's really that simple. We tried using a paint brush but Toddler Bee found it easier to just smear the "paint" around with his fingers. 

Leave it to dry, add some accessories, and TA-DA! You have a snowman on a not-so-snowy day.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Christmas Countdown: Day 19.5

Earlier in the day I posted about the Grinch Themed day we had. Well, as dinnertime began to roll around I looked at the meal I had planned for tonight and thought, "Hey! I could make this Grinchy!" So, what started out as a plain ol' ham dinner turned into a Roast Beast dinner, accompanied with a side of Who Hash and Mashed Who-tatoes! And, let's not forget a cool glass of Who Nog (aka milk with green food colouring).

When my husband sat down to the table he said, "Looks great, hunny, and smells delicious."
When my toddler sat down to the table he took one look at the platter of food and said, "HEY! It's just like The Grinch! Can of Beast!"
My toddler, he gets me.

Christmas Countdown: Day 19!

Today's activities are ones I had been planning since the start of the holiday season. But, we don't own a book copy of How The Grinch Stole Christmas. So, I placed a hold for a library copy and waited...and waited...and waited. When I checked my status online I was the 4th or 5th hold on the book and it wasn't due back until after Christmas. Doing this after Christmas obviously doesn't fit in with the whole Christmas countdown craft thing; so, I asked my Mom if she had a copy we could borrow and crossed my fingers. Luckily, she came through!

So, today we had...

A Very Grinchy Day

Surprisingly, there weren't many Grinch-themed crafts on Pinterest that I could find and even fewer that were age appropriate for my little ones. So, I had to do a bit of thinking.

Of course, we started out by reading the story.

And after that got us in a Grinchy mood we decided to do some green baking. Enter, The Grinch Cakes:

White cake dyed green, topped with dyed green frosting and crushed mint candies.

While we let those settle in our tummies we worked on some Grinchy crafts. This idea came to me last night when I was thinking over ideas I could do today. It's much the same as the handprint Santa we make, only this is a handprint Grinchy Claus!

He's smiling because his heart already grew!
To make it, just paint the palm of your child's hand green and their fingers white (you may also want to make the space just above the fingers white so the beard is connected together). Press onto paper and then add yellow eyes, a Grinch smile and nose, and a Santa hat.

This next craft is based on an idea I saw on Pinterest. In that craft, children listed things they would do to make the Grinch smile. But, since I'm working with a pretty young audience, I decided to go a different route. 

We made our little Grinch and gave him two different sides. On one side, he's a happy Grinch:

On this side, I listed all the things my toddler told me made him happy. It was adorable to listen to all the things that make his little self a happy boy. Some items include: His mom, dad, and sister; cake!; food!; books; the library; the Christmas tree; cars...and more and more.

On the other side, our Grinch was very Grinchy. On this side, I wrote down all the things my toddler said made him sad/angry. Some of which include: when you don't share; people taking toys; no treats; time outs; monsters; and scary noises.

It was so interesting to hear his unprompted answers and it's a good exercise to get kids talking about/understanding feelings. Oh, the mind of a toddler.

After that, we sat down to watch How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Toddler Bee will only watch the animated version and shuns the version with Jim Carrey. Which is fine by me because the cartoon version is a mere 20-ish minutes long.

There were other crafts on the agenda but by the time we got done the above activities interspersed with the usual daily happenings it was getting on in the day and the kids were getting ready to wind down. But, I still have a few plans and if I am able to fit them in tonight I will post a Part 2 tomorrow.

But, for now, I think our first Grinchy Day was a success!

Plus, check out this cake we made today:

Not at all related to our Grinch Day (unless you call it a Holly Who Wreath!!) but it's lovely and I am so happy with the way it turned out!

Christmas Countdown: Day 18!

I originally planned to do this craft a few days ago but discovered I had run out of salt. No matter, I thought to myself, I'll just use sugar! I mean, it's not all that different from salt...they're both grainy, they're both white...this will work!


Sure, it worked in a way...and by"worked" I mean made a very sticky, porridge-like slop. No matter how much flour I added to try to counteract the stickiness it would not bind like it was supposed to. So, the craft was placed on hold until I bought myself some more salt.

