Thursday December 5, 2013
While I was visiting family in Florida, we got a chance to make a gingerbread dog house
from a kit. I placed a picture of my daughter's gingerbread dog house above so you could see what came with the kit. After completing this activity, I decided to compare and contrast using a kit verses making a gingerbread house
Gingerbread House Kit
All of the supplies are provided for you in one box.
No need to dye the icing. Each color icing came in its own bag.
Not much planning is needed. You can only use what is in the box.
One low cost (usually between $10 and $20 per kit).
You are limited in how you can decorate your gingerbread house.
The pieces are suppose to fit together, but often don't.
The icing isn't as sticky and was a bit hard to work with.
Creating Your Own Gingerbread House
You can create your own design.
You have unlimited candy for decorations at your disposal.
You can make your house big or small
The cost is higher because you have to buy all of your pieces separately.
It is more time consuming. You have to mix your own icing colors and gather your own supplies.
It can be hard to cut the gingerbread pieces without breaking them.
After using both a kit and making my own gingerbread houses, I decided I prefer to make the houses from scratch even though it costs more and takes a bit more time. I am just curious. Which method do you guys and gals prefer?
Tuesday November 26, 2013
I love creating scented pinecones during the fall season. It isn't that hard either. This year, the girls and I made a string of cinnamon pinecones to hang across an archway in my dining room. Here's how we did it:
Gather a basket of pinecones from your backyard. If you don't have any, try a nearby park. Our park has plenty of walking trails that are filled with pinecones.
Lay your pinecones out on a baking sheet. They are most likely still full of sap. The easiest way to dry up the sap is to set the pinecones in an oven for 20 minutes at 200 degrees. This is also a great way to open the pinecones up if they already closed up. Let the pinecones cool before continuing.
Next, you need to pick your scent. We grated fresh cinnamon sticks down so that we could give our pinecones a cinnamon vanilla odor. If you are using an essential oil to scent your pinecone, you'll need an eye dropper.
Finally, paint a little glue on your pinecone and sprinkle the spice over it. When the glue dries, the spice will stick to the pinecone. Administer any liquid scents with the eye dropper. We added about 3 drops of vanilla to each pinecone.
Now you can display your scented pinecones. You have the option of tying a string to the pinecones and hanging them as ornaments from your Christmas tree, placing them in a bowl as a centerpiece for your kitchen table, or simply setting them in the bathroom to keep the bathroom smelling pleasant.
Friday November 22, 2013
Last year my girls and I bought an Elf on the Shelf. We named her Roxie, and boy does she know how to find trouble! If you aren't familiar with the popular Elf on the Shelf, it is a thin stuffed elf that comes out on Thanksgiving to monitor and report on the children's behavior until Santa arrives.
Somehow the tradition evolved into the elf causing mischief at night when everyone in the home is sleeping. The elf may toilet paper the bathroom, remove all of the ornaments on the Christmas tree, or spill a box of cereal.
One of the things the girls and I like to do is take pictures of the elf doing funny things. You can actually use your elf along with crafts that you have made previously. Here's how:
Place your elf in the Tissue Box Choo Choo Train. The elf can be driving the train and you can put something in one of the trains cars. Perhaps the elf took all of the candy canes during the night, or your brother's collection of army men.
Set your elf up to hold your homemade Star Wars Lightsaber. You can put another stuffed animal opposite your elf to make it look like the elf has the stuffed animal cornered.
Create a little table with foods from Thanksgiving on it. Give your elf a spot at the table and then set up your Thanksgiving Pilgrim and Indian Puppets on either side of the elf.
Don't forget to take pictures of all of the adventures your elf has. This year I plan on creating a scrapbook of everything our elf does to show the kids the following year. It is a great way to make family memories and get a few laughs at the same time.
Monday November 18, 2013
Water is essential for keeping both children and adults hydrated. It is only natural for children to opt for a drink with a little more flavor, but too many sugary drinks can quickly deplete children of much needed nutrition and energy. Parents can encourage their children to develop a love of water from a very young age. It is a little bit trickier to get older children on board with drinking plenty of water, but it can be done, especially when implementing the use of crafts and activities
Juice a few fruits and vegetables. Use that juice to make a few flavored ice cubes. Place two ice cubes in your child's cup of water. The colors alone will attract children. As the ice melts, it also adds a bit of flavor to the water, making it more palatable.
Show your child a few different colors of food coloring. Ask her to pick out a color and then instruct her to add three drops to her glass of water. Give her time to mix the food coloring in the water. This alters the way your child sees the water. It is no longer plain and boring, but colorful and appealing. You can treat it like a little science project. Let your child see the more food coloring that is added, the darker the water becomes.
Give your child a plastic cup and allow her to decorate it. Let her know this is her special water cup. Most children are proud of the crafts they create, which makes them more likely to use the finished craft.
Cut a piece of fruit and use it to decorate the water glass. You can slice an orange wedge down the center, for example, and then place the slit over the edge of the glass. The same thing can be done with a strawberry, lemon wedge or a banana slice. This makes the glass of water a little more interesting to children, who are actually getting a small snack along with their water.