Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Tis the season to be festively mental

I love Christmas!  The food, the decorations, the traditions, spending time with my family, the whole bit!  Every year I challenge myself to make Christmas more fun and exciting for not only myself but my children.

We started two traditions this year, one being the use of an advent calendar, nothing too spiffy, just a store bought calendar with chocolate treats in it for daily consumption. (That is a tradition from my childhood that I enjoyed very much!)  Maybe next year I can make my very own advent calender, we shall see. :) 

We also began the Elf on a Shelf  tradition, using homemade Elves (made by my wonderful mother) instead of the original Christmas elf.  Our elves do their job quite fantastically, and the mischief they make brings joy and giggles to my boys on a daily basis.  Watch for an entry about our Elves Dobby Jingles & Winky Twinkles to come after they return home on Christmas Eve. 

But for now let's focus on fun crafts and the yummy food that is Christmas! 

~*~*~*~*~.C.R.A.F.T.S. ~*~*~*~*~

Toilet Paper Roll Owls -from simple as that
  • an empty TP roll 
  • paint 
  • black marker 
It's really simple and you can make them Christmacy if you like.   You paint the TP roll whatever color you want or don't paint it. Owls are brown anyway right?  Then you press in the sides on the top.   Then add the detail with a black marker! Wah la.

Arn't they adorable?!

Toilet Paper Roll Ornaments -from Lady Anne
  • Tp rolls
  • scissors
  • glue
  • ribbon

Cut the TP rolls into pieces, paint each section, then glue them together!

I used a pipe cleaner to hold two together, then glued the rest onto them. Then I added some ribbon, sprayed them with a clear coat glaze and let my boys sprinkle glitter on them.

Toilet Paper Roll Mice- from Childmade 

  • TP rolls (1 per mouse)
  • scissors
  • glue*
  • paint (I didnt paint mine)
  • eyes (I used googily)
  • a nose (I used a pom pom)
  • ribbon
  • tiny presents

I didnt bother taking pictures of the construction as the tutorial on Childmade is as detailed as it gets.  The only thing I did differnt was use googily eyes instead of black pom poms and I didn't paint my mice.   If you have lots of tp rolls, that is a great blog for many adorable TP crafts!

*Note:  I started out using foam glue for this project and it worked well with the tp rolls, but when I went to make the nose & eyes, it wouldnt hold well, so I switched to a hot glue gun.

Toilet Paper Roll Crowns-by Creative Jewish Mom 
  • Toilet paper rolls
  • glitter 
  • fabric paint
Mine are simple, the original has more detailed directions and a nicer presentation, mine were a spur of the moment request.  As I have mentioned we have Christmas Elves staying with us for the Holidays and they recently brought gifts for my boys for good behavior.  The boys wanted to make something for them in return, so I did some searching and came across the crowns.  I thought it would be perfect gifts for our little Elves.

I cut my toilet paper roll in half,  then cut each piece open.  After flattening it out, I drew a crown outline (quite badly...)  and then cut it out.  I then glued the seams together, making it smaller than the original roll as it needed to fit the tiny elves heads. :)  Gave the boys some fabric paint and they created, then sprinkled on some glitter.

Dobby & Winky are quite pleased. 

Egg Carton Bells- by Sidetracked Sarah
  • an egg carton 
  • fabric paint
  • glitter
  • ribbon
  • jingle bells

Again I let the boys decorate with fabric paint and then sprinkle on some glitter.  After it dried (takes hours, mine wasn't completely dry but I'm impatient, Id recommend 24 hours,) I poked a hole in the top with a tiny screwdriver.

Thread the ribbon onto the jingle bell and tie a knot.  Then push the ends of the ribbon through through the inside of the carton and tie them together.

Ceremic Pot Santa- by Lesha (& Momma)
  • small ceramic pot, painted red
  • santa head 
  • cotton balls. 
  • red pipe cleaner
  • small ornaments 

My mom gave me the ceremic pots, they were already painted. The santa heads were on old Christmas ornaments. I just grabbed some cotton balls and tiny ornaments and we glued it all together with hot glue. I pulled the cotton balls apart to make the trim on Santa's coat. Glue the head onto the bottom of the pot, add the cotton edging, glue a red pipe cleaner on each side (cut in half to make the arms look right), and add the tiny ornaments as gifts.

For the heads (I did not make them) it looks like wooden balls painted peach, drawn on faces, then some small white pom poms as the edge of his hat. A little bigger red pom poms above those with a red pipe cleaner folded in half and a white pom pom for the tip of his hat.  The beard is made with a white pipe cleaner, folded and shaped to fit. You could just as well use some cotton.

These little guys were made by my mom, which is where the idea of making a Santa came from.   Pots, pom poms, felt, sticks, and a few embellishments.

Plastic Cup Snow globe-by Lesha
  • clear plastic cup 
  • foam
  • cotton balls
  • glitter 
  • small decorations (we used tiny ornaments)
  • hot glue 

Again I just threw this together with things I had. Here is where the initial idea for the snow globe came from, though I didn't follow directions. I just kinda made it up as I went along... I turned the cup upside down and traced around to make the bottom with foam.

I let the boys pull some cotton balls apart and glued it to the foam. Then they selected the decorations they liked and we glued those down.  Add some loose glitter, put hotglue around the edges and press the cup onto the foam.

Button Christmas Trees- By Lesha

  • foam or construction paper (Green  & Yellow)
  • buttons
  • glue
  • scissors
  • glitter

This is just something I thought of off the top of my head though Im sure many others have done the same thing.   I took foam sheets and cut them into the shape of  Christmas trees.   Then I handed the boys some stick glue and some buttons.  While they were gluing their buttons, I traced some stars onto yellow paper, using my cookie cutters.