Which brings us to today! I finally had some salt and was all set to make some:

Candycane Playdough!

I started out making homemade playdough when my son was but a little, wobbly baby. I was looking for something fun for him to do that didn't involve the usual noisy toys. He was the type of infant who explored and learned by eating things. No matter what it was it always seemed to find a way into his mouth. So, when we began crafting together I made most of our art supplies - from paint to playdough. That way, I didn't have to worry about what was in it when it inevitably found its way into my toddler's digestive system.

I explored and experimented with several different techniques before settling on one that worked well for us. First, I started out making a cooked playdough, which was fine when Toddler Bee was younger and not quite ready to be a kitchen helper. Now, we do a no-cooking method so he can get his anxious little hands right in there. We don't make our own playdough as often anymore but this recipe, with it's Christmas colours, glitters, and minty smell, are a Christmas tradition in our household. And gave a perfect opportunity to introduce Baby Bee to playdough!

What You Need:

1 cup flour
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup salt
Food colouring (we used green)
1 tbsp cooking oil (or baby oil)

Peppermint extract (amt. depends on preference)

*Some recipes use cream of tartar, but I never have that on hand so it's not included. You can add it if you want your playdough to last longer. Ours never lasts more than a few days before it's so mangled/squished onto the floor that it can't be used.*

How To:

In a large bowl combine your flour, water, oil, salt, and peppermint extract. Mix with a spoon until cooled enough to handle. If your dough is too dry add some more boiled water. If too sticky, add some more flour.
Yes, it looks slightly suspicious...but it gets better!
Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until it holds together and resembles a smooth dough. Ours was still a bit too sticky so we added some more flour.

*Homemade playdough will not have the same feel as store bought (it's much softer).*

Divide your dough in half and set one section aside. Using the other section, form it into a ball and then use your finger to create a well in the middle. Add your food colouring to this well. I used 6 drops of green. 

Carefully fold the dough in half so your well is now covered. Repeat this folding and watch as the colour spreads. If you do this carefully you shouldn't get any staining on your hands. You can always wear gloves or place your dough in a Ziploc bag for this stage. (This took some trial and error for me when I first started making my own playdough).

Add some glitter to the playdough you left white, folding it over like you did with the dyed section.

The glitter is hard to see in the photo, but it IS there!
And ta-da! You have some lovely Christmas playdough! Like I mentioned above, this playdough will last a few days in the fridge or in a airtight container on the counter. If it gets too runny just add some flour to it. Ours usually gets tossed after a few days because playdough never lasts long in this house.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Christmas Countdown: Day 17!

The inspiration for this craft comes from my own childhood. I can remember being a little girl and making an ornament in one of my classes to take home to my parents. I very specifically remember wearing a shirt or dress with a white ruffly collar...and having a nosebleed. Nothing says "Merry Christmas" like an ornament with a picture of your kid's bloody nose!

So, when I was making my list of Christmas crafts to do with my own kids this year this craft popped into my head. It's somewhat incomplete because I had to order photos since our printer ran out of ink; but, you get the general idea. And there weren't even any nosebleeds involved!

Tissue Paper Wreath Ornament

What You Need:

Thin cardboard or stiff paper
Green paint
Green tissue paper
Red tissue paper
White glue
A pencil (unsharpened)
A large mug and a smaller cup
Xacto Knife

How to:

Use your large mug to trace a circle onto your cardboard. I had one mug that was the perfect size for this but you could make them larger or smaller depending on your preference.

Then, using your smaller cup, trace a second circle inside of the larger one.

Use an Xacto knife to cut out the inner most circle so that you are left with a wreath shaped ring.

Then, paint this circle green. While that dries, take your tissue paper and cut it into small squares or rectangles. They don't have to be exactly the same size but you don't want to vary them too much. We tried ripping them first but that made them too uneven. At first, I was going to do the "ornaments" on the wreath in different colours but decided I liked just the red best, so I didn't use the other ones I had cut out.

