Monday, December 31, 2012

~ Merry Christmas ~

Christmas...
..... it's not all about 'us'
(A transparent reflection)

What can I possibly write, share, or even reflect upon that would bring the meaning towards this joyous holiday any more understanding than it already holds?

The short and simple answer would be... nothing!  I can not even begin to think of something intelligent to say about what hasn't already been reflected upon over the many years regarding such a day.

I could, however, say this, it all went incredibly fast.  Too Fast, if you ask me!  Here some people (yes, I was at the beginning one of those people) say to themselves.... "wait, hold on.  I'm not ready to celebrate."  When in reality all that I wasn't really "ready" for is to spend money.  In all honesty, that really wasn't the case at all.  This year my husband and I were a tad smart...saved a little bit of money just to buy gifts for our son...so, really, we were 'ready' for our special someone.  So, what wasn't I really "ready" for?  Truth be told. 

The Holiday in General!! Why, might you ask?!? 

Well, for starters.... watching people get together all for the purpose of celebrating such a joyous season with lots of loved ones.  So, knowing that, I would secretively sink into the Hallmark channel at night hoping that one day that my little family would one day grow into such a play.  No, I wasn't drowning myself into a pity party....I was simply praying that my personal family (sisters, parents, and so forth) would one day.... (one of these lovely years) learn to 'like' each other again, and with that.... come together for the time in order to enjoy each others company and soon display some sort of love towards one another.  

Easier said than done!! I of all people know that first hand. 

On Christmas day, it all became very very clear to me.  As my small family sang "Happy Birthday to Jesus", discussed the true meaning of Christmas, and finally, open gifts ~ I began to realize...  I was allowing others to blind my heart regarding the meaning of this special day (year rather).  Meaning, I was thinking over and over again the relationships that were broken and/or lost either with friends, loved ones, and/or those who have gone home...and knowing that, I was so eager to fix things.

Knowing and feeling that... made me think about how selfish I am! Selfish for thinking about myself on such a day!!  Here it was...the Lords Birthday and I was eagerly wanting a Christmas phone call from a someone from the past or, at least a little note.  I know, I know....people get busy!  (yes, yes....there is facebook)

It just puts everything into clear perspective!! Do we (Do I) have time for the Lord, Almighty?

Truth is ... yes, I do have the time!

I admit it! I have not used it well, at all!! Due to the situations and answers received from the Lord has made that clear.  The old saying the "Grass is not greener on the other side" is incredibly true.  I could not state that any better.  Truth is ... I was very happy with my weed infested back yard and half way finished fixer upper... it was ours.  The Lord, however, had other answers for our prayers at the time.  Still, yes, currently trying to figure out those answers.

Which brings me back to the "Reason for the Season"!!

The Lord is very special!! I can not say that big or even loud enough!! As a christian person I can not imagine my life without him.  He has always been in my life through the brief up moments and (what seems like an eternity) low down moments... he will always be with my family!  We, yes, speaking to everyone.... we should all celebrate him more!

Not, just on Christmas! 

He gave us all such a gift ~ the true gift of salvation ~ and we take that for granted!

"For God so Loved the World that he Gave his one and only begotten son that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life"
John 3: 16

~ Truth ~ 

Finally, I pray that just one person will read this, reflect, and hopefully, learn from their own Christmas!!


God Bless!!!!! 
 
    

Christmas Eve Activities!! Day 24!

"And I will shake all nations, and the Desire of All Nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the Lord of Hosts."
Haggai 2: 7
 
 
Christmas Eve!!!
 
Finally!! What a Special Day...well, besides Christmas Day ~ of-course!!
 
Day 24: Day filled with Activites, fun, laughter, family togetherness, and finally, allowing our little one to open a single special gift. 
 
 
Activity 1:  Christmas Tree Strips
 

 
 
This activity incorporates mathematics and train of thought.  In our case, we were reviewing the concept of 'longest to shortest' or visa-versa. 
After we did the strips several times, four to be exact, the little guy then, glued and finished the tree!
I like this particular activity because it functions both as an art and mathematical activity. 
Activity Two:  The Snowman!

