Monday, November 25, 2013

Gifts Kids Can Make: Wooden Ornaments

Our parents moved up to Alaska a few years ago.  My boys and I decided that they needed some "Alaska-themed" ornaments for their Christmas tree, so I picked up these small wooden shapes at Hobby Lobby: bear, moose, and fish (not just any fish--it's a salmon).

The boys picked their colors and designs.

When the paint had dried we hot glued a ribbon on the back and we were done!

A simple meaningful gift.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Simple Christmas Gift Ideas for Family, Friends, and Neighbors + Free Printable Tags

It's that time of year to go shopping!  I just love Christmas shopping!!!  I love picking out gifts or making gifts to give.  It's such a fun time of year.

Giving a meaningful and thoughtful gift doesn't have to be extravagant or cost a lot of money.  Below I've compiled several ideas for simple gifts that can be given to family, friends, and neighbors.

First, is a framed Christmas printable.  There are so many beautiful printable out there.  Print them off on your printer at home or send them to your favorite print shop.  Frames can sometimes be expensive but I've found beautiful frames at the dollar store on multiple occasions and Ikea has nice frames too that don't cost a lot of money.  Below are some of my favorite Christmas printables:

1. Oh Holy Night - AKA Design
2. And suddenly there was with the angel - Auntie Lolo Crafts
3. Fun unto us a child is born - Pea Bee Designs
4. Simply Christmas - Ladybird Ln
5. The best way to spread Christmas cheer - Becoming Martha
6. For unto us a child is born - Serving Pink Lemonade

What friend doesn't need a roll of wrapping paper at Christmas time???  I think this is a gift that everyone can use.  My favorite place to buy Christmas wrap is Hobby-Lobby.  They have so many pretty prints, it always seems to be 50% off, you get a ton of paper on the roll, and it's a thick quality paper.  Marshall's and Home Goods are two other places where I love to buy wrapping paper--great prices and beautiful prints to choose from.  Add one of the printable tags below to a roll of wrapping paper and you're good to go.

Tags inspired by Sara and Tami
(To print: Click on tag to enlarge.  Right click and copy.  Paste into a word document and print)

Here's another take on the wrapping paper idea.  This one includes tape.  Thanks Krista for the idea!

Who doesn't need an extra blanket once the weather turns cold?  It seems like we have a million but it's never enough.  I can't tell you how much I look forward to the spring each year and putting all those blankets away.  They seem to be everywhere.
For this gift make a homemade blanket or pick one up at the store.  Ikea has fleece blankets for only $4 a piece!  Bundle it with ribbon and add a cute tag to dress it up.  I've created three for you to choose from.

(To print: Click on tag to enlarge.  Right click and copy.  Paste into a word document and print)

Who isn't busy this time of year?  And who wouldn't like a night off from doing the dishes???  This gift is perfect for your ultra busy friends or that person who already has everything.  Tie together a set of paper plates, cups, napkins, and flatware, add a sweet tag and you'll have one happy friend.
Inspired by Shelley
(To print: Click on tag to enlarge.  Right click and copy.  Paste into a word document and print)

How about a lovely warm candle to brighten the cold dreary winter.  I love to burn beeswax candles in my home. (See this article to find out why I avoid paraffin candles.)  Tie around this little tag and you've got a simple warming gift.
(To print: Click on tag to enlarge.  Right click and copy.  Paste into a word document and print)

For your friends with small children a gingerbread house kit would bring so much fun.  I know my kids love making one each year.  Print off the label below to add to a gift bag.

Then fill the bag with graham crackers, frosting, and goodies to decorate with.
(To print: Click on tag to enlarge.  Right click and copy.  Paste into a word document and print)

Last but not least, hot chocolate!  We go through boxes and boxes of this stuff every winter.  Wrap a box up with a pretty bow and cute gift tag and I don't know who wouldn't enjoy an extra box of hot chocolate once the weather turns cold.
Find the printable tag over at Capital B.

What are your favorite simple gifts to give?

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Dressing Up Papers Bag for Holiday Gift Giving

The holiday's are coming up--which means lots of gift wrapping!

Transforming a plain ol' paper lunch sack into a classy gift giving bag is simple.  These bags are perfect for delivering small gifts or holding holiday treats wrapped in parchment paper.

To print "Sweet Greetings" on this white sack I ran it through my printer using the image I found here.  Then, after folding over the top, I punched two small holes and tied a ribbon through them.  I love this simple and classy look.

To create this bag I folded over the top of the bag and placed a doilie (with one side cut off) over the fold.  I then added a simple gift tag on top.  To add the green stitched line I ran the bag through my sewing machine.

This sack is one of my favorites.  After folding the top over I traced a scalloped edge onto the end of the bag and cut along the lines.  Using a single hole punch I placed holes along the scalloped edge.  I love how it gives off the look of eyelet fabric.  I then strung some bakers twine around the bag a few times and added a simple Merry Christmas gift tag.
I think this same idea would make for some beautiful mother's day wrapping using a white bag and pink ribbon.  There are so many possibilities.

Use the scalloped edge below to help you create the same look.  Click on picture below to enlarge.  Then copy and paste into a word document.  Adjust the size to fit your bag.  Mine was five inches.

This bag shows another way to use a doilie to dress up your bag.   First, I ran the bag through my printer to add Merry Christmas.  I then placed a doilie folded in half over the top, punched two holes and strung a ribbon through.

For this last bag I folded the top over twice, then layered two ribbons on top of each other, rapped them around the bag and secured them with some doubled sided tape.  I then used this free printable tag from Kara's Party Ideas to add the final touch.

Here they all are.  What a transformation!  Which is your favorite?

Monday, November 11, 2013

Lima Bean Sensory Play

My two year old loves to help in the kitchen.  He loves to pour and mix.  With the weather getting colder I've been trying to think up some more indoor activities to keep us happy and busy inside.  I remembered this activity I used to do with my daughter when she was much younger and thought my two year old would love it now too.

A $1 bag of dry lima beans is the perfect medium for playing with indoors.  Much cleaner than sand or water!  I pour the entire bag into a large bowl and my two year old can mix and pour and play!  I always lay out a blanket and the rule is that the lima beans have to stay on the blanket.  The last thing I want is a bunch of beans all over the house.

When we're done we store the beans in a zip lock bag to play with another day.

If you choose to do this activity with your toddler make sure that they're mature enough to not stick small objects in their mouth.

Is your weather getting colder?  What do you do to stay busy indoors with your small children?

Monday, November 4, 2013

13 for your 13th

You may not know this but Amy and I have a brother that is much younger than us.  He recently turned 13.  The older Jacob gets the harder he is to get gifts for.  And now he's a teenager! Teenage boys may just be the hardest demographic to shop for.  Another sister, Elise, and I decided to put together 13 little gifts for his 13th birthday.

We brainstormed and came up with some ideas of things he would like.  These are obviously specific to our little brother but maybe they will help you come up with something awesome for the teenage boy in your life!

1. A movie
2. 13 reasons why he is awesome
3. Red Vines (food is always a hit with boys)
4. Colorful sharpies for his newfound interest in art
5. Sweet and Salty granola bars... his favorite snack
6. 13 new recipes for him to try
7. A monogramed bucket... he can store those new sharpies inside!
8. A framed picture of Jacob with his sisters
9. Fun duct tape... to make a wallet or tie or anything else he can imagine up!
10. A cd of songs we love and that he should know
11. Thank you cards--since he is  always stealing Mom's 
12. Sudoku
13. Cereal.  Something that he loves and our mom doesn't buy much of!

I think the gift was a big hit (especially all the food!) What creative gift ideas have you come up with for the teenager in your life?