Once your rings are dry, squeeze some glue onto a scrap piece of paper or cardboard. Then, you just pick up a piece of your green tissue paper, place the pencil in the center and fold/wrap the tissue paper around it. Then, dip the end in the glue and press it onto your ring. 

We had some instances where the paper ripped or the pencil stuck but I just pushed the tissue paper into place with a toothpick when that happened. 

Add your green tissue paper to the entire wreath shape. It doesn't have to be totally filled because you'll be adding some red. You don't need to put the piece too close together, either, because they fluff out.

Once you have your green tissue paper placed you can add in some red, using the same method mentioned before.

Then, just let it dry! You can print a photo and glue it to the back of the wreath so the image shows through the middle of the wreath. Then, just add  some ribbon to the top and you have a lovely keepsake ornament! These are perfect to hand out as gifts, too, because you can add any image to the middle or no image at all.

Christmas Countdown: Day 16!

Since half the Bee family was out with a nasty stomach bug this weekend I needed an activity that would keep the kids occupied but that would allow Mama and Papa Bee to stay on the couch and complain of how ill they were feeling.

A perfect day for...

Penguin Bowling!

I had started the preparations for this craft a few days ago but one thing or another came up and it didn't get finished. But, it turned out to be the perfect thing for a lazy Sunday. And, it's very easy to create!

All You Need:

Toilet paper rolls or paper towel rolls
Black, white, blue, and orange paint
Paint brushes
An old white sock
Black and red markers
A round Christmas ornament

How To:

You can either leave your toilet paper rolls all the same size or trim them to be different sizes; I trimmed mine down to different sizes...and they weren't all even.

Then, you paint them black (leaving an unpainted arch for the white belly) and then paint the belly white.

Once the paint is dry, you can add on some eyes and a beak.

For your "bowling ball" you will take your old sock and stuff the Christmas ornament into the toe of it. Then, just wrap the sock around and fit the open end over the ball as best you can. It may take some tugging and arranging to get it to stay. Then, draw on a snowman face with your markers.

And then go bowling!

If you have older kids you could always weigh down your penguins by sealing them and stuffing them with something heavy like rice or beans. And, you can add number points to the back if you want to make it a more competitive game. My kids were just happy to throw the snowman at the poor, unsuspecting penguins.  I will blame the fact that I was sick on my inability to knock down more than one penguin from a distance of two feet away...

For the snowman ball, you could always use a plain ornament or any kind of ball, really. Let your imagination take you wherever! 

Christmas Countdown: Day 15!

As Saturday rolled around the entire Bee Family seemed to be on the mend from the cold that has been a resident in our house for about a week. So, we headed out for a fun-filled family day. All was well, the kids were happy and Mama and Papa Bee were happy to see the babies so happy. Then, the evening rolled around and Papa Bee started to complain of feeling poorly...and then Mama Bee started to feel the same way. Suffice to say, the rest of the weekend was spent with both parents curled up on the couch barely able to move. A nice weekend gone wrong.

So, the weekend's crafts were on the simple side but very needed as the poor Junior Bees were being well behaved but were parked in front of the TV all day.

So, we have...

Salt Painting Snowflakes!

What You Need:

Regular table salt
White school glue
Acrylic paints
Stiff paper
Bowls and spoons, or droppers

How To:

On a stiff piece of paper, draw your snowflake shapes in white glue. Then, sprinkle your salt over this. Sprinkle enough salt so that all of the snowflakes/glue are covered. You probably won't want to use regular computer paper because it's so thin that when you get to the painting it will leak though. 

Then, mix some acrylic paint in bowls with a small bit of water. Not too much water, mind. Then, using spoons or droppers, drop small amount of water onto the snowflakes. I was worried around  Toddler Bee just dumping awesome amounts of paint onto the snowflakes, but he was so interested in seeing the paint colours spread that he dropped on teeny tiny amounts of paint at a time. 

Just keep adding colours until you like the way it looks. But, remember that since the paint is watered down it will soak through a little more than paint normally would (that's why we did little drops at a time). Once you're done, just let it dry! It's normal for some salt to fall off as it starts to dry but it's best to leave it lying flat until it is fully dry.

