A Lego Christmas Tree

Harrison had a vision of a Lego Christmas tree.  He built all the Lego ornaments and then scouted out the yard looking for the perfect tree. We live on ten treed acres in North Idaho so there were plenty to choose from. Then Harrison came to me, got my attention, which is a chore sometimes, and showed me his plan and his Lego ornaments. We got Tim, CJ, and Garrett to help.  Harrison is the baby and a naturally very sweet child.  So if you want cooperation all you have to do is say, “Harrison would like it”.  Everyone in the family melts and drops what they are doing and goes to help Harrison.  That might turn out bad at some point.  But that’s the way it is. So there we were in the field digging out a baby Douglas Fir, which in spite of its tender age had very … click to read more

Valentine’s Mystery Dinner

It’s almost time for our annual Valentine’s Mystery Dinner.  Holidays are a huge part of our home.  I believe fun family traditions help build strong families.  Time spent together is well spent.  I also believe in showing my kids that you can have fun and enjoy life in small, simple, beautiful ways.  My husband and I go on a lot of dates and focus on each other a lot, but we spend holidays as a family.  We never go out to dinner for Valentine’s or to a party for New Year’s Eve.  We plan fun family parties that everyone can do together. So here’s what our Valentine’s Mystery Dinner usually looks like: The table’s all set!  Lots of pink this year for sure.  My girls made the table runner as an art project.  It’s sprinkled with conversation hearts.  The flowers in the vase were a Valentine’s surprise from my husband. … click to read more

Glass Marble Magnets

My kids love making glass marble magnets.  They decided to make some into little Valentine’s gifts this year.  You can make them in any theme; we’ve made alphabet ones, some that use each letter in a person’s name, lots of holiday ones, and seasonal ones.  You can also just choose some that have colors, designs, or paper that you like. Here’s what you need to make glass marble magnets:  glass marbles (we use the flat ones), button magnets, papers, glue, scissors, and a hot glue gun.  We also used nail polish for some of ours. Start by putting your glass marbles over various papers until you find the one you like the look of.  We used lots of pinks and hearts since ours are for Valentine’s Day.  This time we used scrapbook paper, but often we just use old magazines and find little bits that we like the look of … click to read more

Our Snowman Breakfast

We had a special snowman breakfast at Grandpa and Grandma’s house. Our Snowman Breakfast The set-up was very simple.  I just used a torquoise plastic tablecloth and darker blue plates and utensils.  I drew simple snowman faces on each white paper cup.  The cups were my favorite part.  Love them.  Each plate had a die and a roll-a-snowman game at it as well. I also put a little snowman figurine in the center of the table.  He was not only a centerpiece, but also the star of our Hide The Snowman game after our snowman breakfast was over. Each person got their own snowman shaped pancake to decorate with M&M’s, both mini and regular sized. Roll-A-Snowman Game After we finished our pancakes we played the roll-a-snowman game.  It’s not a competitive game, just an artistic one.  We sometimes play it for hours, making all different combinations of cute little snowman … click to read more

Civil Rights Bus Craft

This is a printable paper craft kids can do to help them learn about the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s and 60s. Inside the windows of the bus and in the door are some of the most important  leaders of the Civil Rights movement including Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, Thurgood Marshall, A. Philip Randolph, and Ella Baker. We chose a bus because one of the major tools to gain publicity for the Black Rights cause and force change were the bus boycotts in Montgomery and other cities.  Also, many date the beginning of the Civil Rights movement to the day when Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on the bus and was arrested for it.  This is not the day that people began working for equality and civil rights, but it was perhaps the day that the movement entered the public eye. Before doing the … click to read more

Cranberry Blowing

I’m a huge fan of all things Christmas, so we always take off the last two weeks in December from homeschool so we can have lots of time for games, parties, baking, crafts, and fun.  We have lots of traditions because I really believe that fun traditions help build strong, close families. One of our Christmastime traditions is cranberry blowing.  It’s one of the games at our Christmas Eve party each year.  A cranberry blow is a contest where each contestant gets a cranberry and tries to keep it up in the air with only their breath.  The cranberry sits atop your lips and you gently blow, trying to keep the cranberry floating in the air longer than everyone else. We all line up along the floor, then on the go signal, everyone makes their cranberry float!  If your cranberry falls, you’re out. It’s much harder than it looks!  It … click to read more

Graham Cracker House Party

My mother-in-law and sister-in-law hosted a fantastic party for all the grandkids – a graham cracker house party!  I’ve thrown a lot of parties in my day, but none as seamless and perfect as this one.  Not a lot of fuss, but all kinds of fun.  All the grandkids were invited to decorate their own little graham cracker house, all pre-built and cute as can be!  Here was the basic set-up: Wow!  That’s a lot of little houses!  Every year we decorate graham cracker houses, but having them all made for the kids ahead of time was ingenious!  We’ve had more mid-decorating collapses in past years than I care to admit. They made them far enough in advance that the royal icing was good and solid.  No crumbling down houses or kids crying – hooray! The center of the table was lined with lots of little cups of decorating candies, … click to read more

Hand Painted Christmas Mugs

We made these hand painted Christmas mugs with our kids several years ago. We get them out every Christmas and use them for drinking hot cocoa on special occasions during the Christmas season. Here’s how we did it: We started with some plain white mugs from the dollar store, one for each member of our family. We washed them, running them through the dishwasher once to get rid of any factory residue. We bought special paints intended for ceramics.  We checked carefully to be sure the paint we chose was food safe.  The paint linked to is non toxic, but I would still use it only on surfaces that are not directly touched by food and mouths. Then we pretreated the area where we were going to paint with a conditioner that is sold with the paint we bought. (Some paints don’t need pretreating.  Follow the directions on the packaging.) … click to read more

Glass Ball Glitter Ornaments

We made these personalized glass ball glitter ornaments for our Christmas tree.  We’ve made the paint version before, but the kids loved these ten times more.  There’s just something about glitter. Here’s what you need: Clear glass ornaments glitter (These are from Wal-Mart.  They are a little pricier than the cheapo glitters that Wal-Mart sells, but they are worth the money.  The perfectly sized grains make beautiful ornaments.) Mop and Glo (Yes, the cleaner for your floors) A small squirt bottle Paper cups Paper (scratch paper is fine) A covered work surface How To Make Glitter Ornaments First, you need to put the Mop and Glo solution into the little squirt bottle and squirt just a bit into your ornament (remove the top of the ornament and set it aside).  Swish it around a bit, coating all the sides of the ornament while holding your finger over the top, then dump … click to read more

Christmas Scattergories

My kids love Scattergories, so I made them this Christmas Scattergories game, and thought I’d share it with you too. In case you haven’t played before, the rules are really simple.  Start by choosing a letter and putting time on the clock.  For bigger kids, one minute is usually long enough, but when my little ones are playing we use a two minute timer.  You start in the Game #1 column and write down something for each category that begins with the letter you chose.  Once the timer runs out you tally up the scores.  You get a point for each unique answer you come up with.  Then you choose a new letter and play the next round of Game #1.  When you’ve played both rounds you tally up the scores and the one with the most points wins! Click here or on the picture below to get the printable … click to read more