No Bake Cinnamon Ornaments

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Want to fill your house with the delicious scent of cinnamon, have fun with the kids and make some simple Christmas ornaments? Then give these No Bake Cinnamon Ornaments a try!

This is a wonderful recipe- it requires NO BAKING, only four ingredients and takes only minutes to whip up a batch of dough. And the absolute best thing about this recipe is that the dough will make your home smell divine!

Keep reading!

Christmas Ornaments: Pom-Poms, Beads and Popsicle Sticks

The days may be becoming increasingly shorter, but being stuck in the house all day with three young kids can sometimes make each day seem incredibly long. Am I right? Making Christmas ornaments has quickly become our favorite go-to activity on these cold and dreary December afternoons.   Keep reading!

Simple Advent Traditions with Children

Does it seem that each year the holiday season gets busier and busier, and we get further away from the true meaning of the Advent and Christmas season? We’re often so busy preparing for Christmas that all focus on the liturgical season of Advent is lost.

Advent is, after all, a season of preparation for the coming of our Lord, and He does not want us to be stressed out about decking the halls. The best way to focus our attention on the season of Advent is to adopt or renew some simple Advent traditions in the home. So for all of my fellow busy mothers out there, I have prepared a list of meaningful and simple Advent activities that you can do as a Catholic Christian family. Keep reading!

The Perfect Christmas Photos

I should have known better. I really should have. Sickness had been ravaging our house for the past two weeks and we’d been scrambling a bit to get everything done before Christmas Day. My husband really wanted to send out Christmas cards this year. Eh, I thought, maybe I’m just a little bit lazy but I could have just skipped it all together this year. I agreed, and of course, I just had to include some photos of the kids.

Attempting to take Christmas photos of two sick, tired and cranky toddlers was just a bad idea. I should have just settled for some shots of them in their Christmas pajamas on the couch eating cereal and watching cartoons, but in my head I imagined adorable photos of my two little perfectly dressed angels holding hands and laughing in front of the Christmas tree. Reality took over and this is what we ended up with.

It started off badly and quickly went downhill from there. Timmy insisted on holding his sister’s hand but she wanted no part of it. Vera was also upset because she wanted to sit on my lap.

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Even a little bribe, I mean snack, couldn’t placate my little one.

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Tim was over it by this point.

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One was yawning and the other one was crying.

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Finally Vera was calm but Timmy was just done.

christmas photo 10 christmas photo 11 christmas photo 16I should also mention that we broke two ornaments and I made my son cry during this failed photo session. Our pictures didn’t turn out at all as I had hoped they would, but they couldn’t be more perfect. Life with little kids certainly isn’t all smiles and laughter, but it’s these less than perfect moments that make life wonderful and memorable. It’s real life. And even though it didn’t feel like it at the time, these photos will be more precious to me some day than any “perfect Christmas photos” ever could be.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Ribbon Lacing Christmas Tree

I’ve been meaning to buy Timmy some lacing cards lately. I think they’d be great to keep his little hands busy and work on his fine motor skills as well. In the meantime, I figured I could make some lacing cards of my own.

Now that Timmy has begun to show an interest in making crafts with me, I try to do at least one craft each week with him. Craft time seemed like a perfect opportunity to incorporate some lacing skills. My plan was to have Timmy make a paper plate Christmas tree with a ribbon lacing garland.

Timmy happily painted a paper plate (and a good chunk of the table around it) green. After cutting off the edge of the plate, I cut the plate into 3 pieces of increasing size.

ps3 2I glued the pieces together in the shape of a Christmas tree and cut some holes along the bottom of each tier of the tree. I cut three pieces of ribbon. I knotted one end of each of the ribbons and then taped around the other end of the ribbons. I pushed the taped ends of the ribbons through the first hole of each tier of the tree. My homemade lacing card was ready to go.

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lacingIt only took a quick explanation from me about what to do with the ribbon and Timmy got right down to business- I loved how focused he was on the task at hand.

ps3 1He loved adding the pom pom Christmas ornaments to his tree, but was very adamant about stopping when he did. Less is more, I suppose.

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I think his Christmas tree looks great hanging on our fridge.

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I may have to come up with some more lacing card crafts since he enjoyed this one so much!

Ornament Ball Christmas Wreath

Pinterest and crafting blogs have been flooded with ornament ball wreaths the last few Christmas seasons, and with good reason. They really are cute and simple to make- I just had to have one of my own! I’ve been on the hunt for just the right (and inexpensive) ornaments lately, and when I spotted a pre-packaged assortment of white, red, green and gold ornaments at 50% off, I had to buy them. I couldn’t wait to make my wreath!

