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Archive for the ‘Christmas’ tag

December 23rd, 2014 at 6:16 pm

Welcoming Santa

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Our family has some special traditions for preparing for Santa’s visit. First, we make a batch of “reindeer food” to leave on the ground for Santa’s reindeer. In the evening, we sprinkle it on the ground outside so the reindeer have something to eat while Santa is inside. We don’t have a fireplace, so we know that Santa parks on the front lawn. Check out the recipe for Magic Reindeer Food below.

We also prepare a plate of cookies and a glass of milk that we leave on the table. Santa usually only leaves crumbs, since he is a big fan our our cookies.

During the evening, we check out where Santa is in the world on Norad. It truly is a great learning activity so the kids can learn the parts of the world, the time changes, and the distance from place to place.

Other families hang stockings for Santa to fill, leave a magic key outside, and more. What do you do on Christmas Eve to welcome Santa?

Magic Reindeer Food Recipe

In a small zipper sandwich bag, mix:

  • 1/4 cup uncooked oatmeal
  • 1/8 cup sugar
  • 1/8 cup red or green sugar sprinkles

 

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December 16th, 2014 at 4:32 pm

Making Christmas Treats

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One of my favorite days in the month of December is the day we make our Christmas treats. The kitchen is filled with the smells of cinnamon, caramel, chocolate, and more. The tradition started with my sister-in-law’s family, and we baked cookies together as her children grew up. Her children are now all in college, so we carry on the tradition in our home.

The variety has changed over the years. Plus, sometimes we try some new things. Once we experimented with cake balls, another time was peppermint bark.  This year was white chocolate party mix. I probably gained a pound or two just taste testing, and now have to hide most of the treats from all the boys in my family, but we always make a lot of memories!

What is your favorite treat to make? Mine is Turtle Pretzels. Simple to make and yummy to eat, plus a fun activity for the kids.

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Turtle Pretzels

Ingredients:

  • Square Pretzels
  • Rolo Candies
  • Pecan Halves

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Arrange the pretzels in a single layer on a cookie tray lined with a silicone mat or parchment paper. Place a rolo candy in the middle of each pretzel. Bake for 4 minutes. Press a pecan half onto each candy-covered pretzel to spread. Let cool completely before packaging.

 

 

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December 12th, 2014 at 2:01 pm

Elf on the Shelf

Every night we have an elf that visits our house and watches our children, reporting back to Santa whether or not they are being good. This year our oldest has decided to start writing letters to our elf.  The elf’s name is Alex, and he hides somewhere new each night, but sometimes he gets into a little bit of trouble. Check out some of the fun times our elf has already had this holiday season.

He brought donuts for breakfast, including mini ones for himself.

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He played in my table decoration and made a mess.

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He drew mustaches on the boys’ photos with dry erase marker.

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He brought us a Christmas puzzle and started putting it together.

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Sometimes he likes to snuggle with Santa during his visit.

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Other times he just wants to hang out in the boys’ stockings.

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Do you have an elf? What does he like to do?

 

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September 15th, 2014 at 10:31 am

100 Days ‘Til Christmas

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Can you believe there are only 100 days until Christmas? You are probably booing me right now….but with little kids, the more preparation time you have the better! Plus, the more you have done once Thanksgiving approaches, the more you can actually enjoy yourself during the month of December.

Here are some ways to get organized and prepared ahead of time:

Start your Christmas shopping list now. List each person that you need to buy for. If you have any ideas, great, list those too! Make sure to assign a dollar amount to them also.

Determine your Christmas budget. Add up the dollar amounts from your list above, but be sure to add a little extra. There are always gifts that come up last minute that you forget about.  Think about decorations, food, and all the other things that go into celebrating the holiday season.

Plan out items you need to make. Do you need to plan out your Christmas cards? If you have the picture you are using then you can get your card made and printed. They can be signed and ready to send out at a certain time. Are you making any gifts? Can these be started early? Make a list of things you may need to make these items.

Clean out your kids’ toys. The presents your children receive can take up a lot of extra space that you might not have,  so take the time now to start weeding out the old ones. Donate toys that they’ve outgrown or are are no longer interested in, and throw away  broken toys or toys with missing pieces that cant be replaced to make some room for the new ones. While you are doing this, take into account what things your children already have so you don’t buy something similar.

Start writing lists. Write a list of clothing needs, grocery lists, cookie choices and recipes, cleaning expectations, and more! Make your own holiday notebook to keep all these lists organized.

Christmas goes a lot smoother when things are organized, so get a head start today!

 

 

 

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December 27th, 2013 at 10:46 am

Preparing for Next Year’s Holiday Season

dec26Once the presents are opened, the cookies are eaten, and the family has gone home, it is time to start to decompress and evaluate the holiday season.

First you have to think about what things you would add, change or keep the same. Think about some of these things:

  • What were your favorite things this season that you wouldn’t change?
  • What changes would you make to have the holidays go a little easier?
  • What did you absolutely dread doing this holiday season and how can you make it better next year?
  • Do you feel like your family left the season experiencing the magic and joy of the season? How can you change things to recapture these feelings?
  • Were you calm or stressed during the season?
  • What things do you wish to add to next year’s season?

This is a great way to remember changes or additions when the holiday season planning rolls around next year! While you are taking down decorations, write of a list of supplies you may need and decor that needs to be replaced. This is also a great time to think about recipes you came across and want to try and ones you don’t want to make again.

It’s never too early to start thinking about lists! Make a list of all the different people you purchase or make gifts for  and write down ideas as the year goes on. I also make a list of ideas for our Elf on the Shelf, Alex, and fun activity ideas we want to try next year. I like to keep all these things stored in Evernote, but a written list works just as well.

