Salt Dough Ornament Advent Calendar

I have a feeling this will be a Thanksgiving Break activity for the next few years…we all love it and the final product makes me smile. I am glad we’re a little early this year as it just means a few extra days to look at the boys’ hard work. The boys were able to do the majority of the work. After helping to mix the dough, I divided it into two halves and let the boys roll it out:

And then handed over the cookie cutters:

I love how they are completely covered in flour…heh. On Ty’s face, shirt, arms…everywhere:

We worked in batches and the entire process took us about three days. I ended up making three batches of ornaments: two were perfect, one, I forgot to punch the holes in the top. Grrr. This is the third different salt dough recipe I’ve tried. I wasn’t happy with last year’s and gave this new one a try. I think it’s a keeper. Simple: 1 cup salt, 2 cups flour, 1+ cups water until thoroughly mixed. Bake at 250 degrees for 3 hours…

After letting the ornaments cool over night, I set the boys up for painting. Christmas music on in the background for inspiration, paints ready to go, and the boys went to town:

Batch one: success. I painted a quick, light layer of Mod Podge on each ornament after the boys went to bed:

As soon as they woke up, they begged to make the ornaments “beautiful”. I handed over the bling, sipped my coffee, and watched them beautify the ornaments:

Makes me swoon…

As I stringed the ornaments, I had the boys make super simple bead ornaments to add to the mix. All you need are a few pipe cleaners and beads. I put a star on the end and bent the pipe cleaner about 3/4 of an inch up to give me room to work with and finish the ornament:

Good for fine motor skills practice and takes a loooooooong time. One bead at a time…

Their finished ornaments:

And our family advent calendar. Each day, the boys will hang one ornament on our tree…

Loving the addition of Star Wars ornaments this year:

I had a little ornament-making fun as well:

Kid made holiday goodness…bring on the December crazy!!


Subscription Box: Amazepack

As soon as I saw the Amazepack subscription box, I knew it was a match made in crafty subscription box heaven. And I was not disappointed…I squealed when I saw this lovely on my doorstep.

And opened it right up…

I love that this crafty endeavor took me out of my paper-loving comfort zone and forced me to try my hand at painting…

I also painted a little glass sugar bowl for a jewelry holder gifty type thing…and yes, I know my painting leaves a lot to be desired. I don’t have a steady hand. Or the patience needed for fine details…heh.

The finished soap dispensers…one is complete, one still needs “something”:

I love the way this one came out. Funny, it was the one I liked the least out of the oven, but had fun embellishing it up. And there truly isn’t anything that can’t be prettied up by a little burlap:


Mod-podged the washi tape and paper accent to seal, glued on the flower, voila:

Added a little washi, but it still needs something…

I absolutely adore Amazepack…can’t wait for next month’s crafty fun!!

Grateful Tree: Green Kid Crafts Box

After some wet rainy day cozy coupe fun, we headed inside for a few crafty endeavors…

I traced a simple tree trunk outline on a piece of 12 x 12 kraft paper (could easily use a paper bag):

Inspired by the Green Kid Crafts “use everything” philosophy, we completed this project with simple things around the house. I cut up a few pages of today’s newspaper for the boys to use as the tree trunk. Gave them the glue and let them go to town filling in the trunk shape:

For the branches, I had the boys rip the little pieces of newspaper in half. Kept it simple.

While they glued, I cut out the leaves for them. I  used the leaves on the back of the Tile Collage as a template for the orange and yellow paper:

My heart swooned a little as Ty filled out his leaves. As he wrote meticulously, we talked about things both boys loved and would miss if gone. We also talked about things we were grateful for. I love how this “supplemental” activity on the back of a set of directions could easily be a fifth addition to the box and sparks such meaningful conversation:

Jake dictated his answers but was more than ready to glue on his own leaves:

Finishing up his tree. LOVE the little glue bottles. I am going to keep and refill them (keeps the boys from emptying the contents of larger containers in one go)…

Real, five-year old answers:

The finished trees. Such a sweet project:

Our fall display. I was so excited I didn’t let the trees dry completely. They have since dried and all dripping paint has been wiped away. This space makes me so happy. I love their love of artsy fun…

My Latest Obsession: Subscription Boxes

It started slowly: Studio Calico. And then Nature Box. And now…Green Kid Crafts. Advertised as “fun and earth friendly craft kits, devoted to kids”, I was immediately intrigued and couldn’t resist. We received this lovely in the mail today and the boys and I dove in:

The theme this month, “Food Adventures”:

Inside the box: the supplies for four craft projects, cheddar bunnies, and coupons…

Jake and I started with the “Fishing Game”:

He attempted to cut the felt himself but it was a little too tricky for him. I finished up cutting the fish while he ate the bunnies. The end result: a super cute little game.

