Friday, December 21, 2012

Superbook on ABC! Don't miss this AWESOME show!

Watch on ABC Family
Weekdays 9:30AM EST

Dec 24th:A Giant Adventure
Dec 25th:The First Christmas
Dec 26th:In the Beginning
Dec 27th:The Road to Damascus
Dec 28th:Let My People Go
Dec 31st:The Ten Commandments
Jan 1st:Roar!

I grew up with superbook and LOVE it! Take advantage of the free airings this Christmas season!  Hope you enjoy it as much as I did and still do!   A great way to keep the Christmas season all about Christ.


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Top 10 DIY homemade gifts for every boy on your list!

Every year I try to be creative and make most of my gifts.  Not just for friends but for my kids aged 2-8, my parents, my sister and even my husband!  I try to start in Nov.  If I don't get started getting them done I try to at least be compiling ideas.
Here are my current favorites and most of these I am currently working on for my 8 yr old or my 2yr old.


Fort Kit
fort kits | diy hang tags | saltwater-kids
LOVE this idea and already made my son one this year for Christmas complete with cool bag and with the downloaded tag from above.  Complete directions found HERE from Saltwater-kids.  You can also download the fort tags which in my opinion really add the final touch! PS you can make a cool girly version as well!

Cutest Sock Monkeys EVER
How To Sew Sock Monkey ~ tutorial and pattern
Full directions and pattern found HERE at craft passion.   I am trying to make two of these for Christmas for my 2 year old son and my coming new born. The eyes and ears make them SO cute!

Guys leather cuff bracelet

What a great simple idea!  I am making one for my sons, myself and sister!  Find a clear easy tutorial HERE at The Red Kitchen My girls shouldn't get to have all the fun dressing up!  My two year old is always wearing their necklaces and crowns, so I think it is time for him to get his own guy jewelery.

Guys nail cross necklace

I saw this at Molly Dodd listed as a summer camp craft.  There are no directions but it looks straight forward enough.  I love it because it is a visual reminder of  what Christ did for us as well as being pretty awesome.

Lego Tray
Lego Tray - I think this is the most brilliant gift. Will have to make some of these!
This clever idea from Some What Simple is perfect for my oldest son and my oldest daughter!  We are making them each one.  This enables them to keep a project they are working on and transport it out of a bedroom when a sibling needs to nap, or keep it out of reach of curious hands.  My daughter has recently gotten into the "Friends" girly lego kits and can play for hours!  When she is done though she doesn't want to put it all up as she is playing with it still so this is perfect!  I just bought the lego flats at amazon pretty cheap.

DS travel pouch 

I really like this DS travel pouch with spaces for games.  Keeps it all organized and together.  There is a full tutorial to print off but I hope you speak French as it is not in English.  I am still debating if I will be able to get to this one, but hope to!  I would make one for my daughter and son! Check out the tutorial HERE at By Gabs.

Super Hero Costume

This is the set I made for my Cruz (hence the C super cape)!  I know he will love it!
diy superhero mask
Find the mask tutorial HERE at Swanky Press   I used it as a guide and added thunder bolts to the sides. Check the eye holes to make sure the little one who will wear then will be able to see.
The Train To Crazy: Handmade Dress Up: DIY Superhero Cuffs Tutorial
I used this tutorial from The Train to Crazy to make the cuffs, because how cute are they!  I just made mine with thunderbolts to match the mask and made everything out of blue and red felt.  Really easy project that really adds to the costume!  My girls always dress up so I wanted my son to be able to join the fun!

Hobby Horse or Stick Horse

My little cowboy would love this!  In fact I have one in the works right now.  I know there is only 6 days or so till Christmas so I better get on it!! This one has a great tutorial at  Light Blue Grey.  I love all the details she uses!

This one by Dandee-Designs is really cute too!  She has a great mane tutorial and her horse doesn't take many supplies.  I  think it turned out so cute!  I need to finish mine!!

DIY Dinosaur Fossil Kit
 DIY Fossils for Kids
My son LOVES the fossil kits you buy that you chip away to find the dinosaur bones and then put it all together.  This is a similar idea, from Paper Vine NZ and it looks so simple!  I would like to find a dinosaur 3 d puzzle to use on the inside and probably won't bother with the mold.  A loaf pan would work great.  You can just hide the dinosaurs or dinosaur pieces all over.  As he gently chips away at the block he is rewarded with discoveries and you are rewarded with hours of silence!  A rare joy for mothers of boys!

DIY Art Station
kids art station
Last but not least a fun was a bit hit with our son a few years ago.I made a space for both my son and daughter and filled it with fun glitter, pipe cleaners, glue, crayons, markers, etc.. Check out my post for more details HERE. 