I found it’s best to use ornaments of varied sizes. The smallest ornaments did a great job of filling in any gaps in my wreath.wreath 2I bent a wire coat hanger into the best circular shape I could- easier said than done- and then strung my ornaments onto the hanger. I know some tutorials recommend gluing the hooks onto the ornaments before stringing them, but I skipped this step. Ornaments falling off or breaking were never an issue. I have to admit, I was a bit skeptical of how this would end up when I added the first 20 ornaments or so. The wreath didn’t really start to take shape unitl I had added plenty of ornaments. wreath 1To close the wire hanger loop, I used pliers to twist the ends together- I did this carefully so I  didn’t warp the wire and break my ornaments!wreath 3I glued some of the ornaments together just to give my wreath a more uniform circular shape.

wreath9I just love my new wreath and so do my kids. Timmy wanted to play with it and little Vera just stood there with her tiny mouth wide open in awe. wreath10

Old Sweater Christmas Wreath

I’ve had this green cable knit sweater for many, many years. I loved the color, but it was time for it to go. I just love making beautiful new creations from old sweaters- boot socks, scarves, fabric flowers. Someday I’ll get around to posting tutorials for everything I’ve made from my old sweaters. Now I can add a festive Christmas wreath to my list of new uses for old sweaters!

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I cut the two front panels off the sweater. I wrapped the cable knit fabric around a foam wreath form and used a little hot glue to secure the fabric to the back of the wreath. wreath2

The seams where the two panels of fabric joined were easily hidden- one at the top of the wreath (behind the hanger) and the other behind the decorations I added to the bottom portion of the wreath.

I picked up some lovely glittered pinecones and jingle bells at Target the other day for a few dollars. My daughter loved the jingle bells so much I had to wait until her nap time to get them away from her. The gray and white felt flowers I had leftover from an earlier project. You can find the tutorial here. A few dabs of hot glue to add the bells, pinecones and flowers and I was done.

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I love how my wreath turned out! Not too bad for an old sweater and 10 minutes of work. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Paper Pinecone Ornament

Today I’m sharing with you a simple tutorial to make a paper pinecone Christmas ornament. I’ve been in a handmade-Christmas-ornament-making-kinda-mood lately. These paper pinecones are perfect- so simple and inexpensive to make!

You’ll need just one sheet of cardstock for this project. I found a sheet of gold cardstock embellished with glittery dots buried deep within my box of crafting supplies the other day. With its rich gold color and just a touch of sparkle, it seemed perfect for a Christmas ornament.

cone7Besides one sheet of cardstock, all you’ll need for your pinecone is a plastic Easter egg (I had about 100 or so of these left over from this past Easter) and a glue gun. If you don’t have any plastic eggs taking up room in your closet like I do, don’t worry. I believe you can find styrofoam ones in any crafting store.

Start by cutting one inch strips of paper. Cut each strip into one inch squares.

cone6Fold each square so there is a point at one end, similar to the shape of a house. Starting at the bottom (smallest part) of the egg, attach your folded paper pieces with the pointed side down. Make sure to overlap the paper a bit. You should also overlap each additional layer of folded paper with the layer underneath it. This was what my pinecone looked like when it was halfway completed.cone 1Once you’ve attached all of your paper pieces, you make a loop of ribbon and glue it to the top of your pinecone. If you’d like, a pretty bow can finish off this simple ornament. And you’re done.

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I’d love to hear your thoughts on my paper pinecone ornament!

Fabric Flower Christmas Ornament

Living in cold climates and three pregnancies in three years have enabled me to accumulate quite a large collection of pajamas. And when my all time favorite pair somehow shrunk, I couldn’t just throw them away. The fabric is a really pretty and vibrant red plaid- absolutely perfect for fabric flower Christmas ornaments!

I made two of these ornaments one morning before the kids were awake. They’re so simple to make. For each ornament you make, you will need 27 fabric circles. The size is entirely up to you. Mine were the size of a large can (my guide for cutting out the circles).

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Start by putting a dot of hot glue in the center of one circle.

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Fold the circle in half.

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Put a second dot of hot glue in the center along the folded seam and fold the half circle in half again.

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You now have one flower petal. Glue four of these petals to one circle of fabric. Make sure the open ends all face the same direction.

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This comprises one layer of the petals. You will need to make a total of three layers of four petals each. For each new layer, stagger the petals 45 degrees.

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For the final petal, make a half circle and then roll it up so it looks like a cone. Secure with some hot glue.

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Glue the last petal in the gap that remains. You can glue the sides of this last petal to the surrounding petals if you want. I found that doing this helps give the ornament a nice rounded shape.

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This is one half of the ornament. Add a loop of ribbon to the back side of the flower before making the other side of the ornament.

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On the side of the ornament that has the ribbon, begin adding layers of petals. Again, you will need three layers of four petals each and one cone shaped petal.

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Finish your ornament off with a bow if you’d like. When you’re done, your ornament should look like this.

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I’m so happy with how these turned out that I plan on making more for our tree this year. I love pretty handmade ornaments!