Thursday, November 29, 2012

DIY: Tin Can Christmas Trees

Last year in Lucy's Kindergarten class I was asked to share a Christmas Craft.
And the idea of decorating a Christmas tree kept coming to mind.  Green paper trees, a bunch of gooey decor that kids would love, and.....recycled tin cans for trunks?!  We threw it all together and made:
The kids really had fun with the craft.

And the little trees works as a cup holder for candy canes, pencils, plastic wear for the Christmas party, etc.  We used ours Christmas Eve night for dinner.
Here's what you do....

• Draw a triangular tree on cardstock.  I found that it worked best to cut the tree from cardstock first, then glue it to green paper and cut again.  This ensured that the gluestick got on all the important angles and edges of the tree.  And the double layer of cardstock/paper made it nice and sturdy to hold up the ornaments the kids threw on.
• Gather and clean tin cans.  I asked all the parents in the class to help with this, donating their old food cans.  Fruit and veggie cans work best (rather than soup or spaghetti sauce) because there's little lingering odor.  Remove the labels and make sure there are no sharp edges where the tops were removed.  Press down any metal pieces and smooth it out.
• Cut pieces of brown paper to fit around the cans and glue it on with a small line of hot glue in the back.
The pieces are ready!
Time to decorate.
Use whatever craft supplies you'd like to make your tree look cheery and festive.
When it's decorated, use a hot glue gun to glue the bottom of the tree to the trunk.

Now swing by the school Christmas party and share the fun with the kiddos. It's even more exciting if it happens to be pajama day as well.
Before the party, I prepared all the trees and trunks.
Then the kids could concentrate on decorating the trees.   

The kindergarten kids loved:
• Cheap jewels from the craft store
• Jingle bells for the branches (attached with small safety pins.  They were a big hit)
• Glitter glue
• Colored pom poms
• Foamy stickers
When the kids left for P.E. I glued all their trees to the trunks and placed a candy cane in each one.
 And that's a Kinder party wrap.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Life, holidays, and simple handmade gifts

In case you were on pins and needles wondering what happened to us...we're alive!  And finally healthy.  And getting ready for a Texas Christmas.
We had a great Thanksgiving holiday at the kids' schools (construction paper pies were Owen's idea).
Now I had planned to make our Thanksgiving feast a few days early, share some fun pictures with you, with links to festive recipes, etc.
But then like most of you, life had a different to-do list.

Lucy came down with pneumonia, then Clara's tummy when bonkers, then she fell on the cement stairs, then Owen and I had stomach flu for a few days.  And the only "blogging" I could get in was instagram (find me @danamadeit) 
Here we go from sick, to semi-sick, to better:
But for this week, the whole family is healthy! Hooray!  I have a real appreciation for you moms who have to visit the doctor often with sick kiddos.  Be strong and keep doing what you're doing.  Your mama bear instincts and love are impressive.

Now that life is normal, it's time for Christmas!
And this time I'm gonna be ahead of the game.
The tree is up and decorated, the Noel pillow and candy canes are out, and I just pulled out the books for our Christmas Book Advent Calendar (click the link for a list of books to get you started)
With one (busy) month till Christmas, don't fret.  There's still time to make handmade gifts and bake up a storm.  I've added more links to the SIMPLE HANDMADE GIFTS (which you can always find at the top of the blog under the SERIES button)
Pajama Pants, Pillowcases, Placemat Aprons, and some easy gift wrap ideas (cause who doesn't love a pom-pom that you make with your hands?! No little gadget necessary)
Here are some links to get you started:

And now for some yummy eats.

Last year we shared an entire month of SWEETS AND TREATS (also found under the SERIES tab at the top of the blog).  I know you don't want to forget about that 3 minute, 3 ingredient fudge by V and Co.  And the toffee crunch remix I tested.  Mmmm.
Or, need a Never Fail Pie Crust?  If pie making intimidates you put the fear aside!  This recipe is super easy and works every time. 
Then fill her up with Lemon Cream, Pumpkin, or your favorite berry!
We've got Gingerbread Softies, Pear and Blackberry Crisp, Candy Crunch Yams, Chocolate Tangerine Bars, Sweet Granola by Delia Creates and a whole lot more.
If you haven't made dinner yet, just skip on down to dessert and click a link:

And that's enough info to last a few months.
I hope your family is healthy and happy!   See you tomorrow!