Friday, December 31, 2010

Christmas Storytelling

One of my favorite moments from our extended family Christmas get-together this year happened during our annual Christmas Eve Journey to Bethlehem dinner. After we had finished eating, one member of our family started telling M and G the true story of Christmas. After about 3 or 4 sentences that person stopped, and the next person picked up where they left off. We continued this way around the table until we had finished the story.

I think it was easier for M to pay attention when the story was told by multiple storytellers, and it was an opportunity for all of us to really focus on what we were celebrating. Hearing my brothers and sister (who do not yet have their own children of their own) simplify the story down to a 3-year-old level was an especially unusual treat!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Ways to Involve Little Ones in Christmas Gift-Giving

I'm always trying to think of ways to include my girls in the gift- giving side of things (the receiving end is all too easy :-)

These are some ideas I've used for past and present years.  (I'd love to hear more ideas!)

1.  Make an edible gift and involve the preschooler or toddler in the process.  This year, we made peppermint bark, and M helped me open the peppermint candies, crush and sprinkle them.

2.  Involve the child in the gift-wrapping process.  Let them use stickers to decorate an already- wrapped present, color a white sheet of wrapping paper with markers, or use paint to make hand or foot print wrapping paper.  Use a little craft that they've done as the "bow."

3.  Help the child memorize a little poem for the recipient.  Here is a cute one for grandparents.

Grandparents Are Nice

Grandmas and Grandpas are everything nice. 
Like presents and candy and raspberry ice. 

And chocolate fudge sundaes, with cherries on top. 
And popcorn and peanuts and grape soda pop. 

In winter or summer, in rain or in sun, 
Grandmas and Grandpas are wonderful fun!!!

4.  Make a coupon book full of coupons to be redeemed for hugs and kisses from the child.

5.  Help the child make a little jar full of things that they like about the person.

6.  Have the child do little chores around the house for money to buy a small gift.

7.  If the recipient is long distance, make a video of the child doing some of their favorite things and include a personal message from your child to the recipient at the end.

Hmmmm, that's all I can think of right now...any other thoughts?  Also...if you know me, pretend you didn't read this post come Christmas day :-)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Daddy Daughter Christmas Date

For M's main gift this year she got to go on a little date with her Daddy. They went to dinner and then to a store to pick out a Christmas dress together. I just had to smile when M told her father that day, "Daddy, we're going on a date tonight, and I've never BEEN on a date!"

R's cousin does this every year with his daughter as a tradition at Christmastime, and we thought it seemed like a neat idea. We're like the thought that the sweet memory from this time will hopefully outlast the enjoyment from many of her toys.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Animal Print Sticker Backs

Don't these sticker backgrounds looks surprisingly like giraffe animal print? M thought so (and thankfully, with no hair on her arms and legs yet, it didn't hurt coming off!)

Giveaway Winner: Bughouse Playtent

Congratulations to Apryl at Christian Clippers- winner of the Bughouse Playtent giveaway!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Clothes Pins in a Water Bottle

My 15 month old really enjoys dropping the old fashioned clothes pins into an empty water bottle and then shaking them out again.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Hot Rock Coloring

Today M and I found a big rock in the backyard and heated it in the oven. When it was nice and toasty I took it out, and we began (carefully) coloring on it with crayons. The effect was really unique. The crayon tips melted instantly, and suddenly it was like painting with hot wax.

M and I just kept saying "This is so interesting!" to one another as we tried different colors. After we painted the rock, we tried an old plant pot. That worked nicely too; you can see that when the colors mixed together it created a nice marbling effect. Unfortunately, the marbling effect became less pronounced as some of the wax got absorbed into the dark pot.

I was only willing to do this activity with M because she is an especially cautious little three year old and I could trust her not to touch the rock. It was hot! Also, next time I will make sure we all wear painting clothing. The sleeves on M's shirt don't look so good, and I don't think it's going to come out...oops.
It's Playtime!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Toddler Bath Toy: Turkey Baster

If you're like me and hardly ever use the turkey baster but feel compelled to keep it around for the sake of Thanksgiving, you might be pleased (like I was) to discover that it makes a pretty good bath toy! It was a little tricky for M to get the hang of sucking up the water and squirting it out, but she definitely was fascinated.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Fun Giveaway: Bughouse Play Tent

Giveways are so much fun at Christmas time! CSN (a company of online stores that is currently promoting sling backpacks) will be giving away another fun product to one of you just in time for holiday gift-giving.