Another Classic~ Making a Snowman!
All you need to do is allow the little one to cut out the circles and hat.
Glue or tape on the pipe-cleaners for the arms, eyes, and scarf.
Stick on the orange sticker nose. 
 
Project Three:  Rudolf
Very Cute and VERY VERY Simple Project to do!!
Rudolph. 
Who doesn't like that wonderful little red-nosed reindeer?

Trace your little ones hands (for the antlers)
Glue the large wiggly eyes, pom-poms and 'antlers' on the bag.
Make a collar by putting pony beans on a pipe cleaner (wrap around the neck area)
Draw a mouth.




All of the projects were made out of Love!!
Great for the Fridge!!

Christmas Activities ~ Days 22 and 23

"But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the Law."
Galations 4:4

Day 22:  Christmas Tree Hands!

This is such a cute art project that I have done for years.  The fun classic idea made with special little hands adds such a touch within various cards ~ Christmas cards ... hint hint!! 


Day 23:  Today we had fun doing various Christmas activities! It is such a joy to watch my son have a fun time getting into the spirit of things.  That stated, the holidays are blessing...especially when spending them with family and friends. 

My little guy had a field day (night rather) playing with the lights.... oh, the smiles and strong laughter!!! 

Immediately afterwards ~ we had some quiet time made some water-color art ~ painting a snowman  It was all about spending some time together!! 


Sunday, December 30, 2012

Christmas Activities ~ Days 20 and 21

"Glory to God in the highest, and on Earth peace, good will toward men"
 
Luke 2:14
 
 
Day 20:  Enjoying a Cup!

Do you ever have that moment where you just want to 'veg' with family or in other words, "Be lazy with another person."  Well, basically, that was today!! Being comfortable and lounge together with family or, in this case a fun little energetic boy!!


Day 21:  Stamping Cards

My son watched as I wrote and signed  this years Christmas cards and by doing so, he of-course, wanted to join in.  So, I got out the card stock, stamp pads, and stamps ~ away he went.  It was very cute! He knew exactly who he wanted to send a homemade card to!! What innocent love for another person. 

 

Christmas Activities ~ Days 18 and 19

"And, behold, thou shalt conceive in they womb, and bring forth a Son, and shalt call his Name Jesus"
Luke 1: 31
 

Day 18:  Paper Snowflakes!
 
Traditional, Old fashion, and simple activity!
 
Day 19:  Enjoying a Night Drive!
 
Growing up my family had a few memorable traditions and this was definitely one of them.  Ohhh,  the fond memories  of my father driving through Christmas Tree Lane while my mom, sisters, and I stared, laughed, 'ooohed' and 'aahhed' out of the windows.  Traditions like these are the strong ones that I truly want to pass onto my little guy. 
 
Now, it's our turn.  Strong memories into action. 
 
Stumbling upon decorative houses with lights all around was the best "free" thing a family could or (within my opinion) should do together.  I write that because it is such a lovely experience.  The incredible feelings that comes over one when witnessing ones child becomes super excited about the sparkles, bright lights, characters, and Christmas feel of the entire experience!  The incredible huge smile on my sons face that followed along with the squeals and laughter. 
 
Totally reminds me of 'that' MasterCard commercial... Buying an Easy already prepared dinner ~ $10.  Driving Around (and around in circle all for the purpose of being able to see every single house) ~ a tank of gas..... Observing and taking in my sons reaction towards everything ~ Absolutely Priceless!!
 
 

Christmas Activities ~ Days 15 to 17

"Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is God."
 
I John 4:2

Day 15:  Pom-Pom Christmas Trees!

Materials:
- Colorful Pom-Poms
- Glue
- Pine cone

 
Basically, put a tiny drop of glue in the inside of the pine cone petal and stick the pom-poms on the glue. Easy and simple.

