Monthly Archives: December 2011

Gingerbread house………

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Nothing says Christmas like the kids gathered around a table and decorating a gingerbread house. Dumping all the candy on the table and watching them build snowmen or Christmas trees. Just looking at these picturesque houses brings back memories of a simpler time.

Unless you live in my house.

USA vs Soviet Union

Now I am not saying it is ALL my son’s fault, just that as soon as he saw the box he said “I am going to build some bunkers!”

American Side

I tried to show them the sweet ideas suggested by the manufacturer, but no. We had to have enough guns to show our military superiority.

Soviet Side

So now instead of looking at a cute little house and thinking of how sweet it was of the boy to decorate a house with his sisters, all I hear is the Rocky theme song when Ivan got his hiney kicked!!

Merry Chistmas!!!!!

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Christmas Gift Bags

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Christmas Gift Bags

Last week my daughter and I attended the church Christmas party for the kids. One of the crafts they made was the snowman bag pictured below. I thought it was so cute and so very easy that it inspired me for a few other subjects.

SNOWMAN BAG

SNOWMAN

To make this gift bag you need the following items. Bear in mind that these are very forgiving crafts and you can substitute based on what you already have on hand. For all the bags i designed, I had everything on hand except for the gift bags and i found those at the local Dollar Store.

White gift bag

Craft glue (glue sticks will not work on heavy items)

Black craft foam

Orange craft foam

Red ink pad

Foam paint brush

Black satin ribbon

Black tulle

Simply cut our round shapes for the coal mouth and eyes, Use the orange to create the carrot nose. The ribbon and a small piece of tulle work as the hat. The rosy cheeks are a result of rubbing the foam brush onto the ink pad and then applying it in a circular motion onto the bag.

SANTA BAG

SANTA

Here is what you will need to make Santa. Again,you can substitute items such as real buttons, fur or ribbon as you dig through your own craft supplies.

Red gift bag

Black felt

White felt

Cardboard

Cut a long strip of the back to glue on as the belt. I suggest cutting a piece of paper as a template first so you can decide how wide you want it to be. Depending on the size of the bag you are using you will want to make it thinner or wider. The buckle is made from cutting a square within a square. I applied the buckle to a piece of cardboard so that it would stand out a bit more. I cut round buttons from the white felt.

RUDOLPH BAG

RUDOLPH

For this brave reindeer you will need the following supplies.

Brown gift bag

Eyes

Red pom pom

Green felt

Red jingle bells

Thread

Craft glue

Brown felt

Brown pipe cleaners

I began by wrapping the pipe cleaners around the handle of the bag. For each antler I used a whole one, and one cut in thirds. I wrapped the original pipe cleaner around the 3 pieces to hold them on and then fluffed them out to look like antlers. Be sure to tuck the ends in so they do not poke anyone.

I originally wanted to use large wiggle eyes but could not find them so I printed off a couple. Guess what I found when I was putting everything back away? They did not look quite right on their own so I added some brown felt to serve as eyelids. The nose was the red pompom. I tried and tried to make a snout look like it belonged to a deer, but it just kept looking like a dog.  I think next time I will make the pom pom twice as big and maybe that will balance it out better.

The collar was a piece of felt I cut into a strip and then hand sewed some jingle bells on. I like the idea of making it sound like he was hooked up to the sled. But you could easily skip the real bells and just glue on dots to represent them. Or skip the bells and just write the deer’s name on the collar. In my mind I could see 9 bags lined up under the tree with each of Santa’s reindeer name written on the collar. Behind them all you could put the Santa bag from above.

ELF BAG

Because I believe in learning from your mistakes, let me show you mine. What do you think of my elf? I think it looks more like the Grinch.

ELF

There are many things I do not like about this bag. I don’t think the shiny surface was the right fit. I had intended to use some white faux fur but when I pulled it out, it was tan. So I substituted batting. Maybe it would have looked better on a different bag, but I think it looked cheesy on this one. I also think I placed the fur too high, and the collar pieces were too small. The one thing I did like were the jingle bells I slipped onto the ribbon handle.