Need more ideas?  Check this older post "Need to save some cash? Homemade gifts and online secrets for savings!"
Hope you enjoyed these ideas!  What are you making the boys in your life?  Love to hear more ideas!


Monday, December 10, 2012

DIY Handmade Doctor Play Kit (tutorial). GREAT kids gift!

I love a handmade holiday.  The gifts are so memorable and your kids know you really thought about them while you labored over a great gift.  It sure is cheaper as well!  With 4 kids aged 2-8 girls and boys I have been scouring the internet for ideas and come up with quite a few great ones! This one is great for the boys or girls, and they can all play together.  So here it is... the completed doctor kit.
I think it cost me a total of $4.50!  I found most of the stuff around the house, got the 2 surgical masks from the hospital for free when I was there for an ultrasound, printed stuff off and bought only the bag and stethoscope   Would you believe the stethoscope was only $3 brand new off Amazon!  They had other colors, but some of the other colors cost twice as much (same exact stethoscope), so I thought blue looked fine.  I love that it really works!  The bag was $1.50 at the thrift store and has the great doctor bag shape i was looking for.

Here is a closer look at the contents.  I printed off the labels you see above from the link below and attached to empty containers we had around the house.  I love the vintage uniform look.  The doctor badges I printed off from a great link I posted below that allows you to add your own photo and customize the text.  The silver bottle is a spray bottle filled with water for "wound care" or other imaginative play.  I added some band aid stickers that I printed from the computer onto sticky paper cut them out and put them in a band aid box.  The cotton balls and Q-tips they can use to "clean wounds", and doctor up their siblings or stuffed animals.  The plastic syringes we had as well as the medicine dosser.  You can also get a better look at the monogramed bag tag that I used to girly it up for my Bella.
I added a ear bulb for fun, a water balloon filler as otoscope for inspecting ears, some play money we had to pay the doctor, an ace bandage for wrapping up those sprains and broken bones, surgical masks, and of course the real working brand new stethoscope!  I made both my daughters a badge as I know they will both want to be the doctor at some point in the game.
I put it all together in this really cute doctor shaped bag and added a cute little laminated initial tag to give it a little more feminine appeal since it was for my daughter.  I may add a red felt cross to the front of  the bag on the black.  We will see.
Apothecary Bottles
Vintage medicine labels found free HERE at Eat Drink Chick.
Official Doctor badges created for free HERE at  Big Huge Labs
I am still thinking of adding a small clip board, white shirt for a lab coat (cut of the sleeve's cuff and the tail and hem), and file folder for official doctor papers to include...
Printable x-ray images like those found Here from Net Placesand free printable customizable eye chart from Eye Chart Maker.
I know she will love it!  I expect to get hours of play from all the kids out of this one!
 If you happened across a pair of kids crutches at a thrift store that would be pretty fun for the kids too!   I am sure I will find little things from now till Christmas to be adding in as well.  Hope you found some inspiration for a handmade kit for the kiddo in your life!  Love to hear if you  make one and how it goes! 

Friday, November 30, 2012

Friday Freebie! 15 page preschool Christmas Fun Pages from Mama's Learning Corner!

I am printing these off as we speak!  Great entertainment for the little ones so we can get some crafting for Christmas done!  Sure beats TV!
Christmas Fun Pages: 15-page worksheet set from Mama's Learning Corner
She has lots of great freebies so be sure to check them all out!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Felt Christmas Tree Advent Calendar & Kids Felt Play Tree in one!

I wanted to share this quick easy tutorial for a handmade felt Christmas tree advent calendar. It is similar to one I saw at Pottery Barn. No sewing machine needed.  I attached the simple pockets on the front with hand stitching while watching TV.  You can of course pull out the machine if you feel so inclined.  
 On the back side I made a play felt tree for the kids to decorate over and over.  I even had them cut out the shapes of the felt ornaments themselves using cookie cutters and chalk to trace.  You can of course do it yourself and make them much more elaborate.
I first saw this idea here at I can Teach My Child

You will need some green felt for the tree, and other colors for the decorations on the back, needle and thread, chalk, ruler, scissors, felt decorative stickers, and a sharpie.  I like to use a rotary cutter and cutting mat with ruler but you don't have to by any means.

The first step is to measure out your tree size.  Cut out a square that size and fold it in half. Now take your chalk and draw the outline of half a tree since your fabric is folded in half.  Cut along that line.  You should have something like the photo below.