I believe that making little crafts together will strengthen a child-parent relationship!! Regardless of how 'easy' an activity is for you (as an adult) it may be a little challenging and fun for the little one! With that, explore and have fun together!!
God Bless!
 
 
Days 16 and 17~  Sickness Strikes!!
 
I don't know if this has happened to any other family... ours must be something out of the ordinary!  I say that because my husband was (and still is) sick with respiratory and heartburn issues... my son, has the flu, and I have an infection.  I find this particular epidemic absolutely strange and slightly comical in a way...oh, just that every single person in my house has something completely different and all at the same time.  Knowing that, our little guy slept a lot!  However, when he wasn't sleep we read a few books! 
 

1.  The Little Drummer Boy*
2.  The Nutcracker*
3.  The Elves and The Shoemaker*
4.  Rudolph's Adventure*
5.  The Twelve Days of Christmas

*Contributing Writer: Carolyn Quattrocki
 

Christmas Activities ~ Days 13 and 14

"Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins."
Acts 5:31
 

My family and I were getting ready for a road trip to a new place where we have never been.  One would think that we would become tourists... well, I knew that was not going to happen.  Unfortunately, it was a business trip for my husband.... and because of that, my little one and I would be stuck in a hotel and carLESS.  Need I say more. 
 
Knowing that, I planned ahead.  I put together several 'simple' activities to do while confined in a hotel room.  (That is Joke!)   Believe-it-not...this little bucket has over five short activities in it.  Mind you ~ the activities are very very basic.    

Day 13:  Candy Canes
This is a very simple project!  It is one that would assist with fine motor skills.  Great for growth and development.  Note ~ we didn't have red or dark green.... so, we improvised with the color schemes.  
 
Enjoy and Have fun with one another!!
 
 Day 14:  PRAYER!!
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 


 




Saturday, December 29, 2012

Christmas Activities ~ Days 11 and 12



"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."
 
Isaiah 9:6
 

Finding any space whatsoever in our current living area has been and still is somewhat of a struggle, especially during this time of year.  Our little house is somewhat cramped... our 'new' reality.  (For the time being, of-course.)  With that, I had to improvise in terms of where in the world I was going to put Christmas decorations. 
 
Furthermore, I taped some ribbon on our kitchen cabinets with painters tape...attached the cards with a clothes pin.  Looking at the pictures you will notice that I didn't paint the pins...that was because I needed them for a different project.  I suggest painting them according to the color pattern of whatever ribbon who have selected.
 



 


 
Day 11:  Enjoying some Christmas Music
 
I admit it!! I am VERY rusty and not at all good at one of things that I enjoy doing ~ and that is playing the piano.  Some people are blessed with this particular talent so much so that beautiful music seem to flow gracefully in the air as they play.  Ever heard of such talent?  Well, not in my house!  That is for sure!!  I play on an 80 plus year old, falling apart, brown upright that is just begging for retirement.  Why don't I just give in and allow that to happen?!  I was given the sentimental gift from one of my favorite people in the world ~ my Great Grandmother!! 
 
My Great Grandmother was an inspiration of sorts.  Her strong faith was demonstrated throughout her life within the various things that she has done, accomplished, and focused on.  Majority of my family members remember her laughter, smile, and of-course, her wonderful home-style cooking.  You know, the kind that would just clog any grease loving artery within ones body!  Oh!! Was the food delicious!!!  My stomach is rumbling just the thought of her biscuits and gravy or better yet, her chicken and dumplings!! Oh my WORD...the dumplings!!
 
So, yes!! With all of the memories that flow from the black and white keys of that old piano...memories flourish around.  I can just sit, close my eyes...and remember exactly where it was placed in her small home and just smile. 
 
Hopefully, one day, my son will enjoy some of the same memories as I play and teach him. 
 
Day 12:  'I Spy: Christmas'
 
My son enjoyed this book very much!!  Although, on some of the pages it was even a little difficult for myself in order to find all of the items.  Thankful that the purpose for this was just to spend some time together with my little guy.  I believe that 'I Spy' books are great for the cognitive mindset.  It intrigues the mind with thought in order to find the necessary picture.  Simple fun!!
 