And there you have some easy and pretty salt painting snowflakes!

Toddler Bee likes this one because he enjoys watching the paint spread through the salt and the way the colours mix together. I liked it because it's pretty easy and not too messy. It's a win-win for everyone!

Christmas Countdown: Day 14!

I had been planning on doing this craft ever since Thanksgiving and it never happened. But, it worked out wonderfully for Christmas instead!

Plus, it's a craft that involves getting messy with paint and glitter, which makes it automatically a hit in my household. All the needed supplies can easily be found around your house, too!

Toilet Paper Roll Napkin Rings

Really, just looking at the picture is pretty self explanitory. You simply take toilet paper rolls (or paper towel rolls) and cut them to your desired size. Then, either let your child paint on the rolls using a paint brush or, do like I did, and add some globs of paint onto a piece of cardboard and let your toddler roll the tubes in that. Then, when the paint was still wet, we just sprinkled on some glitter!

And there you have some very easy napkin rings to spruce up your holiday table!

Christmas Countdown: Day 13!

Many of the Christmas ornaments on our tree are ones my children have made. It's so nice to look at the tree and see all these little reminders of times spent with my children. And, my toddler always points out the ones he has made and which are his favourites. I like when there is sentimentality attached to ornaments, especially if they are able to passed on.

Plus, homemade ornaments are much cheaper and you can design and create them in any way you want!

Our latest ornament is one I have seen floating around the internet for some time and, since our house is riddled with a nasty cold, it seemed like a perfect time to give it a try. 

So we have...

Snowman Ornaments

What You Need:

Hot glue gun
Wax paper
Black paint or markers
Orange paint, markers, or paper
String or pipe cleaners

How To:

This craft really is super simple. You just make a circle of hot glue on your wax paper and fill it in. I made one snowman where I smoothed out the glue with a popsicle stick but it actually ends up looking better if you just leave it to settle on its own.

When the glue is still semi-wet you just paint on the snowman's face! 

Then, either hot glue string onto the back or, do like I did, and poke a hole in the top and thread a pipe cleaner through.

And there you have a very easy and pretty cute snowman ornaments You could add a little pipe, a hat, flowers, anything, really!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Christmas Countdown: Day 12!

A bout of winter colds has been running through our household the past week or so. So, our crafts have been pretty easy. And, of course, now that the kids are on the mend the parents are getting sick. Poor Toddler Bee is getting pretty stir crazy because all Mama Bee wants to do is sit around and complain.

So, what is a perfect solution for a bored toddler and a sick Mama? Crafts! Preferably crafts that require minimal work and a chair to sit on.

And so...

Winter Scenes

Snowglobes are one of my absolute favourite things ever. I've liked them as long as I can remember and am always on the lookout for pretty ones. I saw on the Martha Stewart website a craft that involved making your own snowglobes and I thought that would be perfect to do with Toddler Bee! 

What You Need:

An empty and clean glass jar with lid
Winter figures
Hot glue

How To:

I ended up not adding water to this because I wasn't sure how the figures would holdup submerged for long periods of time. The tree I used has wire in it and I was worried it would start to rust or that the water would turn all gross. So, this is more of a winter scene than a snowglobe.

First, I took an empty jar (mine was a pickle jar). Then, when my husband was out of the house, I stole a fake tree from his Christmas village and hacked part of it off to make it fit in the jar. I hot glued it back onto it's base and then hot glued that to the lid of the jar. (Sorry about taking the village tree, dear.)

Then, I took a little snowman figure and hot glued him on the lid near the tree. At this point Toddler Bee decided that that was enough for his winter scene and so we added some fake snow and called it a day.

You could add anything to these! I may experiment with adding water and glitter at a later date.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Christmas Countdown: Day 11!

We worked on three Christmas crafts today! They all seemed like fairly easy crafts until it came time to actually make them; then, we discovered the road to Christmas crafts is fraught with crafty mishaps. But, I am never (or rarely never) one to let minor setbacks deter me and the crafts were all finished in the end. And, the thing about making mistakes is that you can learn from the for next year and (hopefully) not repeat them!

So, on to our first craft...