When they were done, they thought it needed more sparkle so I gave them some glitter glue.   Using regular glue and dry glitter would work just as well.  They had a blast making these and my oldest insisted on making another one so he could give them to his teachers for christmas.

Speaking of teachers, I found this cute idea on Pinterest of a frame with the teacher's initial made with crayons, I thought that it would be great for my son's PreK teachers.

Crayon Initial Frame- From Keeping Up With The Comptons
  • a box of crayons (I used 21 for two frames)
  • a frame
  • a sharp knife
  • glue
  • printer & paper

First you type up the teacher's initial in Word (or some other type of program), make it a big size Font, (I used Century Gothic at 400) underneath it, type their name in a smaller font (I used 36)  Print out 2 copies just in case.  Then get a cutting board and get ready to cut some crayons.  Its really not as simple as you'd think it is, trust me!

 Most of the crayons need to be cut at a slant so that they fit the letter correctly. You just kind of have to eyeball it and learn from trial and error.

I recommend having all pieces cut before beginning the gluing process, to make sure they are going to fit correctly.  With the "A"  I was able to use two whole crayons for the center, which is the first part I glued so that everything else would line up properly.  The K was alittle more difficult.

His teachers just raved about them! 

Stone's School Crafts

I did not make these but I wanted to include them as they are tooo cute!  I was able to use Pinterest to find some instructions for anyone who would like to create these crafts. 

Footprint/Handprint Reindeer

Instructions found at Oopsey Daisy 

Paper Plate Tree

Instructions found at A Little Learning For Two 


My Grandmother has her christmas dinner every year, the sunday before christmas so that all of my sisters and our familes are able to join in the festivities.  Grandmother usually makes the big things, i.e Turkey, Ham and what not, while the rest of us bring sides.  This year I was in charge of  deviled eggs (as usual!), a veggie tray and the Green Beans I made last year (soooo yummy!  Im not a fan of green beans either!)

As you've probably seen on most of my entries, I like to complicate things, so I just can't make regular deviled eggs or throw some veggies on a platter. Just take a look at my Thanksgiving veggie tray....

Turkey Veggie Tray 

Thus I began my research and ofcourse I couldn't find anything for Christmasy deviled eggs aside from the usual paprika sprinkle, but then I got an idea, though I wasn't certain it would work or if it would be appetizing to the eye but I went with it anyway.  Must experiment...can't help...myself. 

Basic Deviled Egg Recipe 
  • 12 hard boiled eggs
  • 4 tbs of Mayo
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp white vinegar
  • 2 tsp of mustard
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • paprika
  • My additions: bacon bits, green onions & cheddar cheese
You know the drill, boil the eggs, put them in ice water to cool, then peel them.  After you get your eggs cooked & peeled, you slice them and take the yolk out.  I tossed all the yolks into the Ice Queen (My kitchen aid, if ya didnt know).  Add the other ingredients and let it mix up real good.

This is where my idea comes in.... while it was mixing...I added a few drops of green food coloring. That's right green eggs, it is Christmas right? After it was done, I spooned the mixture into one of my frosting bags, (you can use a ziplock bag, just snip the corner!)  Using a star frosting tip I piped the mixture into the egg.  I sprinkled on some bacon bits, diced green onion and paprika.  Then I sliced up some thin pieces of chedder cheese and used my tiny fondant star cutter to make little stars.

I was afraid no one would eat them because they were green, but I was dead wrong!  They were gobbled up immediately!  I didn't taste them as I am anti-mayo, but I got rave reviews.

Christmas Veggie Tray- from Betty Crocker 
  • -stick pretzels
  • -cauliflower
  • -broccoli
  • -grape tomatoes
  • -cheddar cheese (my own addition)
Broccoli looks like trees right?  Duh.  Tomatoes?  Christmas balls.  Pretzels for the trunk of the tree.  Cauliflower for a snowy border!  Cheese, you ask?  Why its for the star of course! The original recipe states  yellow bell pepper.. but I wanted my tree to be spectacular, so I sliced up some cheddar cheese and using a star cookie cutter, I made the topper and added some smaller cheese stars as decorations.

Serve with the dip of your choice!

Green Bean Bundles a la Brennay- from
  • 3  (14 1/2 ounce) cans of green beans*
  • 10 slices of bacon
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup melted butter
  • 1/2 tsp garlic salt*
  • 1 dash soy sauce.
  • toothpicks

*Notes:  I use frozen green beans, I hate canned.  I use garlic powder & kosher salt instead of the garlic salt.  1/4 tsp of each.

This recipe was shared with me by my friend Brenna whom I lovingly refer to as Brennay.  My boys love green beans and bacon so I thought this was just perfect.  I made them last year and it was a big hit!  Quite fattening, but its only Christmas once a year , right?

First you need to cut your bacon into pieces, halfs or thirds depending on the length of each of your slices and the thickness of your green bean bundles.  Take 6-8 green beans and wrap a piece of bacon around it, secure it with a toothpick.  Take the brown sugar, melted butter, garlic, salt, and soy sauce and mix it until the brown sugar dissolves.  Arrange your bundles in a 9x13 inch baking dish and pour the marinade over it.  Refridgerate over night.  Cook in a preheated oven for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

I was able to get 16 bundles from one 12 oz bag of frozen whole green beans and I should have double the recipe as these disappeared quite quickly.

Hope you enjoyed my ramblings!



  1. WOW!! SO many great ideas! I love how your reindeer turned out! Just darling!!

  2. I think I might try to do those tp owls! Also...Love the bacon wrapped green beans. Might do that for our New Year's eve party!