Christmas Activities ~ Days 9 and 10!!!

Day 9:  Recycled Snowman!

Materials

- 3 recycled white plastic bottle lids
- hot glue gun
- strip of recycled material ( use some of the scraps from the previous projects)
- 2 googly eyes
- black marker
 
 
First ~ We read "Frosty the Snowman" a Classic Golden Book that is 
Cute, Imaginative, and Fun for little ones!
 
Directions: 
Step 1:  Hot glue the white lids together
Step 2:  Glue the fabric on the middle (top)
Step 3:  Cut a black piece into a hat shape and glue on the top.
Step 4:  Glue the wiggly eyes
Step 5:  Draw the dots (buttons) and mouth
Step 6:  Glue a piece of string on the back portion.
 
Finally, revisit the story of Frosty!!
 
 

Day 10:  December 10th was a Special Day for our family as we celebrated my husbands birthday!! We tried to make it as much fun as possible.  With that, we made reindeer donute or, as you will, Rudolph Donuts.  (Oh, the things that my husbands sufferes through with a teacher as a wife). 
 
Very simple and fun!!
Materials:
- Store bought maple or chocolate donuts.
- Two large wiggly eyes  (edible ones can be found in the bakery section...the ones in picture are not)
- One red peanut M & M
- Two pretzels.

 
~ It was a cute way to show, I love you! My son had a field day with Rudolph.  Making edible animals and/or other fun creations have such a comical and interesting way to add a little flavor towards any activity.  ~ No pun intended!!
 
Enjoy!!
 
 
 


Friday, December 28, 2012

Christmas Activities ~ Days 7 and 8

 

"When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy."
Matthew 2:10

 

 
The month of December has been a combination filled with events, sickness, travel, and a bunch of down moments.  That stated, enjoy the projects. 

Day 7:  Snowman Socks!

This project was a joy to do with my son.  He wanted to do the entire thing all by himself.  Naturally, with all of the little steps he was unable ... at that particular time, of-course.

Material:

- Clean white socks
- Clean colorful socks
- String or rubber band
- Buttons
- Small triangular sticker
- Small or medium sized wiggly eyes
- Rice
- Scissors
- Ribbon
- Pom- Poms

 
 

I hope that you enjoy this project as much as we did! Personally, I think that it's very cute.

Prepare


Step 1:  Cut just below the tube portion of the sock.

Step 2:  Tie a string or rubber band on the bottom.

Step 3:  Turn the sock inside out.

Step 4:  You can put the sock in a small cup or do like we did ~ my little one held the sock open.

Step 5:  Pour in the rice
(Suggestion~ add a little cinnamon potpourri for a nice Christmas smell)

Step 6:  Tie the top (string or rubber band)
Step 7:  With the colorful sock cut the tube and 'toe' portion of the socks.


Step  8:  With the tube portion ~ roll up the bottom and tie a piece of string on the top.
The other piece (shown on the bottom) roll both the top and bottom




Step 9:  Squeeze the "sweater" on the snowman.
 
 
 
 

Step 10:  Place the "Hat" on top.

Step 11:  Tacky glue the eyes, pom-poms, and end of the hat.  Don't forget to stick on the nose.


 The little buddy ~ large button, pipe cleaner for the mouth, and pom-poms on the end of the hat.

**Creative, Imaginative, and Enjoyable**
 
 
Day 8:  Rudolph
 
 
 

 
Materials: 
 
- Two Clothes pins
- Washable brown paint
- Paintbrush
- Water
-  Tacky glue or a hot glue gun
- One red pom-pom
- Two small wiggly eyes
 

Step 1:  Paint the Clothes pins and set to completely dry
Step 2:  Glue two clothes pins on each other refer to the picture.


Step 3:  Glue the pom-poms and eyes.