I called out a color, and he went fishing…

And LOVED it…

I love that nothing really goes to waste. All products and packaging are recyclable. On the back of the project directions was a “grateful” activity. The boys can write one thing they are grateful for and I can help them make it into a tree…our finished trees: here.

Next, we did the “Ceramic Tile Coaster” activity:

Since I purchased this deal through Plum District, I upgraded to a double sibling box. Both boys got to do each activity. Jake was super serious, concentrating on each tile:

Tyson took the more efficient approach, empty nearly all glue onto tile and put the ceramic pieces on. Two different approaches, same end product:

While Jake finished his tile, Ty fished:

Once dry, they will work with hot or cold beverages. I LOVE them:

Final thoughts: I think this box is awesome sauce. I love it. I love the philosophy behind it. The boys LOVED it…we are fans. We still have two fun projects for another day and I am already looking forward to our next box of crafty fun!!

DIY Washi Tape Smash Book/Journal

I recently stumbled across the most AMAZING, super cute, super easy to use Gratitude Journal app on the iPhone. One entry a day, you can easily attach a photograph, and you can set daily reminders as well…LOVE this app.

Inspired by the app and intent on ACTUALLY COMPLETING a Gratitude Journal, I wanted to make something to keep actual copies of the photographs and handwrite sentiments. Many of the composition notebooks have been marked down at Target, I found this particular notebook for .37 cents. Giddy about having the chance to finally use my embarrassingly large washi tape stash, I went to work…

I grouped the pages in threes as I wanted them sturdy and thick enough to withstand ink, tape, embellishments, etc.

Super easy. The edges are far from perfect. Just line up…

Turn the book over. Cut the corners at an angle. Fold over corner. Fold over tape. Turn book back over and fold down the remaining pieces of washi tape.

Seriously, super easy. Maybe, 15, 20 minutes…and you get a super personalized, fun smash book or journal:

The colors make me smile and the lined paper is so much easier for me to work with than the various papers included in the Smash books. I like the simple, clean look of the lined background. Looking forward to adding and working this…not bad for a .37 cent journal!!

End of the Year Teacher Gifts

It is hard to believe that this is Tyson’s LAST YEAR OF PRESCHOOL. As of tomorrow, I will officially have a kindergartener in the house. Sigh. We are extremely grateful to have found the school we did. The staff, the grounds, and the teachers have all provided Tyson with an introduction to school that is truly priceless. I wanted to do something special for all of the teachers as a small token of our gratitude. I ordered some hand stamped necklaces for the main teachers but they haven’t yet arrived. After a sleepless night and major anxiety, I found some really nice potted plant starter kits and cute little plant a tree gift boxes:

I found the free “Thank You for Helping Me Grow” printable here. I wrapped the “Plant a Tree” boxes in a corrugated take out box, hot glued a ribbon, and voila:

For the potted plants, I found a simple kraft box. Folded in the sides and tops, hot glued a ribbon around the edges, attached the printable, and done:

Tyson hand picked the paper airplane making book for his favorite teacher and wrote a handwritten note. We also gifted the school (and garden) an apple tree planting kit:

Class Valentine’s Day Goodies

I made these last year for Ty’s class and was excited to make them this year for Jake’s class.

“I Spy” Can You Find? Cards:

Super easy. All you need is a white piece of paper, pen, and collection of your kiddo’s red toys:

Write “Can You Find?” on the piece of paper. Lay out a few of the goods to be found:

Arrange all the toys:

Simple as that. I had the photos processed at Costco in wallet size. For less than $5 you get this:

For big bit’s class, pirate valentine’s (free printable) with a heart eraser (Target Dollar Spot):

DIY “I Spy” Jar

Super easy. Literally, took about ten minutes. Wash and dry an old glass jar (or use any see through container). Collect various small trinkets and treasures:

Make a simple list of all the goods going in the jar to make up your “I Spy” finding list:

Put all the goods into the jar. Even better if you have an eager helper to do this for you:

Add rice:


To make sure my boys didn’t use their super stealth figure-out-how-to-open-and-dump anything skills, I secured the top with hot glue and added fabric tape around the top. All ready to go. Can you find…:

Class Valentines

Little heart erasers from the Dollar Spot at Target + free printable (HERE)

= fun, easy class valentine treats for the boys’ classes:

DIY Advent Calendar

Remaining section of $1 scrap peg board + piece of burlap + clothes pins + various pieces of scrapbook paper = fun advent calendar

The result of a fun Girls Night In crafty night and a morning of crafting with the boys…I couldn’t decide which one to use, so we’ll use them both.