Now  use your ruler to mark out your squares using chalk.  I marked in each square how many pockets fit on each row.
Once you measure those out, you can fold your fabric accordingly and cut the advent pockets with a rotary cutting tool and ruler.  If you don't have one you can just cut them out with scissors.
  Then simply attach the pockets to the tree with your needle and thread!
I then randomly added the felt stickers where ever I liked, and marked the date on each box with a sharpie.  You could use cool felt number stickers but I was in a hurry and couldn't find any locally.  I could not get the above photo to turn (though I turned it several times!) so sorry for it's sideways view.

 In each pocket I placed one of the tickets that will have the activity for that day. I simply write the activity on the back.
Image and video hosting by TinyPic
 I found that printable for the free Christmas "tickets" HERE from Miss Cutie pie goes 80s.  These make really cute gift tags too!
There is a great list of activities here at Baltimore Mommies or you can type in winter bucket list into a google search for a whole array of options.
And that is it!  You can EASILY whip this out in a few hours. 
Have fun and let me know how it turns out! 


Friday, November 23, 2012

Gifts that bring JOY and OPPORTUNITY to the poor!

Gifts that bring joy and opportunity to the poor!

View on the Web | Forward to a Friend
Gift Catalog

Dear Kristy,
This Black Friday, instead of running around town to find this year’s “it” gift, take a moment and choose a present that will save a life.
Food For The Poor’s Christmas Gift Catalog makes gift giving easy, meaningful, and there are options to fit every budget.
Your loved ones will be delighted to know that a practical, desperately-needed gift has been given to the poor in their honor.
Your gift will commemorate the birth of our Lord by providing a hungry child with "daily bread" for an entire year.
A goat provides poor families with
Contaminated water causes disease and even death among young children. Your generosity will save lives.
Let your dollars do double duty!  Get your Christmas presents and feed the poor!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

How To Have a Peaceful, Budget Friendly Christmas Season.

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving up at my parents with all the kid-lets, my uncle, and some friends.  We ate a beautiful feast.  Of course I forgot my camera, which is my common response to a lot going on!  We ate our typical feast (all the recipes listed earlier on "My All Favorite Thanksgiving and Christmas Dinner Recipes year after year (made with whole foods)."  YUMMY!

When we are being thankful it is such a reminder of God's grace in our lives. All the little and big things we are thankful for are gifts from God.  Made me think that next year I would love to add a time of praise and worship to our traditional celebration.  A time of showing God our thankfulness and enjoying His presence.

Came home by 5:30 after stopping to look at Christmas lights on the way home, got everyone into jammies and watched a fun family movie.  By 7:30 we were all exhausted (pregnancy and sleep are not going that great for me at the moment) and in bed!  I was of course just "laying down with Cruz" my 2 year old, but at nine I woke up to find a quiet house, husband in bed and feeling refreshed :).  I love a quiet house to sew, blog or craft in!
The end of Thanksgiving signifies for my family the start of the Christmas season as well.  I love the weekend after Thanksgiving as it is so fun to put up the tree, decorate and get in the Christmas Spirit.  I don't however get into the whole Black Friday craze, and was sorry to see that so many stores started black Friday tonight.  The consumerism can really rob from the time of thankfulness and time with family.

I LOVE Christmas.  Everything about it... The lights, the craftiness of making decorations, presents, and what not, the music, the spirit of generosity.  It is the perfect way to celebrate the gift of Jesus.  Being generous with others as God was so generous with the gift of his Son Jesus the hope of salvation. I always explain it to my kids like this.."We give gifts to others, because God gave Jesus to us."  It blesses Gods heart to see generosity, so that is our gift to God.  We also keep it simple at our house. Setting a budget at the begining of the season helps too.  We have 5 kids (if you count the one due Christmas day), and a small budget so we make a lot of gifts, swap names between the adults and include thrifted gifts as well that we have scoped out at the local thrift store, on craigslist, or at garage sales.  This year I found a pink DS in great shape for my daughter at a garage sale for $1!!!  I also found her a kids sewing machine (something I had been wanting to get her), and a few board games that looked new.  She is by far the easiest to get gifts for!

Christmas can be simple, budget friendly, and peaceful.  I try to focus on the traditions and season of giving more than just the presents.   I wasn't raised with Santa and we choose not to do it at all at our house. I didn't want to confuse the reason for the season with Santa as it can be overshadowing but we do read stories about Saint Nick and other Christmas tales that inspire generosity and love.  We have started a few holiday traditions like wrapping 24 Christmas books under the tree, some we own, tons are from the library, etc.. and then the kids take turns every night of December till Christmas unwrapping one and that is what we read before bedtime.  We try to incorporate giving to the hungry or needy where ever we can.  We might sponsor a child, give gifts from World Vision so the profits go to feed the hungry, or buy a sheep through World Vision for a family across the globe in need etc.. in someones name on our gift list who doesn't want anything.  We also have an advent calender (tutorial coming soon) that we fill with activity ideas like making cookies, seeing the lights, giving a gift in secret to a friend, etc...  Christmas morning we will eat a big fun breakfast and read the Christmas story, and we always have our big meal Christmas Eve so mom's don't have to cook Christmas day!  Then we can snack on all the leftovers all day on Christmas.  I also have the kids find or make each other presents so they get to participate in the giving side of things.  They love it!