Optional Step 4:  Glue a piece of ribbon on the back and hang on the lovely Christmas Tree.

 
*** Please stay up-to-date ~ check out my facebook page ~ God Bless***
 

 
 
 
 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Christmas Activities ~ Days 5 and 6

"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased."
Luke 2:14

Day 5:  Crayon Melt Snowman

Today we read a cute little story about determination and true friendship.  What a story.  'The Biggest, Best Snowman's main character learns to depend on friends in order to beat the odds regarding those around.  A plot that would play a huge part within any young persons life.  Various discussions would include self-esteem, self-respect, and kindness towards others. 

Following the book was the melted crayon snowman.  This activity requires strong adult supervision.  My husband and I did this together in order to make sure it goes well. 

Materials:
- Black paper
- White crayon
- Markers
- Flat heating grill
- Foil

Directions:
1.  Heat the grill on low
2.  Put the foil on the grill (the size of the paper)
3.  Put the paper on the foil
4.  Depending on the age of the child- either hold the child's hand tight or have the adult quickly draw the circles.  That way the little one can color the inside.
*Remember to turn off the grill.
Simple!

Day 6:  Shiny Christmas Tree!

My son had fun doing this tree project.  It did however, require a lot of assistance from his mommy! That's okay.  I love getting involved. 

Materials:
- Seven 'shiny' pieces of green paper
- tape
- Empty paper towel roll
- stapler
- colorful pom-poms
- small black square
- tacky glue

**PATIENCE

Directions:


- Fold all of the green paper into a triangle- by folding the right corner to the left side. Puff it out some- this way it will give off a 3D look.



- Cover the entire paper roll with one piece of green shiny paper



- Glue one 'triangle' on the roll (slightly to the right)
- Glue another from the left.  Keep it going.
- Glue the pom- poms.
- Glue the black square on the bottom (the stump)
There you go ~ A fun 'Shiny Tree'! 
 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Christmas Activites~ Days 3 and 4

"For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord."
Luke 2:11

Day 3 ~ Old Fashion Chain link with a twist. 


This time of year is especially important for our family for many MANY reasons.... mainly because of our faith and Love in the Heavenly Father.  It is incredibly important to us that we not only pass on our beliefs but, our traditions as well.  So,  I not only read the story of the birth of our Savior's birth I wrote the story on the chain links.  That way, every single day my little one will get another reminder of what we read. 


We read the story ~ wrote the story~ put the link in a pattern~ linked them together
 Simple and Fun!

 
 
Day 4: Dough Ornaments
 
As I helped my son put on some more ornaments I had to take a step back.  A step back because I enjoyed watching him get very excited about finding that perfect limb in order to place the accessory on the tree. In addition to watching him I couldn't help but focus on some of the memories that 'are' attached to some of ornaments for example I picked up a rather old and little ragged angel.  It was definitely a special one because on the back it had two names along with... "Our first Christmas."  What a special and loving memory!!  Strong memories that I truly hold deep!! 
 
Finally after my son was finished with the few left I took out the supplies for the our project.  Homemade Dough Ornaments.  Needless-to-say, I was very curious as to see if they were going to turn out!  Let's me be honest 99 percent of my projects are trial-by-error...as I like.... enjoy rather...making up the stuff I do with my little man!   
Today we had some messy fun!!  My son really enjoyed making some old fashion dough ornaments. 
 
The Ingredients & Materials:
- 1 cup of flour
- 1/2 cup of salt  
- 1/4 cup of cinnamon (used for the scent)
- 3/4 cup of water
- Optional: Rolling pin
- Cookie sheet
- Cookie cutters
We didn't have a rolling pin...so, we just had fun smashing the dough.

This was the hardest part out of the entire project.... Waiting!
 

Directions:
- Mix the dry ingredients first
- Slowly add the water
- Roll out and smash the dough on the counter
- Press down the cookie cutter
- Bake for 2 hours at 250 degrees
- Make a hole using a straw
- Paint
- Hang