Candy Ornaments

I can remember melting mint candies as a child with my Mom to hang on our tree. So, when I saw something similar on Pinterest I knew I had to give it a try with my own little ones. Today while out running errands I finally rememberd to pick up some mints and since it was a cold day and I wanted to keep the kids inside I decided it was the perfect time to make some ornaments!

The process really does seem easy. All you need are hard mint candies, wax paper, a baking sheet, and ribbon.

You just arrange your mints on the wax paper lined baking sheet so that they are all touching. We did a red wreath and a green Christmas tree. You could make anything you like - from single mints (like we did when I was a kid) to you initials.

Then, you pop them in a 250F oven until they have started to melt and stick together. When I turned my own on to preheat I was soon greeted by a campfire smell. When I opened the oven door I found a small fire, started by a piece of paper resting against the element. That part is not crucial to this craft and I do not recommend you follow it...
Anyway, I left my mints a little too long and they had started to run a little too close together. But, that was an easy fix! I just used a popsicle stick to widen the hole in the centre of my wreath and the problem was solved.

For my Christmas tree I wanted to be able to hang it; so, I took an empty pen tube and pushed it into the top of the tree. I twisted it gently but found that it was started to twist not only the pen but the mints, too. I tried to pull it out and it started to pull the candy off...At this point I was thinking I was stuck. But, as the candy began to dry I was able to twist the pen more, which cut out a neat little hole, and remove it from the candy. Phew! Crisis averted!
So, there I was with my lovely ornaments, which turned out wonderfully and took about ten minutes. They smelled deliciously minty and weren't even that sticky to the touch. I left them to dry completely, which didn't take very long. Then, I peeled them off the wax paper. Hmm, it stuck to the candy a bit, but whatever, that's the back of the ornament so no one will see it!

As I picked up my happy little tree to string the ribbon can you guess what I did? I dropped the thing right on my stove. Suffice to say these are very breakable and I was picking bits of candy off the floor and counters for a good ten minutes. But, I still had my little wreath, which is hanging on my Christmas tree now.
So, not a total wash but a little more frustrating than I had anticipated for such an easy craft.

The next craft was...

Handprint Snowmen Ornament

I'm sure everyone has seen these online at some point. And when you did I'm sure you, like me, thought they were the cutest thing since that video of a kitten having a bad dream. And, I'm sure you've gathered by now that I have a fondness for handprint crafts. So this seemed perfect!

And, maybe it is perfect to do when you're not working with two squirmy kids who seem to get a case of the wiggles as soon as paint is applied to their pudgy little hands.

It took at least five tries to get my toddler's handprint on this ornament. It would start out fine and at the last minute he would start wiggling his fingers all around like he was trying to throw gang signs. After multiple trips to wash his hand and the ornament I finally got his little handprint on there. I was smarter with the baby and did it while she slept.

One the prints were dry I decorated the little snowmen with various fine-tipped Sharpie's. Then I decided I should coat it with something to stop the paint from chipping. So, Mr Bee tells me he has a can of stuff in his office I can use. I find it and bring it to him because I wasn't about to inhale some weird fumes and he heads outside to spray my lovely ornaments to preserve those cute little hands forever.

And then the swearing and yelling starts. And we find that the clear coat is not actually clear but black. Mr Bee just spray painted part of the ornament black. Throw me a freaking bone, here!

I was sorta able to salvage it by using a baby wipe to carefully remove the black spray and then painting over the fingers with another coat of white paint. But I just about quit crafting after that one. Well, not really, but I was pretty annoyed.

Mr Bee made it up to me with a box of chocolates, so my world is all better again. The ornaments still look really cute and hopefully I can find something else to spray them with so I can save these ornaments and never have to make them again!

The third "craft" we made was a pizza shaped like a snowman. It was a huge hit with my toddler and husband. Toddler Bee also helped me make mini pizzas by using a star-shaped cookie cutter! Yes, he looks a little wonky but I just like to say he has character.

And there you have a rather long post about the trials of my crafting today!

Christmas Countdown: Day 10!