I ended up going to Wal Mart this week and found some white fur in the fabric section. It already comes in strips and is only .99 cents a yard. As you can see from the photo below that i took on the back side of the bag above, it looks so much better.

What I should have done ELF bag

When you fill your bags you can keep to the theme with matching tissue paper. I like the idea of black with the snowman, red with Santa and Rudolph and green or white with the elf.

I hope I have inspired you to create some of your own gift bags. Or make it a project the kids can do with you. Trace and cut our their hands for the antlers, use construction paper for all the pieces. Just have fun and make some easy and simple gift bags that add a little extra touch to your gifts this year. Merry Christmas!!!

Can you do an updo?

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I have tried to learn some hairstyles by looking at pictures and it just does not work for me. I have found that you can find videos in various places online. However a friend just turned me on to this wonderful site that has some very nice styles. Not only are there photos but videos to help you master the techniques. I hope you find something new for the holiday season!

 

The Small Things Blog/

Another site for the hair of a little girl is this one.

Hairstyles by Mommy

eCoupons 101

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An easy way to save money at your favorite stores is to use their electronic coupons. In order to access these special deals you must have that store’s club card. Not all stores provide them, but if they do it can provide a big payoff for you.

Once you have a club card, go to that store’s website and register. In my example I am going to use Safeway. Once at Safeway’s home page you will see a box that looks like this.

Safeay home page

Here you will click on the tab that says “Coupon Center and log in. This is the next page you will see.

eCoupons

Safeway updates their coupons every week so go back regularly to find ones you like. Since you do not actually have to clip anything, go ahead and choose any that you he the slightest possibility of using. Under each coupon you will see an expiration date for that particular item. Once you have added all the ones you want, you can X out the page, or you can print out a list for your binder of all the electronic coupons you have loaded. This is nice to have when you go to the store so you can see how what you have, especially when you find an unexpected sale.

 

To use your coupon, you simply run your club card like you do for every transaction and the computer automatically takes the amount off your total. In the case of Safeway, the receipt will specify all the savings for a given product.

eCoupon Receipt

The photo is blurry but I hope you can identify the various line. For the Corn Chex cereal the regular price for 3 boxes would have been $10.47. The store sale took off $4.50 and I had an eCoupon that took off $1, and I had a manufacture paper coupon that took off an additional $1. This left a total cost of $3.97 for all 3 boxes of cereal.

Always make sure you thoroughly explore a website. At Safeway for example, if you click on Personalized Deals you can load extra savings onto your card. They are not coupons, they are giving you an unadvertised sale price.

 

I hope I have inspired you to search for electronic coupons from your local stores and use this easy and simple way to save extra money on your next shopping trip.

Travel Game

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Anyone who has traveled with kids knows how hard it is to keep them entertained. Here is a simple travel kit you can make to help keep the complaints to a minimum.

To start, wipe out a small metal tin. In this case I used Altoids but today you can find them from all sorts of products. For small hands a larger version from some Danish cookies would work just as well. I like the small one because the girls can keep it in the pocket next to their seats in the van.

Altoid Tin

Here is where you get to be creative. You can make a simple tic-tac-toe board.

Tic-Tac-Toe Board

Or you can make up boards based on where your trip takes you. Think of things the kids might see out the window, or as you make one of a dozen visits to a rest stop.What about license plates from nearby states?

Campground Board

Hike Board

Countryside Board

If you are artistically challenged like me, you can find drawings online and print them off. To size your boards, lay your tin on a piece of paper and trace the bottom. When you cut it out you will want to go inside the line by about 1/8th of an inch so that it slips in and out of your tin easily. The best boards are printed on cardstock to they hold up better. You can keep several boards in the tin and the magnets will still work. How many depends on the strength of the magnets you use.

Packages of magnets are available at most craft stores and Wal Mart. Here, I just used a paint pen to mark 4 with Xs and 4 with Os. As objects for a BINGO game are found just place a magnet on the square. Those which are not being used can be stacked or will stick to the lid. A prize goes to the winner of the BINGO game.