Archives for category: Santa

vegie-lodge

Ever thought about building a healthy Veggie Lodge?

Move over gingerbread, look what’s moving into our neighborhood.

Bring back your old Lincoln Log skills and you can easily build one too.

Materials List:
Six 8″- carrot logs -one for the front, five for back
Eight 5″- carrot logs – for the sides of the lodge
Eight 3″- carrot logs – for the front
Eight 1 1/4″ – short spacer logs – by the front door
Four 1 1/2″ – carrot logs – for creating a side window opening
Three 7″ -carrot log rafters – the foundation
Sixteen 6″ – 7″ long stalks of celery – for the roof
The foam core board gable ends measure 8″x 6″ x 6″
The foam core board floor/base measures 8″ x 5″ – plus an extra on the back for chimney if so desired
The window is made out of a slice of a turnip.
Toothpicks are recommended, in addition to cream cheese mortar to fasten cucumbers and celery.
Bamboo skewers will be handy for stacking the chimney (mushroom) stones.

Photo credit and inspiration: Green Giant.

Happy Holidays!

Building Blocks

The holidays are here, which means the countdown is on to find the perfect toys and games for the kids on your shopping list. Now is a good time to consider toy safety. The childproofing experts share these top 10 safety tips to keep in mind as you begin your toy shopping hunt.

  1. Follow the age grading on toy packaging
    Make sure you select something that is age-appropriate. The age information on toy packaging is not about how smart a child is—it’s safety guidance based on the developmental abilities of kids at a certain age, and the specific features of the toy.
  2. Choose a toy that matches a child’s age and interests
    The “perfect” toy is the one that’s right for the child’s age and interests. If a toy is too advanced, the child will become frustrated, and if it’s too simple, they’ll get bored.
  3. Avoid toys with small parts for kids under 3   Warning-Choking-Hazard
    Toys that have small parts are fine for older kids, but can pose a choking hazard for children 3 years old and younger. Toys that contain small parts will have a warning label on the packaging and be age-graded accordingly, so keep a careful eye out as you shop. At home, be sure to store toys with small parts away from younger children.
  4. Inspect toys at the store for sturdy parts
    Make sure that the toy can stand up to the rigors of the child’s play.
  5. Pick plush toys that have age-appropriate features
    Make sure plush (stuffed) toys have embroidered or well-secured eyes and noses for younger children and seams that are reinforced to withstand an older child’s play. Check the warning labels for children under 3 years of age.
  6. Buy protective gear with ride-ons
    Bikes, trikes, scooters, skateboards and other ride-ons can be a great gift to get kids active, but remember to give a helmet, knee pads and other protective gear along with it.
  7. Look for toys that have a volume control
    Toys are subject to safety standards that limit the sound level, but it’s a good idea to listen to toys that make sounds before buying to make sure they are appropriate for the child. Acceptable levels of sound are often a matter of personal preference, so look for toys with a volume control to adjust sound for your family environment.
  8. Consider proper storage
    Make sure that lidded toy boxes in the home are non-locking and have special safety features like air holes, spring-loaded hinges and clearances at the hinges to make sure little fingers won’t get caught. If you don’t have one already, consider getting one.
  9. Remember safety when opening the packaging
    Remove and discard all packaging from a toy before giving it to a baby or small child. Also, keep the product literature on hand in case of future questions.
  10. Shop at a retailer you know and trust
    Staff at established businesses tend to be knowledgeable about age-appropriate toys. When you’re shopping online, reputable retailers will likely have that information in the product description or elsewhere on the site.

Toy Safety Information Graph

For more toy safety tips, facts and expert advice, visit www.PlaySafe.org.

 

Splish splash, look what you can take to your Christmas bath.

Why not whip up some Christmas soap, a DIY from It’s Gravy Baby.

This “recipe” calls for items that you may already have around the  house, plus the process is  easy peasy.

Gather Up:

  • a bar of white soap
  • food coloring
  • water
  • cookie cutters or candy molds

Directions:

  • Grate your bar of soap.  Find your kitchen grater, you need approximately one cup of grated soap.
  • Divide your grated soap into bowls.  One bowl for each color you want.  About 1/4 cup in each bowl to make 4 colors.
  • Add a bit of hot water to each bowl- a little less than a tablespoon per bowl.  Use a spoon or fork to mash it all together until you reach a good consistency and all of the pieces are incorporated.
  • Add a few drops of food colors, mixing until you reach your desired color.
  • Press soap mixture into cookie cutters or molds and freeze.

Line  a baking pan with waxed paper for easy clean up.  You’ll want to freeze them for at least a few hours or overnight.

These are cute stocking stuffers and good clean fun gifts for the little neighbors!

message-from-santa-at-totally-kids-fun-furniture-and-toys3

If you have not used this FREE message service before, you must give it a try! Santa Claus and his amazing PNP (Portable North Pole) console is online during the entire holiday season. With just a few clicks, this technological marvel will let your little loved ones receive a personalized message from Santa Claus himself, sent directly from his village in the North Pole. It is not only very cute, but FREE.  We started using it years ago and has now become a tradition.  You can create a fun little personalized video message to your child from Santa.