This afternoon The Bee Household received a very special package. Toddler Bee eagerly ran to the door when he heard the bell ring and excitedly exclaimed, "A PACKAGE!" when he saw a big wrapped box sitting outside just waiting. And when I told him it was from the North Pole his little fingers were itching to tear into that wrapping paper.

Inside, we found a special package from Santa himself!

There was a letter for the kids from Santa, some treats, and two special surprises.

The first were the ingredients for Reindeer Food, which we made last year so Santa's reindeer could be sure to find our house. Good thing Santa sent the supplies because I exhausted my supply of magic reindeer dust last year! Reindeer Food can't be sprinkled until Christmas eve so we have our supplies waiting patiently in the cupboard.

The second surprise was a bit of a mystery. Santa sent us a large bowl filled with magic North Pole potting mix. And inside that were some Magic North Pole Seeds in a bag. Santa's instructions said we had to plant the seeds in the potting mix and in the morning there would be a surprise waiting for us. Oh boy was Toddler Bee ever excited! He happily buried the seeds and then checked on them every few hours just to see if anything was happening yet.

Imagine his surprise when come the morning there indeed was a surprise waiting for him!

You've never seen a smile so big or heard such a happy yell of, "It worked! A treat! A treat!"

We are very thankful to Santa for sending us such a lovely surprise to get our household excited for Christmas!

If your kids are a little older and more observant you should probably buy a different bowl than one you already have in your cupboard. We used a bowl that had a lid, so nothing spilled.

I wrapped and placed the box outside while my toddler was busy. It would probably be easier to place it outside before the kids are awake or have a neighbour place it and run away.

The cookies were made while the kids were napping and then hidden until the next morning. I stuck toothpicks in the bottoms of them when they were still warm.

The bowl is filled with plain white sugar. When my toddler wasn't looking I used a mesh strainer to remove the seeds and then placed the cookies after he had gone to bed. I've seen other versions of this where they have the kids sprinkle the sugar with salt to help it grow; but that just seemed silly to me, especially since I planned on dumping this back in the bag to use at a later date.

 The reindeer food is just M&Ms, raw oats, red glitter, grass seed, and Trix cereal.

The magic seeds we planted are white rice dyed green with food colouring.

Christmas Countdown: Day 9!

Like I mentioned before, we were away over the weekend so I technically wasn't crafting. But we did do something Christmas related!

In my family it is a tradition to decorate gingerbread cookies together. We did it when we were kids and the tradition picked up again once we were adults and started to have our own kids. So, every year around Christmastime, we gather at my parent's house to sit at the table and decorate a giant batch of the most amazing gingerbread cookies ever.

In years past, my strategy has always been to think of quality over quantity. This meant I was usually going home with small batches of pretty cookies.
Ok, so this one isn't pretty but I ended up with a headless angel...what else was I to do?
This year, Mr Bee and I came up with a game plan. We decided that we wouldn't worry about making the cookies look pretty...we just wanted lots of them! And I have to say, I think the plan worked because we took home the most cookies! But, don't worry, I don't plan on eating them all by myself...some are for Santa! He just loves gingerbread cookies and eggnog on Christmas eve!

Being able to introduce these types of traditions to my kids is one of my favourite things about the holidays. I still have happy memories of doing these types of things with my own grandparents and I am happy that my children are being given the same opportunity. Plus, I never pass up free cookies!

See, quantity over quality. This wasn't even all of them, either!

Christmas is getting closer and closer and with every craft and activity we do I can see how excited Toddler Bee is becoming. I think this is the first year where he is finally aware of what is going on. I can't wait to see his reaction on Christmas morning! Part of me is always anxious for Christmas; I want it to be Christmas eve so we can feel the excitement of the next day and seeing all those gifts under the tree and the time with family. Then, there is the part of me that wants to stretch the holiday out so it lasts longer. The time after Christmas always seems a little gloomy.

Christmas as an adult is not as fun as Christmas as a child; but Christmas as a parent to young children is possibly more exciting than anything else. There is something very special about witnessing the magic of holidays through the eyes of your children and creating with them your own memories and traditions; as well as passing down traditions from your own childhood.