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

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

Clay Snowman

All through December we make a fun Christmas or winter craft each afternoon.  We set aside that family time and don’t let other things interfere.  It’s fun to have the time reserved just for my kids and I to hang out and chat while we craft without tv distractions, cell phones ringing, or other busy plans around town.  This little clay snowman was a fun craft that all my kids, big and little really adored. Here’s what you’ll need: The scarf is simply yarn that my daughter braided: And the hat is a condiment cup, like the kind you use at restaurants to hold ketchup, that she colored. Roll three balls of clay and stack them up. Next, add eyes.  You don’t need glue.  Just stick them right into the clay. Put pipe cleaner arms in and place his hat on top of his head. Then add pom-poms for your … click to read more

Christmas Bingo

I made this Christmas Bingo game to play with our homeschool friends when they came for a Christmas party. Print out as many of the first page as you have kids.  Print out one of the second page.  The second page becomes the cards you draw. On the first page kids should fill in the Christmas words from the word bank to whichever square they like.  There are a few more words than squares so not every word will be used.  Make sure the kids understand to use each word only once. There are pictures next to the words in the word bank to help non-readers and beginning readers play the game with the bigger kids. I colored the draw cards just for fun. Four in a row wins.  But the kids we played with wanted to keep going until all the cards were called and they all had blackout. More … click to read more

Butterscotch Haystacks

Making homemade Christmas candy is a tradition at our house.  Each of my kids get to choose one candy to make with me.  We have to make a double batch of these butterscotch haystacks, even though it makes a big batch. They’re a hit not only among our family, but with all our friends and neighbors too.  They only take 3 ingredients.  They are also no-bake which is awesome given the amount of holiday baking we do around here.  It’s nice to have something so yummy that is also so incredibly fast to make. Here’s what you need:   3 bags butterscotch chips 1 small can shoestring potatoes 1 can cocktail peanuts (about 2 cups) The exact amounts of the ingredients aren’t really important, so don’t worry about that.  Oh, and the picture shows enough ingredients for several batches. And here’s what you do:   Put the butterscotch chips in … click to read more

Santa Bread

For many years my mom has been making Santa Bread each Christmas.  This jolly guy not only looks adorable, but he’s made of bread dough, so you get a nice tasty treat (and not a sweet, which is also wonderful when EVERYTHING else seems to be sweets in December).  He is really easy to make.  This year my mom made him with my little girls.  They love to cook with Grandma, and they were so proud of themselves when they created their Santa bread masterpiece. Here’s what you need: Baking sheet rolling pin pizza cutter brushes for applying color (we just use paintbrushes) Cutting round (a small, round cookie cutter – donut hole sized) bread dough (one loaf made the Santa bread above) 2 raisins powdered sugar milk coconut red food coloring Here’s what you do: You can use your favorite bread dough recipe, or even just buy pre-made bread … click to read more