Enjoy the magic of these last few days, but also take some time to reflect on how to make next year’s season more enjoyable!

Kim Ross also writes at  A Little Bit of This and That ~ The Adventures of a Stay at Home Mom.

 

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December 23rd, 2013 at 8:24 am

Christmas Morning Breakfast

DSC05382Christmas morning is always spent out our house. The kids get up early and rush in to tell us that Santa had arrived! Typically we go downstairs, read the letter that Santa left and open presents. I usually like to have an easy breakfast that I can have ready to bake while we are opening the presents that Santa left for the boys.

One of my favorite things to make is breakfast casseroles. The best part of these is that you have to assemble them the night before and just bake them in the morning. That makes these super easy  and ready to go. Here are some of my favorite variations:

Baked French Toast Casserole

Egg and Sausage Casserole

Mexican Breakfast Casserole

Baked Oatmeal with Strawberries, Bananas and Chocolate

Breakfast Tater Tot Casserole

If you want to spend a little more time in the kitchen on Christmas morning there are other options. Last year my husband made homemade waffles.

Breakfast Pizza

Fruit Compote

Pecan or Cream Cheese Cinnamon Rolls

Christmas Hat Fruit Skewers

Puffy Pancake

This year we are having pecan and cream cheese cinnamon rolls in the shape of a christmas tree, bacon and sausage (my oldest’s request) and fresh fruit salad. What are your favorites for Christmas Breakfast?

Kim Ross also writes at  A Little Bit of This and That ~ The Adventures of a Stay at Home Mom.

 

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December 20th, 2013 at 8:30 am

Easy Holiday Appetizers

holida-appetizersMy favorite thing at Christmas is all the appetizers and snacks. The best part is on Christmas Eve when we have a buffet of appetizers while we open presents. We all have favorites that have to be there every year, but then we fill in with some new things. When I was growing up that was my favorite part of the evening, even though the buffet didn’t come out until after 10 pm. Now, we have this instead of dinner. My mom likes to keep some of the same things every year, whether anyone really eats them or not.  It’s our tradition to fill your plate with bite size food. That’s how I associate Christmas the most.

Here are some of my favorite appetizers:

Veggie Pizza

Tortilla Roll Ups

Chicken Baseballs

Taco Dip

Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnuts

Stuffed Mushrooms

For more ideas check out my pinterest board.

What are some of your favorites?

Kim Ross also writes at  A Little Bit of This and That ~ The Adventures of a Stay at Home Mom.

 

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December 19th, 2013 at 12:47 pm

DIY Ornaments for Kids

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Christmastime is the perfect time to craft, and kids want to get in on the fun! A great way to involve them in decorating the house is by helping them make their own ornaments. They’ll love seeing their creations hanging on the tree with the twinkling lights. Here are some ideas for cute ornaments they can make themselves! Just click the links for details on materials and instructions. Have any holiday crafts/projects you’d like to share? Post pictures on our Facebook wall!

Bottle Cap Snowman from Views From The Ville

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Twinkle PomPom Ornament from Zakka Life

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Salt Dough Cookie Cutter Ornaments from Better Homes and Gardens

(P.S. You can do this with ANY cookie cutter shapes…trees, stockings, reindeer, stars, etc.)

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Pinecone Christmas Trees from Dig This Chick

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Rudolph The Reindeer Glass Bulb from Dixieland Blessings

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Button Christmas Tree from UK Lass in the US

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Popsicle Stick Snowman from How To Have It All

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December 16th, 2013 at 5:00 am

The Holiday Spirit of Giving

DSC05171This time of year is a good time to reinforce the spirt of giving with your kids. We recently watched the movie A Christmas Carol where Ebenezer Scrooge explores his past, present, and future to discover that by giving he can have a more bountiful life. There are so many ways to show your kids how much fun it is to give.

Here are some fun ways I discovered to spread holiday cheer:

Kindness Calendar 

Christmas Jar

100 Random Acts of Kindness for Christmas

Card to use for your random acts of kindness

12 days of Christmas Kindness

Some other easy ideas are to pass on some of your christmas goodies, visit a nursing home, go carolling, or have the kids give their old toys to the less fortunate. You can also reinforce the spirt of giving by giving of your time – help a friend wrap presents, run an errand for your friend, or even bring an extra meal to make someone’s evening a little easier.

Make a difference and spread some holiday cheer by giving of yourself and your families love!

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December 12th, 2013 at 5:00 am

Holiday Books for Storytime

By

For some of you, storytime is an everyday occurrence, but there is something about reading books during the holidays that gives me that “warm and fuzzy” feeling. Here are some great books you can read to or with your kids to get into the spirit…some of them are my personal favorites from my own childhood!

 

How The Grinch Stole Christmas! by Dr. Seuss

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The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg

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The Elf on the Shelf by Carol Aebersold and Chanda Bell

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Santa Mouse by Michael Brown
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Hersehl and the Hanukkah Goblins by Eric Kimmel
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Happy Hanukkah, Corduroy by Don Freeman

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Olive, The Other Reindeer by J. Otto Seibold and Vivian Walsh

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Li’l Rabbit’s Kwanzaa  by Donna L. Washington

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The Berenstain Bears and the Joy of Giving by Jan & Mike Berenstain

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The Night Before Christmas by Clement Clarke Moore

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The Mitten by Jan Brett

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What holiday books do YOU read with your children? Share your favorites with us on Facebook!

All Photo Credits: Amazon.com

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