These fun things keep the focus on togetherness, generosity and love the real reason of the Season.  If I don't get it all crafted I am not too worried.  I am not looking to focus on getting everyone the perfect gift (although I would love it if they were thrilled!), but on really enjoying each other and God's goodness the whole season through.  I do not want consumerism, long lists of "I want", in fact we don't let the kids make lists or get them into the habit of thinking they need to tell us exactly what they want for this very reason.  It should all be a pleasant surprise not a demand or expectation.  They know that thrifted presents are part of it and in fact they look forward to finding things for their brothers and sisters at the thrift store too!  It just sets them up to appreciate whatever comes their way and allows us to get them something they would really like even though it is not in a new wrapper.
Here are some of the fun DIY ideas I am using for my kids this year!

 I am making her and my younger daughter these owl  pillows from Button Bird Designs but in fun fabrics (in fact I started those a while ago and am almost done).
Cape Tutorial
These amazingly cute wool cape's for the girls are next on the sewing list!  The pattern is made like a simple circle skirt so as cute as they are they shouldn't take long.  I LOVE them and once I get the hang of how to make them I plan on making one for myself!
I think with all the things I have to sew for her, and all the gifts I have found over time that I need to be done for her.  They get gifts from grandmas, and grandpas, and aunts so we try not to go overboard. I do not want to set the expectation at this stage in life that Christmas is an over top budget blower.  My youngest is really starting to get into imaginative play so I am making her a DIY doctor kit.  I have found some really fun ideas for it and have so many of the supplies on hand around the house.  She will love it!  I will post a tutorial on that once it is done.
fort kits | diy hang tags | saltwater-kids
My oldest son who is 8 will be getting a really cool fort kid that I found a tutorial for here at Saltwater-kids. I can't wait to get started on this!  He will love it!  What a great birthday presents for his friends as well.  I am sure I will have to sew a few more up in the near future!  Just so you know I really don't get to sew that often.  We homeschool and being pregnant, having a 2 yr old, 3 yr old, 5 yr old and 8 yr old they keep me busy getting water, doing school, cleaning, cooking etc... So most of the projects I picked for this year are really simple ones!
Like this cape for my youngest son.  I followed the cutting tutorial to get the right shape from the picture above at Moms Rising, but used black knit so there was no sewing involved with that part.  I did however create the CUTEST felt logo with a lightning bolt and his initial out of felt that I sewed on the back!  I love it! I added some cuffs from this tutorial at The Train To Crazy, and made two cute super hero masks with lightning bolts that I will have to show you when I make my DIY super hero outfit tutorial.  I hope he loves it.  It is too cute and we can't let the girls have all the fun with their princess dress ups!
How To Sew Sock Monkey ~ tutorial and pattern
I plan to make these sock monkeys for Cruz my youngest and our newest baby boy for when he is born.  They are so cute!! Not sure how hard they are.  We will see.  I have lots of stuff to make all the kids on my list but this last one for Cruz is so cute I had to share in case you have a little "cowboy" on your list as well!
lightbluegrey: Let's diy!
I adore these stick horse, hobby horse or whatever you want to call them!  The tutorial is Here at Light Blue Grey.  So like I said I have way more ideas of what I want to make for all kinds of people on my list and if you want to see the tutorials and gift ideas I am pinning at pinterest be sure to Follow Me on Pinterest and check out my Christmas gift ideas board and my Christmas and fall holidays board.  There are tons of fun ideas that I plan on adding to as well. I figure if I don't make it all this Christmas there are plenty of holidays that I will be looking for gift ideas for!  I also posted some money saving ideas on these older posts Here and Here.

Anyway, I got a little sidetracked showing you all the fun DIY ideas out there for presents but my point was that Christmas is about God's Love and should remain the focus of the season!  I may not get all my ideas crafted, or get around to Christmas cards (so please don't be offended if you don't get one), or get my house perfectly decked out, or get around to throwing that great holiday party, but that is ok.  I don't want anything to take the place of focusing on God's great gift and opportunities to be generous and be a blessing. I really want to take the time to enjoy my family which is His second greatest gift to me.  If any to-do item is robbing me of my joy and stressing me out than it isn't that important!   What do you do to keep the spirit in the season and avoid the craziness that can rob your joy during the holidays?