The Bazoongi Kids Special Edition Bughouse Play Tent is unique and looks like lots of fun. It can be used indoors or outdoors and looks to be a perfect hideaway for little "bugs." I can just imagine the fun M and G would have crawling through it, peeking through the windows, and pretending to be bumblebees. :-)

To enter the giveaway simply leave a comment on this post (and make sure to leave an email address so that I can contact you if you win!).

For additional entries: (1 each)

1. Subscribe to the RSS for this blog
2. Become a friend of Havingfunathome through Google friend follower.
If you are already a subscriber or a friend through friend connect that counts too! Just make sure to leave an additional comment for each entry!

This giveaway ends at midnight on December 13th when I will choose a comment using and email the winner!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Smelly Socks Matching Game

In the course of two baby girls, our house has accumulated a mountain of unmatched baby socks.   The other day, I had a big show down with all of them (spread them all over the living room floor and hunted for pairs).

 After finding a match or two, I was left with quite a slew of little orphan socks, and unsure of what to do with them all.  (Hard to throw them away- after all, they're just so tiny and cute and once housed such little treasures!) I decided to use some of them for a smelling game that Chasing Cheerios talked about a while ago.  
After deciding on some distinctive smells (vinegar, almond extract, my hand lotion, etc).  I covered two cotton balls with each scent, stuffed the cotton into two random baby socks, and tied up the tops.  M's job was to smell the socks and find smelling pairs.  I worried at first that maybe the different appearances of the socks would distract, but it didn't seem too.  She successfully matched the smells, and then we were able to have a quick little chat about our favorite smells.

After that one last use, I didn't feel as badly laying the socks to rest in the trash can.  I do have quite a few more though.  Anyone have any ideas of what to do with them?

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Homemade Almond Milk

This is a recipe that my husband had found in a magazine a long time ago and mentioned that he would like me to try sometime. I was surprised at first because I didn't know he liked almond milk, but I'm glad he did because it turned out to be a fun project.

1. Soak raw almonds in water overnight so they'll be nice and soft when you process them. Use 3 cups of water for every one cup of almonds.

2. Use a blender or food processor to blend the almonds with all of the water. (I used a food processor, and itworked fine).

3. When the almonds are finely processed, place a dish towel over a large bowl and rubber-band it into place. Strain the almond milk through the towel. (I ended up having to strain the milk twice because I accidentally plopped some of the pulp into the milk at the end.)4. Once most of the liquid has strained through, gather up the corners of the towel and squeeze the rest out.5. Add a couple of pinches of salt, and some vanilla and honey to taste to make it extra delicious!

6. Don't throw away the almond pulp!! That stuff is useful! Spread it out on a cookie sheet and bake at 275 degrees until it is dried out and a little roasted. This almond meal can be used for all kinds of things; you can bake with it to make pie crusts or muffins, or use it like bread crumbs (maybe coat some kind of white fish in it for a tasty breading).

The Birthday Wreath is on our Door Today!

Happy Birthday to the wonderful husband and father who gives our home so much stability and fun !

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Ghost of Christmases Past

To celebrate the first day of December (which here in Texas is appropriately COOOOLD!) I'm reposting some of the December and Christmas ideas that my family and extended family have done in the past. 

And...for some reason I'm particularly excited about Christmas this year so look for lots of Christmas-themed posts in the next few weeks.  (Hopefully I'll find time for posting them!)

Advent Log with candles, Scripture reading and singing (If you would like me to send you a copy of the list of Scripture passages, symbols, and corresponding hymns we sing each night please feel free to email me at kmagill1212 at gmail dot com)

 Sugared Cranberries

Journey to Bethlehem Dinner
Christmas Present Store

Aromatic Christmas Counters

Hand and Footprint Wrapping Paper