PLEASE HELP.

Help Santa out and keep him jolly. Be sure that he gets cookies at every stop. Share this jar with your friends and neighbors. Make It Do will show you how to craft the cheery covered jar and Bakerella has the recipe with the ingredients to fill the jar.

In a crafty mood?

Popsicle Stick Reindeer to make and hang on your tree or gift away. Expat Mom has the steps, one, two, three.

Have you tried this? Santa Claus and his amazing PNP (Portable North Pole) console will be online during the entire holiday season. With just a few clicks, this technological marvel will let your loved ones receive a personalized message from Santa Claus himself, sent directly from his village in the North Pole. It is not only very cute, but FREE. Give it a try, I tested this last year and must say it was a fun little video message that Oliver received from Santa.

Don’t forget cookies for Santa.  Help him get cookies at every stop;  share a jar with your friends and neighbors. Make It Do will show you how to craft the cheery covered jar and Bakerella has the recipe with the ingredients to fill the jar.

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Today we had a record breaking weather high of 51 degrees! Rain forecast for tomorrow. Not looking much like a white Christmas for Santa and his reindeer, but that can quickly change.

Elf on the Shelf girl

Do you Elf on the Shelf?

Only a few days left until those creative, fun loving little elves make their annual appearances everywhere.

If you don’t elf yet, think about bringing one into your home. You could quickly fill your own picture album full of their crazy shenanigans. Some folks find the presence of an elf in their home a beneficial behavior modification for their young ones.

Behind the Tradition:

This classic tradition began when Santa Claus wanted to keep better track of the naughty and nice list. His idea was to have scout elves sent to adoption centers to sleep until families read the story together, gave the elf an individual name and adopted the elf on the web. Families can grant any name they want, but the name is required in order for the Christmas magic to be bestowed upon the elf. It’s like welcoming a new member of the family!
Once the elf arrives at a family’s home, he or she watches to see who is being good and who is being bad. In order for the elf to do the job efficiently, he or she hides in different spots of the house each day! The elf then travels to the North Pole when the family is asleep to give a daily report to
Santa. These daily reports help keep the naughty and nice list as accurate as possible before each Christmas Eve.
It’s important to not touch your elf, or else the magic will be lost.

Please share photos of your elf’s crazy shenanigans on our Facebook page.

Have you tried this? Santa Claus and his amazing PNP (Portable North Pole) console will be online during the entire holiday season. With just a few clicks, this technological marvel will let your loved ones receive a personalized message from Santa Claus himself, sent directly from his village in the North Pole. It is not only very cute, but FREE. Give it a try, I tested this last year and must say it was a fun little video message that Oliver received from Santa.

Don’t forget cookies for Santa.  Help him get cookies at every stop;  share a jar with your friends and neighbors. Make It Do will show you how to craft the cheery covered jar and Bakerella has the recipe with the ingredients to fill the jar.

Angela really wants Christmas cookies for our office party on Thursday and here I am cooking up Christmas soap,  a recipe from  It’s Gravy Baby.

The “recipe” calls for items that you may already have around the  house, plus the process is  easy peasy.

Gather Up:

  • a bar of white soap
  • food coloring
  • water
  • cookie cutters or  candy molds

Directions:

  • Grate your bar of soap.  Find your kitchen grater, you need approximately one cup of grated soap.
  • Divide your grated soap into bowls.  One bowl for each color you want.  About 1/4 cup in each bowl to make 4 colors.
  • Add a bit of hot water to each bowl- a little less than a tablespoon per bowl.  Use a spoon or fork to mash it all together until you reach a good consistency and all of the pieces are incorporated.
  • Add a few drops of food colors, mixing until you reach your desired color.
  • Press soap mixture into cookie cutters or molds and freeze.

Line  a baking pan with waxed paper for easy clean up.  You’ll want to freeze them for at least a few hours or overnight.

Now you have cute stocking stuffers or good clean fun gifts for the little neighbors!

Just in case any of the Christmas Crayons are mistaken for cookies, keep this handy Doctor’s Case close by for an Rx. Wink wink…

You must try this! Santa Claus and his amazing PNP (Portable North Pole) console will be online during the entire holiday season. With just a few clicks, this technological marvel will let your loved ones receive a personalized message from Santa Claus himself, sent directly from his village in the North Pole. It is not only very cute, but FREE. Give it a try, I tested this last year and must say it was a fun little video message that Oliver received from Santa.

__________________________________________

Help Santa out and be sure that he gets cookies at every stop. Share this jar with your friends and neighbors. Make It Do will show you how to craft the cheery covered jar and Bakerellahas the recipe with the ingredients to fill the jar.

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Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer will light the way for Santa. Popsicle sticks and googly eyes are a make together project for you and your little ones,  for your tree or gift away. Expat Mom has the steps, one, two, three.